brulee fails PC challenge

Big mouth brulee failed the PC challenge. Never had any doubts that the better PCs could make a difference. I know they can and do. Thought I would give it a try just to make sure big mouth knew what he was talking about. There was no pressure. I was all alone. Switched out the FIM PCs and put in a couple Beldon PCs. Just as I thought. The magic was gone. This is going to be easy I said to myself. Put the FIM back in and it sounded as bad as the Beldon. Images were stuck to the face of the speaker and was very dry sounding. Next day I listened again and all the magic was back. Big, liquid, flowing music was back. Swapped them out again and same thing happened. How can I take on this PC challenge when it takes the next day or at least several hours before the FIM PC comes around. I failed this test. I am convinced PCs make a subtle to dramatic difference but I still failed the challenge. I am very happy no one was there to say "I told you so". I am a believer in PC but what can be said of someone who constantly touts the benefits of PCs and then fails the PC challenge. I'm glad my friend Jhunter was not around. Any ideas to keep things stable? PCs do make an improvement, just ask the guy who failed the PC challenge. Any help would be appreciated.
As I am not an electrical engineer therfore I can not explain as to why the "reintroduction" of the FIM pc did not make a discernable difference immediately after replacing the stock Belden cord...

Out of curiosity what component(s) were used in the test? I have had limited success with better than stock pcs in my cdp and preamp but none with my amp but then I haven't tried any of the big boys (FIM, Whale, etc.) out either.

I applaud your honesty and hope that someone here can offer an explanation although I think this has the opportunity to become a "barrel" of worms as opposed to opening a "can"...
We need a PC ABX comparator.
No explanation, but I find this to be true of anything that I "switch" in my setup (both cables and electronics that have already been broken in). Like you, Bruce, it takes a day and a half or two for everything to sound the same (familiar) again, though things do usually get appreciably better in a few hours, but still no cigar in this short time period. On PC's however the difference in bass response (between an Absolute PC and a BMI Whale PC, for example) is readily apparent when I switch them, but again neither sounds as good as it can when allowed to settle in again. Just rerouting speaker cable (without even disconnecting it) will mess with the sound. I am also curious as to whether there is a rational explanation for this. This is what I hate about auditioning items as everything seems to take forever (just to do a "quick" A/B takes a minimum of 4 days).
Bruce -

Interesting that I just posted the results of my own challenge! I don't see why it should take time for a PC to settle in, however, you might be able to keep one cord powering another (unused in the test) component and then switch it in; this should alleviate any question of break-in.

Next trip to LA is no later than latter half of July; probably the third week. Let's see if we can set something up then!

JHunter: It would seem from what I experienced when rerouting the speaker cable, that bending the wire is a part of what effects the sound, as it was just moved and not disconnected. I would guess that this would vary depending on the design of the cable. I was using Kimber Kable by the way.
In any "scientific" comparison test, you want to keep the test conditions as stable and repeatable as possible. Before the electrical engineers jump in with their recommendations, here's some of things you'd need to consider to increase the "validity" of your testing.

1. Stable Power -- dedicated outlet, same time at night: (i.e no variations in current from utility). Maybe even a PS 600 regenreating the same AC wave?? (Not sure if that's such a good idea).

2. Multiple double blind testing: You need to do the same thing many times and wipe out any personal biases by having someone else switch the cords and not tell you which one is on. Then you need to repeat the whole process with another listener ... and another.... well, you get the idea.

3. I can't explain the cooling off period (perhaps the electrical gurus on this site can) but it could be that a power cord "sets up" the component by alternating in some minute way the electrical components -- or in the case of an inferior cord, disturbing the balance, causing interference, or filtering out some needed component of the AC sine wave (sounds crazy -- but how else would you explain the "cooling off" period -- besides, we're dealing with electons here!) If this is true, until you can record and playback in SACD mode, you probably cannnot do back-to back reference testing. One suggestion would be to try to see how short the cooling off period can be made -- perhaps it's only an hour. Then, you'd have to take substantial notes, have others witness/agree with the results to again avoid personal/percieved or even unintentional bias.

So... now you know why it takes 15 - 20 years to get a drug through scientific testing and approval. Isn't science fun!
Just be thankful you're not required to do animal testing and then publish in a scientific journal.

For us audiogoners who would just like a little bit of logic and justification intermixed with "I CAN here the differnce" observations before we plunk down another grand on a PC, your observations, in as closely controlled conditions as are practical, are still very helpful and appreciated. And you'll probably do a better job then StereoFool, The Absolute Nonsense and those other "scientific" magazines we pay too much homage to. Please proceed!
Brulee very big of you to step up to the plate.
I have limited exposure to PC.I did replace the stock cord om mt Rogue 120 with one I made up myself.Big improvment in the bottom end.Some bass heavy tracks which sounded boomy got tighter and more defined.
I dont know if spending big bucks on these is the answer.I just might have to se if I can get a hold of a big buck unit and compare.
Explain... You let the FIM settle in and then it sounded good to you. Did you let the Beldon settle in also?? Sounds like you didn't. How does a settled in Belden sound?
Brulee- All you have to do is setup another EMC-1 with the same brand and length of "burned in" interconnects to your integrated while having one CD fed with the FIM and the other CD fed from the Belden. Of course, you'll have to have the same "platform" components under each CD player. I'm sure you could find the equipment or someone willing to loan the use of another EMC-1 for the enlightenment of all AA readers. Come on, Brulee. You can do it! (Just trying to help.)
... and I thought you guys were friends.
Same thing happens with interconnects, so I must assume that some factor affecting sound quality has changed. Dielectric, electron line up, the firmness of the connection itself, all or none of the above?, I wouldn't know. Even Chaos theory might apply, because on some microscopic level every connection is a little bit different than the last. So, any test that compares pc's should be done over at least a few days for each one, and certainly after break in. Switching cords back and forth might be interesting, but not a fair comparison. Disbeliever's, please don't waste my time saying that break in doesn't exist. Methods of testing can always be questioned, so all we are left with is our ears to judge as "accurately" as possible.
You haven't failed anything Brulee. Rather, you made an observation. One in which a lot was learned. Usually people whistle through everything, rarely stopping to observe. You did. Take that out of the whole experience, and add it to your already astronomical level of knowledge. As Leafs said, it takes a big man to admit what he has TRULY observed. Free of the worry of what others will think, what one is supposed to hear, or whatever other stuff prevents many from truly being OBJECTIVE. Yes, that is the word. Objective. Those who call themselves objective are actually more biased than most anyone else. As objective is as falacious a name for them as can be, I refer to them as flatlanders. Your kind of knowledge, experience, and honesty is truly what separates the men from the boys. Not only in audio, but in all things. This is what allows us all to get closer to what we ultimately seek. Be happy about what you discovered. You will come across a suitable workaround; via your own doing, or with the help of others on this site. In the end, we will all be better off because of it.
Trelja,nice post.Brulee you have been able to deal with the truth of what you heard.It is obvious you unlike most American males can deal with the truth.Most wont admit what they hear because they are to embarresed to admit they spent 2K on something and it was no better than the 299.00 one they had.Bravo Brulee
I've noticed the same situation with the FIM, especially after the copper skinning effect (break in ) is nearly complete. Let's face it, with many of the serious power cords, there is a whole lot of copper in each run. The FIM Gold is very thick and not too flexible. Once it is disturbed, it will take time. I once thought that I'd make my own Ultimate speaker cables (with 15 wire runs each pos. and neg.) of Nippon 99.9999% wire at $5.00/foot. The Nippon was the worse wire I'd ever encountered in regard to being fussy once slightly moved. It would take a week before it would settle down. By the way, anyone want to buy a pair of 7 foot DIY speaker cables? What a waste of nearly $2K! I'll stick with the FIM Gold there too.
Leafs- I think you might have missed the point. Brulee didn't say the Belden was as good as the FIM. Actually, he stated that the FIM, once allowed to perform in place for some period of time approaching 24 hours, sounded clearly superior to the Belden. What wasn't clear was whether he allowed the Belden a day to settle in for an evaluation as well. What is obvious is that simply swapping out cords for a song or two isn't a reliable test, as many have discovered.
Dekay- We were before I posted, but now ....? Just kidding Brulee!
I have had identical experience with my PCs taking time to "settle in": discernibly between 15"-60" (for my ears; I'm assuming I get used to the sound by then and miss subtle changes, if any, after that time). I'm *guessing* the settling-in time depends on how long a cable has been disconnected in that particular instance and, what part of its useful life has the cable been conducting electricity in general.

For that matter, I've also noticed that certain "tweaks" applied to my cdp or pre take some minutes to "settle in", if you will. I don't think this is due to my familiarising with the sound: after each tweak I usually leave the room for a few mins.

BTW, "Belden" is not necessarily "terrible". They include hi-quality industrial norm (SSTP & others) cables in their product line; these can have twisted conductors foiled per pair, and multiple shielding. They could very well be better performers than the non-exotic name suggests. (OK, such cables rarely sport expensive ptfe tubing, and teflon (or other) outer braiding & mesh we find in the more expensive hi-end offerings.)

Such products are also quite expensive!

I tried German, silver-plated copper multi-strand power cords, conductors foiled and shielded -- that performed quite well. The wholesale price was $~12/m -- that's if you buy in km; if not, it goes up to $~34/m, unterminated ofcourse.

Has anyone else tried top quality industrial norm cable as PC?
I understand the point.His being truthfull is the point I am making.
We absolutely need an ABX comparator. This is the only way to tell whats really going on.
Thanks for the help and kind words. I am a little embarrassed and I am still not sure what happened. I went back and set up my system so that I can put in the FIM without any sharp bends and can now swap out the PCs in minutes. Spent several hours swapping out the cords and no problems. I'm glad I did this trial run by myself. The Beldon is sounding like the Beldon and the FIM like the FIM. It has been some time since I changed out the PCs and I am convinced more than ever how important PCs are. I look forward to Jhunters visit. I know Jcbtubes can't wait for this PC challenge. He is very eager to take the challenge also. I have heard him say many times that you would have to be deaf not to hear a difference. We will see. Maybe Dekay can can come along and and do the swapping of the PCs as Jc and I take the challenge. Should be fun.
Science is not a "God". Scientific method itself has been shown this century to be deficient in several regards, most notably in the biases and perseptive limitations of the scientific minds that conduct the experiements (It never fails to amaze me that those who adhere rigidly to the assumption that the assumptions of scientific method discern primary truth are also the people unaware of the progeny of Kant to Popper to Kuhn to Freyerabend, which seems to disclose, logically speaking, an issue of self-reflection...).

It does not matter why the cable changed sound. In an empiric experiment, you can not dispense with valid observations because you do not know why they occured. Such a position merely reveals an underlying bias to the methodology, namely, that those observations that conform to assumptions of the truth of the preciever that existed prior to the conducting of the experiment are favored, ie observed with greater attention and selected thereby, and those observations unexplained by the existing paradigm of ideas are dispensed with less attention, or in this case, even an apology for seeing something else (even though, logically, that assumably incongruent observation was arrived at with equal application of the same method).

If you were truly scientific, then you would turn your attention to why the cable changed sound. And if you could not find the answer within you paradigm of ratio-empiric rules, then, even by those rules, you must examine those assumptions for a partiality in perspective or perception that is denying you an understanding of that given observation. To deny that is itself counter to the ratio-empiric logic that underlies scientific method.
Sorry Leafs, point well taken and clear in yr post. Actually, I was clumsily taking it on from there.

Asa, Kant to Kuhn! May I humbly say I'm impressed? BTW, speaking of science, years ago I was told that the measured tolerances of vinyl cannot withstand the weight usually excercised by the stylus. If true, the stylus should pierce through the LP. But it doesn't. Go figure; voodoo again.

Great thread, bigmouth B! Cheers!
Hi Bruce: Yes I should be up for it and we can do the new silver PC from Vantage Audio, the BMI Whale Elite and the Absolute PC's along with the FIM. I assume that JC has other's as well.
Gregm, maybe I should increase my loading force? Say, to about 1.5kG.
Meta, can you report back on findings?;) Maybe a way to dispense with expensive disc washers...
Asa- sounds like Heisenberg at work here. The tests don't work because you disturb the subject by testing it!
As Professor Kenn Amdahl wrote in "There Are No Electrons: Electronics For Earthlings", "Who's moving around inside that wire? It's little greenies's not electrons..(they're) a myth...little green guys who want to get to a party...
No less an authority than Dave Barry said of this seminal work, "There Are No Electrons changed my life. I lost 17 pounds in five minutes without dieting, and I feel great!"
Thanks guys for not reacting negatively to my prose, which, admittedly, is not the norm here; I wanted to be as concise as possible. I also just get tired - no, frustrated - at the people so attached to objectified thinking in audio (or any endeavor, for that matter). They are missing so much, both in music and in themselves. Believing in a matrix of ideas as a definitive paradigm is a comfortable place to be, but, ultimately, an attachment to that set of rules on what is, is itself our limitation (and particularly when its focus, control of matter, has had such dire consequences for the matter around us that we define as "not us"). The underlying motivation for this attachment is a fear, or recoil, from future knowledge and experience. The belief that scientific truth is primary truth while denying, or ignoring, its partialities is itself un-scientific and constitutes denial. This denial in the microcosm of audio is symptomatic of this current in our society at large; they are not separate. Such minds are following rules, unreflectively, that somebody else told them was all they could know. They limit themselves; they limit what is. Limiting "what is" is not a good thing to do if you want to evolve - individually, collectively, in audio or not. An attachment to a scientific/ratio-empiric/positivist world-view is a denial of what we could be.

Thanks again for listening with open minds.
I think Asa writes for the Federal Government, perhaps helping to draft the taxcode? I could see him going on and on for 40,000 pages or so...reading the 6-27 above, I just kept thinking "your point being?"...there's something to be said for being concise and to the point, rather than hiding behind words.
Is it my imagination, or does Eber chime into discussions only when he thinks he sees an easy mark, as in something that's a little different - or, a little different from him? Didn't Eber become sparse in these pages about two months ago, right about at the same time that some members were warned about their combativeness and rudeness?


Basically, I think it is cowardly to criticize in a combative and demeaning manner without addressing content.

There are many different people in this world, and in this audio world, and it is best to be tolerant of those who communicate differently than ourselves if that communication is honest and forthright.

Actually, some of the ideas in the above piece were previously published in the Absolute Sound, and most recently, in Ultimate Audio magazine.

I'm sorry that Eber can not understand the content of the above to a sufficient degree to respond, or that he thinks he should impose his own ideas on what is proper discourse on this page, or that he is just mean-spirited and gets an anonymous rush from insiting discord in those around him.

But, if he can not respond to content, or lacks the cognitive agility to do so, he should keep his childish games to himself.
Wooooaaaah!!! In a (probably vain) attempt to avoid the impending melt-down of this post, I will try to rapidly to engage Brulee back to the point of his post. The only way to test any component is to live with it for a month and reflect on how much you are enjoying the music. This is long enough for any burnt-in component. The quick ABX is irrelevant for loads of reasons, except as a useful tool to eliminate the obviously awful (help me here guys.....).
Brulee, interesting point you are making. Did not read the above statements, but am glad to tell you, that I had the exact same experience, mentioned it here at Audiogon and got quite a bit of ridicule from the so called objectionist camp. Regards,
Brulee, what about comparing your FIM or even the Beldens to the stock cords that came with your gear? I thought that A/B swapping between stock and a DIY Belden, there was an immediate improvement in the quality of the sound. My wife was the control, and she agreed, so there are at least two other people in the world who think power cords make a difference.