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Am I using the right speaker cables? Just not hearing enough bass

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10 hours ago, frankn said:

Looks like Nordost have been putting effort into measuring the differences of outputs from Didital players with various components, including power cords.  

https://nordost.com/downloads/NewApproachesToAudioMeasurement.pdf

I've briefly scanned the article and found a number of significant deficiencies. I will read it more carefully later and report in full. Here are the problems I've found already:

 

* Using a CD player and music is a seriously bad way to judge a mains power cable for a whole host of reasons:

 

1) CD players are susceptible to external vibration. Is it vibration or the power cable?

2) CD players interpolate errors during the read process. Read errors are a normal factor with CD players. Successive reading may cause more or less errors.

3) Music is a horrible way to measure a result.

 

* It would have been far better and far more conclusive to isolate ONE item under test, not several (power cables, stands and CD players).

* A preamp would have been a more reliable test product, along with standard S/N, distortion and REPEATABLE test signals.

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3 hours ago, Zaphod Beeblebrox said:

Equipment that is sensitive to mains power variations (ie: Stuff that lacks regulated power supplies, valve filament supplies, etc) may certainly demonstrate differences (improvements?) when mains power is more stable. None of which is unexpected. I've measured and heard it myself. However, we are, at present, discussing the claim that a mains power cable change can elicit an audible and measurable change in bass performance. 

 

 

My question to you wasn't about power stability rather the comment that Hifi gear sounds better at 240v.

Edited by TerryO

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2 minutes ago, TerryO said:

My question to you wasn't about power stability rather the comment that Hifi gear sounds better at 240v. 

That depends. I've worked on some Chinese stuff that was rated at 240VAC, yet the power transformer was saturating at around 210VAC. Not only did it sound worse at 240VAC, but it was seriously overheating. My previous comments remain. If the equipment does not employ regulated power supplies (like many valve filament supplies), then it should be operated close to the rated supply Voltage. Too much and reliability (and probably sound quality) will suffer. Too little and sound quality will suffer. Equipment that employs regulated power supplies, will usually tolerate a wide variation in mains power Voltage. 

 

IOW: One size does not fit all. 

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9 hours ago, jeromelang said:

This was a test I did in front of listening newbies. I mean, they were hired as marketing audio systems, but most of them have very rudimentary listening skills - which is not a bad thing - because that meant their listening apparatus were still fresh, and they don't have any pre-conceived prejudice about what they can or cannot biologically hear.

 

The test was:

 

While listening to a piece of music played through a HiFi system consisting a DVD player, an av receiver, and a pair of floor stand speakers, I drop a handkerchief over the power cords. 

 

They can hear the difference. 

 

Then I remove the handkerchief.

 

They hear the difference too.

 

I tried a piece of velvet over the power cords next.

 

They heard greater differences.

 

Different fabrics materials coming into contact with power cords which have current coursing through them can affect sound!

 

Why?

c.f. http://www.verber.com/mark/ce/cables.html 

 

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10 hours ago, frankn said:

Looks like Nordost have been putting effort into measuring the differences of outputs from Didital players with various components, including power cords.  

https://nordost.com/downloads/NewApproachesToAudioMeasurement.pdf

 

I like this article, mostly.    There's a few things though that they say which will mislead, although I can appreciate why they do/don't say the things they do.

 

Not 'new measurement techniques' (at all) ... but they are right it is difficult to do these measurements

 

They state that the result cannot be jitter because jitter is random.   This is incorrect/misleading.   Many forms of jitter are not at all random... so based on this fact, it could be jitter.   BUT, one of the audiophile misunderstandings about jitter is that people think that if the digital samples are "jittered" (ie. moved in time), that the analogue output will have samples which are also moved in time  (ie. there is "jitter" of sorts in the analogue output).   This is an incorrect description of cause/effect.    They are possibly (probably!?) right about it not being jitter, but to confirm that they would need to actually quantify the jitter (perhaps they did, but just didn't show or explain that).    Relying on "jitter is random", is very insufficient.

 

They only show the "cumulative" or combined effect of each treatment.... it would be nice to see which did what on it's own.... although I probably wouldn't either if I were them (I want people to buy all my products)  ;) 

 

A 3dB reduction in error is not insignificant .... but it is also much(!) smaller than other reductions in error from tweaks/improvements.

 

They don't point out that the difference is skewed towards high frequencies (which you can see from the amplitude change with time chart -> fast changes in amplitude are high frequencies)

 

21 minutes ago, Zaphod Beeblebrox said:

Is it vibration or the power cable?

Indeed.  They don't differentiate their results of adding the vibration management, vs adding the power cable (except to show cumulative effects).    What are they hiding?   (To be fair, I would also hide things)

 

22 minutes ago, Zaphod Beeblebrox said:

3) Music is a horrible way to measure a result.

It makes it difficult to clear see the result .... but their target audience may also potentially not understand "test signals" .... and be of the impression that test signals are "not equivalent to music".

 

22 minutes ago, Zaphod Beeblebrox said:

along with standard S/N, distortion

That's essentially what they did .... they just looked at the data primarily by time (rather than by frequency).

 

If they had of explained that, then many of their target audience may have said ....  "Yawn!  so you got 3dB better SNR/distortion?!?! .... we think that SNR and distortion measurements don't correlate with what we hear".

 

Presenting the results as new and exciting and different..... means it is much less likely to trigger audiophile ingrained biases.

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46 minutes ago, Zaphod Beeblebrox said:

That depends. I've worked on some Chinese stuff that was rated at 240VAC, yet the power transformer was saturating at around 210VAC. Not only did it sound worse at 240VAC, but it was seriously overheating. My previous comments remain. If the equipment does not employ regulated power supplies (like many valve filament supplies), then it should be operated close to the rated supply Voltage. Too much and reliability (and probably sound quality) will suffer. Too little and sound quality will suffer. Equipment that employs regulated power supplies, will usually tolerate a wide variation in mains power Voltage. 

 

IOW: One size does not fit all. 

Forgetting the occasional Chinese bit of gear that sounds like it has not been built to the Australian standards in the first place. Again my question to you is about the comment that Hifi gear sounds better at the whole 240v rather than 235v, which is actually closer to the Australian standard of 230v which manufacturers who build equipment for the Australian market have build their equipment to ideally work at since the turn of the century.

 

My observation is if the comment was about a expensive power cord or conditioner you would critique it but in this case when the higher than ideal voltage is extolled in the same thread you pass it by without a comment.

 

I do acknowledge your comment that 'one size does not fit all'. But that comment does work both ways.

 

By the way I am not one who extolls the virtues of $10,000 power cords, but I will stand up for power regenerators which I now wouldn't be without . But I digress, back to my original question/observation Zaph.

 

cheers Terry

 

Edited by TerryO

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14 minutes ago, Buffle said:

Fun. These sort of debunks have been going on for as long as audiophilia has been around. His closing remarks are particularly poignant.

Quote

I sincerely believe the time has come for concerned audiophiles, true engineers, competent physicists, academics, mag editors, etc. to take a firm stand regarding much of this disturbing new trend in the blatantly false claims frequently found in cable advertising. If we fail to do so, reputable designers, engineers, manufacturers, magazine editors and product reviewers may find their reputation tarnished beyond repair among those of the audiophile community we are supposed to serve.

Actually nothing has tarnished anyone's reputation in the 20+ years since that article and the amount of reviews describing dramatic differences, unsubstantiated claims, devices, and accessories has only increased since that time.

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2 hours ago, TerryO said:

Forgetting the occasional Chinese bit of gear that sounds like it has not been built to the Australian standards in the first place.

First off: It's not the occasional Chinese bit of gear and it is not restricted to Chinese gear. Any company who wants to save a few cents can use lightweight transformers, with inadequate iron (like those that are designed for 60Hz, not 50Hz) will happily do so. 

 

2 hours ago, TerryO said:

Again my question to you is about the comment that Hifi gear sounds better at the whole 240v rather than 235v, which is actually closer to the Australian standard of 230v which manufacturers who build equipment for the Australian market have build their equipment to ideally work at since the turn of the century.

My answer is exactly what it was previously. It depends. Valve equipment and other products that lack regulated power supplies may benefit from a stable, precise mains supply Voltage. Valve equipment is particularly sensitive (unless regulated filament supplies are used). 

 

2 hours ago, TerryO said:

 

My observation is if the comment was about a expensive power cord or conditioner you would critique it but in this case when the higher than ideal voltage is extolled in the same thread you pass it by without a comment.

Australian designed equipment rarely has an issue with slightly higher than usual mains power. Equipment designed elsewhere may. 

 

2 hours ago, TerryO said:

 

I do acknowledge your comment that 'one size does not fit all'. But that comment does work both ways.

 

By the way I am not one who extolls the virtues of $10,000 power cords, but I will stand up for power regenerators which I now wouldn't be without . But I digress, back to my original question/observation Zaph.

 

cheers Terry

 

I have found that mains regenerators may be helpful with valve equipment or poorly designed products. 

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21 hours ago, Zaphod Beeblebrox said:

First off: It's not the occasional Chinese bit of gear and it is not restricted to Chinese gear. Any company who wants to save a few cents can use lightweight transformers, with inadequate iron (like those that are designed for 60Hz, not 50Hz) will happily do so. 

 

My answer is exactly what it was previously. It depends. Valve equipment and other products that lack regulated power supplies may benefit from a stable, precise mains supply Voltage. Valve equipment is particularly sensitive (unless regulated filament supplies are used). 

 

Australian designed equipment rarely has an issue with slightly higher than usual mains power. Equipment designed elsewhere may. 

 

I have found that mains regenerators may be helpful with valve equipment or poorly designed products. 

Thank you for your reply. 

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