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prufrock

The Great Cable and Interconnect Swindle: An Etiology

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Have decided to create a blog on this issue. Will name it similar to the above and have the link on my posts. This will avoid, from my point of view, any further personal confrontation on the issue. And hopefully endless repetition and groundhog day type arguments. If I see a poster asking advice on cables/interconnects I will drop in and direct them to the blog and leave it at that. If it seems a cable discussion may be influencing other readers I may do the same. The link on my posts will also hopefully provide a counterbalance to the those who list their cables in their system setups.

 

Would appreciate other's contribution as well. What I hope is to be able to write a very succinct, under 2 page entry about how this whole issue evolved; how it started and what keeps it going.

If you are on the opposite side, I would request that you don't post on this thread please. Not because I don't want debate. Its just that I want ideas that will help with my blog and these will be best gotten from people on the skeptics side of the fence. I think it would be a good idea if others from the opposite side of the debate did something similar as well.

 

 

Basically my argument is this: the unique characteristics of audio have provided an environment where this phenomenon has been able to gain traction. You would not expect to, and will not find an analogy in photography for example. Due to current legislation the companies who peddle this expensive stuff are able to get away with not proving up their claims. Audiophile land is a bit of a backwater, so this is not surprising. It seems the con has gained enough momentum now for it to have reached the stage where the sheer number of believers has given it an elevated status.

 

Anyhow look forward to comments. Will likely need help getting the significance of the null testing right and other bits. Will write sections of it up here as I get time and ask for feedback.

However, other skeptics feel free to post your ideas anytime without waiting for me.

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I think it is a mistake not to engage in debate.

 

It also takes a lot of the recreational pleasure away.

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Basically my argument is this: the unique characteristics of audio have provided an environment where this phenomenon has been able to gain traction. You would not expect to, and will not find an analogy in photography for example. Due to current legislation the companies who peddle this expensive stuff are able to get away with not proving up their claims. Audiophile land is a bit of a backwater, so this is not surprising. It seems the con has gained enough momentum now for it to have reached the stage where the sheer number of believers has given it an elevated status.

 

Totally agree with both your initiative and your argument - but unfortunately it opens up a veritable pandora's box of issues... :)

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I would note that you are setting yourself up as an authority and saying essentially that you are distributing the "truth" about the matter, unless you are very careful to label conclusions you posit as your opinion.

 

You also run the risk of alienating many people, again, unless you are very careful indeed.

 

But it is a good initiative I think, and I will probably be interested in reading what you write.

 

-Paul


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Could be messy of course, but then again it already is messy. I certainly support your efforts.

 

Can one not provide truth without being an authority? The next comment by someone would be if your truth is good without you being an authority then my truth is just as good when I say the opposite.

 

I guess my other thought is that I don't think very many read the blogs. I put one up and intended to follow with many more. I had in mind some of the same things you are thinking here. But then by the time several dozen people had blogs I think most people's eyes just gloss over. It does have value though, I think Mitchco's are very well done, and he quite often will drop in with a short comment and link to his blogs. Saves him time arguing over the same old stuff. Convinces some doesn't others. At least it is out there. I guess one thing we never know is how many it may influence. As often cited less than 1% of readers here post.


And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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One complicating problem is that sub-standard cables do exist, so you have to draw a line somewhere. That, too, becomes problematic.

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One complicating problem is that sub-standard cables do exist, so you have to draw a line somewhere. That, too, becomes problematic.

 

Yeah they do, but I guess the take home message would be RCL properties are what matter. Maybe you have an odd pairing of equipment or strange cable properties. The fix isn't exotic super expensive cable. It is either better equipment design or affordable change in cable that will work with equipment properly considering what you have.


And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Yeah, even though I think prufrock has a good idea and support his efforts, there are some issues. Another complicating factor, besides establishing a base level for quality or functionality, is how absolutist is the premise? When we assert, "Cables don't make a difference," are we talking about all cables? Or is there a continuum along which some cables make less of a difference and others make more? (Of course everything's subject to debate, but I'm thinking along the lines of, say, hard drive cables at one end of the spectrum and speaker cables at the other.)

 

--David


Listening Room: Mac mini (Roon Core) > iMac (HQP) > exaSound PlayPoint (as NAA) > exaSound e32 > W4S STP-SE > Benchmark AHB2 > Wilson Sophia Series 2 (Details)

Office: Mac Pro >  AudioQuest DragonFly Red > JBL LSR305

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wgscott

 

I agree debate is good. However I am finding it is just going around in circles now, groundhog day style. Also, very hard for someone new to make head or tail of it I would think.

Agree it can have a recreational value, but there is a limit to the amount of times you can get laughs at the opposition's expense ;]

 

esldude

 

Yes, everyone has their 15 min of fame blog these days. I am hoping to keep mine very short. Maybe even only 1 page long. I personally followed closely all the null testing you did and read Mitcho's stuff as well. That will pretty much be the core or basis of my argument. Not everyone is willing or has the time for that amount of reading though. I hope to nail the issue in a short piece with a provocative title and a big picture point of view. Add the fact that the provocative title will constantly be on display when I post and I am hoping it will add up to at least providing some counterbalance. What is presently happening on the forum is that the opposition are getting airtime that is far in excess of their representation in the wider audio community.

 

Julf

 

I think I can guess at some of the issues. Just have to play it by ear on that one.

 

Paul

 

I wont be setting myself up as an authority at all. Will be clearly stating that I probably know less about audio than most people on the forum. Also will be stating that I have never actually personally tested one cable/interconnect against another. It will be very much the perspective of an outsider looking in.

Dont think it will be alienating. More the opposite really. Instead of continually repeating the same stuff in thread arguments, there will be a link to an opinion. People can then chose to read it or not.

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Another suggestion for those who also want properly credentialed authorities for reference. You could include links to articles on the topic. The Audio Critic has some of those on the web. The Audio Critic has an EE do some modeling and testing btw, not just that he is someone people have heard of through his past publications. There are few others. I have a couple more I have used before one is basic testing by an MIT grad student. People who at least used good measuring equipment and had the background to know what they are doing.


And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Prufrock

Why would anybody other than a pure cable agnostic want to read a blog by some newbie, who starts such provocative ,and in the main incorrect, thread titles as this one? You have just ruled yourself out as providing any worthwhile impartial resources on this subject.

 

SandyK


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

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Where did he claim to be impartial?

 

Or is this something you only require of other people's opinions that are at variance with your own?

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prufrock, when you say you've never tested one cable against another, does that mean listening tests, electrical characteristics tests, performance tests such as null testing, or all of the above?


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> wi-fi to router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> USPCB -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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The problem with "swindle" is it implies that manufacturers are deliberately trying to rip-off consumers. Some probably are, but most believe in the merits of their products. So the problem, if indeed there is one, is that enthusiasts -- including most of the cable manufacturers -- in this hobby hear differences that may or may not be there and they act on them with their pocketbooks. That's part and parcel of most hobbies of connoisseurship, I think. It's part of the fun. Some don't hear those differences, or don't accept them, and don't put their energies and funds into cables. Fine. Why do you care? If your mission is blow the whistle on dishonest swindlers, I think you're off base. If it's to disabuse weak-minded audiophiles of their delusions -- well, good luck with that.


Mac Mini 5,1 [i5, 2.3 GHz, 8GB, Mavericks] w/ Roon -> Ethernet -> TP Link fiber conversion segment -> microRendu w/ LPS-1 -> Schiit Yggdrasil

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I have read of an early dissection of an MIT network cable by the Audio Critic. The first box, potted with epoxy had nothing, the cable just ran through it. The second had a 1 kohm resistor across the cable leads. In no way does that justify the extremely high cost. That is before one even decides if these measures make an audible difference. Swindle is appropriate.

 

Then I read a Swedish translation of a fairly recent dissection of a Transparent cable. It had a Dale resistor and a small polystyrene capacitor across the leads. Plus a length of extra cable wrapped around it all apparently for inductance. Again disregarding whether such construction does anything audible these parts are something less than $5. Considering the obscene pricing of Transparent cable what else than swindle is appropriate?

 

Call a spade a spade. Call a swindle a swindle. Let the chips fall where they may. Karen Sumner's lifestyle disgusts me because it is built on fraud. Even if the things they do make a cable better it is fraud because they charge an unreasonable premium vs the parts cost.


And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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The problem with "swindle" is it implies that manufacturers are deliberately trying to rip-off consumers. Some probably are, but most believe in the merits of their products. So the problem, if indeed there is one, is that enthusiasts -- including most of the cable manufacturers -- in this hobby hear differences that may or may not be there and they act on them with their pocketbooks. That's part and parcel of most hobbies of connoisseurship, I think. It's part of the fun. Some don't hear those differences, or don't accept them, and don't put their energies and funds into cables. Fine. Why do you care? If your mission is blow the whistle on dishonest swindlers, I think you're off base. If it's to disabuse weak-minded audiophiles of their delusions -- well, good luck with that.

 

Even if they believe in what they are doing, they know the parts cost of their products. Taking a reasonable profit for knowledge, manufacture etc is fine. The kinds of profits these cable makers enjoy are obscene, ethically disgusting, and they cannot fail to know what their profit margins are. I would be tremendously ashamed to offer products with profit margins they have. I simply could not sleep were I to do what they do.


And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Without any facts to support, statements such as this:

 

"Even if they believe in what they are doing, they know the parts cost of their products. Taking a reasonable profit for knowledge, manufacture etc is fine. The kinds of profits these cable makers enjoy are obscene, ethically disgusting, and they cannot fail to know what their profit margins are. I would be tremendously ashamed to offer products with profit margins they have. I simply could not sleep were I to do what they do."

 

Are libelous.

 

As to the subject matter, I find it rather humourous that the OP is not interetsed in hearing from people who have actually heard the difference which some, high quality, and somewhat expensive, audiophile cables can make. So what we have here is a blog where flat earth folks can congregate, and make themselves feel better in their ignorance, laughable.

 

Even more amusing is that it is quite simple to test whether an audiophile cable actually improves performance, as The Cable Company maintains a rather extensive library of lending cables, which can be tested in one's system for very little cost. Additionally, many good dealers will allow for at home cable demos. The intellectual "excersize" of once again describing how cables "could not possibly make a difference" is moot considering the extensive evidence to the contrary.

 

If you do not believe that cables matter you have two choices: one, be happy in your ignorance, by ignoring a way to possibly improve your system's performance. Two: try some of the better cables out there, and if they do make a difference which matters to you, admit it, purchase them, and enjoy the improved performance. If they do not make a meaningful difference to you, then do not make a purchase, and at least you now know that you were "right", at least for your ears and system.


ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                        
                            

                                   
                                                                            SONORE computer audio

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Even if they believe in what they are doing, they know the parts cost of their products. Taking a reasonable profit for knowledge, manufacture etc is fine. The kinds of profits these cable makers enjoy are obscene, ethically disgusting, and they cannot fail to know what their profit margins are. I would be tremendously ashamed to offer products with profit margins they have. I simply could not sleep were I to do what they do.

 

Dentists do it on an hourly basis, and the one's I know sleep very well.

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I suppose I don't have the lack of ethics that allow me to be a dentist or a high end cable maker. I can live with that.

 

The disgusting part is they can live with what they do. Unfair advantage, no problem. It simply is an opportunity. An opportunity to screw your fellow man, but hey like that is a wet dream for such people. Sorry, such people don't look like role models I approve of my friends.


And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I suppose I don't have the lack of ethics that allow me to be a dentist or a high end cable maker. I can live with that.

 

The disgusting part is they can live with what they do. Unfair advantage, no problem. It simply is an opportunity. An opportunity to screw your fellow man, but hey like that is a wet dream for such people. Sorry, such people don't look like role models I approve of my friends.

 

 

Really, who are these wealthy money grabbing cable makers? Frankly, I am much more likely to take on this kind of thinking when it comes to people who amass fortunes in the hundreds of millions through the vampiric process of leveraged buyouts.


ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                        
                            

                                   
                                                                            SONORE computer audio

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Really, who are these wealthy money grabbing cable makers? Frankly, I am much more likely to take on this kind of thinking when it comes to people who amass fortunes in the hundreds of millions through the vampiric process of leveraged buyouts.

 

So, only a few million doesn't count anymore? Don't be ridiculous.


And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I have read of an early dissection of an MIT network cable by the Audio Critic. The first box, potted with epoxy had nothing, the cable just ran through it. The second had a 1 kohm resistor across the cable leads.

 

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CHoQtwIwBA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DbgK87tmRVeY&ei=OTflT8OoN4OQ9gTIsaCnAQ&usg=AFQjCNGfNEhsEkyn1Ey-d-b9hsNOjRTQlA&sig2=0srFMq1AakzytmKa4hSV4A


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> wi-fi to router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> USPCB -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I suppose I don't have the lack of ethics that allow me to be a dentist or a high end cable maker. I can live with that.

 

The disgusting part is they can live with what they do. Unfair advantage, no problem. It simply is an opportunity. An opportunity to screw your fellow man, but hey like that is a wet dream for such people. Sorry, such people don't look like role models I approve of my friends.

 

It appears that the cable debate simply moved to a new thread.

 

elsdude- Why do you insist on continually presenting your opinions as fact. The fact is, you don't know whether cables sound different, or not. If it were fact, then there would be no debate. Please present your factual, definitive evidence, or stop the attacks.

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