The Guardian, Bad science and power cables.

Sastusbulbas

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Hi all,

What are your views on power cables ?

Do they make any difference and is it possible that it can depend on hearing acuity and that this can be more accurate than scientific measurement ?

Do we believe because we are told they do and is it some sort of Placebo effect ?

Do we hear a difference or fool ourselves into believing because of the cost ?

There was an article in the Guardian recently, and according to the Guardian article we may all be idiots ?

Have any of you read this article and what are your views ? have you tried different cables and heard a difference or not ? Should we be able to hear any difference and how could we measure these differences.

If they can be measured , is there any manufacturers evidence ?

Steve

 

jon

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Do they make any difference and is it possible that it can depend on hearing acuity and that this can be more accurate than scientific measurement ? Do we believe because we are told they do and is it some sort of Placebo effect ? Do we hear a difference or fool ourselves into believing because of the cost ? There was an article in the Guardian recently, and according to the Guardian article we may all be idiots ?
I don't think the argument is about whether hearing acuity can pick up differences which cannot (easily or feasibly) be measured through other means. The argument is about whether cables make an audible difference to how a hifi sounds - hence the suggestion of a blind test, to check if it's possible to distinguish between different power cables using *just* your ears (without knowing which cable is being used).

btw, to experience the placebo effect doesn't mean you're an idiot by any means - huge numbers of medical trials have shown this to be pretty powerful and widespread (I don't think any correlation to stupidity has been shown
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)

Jon

 

cjr

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Sastusbulbas wrote:

and according to the Guardian article we may all be idiots ?
Yes indeed we may, whats wrong with that Steve ? I know from personal experience with cables, I believed what I wanted to. Does this make me an idiot ? Yes it does (IMHO). So the man could have good factual reasonsto call some of us idiots. Some of the stuff I seen written about the journalist in question defied belief, but that's what happens when you question peoples beliefs.

PS I tried a visual power cable test recently whilst watching a DVD, I attached 4 ferrite ring clamps during playback of a DVD on my player, made not one iota of difference visually, that was my eyes, but I recall a few years ago doing it with anaudio power lead and being mesmerised by the audio effect. Tried it again recently and noticed no difference audio wise, all I can surmise is that its not my ears that are changing - its me, seems a hard thing to accept in this hobby but I have, and course YMMV.

Yours in much idioticness
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E

Effem

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Sastusbulbas wrote:

Hi all, What are your views on power cables ?

Do they make any difference and is it possible that it can depend on hearing acuity and that this can be more accurate than scientific measurement ?

Do we believe because we are told they do and is it some sort of Placebo effect ?

Do we hear a difference or fool ourselves into believing because of the cost ?

There was an article in the Guardian recently, and according to the Guardian article we may all be idiots ?

Have any of you read this article and what are your views ? have you tried different cables and heard a difference or not ? Should we be able to hear any difference and how could we measure these differences.

If they can be measured , is there any manufacturers evidence ?

Steve
Yes in my view they do make a difference.

No it is not placebo effect, because that subject is worlds apart from this one.

Cost has no bearing on the level of improvement.

Yes the sanctimoniousidiot that wrote the article deserves now to be heaped onto the rest of the keyboard heroes that want attention more than they want to prove a valid point either way. They have lost all credibility to be taken seriouslyby their lack of objectivity and demonstratingoutright hostility and disdaintowards the subject.

What really hacks me off is that these faceless nameless intellectually bankrupt pundits are so fond of issuing challenges by the bucketload that is likely to cost others plenty of cash,but ask them to come along and do a simple listening test themselves and you watch them start back peddling like fury. What are they afraid of I wonder? Surely being level headed objective minded people they are not for one minute going to fall into the dreaded trap themselves and actually hear a difference?
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At the end of the day what does it actually matter to THEM whether there is a difference or not because firstly, they can keep their hands in their pockets and never buy a sooper dooper cable against their willand secondly, who the heck appointed them as the moral guardians or saintly protectorates of the audiophool buying public in the first place?

As for measuring the differences, I believe the human hearing and perception is far more sophisticated and acute than any testsso far have revealed. Playing back fixed frequency sinewaves in tests conducted donkeys years ago to determine when hearing reaches it's limitations is fine for the primitive ways we have of measuring our hearing, but give it some complex music and the measurements go tits up with their inadequacy. Not only that but "better imaging", "sweeter treble"and "tauter bass" have yet to be measured apart from making the assumption that the presence or notof these traits is due to distortion artefacts. What utter cobblers. Science needs to get it's act together first beforethis long standing debate is finally settled.

But why is there this constant battle for cables to be recognised as making any difference at all, when we already accept as gospel that there are 'differences' in every other bit of kit you care to mention?Mention that Meridian sounds better to somethan Linn and the sky does not fall in and 30+ page debates rage about that do they?

There, I feel much better now
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jon

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No it is not placebo effect, because that subject is worlds apart from this one. Cost has no bearing on the level of improvement.
The placebo effect in hifi hasn't been as studied to such an extent as it has in medicine - for understandable reasons, hifi is seen as less important
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No reason why it can't be that, though - this is known to be able to effect hearing/touch/taste/vision/the way people experience pain etc...

Science needs to get it's act together first before this long standing debate is finally settled.
I'm not convinced by the idea that science should reshape itself in order to fit in with the experiences of some people who perceive hifi cables to make a difference to what they hear. If cables make an audible difference, then science should have no problem measuring this.

Jon

 

Sastusbulbas

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Thankyou CJR,

Though I should point out I use some after market power cables, which I mention in Guardians of sanity, (I didnt notice the thread until after I posted this one).

Steve

 
E

Effem

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jon wrote:

The placebo effect in hifi hasn't been as studied to such an extent as it has in medicine - for understandable reasons, hifi is seen as less important
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No reason why it can't be that, though - this is known to be able to effect hearing/touch/taste/vision/the way people experience pain etc...
I'm not convinced by the idea that science should reshape itself in order to fit in with the experiences of some people who perceive hifi cables to make a difference to what they hear. If cables make an audible difference, then science should have no problem measuring this.Jon
With all due respect Jon, placebo has SFA to do with sooper dooper power cords.

The theory stands up in part to a man beinglocked in a room with with hi-fi and has paid a good deal of money for a new sooper dooper power cord and connects it to his system. WOW! he says, major improvement in sound quality. This could be real or a direct influence of placebo it could be argued.

Change the scenario to when a third party heard the system before the power cord swapped and excluded from the room until the power cord change was made, then allowed back in afterwards but NOT told what the change to the system was- they too can detect a sonic difference. Oh dear, placebo theory straight down the pan :Not Sure:

Sound absurd? No, because I have had many emails to say that power cord buyers will enlist friends and family to carry out impromptu "blind tests" on their power cord purchase to confirm what they are or thought they are hearing. Placebo effectI'm afraid isn't transferable to third parties now is it?

How then can I accurately tell without sight of the system being played at the Bristol Show last year whether or not sooper dooper power cords are being used? I have thrown open the same test to other people that also have sooper dooper cords in their systems to go to the show this year and do the same and listen out for that unique sonic signature

http://www.hifiwigwam.com/forum8/2989-2.html

 

jon

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Thanks for the reply Effem. tbh, when I read threads like the one you link to I find it hard to see why such substantial differences aren't v easy to demonstrate - if you can tell whether unfamiliar systems (heard out in the corridor) are using (unknown) aftermarket power cables, a blind test that can replicate this result should be easy enough to set up.

Playing about with power cables (more so now I've got my t amp) hasn't made an audible difference to me - except for one which had a problem with obvious mains interference... I'm quite happy to accept that others might hear a difference (my perception/hearing might not be up to scratch, my system might not be revealing enough, I might be using the wrong cables, etc.) but with all due respect would want something more than anecdotes - even lots of anecdotes - before I'm convinced. Of course, there's no particular reason why people should feel obliged to convince me
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Jon

 
E

Effem

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jon wrote:

Thanks for the reply Effem. tbh, when I read threads like the one you link to I find it hard to see why such substantial differences aren't v easy to demonstrate - if you can tell whether unfamiliar systems (heard out in the corridor) are using (unknown) aftermarket power cables, a blind test that can replicate this result should be easy enough to set up.Playing about with power cables (more so now I've got my t amp) hasn't made an audible difference to me - except for one which had a problem with obvious mains interference... I'm quite happy to accept that others might hear a difference (my perception/hearing might not be up to scratch, my system might not be revealing enough, I might be using the wrong cables, etc.) but with all due respect would want something more than anecdotes - even lots of anecdotes - before I'm convinced. Of course, there's no particular reason why people should feel obliged to convince me
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Jon
You have encapsulated the entire debate in a nutshell Jon.

Nobody, but nobody, is forcing you to either accept that there is or may be any differences by swapping power cords and you are at liberty to avoid them for as long as you so wish
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However, it's not a crime either to buy and enjoy the benefits of one
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I have found that it's the buyers that have bought a power cord in the pastwith either little or no audible difference potential that then say "I heard no difference, therefore all power cords are snake oil". Not saying either that everyone should buy every single cord on the market until they dofind one that does make some sort of difference, but I will say there are a number of vendors who promise afullrefund if their power cord does not live up to expectations, so there is no risk at all intrying one. You are then in a position of strength in the debate, far more than standing on the outside of it with no personal experience of it yourself.

 

mosfet

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Two of the three members from this forum who took part in the test at Tony’s last year said that they heard a difference when in fact nothing had been changed (the control test).

All that happened was earl made some furtive movements to suggest something was being changed, in line with the preceding tests where cables were indeed swapped.

This alone isn’t sufficient to prove placebo is the sole mechanism behind all power cables (of course) but it’s certainly indicative that placebo remains a clear possibility. The only sensible conclusion remains that there is not sufficient evidence to rule out or in placebo effect.

 

meninblack

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Aaaaaaaargh!
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Let's not do this again, guys.
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I think we all know where we all stand on this issue. But just in case, why dont we have a "Cable belief" statistic to go with "Joined", "Posts" etc under the avatar.

Folks like CJ who don't even believe in CD players could score themselves 0, those like Mr Satsumabullbars (is he related to Boyzonebiohazard?) who believe in every snake-oily thing goingcould score 10. The rest of us could put ourselves somewhere in the middle.

So on a scale of zero (I am stone deaf and my hi-fi is only worth 2p) to ten (I am Peter Belt), where do you stand? Should we do a poll?

 

Stuckinarut

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If you're going to have a poll - DON'T make it a belief thing.

Make it a "Are they worth it" poll, as the level of engineering in them (compared say, to a £500 laptop) is very, verysmall.

And yes, I can hear a difference between some cables.

 

mosfet

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For the record then, here’s my oil list:

Loudspeaker Cables: where series resistance by virtue of cross-section and length will sum with the crossover and voice coil resistance to produce small audible changes in some instances

Isolation: where some electronic circuits are subject to piezoelectric effect making structural de-coupling worthwhile

Mains: where a mains-rated capacitor across L-N on the transformer primary side is good for damping a bit of mains conducted noise (but not necessarily improving sound quality in any appreciable way)

Erm.. that’s it. Perhaps a three out of ten?

Everything else is a mixture of anecdotal wisdoms, unsupported hypothesis and/or unproven design, belief based marketing or simple straight out bullshit. (IMHO of course). E&OE.

 

Sastusbulbas

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meninblack wrote:

Aaaaaaaargh!
38786-6.gif.132cf51c49b8cd26f08985f56fa67647.gif
Let's not do this again, guys.
redcard.gif.e4bb2bc3520876c1792f9a324afcd589.gif


I think we all know where we all stand on this issue. But just in case, why dont we have a "Cable belief" statistic to go with "Joined", "Posts" etc under the avatar.

Folks like CJ who don't even believe in CD players could score themselves 0, those like Mr Satsumabullbars (is he related to Boyzonebiohazard?) who believe in every snake-oily thing goingcould score 10. The rest of us could put ourselves somewhere in the middle.

So on a scale of zero (I am stone deaf and my hi-fi is only worth 2p) to ten (I am Peter Belt), where do you stand? Should we do a poll?
Hello MIB,I am not sure I believe in every snake-oily thing going, and was wondering what makes you believe this ?

Steve

 

rockmeister

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If this is going to kick off, I'm going to get in early!

I like to think that I'm reasonable. open minded and well educated. I spent some years working in a hifi shop and I can hear differences when they exist.

?

So all that proves is that I can hear differences in some stuff, and YOU can or can't. I too took part in the (on-going) mains cable test here and loved it BECAUSE it shook up my pre conceptions, but I'm not saying how yet.

So My 2P worth is simply this. You are You. Go and listen. If it makes your hi fi experience better for you, buy it, and if it don't dont. In the end, you will be alone when you put the next record on, and you know you need to like yourself more each day!
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meninblack

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Sastusbulbas wrote:

Hello MIB,I am not sure I believe in every snake-oily thing going, and was wondering what makes you believe this ?

Steve
Sorry if I got you wrong, Steve.
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From some of your posts on other threads I got the idea you were a TRUE BELIEVER, so I used you as an example. No offence meant.
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