So What Is Real?


There is a newsletter I subscribe to because the guy seems to talk about reality and not what some sales dude wants to sell you. [email protected]   Now the funny thing to me is that all these cable specialists of high dollar remedies for flawed playback are somehow going to magically change what you hear and will then rise above the abilities of the music file limitations and recording engineers. A dumb wire that is used to create the hi-res recordings so sought after is not somehow suitable for the playback of the same. The following is from Waldreps newsletter and I fully agree. I love this guy and he is a light shining through all the smoke and mirror BS of high end audio. I confess I too am a cable denier and incapable of hearing " further uptick in micro-dynamic jump " but love the delicious word salad these guys create to try to describe something that is not there. I can see the cable guy sitting there with his buddy. Wow did you hear that uptick in micro-dynamics!!  You just know that's how he would talk, right?
  As an aside here how does one become a professional listener? What is the criteria for attaining this lofty goal? How do you know when you have arrived and what governing authority sets down the requirements for such a thing so you know  you are not deceiving yourself and others? Is it a nebulous category that is assigned to you when you spend a certain level of money or do you have verifiable and provable abilities above the norm as recognized by a large group of people including recording industry engineers, professional sound installers and high end audio system owners? In other words anyone but cable sellers?

  The following is from "Dr. AIX Post for January 25, 2020"

 " Cable Nonsense

What is it that Art Linkletter used to say? Kids say the darndest things. Well, it seems some FB audio group administrators, audiophiles, high-end audio salespersons, audiophile society officials, and manufacturers also say things that make little or no sense when talking or posting about cables.

I usually steer clear of FB posts or online magazines that promote high-end audio cables. It's just never safe to present with science, established electrical engineering theory and practice, or objectiveness when cables are concerned. A recent exchange on a familiar FB audio group page resulted in a member calling me a "cable denier" because I advocated for science and physics in evaluating power cords.

The thread basically dismissed my comments because I'm a member of the professional audio engineering community. Audio equipment salespeople, FB administrators, high-end audio marketing managers, and the general audio buying public are claimed to be better and more reliable sources of information when it comes to recommending expensive accessories and cables. According to the gentleman below, they are capable of listening in ways that audio professionals can not.

One commenter wrote:

"Mark is a pro and speaks just like one, but he is not a professional LISTENER, like you (Writer's NOTE: the guy offering the ultra expensive power cords), I and so many others in the high-end industry. Interesting is that most so-called experts are also naysayers who work in the recording industry, not in the high-end industry."

What does this statement actually claim? That professional audio engineers and producers do not know how to listen? That spending one's professional life in front of speakers in a control room doesn't require listening?Maybe...just maybe...the engineers responsible for producing the recordings that are played back in these guys high-end systems are correct in their assessment of power cords and expensive USB/Ethernet cables. Image that!

Can you really trust a gentlemen that just launched a new cable company that offers a 6-foot power cord for $3150? Oh and this person also believes that cables are directional! BTW They are not.

Here's a couple of additional comments...

"Cables can make a difference. I’m glad I can hear those differences it truly enhances the experience. I have been a dedicated audiophile and in the industry for over 45 years and have been able to identify those differences since my first experience with Smog Lifters in the 70’s. I search for and usually discover great products that deserve special attention by people looking for the last bit of resolution and coherency. I’m truly sorry for those that wouldn’t hear the difference."

Here's a comment from an individual that swapped a normal Ethernet cable for an expensive one.

"...the Vodka seemed to remove a layer of film for superior textural reveal. There was also a shade more tonal depth and recording space ‘air’. Most noticeable of all was a further uptick in micro-dynamic jump."

I don't know about you but I cringe when I hear people talk about audio in such terms. And this after listening to a commercial album and then stopping, swapping the cable and relistening. It's unbelievable.

I could pull quotes from cable reviews all afternoon but I think you get the point. When anyone starts spewing nonsense about power cords, digital interconnects, or network cables, run away. Keep your wallet in your pocket and unsubscribe from that group or online magazine. Their motivations are suspect. They either want to sell you something (usually at very high cost) or are dependent on advertising dollars from the companies they write about or the individuals they interview.

"
mahlman
Cable may be  THE most contentious forum subject.

Any threads started suggesting them not worth their claimed performance/price just invites  endless debate without resolution.

I say, buy whatever pleases your ears. No point in anti cable crusades. One just needs to be informed as much as possible, and base purchasing decisions with the education.

Most important, be ready for possible  outcomes not consistent with all the  things they may be told/read.

+1 mahlman! These cable praisers/wire maniacs are just spewing a bunch of pornographic balderdash! 
"My golden ears told me it is so!" LOL!
Just the audiophile version of oil threads... There is no doubt cables make a difference. Where the cost/benefit split is, is possibly left for the oil threads...
Reality is for people who can’t handle drugs. 
Not sure what that long and rambling rant was supposed to be about. The even more tedious rambling nonsense that followed is the usually predicable boring banter. Which is amazing, since if there's one thing banters supposed to not be its boring. But there you go.

The OP entire approach is mistaken. It is not a case of good wire or whatever that will "rise above the abilities of the music file limitations and recording engineers." That would indeed be impossible. But that's not it at all.

What it is instead, every single tiny little bit of component between you and the performance either adds to or detracts from the original sound. The best you can do, the very best possible, is nothing gets added, and nothing gets detracted either. 

So now, if you can't hear any difference, great. Good for you. Lot cheaper that way. Congratulations. I should be so lucky.
" Cable may be THE most contentious forum subject."
It is absolutely insane the nonsense that surrounds them. I went to the Klipsch sound lab in Hope, Arkansas last October and got to see the anechoic chamber and the test lab and from one side to the other not one of these dumb mega buck cables. As in the building where all klipsch speakers are designed and tested. Where the rubber hits the road and results count and not fictional bragging rights they use simple two conductor wires.
Speaker and amplifier manufacturers are usually the last to get the message. - old audiophile axiom

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. - old audiophile axiom
" Reality is for people who can’t handle drugs. "True that and it is nice to know where you are and where you were yesterday so a drug free life IS better. Reality is even a cure for wireomaniacs out there and is drug free.
" Not sure what that long and rambling rant was supposed to be about. The even more tedious rambling nonsense that followed is the usually predicable boring banter. Which is amazing, since if there's one thing banters supposed to not be its boring. But there you go.

The OP entire approach is mistaken. It is not a case of good wire or whatever that will "rise above the abilities of the music file limitations and recording engineers." That would indeed be impossible. But that's not it at all.

What it is instead, every single tiny little bit of component between you and the performance either adds to or detracts from the original sound. The best you can do, the very best possible, is nothing gets added, and nothing gets detracted either.

So now, if you can't hear any difference, great. Good for you. Lot cheaper that way. Congratulations. I should be so lucky. "
   I get a big kick out of people who want life like realism and then proceed to use things the people who played the music or recorded the music don't use to pretend they have achieved accurate playback.
I am uncertain as to why some one would bring discussions from other forums and then use them with quotations to initiate a discussion hear I suspect ulterior motivation for that.


Never the less I note that the OP in this instance is firmly, solidly, and certainly absolutely rigid regarding his Faith, which I applaud with enthusiasm because there is no substitute for Faith in our lives and I can only hope that the OP will apply at some future point use this same allegiance to something more firmly rooted in either true Salvation or science at the very least.
"It is absolutely insane the nonsense that surrounds them. I went to the Klipsch sound lab in Hope, Arkansas last October and got to see the anechoic chamber and the test lab and from one side to the other not one of these dumb mega buck cables. As in the building where all klipsch speakers are designed and tested. Where the rubber hits the road and results count and not fictional bragging rights they use simple two conductor wires."

https://www.klipsch.com/news/klipsch-refreshes-iconic-cornwall-speaker-enthusiasts-get-first-listen-at-rocky-mountain-audio-fest-2019
" ...
* An updated passive network features premium grade AudioQuest® internal wiring. ..."


So someone finds someone who can insult better than he can, gets down and worships the ground he walks on, and quotes all the best insults and snark he can muster, and that is his argument? 

Talk about false gods and being led by the nose. Try reading this article from Roger Skoff on cables:https://positive-feedback.com/audio-discourse/snake-oil-and-the-velocity-of-propagation/
No insults, no claims of golden ears, just a well reasoned look at cables.

All the best,
Nonoise

nonoise
"So someone finds someone who can insult better than he can, gets down and worships the ground he walks on, and quotes all the best insults and snark he can muster, and that is his argument?"


It is not in truth and actuality a real, genuine, authentic "argument" it is a statement of Faith, of belief, or religion and therefore needs no data, science, or substantiation it is justified in it’s very Faith.
@clearthink, I happily stand corrected. 👍

Most "professional" recording engineers produce product that contains mediocre at best sound quality. To hold them up as them up as having the definitive opinion about anything is just specious.

There are a number of engineers who have created superior recordings who DO find differences in cabling, some of them Grammy Award winners for excellence in engineering. Doug Sax (The Mastering Lab, Sheffield Labs Records) Kav Alexander (Water Lily Records), Keith Johnson (Reference Recordings), Barry Diament (Sound Keeper Recordings), Sterling Sound Mastering, Pink Floyd Studios to name just a few.

What recording studios use for cables is a moot point. You can’t go back in time and fix what’s already been done. Only Superman can go back in time.  The object of the game is to optimize what you already have. Nothing is perfect and the playback system certainly has its share of problems. 

Getting a signal from point A to point B involves many of the same issues whether the signal is being recorded, mastered, or played back. The effect cabling makes on the sound of a recording is NOT a moot point! Nor is the fact that the best recording and mastering engineers find there to be differences amongst cables.

Superior reproduction equipment allows one to better hear what is on the recording. It all starts with the recording, hardly a moot point. The capabilities of High End gear to reproduce music is in general far superior to the sound quality contained in the vast majority of recordings.

Drugs are for a reality that can't handle people.
When i have a week i will read this.
This post is another example of my principle: The greatest impediment to advancing an audiophile system is the audiophile.   :(




THIS is real:

Most "professional" recording engineers produce product that contains mediocre at best sound quality. To hold them up as them up as having the definitive opinion about anything is just specious.
This is the real problem. Most recordings are very poorly done. This fact does more damage to what we hear at home than most of the mistakes we make with our systems. Professionals are not the people to look to for good sound, most of them anyway. If they would take a little care with what they do, we would have a much easier time getting good sound at home.
"How does one become a professional listener?"

Give yourself a mental enema.  I am not sure you are capable 
of this...

Most "professional" recording engineers produce product that contains mediocre at best sound quality. To hold them up as them up as having the definitive opinion about anything is just specious.

There are a number of engineers who have created superior recordings who DO find differences in cabling, some of them Grammy Award winners for excellence in engineering. Doug Sax (The Mastering Lab, Sheffield Labs Records) Kav Alexander (Water Lily Records), Keith Johnson (Reference Recordings), Barry Diament (Sound Keeper Recordings), Sterling Sound Mastering, Pink Floyd Studios to name just a few.

Having been behind the curtain for several decades couldn't agree more.
I stand corrected. I held an audio cable up today and everything ran out the end onto the floor. I had no idea it was turned the wrong way.

" Superior reproduction equipment allows one to better hear what is on the recording. It all starts with the recording, hardly a moot point. The capabilities of High End gear to reproduce music is in general far superior to the sound quality contained in the vast majority of recordings. "

I  agree 100% with that.

" "How does one become a professional listener?"

Give yourself a mental enema. I am not sure you are capable
of this... "
Sure a great reply that does not answer the question I was asking in all seriousness. I want to know, if being a professional listener is the only way to accurately judge cables how do you do this? I want to know there is more than look at how much I have spent garbage behind that comment from someone who want to sell 3500 cables.
We had a term for the challenged listener:

” a short between the head sets “

@bdp24 makes a most excellent point and I would add the Chesky produced records with crystal microphone cable....
Are you serious about becoming a more astute listener? There is a search function, I know at least one thread this subject with some very well thought out posts.... 

start there


IMO ya also need some self awareness and the cruel but accurate SPL meter, few audiophile have the tools :-) 
Let's see now. A better amp can improve the original recording's "signal" as well as a better source. We've all seen and heard it be it analog or digital. No one argues with that. I'm not talking about manipulating the signal with higher rez: just using the original recording.

And here we have a cable, which is, in effect,  a capacitor, and having a better made one can't bring out more in the original recording like a better amp or source can?

How can you take both sides of the argument when it suits your fancy?

Using the old, lousy cables in the recording chain messes with what is heard at the time. Most of that signal made it intact at the receiving end, despite the quality of the cable used at the time. So, just like a better amp or source that can extract that extra ounce, so, a better cable can unmask more of the signal which was always there.

The argument that better cables can't replace what inferior cables did at the time of the recording presupposes that those were lousy cables used at the time of the recording. Thanks for admitting that.


All the best,
Nonoise

Most "professional" recording engineers produce product that contains mediocre at best sound quality. To hold them up as them up as having the definitive opinion about anything is just specious.

There are a number of engineers who have created superior recordings who DO find differences in cabling, some of them Grammy Award winners for excellence in engineering. Doug Sax (The Mastering Lab, Sheffield Labs Records) Kav Alexander (Water Lily Records), Keith Johnson (Reference Recordings), Barry Diament (Sound Keeper Recordings), Sterling Sound Mastering, Pink Floyd Studios to name just a few.



Speaking of the idea of professional listeners....one the people listed above, Barry Diament, who very nicely fits in the professional listener category ( and successful to boot )...was once chased off a forum because he drew on his vast experience and success and tried to speak truth to nonsense. The response he got was much less than kind and he just got up and walked out the proverbial door. Nonsense won, and our wee audio circle lost access to the opinion of someone who really counted. So yes indeed sometimes it seems....

The greatest impediment to advancing an audiophile system is the audiophile. :(



Hey, that’s the way it goes sometimes. 
https://www.klipsch.com/news/klipsch-refreshes-iconic-cornwall-speaker-enthusiasts-get-first-listen-at-rocky-mountain-audio-fest-2019
" ...
* An updated passive network features premium grade AudioQuest® internal wiring. ..."

From the horses mouth sort-to-speak...sweet.

Had heard a couple of Klipsch speaker sets that were modded this way and in those cases it made for a very positive change. But to have the real, and stated authority do that, wow.

taras22 beat me to:

"  An updated passive network features premium grade AudioQuest® internal wiring."

I suspect the former had more to do with improvement over the latter....just saying....

"And here we have a cable, which is, in effect,  a capacitor, and having a better made one can't bring out more in the original recording like a better amp or source can? "

From what I've been led to believe. a capacitor can act as a simple crossover in a 2 way unit....perhaps in the 'better' cables, this capacitance is minimized, But....isn't this still like a very primitive bit of eq?

Ignoring Klipsch speakers for the moment....there seems a lot of 'push-back' on them in other 'locales' around here....;)

(...and hasn't the whole 'cable issue' been beaten into pulp elsewhere already enough?  Let's discuss angels on pinheads.....)
...and Please note that I'm not calling anyone here either of the last 2 groups mentioned....

....a 'mental enema'.....I don't want to think about what's involved, much less witness one.....

A 'spotless mind' would seem to contain absolutely nothing of any interest...to the owner, nor me....
I'd like to know when the "cable"  people last had a hearing test? Can you hear 20k HZ? Probably not. So what makes your ears so special?
My ears are those 68 years old ears...Normal hearing for my age tough… First precision...

Second remark, those who dont hears differences between cables has no educated hearing at all, or a very gross audio system, or a hearing health problem...In a moderately resolving audio system cables sound different for slightly educated ears...

Third remark, even if i was hearing differences with all the cables I used immediately, that does not indicate that these changes are very great.... I cannot speak for thousand dollars cable tough...


But my opinion that audiophiles that dream that some cables will makes an upgrade dont have a clue about upgrades...Cables are all different, and sound different, but the price of 300 hundred dollars for a cable for example is not always justifiable in a 2 or 3 thousand dollars system...

The main upgrade of a system is even not, most of the times, an upgrade of the main electronic components of an audio system at all, be it an amplifier, a dac, or speakers, then never mind the cables....

The main upgrade of an audio system( by that I means amazing improvement), unbeknownst to most, is the means of controls of the 3 main embeddings of any audio system: mechanical, acoustical and electrical embeddings...After that you can dream about changing a main electronic component if this is your fancy...

Conversation about cables only reflect most of the times this ignorance about audio system, and open the doors for deaf ears, or dogmatics, who mocks others negating anything they cannot or dont want to experience......
From the op:
" When anyone starts spewing nonsense about power cords, digital interconnects, or network cables, run away. Keep your wallet in your pocket and unsubscribe from that group or online magazine"

If only...
#%^*^%##### and I used some leftover Vampire Wire to re-wire the 1972 Cornwalls 
It seems many think there is some “perfect” sound that is the final answer. I believe the reality is that there will never be a perfect sound that fits everyone, that you can list products that will help to achieve this better. Everyone has different preferences. Look for mixes of products that achieve the sound you prefer. You are the only one that can determine that. Opinions and reviews can help to direct you where to look, and then you might find it’s not the sound that you thought was described. Also, if others are like me, I find I like many different sounds, so there will never be a one perfect sound for me. I might prefer some colorations or certain areas of the sound to be accented over others, while also liking a sound that dosnt do that. Variety is the spice of life, I’d hate to limit myself because I’m supposed to be looking for “the one”. If you think a cable or wire sounds good to you. That’s great. Wouldn’t dream of trying to convince you otherwise, nor would I care to convince someone who hears no difference that there’s something wrong with their perceptions. I won’t put down anyone’s idea of what sounds great to them, on either side of the coin. No one is wrong, but need to realize, they’re not wrong, only for themselves.
You're asking the wrong question.  Instead ask, "What Is Hip?"  It has a beat and it's easy to dance to.  Ain't it funky now! 


Seriously, being an audiophile is a harmless hobby/activity, don't take it too seriously.  Well at least take it less seriously than most audiophiles do.
“I'd like to know when the "cable" people last had a hearing test? Can you hear 20k HZ? Probably not.”
You are asking the wrong people, this statement should be asked for all cable naysayers. If we can hear a difference between cables, then there’s nothing wrong with our ears, I question the naysayers ears
I buy cables based on looks, is that bad???
Now where did I stash my drugs??
So, is this a "reality thread" as implied in the title, or is it yet another "cable thread"?
jrwaudio,

"I buy cables based on looks, is that bad???"
Not at all, you are in a good company although it is only two of us who admit. The rest try to find other excuses.
I too buy wire/cables by how they look and feel! Just like jewelry! Audio jewelry! 
I'm an actual "professional listener" as I'm seriously overpaid to mix live concerts (snakes...live 100 plus foot snakes), and note that my opinions about wire are Real Important...I say buy whatever sounds best to you. I use AQ speaker cable and Morrow and AQ ICs because they work and without them it would be very quiet around here. I'm very proud of an AQ solid silver sp/dif digital cable I bought used for peanuts. Plus, I talked to Bill Low once and I feel if I didn't use some of his stuff he'd get upset, although I've used AQ wires of various types for around 30 years or something...back when most things were STRANDED. To sum up: Don't be stranded.
I suspect the former had more to do with improvement over the latter....just saying....

Quite likely the case. Like in the examples I heard I never heard those changes as separate changes just heard the gross before and after. That being said the original cross-over parts, which I did see, were pretty low grade so almost "quality" part would have been an improvement.

"And here we have a cable, which is, in effect,  a capacitor, and having a better made one can't bring out more in the original recording like a better amp or source can? "

That being said capacitor types do have different sonic signatures that most experienced listeners can, or should be able to hear. After-all most can detect amp differences and caps play a significant part in their sonic differences. And yeah wires have capacitive effect but its a bit more complex than just that. 

From what I've been led to believe. a capacitor can act as a simple crossover in a 2 way unit....perhaps in the 'better' cables, this capacitance is minimized, But....isn't this still like a very primitive bit of eq?


Might be more correct to say that negative parts of the capacitance effect are minimized just as higher grade caps have less of a negative impact. Bandwidth related issues being one example.
I am so disappointed that this forum, and in fact much of the posted subject matter in the forums are so bad. I originally came to this forum to commune and learn from the people who know about the subjects who we, want to learn about and from those we expected to learn from. I am very disappointed the see that this forum (and of all subjects) are full of vitriol, sarcasm, commentary that is so off subject, and the ever destructive trolls big noting themselves  that the conversation and subject matter becomes irrelevant.
To those who what to learn, I am sorry for you that the knowledgeable persons are shut down by ignorant big noters, and those that want to learn are shut out by big nobodies.

I hope that this forum can return to one that exhibits those with (teaching) knowledge such that the newbies and those without audio knowledge are able to learn of this wide and wonderful subject.

I hope that the trolls stay away so we can learn without bad influences.


Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But where the subject is learning, can the trolls stay away so "we" can learn and gain some knowledge without being trampled on.


I actually have a lot of respect for this forum, however if the sarcasm, bitterness between poster's, and those persons who consciously sabotage the posts which want to learn.

I hope those with trivial comments leave, so we who are serious can learn.
I was a non-believer that cables make a difference until I witnessed it on my own system. I had bought a new interconnect cable thinking it would be an upgrade over what I already had, I was shocked at the difference in sounds / loss of brightness and extended low end that had been there before...  I quickly went back to my original $30 interconnect cable.

Like some of  the comments here have suggested, use what sounds good to YOU!

amg56
I am so disappointed that this forum, and in fact much of the posted subject matter in the forums are so bad. I originally came to this forum to commune and learn from the people who know about the subjects who we, want to learn about and from those we expected to learn from. I am very disappointed the see that this forum (and of all subjects) are full of vitriol, sarcasm, commentary that is so off subject, and the ever destructive trolls big noting themselves that the conversation and subject matter becomes irrelevant.
To those who what to learn, I am sorry for you that the knowledgeable persons are shut down by ignorant big noters, and those that want to learn are shut out by big nobodies.

>>>>>>Hey, that’s kind of the way it goes on these troll threads sometimes. Maybe best to relax and enjoy the ride.