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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:20 pm 
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I'm not sure if I'll find anyone that agrees with me but I've found power cables to make less difference than any other cables I've tried. Interconnects, digital and speaker cables all had far more effect on sound than any power cable change I've tried. What has made a difference are AC isolation transformers and power conditioners. But the AC cable itself never seemed to make much difference.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:36 pm 
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Location: toronto, ON, CA
Not having replaced stock power cables I cant say for sure Im willing to try though.
The reason for this is that back in the day when I was having trouble with my cable feed picture I was seduced by monsters ads and bought a power conditioner.
There was no effect on my picture but there was a discernible effect on the audio.I would say night and day but clearly better to my hearing in my room.
So I would guess that stability of the signal from the receptacle to the components is not unimportant.
Id guess in this equation an improved power conditioner is most useful but a power cord improvement should also help.
As always if you can try it yourself and return it if you dont find it works for you that is best.
For myself its the next thing im going to try -if it doesnt make any diff so be it.
If it doesnt of course the next step is to move to better components and in that context a power cable upgrade is the more economical route.
For reference I am running Totem Forests through Arcam a49, Arcam irdac 2 and Arcam udp411.
Interconnects are kimber as are the speaker cables


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:56 pm 
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I've done the power cord experiment and found no difference. I should point out that the power seems quite clean here as I'm in a rural area with few houses and no industry.
I had a supply of quite pricey cords sent and for the life of me could hear no difference. Interestingly though, when I plugged my system into a Bryston Bit 15 the difference was noticeable. We're not talking life altering but the system just seems more dynamic than before. The other benefit was that my TV's picture improved as well.
I tend to be very cynical about this stuff and had bought the Bryston to protect the system so I was pleasantly surprised with the improvements in sound as it wasn't expected.
My guy wants me to try some new cords he has so I think I'll give it a go. Can't hurt to play, cynical maybe but I believe in keeping an open mind. :D

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 4:00 pm 
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Location: mississauga, ON, CA
I agree with operafan...I find the improvement with well shielded and large AWG power cables unnoticeable...maybe if there was more noise where I am it would make a difference. I use 12 awg double shielded cables.
I have not ... and will not spend a lot on power cables because I believe the a good power suppl,y which reduces the voltage to DC and filters out the higher frequencies will negate the need for that to be done in the supply cord. The shielding may help the other components though.
I DO find large differences in the sound quality when I experiment with different interconnects, RCA's , speaker wires and Banana plugs.
However, the ones I like may not be the ones you like...it is subjective....have fun experimenting.
To quote a friend who has been in the hobby for many years..."it may sound different....but is it better?"
Hard to tell sometimes.
I find doing A_B testing helps me determine what has more bass...more treble...more midrange...but it takes a long listening period to determine which is the best for me .
Cheers


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 4:19 pm 
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Forbes_2 wrote:
They make a big difference. But you won't find an answer here, or really anywhere. All you will get is a war underneath your post.

Just try one, and if you like it keep it. If you don't then you will have more money in your pocket for more gear, or some albums, or a nice steak dinner. Or maybe Jays tickets for next year :)



Let me guess you sell them and you will take that as an insult since, after all, you are a professional and everything is a matter of personal opinion. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 4:28 pm 
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I spent the last few days using a $30 pair of RCA cables from Monster in my main rig without my knowing (I was messing around with different amps and speakers and accidentally left them connected.) The whole time I thought my XLR cables that retail for thousands were being used. I was part of a blind test and didn't pass. Now I don't know what to think and my system is very resolving. It was a pretty sobering moment but a very good lesson.

One noticeable difference is using good power cables and conditioner with powered Martin Logan speakers.

I feel like speaker cables are tone controls that allow you to fine tune the system.

It doesn't hurt to have good cables if you can afford it considering what some of us spend on gear.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 4:40 pm 
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James_W wrote:
It doesn't hurt to have good cables if you can afford it considering what some of us spend on gear.


That was my thinking when I started to experiment with cables. But a power cable on its own seems to do little. I mostly use Belden AC cables from Take Five or just generic cables. If a component uses a regulated power supply I find the cable does nothing. For a component with a linear power supply there can be a very small difference. At least that is what my ears have determined.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 4:51 pm 
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Spoke with a dealer recently who said he thinks its wrong that there are people out there looking to sell $3000 power cords. He further explained that the actual parts were the same as cords for maybe a 20th the price.

My response was, "More power to them". Pardon the pun.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:18 pm 
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racecars wrote:
Spoke with a dealer recently who said he thinks its wrong that there are people out there looking to sell $3000 power cords. He further explained that the actual parts were the same as cords for maybe a 20th the price.

My response was, "More power to them". Pardon the pun.


That argument really depends from dealers to dealers. Case in point one of our local dealer would swear to his mother's grave that an expensive power cord does make a difference. Of course, who am I to argue against his claim as he does sell the Cardas Clear Beyond and Nordost Valhalla cables. Upon comparing the two cables just my own opinion, the Cardas Beyond does sound good, but not better than the Valhalla for half the cost of the Valhalla cable. In my other local dealer, he's willing to give me half of the MSRP value of my single 7-year-old Transparent Audio XL cable that I used for my center channel. That doesn't surprise me a whole lot either as he sells the Transparent Audio Opus cables.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 6:25 pm 
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tube54 wrote:
racecars wrote:
Spoke with a dealer recently who said he thinks its wrong that there are people out there looking to sell $3000 power cords. He further explained that the actual parts were the same as cords for maybe a 20th the price.

My response was, "More power to them". Pardon the pun.


That argument really depends from dealers to dealers. Case in point one of our local dealer would swear to his mother's grave that an expensive power cord does make a difference. Of course, who am I to argue against his claim as he does sell the Cardas Clear Beyond and Nordost Valhalla cables. Upon comparing the two cables just my own opinion, the Cardas Beyond does sound good, but not better than the Valhalla for half the cost of the Valhalla cable. In my other local dealer, he's willing to give me half of the MSRP value of my single 7-year-old Transparent Audio XL cable that I used for my center channel. That doesn't surprise me a whole lot either as he sells the Transparent Audio Opus cables.

Just popped back to edit my post and there you went and quoted me. More correctly, the cost of the individual parts were 1/20 the price of the $3000 f/s somewhere.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:13 am 
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To clarify a tad, Ohm's Law can describe much more when the proper mathematical treatments are applied, just as can be said about Newton's Laws. The problem is that the most simplistic interpretations of these laws do not describe anything but the most simple applications. One has to present more than a simple explanation in these circumstances and I have yet to see anything but simplistic interpretations of basic laws in any thread when Ohm's Law is invoked.

Years ago, a friend in electrical engineering related to me that in his first lecture in circuit theory, the professor told them to essentially forget what they had learned the year before because the treatments of theory used were only rudimentary and barely scratched the surface compared to what they would know by the end of the semester. Anyone who has elected to take university courses in physics or mathematics will remember assignments that involve answering half a dozen or so questions from the 30 to 40 questions at the end of each chapter of their course textbook. The first few questions are straightforward and relatively easy to answer; however, after that the basic theory will get you nowhere with the later questions. In engineering, the tendency is towards mathematical treatments that speak to specific circumstances and practical application to that case. If you don't choose the right set of parameters for the problem you never solve it.

In the most basic terms, when researchers submit papers for publication in journals, they have to define the problem they are trying to solve, provide an air-tight explanation for the experimental design and explain away every single result that might invalidate their thesis and experimental results. Their task is to design an experimental procedure that controls every other parameter that could influence the outcome except for the one parameter which they wish to manipulate in order to discover its effect. Even if only one of the other parameters of the experiment has but a minor effect, the experiment is a total washout and the only value of the entire endeavour is that this particular test design is of no use in its present state. Of course, this does not always stop the author from submitting anyway, hoping for reward based merely for effort.

In the situation of our present topic, to even begin to show a measure of scientific value, a blogging CAM member would have to describe every single component in their system, including every other cable and accessory, as well as room dimensions and speaker placement. They would also have to be able to define and quantify the quality of the power from the grid. I won't go on with further requirements, because if you can see where this going, you will understand that no CAM member has ever been able to provide any valid scientific information on this topic, simply because they have no means to control every single parameter in any meaningful way. For example, in the system under test, what part of their life cycle are the tubes in your amp or preamp, and, do you know the actual effective capacitance of the interconnects carrying the signal between them. The task is simply too difficult.

The real result here is the realization that simplistic anecdotal descriptions cannot be put forward as scientific proof. EVER! Otherwise, the blog is just misinformation. When newcomers come to us for insights, leading them astray is not acceptable, even if we have the best of intentions. And I'm sure every last one of us has had to do an about-face after a serious failure of judgement. All one can ever do is describe your system and what you swapped in and out of it and your completely subjective opinion as to what you heard. You can also relate what music and media you used. This way, others can decide if your circumstances might or should point them towards trying out, in this case, the power cables you described.

Previously, we were provided with an example of misinformation and poor choice of parameters all at once. I know that those with pets have noted that their dog or cat has at one time or another responded to changes made to their system. This is usually related as being positive. But, not so fast here. Dogs and cats have extended ranges of hearing compared to humans, but do not hear any better than we do across the range of human capability. Yes, we tend to lose the upper ranges with age, but animals do also. This effect may be magnified by the fact that humans have much greater lifespans and may own very young animals. One has to remember that audio equipment is designed for human consumption, not pet. With digital components, one of the most important design considerations has been the taming of upper frequency distortions caused by the artifacts of poor filter design. If your CD player is producing distortions that would lead you to eventually replace it if you could hear those frequencies, would you consider that to be a positive outcome? Human hearing is so sensitive that if we could hear any better we would be able to hear the Brownian movement of the molecules of fluid in our ears. To suggest that how other species hear should effect how we judge power cables is clearly choosing a parameter that has nothing to do with the topic. Suggesting that dog's can hear "better" than we do and that this is pertinent to the topic is total misinformation.

This reminds me of a joke I was told about 60 years ago by a neighbour's 8 year old son who was desperate to assert his false sense of impending maturity by swearing, but at the same time, still being afraid of the consequences. The joke concerned two of the biggest cosmetic manufacturers of the day. He asked me: "Did you hear about Helena Rubinstein?" "No", I said, "What Happened?" He replied: "Max Factor!" He howled; I rolled my eyes; he did not notice.

One should not ask "What do you think?" Instead, one has to ask "What did you find?" It's not semantics here. Informed opinion is a very rare bird. We all grow up wanting to be right; many get testy if you suggest they are out in left field. Most often, one is not even in the ballpark. Being right is not important; finding truth is. Every time you discover a mistake you also discover an opportunity to learn. Even among academics, I find that outside their field of expertise, they wish to be right; some almost expect exalted status. I venture it's part and parcel of the human experience and difficult to resist. I always try to remember that every time I admit to a mistake, I then expand my horizons. If we don't know how to find truth, we so often settle for a ghost. The extremes taken on by this particular topic are not necessary and are dysfunctional to our goals. It is of no value to have a strong opinion on any topic of which you are not intimately knowledgeable. Nor is it reasonable to think anyone should necessarily follow your lead. I believe that the pursuit of truth is one of life's most important and critical endeavours and that central to this pursuit is the need to discover and internalize the most astute methods of pursuit. As with all important and worthwhile, the path is never easy. So be ready and do the best you can.

I would never stand on a platform and beat my chest, nor would I defy you to prove me wrong. But, I will implore you to read my words carefully and think critically and compare my views with yours. I realize that may be a big ask here as I have tried to be thorough. I hope I have written my views clearly with no errors in syntax. When I find people with very strong opinions, I tend to feel badly for them because I fear they are stuck in a place that they don't really wish to occupy. That's my psychology background talking. However, my greatest pleasure comes from observing others discovering newer insights on old topics and soaring with new perspective.

Just talking out of the side of my face, if we were to hold a contest to find the 25 or 100 best systems among CAM members based on overall musical performance and the width of the smile on the proud owner's face, I doubt there would any consensus on components, cabling or media. Listening is very personal and mostly solitary. Two people in the same room do not hear the system playing identically. We do, however, wish to share our joys and gush over our babies. While our topics are mostly valid, important and necessary, the best gushes are our best topics as seen with the most enthusiastic replies. So, let's be positive, relate our findings and not try to make decisions for others. If something goes wrong, describe the circumstances accurately, and as always, someone else may have more experience and be able to point you to a change that worked for them and might work for you. Cheers to all!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:23 am 
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I think we do not need any bible here....we all have our hearing and we love to listen to music...so anything which makes it "better" is great...and all the forums are just for sharing of info we gathered on the way. Simple is always better...


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:28 am 
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Some users may have noticed that I like long posts, myself. :oops:

TwentyKHzPlus wrote:
To clarify a tad, Ohm's Law can describe much more when the proper mathematical treatments are applied...


I won't quote them without editing, though !

@TwentyKHzPlus, thank you for that, and for taking the trouble to make it readable. I enjoyed it and I'll be back to read it again.


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