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Author Topic: Speaker Cable test... sort of.  (Read 1941 times)

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Offline Ben Turnbull

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Speaker Cable test... sort of.
« on: May 17, 2012, 11:24:40 PM »
Audio Soc. of Minnesota did a little testing of speaker cables last month.  They upped it to Stereophile and they printed it.  It's... amusing if not definitive.  Thanks to Jackpine for the heads up.
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Offline scb

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Re: Speaker Cable test... sort of.
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2012, 04:25:17 PM »
my test:

install new speaker cables without the girlfriend knowing

turn on stereo.  out of nowhere, she says: "why does the stereo sound clearer?"

:guitarist:

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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Speaker Cable test... sort of.
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2012, 06:03:39 PM »
Interesting.  Not in that any reliable conclusions can be made from this about wires.  But partly in that these tests never seem to be setup or conducted by people who actually understand statistical analysis.. and more so in that the majority of participants convinced themselves that the test was significant, when a couple actual statistical analysis experts explained why it was not.    The first is simply unfortunate, the second is quite revealing and is the most important thing one can learn from this test!  And that is what is actually significant here, not any conclusion about wires.  Unfortunatly I think it likely that few will see the connection and realize that conclusion and it's implications.

Quote extracted out of the random noise of comments on the Stereophile article:
Quote
A statistician's perspective
Submitted by HiRezNut on May 16, 2012 - 10:46am.
First of all, I think the Audio Society of Minnesota (ASM) ought to be heartily congratulated on taking the time and effort to collect this interesting blinded data comparing speaker cables.  Thanks, guys!  I was mainly disappointed that insufficient thought went into how the data might be analyzed, but I suppose that's because that's a big part of my job as Associate Professor of Biostatistics and Computational Biology at The University of Rochester Medical Center.  Some of the criticisms here largely miss the mark, in my opinion..[snip]

Anyway, the bad news for me (as I have convinced myself that cables, interconnects anyway, matter) is that this data provides insufficient evidence to conclude any differences.  I can provide more details if anyone cares (including those below)..[snip]

Bottom line:  no significant differences.
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Offline Moke

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Re: Speaker Cable test... sort of.
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2012, 08:08:52 PM »
One of the biggest disappointments in my cable testing was the Home Depot DIY speaker cables.  I spent the better part of an afternoon setting them up, and then they sounded like a wet towel over the sound.  I couldn't wait to get my daily drivers back into place.  I'm firmly in the camp of cables do make a difference.
Another consideration is in high-current output amps.  Some of these amps, you can weld with.  An infamous 70's ad campaign by Levinson showed a welding bead from the amplifier output.
A short at the speaker end of the cable could have a fairly solid amount of wire glowing hot enough to cause problems; does anyone have their wire running near anything flammable, like carpet, or drapes?
So, while its probably overkill to think like this, it does cause me concern at a personal level.  Thats why I run cable that is of a gauge that you can weld with it, just to ensure that the voltage is carried properly, and worst case scenarios averted.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Speaker Cable test... sort of.
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2012, 10:42:39 PM »
I didn't mean to come off sounding like a test protocol dweeb or infer that cables can't make a difference, only that people frequently convice themselves of unsubstantiated things and draw false conclusions.   

I think speaker wires make more difference on some systems than others.  And I'm in the camp which feels that the equipment on which different yet decent cables make a big difference is poorly designed, at least by modern standards.  I currently use some crazy fat, four conductor welding machine power supply wire because it's well made, well insulated, has super low restance due to the large guage, and because I had several lengths of it laying around at work. I listened on my current gear and didn't hear a differnce with several other wires including a couple fancy audiophile cables borrowed from a friend, and that made me pleased.  I have heard a difference in the past with other speakers and amps and similar wires and used the ones which sounded best.  I was happy to optimize it but that made me feel the design of that equipment had room to improve!

Personally I consider an audio amplifier which does not have proper self-protection which shuts itself down in a short circuit condition not only a bad design, but outright dangerous an irresponisble. Keep the welder in the workshop please. Once upon a time, amp self protection schemes were poorly designed and implemented and had a negative impact on sound quality, but those times are gone.  Effective yet audibly transparent self-protection is basically a solved problem. Similarly we don't illuminate our houses with open flame gas lamps or wire our homes with groundless electical circuits anymore.  Technology improved over time. Brakes and tires on cars just work now without much need for radical redesign.  I understand audio nostalgia and the appreciation for beautiful things built when labor and materials were more affordable (even though the technology was poor), but technology marches ahead even when art doesn't.

WTF, I can't believe I'm posting about speaker cables! it's an interweb trap!

musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
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Offline Moke

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Re: Speaker Cable test... sort of.
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2012, 11:08:34 PM »
I had an RCA termination fall onto a pair of output jacks on my Plinius amp, a modern class ab amp with circuit protection.  Sparks flew, and the RCA outer jacket melted to a degree before the fuse blew.  It was an eye opener to say the least.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Speaker Cable test... sort of.
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2012, 11:20:20 PM »
They should hook up old speakers to Hobart or Miller welding machines and blow them up for fun at audiophile meets, sort of like the traditional drained oil, full throttle engine blow at aircooled VW meets.  Always a crowd pleaser.
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline twatts (that "Pants" thing is so lame...)

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Re: Speaker Cable test... sort of.
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2012, 11:21:53 PM »
One of the biggest disappointments in my cable testing was the Home Depot DIY speaker cables.  I spent the better part of an afternoon setting them up, and then they sounded like a wet towel over the sound.  I couldn't wait to get my daily drivers back into place.  I'm firmly in the camp of cables do make a difference.

This were a fun project...  And I gave the cables away when I moved up to a decent set of speakers...

The biggest improvement (at least to my delusion self) was going to DogHouse silver cables over typical rat-shack coppers...  Since I bought DogStars for my Rig, I figured I'd get DogHouse for my playback...  They seemed brighter but also less muddy...  But then again, its probably just wishful thinking considering how much more I paid for them compared to rat shack...

At some point I have to think that the movement of electrons across a conductor can only be improved/facilitated to a certain point...  Its physics...  A $2000 length of metal can't be that much better than a $100 length of metal, though i'm sure its better than a $1 beer can...

But then I'm a total idiot, so what do I know...

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