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Ten Biggest Audio Lies: Agree or Disagree (If you disagree, you must explain why!) Votes are public!


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Discussion Starter #21
Actually it is a public poll ... just click on the number to see who voted. :bigsmile:
 

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It certainly is fun to think my DIY $100 GC amp has less THD than a $12,000 valve amp. :yay:
 

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Hello,

I agree with many of them except:

Cable - I can hear a difference between a 5$ analog interconect and a well home made interconect build with quality canaire cable and good RCA plugs. So I am not ok to say that interconect analog cable does not make any difference in sound. Also, if cable make difference in sound, that does not mean that one cable is more HI-FI than another. But I totally agree that AC cables does not make any difference.

Valve amp - Again, the sound is not better with a vacuum amp, it is different. This is the same case with vinyl over CD. If we say that there is no difference between different amplifier or source, so why dont we buy all the same brand and at the lower price possible ?

The Power Conditionner - Here it depends. If your AC line is clean, no groud loop, no RF interference in your video line, the conditionner will not give you much improvment. But this is not my case. The Power Conditionner give me a cleaner sound and video over cable. This is a fact. Many of recent audio component are cheeper than some vintage one and the AC filters are cheeper. So the PowerConditioner could prevent from AC fluctuation (thunder) and protect your components.

Any comments ?
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Cable - I can hear a difference between a 5$ analog interconect and a well home made interconect build with quality canaire cable and good RCA plugs. So I am not ok to say that interconect analog cable does not make any difference in sound. Also, if cable make difference in sound, that does not mean that one cable is more HI-FI than another. But I totally agree that AC cables does not make any difference.
I think you misread what he said about this. I would say you could hear a difference between "some" $5 interconnects and a good home made or otherwise quality built interconnect, but not all. Why? Because you can buy and build a very good interconnect for $5. You may have to buy the connectors and wire in bulk to get to the $5 price point, but it can be done.

I suspect if you hear a difference, then there is something faulty with one cable or the other.

To quote the writer: The lie is that high-priced speaker cables and interconnects sound better than the standard, run-of-the-mill (say, Radio Shack) ones.

He qualifies his claim: The simple truth is that resistance, inductance, and capacitance (R, L, and C) are the only cable parameters that affect performance in the range below radio frequencies. The signal has no idea whether it is being transmitted through cheap or expensive RLC. Yes, you have to pay a little more than rock bottom for decent plugs, shielding, insulation, etc., to avoid reliability problems, and you have to pay attention to resistance in longer connections.



Valve amp - Again, the sound is not better with a vacuum amp, it is different. This is the same case with vinyl over CD.
Again, I think you misunderstand his claim. He does not say that they are not different, in fact he very much says they are different. No doubt vinyl and CD are different as well.

Here is the lie: Unbelievable! And so is, of course, the claim that vacuum tubes are inherently superior to transistors in audio applications—don’t you believe it.

Whatever vacuum tubes can do in a piece of audio equipment, solid-state devices can do better, at lower cost, with greater reliability. Even the world’s best-designed tube amplifier will have higher distortion than an equally well-designed transistor amplifier and will almost certainly need more servicing (tube replacements, rebiasing, etc.) during its lifetime.



The Power Conditionner - Here it depends. If your AC line is clean, no groud loop, no RF interference in your video line, the conditionner will not give you much improvment. But this is not my case. The Power Conditionner give me a cleaner sound and video over cable. This is a fact. Many of recent audio component are cheeper than some vintage one and the AC filters are cheeper. So the PowerConditioner could prevent from AC fluctuation (thunder) and protect your components.
Again, I don't think you disagree with him. He qualifies the lie: “All Bryston amplifiers contain high-quality, dedicated circuitry in the power supplies to reject RF, line spikes and other power-line problems. Bryston power amplifiers do not require specialized power line conditioners. Plug the amplifier directly into its own wall socket.” What they don’t say is that the same is true, more or less, of all well-designed amplifiers.

The biggest and stupidest lie of them all on the subject of “clean” power is that you need a specially designed high-priced line cord to obtain the best possible sound. Any line cord rated to handle domestic ac voltages and currents will perform like any other. Ultra high-end line cords are a fraud.
 

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I also think it's interesting how all it takes is one time, and you're sold, the exception that proves the rule so to speak.

I could use 50 random cables, and the one time I hear any difference, good or bad, I'm sold on expensive cables.

Don't get me wrong, we all generalize. I have had great experiences with monoprice, and because of that, I recommend them for every situation. However, I don't feel bad about it because monoprice saves you money. If you buy 3 cables from monoprice and the third one is junk, 3 monoprice cables and one Monster cable (ought to replace the defective monoprice one) still cost less then just buying 3 Monster cables (or 2, or 1.1 for that matter).
 

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Discussion Starter #26
This is a multiple choice poll, however, if you vote that you agree with all or disagree with all, do not vote on the individual questions or your votes will be deleted.

Do you agree... if not, then why not? (This is not an option... it is a requirement as part of the poll!) If you do not agree, then you must post why you do not agree or your vote will be stripped.

This is a public poll... click any vote # to see how members voted. If you see more members listed than number of votes, it is because they voted more than they were supposed to (see above) and/or their vote was stripped because they have not complied with the initial post requirements.
 

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Do you agree... if not, then why not?
Well, I generally agreed with all of them except for the bi-wiring theory..... which said in part:

- biwiring is pure voodoo. If you move one pair of speaker wires to the same terminals where the other pair is connected, absolutely nothing changes electrically. The law of physics that says so is called the superposition principle. In terms of electronics, the superposition theorem states that any number of voltages applied simultaneously to a linear network will result in a current which is the exact sum of the currents that would result if the voltages were applied individually.
True, of course, but it assumes that the bi-wire speaker cables present a zero impedance, and that distortion from one driver will not affect the performance of the other driver.

Superposition only holds true for a linear system. Bi-wiring will only theoretically be a benefit when drivers distort and linearity is no longer maintained.

With sufficient voltage a driver can deviate from ideal linearity so the current in that connection between the low output impedance of the amplifier and the woofer (in this case), will carry harmonic distortion components which can create intermodulation products. In a simple non-bi-wire situation, the tweeter driver terminals will see these distortion components through the speakers low to zero impedance straps (when a single non bi-wire set of cables is used).

The theoretical advantage is now valid if you assume a set of bi-wire speaker cables has some finite impedance (obviously, the longer the cables, the more pronounced the effects will be). When bi-wire cables are used rather than single wires with straps, the distortion components (caused by the woofer driver) will have a lower impedance path to the amplifiers low output impedance sink, rather than travel back and down the tweeters speaker cable.

Yeah, you're right, it's a small advantage and you could argue that the tweeters crossover would help to reduce the problem, but I suppose you could argue that the harmonic and intermodulation products will be at a higher frequency and may pass through to the tweeter driver.

The entire advantage is gained by asking this question. From the perspective of the woofer driver terminals, which is the lower impedance path to the tweeters driver terminals? Is it a set of straps in a non bi-wire situation, or is it the route of a set of bi-wire cables that has a theoretical ideal voltage source (amplifiers low output impedance) in the path?..........

Oh, did I mention that the benefit would be about the same result as attempting to slow your car down by putting your hand out the window? I never said you could hear the benefits of bi-wiring, I just said that the theory is there to not vote yes to the poll question........

brucek
 
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Although I'd have to agree with the "cable lie", I do think he should have mentioned something about the build quality may have an effect on the longevity of the cable. It doesn't take long for a cheapo cable to become worthless after a few twists, bends, etc.


I'm also surprised we haven't heard more objections to the "burn in" myth. I've always been skeptical about it but on the other hand I've also had many people swear by it.
 

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I believe in Burn-in for mechanical devices, as he states. I'd heard the difference in headphones, using 2 brand new pair, listening to both, burning in for 2 days, and then listening again.
 
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Great thread, great article. I disagree with many of the conclusions but still it was a good read.

Cables: Well, I believe the primary difference is psychological and as such is "real" to a different level for each individual. For instance, if I know which cables are in use and I favor their appearance, they will sound better to me than cables whose appearance I do not like. They could be identical in every way except the color, and it could skew my perception. We should not dismiss the power of the human psyche, it can (and does) create physical reactions.

So do some wires sound better than others? Yes, I believe they do.

Vacuum tubes: I like them better (for my music), they sound better to me. Everyone acknowledges there is a difference between the tube sound and the SS sound. I prefer the tubes for my music and the SS for my films. They both have a place and I'd hate to see either go away. I dont believe one is inherently superior.

Digital: Eh, bad digital sounds bad...bad analog sounds bad. They can both sound bad, or good. I dont think it is as much to do with the medium as it is with the mastering.

Listening Test: I've never put much stock in them. They seek to eliminate the psychological input mentioned above. In real world applications the psychological influence is unavoidable, so eliminating it from a test sort of makes the test unimportant to me. Not invalid, just unimportant.

Bi-wire: Bi-Wiring does no good that I could ever hear. Bi-amping is another story in my experience.

Power conditioners: I wouldnt be without them. I have many. They work for me...even if only psychologically. :)

CD treatments: Never heard any difference. I thought I did once, but upon further listening...nope.

Golden ears: Barring any physical hearing impairment everyone should be able to hear the same things. The training is where the differences come in. Just as a layman may look at visual art and does not comprehend what is being conveyed while the schooled viewer does...so can the untrained listener miss many of the details in a music reproduction that a practiced listener will pick up on.

OK, my first "real" post....hope I did OK :)

Mike
 

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nahh, ya did good. A lot of what you say is true, and is certainly true for you and your listening. In fact, I doubt people could quibble with what you said and how you said it.

I think he (and certainly I) take exception to the push in high end audio/video that cables (for example) make an actual audible difference due to it's secret herbs and spices if you will - often violating the laws of physics mind - and often charging outrageous prices into the bargain.

I'm a definite cable skeptic......but I cannot find anything I disagree with in what and how you wrote your response.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Hmmm... psychologically speaking... I hope I never spend extra money just so I can psychologically believe there is a real difference when in reality there is no difference. That would make me psycho... :dizzy:

I will be okay as long as others do not try to sell me on snake oil and myths. If someone wants to play-like they hear a difference, I do not have a problem with it. :bigsmile:
 

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Great thread, great article. I disagree with many of the conclusions but still it was a good read.

Cables: Well, I believe the primary difference is psychological and as such is "real" to a different level for each individual. For instance, if I know which cables are in use and I favor their appearance, they will sound better to me than cables whose appearance I do not like. They could be identical in every way except the color, and it could skew my perception. We should not dismiss the power of the human psyche, it can (and does) create physical reactions.

So do some wires sound better than others? Yes, I believe they do.

Vacuum tubes: I like them better (for my music), they sound better to me. Everyone acknowledges there is a difference between the tube sound and the SS sound. I prefer the tubes for my music and the SS for my films. They both have a place and I'd hate to see either go away. I dont believe one is inherently superior.

Digital: Eh, bad digital sounds bad...bad analog sounds bad. They can both sound bad, or good. I dont think it is as much to do with the medium as it is with the mastering.

Listening Test: I've never put much stock in them. They seek to eliminate the psychological input mentioned above. In real world applications the psychological influence is unavoidable, so eliminating it from a test sort of makes the test unimportant to me. Not invalid, just unimportant.

Bi-wire: Bi-Wiring does no good that I could ever hear. Bi-amping is another story in my experience.

Power conditioners: I wouldnt be without them. I have many. They work for me...even if only psychologically. :)

CD treatments: Never heard any difference. I thought I did once, but upon further listening...nope.

Golden ears: Barring any physical hearing impairment everyone should be able to hear the same things. The training is where the differences come in. Just as a layman may look at visual art and does not comprehend what is being conveyed while the schooled viewer does...so can the untrained listener miss many of the details in a music reproduction that a practiced listener will pick up on.

OK, my first "real" post....hope I did OK :)

Mike
Hey Mike I agree with you almost across the board and my experience mirrors yours but I do think before the loudness wars started Vinyl clearly sounded better but even some of my $30 new albums sound terrible because of balls out levels and compression.
Far too many wires are a joke and scam but there are clearly wires that alter the sound in a desired way (and thats what we are after) I too use tubes for music and also agree with you there, I am on the fence with Bi-Wire as it helped in my dad's system but I have failed to hear anything more times than not, I bi-amp with outboard crossover so I know that works great (second set of speakers I have bi amped...........everything else is spot on Mike, nice post!
Hey Mike whats in your rig? Mine is posted if you care to browse.........cheers
 
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If someone wants to play-like they hear a difference, I do not have a problem
Sonnie, Thanks for the reply.

I suppose my point is that if the belief system of the individual is strong enough, then they are not really playing (literally or figuratively). The changes are very real to them.

There are many things people believe in this world that would not hold up to the scrutiny of a DBT.

Psychology is a real science, as real as lab gear. Both should be considered and weighed accordingly.

Just my opinion, your mileage may vary. :)

Mike
 
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Superchad,

I'd like to wait a little while before posting my gear. In my experience, I have found the gear often speaks louder than the posts and I want to be known more for what I think before I am tied to what I own. :)

I can give you a little of my history....

I have been into HT/Audio for over 35 years now and have been through just about every type of gear you can imagine. I have had every video format known to man....including a large CED collection.:yikes:

I currently have a turntable in use and at the other end of the audio spectrum I use a digital music server. So, extreme analog to extreme digital. I use a tube based pre-amp and digital amplifiers (for my audio system). I run two completely seperate systems for my music and my HT. They do not even share an electrical outlet. :) I can watch an HD-DVD or a Blu-Ray disc.

I use a front projection system for my movies and I built my own HT speakers. I run seperate IB subwoofers for each system.

I have been on the internet participating in forums since 1997 and have learned many things, one of them being that people are often pre-judged by the equipment they use. I'd like to get to be known for what I know, or do not know ;) before I am known for what I bought. Gimme a few weeks and I will probably list my gear.

And BTW, great stuff you have in your system there. I have personal experience with several of the pieces you are using. It looks like a fantastic space to indulge in the pleasures of film and music. Great job! :clap:

Thanks,

Mike
 
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I think he (and certainly I) take exception to the push in high end audio/video that cables (for example) make an actual audible difference due to it's secret herbs and spices if you will - often violating the laws of physics mind - and often charging outrageous prices into the bargain.
I agree, and I just chalk it up to marketing.

I dont believe dog food marketing that says their high dollar brand "tastes better" either, but most importantly I do not try to discourage people from buying that dog food. It is, after all, their money.

An economics professor once told me "There is no such thing as 'overpriced". It either sells, or it does not" This is true for wires as well. The 5000 dollar interconnects are not overpriced if they can sell them. They can't sell them to me :) but someone selling 6 dollar HDMI cables can't sell those to me either (well, they did once...but never again).

The thing that is discouraging to me is the outrage from the scientific community that seems to become more vociferous as the price of the wire escalates. The "mystic claims" made by 30 dollar interconnects are not objected to nearly as loudly as the same claims made by the purveyors of the 5000 dollar ones.

This leads one to ponder if the true objections are targeting bad science, or price.

Something to think about.

Or not. :)

Sorry for the lengthy posts, I am big on philosophy. :)

Mike
 

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I agree, and I just chalk it up to marketing.

I dont believe dog food marketing that says their high dollar brand "tastes better" either, but most importantly I do not try to discourage people from buying that dog food. It is, after all, their money.
Mike
Well, yes, I suppose.

But the real question (and I want you to report back) is can YOU taste the difference?:bigsmile::bigsmile:
 
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Hahaha, That is why I don't believe the marketing ! :)

Either they have someone that can talk to dogs :eek: or they have a guy that samples the food to determine if it tastes better. :bigsmile:

Either way...something is amiss.

Mike
 

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funnily enough, the wife once left my meal on the counter as I was eating later..and yeah it turned out what I thought was my meal (which was actually in the oven) was a can of dog food with leftovers and gravy etc.

So I stuck 'my' meal in the microwave and heated it up, had a few mouthfuls and apologetically said to the wife that it wasn't very good ha ha ha.

She looked in absolute horror at what had happened.

i mean I can chuckle now...the worst part??

The after taste, uggh. stayed for hours too!
 

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I'd like to wait a little while before posting my gear. In my experience, I have found the gear often speaks louder than the posts and I want to be known more for what I think before I am tied to what I own. :)
I think you will find that not to be the case here. :T

The thing that is discouraging to me is the outrage from the scientific community that seems to become more vociferous as the price of the wire escalates. The "mystic claims" made by 30 dollar interconnects are not objected to nearly as loudly as the same claims made by the purveyors of the 5000 dollar ones.

This leads one to ponder if the true objections are targeting bad science, or price.
Well, both. When you step to a $30 interconnect you'll probably get better connectors and a fat looking cable which will rule out any doubt that your audio is going to suffer on it's way through, even if it does not perform noticably better than the el' cheapo cables that came in the box. And the difference between spending $5 and $30 is not much for this improvement.

When you step to a $5000 cable, you get into cables that do not perform any better even with sophisitcated test equipment. The problem I have, and for I think most, is that behind the scenes of these companies, the engineers and CEO's have to know that they are building a product that they are going to market for having superior performance even though it does not. After all it is just science. They know that what will sell the cable is creative, exaggerated marketing along with its price tag. They know they are making money off of people who just don't know any better. IMO that is wrong.

funnily enough, the wife once left my meal on the counter as I was eating later..and yeah it turned out what I thought was my meal (which was actually in the oven) was a can of dog food with leftovers and gravy etc.
Too funny!!!
 
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