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Cable gurus, what is it underneath it all?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
So, I'm an understanding person; at least I think I am. biggrin.gif Anyways, as it is with any high-end audio conversation, cables always make it in somewhere. Being logical, you know they are completely snake oil. I want some A-philes or A-fools! who believe otherwise to chime in.

My question (starting with a comment): All high-end speaker cables are just solid or stranded copper wrapped in a jacket with plugs or spades soldered to the wire, correct? Forgetting the strand twisting, and the "superior" connectors, what makes these "tone controls" or gives them the ability to alter the sound? At it's core, it's copper soldered very well to a "good" banana plug or spade, correct? I want to try and understanding the thinking of those who believe it can alter sound. Because after finding these old very high end cables and cutting into them, this is all I can see.
post #2 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVMAN1991 View Post

Forgetting the strand twisting, and the "superior" connectors, what makes these "tone controls" or gives them the ability to alter the sound?
Nothing, that's why it's snake oil. Even the claims made by the cable mountebanks that are true generally apply to radio frequencies, not audio frequencies. As for those who believe, this pretty much sums up why:

audio_design.jpg
post #3 of 24
eek.gif That's funny! smile.gif
post #4 of 24
Bill,
That is awesome.
post #5 of 24
If you believe cables make a difference - cool. If you don't - cool. The problems arise when someone tries to push their opinions as facts, which is what causes these debates to get out of control. Either way, no matter which camp you're in, I say as long as you're happy who cares. Just don't expect everyone in this hobby to agree with you.
post #6 of 24
Except that there ARE actual FACTS in this argument. rolleyes.gif It is NOT a matter of opinion! The people who CORRECTLY point out that there is no logical reason for non-defective cables to sound any different are not "pushing their opinion as facts", they are actually stating FACTS. There is a difference.

Just because there is an argument with two sides does NOT imply that the two sides are "opinions" with equal merit. This logical fallacy of false symmetry is a horrid misconception that affects all sorts of debates in our society, like people getting convinced that "creation science" should be taught in schools because it's a "theory" just like evolution.
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

If you believe cables make a difference - cool. If you don't - cool. The problems arise when someone tries to push their opinions as facts, which is what causes these debates to get out of control. Either way, no matter which camp you're in, I say as long as you're happy who cares. Just don't expect everyone in this hobby to agree with you.

The problem is, many people seem to lack the analytic chops to distinguish between subjects that are matters of opinion, and things that are not matters of opinion at all but rather falsifiable claims.

"Sonic differences" from wire is not a subject about which reasonable people may disagree, because it is a falsifiable claim.

And one that has been falsified to the satisfaction of pretty much everybody except for the charlatans who push wires based on "sound" (as opposed to looks, or whatever else) and the people whose BS meters are insufficiently sensitive to filter out the charlatans' various scams.

When differences are in fact present, then one enters the realm of opinion, of preference. But the presence or absence of difference is not a matter of "opinion," except to the exceptionally weak-minded.
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

The problem is, many people seem to lack the analytic chops to distinguish between subjects that are matters of opinion, and things that are not matters of opinion at all but rather falsifiable claims.
"Sonic differences" from wire is not a subject about which reasonable people may disagree, because it is a falsifiable claim.
And one that has been falsified to the satisfaction of pretty much everybody except for the charlatans who push wires based on "sound" (as opposed to looks, or whatever else) and the people whose BS meters are insufficiently sensitive to filter out the charlatans' various scams.
When differences are in fact present, then one enters the realm of opinion, of preference. But the presence or absence of difference is not a matter of "opinion," except to the exceptionally weak-minded.

I cannot and will not argue with that; although I'd phrase it in a more pleasant manner instead of hurling insult at "believers."
Quote:
Originally Posted by batpig View Post

Except that there ARE actual FACTS in this argument. rolleyes.gif It is NOT a matter of opinion! The people who CORRECTLY point out that there is no logical reason for non-defective cables to sound any different are not "pushing their opinion as facts", they are actually stating FACTS. There is a difference.

Ah yes, but you're forgetting about the "fact" that cognitive dissonance exists. I also never stated which side was pushing opinions as fact; you drew your own conclusions on that one, so don't try to pretend you're correcting me on that. wink.gif
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

If you believe cables make a difference - cool. If you don't - cool. The problems arise when someone tries to push their opinions as facts, which is what causes these debates to get out of control. Either way, no matter which camp you're in, I say as long as you're happy who cares. Just don't expect everyone in this hobby to agree with you.
As long as you're happy, no one cares, though I must admit it's fun to laugh at those who fall for nonsense that has no more scientific basis than the Tooth Fairy. It's the recommending that someone else spend their money on something that doesn't work that deserves to be countered with every opportunity.
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

I also never stated which side was pushing opinions as fact; you drew your own conclusions on that one, so don't try to pretend you're correcting me on that. wink.gif

fair enough wink.gif
post #11 of 24
TVMAN, there is no thinking. Those who believe in "magic" cables are practicing magic thinking. They want to believe that they have access to secret knowledge that is outside of science. As an engineer myself, and an expert in Electromagnetics, it just ain't true.
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

The problem is, many people seem to lack the analytic chops to distinguish between subjects that are matters of opinion, and things that are not matters of opinion at all but rather falsifiable claims.
"Sonic differences" from wire is not a subject about which reasonable people may disagree, because it is a falsifiable claim.
And one that has been falsified to the satisfaction of pretty much everybody except for the charlatans who push wires based on "sound" (as opposed to looks, or whatever else) and the people whose BS meters are insufficiently sensitive to filter out the charlatans' various scams.
When differences are in fact present, then one enters the realm of opinion, of preference. But the presence or absence of difference is not a matter of "opinion," except to the exceptionally weak-minded.

I cannot and will not argue with that; although I'd phrase it in a more pleasant manner instead of hurling insult at "believers."

Sometimes truth is strongly biased to one side. There's no shame in plainly and unambiguously stating that.

And there were no insults in my previous post. People who push wires based on sound are charlatans. Here are the elements of the definition of "charlatan":
1) a person
2) who makes elaborate, fraudulent, and often voluble claims to skill or knowledge
3) in order to obtain money ***

Here, we have cable companies ("persons" under U.S. law) and sole proprietors ("persons" under any definition), who make a whole bunch of nonsense claims about properties of wire, in order to sell wire.

That's a 1:1 fit.

Harsh terms that entirely justified by facts and reasonable inferences are not "insults."
post #13 of 24
I ain't beieive in no hi end cabels. Yer guys werds ain't mak no sinse to me.. wink.gif
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

Sometimes truth is strongly biased to one side. There's no shame in plainly and unambiguously stating that.
And there were no insults in my previous post. People who push wires based on sound are charlatans. Here are the elements of the definition of "charlatan":
1) a person
2) who makes elaborate, fraudulent, and often voluble claims to skill or knowledge
3) in order to obtain money ***
Here, we have cable companies ("persons" under U.S. law) and sole proprietors ("persons" under any definition), who make a whole bunch of nonsense claims about properties of wire, in order to sell wire.
That's a 1:1 fit.
Harsh terms that entirely justified by facts and reasonable inferences are not "insults."

I wasn't talking about your charlatan comment, but thanks for the lesson Lord Dictionary. rolleyes.gif You called them "weak-minded," which is an insult. You're very good at insulting people on the forums. Didn't you just get some time off from Audioholics forum for your behavior? I see you haven't learned anything from that experience...rolleyes.gif
post #15 of 24
I'd change your avatar after that A** beating your team took on Mon night.. biggrin.gif
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goat1 View Post

I'd change your avatar after that A** beating your team took on Mon night.. biggrin.gif

I won't be changing anything, but that was a disgrace... It was like watching JV play a college team - ouch. That's what a ton of O-line and D-line injuries will do to you. We're still better than Dallas, though. biggrin.gif
post #17 of 24
You will probably beat Dallas. You play us next week and will more than likely beat us too ,unless we can get to Rodgers..
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goat1 View Post

I'd change your avatar after that A** beating your team took on Mon night.. biggrin.gif

I won't be changing anything, but that was a disgrace... It was like watching JV play a college team - ouch. That's what a ton of O-line and D-line injuries will do to you. We're still better than Dallas, though. biggrin.gif

talk about damning with faint praise... tongue.gif
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVMAN1991 View Post

...what makes these "tone controls"...?
Excessivey high capacitance or inductance. Usually the latter because inductance is primarily a function of the length of the cable. Believe it or not, there have been expensive boutique cables that were high capacitance and rolled off the highs measurably. For simple zip cord of reasonable length, the effects of capacitance and inductance will typically be inaudible.
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

I won't be changing anything, but that was a disgrace... It was like watching JV play a college team - ouch. That's what a ton of O-line and D-line injuries will do to you. We're still better than Dallas, though. biggrin.gif
I'm a Jet fan who watched that epic in New England w/a house full of Pats fans. The butt fumble will live in the house of shame for eternity.frown.gif
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colm View Post

Excessivey high capacitance or inductance. Usually the latter because inductance is primarily a function of the length of the cable. Believe it or not, there have been expensive boutique cables that were high capacitance and rolled off the highs measurably. For simple zip cord of reasonable length, the effects of capacitance and inductance will typically be inaudible.
True. There are only three concerns with cable: resistance, capacitance and inductance. A cable that isn't defective will have no issues with any of those. Cable that is not defective can be had for as little as ten cents a foot. And yes, I've seen those tests of high priced boutique cables that were in fact defective. They did act as 'tone controls', by rolling off high frequency response. But contrary to claims by the cable crooks no cable can add anything to response, they can only take away.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

: You called them "weak-minded," which is an insult.

And entirely based in reality. It is weak-minded to fall under the spell of charlatans.

Some people may not like it, but that doesn't make it any less reality-based.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

Didn't you just get some time off from Audioholics forum for your behavior? I see you haven't learned anything from that experience...rolleyes.gif

Not to my knowledge, though maybe. I just stopped going, because Gene's penchant for mindlessly regurgitating whatever those people who gave him those poorly-designed $60k midrange-mushroom-cloud-machines feed him got under my skin.

If Gene wanted to kick me out for calling him out on his inaccurate article labeling those polepiece extensions on some woofers "phase plugs," and then doubling down on his incorrect statements, that's his prerogative. It's his sandbox.
Edited by DS-21 - 11/28/12 at 12:11pm
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

And entirely based in reality. It is weak-minded to fall under the spell of charlatans.
Some people may not like it, but that doesn't make it any less reality-based.

You call it weak-minded, I call it uneducated or ignorant. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, so why not let the believers (not the ones trying to sell said products) just think there's a change and enjoy? Let them have their fun, provided they aren't trying to claim what they hear is gospel. There's no reason to rain on their parade if they are happy.

Just my $0.02
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

True. There are only three concerns with cable: resistance, capacitance and inductance. A cable that isn't defective will have no issues with any of those. Cable that is not defective can be had for as little as ten cents a foot. And yes, I've seen those tests of high priced boutique cables that were in fact defective. They did act as 'tone controls', by rolling off high frequency response. But contrary to claims by the cable crooks no cable can add anything to response, they can only take away.

^ This. Oddly enough, some people want an intentionally flawed cable to help cope with problems with the speakers or further upstream. Of course, they won't admit that and will instead say the cables transformed the system. While you and I may disagree, I say who cares and just let them enjoy.
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

It is weak-minded to fall under the spell of charlatans.
I wouldn't go that far. But while you actually can cheat an honest man it's a lot more difficult to cheat one who is well informed.
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