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.   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.


I apologize for not getting the numbers right. It was eight or nine different numbers (including 10X-30X) mentioned in the post so I lost track what related to what and what was saved and how.

In any case, it is an impressive endeavor to go through with the room. Most of the people would probably split $165000 between modifying an existing room and acquiring more expensive equipment although your approach is way more interesting. Why no windows? If I understood it correctly, and I might have missed it again, you would need artifical light and air flow all the time. That could be a problem in the long run, or during longer listening sessions. Is there an issue with that?
Thank you.  I already had the equipment and I moved into another home.  The prior home had a 25X20X11 (vaulted) size listening and storage room with windows behind and to the side of the speakers.  Although it had a 6" poured reinforced 3000 psi floor and dedicated power, 8" thick walls of more conventional construction, it is 100% inferior to the new room I built.  I already had the equipment when I built the new room and used nearly the same SR HFT, speaker placement and Hallograph that I had in the prior room.  So, it just cost a lot to build this custom room.  Below is the breakdown of the room.  Windows are anathema to good sound.  Note my 17" thick pair of doors built identically to the walls.  I built a separate storage adjacent room to house my 7,000 CDs, 5,000 78s and 18,000 LPs for immediate access and outdoor shed for the rest of the collection.

Listening Room Construction   It is custom but not SOTA materials

Floor-Poured steel reinforced to 12” 3000 lb. PSI concrete floor


1” MDF

1/8” thick Acoustiblok vinyl sound barrier

¾” MDF

3 x 12 vertical studs, 14.5” on center

Staggered 12.6” wide 2 x 12 and 4 x 12 per vertical stud channel

13” X 4” X 48” 72lb. 4 chamber activated charcoal absorption filters staggered vertically up/down/up/down

4” Rockwool insulation over vacant stud channel area adjacent to filters  - Flexseal all joints

¾” cherry plywood

Doors-Same construction as Walls 17" thick swinging 84" & 96" high

Side Walls - 5X 4' X 2' X 3" wood framed acoustic absorption panels


4’ Sound Absorption Blankets

4” Rockwool

2 x 8 horizontal beams

5/8” X drywall paneling - Flexseal all joints

1/8” thick Acoustiblok vinyl sound barrier

¾” cherry plywood

Ceiling - 6X 5' X 3' X 6" wood framed acoustic absorption panels

Recessed 9 BR 40 65 Watt LED floodlights

2 Ton HVAC split system, low speed, high volume

70+ oz. plush cut pile carpeting

Power-Separate Sub-panel for audio only outlets, 10 gauge wiring, 20 amp breakers. Nothing special.

$165,000 on a listening room is an extreme example of the cost involved when the financial  principle of diminishing returns is ignored.  This poster could potentially have achieved 95% of the sound quality he was looking for at the $50,000 mark.  But he became obsessed with this "hobby" and completely lost the ability to comprehend the meaning of value (quality divided by price).  Did it for me when he touted his 18,000 LPs.  Really?  Why spend that much on a room in which you play an outdated technology?
Holy Crap!  Just did the math.  18,000 LPs (and not counting the CDS and 78s he boasts) equates to buying a LP every day for 50 years. I'm throwing out the red BS flag on that one.
No, I have 25,000 LPs/7,000 CDs/7,000 78s. I am 64 and started collecting/listening at 2 (two years old). At 5, I had 300 records (Steve Hoffman used to bring his portable record player to the beach when he was a child). I was not permitted to go shopping from ages 3 to 5 because all I would do is want a record, sold in nearly every store (like CDs, cassettes in the 90s and 80s respectively).  
As to BS flag, you may be full of B.S. as I am good friends with Frank (Oregonpapa and our mutual friend and prior remastering engineer Robert Pincus) and are friends with other world famous remastering engineers Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray. Also, my collection is relatively small compared to other acquaintances Music Man Murray (1 million records), Thomas Chandler (1.5 million records), Tom Null (200,000 records) all deceased but whom I have acquired some records from. I did not purchase most of my LP collection new but did buy 97% of the CDs and 50% of the 78s new (from stores going out of business in the 70s).  

@dynaquest4 LPs are NOT OUTDATED TECHNOLOGY! If you have read these forums and the industry (LP and hardware production), they are a very significant platform for reproducing music for serious listeners. My 78s, acoustic and electric recordings can be considered obsolete technology but provide ample pleasure to the listener. Acoustic recordings are more difficult to properly reproduce than LPs (speeds, e.q., stylus size, etc).  CDs are considered outdated technology due to frequency band limitations among other reasons; however, like LPs are also a significant platform for reproducing music.  

You also point out that I could have achieved 95% of my acoustical requirements at $50,000. HOW DO YOU KNOW? I was a commercial real estate appraiser for nearly 32 years and one of my specialties was sound studio appraisals, existing and proposed. I appraised 17 studios in Los Angeles area, some under construction with very significantly greater costs per square foot, double layered concrete viscous material separated flooring and walls, split positive and negative power grids to the studios, etc,, really expensive set-ups.

My contractor and designer completed a Capitol Studios remodel and are now working on an 8,500 square foot recording studio in Newport Beach for $800,000. I had a budget of $145,000, which included finishing materials, power, lighting and HVAC so my actual acoustical construction costs were closer to $130,000. Since I don't intend to move again, can afford what I built and do not intend to alter the listening room construction, the price was right. Acquaintances who have high end expensive audio systems have spent $500,000 to $800,000 on their much larger listening rooms. My cost was significantly lower on a per square foot basis and require no bass traps of any sort.  

Acoustics represent 50% of music sound quality in my opinion as well as knowledgeable people; otherwise, we would not have spent as much on achieving optimal sound (very common in the construction of concert halls throughout the world).