Sorry but I beleive all talk about mains cables is complete nonsence, there is no way in the world that a different cable can affect the sound or picture quality of your system. It is all marketing hype and snake oil, that makes many companies allot of money, and unfortuanly it is easy to fall for. But bottom line is no one could hear the difference. Have a look at my website 'WWW.fisherproducts.co.uk' for further thoughts is this and other subgects !!
Please don't pitch your own website in the forum; the knee-jerk reaction is that you are trying to sell something, even if you aren't.
As to the cables thing... I tend to agree. There's a lot of subjectivity in audio and it's hard for many to separate the wheat (the comparatively small changes in CD measured performance giving seemingly substantial audible differences in sound quality) from the chaff (expensive audio gizmos, outside-the-audio-chain cables and other weirdness).
The believers in things like the difference in sound of mains leads suggest that all systems are hugely influenced by the mains (very true - try playing a CD or DVD without a power source feeding it, see how big the influence is) and anything that can help, should be used. Personally, I find the concept that one metre of funky cable can influence the 'sound' of miles of copper wire from the 'leccy company to be more than a little bit off whack, but perhaps they are on to something and tomorrow will bring the objective explanation for such left-field stuff.
Alan - if you were to look at my website you will notice that I am not trying to sell any thing, you are quite right I am not, I've no idear why I even wrote it, apart from a bit of healthy competition from someone who is selling and was banging on about their site. Ok a CD does not sound good on zero mains power but the difference between +- 320V peak and nothing is a lot. I have circumvented these problems by building an amp that is powered by a 12V lead acid battery and feeding it signals from a walkmen CD player and that removes all such arguments from my system, and it sounds just beutiful irespective of the £20 per 100M cable I am useing for the speakers. I like your words 'weirdness', 'off whack' and 'left field stuff' I will use that in the future writing with your permission.
Having looked at my site you will understand my interest in Hi Fi and all matters of electonic design. OK on the phrases, I just liked them as being a bit of a piss take but nevertheless very relavent. Thanks for looking, there are many hidden and not so hidden links for your amusment but you will notice that it is really an acount of my life and not a sales thing. I am keenly interested in sound reproduction and have no axe to grind but what I want to find is Hi Fi nirvana and have been looking for some 35 years from kid days when I heard a friend of my father play his Ferrograph tape unit through Quad amplification to ESL57 speakers, I have allways wanted to better that. On a nother matter, many years ago I was introduced to a man by the name of 'CLEMANCE BROWN' who spent his life writing a book called 'An Introduction to Hi Fi' I have been trying to source this book for a time as I met him at the age of 13, and I belive he spent his whole life on it, then shortly after it was published he died. Such was his interest and that was back in the 1960's, so thats my story...
Hello John, I was very interested in your message about speaker cables, I borowed some very expensive oxigen free silver cable which had arrows printed on it and could not hear any diference when changing the direction of the arrows around. I now use twin and earth cooker cable similar to ring main cable and find this to be as good as any of the over priced speaker cable. I also make up my own interconnects using gold plated plugs and good quality studio grade screened cable this also sounds the same as the hyped interconnects. As for mains cable the same applies and I do not use anything to clean up the mains and have not been able to hear the difference between filtering and not filtereing. I bet the companies selling all the above oak cones and speciel wooden shelves are laughing all the way to the bank. Gerald
How right you are, I think we should modify the word 'subjective' to something more like 'suggestable'. Some time ago I read on a website about an extensive speaker cable comparison experiment. I think they had 25-30 in the group and 4 sets of cable, rangeing from OK thick and cheap, up to £1000 stuff. Now this experiment was done a bit in reverse, the group being told, the type, cost etc. of each one in advance. They were then asked to tick boxes on all aspects of their 'subgective' merits. In concluding the experiment and reading the results, the guys orginising it did not have the heart to annouce that they never changed the cables !!!
How right you are, I think we should modify the word 'subjective' to something more like 'suggestable'. Some time ago I read on a website about an extensive speaker cable comparison experiment. I think they had 25-30 in the group and 4 sets of cable, rangeing from OK thick and cheap, up to £1000 stuff. Now this experiment was done a bit in reverse, the group being told, the type, cost etc. of each one in advance. They were then asked to tick boxes on all aspects of their 'subjective' merits. In concluding the experiment and reading the results, the guys orginising it did not have the heart to annouce that they never changed the cables !!!
To get back to the original thread, that of mains cables, can anyone in their right mind convince me that that a 230V source arriving from maybe several miles away, and that from a transformer reducing the voltage from the national grid maybe fifty miles away. Is all that cabling going to be influenced by one metre of cable between the socket on the wall and your equipment, I think not. Just look at the probability, your 230V has already travelled down many miles of standard copper (unscreened) cable before it even got to you, and you want to convince me that the last little metre of cable between the wall socket and your unit makes all the difference, please don't insult what little intelligence I have, these ideas are the most ludicrous silly nonsense that I have had the misfortune to hear in the last twenty years. Back in the golden years of Hi Fi i.e. 1960s there was no talk of leads, mains, or interconnects, and that it appears is the Hi Fi nirvana that everyone wants to recreate. So lets forget this silly notion that speaker, interconnect or mains cables have anything to do with reproduced sound and get back to the main issues, like number of bits recorded, room acoustics, overload margins etc. the critical issues that may affect sound quality, and stop talking all this COMPLETE NONSENSS about issues that are of absolutely no relevance at all. Having taken a keen interest in all Hi Fi matters since the age of twelve, and now at the age of fifty nine I think I know a few facts !!
Sorry but I'm not going to endorse anything from Russ Andrews, or any other interconnect, speaker cable, mains conditioner or snake oil supplier as I think 90% of what he sells is complete bullshit, and the fact that he has a respectable business built out of this complete NONSENCE only tells me loads about the Hi Fi buying public, and how ultimately stupid and misled they are, so when it comes to buying equipment, be diligent and listen with your own ears, and not be bamboozled by sales talk, there are many £££ to be made from cables, mains conditioners etc. but not from serious equipment so beware. I have built a staggeringly awesome system for a few hundred pounds and it makes me wonder why anyone would spend many thousands to achieve less than this.
The trouble with your argument is that - under most test conditions - it is very difficult to separate what is clearly audible from what is 'possibly' audible. Double blind ABX tests do differentiate one from the other, but ultimately you are left with not much in audio sounding materially different from anything else in audio.
Ultimately, that means even listening with your own ears is fallible, according to this methodology. Taking the listening tests of a body of individuals, all listening under level-matched, double blind conditions is the only genuine determinant of the performance of a product.
From the position of a double-blind ABX test, the terms 'staggeringly awesome' are redundant because under these conditions all competently designed amplifiers and CD players sound the same. Cables introduce no discernible difference to the sound of a system. The only places where an observable difference can be determined are in the loudspeaker and possibly trying to discern one disc from another. All else is mere smoke screening on behalf of manufacturers and their shonky claims. And when you state that people spend more money to 'achieve less'... that's just another shonky claim, too.
Trouble is, people don't conduct double-blind ABX tests when they buy stuff. They buy it on the basis of a complex series of value judgments, that are often incomprehensible to the next guy. This is why despite the fact that a quartz watch keeps better time than any mechanical one, there are still a lot of Rolexes, Omegas, IWCs, Orises and Breitlings being sold, to people who should know better.
Does that mean people who buy hi-fi do so under the same buying decisions as people who buy jewelery? Very possibly. And does that matter? Patently not to those who buy such things.
A prime example of this is Sonus Faber loudspeakers. They are perfectly good transducers, but no doubt that someone can produce a better product at a fraction of the cost, but doesn't look as nice. Will that cheaper product dissuade the potential Sonus Faber buyer... not at all.
It may seem stupid and misled to you, but there are plenty of people who take great pride in possessing the things you so readily dismiss. Whether they think they can justify their purchasees through listening tests, or simply enjoy owning their products for the sake of owning them is actually a moot point. They do it because they feel comforted in doing it.
Going back to those double-blind ABX tests, that people can hear the difference between cables is no more self-delusional than people claiming to hear the difference between amplifiers. And that would include your claims, too.
To Alan, yes I have to reluctantly agree to your synopsis, as that is the only explanation for these things, and yes your comparisons to jewellery may be relevent. I have for some time now believed that many Hi Fi purchases are made on the pretext of fashion, an inerior design statement, the done thing etc. rather than on technical merit. However since my intense interest back in the valve days, then a decline during the tranny/CD days, to hear something that rekindled that original interest is only to be welcomed. So what started this revelation, class íDí amplification, sounded warm and inviting like nothing I had heard in transistors before, so yes some differences in amplifiers can clearly be heard, but I still donít believe any difference in mains leads can be. When it comes to the fashion aspect then that still does not cut the mustard as mains leads are hardly on show for all to appreciate. Maybe then a peer pressure thing to talk about in the pub, Iíve just spent £300 on an IEC lead, you should try it etc. To Chrisopher, yes Alan has put together a good piece on this, and maybe my discussions do make the pursuit joyless, but if A/B testing results in better design then youíve already answered the question. Maybe you are both not aware of my excitement over class ĎDí but have a look at the article I wrote for AVreview, this will clarify and explain some technical reasons for itís merits, rather than just my listening and personal opinionsÖ
Have just upped my system with the addition of Magnat 'Vintage 650' speakers and the improvement is enormous. But remember the start point for all the newly found excitement was created by the class 'D' amplifier, and that is a new and different technology. A new technology does have the possibility of bringing a new result, unlike a change of material, like copper cables to silver. I think in my article 'Some thoughts on class D' I have attempted to explain the sonic advantages of this system, and none have to do with fashion or pride but only engineering and the art of sound reproduction...
I don't quite understand what is going on here, i don't think i am a typical hifi enthusiast i don't care what i pay for my equipment or what make it is, i make a point of not telling people what iv'e got usually, for fear of loosing it , occasionally if i meet a like minded person ( very rare ) i let them listen to it and hope they invite me to listen to theirs purely out of interest not to show off or say 'mine is better than yours ' . That said, i have spent 35 years try to source a system that sounds as close to real live music as possible, i have been in debt because of it, sacrificed other things for it i need the music and the pleasure it gives me, i base all my equipment and cable buying decisions on what i hear at live venues. The bit i don't understand is how anyone can say all correctly engineered products sound the same! it is totally untrue,i have listened to all sorts of equipment and i say the opposite, most correctly engineered products sound different because they were designed to sound like their creator thought was right and who can say they are not all right. There are large differences between amplifiers, cd players, speakers, cables, because i have spent my life listening to them, in some cases the difference is almost unbelievable. Notice i did not say better or worse because that is for the individual to decide . I love hifi shows because i can listen to so much equipment at one time and memorize it for future reference, i use hifi dealers to borrow equipment and try it out,i read one hifi magazine to update me on all things hifi, i go to live events as ofen as possible, so when some body says that most people in the hifi industry are smokescreening me, the differences that i hear are all imaginary and i could buy equipment as special sounding as mine in my local tesco's for a fraction of the cost it really upsets me, not because i may or may not have been ripped off but because you are telling me that i can't enjoy my music on my superb sounding system, and all the choices and decisions i have made have been manipulated by unscrupulous charlatans , ( i thought i had a mind of my own ! )so i guess there is only one thing for it , i need to take part in a double blind abx test, not to prove anybody else wrong or to prove that i am right to anybody else, but purely for my own selfish peace of mind, can anybody help ?.
I'm sure we can arrange a simple one - we will need to persuade John Fisher to knock up the necessary hardware ;-)
I would suggest a comparison of two speaker cables, one of your choosing and one of mine (which will cost no more than a tenner). The only pre-condition would be that John & I consider your cable to be 'ordinary' in the sense that it conforms to the sensible dictum of reasonably low L, C and R i.e. correctly engineered.
Also - very important this one - how do you deal with the "third cable problem"? The switch boxes at the amplifier end have one input (a cable from the power amplifier which I call the "third cable") and two outputs, each feeding one of the two cables under test. At the speaker end, a further switch box needs to accept one of the signals and switch it to the speakers via a further third cable.
Does the presence of a third cable (twice over!) at the input and output of the test system invalidate the test?
Is it possible to 'design out' the third cable without compromising the integrity of the test?
Of course, most advocates of truly expensive cable and connectors would have us believe that the insertion of the switching apparatus into the amplifier/speaker circuit destroys the magic of the cable, and this explains why ABX testing of cables produces no conclusive results!
Incidentally, I don't believe I have ever claimed that all correctly engineered products sound the same, and I rather doubt that John Fisher has either. Please point me to the post in question. I have only ever said that all correctly engineered cable sounds the same.