Interconnects: a conductor is a conductor, right?

If you guys remember, a while back i said that i had purchased a computerized audio distortion analyzer. Shortly after that, i posted that we had measured a couple of different interconnects and observed very measurable differences in distortion between these 1 meter length cables. Even though i had shared the fact that John Curl had measured similar distortions using similar equipment, most of the "techno-geeks" told me that i had been ripped off by the guy selling me the test equipment & conducting the "tests". While i knew better than that, those that aren't familiar with the individual that i was dealing with and weren't there to see / experience this type of test could have had their doubts. They were wrong, but they could still have their doubts and are entitled to their opinions though : )

As it turns out, someone else using Audio Precision test equipment has just posted some comparison results between Cardas and another cable manufacturer's interconnects. You can see the test results at Head-Fi. As a side note, the "highly distorted", "highly coloured", "highly lossy" cables were reviewed on an internet based audio webzine. In that article, the reviewer called these cables "the cleanest, least colored cables I've ever had in my system".

As a side note, Steve Eddy also posted a link to this thread over at the General Asylum. For those that don't visit AA all that often, Steve was involved in a "knock down, drag out" fight with John Curl over some of the distortion related measurements that he had taken of some specific interconnects. The fact that Steve posted a link to this sight shows that some of those that believe that "cables are cables, so long as they are properly constructed", can be fair when the evidence is presented to them. The fact that the person doing the testing was using Audio Precision gear, which is what Steve used as a reference to try and dis-prove Curl's results, only makes the results "sweeter" to those of us that supported / believed Curl's initial posts & test results.

Regardless of who says what, i just wanted to show you guys that i'm not a complete crack-pot. A third party with completely different test equipment has verified what i stated here a short while ago and Mr Curl has stated for a long period of time. I'm not trying to take credit for ANY of this, as it is all "old hat" to those that have been around this type of thing for many years. Quite honestly, i myself was pretty amazed at the test results that i saw when we performed these tests just a short while ago. What i am trying to do is make those that think they know all there is to know about electronics & test equipment to reconsider some of their previous comments and keep an open mind. Sometimes, what we don't know CAN hurt us. Especially when we don't know what we don't know : ) Sean

Now Listening: John Mayall & Friends "Along For The Ride" on SACD ( this is a hybrid redbook / SACD disc )
No one said you were a crackpot, well not for a long time, I think.

Maybe I should read the previous stuff or the links you provided, but I have the small issue of a client wanting his stuff out today, so tell me: does this mean that there is objective data that cables measure differently and does that mean that they sound different?

And oh, and how can that justify $3,000.00 for a one metre cable?

Regards. Well off to work now...
Sean, that's some good info to present.

Many people realize that there are differences in cables, and that there are real technical reasons for the differences. Perhaps(and probably) we still don't know all the things we need to, but study and testing is helpful.

I think it is far more useful to learn, test, and discover the reasons for what most of us hear in these cable applications, than to just lean on "old info" to "prove" why these differences cannot be real. The scientific method is designed to explain the reasons behind observed phemomena, not to say we cannot be observing these phenomena.

Your testing, and these others' testing, are showing that there are discernible, and measureable differences going on in different cables which can result in audible differences.

Thanks for sharing the info.
Sean, I don't understand your point, the cables compared are not the same, one is a wire conducter and the other is and electro/optical system. The Cardas seem to measure fine as one would expect.

Oops.... This needs some clarification that i was unaware of at the time of posting. As it turns out, these cables are an optically based design with some type of interphase at each end to convert them back to analogue use with standard plugs. In effect, these aren't just "passive" wires, but have some type of circuitry involved in them. As such, this is NOT an "apples to apples" comparison in the comments that i made in regards to the previous interconnects and measured distortion. None the less, it does show that these specific cables are FAR from "neutral".

Sorry for the confusion, but i hope that others interested in such things will at least look at the results AND keep their minds open about such things : ) Sean
Steve, i was typing at the same time that you were and our posts must have "crossed in the mail". Sean
Common sense says that electrons are like gas, and the hose you use to fill up your car...that's the cable. So don't bother me with your measurements, hippie.

-An Audio Critic
Cables are cables?

"Just a motorcycle Mr. C? And I suppose your mother was just a mother." -Fonzie
Sean there's a lot of good info here. I don't doubt for a second that there are extreme differences in cables that will be measured as soon as people figure out how. You have pointed out that the beginning is here!

Regardless of what anyone else says, I still think yer a crackpot!

Thanks for the good work.
Sean- I've never thought you were a crackpot- just an audiophile :)

I always enjoy reading the "cables are all the same" posts that pop up from time to time. I still can't figure out how some guys with good systems and ears younger than mine can proclaim that cables that are well constructed (whatever that means) all sound the same.

I welcome your findings, and I hope that over time further use of this methodology provides a scientific footing for what many of us already hear!
Sean, if you read Steve's follow-up, he wasn't supporting Curl (or you) with his post. He was being sarcastic and even said so.

Steve quotes you:

"I know that some very limited testing that i've performed has shown differences in distortion and microphony using recently calibrated HP equipment."

And then Steve responds:

"That cables can be microphponic has never been any secret.

As for distortion, what levels are you measuring? Bruno's AP rig was able to look down to about -145dB and turned up nothing so unless you're able to measure below this I'd be skeptical as to whether the distortion you're measuring is actually being produced by the cables."

It seems that Steve still isn't buying Curl's (or your) test results. He was obviously poking fun at the reviewer in the article, nothing more, nothing less.
Good work. Now, what is needed is subjective listening to see if there is a clear consenses in regards to what sounds better relative to how a cable measures.
Is it better to have "clean" measurements or can/should certain distortions be built into the cables for the best sound. I don't know if I am saying this right, hope you all understand what I am saying.