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Audible difference between analog interconnects


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Come on now. Yes, often people count 0 dbfs as max level in these days of digital because it can be precisely stated what 0 db is. Then you work downward from there.

 

In Paul's case, he was referring to the threshold of hearing with ears which is 0 dbSPL and working upward from there.

 

If my reading of the equal-loudness contours is correct then 0dB is the human threshold of hearing at around 2kHz whilst the threshold at 10kHz appears to be 20dB higher and at 20Hz that value increases to 80dB:

 

400px-Lindos4.svg.png

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

 

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If my reading of the equal-loudness contours is correct then 0dB is the human threshold of hearing at around 2kHz whilst the threshold at 10kHz appears to be 20dB higher and at 20Hz that value increases to 80dB:

 

400px-Lindos4.svg.png

 

R

 

Yes so the thoughts about audible levels mostly applies to 1-5 khz (and in a smaller range hearing actually goes a little below the accepted 0 db SPL). At higher and lower frequencies hearing something below the zero level is much further from being likely than it was described up-thread.

 

Of course we now have to bring in along with dbFS, and dbSPL the phons. Not to be confused with

Fonz.jpeg

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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In 2008 I did a comparison of analogue interconnects used between my DAC and power amp. For years I'd been using Kimber KCAG RCA terminated cables. After discussion with Les and Pete at Walrus in London they loaned me 4 sets of balanced interconnects to try. My approach to comparison is perhaps different to most (and less scientific?). I put a pair of cables in the system and listened over several days before swopping to another pair, so it was a couple of weeks before I achieved any (personal) ranking of the cables. Having done that I did swop cables around quickly to confirm my conclusions. I found the Cawsey CCB balanced cables were (to my ears in my system) superior to all the others, and I have seen no reason to change them.

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Funny, just place the word "cable" in any thread and it is troll city.

 

Thank god for Blue Jeans Cable. Great quality, fair price, snake oil free zone.

In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake ~ Sayre's Law

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Funny, just place the word "cable" in any thread and it is troll city.

 

Thank god for Blue Jeans Cable. Great quality, fair price, snake oil free zone.

 

If you know that you have a problem trolling, why do it? Is it like an impulse thing where you just can't help yourself? Not trying to be mean, just curious.

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If you know that you have a problem trolling, why do it? Is it like an impulse thing where you just can't help yourself? Not trying to be mean, just curious.

 

A perfectly reasonable post. As far as I know, although I have no personal experience, Blue Jeans Cables are a most excellent budget brand. The only 'trolling' thing in the post is the use of the phrase 'snake oil'. To me that implies that it is impossible to buy better cables than Blue Jeans, and anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot. In my personal experience that is wrong. Maybe we should ban 'snail oil' or at least make people aware that it isn't a reasonable way of disagreeing with people who think that it is worth paying for cables that are better than budget, and the sonic differences are easily heard in a suitable high quality system?

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Silver Streak interconnects between my old Jolida CD player and a Harmon Kardon IA were the only cables I could find that imparted the proper timbre to violin. I have made that statement before and have taken a bit of abuse for it. Such is life, I stand by the truth of my experience.

That I ask questions? I am more concerned about being stupid than looking like I might be.

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Everything matters. Change a resistor or a fuse and there will be a difference somewhere in the sound. Even "digital" is analog down at the wire. The best designers know this.

 

I am playing around with a DIY preamp right now and I am experimenting with volume potentiometers of different impedances. This is because the impedance of the Volume Control affects the sound. Here is a short summary of why and I apologize in advance for the aside but it does help explain why interconnects affect sound.

 

Example of an Analog Audio Setup:

 

(Source + analog IC) > (Preamp + Volume Control) > (analog IC + Amplifier)

 

Without going into details it is clear that changing the analog ICs will affect/change the "load" on the Source. Here you want the impedance to be high as possible to present a light load on the source. And subsequently any change in the analog ICs between Preamp and Power amp will affect the load on the Preamp. Here a low impedance is desired to drive a heavy load. Any little change or imbalance in the chain will affect the sound in terms of frequency attenuation and dynamics just from impedance alone.

 

Add changes in material composition of the cables such as copper or silver and you introduce one more layer of variables. This of course is not even mentioning the differences that connectors make.

 

I don't think that you will find a cable skeptic among those who have spent a fair amount of time in audio. All it takes is a few cable changes to experience this for ourselves. The real grey area is the cost of some of the cables where one has to decide how much one is willing to pay for the differences. Usually the law of diminishing returns is in effect as we start looking for nuances.

 

Hope this helps.

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Silver Streak interconnects between my old Jolida CD player and a Harmon Kardon IA were the only cables I could find that imparted the proper timbre to violin. I have made that statement before and have taken a bit of abuse for it. Such is life, I stand by the truth of my experience.

 

People that abuse are upset because their system's sound like crap. They're jealous.

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Everything matters. Change a resistor or a fuse and there will be a difference somewhere in the sound. Even "digital" is analog down at the wire. The best designers know this.

 

I am playing around with a DIY preamp right now and I am experimenting with volume potentiometers of different impedances. This is because the impedance of the Volume Control affects the sound. Here is a short summary of why and I apologize in advance for the aside but it does help explain why interconnects affect sound.

 

Example of an Analog Audio Setup:

 

(Source + analog IC) > (Preamp + Volume Control) > (analog IC + Amplifier)

 

Without going into details it is clear that changing the analog ICs will affect/change the "load" on the Source. Here you want the impedance to be high as possible to present a light load on the source. And subsequently any change in the analog ICs between Preamp and Power amp will affect the load on the Preamp. Here a low impedance is desired to drive a heavy load. Any little change or imbalance in the chain will affect the sound in terms of frequency attenuation and dynamics just from impedance alone.

 

Add changes in material composition of the cables such as copper or silver and you introduce one more layer of variables. This of course is not even mentioning the differences that connectors make.

 

I don't think that you will find a cable skeptic among those who have spent a fair amount of time in audio. All it takes is a few cable changes to experience this for ourselves. The real grey area is the cost of some of the cables where one has to decide how much one is willing to pay for the differences. Usually the law of diminishing returns is in effect as we start looking for nuances.

 

Hope this helps.

 

I hope you're wearing a bullet proof vest.

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I hope you're wearing a bullet proof vest.

 

LOL! Thanks for your concern. I was a cable skeptic once upon a time ...

 

Sorry for the long post earlier but all I was trying to say was that even the volume control can predispose your setup towards certain cables.

Custom Win10 Server | Mutec MC-3+ USB | Lampizator Amber | Job INT | ATC SCM20PSL + JL Audio E-Sub e110

 

 

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Maybe we should ban 'snail oil'

 

Perish the thought! I hear oil on snails is delicious.

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 -> optical Ethernet to Fitlet3 -> Fibbr Alpha Optical USB -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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In discussions about thresholds of perception I think we need to distinguish between the low level threshold and a delta to a much louder signal, the thresholds are not necessarily the same.

 

For example back in my photography days we ran into this all the time, there was a certain minimum amount of exposure before the film changed, below that the negative was clear. BUT when dealing with a significantly larger exposure, a difference in exposure that was much less than the low threshold would make a change in density in the film.

 

So I don't think it is appropriate to make a sweeping statement that a distortion product that is lower than the threshold of hearing HAS to be inaudible, it is a small delta on top of a much larger signal. The threshold of a delta may be much different than the low level threshold. Exactly what the delta is probably makes a big difference too.

 

And yes the human ear CAN hear Brownian motion. When my dad was young he had an ear infection that messed up the built in mechanical AGC in the ear, it was essentially running wide open. He had to wear ear muffs to keep from being blasted by people talking downstairs. But when everyone else left the house and it was very quiet, he could hear people talking many blocks away, and even hear Brownian motion (he didn't know what it was at the time).

 

Of course this was a young person's ear, I'm sure it would be very different for an older adult.

 

John S.

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Perish the thought! I hear oil on snails is delicious.

 

You would probably like chocolate coated snails ( not your garden variety) and Frog's legs too ?

 

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.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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I hope you're wearing a bullet proof vest.

 

What Nikhil is saying is essentially correct, and will be backed up by most experienced DIY members of the forum.

 

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.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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And yes the human ear CAN hear Brownian motion.... But when everyone else left the house and it was very quiet, he could hear people talking many blocks away, and even hear Brownian motion (he didn't know what it was at the time).

 

Of course this was a young person's ear, I'm sure it would be very different for an older adult.

 

John S.

 

I heard what I think was Brownian motion when young (quite high frequency and low level, and could only hear it indoors when everything else was dead quiet). No ear infection necessary. :)

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 -> optical Ethernet to Fitlet3 -> Fibbr Alpha Optical USB -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Link not working.

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 -> optical Ethernet to Fitlet3 -> Fibbr Alpha Optical USB -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Many of the items already listed in this thread, do not in fact make an audible difference.

 

And it's highly unlikely that you can purchase more accurate cables than Blue Jeans cables.

 

Yes, I agree, frogs legs are irrelevant.

That I ask questions? I am more concerned about being stupid than looking like I might be.

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Perhaps you had the reason staring you in the face, but refused to accept it as YOU believe that the differences were at too low a level ?

If somebody told you that the artifacts from a USB Regen were also at that low level, you would more than likely seize on that as the reason why some (mainly from another forum) believe they don't work properly ?

 

 

Do we even know that this "bit of noise way down so far it couldn't matter" was even cable related? I'd attribute that to, perhaps, quantization noise from the ADCs used in the test. That wouldn't necessarily null-out being more-or-less random.

George

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