Measurements from trying out AudioQuest cables

Wharfedale EVO 4.1 4.2 Speakers

keith_correa

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Before someone else says it, let me beat them to it:

1. Science has not yet learnt to measure all that needs to be measured which affects sound. For example, how does one measure timbre?
2. Measurements are meaningless.
3. Forget fancy graphs and measurements. You do not listen to squiggly lines do you?
4. Music must touch the heart. And the soul. It should move you even if it is jarring. And it will if you buy this. And nothing else matters.
5. Silver cables are bright sounding in my system. Because silver is shiny, shiny! Also, they should be stranded. In the jungle!
6. His measuring equipment is not resolving enough to determine the difference in cables.
7. His measuring equipment is using the stock power cord. He will at least hear the noise floor drop if he uses aftermarket power cords.

Additions are invited. :p
 
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firearm12

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If measurements were everything, there would have been no need for this forum. Science only helps to understand nature, not define nature.
 

raghupb

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Small deviation @keith_correa
- measurements taken alone are meaningless and out of context
The rest of the points are very valid.

I'm not a cable/wire guy. But this does not mean I will not try out different stuff.
Some of them do sound different (good or bad, is another thing), some don't sound different.
Ideally, if one is trying ICs, try to replace all segments with one brand or type (if DIY).
Hopefully it'll be 2 or 3 segments worst case; eg. DAC --> (tube buffer) --> pre --> power

Very soon, I will be embarking on a big experiment with different ICs and speaker wires.
Will keep the forum posted on the subjective side of things, if/when it happens
Cheers,
Raghu
 

prateekatasniya

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An interesting experiment which actually measures the quantum of improvements with & without using a pair of audioquest wind RCA "PSS silver" cables.
The competing cable in this is also a high quality cable though might not cost much.

Loudspeakers for music recording and reproduction book mentions about the difference cables make in case to case basis.
They share the measurements.
Proper knowledge and application is needed to do it right.
 

fLUX

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I was in a similar camp when i first forayed into portable audio. I noticed several minor changes with a well made cable even in something as compact and short like DAP-> AMP -> IEMs.

Moving into HiFi stereo setups, when i recently forayed into slightly expensive cables the changes in Emit M20 were very prominent vs a 14AWG cable I had been using, the bass was much more refined and treble response improved noticeably to the extent i was surprised at the improvement. I noticed a similar improvement using Murthy's RCA vs using Bandridge RCA I was previously using.

On the power cable side I could not do much RnD as i have only a single power cable from Murthy and I had to use it with the Saga+ as default cable which is 2 pin causing ground loop issue resulting in a static humm.

I have never been much of a measurement guy, if I perceive the difference be it due to "placebo/science/black dog magic" then I am a happy camper.
 

raghupb

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One more thing we tend to forget is this. What is on the inside of the chain, wiring, topology, connectors.
A well measuring IC may just be stymied by a poor quality connector or internal wiring.
So we can't hear anything really different, and wonder why is this cable so expensive/touted.

Since the early part of this century, audio industry has been after UP-OCC copper and silver.
Maybe there is some truth in it because of the metallurgy aspects of it.
Will in greatly improve the rendition in your in your chain or my chain, is anyone's guess.
That's because inside the component the wiring may be from a different metallurgy process or geometry.
And that rules over the sound quality even when using a dinky little length of good cable/wire.

If our expectations are properly managed there will be fewer disappointments.
ASR forum brings one aspect to the game.
DIYAudio forum brings yet another aspect.
HFV another one ... and so on. Nobody is absolutely right or wrong.

Cheers,
Raghu
 

keith_correa

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Proper knowledge and application is needed to do it right.
Ah, yes! Sorry about that. :)
If our expectations are properly managed there will be fewer disappointments.
<snip>
Nobody is absolutely right or wrong.
Absolutely correct, sir! Just don't forget to cryo treat them cables, though. :p

Is it just me or does anyone else detect an underlying element of defensiveness in posts following my post? o_O
 

raghupb

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"Cryo treating" or "cable cooking" my MX brand or generic cables will definitely make no difference.
But this OCC method uses some funky heating and cooling in the metal extrusion process.
So there may be some truth to it; I would not know until I actually hear it.
ASR is a nice read, but basing everything on squiggles, as @keith_correa rightly puts it, is a one dimensional approach.

Cheers,
Raghu
 

firearm12

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Measurements may not count, but that 2300$ cable he tested, it will never be worth 2300$ of upgrade. Better to spend somewhere else in chain if someone has that amount of money.
 

prateekatasniya

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In some cases where long lengths of cable is needed one can find significant difference.


But yeah.. exorbitant money spent on cables is what I don't believe in.. Only thing is right type of cable should be used.
 

Passive_audio_enthusiast

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If measurements were everything, there would have been no need for this forum. Science only helps to understand nature, not define nature.
There is a difference between going for the absolute perfectly measured thing and liking some pattern of non perfection subjectively. The whole Hi-Fi industry is about the non perfection. Otherwise studio gear already is brutally truthful. For example. If one claims someone hears more detail on his gear more, they are only hearing those thing that their system exaggerates which is in turn an imperfection. I recently sold my bowers and Wilkins P7 headphones. They just had so much more detail in upper mids only because they had peaks their on their graph compared to a hd 600 which is rather flat. But that peak also means it had wrong tone with many instruments. It was like listening everything through a horn! But for a. Non technical person it would be better headphone than the hd 600. Similarly if understand the concept critical bands / masking in freq and time domain well, then with a parametric eq you can alter the sound of a speaker (a studio monitor, preferably) to have wide soundstage, lush mids and any other sort of subjective quality they are known for. If you look deeper into every graph and look where the dips and highs are in respect to critical bands, you always get the answer why a speaker sounds wide, or airy or thin or so.

but after a while this is enough to judge how a speaker sounds like even without listening to it. Many highly reputed guys like Andrew Jones, KH Fink they all only look at these pattern or look at the numbers for quite long during their improvement iterations before they give it a listen.
 

drkrack

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Before someone else says it, let me beat them to it:

1. Science has not yet learnt to measure all that needs to be measured which affects sound. For example, how does one measure timbre?
2. Measurements are meaningless.
3. Forget fancy graphs and measurements. You do not listen to squiggly lines do you?
4. Music must touch the heart. And the soul. It should move you even if it is jarring. And it will if you buy this. And nothing else matters.
5. Silver cables are bright sounding in my system. Because silver is shiny, shiny! Also, they should be stranded. In the jungle!
6. His measuring equipment is not resolving enough to determine the difference in cables.
7. His measuring equipment is using the stock power cord. He will at least hear the noise floor drop if he uses aftermarket power cords.

Additions are invited. :p
I have Come up with Few New Of Mine, All rights Reserved!

8. Cables don't make a difference more than 10% in the system, its the last mile and how much you hear the difference and how much price you feel justified varies with the individual. I can't live without the additional 10% customization tweak which comes at no extra cost. ( Used Cables prices don't depreciate much, they rarely malfunction & mostly come with life-long warranty, so its one time, not so depreciating investment in the 10% tweak), Commercially thinking, its not a bad investment by any means.

9. Individual Sensitivity to SQ difference varies, so is with every human senses, Luckily since everyone is bestowed with the same hearing apparatus, its not pretty hard to train oneself, as with every training it needs time, perseverance and some hard work ( of changing cables again and again with the same set of tracks).
For Eg My better half can tell a difference between two hair conditioners with same composition. Where as I can never differentiate between two hair conditioners ( before marriage it was much bad, I couldn't differentiate between 2in1 Shampoos vs Conditioners :)). I can make out a difference between two whiskies aged 8 yrs and 12yrs with reliable precision and same goes with two different wines, whereas my best buddy cannot, he always cribs on me paying more for apparently costly liquor. My father was much particular, with just 2 sips of tea he could tell whether the milk was properly boiled or not, or tea was boiled down to his required level of brew before filtering. I'm still unable to reach that level. Your scientific data related blindness is keeping you off an excellent opportunity of training your ears.

10. Speaker Cables and Power Cables affect the final Presentation of music; ICs affect the tonality & subtle interactions between different sounds ; For eg, Soup can be served in a bowl and in a Drinking Glass as well. But for many its not a soup unless its served in a Soup bowl, hell what, some are even particular about the type of spoon provided with soup, not to mention the exact temperature. Whereas a Scientific Soup detector aka ( Measuring Equipment, Mics) will Tell you that Soup doesn't change in quality just because its served in a expensive bowl instead of drinking glass. Well, both are correct, but will I ever go to a restaurant which doesn't invest in proper soup bowls for serving Soup? Hell No! So it doesn't matter how great your Soup is, how expensive tomatoes or ingredients you've put, if it isn't served properly you'll lose on buyers. Same Goes with many other foods and the presentation matters a lot for many of us.
Can Whiskey be served in a Wine Glass? Well Yes, To a measuring equipment Does it change the composition of Whiskey? Hell no. Will I ever visit a restaurant without proper whiskey glasses, almost never!
Coming to ICs : they change the tonality and interaction between different sounds. For eg, the shape of onions cut for Pav Bhaaji is entirely different from that cut for Sambaar. But are they interchangeable? For me, almost never! Though the measuring equipment will say the onion quality or quantity is same between two Pav bhaaji preparations, but I'd never visit the restaurant which cuts Pav bhaaji onion like Sambar onions. Same goes with many other ingredients, innumerable examples can be deducted here.

11. We, in biological sciences see the drawbacks of scientific information day in and day out unlike the ones with more absolute sciences. We see our scientific egos bruised every week, so we're constantly learning and present it as peculiar phenomenon or case report not confirming to currently available scientific data. Most of you might have witnessed the loopholes in scientific research if you have closely listened to WHO bulletins over Covid19 in the past 6 months. Einstein proved someone's wrong, someone will prove that Einstein wasn't entirely correct either ; keeping an open mind is a hallmark of a true scientific mind, not closed on possibilities. Instead of uttering the same thing that there's no difference, focus on why people are hearing a difference and how that can be incorporated in future designs with economical means. Many equipment and cable Manfacturers are constantly researching it & are practicing it as a black art which is quite unfortunate. They know something beyond with their experimenting and they're profiting from it.

12. Statistically Speaking, Blind AB testing is not the Correct way to judge 2 components when we're talking about a acquired taste like audiophile innuendos and it doesn't have a Negative Predictive Power to apply the Results to give a universal recommendation. So it just means Product A & B didn't much differ in final SQ when heard by XYZ group of individuals with PQRST type of accompanying equipment and Room conditions. Will it apply to DEF group of people with LMN types of accompanying equipments? 'May or may not be' should be the correct answer. That's why there's a Expert opinion as a level of evidence on most scientific research based recommendations.

12. Music production is a Art form, not only a scientific one ; same goes for Music Reproduction as well ; as with any art you need to invest time, perseverance is paramount to attain the perfection you are looking for. Just investing money won't be enough, this is my experience with hearing many systems over the last decade. So, you can see people investing enormous amount of money and unhappy with final SQ, just because you have to work hard to further tweak it. Subjective experience matters a lot and system builders will overlook it at their own peril.

13. Finally, One important drawback of having sensitive ears is that, you should always end your opinion with 'YMMV' or else get ready to read basic science lessons from well googled audiophiles. In my experience I have seen people challenging a detailed experienced Echo reports by experienced clinicians with 2 min auscultation using their stethoscopes umpteen number of times, so I never Underestimate the power of human ears. Some Great entrepreneur recently announced Retina Display resolution is the maximum human eyes can differentiate & there's no need to go above that ; only to release much higher resolution screens 4k screens within 2 yrs after seeing the people can differentiate much more resolution than that.

To be continued....
 
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Hari Iyer

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One of the greatest held secrets in audio is what you measure is not what you hear. I have realized this first hand with my speakers after working on them for 15+ years. This was revealed only recently with my field coil speakers.
 

Hari Iyer

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Before someone else says it, let me beat them to it:

1. Science has not yet learnt to measure all that needs to be measured which affects sound. For example, how does one measure timbre?
2. Measurements are meaningless.
3. Forget fancy graphs and measurements. You do not listen to squiggly lines do you?
4. Music must touch the heart. And the soul. It should move you even if it is jarring. And it will if you buy this. And nothing else matters.
5. Silver cables are bright sounding in my system. Because silver is shiny, shiny! Also, they should be stranded. In the jungle!
6. His measuring equipment is not resolving enough to determine the difference in cables.
7. His measuring equipment is using the stock power cord. He will at least hear the noise floor drop if he uses aftermarket power cords.

Additions are invited. :p
7. My DIY IEC cable socket broke last week when I tried a 12 awg X 3 stranded silver cable. Since then I am using a stock computer cable connecting my amplifier. That sucks and am unable to listen music for more than 15 minutes. Today am taking half day leave from office to just buy the damn IEC socket.
5. Silver is the metal for me. I have silver jewellery at home. Want to melt every thing and put a layer of silver on all my copper.
4. If only your body dance with music then your setup is average. A good setup will make your soul dance.
6,2,3. Agreed
1. The greatest held secrets in audio is what you measure is not what you actually listen with your ears.

To be continued...
 

Passive_audio_enthusiast

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I think you'll find that Keith's response (in its entirety) was sarcastic.
Actually there is only one dimension to define the sound of a System which involves several parameters. Every sound profile is a combination of these varying elements. But it requires much more knowledge about how it relates to sound profile than the training ears
 
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