Power Cables w.t.h?

Metatron

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Even the scientists on here state that Blind Testing has to be done properly and needs more than one person doing the listening and so for any consumers it’s a complete waste of time.
I believe this is true, but for the purposes of statistics. Results could be different for example if using 100 teenagers or 100 over 60s.

I believe the Randi Institute prize is just for an individual to pass a test repeatedly with statistical significance that suggests the listener is not guessing and therefore can perceive a real difference.

Anybody suggesting such an ability has a free shot at $1M. Gotta question why no takers.

If it’s not possible to hear differences reliably between two pieces of HiFi eg a DAC or cables then how does a conductor do their job? Or a mix engineer? Particularly a mix engineer as they are dealing with sometimes tiny differences.
The way this is asked mixes comparing cables to cables with, cables to DACs, or a conductor hearing differences in a live performance. Those cannot be equated as we can only compare cables to cables (power to power, IC to IC, speaker cable to speaker cable), or DAC to DAC, performance rehearsal to performance rehearsal.

For mix engineers, a modern DAW shows the waveforms for different mixes. They can check what they think they hear, check the waveforms right down to individual samples, and confirm. They undergo repetitive work validating if what they heard is represented in the data. As such, they become better than audiophiles at discerning differences with time.

Rehearsals of live music, where the conductor judges the performance from a central position is down to their subjective opinion. As these are live performances by human musicians, each rendition is not perfect in every way every time. We could measure the difference, but it's not needed as the variation is significant enough that an experienced conductor's hearing is trustworthy for that putpose.

For DACs, we have the same issues as with cables, but measurements will show one DAC may have better SNR but poorer IMD than another. Since both these factors may be audible, the concept of which is best becomes listener preference for the most part. Some may appreciate additional harmonics, others something else.

Predicting which an individual will prefer comes down to knowing if they like certain types of distortion and how much. The only way to know that is by undergoing listening tests to establish what a person likes. Some will always want a purer signal, some will want added harmonics like a valve amp would provide. That's all OK as we are all different and we know these equipment items have real differences in audible elements.
 
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DomT

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If it's me buying a cable for my system, why would I need other people to take part in the blind testing? If the experiment is repeated enough times to make my results statistically significant then that's surely enough?

If I'm trying to find out if the average punter would prefer the cable in the exact system being tested (or just tell the difference) then I can see the point, but if I just want to know if I prefer it in my system what will it achieve?
I am against blind testing for consumers. Another commented that it was the only way to assess anything. I disagreed with him. Your ears and wallet are all that count.
 

DomT

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If it's me buying a cable for my system, why would I need other people to take part in the blind testing? If the experiment is repeated enough times to make my results statistically significant then that's surely enough?

If I'm trying to find out if the average punter would prefer the cable in the exact system being tested (or just tell the difference) then I can see the point, but if I just want to know if I prefer it in my system what will it achieve?
I don’t know about that test but there is no reason why for example ‘someone’ who works in audio and most likely a mix engineer wouldn’t be able to pass that depending on the methodology. I believe that Alan Shaw from Harbeth wanted to do a similar test with switching between amps on a switch every ten seconds. Unless playing a constant white or pink noise signal at various frequencies Shaw’s test seems not to aid a meaningful comparison.

FWIW there has been debate in proaudio about digital recreations of classic synths and effects and if there is really a difference. There are a number of online tests. Casual users sometimes can’t tell the difference. People with deeper experience of a synth or effect score much higher and those with huge experience score almost 100% correctly.
 
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awkwardbydesign

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I believe the Randi Institute prize is just for an individual to pass a test repeatedly with statistical significance that suggests the listener is not guessing and therefore can perceive a real difference.

Anybody suggesting such an ability has a free shot at $1M. Gotta question why no takers.
Have you looked at the conditions he imposes? That might answer your question.
 

Metatron

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Have you looked at the conditions he imposes? That might answer your question.
Got to admit, been a while since I checked it and it currently seems unavailable.

I know James Randi died, so maybe the challenge went with him, rather than stay with the institute (James Randi Education Foundation).

Maybe there's a way to bring it back via crowd-funding.
 

DomT

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I believe this is true, but for the purposes of statistics. Results could be different for example if using 100 teenagers or 100 over 60s.

I believe the Randi Institute prize is just for an individual to pass a test repeatedly with statistical significance that suggests the listener is not guessing and therefore can perceive a real difference.

Anybody suggesting such an ability has a free shot at $1M. Gotta question why no takers.


The way this is asked mixes comparing cables to cables with, cables to DACs, or a conductor hearing differences in a live performance. Those cannot be equated as we can only compare cables to cables (power to power, IC to IC, speaker cable to speaker cable), or DAC to DAC, performance rehearsal to performance rehearsal.

For mix engineers, a modern DAW shows the waveforms for different mixes. They can check what they think they hear, check the waveforms right down to individual samples, and confirm. They undergo repetitive work validating if what they heard is represented in the data. As such, they become better than audiophiles at discerning differences with time.

Rehearsals of live music, where the conductor judges the performance from a central position is down to their subjective opinion. As these are live performances by human musicians, each rendition is not perfect in every way every time. We could measure the difference, but it's not needed as the variation is significant enough that an experienced conductor's hearing is trustworthy for that putpose.

For DACs, we have the same issues as with cables, but measurements will show one DAC may have better SNR but poorer IMD than another. Since both these factors may be audible, the concept of which is best becomes listener preference for the most part. Some may appreciate additional harmonics, others something else.

Predicting which an individual will prefer comes down to knowing if they like certain types of distortion and how much. The only way to know that is by undergoing listening tests to establish what a person likes. Some will always want a purer signal, some will want added harmonics like a valve amp would provide. That's all OK as we are all different and we know these equipment items have real differences in audible elements.
Seems like we are agreeing that blind testing isn’t required as there are differences and individual choice. Agreed that experienced studio workers have far better audio listening skills than HiFi owners. Many mix engineers don’t look at waveforms though when mixing; they just use their ears.
 
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ESK

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Many mix engineers don’t look at waveforms though when mixing; they just use their ears.
That's because they are listening to how the guitar sounds or how the music is mixed. Not whether the cables sound different.

I still maintain that if a cable makes a difference that is audible then what comes out of ones loudspeakers should be measurable.

I'm not aware that anyone has been able to show that.
 

DomT

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That's because they are listening to how the guitar sounds or how the music is mixed. Not whether the cables sound different.

I still maintain that if a cable makes a difference that is audible then what comes out of ones loudspeakers should be measurable.

I'm not aware that anyone has been able to show that.
The point of discussion is whether it’s possible to hear sonic differences or blind testing is needed. Clearly conductors and engineers don’t need to measure what they are hearing and nobody complains that these people might not be hearing what they are hearing. So when someone says on an audio forum says that only blind testing can reveal sonic differences then I wonder how people who use their ears for a living get away with blagging it just using their ears 🤣🤣🤣
 

Metatron

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Seems like we are agreeing that blind testing isn’t required as there are differences and individual choice. Agreed that experienced studio workers have far better audio listening skills than HiFi owners. Many mix engineers don’t look at waveforms though when mixing; they just use their ears.
A little. It's up to the individual if they can be faffed to try blind listening. I have time for excuses saying so. Or for those who just like the experiential journey, rather than care about whether they're accurate. I personally don't have time for people claiming all such tests are invalid because the scientists do short ABXing. The user can always do long blind tests with entire tracks or longer periods. Or blind tests removing their general complaint, so long as the test remains blind. Equally, if they enjoy the journey of seeking improvement subjectively, I don't think they can report differences as if objective fact.

Sure, mixers use their ears. But it isn't necessary to look at waveforms if one thinks the recording is too hot, or they can identify clipping etc. Such are not comparisons to a prior recording to establish if there was a difference. I merely suggest that an engineer can defer to DAW tools where comparisons are made and he/she needs to confirm there is indeed a difference.
 
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DomT

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Because they're not, to be fair, listening to the things we do (or trying to hear the things we may or may not hear).
No they are not listening to the same things but they are listening and assessing small changes and that’s the point.
 

oldius

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My favourite bake-off memory of all is one when the wonderful Dean, @SCIDB, acted as chief putterinerer, acting in secret to blind test some feverishly expensive mains cables - 9k each x 3. We played a track, then played it again with the new mains cables. There was much tapping of feet from the front row, until he hoisted said cables into the air like a triumphant n'er do well.

Without subjectivity, there literally is almost no hobby, but there is a place for believers and non-believers here: it is also why bake-offs are so valuable to us all.
 

2010*zuma

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Spent many years just using any old power cable (my preamp came with £3.00 IEC lead). After having success upgrading interconnects and speaker cable, I turned to the power cables. I replaced the pre amp one and there was an overwhelming difference for the better.

The next obvious move was to buy the same one for my power amp. Spent around 36 hours with it and it sounds worse than the Taiwanese "Well Shin" cable it came with!

I cant see this being a burn in thing as the pre amp sounded better immediately. The Well Shin cable is a schuko with a UK adapter whereas the new cable is UK. Could it be the schuko connection sounding better?

Things were much less complicated before I realised cables actually make a difference
decent power cables make the biggest difference out of the 3 basic cables
 
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Nativebon

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Do what makes you happy, but if your still not happy probably the stock cable or cable upgrade caused your unhappiness.

Oh no... I only get happy when you agree with my conclusions.
Now I get it... :unsure:
 

George 47

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For audio, I don't like DBTs. In fact, I hate them. Whenever I have wasted my time doing a 'public' DBT, it ends with ME being tested not the product.

DBTs in AES papers show that if an SS amp measures reasonably well (no need for 0.00001% THD) then no DBT difference has been 'proven' between SS amps. Really? A NAD from 15 years ago sounds the same as a Dan D'Agostino Momentum....?

Having done DBTs in the scientific community those done in audio are pointless as they are always too small. There are some audio DBTs that were OK(ish).

In the scientific community, trying to find increases in diseases is really, really difficult even with a very certain endpoint. Now try a DBT with a less certain endpoint like drugs for treating psychological problems where you have to ask participants how they feel. And for audio, you want to get statistical 'proof' of a preference? Of course, it is impossible to prove a negative with DBTs, so you are doomed to failure. The best you can say is that with this test, using these conditions and limitations then it was not possible to statistically prove a difference.

So why not test it in the way you want to use it? Put the cable into your system and listen to it in the same way you will use it, relaxed and with your favourite music; knowing the difference. You can borrow cables for a week or so and being a tightwad you will need positive proof before parting with any money. But you may be conning yourself, true and it works both ways, and you may not hear a difference even if there was one. No defence of purchase is needed. If a difference is heard then you can decide if it is worth the money.

And if I put a mains cable into my system and hear a difference, marvellous. But if I then do a DBT and hear no benefit, does the difference I heard disappear or does it magically appear in the cheaper cable?
 

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