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steve u

Power Cables a "blind" test

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So I want to see, if I can identify when I think I hear a difference and see if it is repeatable. Others may come and join me, we'll see.

I'm going to burn a CD with about 6 tracks of various styles and recording quality and play the 6 tracks to allow for some settling time for each cable trialled.

My lab assistant/wife will change the cables each time and keep a log of each change, if a change actually happens. She will be swapping the cables in and our of my AudioLab CD player.

The cables will be covered with cloth, so I can't see and this clever rather rustic looking wooden yoke attached at the back of the system to facilitate quick and easy changes.

So far I have an RK Cable, a Nordost Valhalla and a Nordost Odin lined up, there will be another couple in the trial.

So I'll record notes each time she goes to make a change, which may actually not be a change, so I won't know.

 

I don't want to get into the science of a proper blind test being how, I'm not supposed to know what component is being changed and not even if there is a possibility of a change, because those scientific and pedantic things are too hard for the professionals top set up and monitor, let alone me. Also if you start nit-picking the methodology it might say more about your beliefs and than my methods. Speedy changes are not an option for this, the lab assistant isn't that interested in the process anyway.

However I would love to hear any constructive suggestions that could be made to "easily" improve the process. 

 

A full list of components and cables and more pics will be added as I get me stuff together. :) 

This will hopefully just be a bit of fun.....hahaha, has that ever happened with a power cable discussion.

Cable Test_1.jpg

Cable Test_2.jpg

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Nice incentive Steve.  Pics or info of the listening room and acoustic treatments etc. may be helpful for readers to compare their situation to yours.

 

Cheers,

 

Anthony

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Hi Steve,

 

Do you have separate pre and power? Have you considered testing the power cord just on the power amp in lieu of the cd player and Pre? When I tested my power cables the improvements to my mono power amps were the most satisfying. I kept everything else exactly the same with each cable change.

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I have a suggestion:

 

Limit the test to TWO cables only. One should be a standard IEC cable and the other a fancy, over-priced one. Using more than two cables will make things very messy and very difficult.

 

IF you can, reliably, hear a difference between a standard cable and a fancy one, then move on to a more complex test.

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Folks I think this has the potential to be an interesting thread, provided folks stay rational and civil.  There was some really interesting lines of discussion/debate going on in the recent thread that was closed, but that was intermixed with some silly personal attacks and insults.  I think it's awesome that @steve u is prepared to give this a go so how about we respect that and keep the discussion civil and rational and thereby stop the thread from being locked.  :thumb:

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59 minutes ago, Zaphod Beeblebrox said:

I have a suggestion:

 

Limit the test to TWO cables only. One should be a standard IEC cable and the other a fancy, over-priced one. Using more than two cables will make things very messy and very difficult.

 

IF you can, reliably, hear a difference between a standard cable and a fancy one, then move on to a more complex test.

 

Perhaps a slight modification to Trevor's suggestion:

  • compare Fancy Power Cable 1 (FPC1)  to a standard cable.  Need to have it plugged in and out several times; wife will know which one is live ... listeners won't.
  • if FPC1 'wins' - this becomes the one compared to FPC2 ... and so on, for the remaining FPCs.
  • if the standard cable wins this 1st comparison, FPC1 is discarded and the standard cable is the one compared against FPC2.

 

Andy

 

Edited by andyr

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1 hour ago, acg said:

Nice incentive Steve.  Pics or info of the listening room and acoustic treatments etc. may be helpful for readers to compare their situation to yours.

 

Cheers,

 

Anthony

Hi Anthony, I'll add some pics and take some more pics soon.

It's a horn system, with some room treatment.

It has a cathedral ceiling and some diffraction treatment and some absorption at first reflection and a bit more further back. Basically no rear wall, or the closest rear wall 19 metres away. 

So it's a pretty good room.

 

Cheers,

Steve

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1 hour ago, Soundwise said:

Hi Steve,

 

Do you have separate pre and power? Have you considered testing the power cord just on the power amp in lieu of the cd player and Pre? When I tested my power cables the improvements to my mono power amps were the most satisfying. I kept everything else exactly the same with each cable change.

Hi SW, have a Conrad Johnson ET5 and SS amp or could use my Weston 300B mono blocks.

The trouble with the pre is mainly the access, the assistant won't be able to reach over and change these cables easily. Then there is the slow start up time , each time the valve pre goes off.

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1 hour ago, Zaphod Beeblebrox said:

I have a suggestion:

 

Limit the test to TWO cables only. One should be a standard IEC cable and the other a fancy, over-priced one. Using more than two cables will make things very messy and very difficult.

 

IF you can, reliably, hear a difference between a standard cable and a fancy one, then move on to a more complex test.

Ripped the standard cable out of the CD player last night and shoved the Odin in and angles started to sing. ...lol...that's not the point of it I know, so am going to stick with the "blindish" test experiment.

But I will give this a go Trevor and see if the Odin stands out like Norse God's proverbials. 

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1 hour ago, POV said:

Folks I think this has the potential to be an interesting thread, provided folks stay rational and civil.  There was some really interesting lines of discussion/debate going on in the recent thread that was closed, but that was intermixed with some silly personal attacks and insults.  I think it's awesome that @steve u is prepared to give this a go so how about we respect that and keep the discussion civil and rational and thereby stop the thread from being locked.  :thumb:

Thanks Drew, for my own benefit, I'm going to try as hard as I can to make this as fair and as rational as I can, from the review side and look forward to the opinions of others.

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I have a DIY cable you can try Steve 

And I can replace the wife if she is not to keen to be the assistant 

 

Will also bring fresh roasted coffee beans 

 

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3 minutes ago, Full Range said:

This is Steve's audio room 

 

image.jpeg

Hey Paul, thanks and I have added a little bit of room treatment since you last visited. And the cross overs are well and truly run in now.

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Nice wood ! If it sounds nearly as good as it looks, it would be good.

Not so sure about the vibrant wall hanging :)

 

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2 minutes ago, Nigel said:

Nice wood ! If it sounds nearly as good as it looks, it would be good.

Not so sure about the vibrant wall hanging :)

 

 

I believe tthat vibrant wall hanging is the room treatment in disguise   

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2 hours ago, steve u said:

However I would love to hear any constructive suggestions that could be made to "easily" improve the process. 


This all depends very much on what you are trying to do  (the test gets designed around that).   I don't understand that enough to comment yet.

 

What is the question you are trying to answer?   It might help if you say what you intend to write down about each trial....  you've just said "notes".

 

Example:

  • Are you going to try and pick which is which?
  • Rate them with a number?
  • Rate them with qualitative?
  • How you are going to compare or analyse the above?

 

If you wanted to answer "can I tell the difference between a cheapie cable, and one of these expensive ones".   Then you could.

 

  • A=cheap   B=$$$$
  • Listen to one (you don't know which)
  • Listen to another (you don't know if it's the other one, or the same one)
  • Write down if they were the same or different
  • Do this enough times to be statistically significant (more than 10)
  • Evaluate your success rate.   50% = fail (no different to guess).    ~90% = significant ability to notice a different

 

Please don't take any of this as nitpicking, or silly stuff which doesn't matter :)

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