A little bit of Truth


Far more informative than alot of stuff.
Indeed, a little bit of truth sprinkled amidst a whole lot of "evidence" tailored to suit and support his preformed opinions and biases without actual experience of the power cable products of his topic-Without having an open mind and unbiased observation, it's just more diatribe.*Yawn*.
Whew....what a relief to finally know the truth. Well.... I am off to Best Buy to pick up my new reference system, see you soon.
Sorry Ez, but I am in agreement with the above two posts. More drivel from the "If I can't measure it, it don't exist ... all you people who think you can hear things must be loonies" crowd. Sure to spark a debate here, though. It's been a few days since we took up some space on the server's hard drive anyway.
I have to agree with Massvm and the majority. People like EZ are in the wrong hobby or need there hearing checked. Cables do make a difference and live with it. Some are better than others . I say no more about this washed out issue.
I propose a new discussion forum for 'cable bashing'.
I see WZ's webpage was banned for fraudulent reasons when contacted webjump.com. Just another character who likes to stir the BS.
Typo, I meant EZmeralda11's webpage. Hiding behind his bogus
As a long-time audiophile (getting close to 40 years since the hobby bit me...), it intrigues me that the debate over so many aspects of the subjective elements of our hobby still rage on. (When I belonged to the Pacific NW Audio Society in the mid-1980's, we actually had a program one evening to listen to the differences in sound caused by capacitors...)

There are not a lot of safe things that one can say about the effects (or lack thereof) of speaker cables, interconnects, the type of materials used in capacitors or wiring, etc., etc., without stimulating debate. Nevertheless, I must say that many of the comments in the article on Webjump have validity. I have sold audio gear professionally, and listened to a ton of equipment (most of it when my hearing was better), and know from personal experience how easy it is to mislead customers. I think the most relevant paragraph in the entire article is this one:

"...The ear (and attached brain) is easily fooled, and has a very short memory for what you hear. Speakers can have huge anomalies in response, and within a few minutes the brain has made the necessary adjustments, and everything will seem to sound as it should."

Over the past 40 years, there has been a lot of scientific study of psycho-acoustics (my college undergrad major was physiological psychology), and the one constant that plagues all research related to what we hear is the ability of the brain to accomodate to changing information. Think of the sense of smell, for example: if an odor is present for more than a minute or so, your olfactory awareness decreases (a real-world example occurs every time you camp on the toilet...).

One of the more interesting categories of experiments done to study the brain's ability to adjust involve sight. As an undergrad, I was a participant in an experiment that involved wearing a special set of lenses that reverse images -- so left seems to be right, and everything seems upside down. The participants were required to wear the lenses for a week without taking them off. By the end of the 4th or 5th day of wearing the lenses, most of us in the experiment had accommodated to the complete reversal of our visual fields of reference.

A phenomenon of the human brain is that we attend to external stimuli in ways that relate to what is important to us. The specific mechanism in the human brain that controls this awareness level is the reticular activating system. This physiological system sets the "threshhold" at which we notice external stimuli -- such as a baby crying at night. Typically, mothers are much more tuned to the sounds of a baby crying than the father (no attacks, please, this is a non-sexist generalization). Even a few faint cries are often enough to wake up the mother, while the father snores on (for verification, ask a sample of new mothers...).

With audio gear, we acclimate to what our own sound system sounds like, and it becomes the norm. Given the brain's ability to accommodate and "re-program" itself, all audiophiles should maintain a healthy degree of skepticism about what they perceive as changes. If you have a high expectation that cable "A" will sound different than cable "B", the chances are very good that you will hear a difference.

I am neither defending nor supporting the points presented in the article. I believe that I can hear differences between amplifiers, for example, and my spouse can also (for example, we both noticed more detail, transparency, and dynamics when we upgraded the main power amp last year).
I am much less sure that differences in cables, materials, etc., are acoustically discernable in a valid test. People may THINK they are hearing a difference, but if you have paid $2500 or more for a set of interconnects or speaker wires, you will damn sure WANT to hear an improvement.

So, let the debate rage on ... that's one reason why audiophilia is such a great hobby.
After reading my post, a final thought occurred to me. For those who doubt that the brain interprets how we perceive physical reality, remember that the human eye is like a camera lens: it inverts everything. So, the actual image we "see" is upside down. The visual image stimulus, however, is translated by the visual cortex (at the back of your brain, just above the point where the spinal cord enters the cranium), which makes the image seem "right side up". The brain "knows" that the image is inverted based on what the rest of our body tells us about our physical universe. So, no matter what we audiophiles want to believe about what we "hear", it's actually our brain that determines how we perceive "reality".
hmm, be careful about spelling "Truth" with a capital T...which philosopher was that...
Sdcambell, it looks to me like that brain compensation phenomonon is also responsable for component "burn in", especially with cables and solid state equipment.
The thing is, people shouldn't get defensive about it. It really does happen, the only problem is when people start selling cable break in devices and such.
Sdcampbell; I enjoyed your above posts. Thanks. Craig
To quote Redkiwi: "Rhubarb"...no more need be said. JAWN
If Beethoven were alive today, those articles would quote him saying that he can not hear a difference between, ignoring that he was deaf. Being an electrical expert or a musical genius does not mean you have good hearing.
Excellent points Sdcampbell. As usual.
As Trelja said, your points are indeed excellent, SD, I however beg to differ on one minor issue. I doubt that aural memory is so shortlived, especially not with musical renderings you are intimately familiar with down to the tiniest detail. It is a familiarity I am talking about, which only comes after much exposure to that given piece of music. If comparing gear with that sort of background, it becomes difficult to fool the ear/brain. I know of quite a few occasions, having spent a lot of money, where I deeply wished to hear a difference to the better, be it in dynamics, in voicing, in what have you and was bitterly disappointed. As I had pointed out in other threads ( and was ridiculed by the so called objectivists ) you can train your hearing discrimination, like you can train any other form of perception and the better you are trained and the more parameters you have to apply your disciminative abilities to, the lesser is the chance that you will fall into the trap of selfdeception. Mind you, you cannot entirely avoid the dangers of "wishful hearing", so its good policy to call other sets of good ears in, who are not emotionally involved with the new gear under test and hence will just tell you what they hear. Basically of course,its VERY true, that ears adjust very quickly to any change and will fool you into sensing, that everything is as it should be. So its often the first few seconds of exposure that really count, the first impression, which often enough will dissipate quickly into a sham normalcy and this especially if you want it to be so. So besides using material, you are deeply familiar with, to my experience it is often the very first impression, which might tell you more about the effects of a given change to your system than long listening sessions.
There was alot more in there besides cables, like monoblocs, opamps, high-current, etc. And for someone interested in getting a good audio system and not interested in extreme ideaologies and spending outrageous sums; its not all that bad a piece in helping them keep a level in about it all. I could say other things but I'm tired. But for perspective: The world isn't round: its an eliptoid. The world doesn't spin on its axis: it wobbles a little from all those slosshy oceans (pretty sure?). Pluto is not a planet: its a post-neptunian object. However, it will be called a planet now until the end of all time because its too much trouble to get it out of the books. And 99.9% of speakers out there already have 70 to 120 ft of 28g to 33g good-old fashioned copper wire inside them.

There really aren't that many in the "If I can't measure it; its not real" camp (Hirsch may qualify as there posterchild). But I think most are of the "If its real; how come we don't have a single measurement to verify it, after 20 years" camp. Science has done alot in other fields in that time.
You present some sound comments, Detlof, and I have no real issue with any of them. Our senses can certainly be trained to become more acute, as any hearing-impaired or sight-impaired person can attest. The only point from my original post that I'd reiterate is that we, as audiophiles, need to have a healthy dose of skepticism when listening to gear that we "expect" to sound better (due to price, reputation, etc.).
SD, I have no trouble with that idea at all. Quite to the contrary. The ear/mind is so easily fooled!