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mosfet

Pepsi Power Cable Challenge

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I’ve seen the phrase “sorting the wheat from the chaff†used a number of times now by different people - often regarding cables. I think it was Frank who originally coined this phrase.

Despite an attempt a while ago on HFC forum to lobby the HFC editor to undertake testing of power cables using the same methodology applied to group testing of CD players and amplifiers etc the requests were declined on the grounds of being ‘uneconomic’ or some such.

It has been mentioned in the reviews section the idea of circulating one of Franks Krystal power cables among wig-wam members for home demo. I think this is a good idea and demonstrates Franks willingness to follow the ‘try before you buy’ sales ethos.

If developed a little further however this idea could genuinely assist in “sorting the wheat from the chaff†where the hi-fi press is currently failing us. I say ‘us’ because I think it was previously agreed the hi-fi press are failing both the consumer and the vendor by declining to undertake proper testing of power cables.

So here’s the challenge: Make available a comparator pair of power cables for the consumer where both cables are visually identical. One cable being a standard kettle lead (or similar) and the other the ‘audiophile’ cable. This will allow the consumer to make a decision free from bias and pre-conception and the give vendor some particularly convincing marketing.

The ‘Pepsi Challenge’ for power cables if you like.

Of course this would require a little application to successfully disguise both cables but nothing is beyond the wit or wisdom of man with a little thought.

Obviously none of the ‘biggies’ are going to be reading this so really only directed at Frank and Tony (and possibly Bob) but if “sorting the wheat from the chaff†is the genuine objective then this would be a start.

Perhaps other comments on how to "sort the wheat from the chaff" from other wig-wammers?

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Mosfet,

Good idea, though I personally fellthat this may be best conducted at a bake of where one member is privy to the cable being used and the rest of the auditioners/guinea pigs are not. This way no one can cheat too :D

It is odd though that some people hold so much stock in cables and yet other vehemently deny that they noticed any difference whatsoever, and then you get the 3rd sort who haven't even tried them but are adament that they can't possibly work.

In fact it seems to be cable in any shape or form that spark such furious debate, oh and not forgetting power supplies.......

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Great Idea mosfet.

The makers could cosmetically alter the cable to ensure it does not resemble any of their currently marketed products. The moderator could have access to the details so that the trial is blind.

The testers could be randomly chosen from a group of volunteers not including the makers or the moderator.

I ,and I'm sure there are others could throw in a few other cables to aid the randomisation process.

The results could be analysed by someone with some knowledge of statistics.

Finally someone could do an SPL measurement on the cables for the sake of completion although differences here are negligible and barely of significance(one never knows what you might find)

If this goes well - this can be published in one of the magazines

Richard Black - you reading this?

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Bring it on, I'd certainly participate. Good notion. :^

PS: Could mains quality be a factor in this power cable/supply debate, just as it is with mains conditioners?

churz, eofs

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Definitely sounds like a good idea :cool:

It might be better (from the point of view of a cable maker hoping to get solid evidence that their products work, in particular) if a cable-maker could provide two visually identical cables. If the cables looked different and one of the people involved in the test knew which cable was which, the sceptically-minded could put any positive results down to those taking the test 'reading' the individual who knew which cable was which rather than any objective difference in the cables. Not sure how much of a pain it'd be to make two cables identical, though...

Jon

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Good idea, though I personally fell that this may be best conducted at a bake of where one member is privy to the cable being used and the rest of the auditioners/guinea pigs are not.

Yes John. Any pro-active idea has to be a good idea for both consumer and vendor.

The HFC Editor when asked declined on grounds there would not be sufficient interest. I think he is doing a disservice to the readership who require this information and a disservice to the vendor by not taking their products seriously.

The testers could be randomly chosen from a group of volunteers not including the makers or the moderator.

I think this should be seen less as ‘a test’ Kiang but more as an opportunity to advance understanding within the ‘amateur’ hi-fi community while the hi-fi mags continue to sit on their collective backsides.

Seen as a test this implies putting on trial the claims of the vendors, a somewhat threatening proposition. Indeed my own use of the word ‘challenge’ was probably not well-judged.

All possibly academic of course if no vendor comes on board.

PS: Could mains quality be a factor in this power cable/supply debate, just as it is with mains conditioners?

It’s certainly possible earl. Variation in supply quality (read deviation from 230V AC 50Hz and other assorted anomalies) does exist. I’ve looked at the information available from electricity suppliers and this does show variation against EC regulations. Voltage supply (based on my own measurements) does vary against time of day and day of week. The largest deviation I recorded was about -7% to +5%.

The presence of high frequency noise (anything other than 50Hz is ‘noise’) I’d expect to vary based on location given this is more often the result of population, commerce and industry etc. I’ve also noted DC offset on the mains – not a big issue but may cause some toroidal transformers to hum a little and worth getting rid of.

All of this of course may be of some consequence to hi-fi performance or conversely of no consequence at all. I’m inclined to think the former based on lowering of background noise when using a little capacitance ‘across the line’.

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JohnD76 wrote:

Mosfet,

Good idea, though I personally fellthat this may be best conducted at a bake of where one member is privy to the cable being used and the rest of the auditioners/guinea pigs are not. This way no one can cheat too :D

It is odd though that some people hold so much stock in cables and yet other vehemently deny that they noticed any difference whatsoever, and then you get the 3rd sort who haven't even tried them but are adament that they can't possibly work.

In fact it seems to be cable in any shape or form that spark such furious debate, oh and not forgetting power supplies.......

If done at a bake-off this would be just the collective opinion, an opinion which on scrutiny might actually be quite diverse. For example the cable might be used on a system that a reviewer is dissatisfied with anyway.

This would not advance our knowledge in any way.

A randomised opinion acquired by posting the cables to say 10 different people with the responses being kept undisclosed till the completion of the trial will add some credibility.

From a marketing stand point this is a difficult call for the maker as apart from the one "winner" the rest have everything to lose.

I can see people finding such a test uncomfortable as it could be dismissive of some makers.

Hi-fi magazine reviewers have to deal with this sort of thing as well you know.

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Sorting the wheat from the chaff I think has ben a missed opportunity by the only people capable of doing it - the hi-fi magazines. They alone have had most of the products actually in their hands putthrough theirpaces but have failed the consumer miserably by not forming some sort of league table to guide buyers into making informed choices.10 years ago it would have been very easyto start the process when the numbers were manageable, but now new cable makers are springing up almost weekly, all making similar products and singing similar songs to woo the buyers.

The efficacy of most of these products is up for discussion, especiallyat some of the ludicrous prices being asked. Consequently, everything just drifts around in the ether with no reference points whatsoever, so that we get the absurd situation where a £100 cable can outperform a £1,000 cable and a £10 cable can piss over both and a £3,000cable beats none of them.

The old HFC hands will clearly remember what I am about to say; I've said all along too that many have formed the opinion that "Cable upgrades don't work" because it's all too easy to select a cable from the many countless thousands on the market and have the sheer bad luck to pick a wanker that does nothing to the sound, resulting in them arriving at the conclusion or the perception that indeed a better cable is a complete waste of money. But how the heck do we steer people towards the cables that DO make a significant improvement and get rid of the rubbish that doesn't? Answers on a postcard please . . . . . . .

I really do have to bitemy tongue when I see a thread running over on HFC that debates the merits of ABC cable against XYZ cable and people pile in with their experiences, waxing lyrical about the huge improvements they got with either brand, when I know full well that both of them are pants and not worth buying, yet people think in their own minds they got great results and at the end of the day that's all that really matters in this caper.

Yes indeed word of mouth recommendations are one means of spreading the word, but we are a very closed, insulated and isolated breed of enthusiasts with many enjoying their hi-fi solitary vices without ever picking up a magazine, participating on a forum, attending bakeoffs or realising that in the same road when you live the are none, one, or a hundred others just like you.

The HFWW "Pespsi Cable Challenge" isn't going to achieve much on a practical level beyond answering the basic question "CanTHAT PARTICULARsooper dooper cable make a difference or not?" and in a perverse way it can open a brand new can of worms and put a lot of responsibility on the cable maker that puts his product forward for trial. It could alsobe interpreted that if the selected cable passes the test unequivocallywhich then indirectly endorses ALL sooper dooper cables and on the flip side I would also hate to think that the same maker would capitalise on that by saying his was the only cable that has managed to pass such a test. By the same token, I get reallyinfuriated by the Nordosttest debacle as a shining example of cable making at it's best by the allegedleading manufacturer towhich ALL cables are to be judged, being tested inless than ideal objective conditions.

I have more than enough confidence in my own products to goopenly ona public forum fully in the knowledge that if just one negative comment appears on the forum it's going to cost me very dearly, but there are more than enough instances of the word "Krystal" in folk's signatures to vindicate that confidence. But where do they relate in the marketplace? That is the underlying reason why I am so furious with HFC and HFW inthat they both failed somiserably to put any sort of market placementto my products and that's where they do need a massive kick up the arse as trustees to us consumers of what's hot in the industry and what's not. All this talk they promulgate of "outperforming products atX times the price" and "leader in it's sector of the market"or "unbeatable value" is fast becoming a joke.

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Just a few points in reply Frank because there’s little point, I’m sure you’ll agree, with re-visiting all the usual arguments. The purpose of this thread is to move forward from ‘all the usual arguments’.

Sorting the wheat from the chaff I think has ben a missed opportunity by the only people capable of doing it - the hi-fi magazines.

Not so. No special equipment is required to undertake a blind listening test during a bake-off other than a selection of power cables and willing volunteers. This sort of thing is not beyond the realm of the amateur.

If done by circulating one (or possibly two) ‘audiophile’ power cables along with a standard power cable all disguised to be identical among forum members this would at least sort some of the ‘wheat’ from some of the ‘chaff’.

The HFWW "Pespsi Cable Challenge" isn't going to achieve much on a practical level beyond answering the basic question "Can THAT PARTICULAR sooper dooper cable make a difference or not?"

It would be a start.

It could also be interpreted that if the selected cable passes the test unequivocally which then indirectly endorses ALL sooper dooper cables

Only by someone daft enough to think so.

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Well I'm not shy of giving it a go Richard and never have been as you know.

I was hoping to collar the guys at Mr Wigwam's bakeoff to try something similar but by crikey the time don't half whizz by at these events.

I sent a Titan cord up to AK's yesterday to join a Mercury cord that someone's taking along to their little soiree, although I reckon by the time theyhave finished drooling over each other's kit they will probably find there isn't enough time left to go mucking around with wires and blindfolds:D

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Well I'm not shy of giving it a go Richard and never have been as you know.

Perhaps something can be arranged then?

I’m unable to host a blind listening session at the moment but maybe others are. If this isn’t possible then there’s my suggestion of circulating an ‘audiophile’ power cable and standard power cable among forum members.

I’m merely interested in the results – I certainly have nothing to lose as you may have Frank. Then again there is as much a possibility, given the confidence you have, of much to be gained. Proof would be a damn powerful marketing tool. ;)

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just out of interest, why should the opinion of your ears mean more to me that the ears of a hi fi reviewer?

I admire the idea of blind testing, but in the end am only convinced by what I hear, not what you, or anyone else, tells me is so. There is more than a hint here, Mosfet ol' chap, that you are already convinced that you should be our guide. Forgive me if your intent is entirely altruistic, but as you say, having just got rid of one blind prophet who led us over the cliff, we, not involved in the listening, may not be too keen to take the hand of blind prophet number 2.

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mosfet wrote:

Well I'm not shy of giving it a go Richard and never have been as you know.

Perhaps something can be arranged then?

I’m unable to host a blind listening session at the moment but maybe others are. If this isn’t possible then there’s my suggestion of circulating an ‘audiophile’ power cable and standard power cable among forum members.

I’m merely interested in the results – I certainly have nothing to lose as you may have Frank. Then again there is as much a possibility, given the confidence you have, of much to be gained. Proof would be a damn powerful marketing tool. ;)

I can disguise two power cords to look pretty muchidentical with plenty of padding and plenty of heatshrink ;)

Problem has always been time,venue and available kitwhenever this subject has been raised, so that's why it's always ended up fizzling out. No problem hosting it at our new house but we are not due to move for another few weeks, plus we will beliving out in the boondocks behind Liskeard which is a long shlepp for most folks. I will however be inviting folks down for a bakeoffonce we are settled in.

There is of course thescottishbakeoff tomorrow and a Herts/Bucks one in the pipeline soon too as I understand it. If AK is reading then then he might get the opportunity to do a quick blind test with the boys tomorrow - especially as they will have the cables to hand. I shan't be attendingHerts/Bucks one as the Chief's distance near Shorehamwasas much asI would care to do in one day as it was quitetiring.

I don't actually have any fears of a blind test Richard as I've blind tested them myself many times before with somenubile younglovelies as you recall, plus the comments made by so many customers who have already donetheir own independantblind testsand havereported back there was no contest whatsoever with a standard kettle lead.

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Frank will try to test with Belcanto, stock, mercury and titan, will use dyns or stiletto 6's and only I will know whats in.

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Mosfet wrote:

Until Nordost produce some objective measurements that show how their power cables improve performance to some meaningful degree (a hardly difficult task with the resources I would think are at their disposal) then I’ve no more desire to test their particular brand of boutique engineering than I have to fit go-faster strips to my car. It’s just not worth my time.

Brother Mosfet,

It was you who wrote the above see here: http://www.hifiwigwam.com/forum1/530-2.html and in that sentence, Nordost could easily be replaced with Krystal Kables or Coherent Cables. Then what the heck are you doing trying to organise a cable shoot-out? I don't believe that Frank nor Tony have officially approved laboratory performed objective measurements that show how their power cables improve performance to some meaningful degree so why would you be interested? I thought that if something could not be measured, then it was of no interest to you or do you now feel that your system needs a lift in performance?

IMO, if people are interested in Frank's or Tony's cables, then they should borrow them on a home audition. If they like what they hear, they should buy them, if not, they return them with no questions asked. Also, if people would like to hear either brand's cables at bake-offs, then great. However, if the big audio magazines cannot be bothered to organise such a thing, (perhaps Plum could help there;)), and if the big cable companies that regularly get raved about in hifi reviews cannot be bothered to do such a comparison, then why should the 'small guys' like Frank & Tony waste their valuable time on the suggestion of someone obsessed with measurements?

What I think would be much more interesting is say Frank & Tony getting their respective heads together to produce products that take on the big boys in the industry for a fraction of the price of the big boys' products. Now, that to me would be much more news worthy and interesting not some Pepsi or Sprite Challenge.

Enjoy the musicâ„¢

Lawrie:D

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