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mains cable/kettle lead. Make any difference in sound quality?


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32 minutes ago, Ceko said:

I’m sorry to keep this thread alive but isn’t there a simple solution to end the debate for once and for all? Lets just record the output of different cables and compare graphs?

I really, really can’t grasp why anyone in his right mind would spend more than say €60 on a mains cable.. Or why it’s even a debate.. there’s a transformer inside your device that literally transforms the current.

Devil's advocate mode... what goes into a transformer determines what comes out of it.

I've probably said it hundreds of times. No cable can add anything, but it can take things away. I've also probably said this hundreds of times: the connectors on a cable are at least as important as the cable itself, and possibly more important.

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To save another 17 pages, let me cover the basics: - If you can't hear the difference a good Mains Cable can make....either your hearing is impaired, or your system isn't resolving enough. -

So here we are then not talking about mains cables. Well while we're not on the subject. Back home just 15 mins away from Nick's and I am listening to my system. I have Tidal playing CD (not MQA)

You might be right. @TheFlash has just called round and stood in the cold outside the window to my listening room whilst I played my system (including the Chord Dave).   Nigel said that my syst

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I'm learning how to post them.  Not understand them mind.  If I posted fake ones theres only a couple of folks who would actually look at them & notice ?   Ninja retiree comes to mind.  :)

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5 hours ago, Don Ruperto said:

I haven't posted for ages.  I can't believe people are still arguing over this nonsense - the fedabs are on the march again! 

I'd be the first to agree that there are some sharks in the hifi world - particularly in the UK and US, where daft prices are very much the name of the game.  

This is 2021, there's incredible technology out there and... then there are still human beings.  Most electronic engineers and science graduates are so obsessed with measurements that their families make them eat in another room at meal times.  Now I've met some doctors and surgeons who have a similarly high opinion of themselves but because they deal with real living beings every day, they admit that we still have much to learn about the mysteries of life - particularly the mind, exactly how we perceive what we see, hear and feel.  It's mysterious stuff I'll have you know! 

There is a great deal of the listening experience which remains unfathomable.  I love chatting to other music lovers, particularly those even more passionate than myself.  To me it's very interesting to listen to what people talk about, what they say they hear.  We do NOT all hear the same things.  What might be an obvious characteristic to one listener is not heard by another.  We could talk about neurodiversity here, we know some of the greatest musicians didn't exactly fit dead middle of the autism spectrum.  And the same is true for pretty well all of us I expect.  Many music listeners can hear shape and form when listening, whether an instrument sounds more rounded etc.  Some listeners can hear colour (hello!).  We do not fully understand why this is.  We are, almost literally, wired up in many different ways.  (My internal wiring is all Van Den Hul.... :roll:).  

You simply can not just dismiss the experience of so many hifi enthusiasts who choose to explore mains cable options.  I'm sorry but there are far too many of us who CAN hear the great improvements they can make to your system.  

As for the oft posted "expectation confirmation" remarks - sorry that's a bit insulting.  I will just express my opinion here and say quite confidently that you don't just put a £200 mains cable in your system and say "Oh that's great" and leave it there.  Of course not, what one does is put it in different places in one's system, mix and match with other cables and live with them, switch again, dismiss or keep - that's an open mind at work.  If anybody is engaging in expectation bias I rather think it's the flat earth deaf aid brigade who don't want to hear something that challenges their mindset - typically trying a nice mains cable in their system, claiming it doesn't make a difference, just taking it out after 30 minutes, then insulting the other half of the hifi community.  

I daren't go down a mains cable rabbit hole myself. And tbh I doubt they would make a difference. That said, this post starts to really get to the fundamental lack of objectivity the pure objectivists display. I particularly like the hearing "shape and form" comment. Bravo sir.

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A nod to the Rab on value of connectors, I replaced all the furutech iec and Schuko plugs on my mix of kondo silver cords with Oyaide 046 and 004. Not cheap but gets rid of a slightly/forward bright top end I feel the new kondo avocados have, particularly with the £300 a pop fi50 connectors. Oyaide plugs have a warmer balance in general, with a more relaxed feel.

the old kondo spx/acx silver power cords were fitted in uk with their own gold plated iec to tame its brightness, new ones need it even more so.

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12 hours ago, Don Ruperto said:

 Most electronic engineers and science graduates are so obsessed with measurements that their families make them eat in another room at meal times.

Wow, I am sure you have had your experiences, but wow. As an electronic engineer working in a company full of engineers and scientists, the circumstantial evidence suggest that your assertion is wrong, although there may be a very minor glimmer of reality in there... :D

Just remember without electronic engineers and scientists there would be no wires and nothing to connect them to.

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13 hours ago, Don Ruperto said:

As for the oft posted "expectation confirmation" remarks - sorry that's a bit insulting.....

It's not "insulting", it's human psychology, and it applies to everybody.

OTOH, it's arrogant to assert that your judgement is always infallible.

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To quote Andrew Robinson: your ears are not en exact instrument. I think that says it all.

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The funny thing about people in the world of science is that regardless of their field, they will be the first to state that science doesn't know everything. However, it's a crass assumption to therefore assume it knows nothing. It's somewhat ironic to see a post that rattles on about how people in the medical world acknowledge there is much about human thinking and perception that remains unknown, and then in the same post goes on to say that attributing differences to posychological affects is somehow insulting.

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9 hours ago, rabski said:

Devil's advocate mode... what goes into a transformer determines what comes out of it.

I've probably said it hundreds of times. No cable can add anything, but it can take things away. I've also probably said this hundreds of times: the connectors on a cable are at least as important as the cable itself, and possibly more important.

All of which leads to the conclusion that a power cable can make a difference.

How much, if it's worth it and if you care are down to the individual. Perhaps the system has some part to play in the degree to which such differences might be revealed.

I'm playing around with this at the moment. A mains distributor made a bigger difference than I expected, although that also involved the power cables changing to standard Schuko cables. The difference was significant enough for me to conclude that power, and how it is supplied, is more important than some seem to think (cue jokes about stuff sounding rubbish without power). 

Changing the mains cable to my DAC makes a difference. I'll try the speaker power cables instead of the DAC this week and soon I should be able to try speakers (amps) and DAC. I'm not intending to try other components at this time as my feeling is that amps and DAC (which has an output stage) might benefit more than the streamer, etc.

Having said that, I get the feeling that a small improvement might feel rather unimportant on it's own but when combined with other similarly tiny improvements might provide a very worthwhile difference - a "greater than the sum of their parts sort" of thing. That's an exercise that could get quite expensive quite quickly.

I do not tend to listen critically after making changes to the system, straining to hear every last nuance and put that into words. Instead I tend to just listen to music, often while working on my laptop, and if I get those moments where something grabs my attention that I hadn't noticed before then I consider the change to have been real and worthwhile. I figure that if it can get noticed without actively listening for it then it's real enough for me. 

If people want to think it makes zero difference then that's fine, but those who hold this opinion but have not tried should resist the temptation to deride those who do not share that opinion. There's already a forum where you can do that sort of thing. I like that this forum generally seems to tolerate different ideas and opinions and it's certainly been far better in recent months (I can't think why that might be). :zip:

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I agree that mains cables and such like can make a difference, but depends on a few factors e.g.

- how noisy the mains is

- current demand of the component (greater for amps)

- proximity to other leads, particularly interconnects.

If you have clean mains, a decent x-sectional area of the lead, good connections at the end and low power requirements, I reckon leads are going to have minimal affect.

Bigger gains are perhaps to be made with amps due to their bigger current demands and consequential impact on the low power interconnects in close proximity.

As with all things hifi, more expensive cables could make a bigger impact, but that increased cost has to be considered in the context of where else it might be spent and achieve greater gains in SQ. No point dropping £1k on a mains distribution block if the components are only a few hundred quid each.

Common sense has to come into play.

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7 hours ago, Griff500 said:

I do not tend to listen critically after making changes to the system, straining to hear every last nuance and put that into words. Instead I tend to just listen to music, often while working on my laptop, and if I get those moments where something grabs my attention that I hadn't noticed before then I consider the change to have been real and worthwhile. I figure that if it can get noticed without actively listening for it then it's real enough for me. 

Whatever works for you I guess, but I find a combination of both is necessary. In my experience, there's absolutely no way of knowing that that thing you just noticed wasn't there already without some A/B testing as well. Particularly if you've made a lot of tweaks in a short space of time. You need time to appreciate what piece of kit is doing what.

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44 minutes ago, Warszawa said:

In my experience, there's absolutely no way of knowing that that thing you just noticed wasn't there already without some A/B testing as well. Particularly if you've made a lot of tweaks in a short space of time. You need time to appreciate what piece of kit is doing what.

I used to find it easier to hear differences when I didn't have so much music and listened to the same recordings quite often ( often critically )

But over the last couple of years I have probably doubled my record collection and don't think I'm familiar enough with all of the newer music to hear subtle changes  without lots of A/B which I really don't enjoy doing.

I know we need reference tracks for this reason but I spend most of my listening with newer rather than older recordings and can't remember exactly how tracks sounded when I listened to them a lot a few years ago. 

I find A/B a faff to be honest. Sometimes it's easier to hear a different sound signature such as warmth or noticing the midrange is more pronounced etc than straining to hear tiny variations between cables and things. You generally here differences if you try hard enough, but that might be because you are paying more attention than usual O.o

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45 minutes ago, Rayymondo said:

I find A/B a faff to be honest. Sometimes it's easier to hear a different sound signature such as warmth or noticing the midrange is more pronounced etc than straining to hear tiny variations between cables and things. You generally here differences if you try hard enough, but that might be because you are paying more attention than usual O.o

I agree. If you really try you can probably hear differences even where there are none. 

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1 hour ago, Warszawa said:

Whatever works for you I guess, but I find a combination of both is necessary. In my experience, there's absolutely no way of knowing that that thing you just noticed wasn't there already without some A/B testing as well. Particularly if you've made a lot of tweaks in a short space of time. You need time to appreciate what piece of kit is doing what.

There's no way for me to A/B test a cable. They delay from powering down, unplugging, plugging in again, powering up, starting the song... it's not particularly reliable.

If I am simply listening to some music that I know extremely well and happen to notice something that I had not noticed before then that tells me more than finding a difference when I am intently looking for a difference. If I listen intently for a difference then I'll probably find one.

Each to their own, but I'm not a reviewer and I'm not about to try and set up a system that can easily and quickly switch between different power cables. That would probably require another DAVE and I think one's enough. ;-) 

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9 hours ago, Griff500 said:

All of which leads to the conclusion that a power cable can make a difference.

How much, if it's worth it and if you care are down to the individual. Perhaps the system has some part to play in the degree to which such differences might be revealed.

I'm playing around with this at the moment. A mains distributor made a bigger difference than I expected, although that also involved the power cables changing to standard Schuko cables. The difference was significant enough for me to conclude that power, and how it is supplied, is more important than some seem to think (cue jokes about stuff sounding rubbish without power). 

Changing the mains cable to my DAC makes a difference. I'll try the speaker power cables instead of the DAC this week and soon I should be able to try speakers (amps) and DAC. I'm not intending to try other components at this time as my feeling is that amps and DAC (which has an output stage) might benefit more than the streamer, etc.

Having said that, I get the feeling that a small improvement might feel rather unimportant on it's own but when combined with other similarly tiny improvements might provide a very worthwhile difference - a "greater than the sum of their parts sort" of thing. That's an exercise that could get quite expensive quite quickly.

I do not tend to listen critically after making changes to the system, straining to hear every last nuance and put that into words. Instead I tend to just listen to music, often while working on my laptop, and if I get those moments where something grabs my attention that I hadn't noticed before then I consider the change to have been real and worthwhile. I figure that if it can get noticed without actively listening for it then it's real enough for me. 

If people want to think it makes zero difference then that's fine, but those who hold this opinion but have not tried should resist the temptation to deride those who do not share that opinion. There's already a forum where you can do that sort of thing. I like that this forum generally seems to tolerate different ideas and opinions and it's certainly been far better in recent months (I can't think why that might be). :zip:

During the recent house renovations, I specified a separate mains circuit for the living room. Fortunately my electrician turned out to be a DJ & audiophile in his spare time.I had a separate audio circuit in my previous place in Glasgow, also.

I think this is probably worth doing. I don't think changing mains cables does anything but empty your wallet, and make you paranoid. What if there's a better cable out there?

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