scientific double blinded cable test


Can somebody point to a scientific double blinded cable test?
nugat
Gee, this is a real head-scratcher! I too am curious about this! Anybody from the Boston Audio Society know about such a test? The only test I can remember was the one done by Peter Aczel in 1978 comparing Levinson Silver cable against zip cord. No difference found! Yet there is sure a lot of anecdotal reports from the "golden ear" crowd! These certainly cannot qualify as methodical and unbiased! 
Sorry to disabuse anyone of the belief that blind tests mean anything. Especially if the results are negative. Would anyone expect anything of value to materialize when a bunch of giggling skeptics get together for a blind test? 🤡 Furthermore it’s highly unlikely that in ideal situations, you know, good ears and good equipment, that no differences would be observed as there is almost always some audible difference in the sound.
For the millionth time, why does everybody ignore the fact that the Aczel crowd never maintained that all cables sound the same. Their theory was that all differences between cables are due solely to inductance, resistance and capacitance values, which are easily measured and can drastically change the frequency response of a speaker. So, yes - cables with the same LCR values will sound the same. So they maintain. Whether it’s true or not is another story.
Too many variables: source - preamp - amp - speakers! Even in the simplest setup, say, Oppo - Quad amp - Quad ESL's the need for an IC introduces a variable (of unknown quality) before the speaker cable testing can begin! We need to know what effect the IC (variable A) has before we can test the speaker cable (variable B). 
Heisingberg's Uncertainty Principle at work here on the Macro level!
Gordon Ramsey conducts a really interesting blind test with food that I've seen him do on some of his shows.  He'll blindfold chefs, then put various foods in their mouths and have them try to guess what it is.  People are wrong more than they are right.  They miss things like Watermelon, Chicken, Green Beans etc.  It's amazing.  Based on this, is it safe to assume that foods don't have a discernible unique taste?
These are like "which oil?" threads on any given car enthusiast forum. They continually appear.

There is a good case for locking such threads as soon as they emerge. They cause a lot of emotions to flow and most of it is damaging to the membership, no matter what position one may have on the subject.

The op is shown a link to where to look to get their satisfaction in the question or at least what satisfaction can be found, and the thread gets locked. Ie, the question is asked so often that a set answer is put in place, the op is directed to it --thread locked. Like real forums do, in order to keep the peace and keep the membership.

Some forums are now going to the level of not allowing debate about cables making a difference or not, or double blind tests demanded, etc. That the cable forum area on those forums...is for people who believe that cables make a difference. Any other posting is stopped immediately and people are given various warning and suspensions for intruding in the cable qualities discussion area.

Makes perfect sense. People can get on with their lives without being attacked.
Can somebody point to a scientific double blinded cable test?

There's one over there  >
Not wishing to appear too pedantic here but technically the whole thing is a lot more like the Hidden Variables theory than the Heisenburg Uncertainty principle, the latter having to do with the inability to measure velocity and location of an atomic particle simultaneously. In other words how do you explain cables that measure the exact same L, R, C sound different all things being equal?
If the goal is to reliably and consistently choose what sounds best, why would you use anything but your ears?
@mitch2 

You are right , but where would the fun be in that for all of the cable trolls here on Audiogon?
+1, @mitch2.

That’s exactly my approach been on what stays in my system.
I have to say that it’s been a absolute joy to read the raving rants of cable naysayers 😆

LOL. Geoff is right - you absolutely have to SEE a cable in order to BELIEVE what you hear.
chayro
For the millionth time, why does everybody ignore the fact that the Aczel crowd never maintained that all cables sound the same. Their theory was that all differences between cables are due solely to inductance, resistance and capacitance values, which are easily measured and can drastically change the frequency response of a speaker. So, yes - cables with the same LCR values will sound the same. So they maintain. Whether it’s true or not is another story.

An excellent example of a wishy washy defense of Aczel. Not that I blame you very much. As my old boss at NASA used to say, never get behind anyone 100%. 😬
best antidote to what might be an annoying repetitive type post
is to ignore it.Once you jump in you're part of "the problem".
   I'm in favor of minimal policing. It seems like members do a 
good job of showing annoyers and trolls the door.
And some of us to find an entertainment value in the fights.
Depends what mood you're in.
I originally thought that a short length of speaker (2 1/2 meter) cable didn't mean that much difference....especially two same lengths of very similar construction.  I substituted one kind - thin minimally jacketed silver - with another thin minimally jacketed silver...   both were a bi-wired set.  The difference was night and day.   I don't know why, but that is the truth.

stringreen
I originally thought that a short length of speaker (2 1/2 meter) cable didn't mean that much difference....especially two same lengths of very similar construction. I substituted one kind - thin minimally jacketed silver - with another thin minimally jacketed silver... both were a bi-wired set. The difference was night and day. I don't know why, but that is the truth.

>>>>>The most likely reason is wire directionality. One cable was connected in the right direction, the other in the wrong direction. Case solved.
geoffkait:

I've always been curious about wire directionality. What causes a cable or interconnect to work better in one direction than the other?

All: Please feel free to chime in. Is there any scientific basis for this?

G
It can’t be that difficult. Pharmaceuticals are tested that way. Either something works comparing to placebo or not. And the variables are really complicated there. We bring people to the same room with the same high quality sound system, set of recordings and procedures agreed by a venerable audio society. We have our control cable, placebo, something off the shelf. We compare to it other cables with the same L, R, C. We ask testers to judge the sound reproduction accordingly. Neither experimenters nor testers know whether tested cables or control are used. If the results are near 50/50 then we know that if L, R, C are the same, no other variables matter. Pure physics. Bob Carver did it with amps, surely somebody must have checked it with cables? 
Then of course another study could be done how cable  L, R, C influence people’s judgements. And how expensive, or not, is tuning those three parameters.
It can’t be that difficult. Pharmaceuticals are tested that way. Either something works comparing to placebo or not. And the variables are really complicated there. We bring people to the same room with the same high quality sound system, set of recordings and procedures agreed by a venerable audio society. We have our control cable, placebo, something off the shelf. We compare to it other cables with the same L, R, C. We ask testers to judge the sound reproduction accordingly. Neither experimenters nor testers know whether tested cables or control are used. If the results are near 50/50 then we know that if L, R, C are the same, no other variables matter. Pure physics. Bob Carver did it with amps, surely somebody must have checked it with cables? 
Then of course another study could be done how cable  L, R, C influence people’s judgements. And how expensive, or not, is tuning those three parameters.
There are s lot of factors, and I have done Test a with 5-6 in the room and with 
My high quality preamp, amp digital and seperste power dupply and  goid power 
Conditioner.   Never mind $10.
Try a $200  interconnect , speaker cable , snd power cords vs a $1,000
Any credible cable will be easy . K tried blue jeans monster even lower model of same brand,  where I had No idea when switch box was used ,custom built 
All connectors and internal connections the same, plus I owned a store and had many cables to compare to once runin.  Soundstage is bigger deeper imahubg is much more real  as well as image focus and Bass. If you can tell then dome thing 
Is very wrong in your system or you have problems with your  ears.
@geoffkait 
In other words how do you explain cables that measure the exact same L, R, C sound different all things being equal?
Can you give an example of two cable assemblies with the same measured LCR numbers and vastly different sound?

nugat: I ran such a test at AES. For valid results, all participants must have demonstrated the ability to discern subtle variances reliably, or the results will devolve to 50/50, as it did at AES.

It is very difficult to control all the variables. Electronics and speakers vary as they warm up, getting people in the sweet spot, distractions, etc.

Even if everyone agreed that the two differ, it would be difficult to get a consensus of better.

IMO, the best test is in a system well known to the tester. Regardless of the DUT, the whole system should be re-plugged to establish a baseline and re-verified with well known source material. Only then introduce the new component. If there is a difference, it will readily be apparent. It's tougher with power amps to provide them with the same work so they are at the same thermal point.

Only then should the tester say "BananaRama is really good in my system. Check it out and see what it's like in yours.
 Such a test would need to be performed in an ordinary room  with speakers placed in less than ideal positions as the average listener would have things.  Testing high-grade cables and low-grade cables of equal electrical properties,  Like 2 coathanger’s stretched out compared with whatever high-end cable Of the same conductance. 
To expand on the question? Has there ever been measurable speaker differences with different cables? ETC? Frequency response? Impedance? Has an amplifier ever displayed a different level of distortion using exotic power cables? As in does an amp begin 1% distortion at 100 watts with a stock power cable but managed 105 watts with an upgraded one? 
I’m willing to conduct a double blind test if any cable manufactures want to participate. I have a a set of Infinity RS1s and an Aragon 4004 Mk II.  
ieales
Can you give an example of two cable assemblies with the same measured LCR numbers and vastly different sound?

>>>>>>>I was commenting on stringreen’s post which was,

”I originally thought that a short length of speaker (2 1/2 meter) cable didn’t mean that much difference....especially two same lengths of very similar construction. I substituted one kind - thin minimally jacketed silver - with another thin minimally jacketed silver... both were a bi-wired set. The difference was night and day. I don’t know why, but that is the truth.”


@geoff - 
Actually, I did not intend to defend Aczel's position, as I have never personally tested it using cables with the exact same LRC characteristics.  I was merely repeating it, but I do agree it came off somewhat as a defense. 

As an aside, I recall the Naim hiline interconnect making a system-transforming difference (for the better) over the Naim standard IC and Naim attributed it primarily to the vibration-resistant connectors they used.  So there are other considerations.  Then again, the two ICs may have had very different LCRs, so there's always that.  
I take it on faith that if such a test was conducted, there would be a difference. I accept the fact that I might be wrong. Why are people so invested in their treasured beliefs?
I never said there weren’t other considerations. But directionality is certainly a prime suspect as they say in the detective business. 👀
gasbose
geoffkait:

I've always been curious about wire directionality. What causes a cable or interconnect to work better in one direction than the other?

All: Please feel free to chime in. Is there any scientific basis for this?

The most reasonable explanation is that (1) metal is a crystal structure, (2) when the metal is fabricated into wire it’s drawn through a series of progressively smaller dies, (3) the otherwise fairly homogeneous crystal structure of the copper or silver wire is physically distorted and deformed when it’s pulled through the final, not only on the surface of the wire but below the surface as well. Thus, photons have a more difficult time traveling through the conductor in one direction than the other direction. And resistance is measured as lower in the “correct direction” of the wire. 

A scientific test of this theory is simple. Reverse (unshielded) interconnects and see if they sound better one way than the other. 
@geoffkait 

Just curious... in terms of information you are writing herein in response to the OPs post, why wouldn't you just link to articles you've previously written? Wouldn't your own time spent be better served if you were to perform your own cable reversal tests, listen for any audible differences, document same, and submit your findings as opposed to essentially re-entering all of your previous post?  
https://www.stereophile.com/content/wire-directionality-how-bad-it

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gdhal
@geoffkait

Just curious... in terms of information you are writing herein in response to the OPs post, why wouldn’t you just link to articles you’ve previously written? Wouldn’t your own time spent be better served if you were to perform your own cable reversal tests, listen for any audible differences, document same, and submit your findings as opposed to essentially re-entering all of your previous post?
https://www.stereophile.com/content/wire-directionality-how-bad-it

>>>>Why would I test cables? I already know they’re directional. Wouldn’t it actually serve a better purpose if skeptics did their own tests? Skeptics already don’t believe in directionality, so they probably wouldn’t believe my test results either. As I said it’s not rocket science. 🚀 You just turn them around. It’s not that difficult. Really.

Why don’t I like to past posts on other forums? Wouldn’t you rather get the latest thoughts as opposed to ones several years ago? You know, just in case I’ve refined my ideas. Maybe not. 😬
@geoffkait 

Your point about not linking to old posts because you may have more current data to offer is a fair reply. Thanks.

To your point about knowing that wire is directional, I'm using Belden 5T00UP speaker wire. Would you say that wire is directional? And, if you answer yes, would you say you could *hear* a difference if connected one direction or another?

If you answer yes to both, I have a business proposition - directly related to this thread - for you (or anyone who answers yes to both questions for that matter). Broadly, the proposition involves either a blind or double blind test where it is my position that you *cannot* reliably hear a difference, and it would be your position that you could reliably hear a difference.

If interested, and if the amount is worthwhile (low five figures?) we can have our attorney's draw up the contracts, establish an escrow account and so on. 
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Wow attorneys and hi fi bets how very exciting.

I was hoping for man to man combat but oh well.
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Imagine how many audio/sound related claims would be disproved  if blind testing was used more often. 

Comes a time when the blind man takes your hand, says don't you see?
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Trouble is blind tests don’t prove anything.

But they can disprove ridiculous claims.

Actually they can’t.That’s kind of my whole point. I’ll leave it to someone else to explain why not as I tire of repeating myself. 😛 True Believers 1, Naysayers 0, 
I think the reality is that many who maintain there are no differences between cables (or other things in audio) don't want to deal with the personal and/or financial implications of such differences being real. Denying differences are possible is their way of avoiding those implications.
I think the reality is that many who maintain there are no differences between cables (or other things in audio) don’t want to deal with the personal and/or financial implications of such differences being real. Denying differences are possible is their way of avoiding those implications.

To the contrary, I think that often (though not always) the reality is that those who maintain there is a difference between cables, etc. and who profess the superiority of one over the other have arrived at their decision in an almost completely subjective manner. The only objectivity in these cases might be the reliance on technical measurements by the manufacturer or third-party entity.

In my view, it really shouldn’t be all that unreasonable to expect that this same someone who professes superiority could detect whatever it is he/she feels is superior in a blind test.

Question becomes, why wouldn’t you want to subject yourself to a blind test in order to further confirm your belief?

EDIT:

It should also be noted that in no way am I hypocritical in this regard. If one refers to my posts at the time I obtained my Yggdrasil, I compared it my my Oppo and Emotiva. I didn't just haphazardly arrive at a conclusion it sounds better, I proved it to my satisfaction. Part of the proof process was bling testing. 
garagesale:
To expand on the question? Has there ever been measurable speaker differences with different cables? ETC? Frequency response? Impedance? Has an amplifier ever displayed a different level of distortion using exotic power cables? As in does an amp begin 1% distortion at 100 watts with a stock power cable but managed 105 watts with an upgraded one?
This image shows 3 speaker cables all driving the same speaker.
Cables are Rega Duet, Bob Carver's Music Link and a protoptype.
http://www.ielogical.com/Audio/TriWireZ.jpg

Amps definitely show different response into loads with different wires. Some combinations will make a less than bulletproof amp shutdown or burn up.

It is possible that an amp may put out more level into a specific speaker / cable combination, but the difference between 100 and 105 is only 0.21db and would likely only affect very short peaks.

brianmoriarty:
Such a test would need to be performed in an ordinary room  with speakers placed in less than ideal positions as the average listener would have things.  Testing high-grade cables and low-grade cables of equal electrical properties,  Like 2 coathanger’s stretched out compared with whatever high-end cable Of the same conductance.
This was essentially the test I ran at AES in the 80's. It is difficult to get exactly the same LCR parameters for different construction. We used 12ga THNN 19 strand and a Monster Pro, also 12ga. Some who took repeated tests could tell better than 80%. Many who took the test only once got results far above guessing and some did worse than guessing. When results were tabulated, it was pretty well evenly split. Many of those who did poorly were firmly in the 'canbenodifference' camp. Unfortunately, we did not collect information as to whether the participants could felt they could reliably determine differences or not. Just as some are color blind or tone deaf, some are not able to hear subtle differences in phase and level.

Quincy Jones once said that we mix in the studio making 0.1db changes for a great many who have trouble hearing 10db. Truer words were never spoken.
“I think the reality is that many who maintain there are no differences between cables (or other things in audio) don’t want to deal with the personal and/or financial implications of such differences being real. Denying differences are possible is their way of avoiding those implications.“


LOL. I am over 100K invested in my setup and don’t have anything other than ordinary wires! I don’t need anything but ordinary wires because I bought high fidelity gear. If a 10K cable made a difference you can be assured I would have 4 or 5 of them. 
“This was essentially the test I ran at AES in the 80’s. It is difficult to get exactly the same LCR parameters for different construction. We used 12ga THNN 19 strand and a Monster Pro, also 12ga. Some who took repeated tests could tell better than 80%. Many who took the test only once got results far above guessing and some did worse than guessing. When results were tabulated, it was pretty well evenly split. Many of those who did poorly were firmly in the ’canbenodifference’ camp. Unfortunately, we did not collect information as to whether the participants could felt they could reliably determine differences or not. Just as some are color blind or tone deaf, some are not able to hear subtle differences in phase and level.”

>>>>>Huh? I doubt anyone could hear a significant difference between those two particular cables. I assume you were trying to portray Monster as a sort of high end cable. But perhaps not. I had some Monster Cable circa 1983 and frankly, it sucked. I did not say that to the head of Monster with whom I dined at CES some years later. In any case, as I’ve opined on more than a few occasions, a single test - even when carefully planned, thorough and performed by AES or any other illustrious group or person, means nothing when the results are inconclusive or negative. In other words you cannot draw any generalizations or conclusions. Of course, there are many reasons why a test can fail to achieve positive results, hence my rather dogmatic statement. The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry. And things have changed a little bit since the 80s, you betcha. So that’s another reason not to use the example from AES for any cable debate.

Furthermore, I suggest more interesting tests would be (1) stranded vs solid core, (2) copper vs silver, (3) cryo’d vs non-cryo’d, and (4) one direction vs the other. Then, I predict, your results will not (rpt not) be inconclusive.
I will say I'm highly skeptical too. 

However, I can offer an anecdotal story inspired by nugat, who stated, "  It can’t be that difficult. Pharmaceuticals are tested that way. Either something works comparing to placebo or not. And the variables are really complicated there."

I knew a girl whose brother sadly had traumatic brain damage, and would get seizures without medication.  Well, somebody high up figured they could save money, generic is just as good.  It has to be.  It turned out if they gave him the generic medication, he would have seizures, if they gave him the name brand medication, he would not have seizures.  This was not an imagined difference, yet the generic was stated to be tested to be EXACTLY the same as the name brand.

So I am remaining open-minded on this, and I think it is fine if the debate continues.  At least from me, if I say, "I can't believe it," I'm only saying it sounds different from what I would expect, not attacking whoever is saying it and calling them a liar.


gdhal
 
In my view, it really shouldn’t be all that unreasonable to expect that this same someone who professes superiority could detect whatever it is he/she feels is superior in a blind test.
It seems to me that those who are clamoring for blind tests should be the ones conducting the blind tests.
One also has to remember that a placebo'e efficacy in medicine is determined over the long run, and not with a minute of this and a minute of that, making an analogy to a blind test with cables a poor one at that.