The beauty of measurements

January 17, 2018
 by Paul McGowan

We are an arrogant lot believing our science can measure all that our senses can.

Our machines cannot yet measure beauty. There are no devices, instruments, or algorithms that can say this one is X amount more beautiful than that one or even if it is beautiful or ugly in the first place.

In fact, we can measure beauty. It’s our technology that cannot. But it doesn’t follow that because we cannot measure beauty it does not exist. That’s as absurd as the claims against subjectivists. (Isn’t it odd that we even have a name for people who use their senses? a name that often has negative connotations).

As we dig deeper into the mystery of our great divide between subjectivists and objectivists it’s helpful to simply state the obvious. Technology has yet to catch up with our abilities. At least in some areas.

For the longest time, no machine could recognize faces, something our senses found easy. Now machines can. And the same can be said for any number of human abilities technology struggles to catch up with. Including sound. The crude measurements we have cannot and do not adequately explain what we find relatively easy to measure with our ears.

Though sometimes it takes training.

Cables are among the hardest for measurementists to swallow, and for good reason. No existing measurement standard exists to explain audible differences in cables. That doesn’t necessarily follow that they do not exist.

Galen Gareis, chief engineer at Belden Cables, is trying his best to bridge the gap between what we hear and what we measure. And while he has uncovered a great deal of measurement data explaining audible differences in cables, he has yet to invent a measurement system with metrics quantifying audible changes. I suspect it may be only a matter of time.

If you are interested in learning more, there’s a fascinating three-part series in Copper Magazine. Start with the first in the series here. If you’re brave, you can wade into the many comments crying foul!

Have fun and let’s hope we can push the education bar forward just a bit.

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121 comments on “The beauty of measurements”

  1. I remember a fairy tale, Paul, featuring a mirror which could measure beauty. And there are strong factors as degree of symmetry and body proportions which describe quite commonly the Beaty for a statistical relevant group of people, However an avatar technically designed for perfect beauty was described as looking rather unattractive and boring lacking tiny deficits concerning the beauty factors. I am pretty sure that it is possible to measure the accuracy of a stereo system. Just play a digital file and record the output in an anechoic room. The digitised recorded signal should be bit perfect compared with the original file. And didn’t a link in yesterday’s post to a review of speaker cables clearly show the influence of cable length and design on the frequency response compared to a direct connection to the amp? I rather suppose that there is no interest at all from manufacturers agreeing on a commonly accepted standard for measuring accuracy, a standard similar to USB- , LAN, HDMI or HDR- protocols.

    1. Totally false premise. The scalar, one pressure value per point in time capture of microphones is a tiny fraction of the human vector decoding of three dimensional sound fields. Despite the common learned delusions of audiophiles, two channel sound is 1.1.1 dimensions. further, human hearing is up to ten times better than a theoretically perfect microphone in decoding the combination of frequency and time according to the Fourier Uncertainty Principle.

      Superceding Fourier frequency domain transform and the Nyquist criterion is related through peer reviewed, double blind research. We can paradoxically hear timing under 10 microseconds through a physical channel with a tight low pass filter around 20KHz. We can also hear phase correlated sounds at least 20dB into an analog noise floor.

      The sound coming out of speakers bears little resemblance to the spatial signatures of physical instruments so you will get nothing but garbage data from this test

  2. Back here again …

    Training. Where are these hearing training courses? Name one please. Does a 5-year-old Chinese violin prodigy need to go on a listening training course to play Bach’s Partita’s perfectly? No. Tell me otherwise.

    There are dozens of specifications for cables. Any pro audio cable manufacturer will list them. Example:
    The issue is, does any cable meeting the general required specification sound any different from the next? That is so easy to do, it pains me to repeat the merit of blind ABX tests. Take any group of 50 or 100 people, if there is a non-random preference to one or the other cable, then there it may be claimed there is a difference.

    So, if a relative difference can be proven, the next stage would be to define an absolute scale of quality. Good luck with that. The scale people use with that is the price, and I really then wonder why I bother with the day job and just make cables for a living.

    p.s. I went to an amazing exhibition at the British Library last weekend about the historical science (herbology etc.) behind the Harry Potter books. It would transpire there is more proven science behind Harry Potter books than audio cables. Think about it.

    1. As I mentioned already there should be techniques for measuring absolute accuracy. However there will never be any method to measure precisely the individual subjective preferences. You finally end with finding the qualia phenomenon describing the impossibility to get to know what another person perceives (hears, sees, feels etc.). And look at all those famous conductors (or mastering engineers) with their individual interpretation of a composer’s work (or a sound engineer’s recording).

      1. Excellent observation only proven last night (see my last post yesterday) having listened to 12 versions of a Diabelli Variation No. 4. Any cable influence, if there were any, would not be an iota of the difference arising from recording and mastering decisions indwell take us no closer to the “truth” of the live sound of the piano.

    2. Steven – here are some training materials to get you started. These are all texts with accompanying audio tracks of various sorts that I used to teach Listening and Analysis in the studio at college. Prerequisites were two terms of Music Theory.

      Golden Ears by Dave Moulton
      Recording Engineer’s Handbook by Bobby Owsinski
      Critical Listening Skills for Audio Professionals by F. Alton Everest
      Critical Listening by Jason Corey

      1. Are these not all books to explain to audio engineers how sound can be manipulated and how to hear those effects and changes? So it’s to do with mastering, not playback. In playback you have a fixed source and are trying to see if the equipment is making any difference. The two are totally unrelated.
        p.s. Your teaching work was probably the most critical link in the chain, so I trust you did your job well!

        1. No – they are mostly about how to discern differences in live and recorded sound and playback, with the ultimate goal of being a better, more efficient engineer. A recording engineer is one who records stuff, and a mastering engineer comes in at the end of it – this is concerned with the beginning of the chain – sound generally, frequency identification, and so on.

          How to know “which knob to turn”, so to speak, which includes mic placement, phase, etc. and as such does not necessarily have to involve any knob turning at all, or the pursuit of maximum avoidance of knob-turning, if you’re a purist.

          How the sound we hear is affected by HRTF (see repeated discourses by the resident genii) and the environment the recording is made in. Etc.

    3. There are no courses I am aware of, but it can take training for some. When I first started in this hobby some 45 years ago I struggled to hear and later to define the differences I heard. With practice and guidance, I learned. Might be the same for wine tasting.

      There is a test and one that’s rather simple to understand. I am pushing at the moment for our cable guy to agree to it. The premise of objectionists has always been “there are no differences” in cables, or fuses, etc. Subjectivists say the opposite because we hear it.

      On something like a cable, a simple difference test can prove the point. Take two cables and run them into a sensitive difference scope. Whatever comes out of the scope, if anything, is the difference between them. A difference objectivists say does not, cannot, exist. A difference our ears can measure.

      If I find the time I’ll endeavor to make this test and the results available.

      I would hope that showing the IS a difference would be enough to settle the argument. But, alas, I fear not. When you upset people’s worldviews with examples of how they are wrong, they tend to simply stretch out the requirements and ignore the evidence.

      But, in my view, I think we can someday end the argument of whether there are or are not differences to be measured between two devices that should not have them.

      1. So let’s do a Rumsfeld on this. We potentially have:
        (1) Measureable but inaudible differences
        (2) Non-measurable but audible differences
        (3) Subjective listener differences
        (4) Physiological differences (some of us have better hearing than others)
        (5) Psychological differences (some of us have better focus than others)
        (6) Experience as you describe it.

        Our hearing never gets better, it invariably gets worse. Ask any professional pianist. I suspect your greater insight from years of experience is simply that your focus is better attuned to evaluating cause and effect in the design process. Just as Mark can teach engineers how to hear mastering effects, neither process is accessible to the general consumer.

        Whether there is “designer bias” – hearing things you are trying to engineer into equipment, is another matter. I would assume developments and changes are blind tested, as you suggested was done with various iterations of the PWD software.

        1. Though, as I mention above it was not about mastering per se – one could argue that we are in fact mastering with our systems. Making subtle and not-so-subtle changes to the balance via changes in parts of the chain.

          The difference being that mastering engineers have to create a product that adheres to norms across any system, and we are only trying to please ourselves in our own room/headphones/etc.

      2. “I would hope that showing the IS a difference would be enough to settle the argument. But, alas, I fear not. When you upset people’s worldviews with examples of how they are wrong, they tend to simply stretch out the requirements and ignore the evidence.”

        Paul, this is what I said below. Just because there is a measured difference does not mean it’s significant. You have to evaluate the system as a whole. Just because some RCA cable rolls off 10db at 1mhz and the other doesn’t is not any indication they will sound different at audio frequencies.

        Likewise if those two cables measure a 0.05db difference at 20khz, that does not prove an audible difference either.

        If you are going to make quantified measurements we need to know the entire context. I know you are above this Paul but no scope shots with the scale indication turned off.

    4. It takes hundreds to thousands of hours of focused listening to violin playing to learn what a violin sounds like in a room. The only course is to play it yourself, or convince a parent or sibling to play for you.

      In my family, everybody played – father, mother, me, my two sisters, my aunt, uncle and great uncle. It was only piano and harp, so I had to attend hundreds of concerts to learn the sound of string and wind instruments.

  3. There seems to be a paradox lurking around the subject of speaker cables. Most modern solid state amps use what is referred to as a Zobel network at the output. This consists of an inductor and resistance in parallel in the signal path, and a capacitor and resistor in series to earth. It improves amp stability when feeding highly reactive speakers. So with one hand you are adding inductance and capacitance at the output to keep the amp happy, and with the other you are trying to reduce them by using expensive audiophile cables to improve sound quality. You can figure this out for yourselves, because it beats me completely.

  4. Back in the ’70s when I was selling audio gear I had a rule, now rule #1:

    1. We measure what is easy to measure, nothing we measure resembles playing music. THD measures one tone. IM measures two tones mixed, a single instrument produces dozens of tones mixed.

    Amazing what a twenty-something came to realize back then. I’m still waiting for a machine sophisticated enough to measure distortions while music is playing. I see Paul believes the same thing too.

    I should be a subjectivist since I’m an engineer. But for me music and musical reproduction came first.

  5. Agree completely. Sound and hearing are not the same. Hearing is mostly an interpretive process within the brain, we do not hear the way our measuring devices measure. Lots of people are smitten with what they measure because they can measure it, not because what they measure is what matters (“Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.”).

  6. I trained as an electrical engineer, and although I have not practiced for many years, I understand complex impedance. I read the first article in Copper and have already bumped up against what I find to be two contradictory statements. First that cable impedance rises as frequency lowers due to its capacitance, and I get that. But later on, in discussing the effect of the device at the cable termination, the cable is said not to be long enough, relative to signal wavelengths, to “have impedance”. This sounds to me as if the input impedance of the preamp or speaker has by far the dominant effect on the signal. If I remember correctly, John Atkinson of Stereophile has used a circuit that is not just resistive to simulate the load of a loudspeaker in his measurements.

    I think that I have heard differences in speaker cables and have bought “better” cables, but I am not practiced enough to say for certain. However, what I find to be contradictions in the article make this a hard sell. I will read on.

    1. The Copper article statement about impedance and length refers to characteristic impedance, not load impedance which is what the statement about impedance and frequency was based on.

      Characteristic impedance is used in transmission line theory and can be used to predict the tendency for the signal to be reflected at the end of the line. It is inherent in a cable’s basic design and does not vary with length. The comment in the Copper article means that at low (audio) frequencies the wavelength is usually longer than the cable and transmission line theory is unimportant. At the higher frequencies used in video and digital audio it is important which is why we hear about 75 ohm cables and connectors.

      1. And this is also why all the hype over true 75ohm connectors for SPDIF and AES is bunk! Even at 96K, the connector length is not physically long enough to matter. So aside from the poor mechanical attributes, an RCA connector has absolutely no effect on digital audio versus a BNC connector. That being a 50ohm or 75ohm BNC connector for that matter.

        Case in point, broadcast NTSC video was distributed using 50ohm BNC connectors up to the early 1990s. Then we went to true 75ohm connectors. Why? Digital SDI video at 270mbs (143mhz) and then 1.5gbs (745mhz) for HDTV. Here the connector impedance does become important. But at baseband analog NTSC video at 5mhz, it didn’t make any difference. So the industry standard 50ohm BNC connector was fine.

        Another good one is the idea 1.5 meter length for digital audio cables. That also started by someone else who doesn’t understand transmission line theory.

    2. I usually won’t interject into discussions, but I don’t want mis information to spread too far. Speaker Cable, or any audio cable’s impedance rises because the velocity of propagation drops as frequency goes down. Inductance and capacitance stay essentially constant with frequency.

      This assumes the cable (RCA) is not coiled where the B-field couples thought the ground (not really a shield at low frequencies) and forms an air core inductor. The capacitance is an E-field, and does not change if an RCA is coiled as the shield does block electric fields. XLR don’t have the problem as the magnetic field is internal to the loop area of the two or four wires so L and C stay stable all the time.

      I’m not sure where the comments that inductance and capacitance are “uniquely stable in ICONOCLAST”. They are not. The VALUES are important, but the swept stability is expected. RF cables are tested at 1 KHz for capacitance! That test is to show how cables really work. ALL cables should show stable swept L and C. Velocity of propagation through the audio band, not so much.

      Cables at audio can have simple reflections, but not “return loss” reflections. RL reflection are caused by periodic electrical variations that match specific wavelengths. Audio cables can’t possibly have even ONE wavelength short enough to match to a periodic variation in the cable (usually caused by physical deformations).

      Slightly HIGHER capacitance in a cable can lower the impedance some and mitigate simple reflection off a load, but as reactive as a speaker is, this is debatable as to being a benefit at a 30K foot view. What can be a problem is too high capacitance. Inductance is still the major shaper of the sound in speaker cables.

      1. Made a simple post earlier yesterday and ended up getting sucked down the rabbit hole of this thread and part 3 of the “Time is of the Essence” article over at Copper. Having expressed my musical appreciation of Cardas Audio cables, i’d like to add an additional $.02.

        First, no doubt you are an intelligent and talented engineer, and unlike Kubala-Sosna, who “does not talk much about their design” you at least have demonstrated the courage to your discuss audio cable design theory here.

        But what i don’t understand is why you and Iconoclast choose never to relate the technology and design to musicality and performance. One simply cannot listen to or hear the validity of measurements.

        Further, the Iconoclast website lacks specifics of the product technology, from the materials to the physical construction of the cable, how that applies to your design philosophy and why there is no mention of the various model configurations and pricing.

        Music reproduction is the end result, yes?

        1. Hang in there! Yes, our consumer marketing stinks. This is still largely engineering only. I can send information to those interested. many have asked. Future COPPER posts will show how and why the cables are made the way they are for fundamental electromagnetic properties. For brevity, not as well as the bulletins.

          Trust me on this, the project is more for all of us audiophiles than “Belden”. I have a leg in BOTH camps of “can’t or can hear. The can’t hears drive the real DESIGN, but the can hears know cable doesn’t “measure-up” to what we hear. ICONOCALST is a best case test bed to see what we can figure out. We can’t go to the races without a race car. I built some. Let’s see what they do. How it was built and why you deserve to know and understand. This is a race for understanding, not profits. The $$$ to make these cables isn’t close to paying for itself.

          OK, let’s be sort of geeky here and remember that “musical signals are still signals and that we can take them apart and test the cable’s ability to move them from A to B. The cable doesn’t know it is music, so you can’t really make a cable “for music”. A lot of low voltage signals cables make good audio designs simply because they pass ALL signals better…music included. I know, we use music in the end but try to remember it is still just a “signal”.

          The test to see what well moved electromagnetic energy sounds like COULD be to use music, but a more unbiased way to measure “distortions” is still needed.

          1. It’s late or early depending on your point of reference. What i meant to say in my post is one can’t listen to or hear measurements, but sometimes measurements corellate to the audible differences we hear in high performance music playback systems.

            I know some audio designers who only measure their designs and seldom listen to the actual
            musical performance of their product in various applications.

            High-end analog audio cables are a very crowded and competitive field. I wish you the best of success with the marketing and launch of your product line.

  7. The common arguement that I hear given from the objectivist crowd is that people will themselves into hearing differences because they spent high $ on a high end cable, so it must be better. What’s ironic about that (at least in my case) is that I go into it willing I don’t hear a difference.

    There is nothing I would like more than to have the several pairs of Blue Jeans Cable LC-1s I have laying to sound like my reference ones. Each time I change equipment to a higher level, I try the LC-1s in hopes that the difference in cables goes away. It never does.

  8. This is random and a bit off topic, BUT, does have to do with measuring things. In this case, ambient noise. I just got back from a trip late last night and had occasion while gone to buy some Active Noise Cancelling headphones, which of course measure your surroundings and cancel them out. I had always used passive noise cancellation before but all these small regional jets are so noisy it no longer works. While Bose has been the undisputed king of ANC the sound quality of the cans has been less than stellar (i.e. awful some would say ha ha). So….after a bit of research I found that Sony now makes a pair that equals the Bose for ANC but totally exceeds them for sound quality. I would have to agree, they sound excellent and there is an app that lets one tweak the sound even further. Do they sound as good as my reference cans (thinksound ON2), no, but they come close.

    So….if anyone is in the market for some new ‘phones with ANC give these a listen. I like the Sony design which lets you use them wireless as well wired (and they provide a cable) to get around the BT limitations. They come in both over-the-ear version and earbud version.

    I will go back to lurking now, and, didn’t mean to hijack the thread in any way just was anxious to share this knowledge as I found the Sony product to be quite unexpectedly good for it’s purpose, and have to assume that some here also are in the market for such a product.

  9. One measurement for cables that is sorely lacking (as far as I know) is what takes place when many fine strands of copper that consist in a cable have a signal being transferred down its highway… I had debates and discussions about this in forums, but the anal retentive objectivists became robotic when an exactly correct term was not used rather than realize what was trying to be said.

    I said “electrons.” It could be voltage? Current? Whatever! Something takes place when a signal is passing through a cable. A friend who designs and mods once explained it to me this way. Technically, according to precise technical vocabulary it may not be correct. But, it completely conveyed to me about a type of distortion caused by many cables using stranded wires. Its never measured for.

    A signal leaves a source and is transferred over a cable. The “electrons” (or whatever) moves down that cable to its other end. In doing so, these “electrons” are moving along naked strands of copper. Since each strand carrying the signal is in close proximity with all the other strands? The electrons are free to leap back and forth between the strands. And in doing so, forms a fuzzy effect in the transfer. One that homogenizes the signal being transferred down the cable. This effect that distorts the signal is not measured for (as far as I know). But, our ears detect it easily. Sometimes we call it “tizz.” Some cables subdue its effect. But its still there.

    This distortion is assumed to be a part of the ubiquitous “electronic sound” of audio. But, when substituting a cable that avoids this free for all of electron transfer? We suddenly hear a form of grunge removed. It was advised to me to start learning how to use a solder pot so I could tin the ends of my litz wire that I use for my speakers. For, litz (and solid core) eliminates a form a distortion of the signal that regular stranded cables inject into the signal. No measurement for this audible effect exists other than understanding the basic mechanics of the function that takes place. The only measurement device at this time is our subjective ears.

    1. Unfortunately that’s not how electrical energy moves through cables. This idea is yet again plumbing logic being applied to electrical engineering. While there are some very loose parallels like water hammer and SWR, this is not one of them.

      The fact that he calls this “tizz” is very interesting. That would imply these electrons jump back and forth only within the audio band? What is supposed to determine that?

      “Strand jumping” is classic audiophile fokelore and has no basis in electrical engineering or physics. Never did.

        1. I am saying the explanation for this “tizz” sound you hear is not due to electrons jumping strands. Please show me some accredited physics behind this phenomena.

          As for what is causing it I have no idea. I would start looking for RFI or circuit instability if it were in my gear.

          Litz wire is for control of skin effect. It’s used in RF work. it really has no application at audio frequencies – and there is plenty of documentation supporting that. You can of course use it for audio. But it’s expensive for no apparent benefit.

            1. Based on what physics? Because Audio Research says so?

              Read what Galen wrote below.

              I understand you are a former stereo store sales person? What is you electrical engineering background?

              And please stop inferring I don’t have a resolving system. What ever that means in audiophile speak. I gave you a link below.

              May we see your equipment complement and environment? The latter is especially important if you want to “resolve” minute differences.

                1. I cannot hear?

                  What do you mean by that? I mean what makes you think I can’t hear minute differences in audio performance. Just because I don’t believe in expensive fuses and cables I can’t hear?

                  How about the fact that I invested the time in the education of electronics, both formal and self taught for 50 years where I learned how these things really work. That counts for what?

      1. This in imho is the best design application for reducing strand interaction, mechanical resonance and the quieting of a cable.

        It’s real applied science, designed by someone who actually has a background in signal transmission, engineered through decades of trial and error, validated in musical performance by thousands of global music enthusiasts’s who are in agreement.

        Over the last 4 decades i’ve completed the 360 degree high-end cable journey beginning with Cobra cable in the 70s and today this is where i choose to hang my hat. Cardas cables simply perform and deliver musical satisfaction in home music systems.

        Here’s a brief, simple and articulate how and why,
        the truth is in listening …

        1. Sorry but I read typical audiophile marketing. Golden ratio for cables?

          At least Galen is using standard accepted cable theory.

          George Cardas bio says he was involved in maintenance of telephone central offices.

          Hmm, growing up in the Philadelphia area and attending Drexel in the late 70s right next UofPennsylvania, the Moore School of EE, Bell labs and AT&T were hot topics in school, being based in central New Jerseyl. That’s where you were pushed to work towards. That’s where all the advanced R&D was based before the MaBell breakup. If Mr. Cardas was involved in signal transmission for Bell, he would have been in those labs, not doing central office maintenance.

          Why is the high audio field always full of snakes in the grass.

          1. The end result of any engineering process is rather quite simple; “It either works or it doesn’t”.

            Snakes in the grass that’s funny. I neither have the bandwidth or interest in arguing about audio. I only invest time here to learn or to be entertained. Your statement regarding George’s background is incorrect.

            The problem with so many cable discussions is the lack of simplicity, focus and articulation. If you read the brief Cardas design overview most folks will appreciate how simplified the language is.

            I’m an educated man, but Galens dissertation is overly wordy, complex and frankly boring to read because he seldom reaches an end result in his hypothesis.

            Paraphrasing from Wiki: Cardas worked for General Telephone (Verizon) in the 1960s doing telephone installation, central office maintenance and transmission line design.

            After the telephone company’s conversion to digital, he applied his knowledge of transmission lines and metals to the world of high fidelity sound, with inventions in the areas of transmission lines, cables connectors, microphones, electronics and loudspeakers.

            Enjoy the music …


            1. You don’t understand the engineering hierarchy of 1960/70s AT&T.

              To be an engineer at AT&T required an accredited engineering degree. No exceptions! Maintenance employees were company trained and union. No engineer could touch anything in an operating switching center due to union rules. So if Mr. Cardas was a maintenance technician, which I don’t doubt, he was hardly involved in transmission line research and design.

              Then there’s the next 800lb elephant in the room, Verizion! Verizon did not exist until 2000. It was long after the MaBell breakup in 1982. So how could he have worked for a company that did not exist yet?

              These guys are all the same:
              Calin Gabieral
              Bill Lowe
              Ray Kimber
              George Cardas
              None of them show any traceable evidence of any formal electrical engineering background.

              You say Galen’s writings are dry or whatever. Well Soundmind said it well last week. Electrical engineering or was it calculus is not simple! It’s funny you don’t like Galen’s writings yet he does have accredited credentials and works for a respected cable manufacture. Yet you line up behind these guys above who have no such credentials to fall back on.

              Cardas is an easy technical read for a layman? Well there’s a reason for that!

              1. First, welcome to Paul’s little corner of the internet. Most of us here are music and high performance audio enthusiasts.

                Yeah i know all those guys, and funny you should mention Caelin Gabriel, i use Shunyata power management products, and once again your assumption is mostly incorrect.

                He was a physical sciences major in college and obtained the equivalent of an electronics engineering degree in the Navy and was assigned as a research scientist to a military division of the NSA. Subsequently he became involved in the computer industry during the early internet days under DARPA working on network architecture and high-speed networking devices.

                But that is not what’s important here, what exactly is the value of a framed piece of paper on the wall?

                If memory serves well, i believe soundmind’s summary of his formal education was that engineering school teaches you not what to think, but how to think and upon graduation you quickly learn on your first job that you actually don’t know anything.

                There is theoretical experience and there is practical knowledge and applied experience. Applying knowledge should be the journey. We all have gifts, they just come in different ways.

                There are thousands of talented people in this walk of life who had little or no formal training.
                Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Paul McGowan, Ray Charles, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Shakespeare, Mozart
                etc …

                Because Wiki is an open source code, anyone could have placed that (verizon) after General Telephone and agree that someone at Cardas should take a closer look at George’s Wiki page. His background is valid. One of the many things i dig about Cardas is they can afford the luxury of being a zen marketer.

                Working for Technicolor you must have one heck of a projection video system at home, yes?

                1. “He was a physical sciences major in college and obtained the equivalent of an electronics engineering degree in the Navy and was assigned as a research scientist to a military division of the NSA. Subsequently he became involved in the computer industry during the early internet days under DARPA working on network architecture and high-speed networking devices.”

                  Yes that’s his bio on his site and I read it too. What college? Name? The military has classifications for everything. What equivalent degree does he have? Worked for NSA, how convenient. I’m sure the most you will get from them is he was an employee and the dates. The NSA does not disclose what their people do. Involved in the computer industry. Where, who?

                  But all that aside, look at the video below Genez posted where I clearly exposed his scam.

                  I don’t like people who operate this way at the expense of others. The guy is a fake!

  10. I always fail to understand why pure listeners (other than technicians or manufacturers) should be much interested in obtaining measurements for something they hear or don’t hear. Isn’t it enough to know if it sounds better, worse or the same?

  11. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So there is no absolute standard of beauty, it varies from individual to individual and for the same individual from time to time. However, we can measure the reaction of someone to judge a beauty reaction. Some of the reactions can be increased levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine in the brain, dilation of pupils in the eye, and FMRI activities of certain parts of the brain associated with pleasure as a response to stimuli. Therefore while beauty can’t be judged absolutely, it can be judged individually.

    There are measurements of music that can explain some aspects of sound that many people find pleasurable. These often are the result of large number of computerized analysis of the music itself. Here’s one example.

    A similar analysis was done regarding “Mozart music” and its unique effect on human neuro-physiology including Turett syndrome and certain other neurologic disorders including seizures.

    Of all the cars I ever had or saw, this is the one I liked the most.

    We had a green hardtop with black leather seats. This was the easiest and most comfortable car I ever drove. When you did 80 in this car it felt like 40 in any other car. All you had to do was wish the car to do something and it just did it. The brake pedal was like putting your foot into a pillow. It was so quiet and smooth riding you could ride for hours without ever getting tired. The paint job was remarkable and if you looked very carefully it was filled with microscopic gold flecks. I liked this car better than a 1982 Rolls Royce maroon Silver Seraph I tried out (was in great shape and only would have cost me $20K to $25K.) Unfortunately that Lincoln was one hunk of junk and fell apart piece by piece. I was nearly killed in it myself when the front end fell apart. Finally we got rid of it and traded in in for a Toyota Corona. What a comedown. My neighbor had a Mark III which I think was a 1973. Had I known they were going to get rid of it I’d have bought it from them myself. It was also a terrific ride. I also like the appearance of the Cadillac Eldorado about 1984/1985.

  12. Measurements are complicated. What is often overlooked in the audiophile world is “significance” For example if I place a drop of cyanide on my tongue, I will die. So will any other human or animal. Now if I place that same drop in the city of 1,000,000’s water supply, how many will die?

    This is the crux of my argument over on Copper with Galen. Yes he made some very good speaker cables. They measure very well, ten fold improvement in standard cable parameters he claims. Great. Now how much does that improve the amplifier / speaker interface? Well it does and it’s measurable. But what about the final sound. Is the difference enough to be heard? While some think the only way to know is to listen, there are established thresholds of audibility. And then you have to consider the noise and distortion floor of your amp and speaker. It does no good to have cables that have noise specifications below the base noise floor as just one example. Or to have cable phase coherency in the fractions of degrees while the tweeter has a phase shift of tens of degrees.

    Another scam in audio measurements is measuring the wrong thing deliberately. Another cable vendor is very good at this. One example is the measure is demonstrate how well their power cord reacts to a 300amp RF pulse. Well in the first place, we don’t use RF pulses to power our gear. We use slow risetime sine waves. So the fact that the cable can transmit an RF pulse with good fidelity means nothing for the transmission of AC mains power to an device. In fact if you look harder at this it’s really absurd. Why make a power cord that excels in transmitting RF noise?

    Yet another famous one – TIM. Yes TIM is easily proven. The problem is nature can’t produce acoustical rise times that fast not to mention no microphone or speaker can either. So what’s the point of a low TIM amplifier design? At the end of the day, TIM is never triggered. Well the point is that TIM has been established as bad and therefore any attempt to minimize it must be good and money well spent! This should not be confused with square wave testing in audio amplifiers. That is for a different reason, stability and is a very important test/specification.

    Measurements are very powerful, provide you really understand what they are telling you.

    1. Hi Glimmie,

      The rub is the cables were all made to PROVE they don’t matter. I was “you”. The problem is, they DO sound better. That said, WHY is this so? To make a cable that SHOULD be better, KNOWN parameters need to be adhered to or what’s the point?

      I can’t stick my head in the sand and ignore this issue. So, I took it on to expose my techniques for review and to possibly get some things it in the open. Basic cable knowledge is tough to get through all the much. Yes, attributes are indeed measureable but yes, there is argument over what makes the differences that are heard. I won’t do more than show what is measured, as you deserve to know WHAT equates to a “better” cable.

      So far, I’m with you on stranded wire. I use solid as it is so much easier to work with and is a finer size to mitigate flexibility concerns. And, most cables that use stranded aren’t of equivalent DESIGN so a true comparison can’t be fairly made. I have no built-in bias to stranded at this point. Electrons can’t make new signals moving between valence bands of adjacent copper atoms. Attenuation is heat, not noise per say. I don’t see higher attenuation cables making “noise” that wasn’t there before, for instance.

      Litz wire does improve phase if used right (get low inductance) but again, those will argue the end audible result. And, it is REALLY hard to lower inductance with Litz wire.

      Good questions all. Maybe we can get GLIMMIE and others to LISTEN to cables and see what happens? I’m certainly listening to Glimmie…we have a high impedance comparator on the way…dude! This is a lab instrument so we’ll see what the sensitivity is.

      This is fun, actually, Both sides need to reach each way to solve this thing. I had to do it “internal” to my own perceptions. I see no reason to not offer superior sounding cable while we see what’s the rub to “conventional” expectations. We all mean well so let’s not frighten people away.

  13. Cables are fascinating to me and at the same time frustrating, because there seems to be no obvious correlation of how they sound with how they are constructed. The best sounding in a particular system may be heavily shrouded, big and fat copper or a thin, minimally shielded silver wire, or no shield at all. Connector construction seems to make a significant difference due to how they absorb vibrations and engage the sockets. These cables are so system dependent that a measurement standard might not be practically useful.

    I was at a Wireworld cable demonstration at an audio show in which the sales representative played the same track over and over, changing the interconnect progressively from their least expensive (wire 1) to most expensive offering (wire 5). He repeated the progression a few times. The problem was, the representative announced to everyone which cable was in the chain at any given moment. I, like the rest of the attendees, believed there were clearly discernable differences in sound between the cables. Nearly all the listeners embraced wire 5 (the most expensive). I alone thought wire 3 (the mid-priced one) was superior. How many of the listeners were influenced by the thicker diameter of the cable, fancier shrouding and higher price tag? The demonstrator says, “See how much clearer and more musical our best cable sounds?” Heads robotically bobbed up and down in enthusiastic agreement.

    Some manufacturers push the same “superior” cable for interconnects, speaker wires and power cords. That seems ridiculous to me. The electrical signal in each cable is different in each application, so why should the same exact wire construction be superior in all of them! I think most of us choose the best sounding wire for the particular application and not go with the same wire everywhere.

    1. EXACTLY!

      There’s is ONE electromagnetic “super” design that eclipses all. We don’t know what that is, though. But, if we did…you would use THAT design, and simply change the wire.

      ICONOCLAST does exactly that. We use the same “design” but alter the wire. Why? I can’t say WHY the “wire” sounds different, it does, so we offer the same design with different wires and pass through the costs. Me, I use the ETPC and SPETPC in my system. The DESIGN seems to be the heavy lifter over materials, assuming it is of reference quality to modern ASTM standards. This was done to get VALUE into better products. Make the entry level cable so near the upper end that most can still enjoy better design (lower R, L and C) cables.

      Higher level coppers can change the sound, but many like the more affordable “sound”. This is true for all cables, not just ours, if the electromagnetic design isn’t compromised to handicap what the standard copper can provide. Look for low R, L and C.

  14. I now have one of my source components heading to the shop for upgrading.

    In the mean time I am using an old component which is probably about ten years old now. It was also considerably less money, and was my first component of this type. Do I hear the same difference now with changing cables as I had with my high end component? No.

    That’s what makes me wonder what those who hear no differences with IC’s or fuses are listening with. Or, if they even understand how to set up what they do have for optimal listening…. The way they talk? You would think they were cranks suffering with a measurement fetish.

    Another problem is.. Why it can not be resolved. These naysayers always seem bitter and condescending in their attitude. That makes others hesitant to invite someone like that over to hear a system that allows for hearing differences. By their attitude they have locked themselves out of discovery into a ‘lose – lose’ cage. For, no one wants to get close enough to them to show them what they willfully wish to deny. Seems they enjoy presenting the ones who can hear what they can not hear, as being their inferior.

    Can the naysayers be measured in attitude to prove they are negative? 😉

    They are fake audio news. They do not want the facts. Many of them will go to their graves bitter and ignorant of what they could have had in this life. They only found their contentment in trying to confound and destroy the credibility and happiness of others with their arguments based upon their own rules. Not their ears.

    I once met a man that said we have no soul because it can not be measured. (no joke)


    1. So true.

      I didn’t hear the differences, either…except that low resistance cables improved the bass as amplifiers lost less current critical to damping factor.

      30 years later, BIG changes in SOME well made cables. My take was to see what we could do to make really good stuff way cheaper. And, to take the heat and to be as objective on the measures as we can. What might be added to better define what the cables DO.

      Already, through COPPER magazine, I’ve had several EE’s hear the cables and call me saying WTF did you do! Um, nothing outside of proper DESIGN that can be directed by the science. Still, those new to hearing the change are still disturbed.

      Two things are going on, I think. Our ears are better at hearing what is measured, or there are tertiary effects that don’t influence R, L and C. A input to output difference test can show “distortions” in the cable…we hope. It WILL NOT explain how it is happening! The former is a measurement, the later is the science. Not the same answer.

      ICONOCLAST shows ONLY the measurements assigned to the science, as it should be. A input to output difference test isn’t really supported by science just yet unless we throw bulk R,L and C at it. But, I suspect copper changes will prove that logic is wrong.

      Stay tuned and we’ll work on this thing together. This all.

    1. Andy, while this is a gorgeous system it is certainly not what I would choose to hear cable differences. Though, I suppose someone might be able to, I doubt I could. It’s not setup or optimized for that.

      But, I’d love to spend time in there. Well done, sir!

      1. I get what you mean. But you need to consider the analog path is very small.

        All digital AES including the crossover / EQ unit up to Lucid studio DACS. Balanced +4 analog from that point. The volume control is a 24 channel balanced I/O box based on BB PGAD2310s. Power amplification is matched to the driver for example 20w SE class A for the tweeters.

        Power is multiple, 6kva balanced 60-0-60 for analog, direct for power amps, futher filtered for audio processing gear. All videoand digital is in two UPS systems, both pure sinewave, 750va and 3kva.

        So to spite the concerns for the vast amount of wiring, there is extremely low noise in the audio. That coupled with the sole use of balanced interconnects pretty much removes any benefit from “better” cables. Analog wire is Belden 9541 – standard stuff.

        The room is calibrated via REW. the crossovers are precision adjusted.

        So what is not optimized in your opinion?

        BTW, it is my opinion that if you are using passive crossovers, you do not have a true resolving system! Yes I think that. Because as you know, a passive crossover cannot come close to the precision frequency separation an active unit can provide due to the wild driver impedance variations some up to 300%. In addition my crossover is 32bit digital. Very precise.

        Bi/tri amped sytems will out “resolve” any passive setup IME.

    2. So.. You’re a rich techno freak. That still does not mean you can hear.

      You idolize technology. That’s where you get your thrill.

      Or? You like playing the devil’s advocate just to bust chops?

      Which one are you?

      Can you hear me?

      1. I don’t consider myself rich, certainly not by Los Angeles standards.

        But you do make an interesting observation: Somebody is paying me for practicing engineering of these types of systems and products.

        So if I am all wet with what I say about AV engineering, why would someone, in fact multiple different employers, pay me a premium salary for the past 35 years?

        Incompetent idiots, as I have been called here do not fit that criteria.

        1. Here we go…

          AudioQuest power expert Garth Powell (who knows well more about A.C. power than do you, trust me), explains why A.C. cables make a significant audible difference in an audio system. Powell not only explains why, he demonstrates it here. You will hear the same piece of music played twice, once with a “stock” molded rubber power cord between the CD player and preamplifier and once with AudioQuest’s least expensive power cord, the Thunder. Despite being recorded via a camcorder shotgun microphone you can easily hear the difference. Later, Powell, a veteran power conditioner designer, who worked for years for the pro audio company Furman, compared in real time expensive power cables from Shunyata, Transparent and Nordost with the AudioQuest cables he designed using a track from “Muddy Waters Folk Singer”.

          1. Oh please!

            This is all over the internet after CES and is quite the laughing stock! AVS Forum has a good thread.

            You tell me Garth knows more about AC power then I do? To trust you, a stereo retailer? I hold an accredited engineering education and long career in the broadcast and mastering business. What are his credentials? I sure can’t find them?

            You talk on and on about resolving systems. That my system can’t be good enough and that’s why I hear no differences in cables and fuses.

            But wait, now since it suits your position, we can easily tell power cords apart from a cheap video camera or cell phone recording, playback back on YouTube?

            So I first need a highly resolving systems to hear power cord differences but now we can easily hear it via YouTube audio compression?

            Are you serious?

            Then there’s this little gem:

            Audioquest already has a reputation for rigging demonstrations. Why should we trust them now?

            1. I could hear it because I am utilizing an Audience Adept Response conditioner and triple shielded power cords… that uses Cardas copper.. and Ohno copper (and litz) depending upon the cable. I heard what he demonstrated in the video easily. Why? Because I am already benefiting from what he was speaking about. I also have point source phase coherent speakers. Not giants in the room. Just a very clean window.

              If someone can not detect a difference? And, I can? And others can? Why should we follow orders of the one who can not hear it, and wants to tell us we have to be imagining things?

              I am sorry.. You are in a bad spot, sir. You can not hear. At least not with your current system which appears to be an elaborate entertainment system, not an audiophile system. You can hear sound, sure. Big is not better. Surround sound does not make it audiophile either.

              You obviously are a gifted person .. and gifted within a realm that is outside of what we are discussing here in particular You always interject and try to tell us that we can not know what we know, because we can not tell you how its to be measured? Measured according to your rules and standards.

              You obviously have a BIG system. Its very nice for what it is. As far as it being audiophile? I don’t think it is. Impressive? Yes.

              There is a whole other world that I believe you can learn about, if you would only drop your biases and humble yourself a notch, so you can discover audio like you have never experienced it before.

              Socrates got in trouble for things like this. Experts in one field thought they could run for positions of power, because they excelled at another thing. Socrates leveled with them, and told them just because someone is even a genius in one realm, it did not qualify him for an area outside of his turf.
              Guess what? They trumped up charges and had him executed… Sounds like a movie. 😉 But its true.

              You tell us like we are naive and imagining hearing things when we know they are real. Snap out of it, please. Its not constructive. After the first ten times it gets to seem rude.

            2. Glimmie..Then there’s this little gem:

              Audioquest already has a reputation for rigging demonstrations. Why should we trust them now?<<<

              Glimmie? You have said that you can not hear what we DO HEAR. That rigged demonstration might be fake news, sir. Who knows what motivated it? I for one hear things that you demand I accept is simply me coming under the power of influence by suggestion.

              You insult us. And, you can not hear.

              So? You tell yourself we are the ones imagining things. Fine.

              That's where we are. How do we resolve this?

              But? Should it be resolved? Some will always be outside the bell curve.

              Many already have discovered for themselves the benefits of power cords and what good interconnects can do in making a big difference. AC purifying is a must before all else.

              But, if you system is not geared for the fine aspects of audiophile realities? You should not assume you have it all. Which you appear to be doing. You are boasting about your Ferrari system… and we are dealing with off roading and seeing sights that others never travel.

              You are going to have to get out of that Ferrari and get something quite different before you can see what we are seeing. What you have is not designed to take you there. Nor, can it get you there.

              Sorry sir. But you assume too much about what you are qualified for to know on your own. Maybe Paul can show you something, so you can experience what it is others have discovered and deeply enjoy.

              1. “But, if you system is not geared for the fine aspects of audiophile realities? You should not assume you have it all.”

                And you know that how? You can look at a video and tell my system is not resolving to your standards?

                I guess I don’t have the right designer labels?

                  1. No I don’t!

                    What are the specifications for an “audiophile grade” system? For a “highly resolving” system?

                    How do you measure that?

                    And don’t tell me you can’t measure it because that’s exactly what you are doing when you say my system is not audiophile grade.

                    What is your criteria? You never heard it so how do you know?

                    1. You don’t measure it. You get sat down in front of it and find out what it really is. Its does not come all in one flavor. My first experience with what it is happened when I sold audio. I had access to some of the finest speakers at that time. It was only when I brought home for audition a pair plain looking KEF 104ab’s and hooked them up to my refurbished Mac tube equipment, that I first discovered what Absolute Sound magazine got founded on. I am sure someone can someday find ways to measure it. But the awe of the experience to me was all I cared about. I was not simply impressed. I was awe struck. There’s the difference.

            3. >>>>>You tell me Garth knows more about AC power then I do? <<<<<

              In this case? YES!

              BTW,,, I simply cut and pasted the description found under the video. Those words were not directed to you personally. 😉

                1. You remind me of this software engineer I was debating years ago in another type of forum about another subject mater.. who claimed to have an IQ of 180. He had one nasty habit. He felt that his expertise flowed to other places where he knew nothing as he should. But? Because he had a thought on the matter? He knew he had to be right. That we were just too stupid to see he was right… And, he was dead wrong.

                  Ever watch the old Disney series “Spin and Marty?”


                  1. Seems like you have a penchant for getting into arguments with skilled professionals.

                    What is it you do (or did) again for a living?

                    You sold stereo equipment and had also worked for a chef IIRC?

                    1. A world renown chef…. Chef Gerhard Schmid. He created the menu when the Queen of England came to Boston for the bicentennial celebration. Also, won world culinary Olympic medals for the USA several times. I was was his resident manager of the hotel and restaurant he owned in Lenox MA. I was around all kinds of interesting and some famous people when I worked for him. Some were arrogant and stuck on themselves. And, some were down to earth.

                    2. Clarification…. Not a penchant for getting into arguments with professionals. It was a debate forum. He entered there with his expertise in his professional field giving him over confidence that what he just entered into would be a piece of cake. And, he made sure to let us know how high his IQ is. Guess what? In his field I would have felt lost. But, when he began debating and tried to assume the same confidence he has experienced where he does have a solid grasp… his arguments fell apart. But? He remained sure he had to be right. No… I do not have a penchant for getting into arguments with professionals. There is no sense in that.

                  1. Since I was about 12 years old! All those power amps in my room are DIY. The DSP based crossover.

                    I have built countless audio projects over the past 40 years. Plus plenty of broadcast grade video gear including all digital devices. that’s why I scoff at some of these audio jitter claims. The audio industry has no idea of true high speed digital system design.

                    Yes I can and have designed power amplifiers from scratch. That is precisely why I question fuses sounding different beyond standard known sag issues in high power circuits. Ditto that for power cords.

                    1. Now here is the problem…. If your system is not going to reveal it? No fuse will make a difference. But, if its transparency level is high enough? The fuse differences will be not hard to discern.

                      What puzzles us who easily hear such differences? We wonder what it is that the other who can not hear the difference listens with. I have heard systems that sounded good to the owner, but to me I would not bother. That is the real problem. We can not see what it is the the ones who hear no difference are listening to. And, what they think is good. I saw your system. Its big and elaborate. That is all I can know about it.

  15. Although I can hear cable differences in my current loudspeaker system, I could not in my previous system. The thing that first taught me that cables do sound different is when I listened through headphones fed by a quality headphone amplifier. Different brand and model interconnects between source and the headphone amp clearly had different flavors and degrees of resolution and finesse. For those whose loudspeaker systems cannot reveal cable changes, try a good headphone amp and you may become a believer. You can also explore the potential of different tubes, and how some cables are more synergistic with a particular set of tubes than others.


      Shunyata fails to disappoint again!

      Ok the raw power outlet shows what ,1100 short circuit amps? We assume 12ga wire in that conduit since that is a 20a receptacle.

      The first test power cord only shows 500 short circuit amps.

      The Shunyata test power cord shows 1000 amps.

      Well, the first power cord is 18ga. That is easy to see. The Shunyata cord is #14ga or even #12.

      18ga has a nominal rating of 10 amps
      12ga has a nominal rating of 20 amps.

      So the 12ga Shunyata cord has twice the current capacity of an 18ga cord?

      That scales to twice the ASCC! Exactly what he measured!

      Let’s have a fair test here. Show me a Home Depot 12ga extension the SAME LENGTH as the Shunyata cord and let’s see those results.

      Genez, you should really learn some basic EE theory before promoting these scam demonstrations.

      Thank you though for bringing this one to my attention. I can’t wait to post the latest Shunyata Shenanigan on AVS and DIY Audio forums.

        1. We have been there in a previous page. My thoughts remain the same. Provided the wire gauge is ample for the current demand, or the wire gauge is the same as the PS audio cord, I don’t see how there could be any audible difference. Shielding may help a noise issue but I don’t recall PS cords as shielded. And if they are, they will be no better than a stock Belden shielded cord.

          Now Paul obviously disagrees but yet he does admit he has no idea why his cords sound better.

            1. No, not at all. Litz wire in a medium band RF system carrying modulated audio signals can make quite an improvement in the demodulated audio quality.

              That after all is the PROPER use of Litz wire.

      1. >>>>>[Glimmie]Let’s have a fair test here. Show me a Home Depot 12ga extension the SAME LENGTH as the Shunyata cord and let’s see those results.<<<<<

        Why would we want to do that? After all… It would only be a placebo effect. Why waste the money? One cable sounds as good as another.

        1. Because if I can get the exact same performance from a Home Depot power cord, why would I spend the 1000% or so more for a Shunyata?

          That is common sense for most people. And I also think publicly calling out a deceiving demonstration is also in the best interest of potential customers. At least PS audio does not resort to these tactics. They are secure enough to say we think our cords sound better, try one if you like.

          1. Who actually is spending that much to get better?

            Those cords many times are marketed for superficial rich people who simply want the best, and feel if it costs more it must be.

            But? Some expensive audio items really do sound superior. Not all of it is a marketing ploy. Just the same, I agree about the hyped prices on certain cables that are no where worth the asking price… But you must realize? They don’t sell that many anyway. Its a marketing trophy.

  16. Made a simple post earlier today and ended up getting sucked down the rabbit hole of this thread and part 3 of the “Time is of the Essence” article over at Copper. Having expressed my musical appreciation of Cardas Audio cables, i’d like to add an additional $.02.

    First, no doubt Galen is both an intelligent and talented engineer, and unlike Kubala-Sosna, who “does not talk much about their design” they at least have demonstrated the courage and cahonies to discuss audio cable design theory here.

    But what i don’t understand is why he and Iconoclast choose to never relate the technology and design to musicality and performance.

    Further, the Iconoclast website lacks specifics of their product technology, from the materials to the physical construction of the cable, how that applies to their design philosophy and why there is no mention of the various model configurations and pricing.

    Music reproduction is the end result, yes?

  17. Are you saying that when using an analog signal in audio that we are working with modulation and demodulation? When you plug a turntable to a preamp? What were you trying to say? 😉

    1. No. You asked if I think Litz wire can make a difference in audio. The direct answer is no. But if the audio in question is a modulated RF signal, then that’s where Litz wire is a benefit. A turntable to a preamp is baseband audio. No modulation used.

      Well that not totally true either. Remember CD4 discs? There the rear channels were modulated in a 40khz carrier. This is why seroius audiophiles had 4 channel reel to reel tape machines. You could not play CD4 discs past a few playings as the 40khz information would be worn away by the stylus so you dubbed the discs to tape ASAP. Expensive hobby even then in the mid 70s.

      Remember VHS and Beta HiFi? Here the audio was modulated into ttwo or four FM carriers at around 1mhz and took advantage of a sliver of unused video bandwidth. The problem was that video tracks are not continuous. Video has dead areas between frames where we can switch heads offline. The audio is continuous and the switch between heads as the tape was only wrapped 180 degrees around the rotating head drum, could not be made inaudible. There was a DC shift that could not be removed.

      That is the reason Beta and VHS was initially touted as a perfect audiophile audio tape recorder then was quickly kicked out of the audiophile club. Audiophiles quickly zeroed in on the 30hz buzz in the background with it’s nasty harmonics.

      There’s some 70s and 80s audiophile history for you.

  18. >>>>No. You asked if I think Litz wire can make a difference in audio. The direct answer is no. But if the audio in question is a modulated RF signal, then that’s where Litz wire is a benefit. A turntable to a preamp is baseband audio. No modulation used.<<<

    Then why did it improve what I heard with my Merrill Turntable and Grado Signature arm (that was also wired with litz)? Cleaned it right up.

    I have no idea how you listen to music. It might be something no one can analyze, because no one knows yet there are different perceptive attributes that will vary from one person to another. Kind of like color blindness. These types of conflicts we are now witnessing to may lead science someday in discovering differences in how people hear. Not talking about deaf. Just how their perception of the same event will be different.

  19. Poor Glimmie, I feel your pain. Someone who has had a formal education in electronics versus armies of tyros who got their education out of Stereophile Magazine and slick advertising. It doesn’t pay to fight them. Even Galen who probably knows a lot about wire has a vested interest in selling you his product which he’d have to admit if he were entirely candid is redundant when an equalizer can do anything his wire can do and a lot more. Usually I stay out of this battle but I got wound up in it when Galen from Belden showed up in Copper Magazine.

    I’ve worked a lot of places myself including at Bell Labs in Murray Hill as their chief electrical engineer until I spent all of Nokia’s budget for electrical work. I also worked at AT&T for four years and at Bellcore (now Telcordia Technologies) for 12 years. I’ve worked in many other industries as well. I’ve specified, bought, installed many millions of dollars worth of wire. When it comes to Audio wires IMO never have so many made so much out of so little. After you’ve taken all of the courses, used all of the equations, solved slews of problems, worked making countless measurements in labs, and built endless projects you realize that you know and they don’t. But it’s pointless to argue with them. Ironically it was Belden’s sales rep who told me a very long time ago what I already knew, “don’t waste your money on audio wires.” They’re nothing more than an LCR network. The easiest way to spot the snake oil salesmen is when they have no numbers. Their arguments are always qualitative, never quantitative. Take the bullshit from the guy selling power cables in one of the links above. He doesn’t know shit. I’ve designed the installation for literally thousands of some of the world’s most sensitive electronic measuring equipment including electron microscopes and machines that photographed atoms. THHN was just fine. Rather than argue with these people just pity them. They’re like gawkers at a medicine show buying tonic. The shills are in the audience. There are two guys who swear they were as bald as billiard balls until they used the tonic and now they have a full head of hair. And no matter how many products they produce there’s always a better one around the corner.

    Finally as the inventor, designer, and builder of what is by far the best sound system for reproducing recordings in the world (and I have a patent 4,332,979 to back it up) wire was given no consideration whatsoever. I’m not making this up and it is not hype, it’s real. You’ll be much happier if you just smile and walk away. Don’t try to confuse them with the facts, their minds are made up.

    1. I have no idea how good your audio system is, but I fail to see how having a patent supports the idea that it is exceptionally good, much less the best in the world.

      1. It’s based on entirely different principles than any other. It’s a PITA to operate. I built two prototypes, one dismantled forever in 1985 and a second I started building in 2002. Only one person who posts hear besides me has heard it, Paul. He doesn’t talk much about it and I can hardly blame him. It flies in the face of everything audiophiles believe. It is not based on better amplifiers, speakers, wires or anything else like that. It is based on analyzing, modeling, and engineering sound fields. Why? Because that is what you hear. Neither prototype cost over $3000. Much of the equipment was bought used and most if not all of it would be considered mid fi.

        1. I am in no position to make any comments on your methods or the results you have obtained. I simply think that the existence of a patent does not support your statement that you have created a superior playback system irrespective of any other factors.

          1. You are right. Especially if you can’t understand the underlying principles behind it. The simplest explanation I can offer is that my invention is based on a discovery of how to do what concert halls, cathedrals, and opera houses do acoustically only I do it by different means, electro-acoustically. Why is that important? Because it is most of what you hear live and substantially alters sound and the way it is perceived. Without it you haven’t got a prayer of high fidelity no matter how much money you spend on equipment. The technology you can buy is just not up to doing the job.

    2. Hi Soundmind,
      EQ adjusts amplitude at the expense of phase. Ideally, you want to minimize a systems inaccuracies as best you can before you apply any EQ. Stick the subs where they do best THEN EQ, for instance and the same situation with wire. Make sure it is as low a phase / amplitude nonlinear as you can get, then EQ if needed. The less EQ the better. Current cost is not the debate, the technology is. The cost will come down over time.
      ICONOCALST sells what it takes to reach best R, L and C in RCA, XLR and speaker cables. They are a test bed to see WHY they may sound different, and they do…sorry all. I need a race car to go to the races, these are them. Engineering knows some things, not everything. But, the thing we know, as soundmind and glimmie point out, must be adhered to. The COST to derive lower R, L and C concurrently is high. But so is all technology at first blush. When fuel injection is cheaper than a carburetor, who would not want it? I think we have a cost too much for me crowd more than a, “I can’t agree that those electricals are better” crowd. Engineers KNOW they are better…the price is higher than the improvements for you. Easy to understand that logic. For some the use and improvements are worth having.
      We don’t sell gimmick. We do sell better R, L and C and prove it (oh hell, we have three patents, too, but that’s just the business). It is expensive to make them but we don’t promise anything except that real work designs made to current principals SHOULD improve your sound…and many applications report that it does. We test every assembly with connectors to show you get what you pay for.

      1. The tough part is defining what attributes are responsible. I fully agree that R, L and C support about all of the “known” superposition test we do on cable (attenuation and others are composite variable tests). Technically, R, L and C fully define what the additional test will do…be better or worse with known measurement methods.
        In parting, the goal is to get cables as affordable as fuel injection and in the meantime figure out HOW to demonstrate better R, L and C in a composite test that can be better visualized. Why would you not want cables to get there? You like carburetors, still?
        We want real information on cables (there to make all the audible assumptions you want) and to offer true to form cables to evaluate their merits in your system. All the while we try to make improvements to current parts to achieve better electricals based on innovative work. In this case, we offer this effort for your evaluations based on R, L and C and their proof of concepts. Education is the best answer. Soundmind is right about that. Basic R, L and C do indeed have to improve to change what we HEAR as well as measure. Poorly made cables certainly won’t define if better R, L and C reach better real world performance. So, we make our own designs and go to the races. I find it odd that real meat on the grinder is causing so much anguish on either side. Better is better. They are better. Many hear audible improvements. That doesn’t CHANGE the R, L an C. It is still better. OK, the price is right, or not, crowd, accept that early adopters pay more. This is how innovation works. No one would turn away better R, L and C cables when they are affordable…would you? ICONOCLAST is a step in that direction.

      2. “EQ adjusts amplitude at the expense of phase.”

        So do cables. They are a zero phase element whose transfer function depends on the impedance of the source and the load. Thevenin’s theorem applies to wire in exactly the same way it applies to amplifiers. Don’t try to snow me. It’s not that easy and better than you have tried and failed. If you have technical data with tests to prove that your Iconoclast cable is different from another cable equalized to perform the same then publish it or give me a link to someone who has. Otherwise I’m sticking to my 16 gage Home Depot wire at 20 cents a foot and my $1 Trisonic interconnects from the dollar store. Frankly I’m so sick and tired of hearing about cables I could just throw up. I would not have posted here but it seemed to me that a huge battle between one person who knew what he was doing and talking about as the result of his training and experience as an electrical engineer and everyone else who didn’t was frustrating him to the point of distraction. I’ve had more than my fill of audio cables. If I return to Bell Labs I will be planning the testing and replacement of their entire 15 kv distribution system, a project that will cost tens of millions of dollars and take many years. Just testing them will be a challenge. There must be hundreds of miles of it. There are about 60 substations involved, all of them double ended and have duplex switching on the primary at each end. Probably will be Okonite or Pirelli.

      3. Differences in phase angle are almost entirely due to differences in the load impedance for loudspeakers. Wire contributes very little to the overall phase change. Look at any loudspeaker impedance curve and you will see what I mean. Here’s a particularly nasty one.

        Look at the impedance curve for the YG acoustics Sonja 1.1 in figure 2. At 20 hz the impedance is at -90 degrees. Over the audible range it’s a roller coaster ride winding up at +33 degrees between 1khz and 2 khz, and just below 0 degrees at 20 khz going back up to +33 degrees at 50 khz. It might make a good spontaneous ultrasonic oscillator. You can also see that at around 200 hz the speaker drops to around 2 ohms. This very expensive speaker in the range of $100,000 a pair is a nightmare for most amplifiers. Even the less radical impedance curve for the 1.3 was a challenge for all of the amplifiers Atkinson had available to him, the most expensive one being $44,000. At a trade show the BHK amplifier had no problem with the 1.3 loudspeaker.

        I don’t understand why this obsession with propagation velocity matters. This is usually referred to as the group velocity. This is the rate the electric field travels down the wire. It is the speed of light in a vacuum times the index of refraction which for a copper wire is around 0.5 making the group velocity around 93,000 miles per second. The phase velocity times the group is the speed of light in a vacuum squared. The drift velocity is the rate electrons flow. As I recall the drift velocity for 100 amps DC was around 2 inches per second based on my own calculations from a problem in a physics text Resnick and Halliday. John Curl who read the same text BTW was obsessed with what he called the Fermi velocity of electrons while John Risch was obsessed with strand jumping. This all sounds like a bunch of hooey to me.

  20. Genez said:
    “Now here is the problem…. If your system is not going to reveal it? No fuse will make a difference. But, if its transparency level is high enough? The fuse differences will be not hard to discern.”

    But here you go again. You have not heard any of my audio devices. You furthermore have no electronics background beyond audiophile magazines so explaining the circuit design to you would be pointless.

    Yet you seem confident to state my stuff is not resolving enough?

    The fuses sound better to you because the guy in the magazine said they would. You worship the audiophile press and want no talk of verification of claims. Placebo effect is highly documented.

    Anytime you want to do a DBT, I will be happy to assist. But I realize that’s not going to work either. The mood won’t be right, you drank some bad coffee, you don’t like me, too much stress in the air….

    1. Glimmie said…. “The fuses sound better to you because the guy in the magazine said they would. You worship the audiophile press and want no talk of verification of claims. Placebo effect is highly documented.”

      Glimmie? Do you realize that PS Audio uses audiophile fuses? And, they make a difference? Paul recommends them. You do not realize it, but you have come to a PS Audio blog and are putting down the company with your close mindedness. Its closed.

      1. “Do you realize that PS Audio uses audiophile fuses? ”

        Did you watch Paul’s video on fuses? They DO NOT use audiophile fuses in their products. He said they do select a good fuse but it’s not one an aftermarket audiophile brand.

        Now I guess he condones users replacing fuses in his products, but I would not if I were him. Warranty, liability if someone gets hurt or there is property damage???

        As for the “closed mindedness”, let’s remember I am the one with the engineering education and over 30 years experience. You worked in a stereo store, were a hotel manager, I guess that makes one open minded when it comes to electronic theory? I guess it does in a sense because you have no idea what you are talking about!

        1. When I worked in a stereo high end shop we had all kinds of customers. All kinds. Your kind was also a customer. It was a real education to say the least. What is your point? You claim we imagine hearing things. We know you can not hear certain things. So, how can this be resolved when the need parameters to be measured elude us?

          I suggest… someone with your credentials. Contact one of the German audiophile fuse companies… and ask them what it is that they are causing in the behavior of their fuses that is not found in generic glass fuses. I am sure you have the capacity to understand what they will tell you… if they want to.

          1. I have asked that question.

            Even Paul admits he nor anyone on his staff has no idea how a fuse makes any difference in a source component.

            The fact remains there is not credible scientific evidence that an audiophile fuse produces superior sound over a stock fuse of the same value.

            “It can’t be measured”, ” your system is not resolving enough” blah, blah, blah. The power supply must produce DC at a low enough impedance not to interact with the audio signal, that is based entirely on current draw. And in fact most source components these days are regulated power supplies. Now you tell me how a fuse in the primary circuit of a source component can effect these changes in audio performance?

  21. I’m sure most of you are familiar with the following test performed a few years ago:

    Even with its flaws, the test did indicate (although it did not prove conclusively) that audiophiles really can hear a difference between cables. Those who believe cables make a difference will see the test results as proof cables have their own sound. Those who do not believe cables sound different will point out the technical and statistical flaws in the exercise. It is unfortunate that the test has not been perfected to answer the question beyond any shadow of doubt once and for all.

    1. But right off the bat that was not an apples to apples test in terms of the basic cable electrical properties. I read that one was 16ga and one was 18ga. There’s going to be a resistance difference right there to start with. Could easily be audible. Who knows what the equivalent gauge of the other two samples was.

      The classic argument is, at least mine is, that cables of equivalent electrical characteristics should not sound different.

      1. Good point about the gauges. And not just gauge, there are different wire materials and configurations, each with their own resistances and impedances. And different terminations with different resistances, impedances and grip factors. And different cable shields and sheathings. It is the whole cable assembly that is being compared, not just wire type. So, at least the test indicates that differences in cable assembly can be heard and appreciated.

  22. “Yet you seem confident to state my stuff is not resolving enough?”

    Glimmie, as I have pointed out several times, and much to the chagrin of audophiles, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A HIGH RESOLVING SOUND SYSTEM. THE TERM HAS NO SCIENTIFIC MEANING WHEN APPLIED TO SOUND SYSTEMS. The term resolving power applies to optical devices like lenses and telescope mirrors. It relates to the ability to discern two objects distinctly instead of appearing to be one and is usually specified in degrees of arc. But in audio the term is absurd. In 96 db of dynamic range, RBCD offers over 64,000 different loudness levels that can be switched from any one to any other one in 1/44,100 of a second. This is far beyond the ability of human beings to discern differences. Analog signals theoretically have infinite resolving power. At the very best, a human being can hear 960 loudness levels switched at no more than 1/40,000 of a second (half a cycle of 20 khz.) Even that is stretching it and is based on the highly implausible claim John Atkinson once made that he could hear differences of 0.1 db. 96 db exceeds the dynamic range of any acoustic music even in an empty concert hall built to AIA standards of 25 dba C weighted quietness and the loudest sound in the audience of no more than 100 to 105 db. Usually pop music is compressed into only a few db.

    Therefore high resolution as applied to audio systems is a marketing term much akin to mid fi and low fi. The fact that RBCD beats all music and is sufficient for any recordings of music also puts the lie to the value of so called high resolution recording formats of which there are only a few thousand recordings that meet that criteria technically. Don’t fall for their bullshit that somehow puts expensive audiophile equipment on a pedestal to justify its outrageous cost based on difference in performance they can’t measure. That’s the beauty of measurements. If you make the right ones, they don’t lie.

    1. I was going to askthat today of the hard core “resolving system” folks here:

      If I go to Best Buy and get a Denon, Sony, Yamaha receiver in the $500 price range, is this device resolving enough to here these subtle differences?

      If not, then why? What is wrong with the $500 receiver that makes it not “resolving”. I want plausible technical answers. The noise floor on most of these units is right up there with the exotic amplifiers, in fact sometimes better. The measured distortion is often lower too.

      Now of course we must assume it is not being operated beyond its capabilities, that is pushed into clipping. But any $500 receiver can drive most speakers to a comfortable volume level well within their linear range.

      So what’s not resolving?

      1. Glimmie, you can buy a PS Audio Sprout Integrated for $499. It is probably pretty resolving in a small system with carefully matched components. Probably would not fare well with the big speakers in Music Room One!

      2. Glimmie… I was going to askthat today of the hard core “resolving system” folks here:

        If I go to Best Buy and get a Denon, Sony, Yamaha receiver in the $500 price range, is this device resolving enough to here these subtle differences?” <<<<<

        Some might show some difference… but… those brands are not geared towards the kind of transparency potential normally needed. Yamaha might though in their high end line. Not sure what Denon is doing today.

        They are mainly geared towards people who want something mainstream and reliable, that will play bass and treble in a pleasant way. Those are more for casual listening. Its high end equipment when geared towards greater transparency and resolve that will reveal what audiophile fuses can do.

    2. Soundmind, to me a highly resolving sound system is one which enables me to hear more detail and hear it more clearly. Metaphorically exactly like optics. I don’t need Maxwellian equations to scientifically explain it.

      1. It is one thing to say that a sound system sounds clear but resolving power is a technical term that is not appropriate to describe these sound systems. This is just technobabble which tries to confer technical attributes to expensive audio equipment that just doesn’t make sense from the point of view that anyone who is trained in physics would understand. You can’t just make up words by expropriating them from their legitimate use. As I pointed out the high resolution digital systems do indeed create higher resolution when they are properly implemented which is very rare. According to Dr. Waldrep there are only a few thousand recordings that meet that criteria. But because RBCD already exceeds the threshold of resolution of human hearing that extra resolution is worthless.

        1. I think “resolution” is an entirely appropriate term to describe sound systems, and most people understand what it means, just like they understand that “warm” in audio talk is not a temperature range on a thermometer. Optical resolution refers to the ability to distinguish between individual parts of an object, closely adjacent optical images or sources of light. Sound system resolution refers to the ability to distinguish between individual parts of a sound stage, closely adjacent instruments or sources of sound. The two are analogous.

          Now, it you want a term that is more difficult to rationalize, how ’bout “musicality”? LOL

    3. >>>>Soundmind said….” as I have pointed out several times, and much to the chagrin of audophiles, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A HIGH RESOLVING SOUND SYSTEM. THE TERM HAS NO SCIENTIFIC MEANING WHEN APPLIED TO SOUND SYSTEM.” <<<<

      Your statement would have been honest is you simply stated that you have yet to hear a resolving system. And, yes … Certain systems can be fine focused and tuned in.

      They can also be untuned and turned into simply being a means for hearing the sound of music coming out of speakers. Focusing all depends upon transparency and exactness of speaker height and angle alignment. Some of us have discovered this phenomena. One essential needed criteria is having phase coherent speakers.. and cabling that minimizes time smear.

      Here is someone (Steven Stone) who was experiencing the effects of speakers allowing for fine focus and tuning. Note.. the speakers he was reviewing? Are phase coherent. Many speakers are not time and phase coherent.

      """" After initial setup, I found that extremely small changes in the speakers' physical locations could result in big differences in soundstage presentation. Even a cat brushing the speakers as it walked across my desk could move the speakers enough that they required repositioning. """""

  23. I wonder if some people who frequent here really have a vested interest in disproving the benefits that many here benefit from. Its seems that way. Such unreasonableness and contrariness tends to point in that direction.

    Then again…. I have met this type of personality in almost every kind of forum I have visited with few exceptions. Its human nature for some to want to play the villain and cause others to wipe the smiles off of their faces…. as a means to draw attention to themselves by means of projecting negativity towards what makes others happy.

    Its human nature for some. Human nature contains a wide spectrum of personality types. Now if we could only measure the brain waves of those bend upon being contrary? Maybe we can prove to them that they are? For… it must be measurable before they will accept it.

    1. Nobody is trying to spoil your fun. If buying these after market accessories makes you happy and YOU hear a positive difference, that’s fine. And it’s also perfectly fine to suggest others try these products.

      But when you do that, be prepared for some to question the claims and ask for additional proof of said performance. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That’s only natural and if you can’t do that, which no one can prove to anyone what they actually hear, but don’t assume our system are less resolving or inferior to yours.

      Additionally you freely admit you have no electronics training or knowledge. Yet you seem right at home arguing theory with people who design and build this stuff. This again points to magic and religion rather than accepted science.

      There was an excellent thread last Friday, the 20th on Bi & Tri ampling. There was a wealth of information exchanged. To me this is what high end audio is about. Pushing the envelope with measurable technology, not trinkets.

      1. Glimmie…. I wish you would question. With an open mind. Instead of belittling and mocking the mentality of those have the capacity for hearing aspects of audio that apparently you have no ability for.

        I sometimes wonder if you are wanting to illicit such response from us peasants …..

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