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mjzee

The importance of subjectivity

30 posts in this topic

I thought this was an interesting, provocative read:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/quackery-gullibility-and-open-mindedness

I had a recent experience that, in a small way, reinforced this.  I upgraded my speaker cables to a more audiophile pair made in China: KK Cable brand k4B-2B bi-wire cables, bought from Amazon.  They cost $70.98 for the pair.  I hear a distinct improvement in clarity; the music just makes more sense now.  I feel drawn into the music.

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Stereophile is one of the biggest sellers of audio snake oil. This article is them just preaching to their choir.

As for your experience with new speaker cables, it's your money and I'm glad you find it well spent. Stereophile might agree with your assessment but I find it unlikely. In my experience, Stereophile's reviews almost always favor the expensive tweaks. $71 a pair is "two buck Chuck" in speaker cables. :)

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I knew an audiophile who claimed that the colors of the cables made a difference.  

He also claimed that records sounded different at various times of the day, because of the power grid.  He said that records sounded the best at 3 am, because the fewest number of persons were using the grid at that time.

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How many of you have green magic markers?

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And yet, no one would dispute that a $200 stereo would sound better than a $50 stereo, or that a $1,000 stereo would sound better than a $200 stereo, just as no one would dispute that a $2,000 flat-screen TV has a better picture than a $500 flat-screen TV.  There are improvements that come with innovation, design, better materials, newer technologies, and, yes, costlier materials.  Where the line is drawn of "I can't hear (or see) any improvement for the money" differs with every individual, but flat statements that imply you'll get good sound regardless of how much or little you spend seem like a caricature.

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Boy, you got us there.

 

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5 hours ago, mjzee said:

And yet, no one would dispute that a $200 stereo would sound better than a $50 stereo, or that a $1,000 stereo would sound better than a $200 stereo, just as no one would dispute that a $2,000 flat-screen TV has a better picture than a $500 flat-screen TV.  There are improvements that come with innovation, design, better materials, newer technologies, and, yes, costlier materials.  Where the line is drawn of "I can't hear (or see) any improvement for the money" differs with every individual, but flat statements that imply you'll get good sound regardless of how much or little you spend seem like a caricature.

You are using absolutes where they are not necessary. I would definitely dispute every one of the generalizations you've made. In fact, I would say that price has very little to do with how a stereo sounds or a TV looks.

And then you'll have to explain to me how these KK Cables represent an innovative design or what improved materials are being used here... Wire is being used here. Wire. Oh, and banana plugs. These materials have been used for speaker cables for as long as I've been buying speaker cables.

And don't even get me started over bi-wiring.

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Kevin, the sales pitches I've seen for cables stress the purity of the copper, and the effort given to designing the insulation.

I take it that you think that effort is wasted.  Is that right?  Any copper wire is as good as another?

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14 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

I think my speakers sound better when I dust the tops.

That's where I've been going wrong...

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21 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

I think my speakers sound better when I dust the tops.

I do that, but then I smoke the dust. THAT'S what makes everything sound REALLY good!!!

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22 hours ago, bresna said:

Stereophile is one of the biggest sellers of audio snake oil. This article is them just preaching to their choir.

As for your experience with new speaker cables, it's your money and I'm glad you find it well spent. Stereophile might agree with your assessment but I find it unlikely. In my experience, Stereophile's reviews almost always favor the expensive tweaks. $71 a pair is "two buck Chuck" in speaker cables. :)

That (bolded).  IMO of course, how people spend their discretionary income is their decision.

I used to read Stereophile, but threw in the towel about 20 years ago when I decided that (one of their big columnists at the time) Jonathan Scull's constant touting of "Shun Mook resonators" was absurd rather than funny.:D

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2 hours ago, GA Russell said:

Kevin, the sales pitches I've seen for cables stress the purity of the copper, and the effort given to designing the insulation.

I take it that you think that effort is wasted.  Is that right?  Any copper wire is as good as another?

I believe in using well made speaker wires. I would not have bought the KK Cable k4B-2B cables mentioned above specifically because several Amazon reviewers state that the banana terminations are crimped on and as a result, several have had them pull off. I use Blue Jean speaker wires. The banana terminations are welded on.

Purity of the copper has very little to do with the sound.

Insulation has even less to do with the sound.

Again, buy whatever you like and enjoy it to your heart's content. Believe your own ears when you hear some improvement. I have no qualms with that.

Just don't start debating the science behind it or we'll likely disagree. I measure things for a living. I measure signals as high as 100 GHz. I know all about cables and signal integrity. I know what measurements show about the quality of transmitted signals.I make these types of measurements almost every day.

5 minutes ago, T.D. said:

I used to read Stereophile, but threw in the towel about 20 years ago when I decided that (one of their big columnists at the time) Jonathan Scull's constant touting of "Shun Mook resonators" was absurd rather than funny.:D

I stopped reading that magazine a long time ago as well. They continually touted expensive tweaks that just didn't stand up to the science. Having an EE degree and knowing the science behind it is kinda like knowing the wizard is behind the curtain.

Edited by bresna

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40 minutes ago, JSngry said:

I do that, but then I smoke the dust. THAT'S what makes everything sound REALLY good!!!

Haha!  I have asthma, so that wouldn't work for me!

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Put it in a nebulizer.

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Anyway, I’d encourage others to read the article.  I think the writer makes some good points.

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5 minutes ago, mjzee said:

Anyway, I’d encourage others to read the article.  I think the writer makes some good points.

I agree.

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Lemon flavored!

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8 minutes ago, mjzee said:

Anyway, I’d encourage others to read the article.  I think the writer makes some good points.

I read it. I almost didn't when he started out by inferring chiropractors are "quacks". I have had many back issues minimized by my chiropractor. What he does by manipulating my spine relieves nerve pain. It's not imagined. I can hear my joints pop and I get almost instantaneous pain relief. In my limited experience in comparing audio playback, it is nothing like popping facet joints.

I have no idea what Rife technology is doing for his friend and I hope I never have to find out.

FWIW, I have tried some audio tweaks. After all, I do have Blue Jean Cables interconnects and speaker wires (mainly because they are well made and look good). I tried hearing differences when I switched over to these cables, but I really wasn't able to hear anything different. One time, I tried swapping AC cords. I could hear no difference at all with that experiment, which validated the science, making me a happy camper. That being said, the time it takes to swap an AC line cord is far too long for human audio memory anyway, so from a scientific point of view, that alone likely invalidated the test. :)

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Does anyone remember the story - and I may be getting details wrong - about an audiophile rag that did blindfold tests?  In one test, on a very high-end system, they apparently replaced the high-end tube amplifier with a solid state Panasonic that you could have bought at Sears.  All the other gear in the chain was high-end and unchanged.  Apparently, the participants in the test could not tell the difference, and the rag stopped doing the blindfold tests.  Anyone know what I'm talking about?

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34 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

Does anyone remember the story - and I may be getting details wrong - about an audiophile rag that did blindfold tests?  In one test, on a very high-end system, they apparently replaced the high-end tube amplifier with a solid state Panasonic that you could have bought at Sears.  All the other gear in the chain was high-end and unchanged.  Apparently, the participants in the test could not tell the difference, and the rag stopped doing the blindfold tests.  Anyone know what I'm talking about?

Stereo Review's Julian Hirsch sat down with 16 members of the Detroit Audio Society and did a blind test of a Pioneer solid state amp and a Mark Levison tube amp. He got a lot of grief for that article because statistically speaking, by a very slim margin, listeners preferred the sound of the Pioneer receiver. However, this was a two-part listening test. When people saw what they were listening to (un-blinded so to speak), they overwhelmingly chose the tube amp. I think that is the part that got him in the most trouble.

I don't remember this stopping them from doing blind tests though. In fact, I think they did a blind listening test of speaker wires shortly after this amplifier test. I found that Stereo Review article here: https://www.soundandvision.com/content/speaker-cables-can-you-hear-difference

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Edited by bresna

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2 hours ago, bresna said:

I read it. I almost didn't when he started out by inferring chiropractors are "quacks". I have had many back issues minimized by my chiropractor. What he does by manipulating my spine relieves nerve pain. It's not imagined. I can hear my joints pop and I get almost instantaneous pain relief. In my limited experience in comparing audio playback, it is nothing like popping facet joints.

That was the writer's point.  Many people think chiropractors are quacks.  Your experience told you otherwise; so did the writer's.

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Maybe there's a way to turn a chiropractor into speaker wire!

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