The Ten Biggest Lies in Audio - Page 15 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

 View Poll Results: Ten Biggest Audio Lies: Agree or Disagree (If you disagree, you must explain why!) Votes are public! I agree with all of them. (If you vote here... do not vote again.) 130 44.22% I disagree with all of them. (If you vote here... do not vote again.) 11 3.74% 1. The Cable Lie: Agree 106 36.05% 1. The Cable Lie: Disagree 36 12.24% 2. The Vacuum-Tube Lie: Agree 55 18.71% 2. The Vacuum-Tube Lie: Disagree 61 20.75% 3. The Antidigital Lie: Agree 70 23.81% 3. The Antidigital Lie: Disagree 43 14.63% 4. The Listening-Test Lie: Agree 79 26.87% 4. The Listening-Test Lie: Disagree 34 11.56% 5. The Feedback Lie: Agree 72 24.49% 5. The Feedback Lie: Disagree 29 9.86% 6. The Burn-In Lie: Agree 85 28.91% 6. The Burn-In Lie: Disagree 36 12.24% 7. The Biwiring Lie: Agree 78 26.53% 7. The Biwiring Lie: Disagree 34 11.56% 8. The Power Conditioner Lie: Agree 76 25.85% 8. The Power Conditioner Lie: Disagree 41 13.95% 9. The CD Treatment Lie: Agree 94 31.97% 9. The CD Treatment Lie: Disagree 25 8.50% 10: The Golden Ear Lie: Agree 81 27.55% 10: The Golden Ear Lie: Disagree 31 10.54% Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 294. You may not vote on this poll

Old 09-04-12, 02:42 PM
Shackster

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SoCal
Posts: 31
My System
Re: The Ten Biggest Lies in Audio

Quote:
NotBananas wrote: View Post
I have a BSEE (Electrical Engineering) and one thing that cannot be overridden is Ohms Law! It's a simple concept. The larger the conductor diameter, the less resistance, therefore it can carry more current with less losses. This is true up to a point, then you reach a point of diminishing returns. The only way to get zero losses is to have a superconductor cooled to absolute zero temperature (not possible) so the closer you get to absolute zero, the less losses.

I (current) = V (voltage) / R (resistance)

So the less resistance, the more current passes through the conductor.
All this nonsense that made Monster Cable rich is bunk! If you use a 14AW (American Wire) gauge size wire instead of 18 gauge (zip cord), you will have less current losses. Most wire from the amp to the speakers are about 10ft. run. If you use a 16 or 14 gauge wire, it will have a minimal effect on this short of distance.

As far as the skin effect, it applies mostly to high frequency RF. I was a amateur radio operator and the skin effect starts taking into consideration in megahertz ranges. At audio frequencies, it absolutely has no effect! At higher frequencies (in megahertz and gigahertz range) electrons migrate towards the surface of the conductor, so the diameter of the conductor has a larger effect. This is why you see hollow tubes (called waveguides) used as conductors in the gigahertz range, such as radar. They are actually hollow, since there's no reason to have a center conductor in these frequency ranges.

As far as interconnect, "The Prof" is correct. All interconnects present a combination of inductance and capacitance called reactance, to the two units coupled with them. If anyone hears a difference, it's only because each cable has different reactance (capacitance and inductance) value which makes the amp or preamp sound different. It all depends what sound you favor as to what you hear, better or worse, it's just an opinion.

If you all remember the fairytale about the Emperors New Clothes: nobody wanted to admit he was naked for fear of other's thinking they are not knowledgeable.

My 50 years of knowledge of physics and electronics and common sense (not so common anymore) had saved me countless thousands of dollars over the years.

The final judge is what the music sound like compared to live source. Comparing it to another audio system is not valid because they all have colorization to the sound. It's just which one you prefer over the other, not which one is better or worse.
Nicely put.
climber07 is offline

Old 10-24-12, 08:13 PM
Shackster

Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 18
Re: The Ten Biggest Lies in Audio

lol
mpesik is offline
Old 12-07-12, 08:55 AM
Senior Shackster

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 726
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Re: The Ten Biggest Lies in Audio

Oh wow...what a controversial subject and being an electrical engineer, its my professional opinion that most are lies. Also have read a few exerpts from Dr. Floyd Tool confirms my suspicions on many a subjective claims...

*runs and hides*
Old 12-07-12, 11:01 AM
Senior Shackster

Nathan

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lincoln, UK.
Posts: 110
Re: The Ten Biggest Lies in Audio

There are things that affect signal integrity in cabling, but they are well understood things like capacitance in signal cables (esp if a high-impedance source) microphonics due to static effects and voltage generation, or even plain old insulation breakdown, noise pickup due to unbalanced runs, etc, etc.

I use high quality cables and make up most of my own so that I know they are high quality, but I work in audio, and know that the little differences soon stack up when you have long cable runs. I use star-quad microphone cabling for microphone runs when recording low-level stuff (eg voiceovers) and I will spend money on good preamps for this purpose.

But, there are a lot of practices that make either none or very little difference, and it galls me that the marketing for these items concentrates on getting the fool to part with his money rather than find the genuine weak point in the setup (usu acoustics) and help improve it.

It is inescapable that if people are willing to believe in these things, then people and companies will exploit this.

>
planetnine is offline
Old 12-07-12, 11:45 AM
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Nathan

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lincoln, UK.
Posts: 110
Re: The Ten Biggest Lies in Audio

Quote:
Jef Bardsley wrote: View Post
The above I do agree with.

To accord with my checkmarks, I offer the following to balance the arguments a bit:

I like vacuum tubes because I believe in euphonics. I remember wandering in to The Natural Sound and finding a pair of B&W 801s set up in the middle of the floor, wired and ready to go. No one was around, so I cued up a copy of "Let It Bleed". Yuch! Really, I didn't want to know the Stones were recorded that poorly. If tubes can make bad stuff sound good, so I can concentrate on the performance and ignore the recording, that's worth a little accuracy in my book, and goes at least double for home theater.

Antidigital lie?!? What about the digital lie, "Perfect sound forever!" It's been shown CDs are not archival, and may not even last ten years. And once "digital" became a buzzword, they foisted MP3s on us, and an entire generation swallowed them without flinching.

True, if you have \$8000 monoblocks, you don't need power conditioning for your amplifiers. But I think most people's gear, in most parts of the world, might benefit from a little voltage regulation and filtering.

As far as Golden Ears go... sure, there are folks in the business that set themselves up as cult leaders. But everyone does not hear the same, nor respond the same to what they do hear. I noticed long ago, flat frequency response is totally lost on some people, while others are not impressed by time alignment. Apparently our ears are not only sensitive to different things, they also auto-correct different things. As I implied earlier, while perfect reproduction is the goal, we're not there yet, and what's "best" for each of us will depend on what allows us to maintain our personal "suspension of disbelief". Me, I like big and I need loud. My wife on the other hand, is perfectly willing to believe there's an orchestra in that little box, and it's playing the fortissimo parts softly.

The system didn't sound so good because it had valves, it sounded so good because it was very well designed, engineered, built and set up. This can be acheived with valves or "solid state".

"Perfect Sound Forever" was a lie in terms of the CD, but that was marketing and the weakness is in the medium, not the method.

CD and digital are not one and the same thing. Once the accuracy of digital had been improved (yes, many early ADCs and DACs were not nice), there was a huge learning curve about what we actually like about music -and one thing found repeatedly was the distortions inherent in analogue gear (valve amplification, valve preamps, impedance and isolation transformers, tape heads and mechanisms and magnetic media itself, etc, etc) were part of the sounds we liked and helped make the mixes sound warm and pleasing.

With oversampling and 24-bit resolution, digital has now come of age, and with well designed, engineered, built and set-up equipment is about as perfect as you can acheive -whether you want that perfection without the familiar organic sounds of the various distortions you are used to is another matter... I can record more accurately than the very best in professional equipment could 20 years ago, but that will not make the results sound more pleasing.

mp3s, well I agree with you for the most part. They are clever, but they are not accurate, or even good or close to it in many cases. They serve a purpose, they filled a gap when digital storage was too expensive and internet transfer was incapable of delivering the bandwidth. The technologies are very good at delivering audio and video with a fraction of the storage and bandwidth required if it was uncompressed, and digital TV, DVDs and Blue-Ray would not exist if not for the methods.

The sourest part of the mp3 debate is that most users, consumers, do not care; in many cases they probably cannot actually tell. I use them at elevated bitrates for demo and example stuff and as I said, they serve a purpose. Nobody should be under the impression that they are high fidelity carriers though.

What you should be aware of though, is the horrific things done to artistic audio creations over the last twenty years due to the perceived need to make the recording "louder", despite the obvious ceiling of digital full-scale. The mangling done by mixers and masterers at the behest of artistes, A&R, Producers (or even themselves) in the loudness anxiety illness is unbelieveable and is worthy of some study; I can assure you that you will stare in disbelief if you understand what has been done as a result of this quest.

Luckily it seems that with high bitdepth uncompressed delivery at last seeming a reality, and the wonderful concept of normalising to loudness and not digital peak level when mastering content now set out and being accepted (EBU R128), dynamic music as it used to be mixed will soon be the norm for you high-end boys (and girls) to exercise your audio systems with.

As I'm sure you will agree though, the most significant factors to affect audio quality is the acoustics and the setup of home systems, it doesn't (to a degree) matter how much you spend on the gear if this is not attended to

>
planetnine is offline
Old 12-07-12, 01:04 PM
Senior Shackster

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 726
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Re: The Ten Biggest Lies in Audio

Quote:
planetnine wrote: View Post
There are things that affect signal integrity in cabling, but they are well understood things like capacitance in signal cables (esp if a high-impedance source) microphonics due to static effects and voltage generation, or even plain old insulation breakdown, noise pickup due to unbalanced runs, etc, etc.

I use high quality cables and make up most of my own so that I know they are high quality, but I work in audio, and know that the little differences soon stack up when you have long cable runs. I use star-quad microphone cabling for microphone runs when recording low-level stuff (eg voiceovers) and I will spend money on good preamps for this purpose.

But, there are a lot of practices that make either none or very little difference, and it galls me that the marketing for these items concentrates on getting the fool to part with his money rather than find the genuine weak point in the setup (usu acoustics) and help improve it.

It is inescapable that if people are willing to believe in these things, then people and companies will exploit this.

>
They are so good at their marketing that they have their customers believe it hook line and sinker. The other thing I find really funny is interconnects. Most of them are single ended, not differential so what is actually being bought is simply a visual thing, not an audio thing. The visual que is what makes people believe in the audio que but are not aware of the influence of sight bias. IHO, any audio leaders who perpetuate that interconnects and cables are sonically different espicially in these short runs are in fact perpetrating fraud of sorts.
Old 12-07-12, 04:13 PM
Senior Shackster

Nathan

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lincoln, UK.
Posts: 110
Re: The Ten Biggest Lies in Audio

I don't know how this sits with the rules, esp if they might be an advertiser here, but I wouldn't buy that particular companies products if you gave me the money. They have a very dubious moral standing in many people's eyes and engage in quite predatory and unethical behaviour regarding the trademarking of anything with a similar name to theirs, and patent cases which they have had their legal knuckles rapped for.

I have refused entry to that brand of cable in my studio and refuse to connect it to my equipment on live stages. It might seem to be an extreme reaction, but people remember, and I'm aware of several people who have changed their minds after researching the company's practices. If people behaved like some companies, they would be ostracised as utter pariahs. Too much is accepted under the escape clause of "it's business".

Anyway, another conversation for another time, but yes, too much is put into looking pretty and inferring amazing qualties in the interconnect world. I roll my own where I can -it gives you much better quality and confidence for the same money or cheaper...

>
planetnine is offline
Old 12-07-12, 04:45 PM
Shackster

Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 21
Re: The Ten Biggest Lies in Audio

Quote:
planetnine wrote: View Post
What you should be aware of though, is the horrific things done to artistic audio creations over the last twenty years due to the perceived need to make the recording "louder", despite the obvious ceiling of digital full-scale. The mangling done by mixers and masterers at the behest of artistes, A&R, Producers (or even themselves) in the loudness anxiety illness is unbelieveable and is worthy of some study; I can assure you that you will stare in disbelief if you understand what has been done as a result of this quest.
What many reporters of the "Loudness Wars" seem to overlook is a lot of (most?) music these days is listened to through earbuds in a noisy urban environment. It's not dissimilar to the "AM radio mix", from back when most teens listened to rock and roll on their car radios.

Quote:
planetnine wrote: View Post
Luckily it seems that with high bitdepth uncompressed delivery at last seeming a reality, and the wonderful concept of normalising to loudness and not digital peak level when mastering content now set out and being accepted (EBU R128), dynamic music as it used to be mixed will soon be the norm for you high-end boys (and girls) to exercise your audio systems with.
Perhaps what we'll see is the distribution of a "home mix" and a "mobile mix", though it would seem to me a better choice to let the DSP of the mobile device do the compression.

Quote:
planetnine wrote: View Post
As I'm sure you will agree though, the most significant factors to affect audio quality is the acoustics and the setup of home systems, it doesn't (to a degree) matter how much you spend on the gear if this is not attended to
Absolutely. It doesn't take much "problem fixing" in terms of upgrading gear before the biggest problem that remains is the room, itself.
Jef Bardsley is offline
Old 12-07-12, 04:58 PM
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Nathan

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lincoln, UK.
Posts: 110
Re: The Ten Biggest Lies in Audio

Quote:
Jef Bardsley wrote: View Post
What many reporters of the "Loudness Wars" seem to overlook is a lot of (most?) music these days is listened to through earbuds in a noisy urban environment. It's not dissimilar to the "AM radio mix", from back when most teens listened to rock and roll on their car radios.

Perhaps what we'll see is the distribution of a "home mix" and a "mobile mix", though it would seem to me a better choice to let the DSP of the mobile device do the compression...

Yes Jef, but there is a whole world of difference between merely reducing dynamic range and performing the iterative lumphammer mangling that is found in almost every mainstream CD release. There surely can be no excuse for repeatedly and deeply clipping the signal, just because you're scared that one of the "competition's" CDs will appear louder at the same playback gain.

It is so extreme that many releases have to be mastered as a second, separate "radio mix" without the hpercompression and brickwall limiting (yes those are real audio terms, not hyperbole) as the public release will sound horrifically distorted if passed through most radio stations' broadcast processors...

It's gone a bit far, hasn't it..?

>
planetnine is offline
Old 12-08-12, 11:23 AM
Shackster

Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 21
Re: The Ten Biggest Lies in Audio

Quote:
planetnine wrote: View Post
... the iterative lumphammer mangling ...

Brilliant!

I suppose I'm lucky because I have a friend with a massive vinyl collection who's side business is making CDs for people.

But you might think, with falling CD sales, it would occur to them that the (ahem!) quality of the product had some small part in it all.
Jef Bardsley is offline

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