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post #91 of 218 Old 11-22-2013, 12:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There was a bias. They obviously succumbed to the bias to hear a difference whether there is one or not.

What are you talking about?

 
Sighted bias is probably best modeled as a random variable, so cable cost need not be considered to be an influence with just one possible direction

What do you mean random? So sighted bias can result in random and non-random variables? How would you know if it was non-random? So then everyone is just hearing differences under sighted testing regardless of what you're listening to that has nothing to do with the equipment.

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post #92 of 218 Old 11-22-2013, 05:08 AM
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Sighted bias is probably best modeled as a random variable, so cable cost need not be considered to be an influence with just one possible direction

What do you mean random?

The effects of sighted bias on perceptions of sound quality is random. It may be positive or negative for each component and attribute being compared.
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So sighted bias can result in random and non-random variables?

The effects of sighted bias on the perceptions of sound differences in sound quality is more consistent - a sound quality difference will probably be perceived whether there is one or not.
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How would you know if it was non-random?

Close to 40 years of experience doing DBTs.
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So then everyone is just hearing differences under sighted testing regardless of what you're listening to that has nothing to do with the equipment.

When it comes to things like amplifiers cables and DACs that generally don't sound different, the differences that people perceive have nothing to do with the equipment. The casual nature of the circumstances surrounding the listening evaluation is the source of the differences that are perceived. That is pretty reliable and predictable. Which amp, cable, or DAC is perceived to sound better is
unpredictable.

Obviously other tests such as those involving loudspeakers and room acoustics can involve differences that are so large and unmistakable that they may be overcome the biases in sighted testing. However people like Dr. Floyd Toole and Dr. Sean Olive have proven themselves to be correct when they do blind tests involving those things. Blind tests of speakers are similar to blind tests of other kind of audio gear in that they often show that inexpensive equipment is strong sonic competition for very expensive equipment. Two examples of this are these comparisons of inexpensive and pretty expensive speakers,



and this comparison of $400 a pair speakers with a very elegant, highly regarded and complex speaker system running about $20K.

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/177403-linkwitz-orions-beaten-behringer-what.html

http://www.scribd.com/doc/103681479/SLReport10-05

The proof of this is that if you make the tests substantially and effectively less casual, the differences go away. One problem with sighted evaluations is that there is nothing like a built in check sum on the test. In ABX tests there is a kind of a built in check sum. The listener's reactions become random and that is detected in the statistical analysis. It is not a true test unless you can fail.

Sighted listening tests involving digital cables are very instructive because the audible differences that they can possibly cause fits into a narrow category.

Cable problems cause fairly gross problems in a narrow range such as no sound or sound with clicks and pops or loud static and the like.

Digital cables can't possibly cause problems with tone, soundstaging, sonic detail or the like unless the listener misinterprets the clicks, pops or loud static as being problems with tone, soundstaging, sonic detail or the like.
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post #93 of 218 Old 11-22-2013, 07:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by arnyk 
The effects of sighted bias on the perceptions of sound differences in sound quality is more consistent - a sound quality difference will probably be perceived whether there is one or not.

If that is true, then if you test yourself under double blind conditions what stops you from hearing no difference if one actually does exist? I mean, if bias can make one manufacture differences that don't exist, based on expectation, and you expect to hear no differences, then you probably won't right, even if differences exist. How do you control for this?
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post #94 of 218 Old 11-22-2013, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by arnyk 
The effects of sighted bias on the perceptions of sound differences in sound quality is more consistent - a sound quality difference will probably be perceived whether there is one or not.

If that is true, then if you test yourself under double blind conditions what stops you from hearing no difference if one actually does exist?

The structure of the test stops you from concluding that you heard a difference unless you actually do hear a difference.
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I mean, if bias can make one manufacture differences that don't exist, based on expectation, and you expect to hear no differences, then you probably won't right, even if differences exist. How do you control for this?

The test is designed to expose those situations where no difference is heard by detecting listener responses that are like random guessing. In theory and in practice, it does this quite well.

We first set up the test with level matching so that any audible differences that are heard don't come from that common source.

We allow the listener to switch quickly when he wants to (either long or short periods of listening) to help him be as accurate as possible.

A major safeguard is the double blind method for presenting the alternatives. We take the precaution of not telling the listener what he is listening to by any means but listening, and force him to figure what he is hearing by means of just listening.

Then we get the listener to write his responses down so that any selective memory effects are taken care of.

We mathematically compare the accuracy of the listener responses to a math model of a listener who is guessing randomly to see how much more accurate the listener is than a listener who is just guessing randomly.
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post #95 of 218 Old 11-22-2013, 08:08 AM
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If that is true, then if you test yourself under double blind conditions what stops you from hearing no difference if one actually does exist? I mean, if bias can make one manufacture differences that don't exist, based on expectation, and you expect to hear no differences, then you probably won't right, even if differences exist. How do you control for this?
We control for this by asking a factual question, which largely leaves the subject's belief out of it. For an ABX test, we ask, "X is either A or B; which is it?" There's a correct answer to that question, and it doesn't matter whether you believe the units in question sound different or not. You still listen and make your best case, for each trial.

Now, I said "largely" because it's possible for a skeptic to intentionally give random answers in order to ensure a negative result, or to just not try very hard to hear any difference because he's so convinced it isn't there. But why would one go to the considerable trouble of setting up a test if you're only going to sabotage it? And even if you're suspicious of some skeptics' negative results, why are there no positive DBT results from audiophile true believers, or for that matter, high-end manufacturers, who surely have a powerful economic incentive to produce same?

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post #96 of 218 Old 11-22-2013, 08:37 AM
 
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Are there any peer reviewed journals on sighted bias affecting perceptions? Or must one pay to read such journals?
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post #97 of 218 Old 11-22-2013, 08:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

We control for this by asking a factual question, which largely leaves the subject's belief out of it. For an ABX test, we ask, "X is either A or B; which is it?" There's a correct answer to that question, and it doesn't matter whether you believe the units in question sound different or not. You still listen and make your best case, for each trial.

Now, I said "largely" because it's possible for a skeptic to intentionally give random answers in order to ensure a negative result, or to just not try very hard to hear any difference because he's so convinced it isn't there. But why would one go to the considerable trouble of setting up a test if you're only going to sabotage it? And even if you're suspicious of some skeptics' negative results, why are there no positive DBT results from audiophile true believers, or for that matter, high-end manufacturers, who surely have a powerful economic incentive to produce same?

As a matter of interest how many ABX tests have you been in?
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post #98 of 218 Old 11-22-2013, 08:48 AM
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As a matter of interest how many ABX tests have you been in?
Enough to know how they work. And why.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #99 of 218 Old 11-22-2013, 09:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Enough to know how they work. And why.

In other words, none.
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post #100 of 218 Old 11-22-2013, 10:16 AM
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Let's stipulate that. What's your point, Heinrich, other than ad hominem trolling? Run out of pathetic rationalizations for avoiding the science that's staring you in the face?

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #101 of 218 Old 11-22-2013, 10:25 AM
 
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Let's stipulate that. What's your point, Heinrich, other than ad hominem trolling? Run out of pathetic rationalizations for avoiding the science that's staring you in the face?

Because you don't know what you're talking about perhaps?
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post #102 of 218 Old 11-22-2013, 10:28 AM
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Because you don't know what you're talking about perhaps?
I don't? What have I gotten wrong?

And do you really want to hold to the view that no one can know anything of science unless he has personally conducted the experiment? I've never measured the speed of sound, but I bet I could tell you what it is!
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post #103 of 218 Old 11-22-2013, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Heinrich S View Post

Are there any peer reviewed journals on sighted bias affecting perceptions?

Your ship has come in!

The following is a peer-reviewed publication that you can read and download online for absolutely free!

http://www.acourate.com/Download/BiasesInModernAudioQualityListeningTests.pdf

Biases In Modern Audio Quality Listening Tests.

SŁAWOMIR ZIELIN´SKI, AES Member, AND FRANCIS RUMSEY, AES Fellow
(S.Zielinski@surrey.ac.uk) (f.rumsey@surrey.ac.uk)
Institute of Sound Recording, University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH, UK
AND
SØREN BECH, AES Fellow
(SBE@bang-olufsen.dk)
Bang & Olufsen, Struer, Denmark

"A systematic review of typical biases encountered in modern audio quality listening tests
is presented. The following three types of bias are discussed in more detail: bias due to
affective judgments, response mapping bias, and interface bias. In addition, a potential bias
due to perceptually nonlinear graphic scales is discussed. A number of recommendations
aiming to reduce the aforementioned biases are provided, including an in-depth discussion of
direct and indirect anchoring techniques."

J. Audio Eng. Soc., Vol. 56, No. 6, 2008 June

A must - download and read at your earliest convenience!
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post #104 of 218 Old 11-22-2013, 12:37 PM
 
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Thanks Arnyk! I do appreciate the link.
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post #105 of 218 Old 11-23-2013, 12:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by arnyk 
The effects of sighted bias on perceptions of sound quality is random. It may be positive or negative for each component and attribute being compared.

Just a question. If it is random, why is it that some people experience similar phenomena? You'll hear reports from audiophiles where they hear the same things in a sighted listening test.

Are they lying? What would allow for them to be able to experience similar things if the effects of sighted bias was random? Surely they would be experiencing different things?

I bring this up because if you search the internet and most audio forums you'll find plenty of amateur group tests that are sighted with results that don't always seem random, and it has to do with amplifiers, dacs, and cable. Is it group bias? Is there such a thing?
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post #106 of 218 Old 11-23-2013, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Heinrich S View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk 
The effects of sighted bias on perceptions of sound quality is random. It may be positive or negative for each component and attribute being compared.

Just a question. If it is random, why is it that some people experience similar phenomena?

No mystery there.

Errors in a listening tests that are not random are usually due to communication among the listeners.
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You'll hear reports from audiophiles where they hear the same things in a sighted listening test.

Even if a listening test is a DBT there may still be communication among the listeners. When this happens the erroneous responses may exceed those predicted from random chance.
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Are they lying?

Not required.
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What would allow for them to be able to experience similar things if the effects of sighted bias was random? Surely they would be experiencing different things?

There may have also been some relevant shared experience before the listening test. Given how audiophile meetings go, that is almost assured.
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I bring this up because if you search the internet and most audio forums you'll find plenty of amateur group tests that are sighted with results that don't always seem random, and it has to do with amplifiers, dacs, and cable. Is it group bias? Is there such a thing?

Whenever there's a group, there is a real possibility of group dynamics. We experienced this during our CD player and Amp DBTs and starting warning people about talking or gesturing during the group tests. Body language is real!
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post #107 of 218 Old 12-03-2013, 01:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry for the delay in posting, but I tried another test. I am using 2 different sources for music playback , both only using digital COAX out to a digital pre.
Source 1 - tower PC running logitech media server to a Squeezebox , using the digital out of the squeezebox, The file coming out the COAX is bit perfect
Source 2 - Dell workstation , using foobar/Jriver/Plex/Media monkey etc as a player , Fed into a Behringer FCA1616 usb interface and using its COAX digital out to another input in the digital pre.

 

Both digital outputs use the same cable , both machines have their own external HD's housing the music.

The issue is that there is a distinct and noticeable difference between the 2 sources.... I cue up the same rip on one source as the other , play em synchronised and AB them .. there is no level matching required. The SBT compared to the FCA is less detailed , mids are more recessed and bass is deeper and lacks the slam of the FCA.

 

I know it seems like a cliche to say that my friends heard the same differences, but I had 2 people with me in my room and they both agreed in what we heard. It seems no convolution in DSP (like usb to SPDIF or optical convertors) is not inconsequential .. despite those protesting that they are. Definitely not expectation bias / placebo effect etc....
 

I'm not sure exactly what is happening here. Thoughts?
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post #108 of 218 Old 12-03-2013, 04:55 AM
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I am by no means an expert on the topic, so please correct me if I am wrong. I think its very possible to hear differences in sources because they do actually process the audio signals prior to sending them to the amp/speakers. They likely have different processing software which processes the signal differently, so its likely audio differences will be heard. The topic of this thread is about cables, which is merely transmitting an audio signal through a metal wire. Very different scenario.
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post #109 of 218 Old 12-03-2013, 06:45 AM
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I think its very possible to hear differences in sources because they do actually process the audio signals prior to sending them to the amp/speakers. They likely have different processing software which processes the signal differently, so its likely audio differences will be heard.
Just what kind of "processing" do you think a DAC does? Yes, every one is a little bit different, but by and large they do not differ enough to be audible to you. The real weak link in the chain is your ears, which simply are not good enough to hear such tiny changes.

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post #110 of 218 Old 12-03-2013, 06:48 AM
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Sorry for the delay in posting, but I tried another test. I am using 2 different sources for music playback , both only using digital COAX out to a digital pre.
Source 1 - tower PC running logitech media server to a Squeezebox , using the digital out of the squeezebox, The file coming out the COAX is bit perfect
Source 2 - Dell workstation , using foobar/Jriver/Plex/Media monkey etc as a player , Fed into a Behringer FCA1616 usb interface and using its COAX digital out to another input in the digital pre.

Both digital outputs use the same cable , both machines have their own external HD's housing the music.
The issue is that there is a distinct and noticeable difference between the 2 sources.... I cue up the same rip on one source as the other , play em synchronised and AB them .. there is no level matching required. The SBT compared to the FCA is less detailed , mids are more recessed and bass is deeper and lacks the slam of the FCA.

I know it seems like a cliche to say that my friends heard the same differences, but I had 2 people with me in my room and they both agreed in what we heard. It seems no convolution in DSP (like usb to SPDIF or optical convertors) is not inconsequential .. despite those protesting that they are. Definitely not expectation bias / placebo effect etc....

I'm not sure exactly what is happening here. Thoughts?
If everything is working just as you say, then what you are describing is, quite literally, physically impossible. There is no way to deliver the identical data to a DAC and get a different output. So either something isn't working right, or you are imagining differences which are not there. There is no third possibility.
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post #111 of 218 Old 12-03-2013, 06:58 AM
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Just what kind of "processing" do you think a DAC does? Yes, every one is a little bit different, but by and large they do not differ enough to be audible to you. The real weak link in the chain is your ears, which simply are not good enough to hear such tiny changes.

Hence why I said I am no expert. I'm not familiar with squeeze box or the foobar/Jriver/Plex/Media monkey he was talking about. Using different media player programs may have built in EQ's or other processing that may affect the sound, not to mention the different sound cards in the computers. IMO, thats similar to using receivers from different manufacturers that have some processing of the audio signal under most settings. Again, I am no expert on digital processing or sound cards or anything of that nature, so please correct me if I'm wrong.

My main point though was that he's comparing different sources, which is an entirely different discussion from different cables.
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post #112 of 218 Old 12-03-2013, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Quote:
Sorry for the delay in posting, but I tried another test. I am using 2 different sources for music playback , both only using digital COAX out to a digital pre.
Source 1 - tower PC running logitech media server to a Squeezebox , using the digital out of the squeezebox, The file coming out the COAX is bit perfect
Source 2 - Dell workstation , using foobar/Jriver/Plex/Media monkey etc as a player , Fed into a Behringer FCA1616 usb interface and using its COAX digital out to another input in the digital pre.

Both digital outputs use the same cable , both machines have their own external HD's housing the music.
The issue is that there is a distinct and noticeable difference between the 2 sources.... I cue up the same rip on one source as the other , play em synchronised and AB them .. there is no level matching required. The SBT compared to the FCA is less detailed , mids are more recessed and bass is deeper and lacks the slam of the FCA.

I know it seems like a cliche to say that my friends heard the same differences, but I had 2 people with me in my room and they both agreed in what we heard. It seems no convolution in DSP (like usb to SPDIF or optical convertors) is not inconsequential .. despite those protesting that they are. Definitely not expectation bias / placebo effect etc....

I'm not sure exactly what is happening here. Thoughts?
If everything is working just as you say, then what you are describing is, quite literally, physically impossible. There is no way to deliver the identical data to a DAC and get a different output. So either something isn't working right, or you are imagining differences which are not there. There is no third possibility.

+1! i suspect one of the sources used is providing some sort of processing....or its purely imagination.

I don't need snobs to tell me how to think, thank you!
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I'm not familiar with squeeze box or the foobar/Jriver/Plex/Media monkey he was talking about. Using different media player programs may have built in EQ's or other processing that may affect the sound, not to mention the different sound cards in the computers. IMO, thats similar to using receivers from different manufacturers that have some processing of the audio signal under most settings. Again, I am no expert on digital processing or sound cards or anything of that nature, so please correct me if I'm wrong.
That makes sense. If either of the sources is doing any DSP, the DAC is getting different signals, which could be audible.

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post #114 of 218 Old 12-03-2013, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It's possible we were both imaging differences, but the differences were uncannily the same for both of us. That tells me there is more to this than just pure imagination, otherwise he would have imagined differences that were different from mine.

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post #115 of 218 Old 12-03-2013, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Since on the topic of cables, and bias, please correct me if I'm wrong. Can preamps influence the sound quality of a system or is that also just another thing which will sound the same as any other preamp?

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post #116 of 218 Old 12-03-2013, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

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I'm not familiar with squeeze box or the foobar/Jriver/Plex/Media monkey he was talking about. Using different media player programs may have built in EQ's or other processing that may affect the sound, not to mention the different sound cards in the computers. IMO, thats similar to using receivers from different manufacturers that have some processing of the audio signal under most settings. Again, I am no expert on digital processing or sound cards or anything of that nature, so please correct me if I'm wrong.
That makes sense. If either of the sources is doing any DSP, the DAC is getting different signals, which could be audible.
I, too, suspect processing in the two PCs is causing a difference. I have never trusted the many layers of PC software to be bit-perfect, ever since learning about Microsoft's kmixer issues.

Shaun, what OSes are the machines running? Do you know which audio path is being used? (WASAPI or ASIO or Kmixer or other).
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post #117 of 218 Old 12-03-2013, 12:21 PM
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It's possible we were both imaging differences, but the differences were uncannily the same for both of us. That tells me there is more to this than just pure imagination, otherwise he would have imagined differences that were different from mine.
'Fraid not. We see this all the time. It's called "negotiation." You don't realize your'e doing it, but you are. One guy says, "It sounded to me like..." and that instantly affects what the other guy thinks he heard. It all goes on subconsciously, so you don't even notice it. But it's there. The human mind is not a calibrated test device. Far from it.

Now, that doesn't mean you're wrong. You might very well have heard a real difference. But what you've described does not preclude the possibility that the difference wasn't really there.

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post #118 of 218 Old 12-03-2013, 12:27 PM
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Can preamps influence the sound quality of a system or is that also just another thing which will sound the same as any other preamp?
Preamps include a number of features designed to alter the sound—in the modern world, an awful lot of such features. So we have to be careful about this. I would say that, in general, if you bypass all the DSP and/or tone controls and stuff, two preamps should generally sound identical.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #119 of 218 Old 12-03-2013, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Shaun, what OSes are the machines running? Do you know which audio path is being used? (WASAPI or ASIO or Kmixer or other).

I'm using Windows 7. As far as audio path goes, I'll find out. Thanks for replying!

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post #120 of 218 Old 12-05-2013, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

Realize that most and (I mean most) of these boutique cable vendors are founded and run by people without any traceable electrical engineering or materials science credentials. Check out the bios of Bill Lowe at Audioquest and JPS labs for example.

Where's the beef?

Look at the electronics industry as a whole. Why are these wild cable claims strictly limited to consumer audio and video gear? You mean to tell me a revolutionary break through in speaker wire conductivity has no application in the electric car or solar panel industry? How about the multi-billion dollar computer networking industry. Don't you think these audiophile claims of superior digital signal transmission would be applicable there too?

Ditto that for power cords. Why do companies like the one I work for spend millions in UPS systems to provide clean power yet we use $3 Belden power cords to plug the gear in. BTW, I work in one of the world's largest teleproduction facilities. We generate the BluRay master and broadcast programming you watch and listen to. We don't buy boutique cables and neither do our competitors. Get a tour of a Google data center and tell me how much was invested in their power supply system - many millions in large industrial grade UPS systems. Then tell me who's boutique cables they use to plug in the gear? I also had the privilege years ago to tour NASA/JPL in Pasadena. I didn't see any $300 wall outlets or high end power cords in the labs there either!

When you take this into consideration, the Best Buy cable rap falls apart doesn't it?
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I wish I could have a few do-overs, at least they look nice. . .

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