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


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1 hour ago, Blzebub said:

The human brain is the most complex object in the known universe. We don't know how exactly it works, but I'm sure you've heard of optical & auditory illusions. There's a lot of processing of sensory inputs.

I certainly agree with the above. But it doesn’t make an argument for the term ‘placebo effect’ in the context of an audio discussion, being anything other than a rhetorical device to give a pseudo scientific sounding veneer to a certain viewpoint.
 

When does the placebo effect stop, and when is it ok to say that us feeble humans can indeed determine audible differences between components in an audio system? If we aren’t supposed to reliably hear the difference between mains cables, maybe we’re imagining all the audio differences we hear, even between say loudspeakers.
 

In the context of an audio forum like this, which is mainly about audiophiles exchanging their subjective experiences, using the term ‘placebo effect’ is just a way of telling people you disagree with to shut up, and not particularly welcome or useful from my point of view.

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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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47 minutes ago, Griff500 said:

Which cables exactly and into what components?

Is that relevant? A well-known audiophile brand into another well-known audiophile brand.

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Just now, Blzebub said:

Is that relevant? A well-known audiophile brand into another well-known audiophile brand.

Of course it’s relevant.
 

Why would it need to be a secret? I didn’t expect you to be reluctant to share the details of what you tried.

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8 minutes ago, rdale said:

I certainly agree with the above. But it doesn’t make an argument for the term ‘placebo effect’ in the context of an audio discussion, being anything other than a rhetorical device to give a pseudo scientific sounding veneer to a certain viewpoint.
 

When does the placebo effect stop, and when is it ok to say that us feeble humans can indeed determine audible differences between components in an audio system? If we aren’t supposed to reliably hear the difference between mains cables, maybe we’re imagining all the audio differences we hear, even between say loudspeakers.
 

In the context of an audio forum like this, which is mainly about audiophiles exchanging their subjective experiences, using the term ‘placebo effect’ is just a way of telling people you disagree with to shut up, and not particularly welcome or useful from my point of view.

There's nothing pseudoscientific about the placebo effect, its existence is well-established.

"to reliably hear the difference between mains cables" -- There we go again, with the assumption that there is a difference.

"not particularly welcome or useful from my point of view." -- Don't read my posts, then.

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Just now, Griff500 said:

Of course it’s relevant.
 

Why would it need to be a secret? I didn’t expect you to be reluctant to share the details of what you tried.

OK, MusicWorks connected to Naim power supplies.

You now say: "Aha! You haven't tried X connected to Y." To which I will say "So what?"

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15 minutes ago, rabski said:

No. They shouldn't.

To remove any component of an AC supply requires a filter of some type. Filtering requires in turn the introduction of a specific LCR network. You most definitely don't want any unnecessary element of inductance, resistance or capacitance in a mains cable, because under some circumstances, that could be counterproductive at best.

The ideal mains cable would have zero LCR. In practice, you want those properties as close to zero as possible.

If you want a low-pass or high-pass filter, you build it inside equuipment where there is space for heat dissipation and where you can use the correct component values.

Are bog standard power cables the last word in reduction of LCR? If not and if some cable manufacturers claim a focus on reduction of inductance and capacitance then might gains be possible if that is achieved?

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24 minutes ago, rdale said:

I certainly agree with the above. But it doesn’t make an argument for the term ‘placebo effect’ in the context of an audio discussion, being anything other than a rhetorical device to give a pseudo scientific sounding veneer to a certain viewpoint.
 

When does the placebo effect stop, and when is it ok to say that us feeble humans can indeed determine audible differences between components in an audio system? If we aren’t supposed to reliably hear the difference between mains cables, maybe we’re imagining all the audio differences we hear, even between say loudspeakers.
 

In the context of an audio forum like this, which is mainly about audiophiles exchanging their subjective experiences, using the term ‘placebo effect’ is just a way of telling people you disagree with to shut up, and not particularly welcome or useful from my point of view.

Let’s call it expectation bias then.

Don’t you agree that a magazine review or forum hype can generate bias?

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53 minutes ago, Blzebub said:

OK, MusicWorks connected to Naim power supplies.

You now say: "Aha! You haven't tried X connected to Y." To which I will say "So what?"

Well you know what they say about assuming...

No, that is not what I would have said. I will say that your conclusion that power cables cannot make a difference is flawed and the conclusion should perhaps be that you tried one and it didn't work for you in your system. There's obviously nothing wrong with that but you cannot extrapolate that result to all cables with all components for all people. If you had tried the same cable into another component, which I presume you would have said if you did, you might or might not have had the same result. 

As I said elsewhere in the forum. I tried an expensive power cable into my streamer and I could not detect any difference. I tried the same cable into my DAC and I did detect a difference. Are both of my conclusions incorrect or only the positive one? Was I biased against the cable when using it with the streamer but then biased in favour of the same cable when I plugged it onto my DAC? I certainly don't feel I can draw a conclusion about what would be found in someone else's system - I can only conclude that for me, in my system, it had benefits for one component and not for another.

Make of that what you will.

Edited by Griff500
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1 minute ago, Griff500 said:

Are bog standard power cables the last word in reduction of LCR? If not and if some cable manufacturers claim a focus on reduction of inductance and capacitance then might gains be possible if that is achieved?

Most fit for purpose cables have extremely low LCR values. The lower the better, but in practical terms, I can't see it would make any evident improvement, as the proportional effect would be incredibly small.

My main point is that higher values are not a great idea. They might act as a crude filter, but that's extremely hit and miss, because all sorts of things could affect it. Mainly, the last thing you want is excessive LCR values, because under some condtions that could generate heat.

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1 minute ago, Griff500 said:

you cannot extrapolate that result for you to all cables with all components for all people. If you had tried the same cable into another component, which I presume you would have said if you did, you might or might not have had the same result.

As predicted.

No-one can feasibly try every aftermarket mains cable into every audio component, therefore no-one knows everything about mains cables, therefore you can say anything you like on the subject.

I don't know much about audio cables, but I know a lot about human psychology. I think it's highly unlikely that mains cables can possibly make a difference, OTOH I think it's very likely indeed that psychological factors (such as the placebo effect) are responsible for these perceived differences.

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1 minute ago, tuga said:

Let’s call it expectation bias then.

Don’t you agree that a magazine review or forum hype can generate bias?

To me ‘expectation bias’ has a bit more standing than ‘placebo effect’, but who is to say under what circumstances it happens? I have been surprised to hear a difference in my system after a change about the same number of times I’ve been surprised to *not* hear a difference. Or things got worse when I was expecting them to get better and vice versa.

I find magazine reviews and forum opinions very useful data points, filtered by my own preferences as to which people have similar tastes to mine. That is not ‘bias’, it is about becoming better informed.

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23 minutes ago, rabski said:

Most fit for purpose cables have extremely low LCR values. The lower the better, but in practical terms, I can't see it would make any evident improvement, as the proportional effect would be incredibly small.

My main point is that higher values are not a great idea. They might act as a crude filter, but that's extremely hit and miss, because all sorts of things could affect it. Mainly, the last thing you want is excessive LCR values, because under some condtions that could generate heat.

I get the safety aspect.

So there can be small technical gains in a power cable.

Are we back to the 'it is better but not audibly' sort of thing? I'm not being snarky - genuine interest and genuine questions. I'd like to know why I detected a difference, primarily out of curiosity but perhaps it could inform future choices.

What happens when that small improvement is combined with a number of other small improvements rather than just the one isolated improvement? Perhaps that small gain with that specific component is enough to become noticeable.

Edited by Griff500
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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, rabski said:

No. They shouldn't.

To remove any component of an AC supply requires a filter of some type. Filtering requires in turn the introduction of a specific LCR network. You most definitely don't want any unnecessary element of inductance, resistance or capacitance in a mains cable, because under some circumstances, that could be counterproductive at best.

The ideal mains cable would have zero LCR. In practice, you want those properties as close to zero as possible.

If you want a low-pass or high-pass filter, you build it inside equuipment where there is space for heat dissipation and where you can use the correct component values.

I said “fancy”, you said “ideal”.

Please provide an example of an “ideal” power cable including brand and model. Brand may be “Stock” and model may be “Kettle” but then at least we’re being clear.

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Blzebub said:

As predicted.

No-one can feasibly try every aftermarket mains cable into every audio component, therefore no-one knows everything about mains cables, therefore you can say anything you like on the subject.

I don't know much about audio cables, but I know a lot about human psychology. I think it's highly unlikely that mains cables can possibly make a difference, OTOH I think it's very likely indeed that psychological factors (such as the placebo effect) are responsible for these perceived differences.

I simply asked if you tried the same cable with your other components and stated that a general conclusion cannot be made from one outcome. I don't think that's saying anything controversial. 

Your response took things to an extreme to make a point ("every aftermarket mains cable into every audio component"). That's not a sensible way to argue a point, not at all what I said and not "as predicted".

I have applied the same logic to my own experience, although I tried it with two different components and got two different results.

The difference between us seems to be that you have concluded it's BS and all in people's imagination whereas I am simply saying that it can (not will) make a difference based on my experience.

Presumably you think my conclusion with the streamer was correct but my conclusion with the DAC using the same cable was incorrect? What's the psychological explanation for that?

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My point was in fact that I thought there was a worthwhile improvement with the MW leads. I bought them.

We are all susceptible to "new shiny thing is better than old thing".

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