It was also once logical (and on paper) that the world was flat, and you would die if you traveled faster than the speed of sound.
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I bought Roger Sanders' InnerSound preamp, and talked with him several times by phone, as well as having read the white paper. He is definitely a "green eye-shade and slide-rule" kind of a guy. Not one to go anywhere near the deep end of the audiophile pool when it comes to cables (or anything else) and tweakage, he believes in applying solid science to audio reproduction. About cables in particular, he seems to take the position that most high-end products are underdesigned and overpriced, and that if they have different "sounds", it is because they are coloring the signal due to improper design.
I have not heard his speakers or amps, but they have been very well-reviewed, as many of you will know. Just talking to him, I do not think he is insensitive to subjective sonic qualities. He does, however, seem to believe in the efficacy of ABX testing, as well as the notion that everything one can hear is subject to measurement, concepts I do not share his faith in. His assertion that all "well-designed" interconnects *should* sound the same may well be true, but to me this observation is of little use in the real world - who decides the criteria for what is "well-designed" or not?
To most audiophiles, the fact of life is that different seemingly well-designed and manufactured ICs *do* sound different from one another, and which among them is "correct" is an inherently subjective call - one which is also inherently system-dependent. I tend to agree with him *in theory*, that when it comes to ICs, better is just plain better as far as transmitting the signal with the least possible degradation is concerned, as opposed to speaker cables, where component/cable interactions will play a bigger role and tend to result in different perspectives on "better" that are even more system-dependent.
Roger has offered to ship me some of his ICs to try out with a 30-day trial, but I haven't taken him up on it, mostly because I'm already pretty well-outfitted with 'em here, having just added a few new ones to the collection that I'm still evaluating. But I have to admit that my declining to accept also has something to do with his white paper stance on the issue leading me to suspect he won't listen any more deeply to ICs than his theories will allow him to do. After all, there already are many inexpensive, yet solidly designed ICs on the market, both from companies that also offer higher-priced models, and some from companies that, like InnerSound, don't venture into the more rarified price strata, and I haven't heard any of them sound as good as some more costly ones from the usual high-end marques.
Maybe I am missing the boat and should try his ICs out. If I do, first I have to finish finalizing the set-up of my system in my new room, and also of auditioning the preamp of his I bought, which shows a lot of promise so far, despite a few operational compatability issues which I haven't laid the blame for quite yet. But either way, though his paper makes for provocative reading and I am sure is theoretically sound, Roger is still a guy with a product to sell at the end of the day, and I for one won't be convinced of anything that someone claims is the only right approach simply because of their words, no matter how well-argued. (I also don't believe that his preamp with gain and attenuation is indistinguishable at the unity setting from a short piece of simple wire, as he claims a listening panel found under his test conditions.)
BTW, if I remember correctly, I do believe that Roger's defense of coaxial design as being the best in speaker cables was mostly intended to apply to electrostatic speakers, such as InnerSound's own models are.
I've been told that Roger Sanders is a VERY nice guy and extremely dedicated and helpful. I trust the person that told me this without hesitation. I know that Roger went WAY out of his way trying to help this person out in a time of need, so i have to respect him as both an individual and as a business owner.
Having said that, i don't agree with his theories on cables. The fact that most interconnects connect a source to a preamp or a preamp to an amp that has an input impedance of several thousand ohms is a given. Yet Roger is worried about adding what boils down to less than a few ohms in series with that makes me wonder. The only interconnects that i know of that add a very noticeable amount of series resistance to the circuit would be the latest Magnan cables. The earlier Magnan cables would not do this. Magnan is also the one most responsible for discussing / bringing to light the "time smear" and "skin effect" of cables within the audio spectrum. As such, David Magnan is either the greatest cable charlatan known to man ( according to Roger Sanders ) or he is someone that was way ahead of his time with various theories.
Knowing the little bit that i do and having seen / read about the construction of the cables mentioned, if i HAD to choose between either Innersound or Magnan cables to use for the rest of my life, i would go for several of the various cables that David Magnan has to offer without hesitation. Sean
Informative, insightful, well written. I tend to think when I come across like this, that I am right also.
I'll spare you, because they know a lot of things I don't. But I am sure there are quite a lot of designers that know more than they do, and I think they would disagree with them on the points you mention.
Knowlegde is universal, and belongs to no one person. Neither is b.s. No one person can know everything that anyone else knows, and there is always new knowlegde to be had.
I have two freinds that both took philosophy. They are good arguers and debaters, and can argue with sound logical views, and at the same time, be completely so incorrect in the search for the truth.
Case in point-you know that all well designed ic's don't sound the same. You know that you don't have to a/b with a swicth instantly to hear a difference, but with sound arguements, this can be made to sound not true.
This idea prevalent among audiophiles that no two components sounds the same is interesting for its logical conclusion, i.e., that two amplifiers that measure exactly the same will sound the same is fallacy because "measurements" can not measure what is really important. However, what about the exact same amp? Will no two amps ever sound the same? What about the various designers who copy work from other designers? What about wire when two manufactures source from the same supply yet claim their wires sound nothing alike? Surely, there is inconsistency on the part of our community about what sounds good, or even what is "well made". Ben Duncan in a past Stereophile remarked that the specific impedance of a cable and output impedances and input impedances of the source and receiver respectively determines the "sound" of wire, or any frequency anomalies we might describe as "sonic signature". To him the wire itself is not as important as is "impedance matching" the line to the source.
Just a few thoughts,
The incapability for "measurement" of the sonic differences between items, is not a lack on the part of the equipment, or listener. It is a lack on the part of the measurement personnel. They lack the understanding of how to properly measure certain audible characteristics, so they declare the differences to be psychological. This is extremely unscientific, and foolish.
Well, Twl, I wouldn't indict the measurement-makers so hard when the techniques, or even good ideas about what exactly to measure, may simply not exist yet regarding specific sonic qualities displayed by gear that is reproducing music programs. Rather, I would mostly condemn those among them who brazenly claim without pause that what they *are* able to measure settles the issue. (And I do happen to believe that psychology plays a fairly large role in aural perception.)
To Keith (up two), I would comment that your finding of a contradiction which belies audiophiles who claim to hear amp differences, where you say none can be measured, falls down on that last assertion. Your observation about their argument logically extending to different individual examples of the same model amplifier, as somehow being an analogous situation, is faulty. This is because two different *models* of amplifier will never measure exactly the same as each other, so your conclusion is drawn on a false premise. Two entirely different circuits/implementations will not produce the same output under all conditions given identical inputs. You may consider them to be close, but they won't truly be the same.
Their theory that electrical resonance can be a problem with electrostatics has merit. However, there is no proof that it is a significant problem or if so, is audible. They do not show how this resonance can result in "brightness". In general, the things that they say such as: "So it is vitally important that the cables have low inductance" are true for all speakers, including electrostatics. They also say "Many cable manufacturers deliberately add a lot of capacitance to their cables.". This is simply not true. It is an artifact of designs that make the inductance very low, which is the primary goal.
Twl has it exactly right, although maybe the way he said it confused some people. The lack of a scientific measurement which correlates exactly with some particular "thing" that you can hear, does not mean that the "thing" does not exist. All it means is that science hasn't figured out how to measure it yet. The whole world is this way, not just audio, and so it always surprises me that people expect scientific perfection out of audio when, for example, medicine is still in the dark ages (in relative terms, at least).
So is InnerSound's coaxial speaker cable design worth trying? Are they best suited for electrostatics?
From what TWL is saying, there are things which may affect the sound (and aren't measured) more that the measured inductance and capacitance that InnerSound used in designing their cable.
Is it worth adding this co-axial speaker cable design to my list of DIY cable projects?
The best way to determine whether a particular design is worth trying is to first compare the measurements, then audition a couple of candidates that measure well. This is necessary because some of the effects, such as dispersion will not show up in the measurements because they are more dynamic effects.
The thing that is real suspicious about the innersound products is that they claim low inductance and capacitance and yet they do not disclose the measurements. Maybe they have not made them. I publish all measurements on my cables.
Audioengr, as you know, "low" is a relative term. If one picks a specific product that measures very poorly in a specific area and uses that as a reference, anything would look good. As a case in point, Nordost is considered a "low inductance" speaker cable by many. Compared to Monster Cable or any other standard zip cord, Nordost IS low inductance. However, in a direct comparison to Kimber 8TC, Nordost is appr 10X higher in inductance. As such, how one looks at things is all relative depending on ones' point of view and will vary depending on the references used.
One should keep in mind that the criteria for specific claims can almost always be justified by finding a scapegoat to compare your product to. It is not hard to say that a Cadillac is a "better" car than a Yugo. Marketing "hype" from any manufacturer without legit specs to support such claims must be taken with a grain of salt. Sean
Marketing "hype" from any manufacturer without legit specs to support such claims must be taken with a grain of salt.
Sean - You're preaching to the choir. I really cannot fathom why a manufacturer would claim better performance because of low inductance and then neglect to publish the inductance numbers.... Just more qualitative BS to sway the unsuspecting public I guess. As a manufacturer, I would be a lot happier if my competitors would publish their numbers. Then it would be a more even playing field, as in amplifier specs etc..