Wires connect two components together. It is possible to discern subtle differences between them, the mfgrs see to it, then sell their particualare nuance of distortion over some other. Some speak of mixing and matching these characteristics. To me its like scratching a blackboard with your finger nails, it so misses the mark.
I believe there has to be a sonic improvement by biwiring over the use of jumpers, and that it can be proven scientifially by engineers.
Some state-of-the-art systems even power each driver with its own amp. Those with 2 and 3 way active crossovers use two or three amps to power seperate small groups of drivers.
Though those who biamp their passive XO full range tower speakers would do well to put the money elsewhere, unless they just need more power to meet their speaker mfgr recommended requirements (or a little above for a sense of ease at higher playback levels).
An amusing anecdote in this regard is the designer of the Audio Artistry 'Beethoven' $28k Stereophile Speaker of the Year system uses RadioShack Megawire and ICs in his personal system. Though he tested the wire with his engineering expertise and scientific equipment. He says a 10' length of the 12awg provides the best performance, and recommends 12awg is good for 30'. Get this:
'I measured the 16 gauge Megacable from Radio Shack (278-1270) that I use. A 10 foot length has 0.07 ohm resistance, 714 pF of capacitance and 1.9 uH of inductance. The line impedance is 51 ohm. A typical tweeter has a voice coil resistance of 4.7 ohm and 50 uH inductance. At 20 kHz this yields an impedance of about |4.7 + j6.3| = 7.9 ohm. Add to this the cable inductance of j0.24 ohm, and 0.07 ohm resistance for 10 feet, and the impedance becomes 8.09 ohm. This causes a 7.9/8.09 = 0.98 or 0.17 dB reduction in tweeter output at 20 kHz which is insignificant. The cable effect is even less at lower frequencies.'
See what I mean :-) Awesome. Liberating.
So I put over $3000 worth of cables on the market, and
doned a trench coat, shades, and false beard, and stealthed my way into Radio Shack for some of this wire I purchased with my chewing gum allowance.
I expected an audio train wreck when I installed it, but found the system just souned a little more real. Did I feel like a dummy for hours of study, experimentation, and $$$ I expended over what turns out to be nothing at best, and at least a degradation of the systems potential.
Notice what else he said:
'I hope the material presented here (www.linkwitzlab.com) will add to the general understanding of what is necessary for accurate sound reproduction. Regrettably, much misinformation and outright nonsense have been spread to promote certain "high-end audio" products. The power of suggestion works exceedingly well, when listeners cannot trust their own hearing. I recommend to re-calibrate yourself frequently. Listen closely to all sorts of un-amplified sounds in order to recognize and remember natural aural patterns. It becomes an endless and futile pursuit to listen for and try to evaluate differences between speakers, equipment and accessories without a reality based mental reference.'
I posed this question to Albert VonSchweikert, and this was his reply:
I've heard improvement in the clarity of the midbass region with silver speaker cables on the woofers, and the deep bass seemed a bit tighter as well.
Nothing in his assessement that cannot be contributed to the 'psycho-acoustic' phenomenon. His terms are typially vague, are they not.
Of course a silver cable will 'sound' different than a copper wire. So what. For me the question is what replicates what is recoreded on the source material the more accurately. No progress will be made with wire, tweaks, or top end gear, until the speakers/setup is maximised for the environment, and a distortion free amp is powering them.
Of course then, one is so drawn into the music there is little incentive to play around with the more subtle affects for various combinations of sonic characteristics of other components and tweaks.
The 3 primary issues for real estate is, location, location, and location. For 'true to the original' playback in audio, it is, speakers, setup, and a distortion free amp.
Then furnish the rooms, add a pool, and landscape the grounds.
But whether the style is Tutor, Modern, or Mediteranian, will not change the location, if you see what I mean.
Well, I'm not going to argue the point, Dida. Albert Von Schwiekert is as accomplished a speaker designer as you'll find in this field. If he thinks silver jumper wire might make a difference on the speakers he designs, then I'm going to at least try it. I understand you wouldn't, and that's your perogative. Let's agree to disagree, shall we?
'Might' made a difference? No limb there :-) Of course it will make a difference. It is just a matter of degree, and/or relevance to priorities.
Though I believe when wires get so short as a 'jumper', or a component's internal connections, it may be difficult to discern between silver, gold, or a coathanger, if you get my drift.
You never heard me say it will not make a difference. Contrare. It is possible to discern a difference in just moving some furniture within the room.
To me that is the whole point. So a wire, tweak, or change of component results in an even discernable difference (though like holding a cross up to Dracula, just mention 'blind test' to the 'connoisseurs of coloration' and watch them dive for their coffin :-). Like I said, so does opening a window, the refrigerater running, or the air conditioning.
But if one aspires to 'true to the original'in playback, then one will discern whether that goal has been advanced, or not. You do not hear so much about that, in any terms, poetic or otherwise.
'Regrettably, much misinformation and outright nonsense have been spread to promote certain "high-end audio" products. The power of suggestion works exceedingly well, when listeners cannot trust their own hearing. I recommend to re-calibrate yourself frequently. Listen closely to all sorts of un-amplified sounds in order to recognize and remember natural aural patterns. It becomes an endless and futile pursuit to listen for and try to evaluate differences between speakers, equipment and accessories without a reality based mental reference.' (SL)
I like to experiment. It's half the fun. Open curtains, close curtains. Turn on the AC, turn off the AC. I'll continue to experiment with wires, platforms, cords and whatever is available on a free trial basis. I like my equipment and the way it sounds. In fact, the system improves with each adjustment I make. I have owned SS equipment that has specs to indicate it's true-to-the-original reproduction. I have owned Monster wire. I like the way my system sounds now more than I did when I owned the uber-accurate SS gear. You will undoubtedly respond with another SL quote which will negate my positive viewpoint regarding my own system; a pattern that has already been well established by you. What else can I say? Let's agree to disagree, shall we? 'Nuff said.
You must know that I am familiar with your approach. It is the more popular one: the aspiration that your system attain a 'sound' you personally prefer. There is consensus among you all that it is subjective, and it only matters if 'you' like it. The mfgrs of inferior equipment love that you all think that way. Even the preowned market flourishes because of it. You all agree to that too.
But by contrasting that with a 'true to the original' approach, is not necessarily a hostile gesture. My complaint with radical Islam, is their inability to entertain or consider more than one thought or idea.
There is a down side to both approaches: the 'connoisers of coloration' approach tends to result in all material played back sounding the same. I believe that is the goal, whether realized or not.
Whereas, the transparency, or true to the original, approch necessitates serious listening be done with 'remote in hand' to adjust playback levels of individual tracks on the same recording to 'live' because you can hear how they vary so much.
In fact often times different tracks on the same recording list different personal, and/or differnt recording dates. (I do not refer here to compilations.)
There is a threshold reached along this path: when even a semblance of transparency is achieved the terrible, intolerable, sonic character of too many of even your favorite recordings are discerned. It can be a disappointment, and discouraging.
But at the same time, the superior sonic characteristics of well produced (sparingly mixed --the first albums rejected from my collection were those with excesses of 'echo' generated from the expander knob on the mixing console) properly engineerd source material can be enjoyed since you can now hear it as well. Also qualities having passed through the colored to taste systems will never be heard.
I know. Its an effective argument, and apparetntly a threat to some. But it conveted me. I have gone through most of what gets discussed here, and frankly, most of it is useless, nay, harmful, to the possiblity of ever attaining 'true to the original' in the playback experience.
No offence, and nothing personal. It is just my opinion, but I am sticking to it :-)
Dida, thanks for your cogent and unthreatening response. It was
I must admit that your description of what's required during an
Audiophile listening session( based on your definition of Audiophile), i.e.
the transparency, or true to the original, approch
necessitates serious listening be done with 'remote in hand' to adjust
playback levels of individual tracks on the same recording to 'live'
because you can hear how they vary so much.
...does not entice me to that destination. For me, it's too much work.
Sitting with remote in hand, adjusting each track to an appropriate
playback level does not sound like fun or relaxation. Does that make me
less than an Audiophile, or lazy? Perhaps so, based on your definition.
But, I'm comfortable with that. And, I'm comfortable with my goals for
my system. So, I thank you for better making me understand the
derivation of your viewpoint. Now that you understand my goals,
perhaps we can coexist peacefully in Audiogon cyberspace, yes?
By the way, the decor of your listenign room looks amazingly like it
could be an apartment in a building I used to live in. You don't reside in
North Hollywood by any chance, do you?
Didactically, here is the same question which you still will not answer. You preach the dogma of "true to the original". How is this possible when your reference standard is a $100- pair of Shure earbuds, that have three noticeable frequency peaks, according to Siegfried Linkwitz himself? If your reference earbuds' output alters the frequency response of the input, how can this possibly be "true to the original"
'The Valley'? Not since the pschadelic 60's: just before I 'really' got into 'Turn on, drop out, and tune in', and moved to Laural Canyon. But that was short lived, perhaps in concert with the brief '60's phenomenon. I was a painter then.
But now that I have grown up some, I am into architecture, which pays better, and my work is better received. I mean, I do (usually) get paid for it at least.
I work out of my home now on computer, and affectionately refer to my VW bug as, 'my child support car'. Similarly this apt. And Bugs in general as, 'just a car. Nothing more, nothing less'.
But becasue it is a Studio Apt, being divorced, and doing a Murphy Bed, I get a 12.5x24x8 office/living/listening room (which has an 8x13 dog-leg kitchenette at the listening end --is that causing even my best setup to require shifing the balace 7 degrees to put the image in the center of the soundstage?). I am also thankful for the 24' dimension, which enables the space to accomodate low frequency extension to 24hz. I would be hard pressed to find anything as large even in much larger apts.
It is 2mi from Disneyland, in Orange County.
I know where you (all) are coming from. Been there, done that. But in defence, holding a remote and touching a button ocassionally is no more a bother than turning a page of the program at a concert. And there is more of a payoff becasue you can get closer to that experience in the privay and comfort of your own home.
The greater difficulty is in having to modify your recordings collection. So many of the greatest performances, which may very well be a favorite, are so poorly produced and engineered that when you can hear them with any degree of accuracy, they become intolerable.
So you end up confining yourself to the few that range from what you would then refer to as mid-it to the totally knock you out with realism sonically superior reference quality recordings, which you otherwise could not even know about, nor ever hear on the 'other' type of system.
And some of which you would otherwise never listen to. Some even in a musicla genre that is not among your favorite, thereby expanding your musical horizon. That is not bad, right.
I usually have no problem coexisting, other than with my ex-wife, that is. But that was all her fault(?) though not her story :-)
Yes, peace. And friendly. It can get wierd in cyberspace where you are not facing the person to whom you are speaking. Much of the hostile language would not occur in person. Eccpet from the larger, buffed up guys, parhaps :-)
I hope everyone (you know who you are) heard that.
See, Dida, that's the difference in our approaches. I want my equipment
to serve my music collection. I don't want to adjust my music collection
to serve my equipment. We are at opposite ends of the same
continuum, yet still part of the same universe.
I have never done other than acknowledge the fact. Though I undertand how it can be construed as hostile and threatening to those who dwell in the other universe to point it out.
Idealogically (is that an actual word, well you know what I mean :-), its the difference between true and false, fact and fiction, or science or voodoo.
See, that sounds hostile, and may be offensive. But it is true, isn't it, if you think about it. That is all I am saying.
Anyway, its just my opinion, but I am sticking to it :-)
No offence, and nothing personal. Really. I am not mad at anybody, or judging anyone.
No, I don't agree that it's the difference between true or false, fact or fiction, science or voodoo. That supposition suggests any approach to sound reproduction other than your approach is wrong. To you that's true, because you dogamatically refuse to see the benefit of any other method. I prefer to see the approaches as different methods, neither being more true than the other. Just as I view religions as being different approaches to the same goal: none being more correct than another. The simple fact you admit many of your music sounds like crap on your system is proof enough of your method not being correct for me, but I don't consider it as the "truth" or "the way". Sorry.
After wading through the muck, here is what I offer.
I owned VR4 Silvers years ago. I started out with cables from the amp to the woofer module with jumpers to the top. Sounded good to me. But it was only when I bi-wired them that the sound became truly excellent. So I think that you are limiting the performance of your VR4s by not biwiring, forget that jumper business.
Oz, thanks for your post, and if my set-up allowed for bi-wiring, I'd do
just as you suggest. Unfortunately, I have very long speaker runs with
the cabling running through walls, and a crawlspace. Therefore, I'm
restricted to jumpers. Frankly, if my set-up allowed, I'd probably bi-
amp with a tube/SS combo. BTW, Von Schweikert recommends jumping
from the T/M module down to the woofers, not the other way.
Bottom line, I'm trying some silver jumpers and not noticing much
difference over my old Canare 4S11 jumpers, but the silver has only
been installed for three days.