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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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Thanks for the response THXGoon.

In my experience, anytime a "discussion" of anything (cables, CD players, turntables...whatever) starts to get into the price of the things being discussed, the debate loses its validity.

Each person has their own threshold for how much they will spend on any given item. Its not my place to tell someone what is "too much". Too much for me may be their starting price point.

I can't tell a cheap bottle of wine from a good one, and I would never spend 400 bucks on a bottle, but I tip my hat to the guy who can tell the difference (or even just thinks he can) and indulges himself in his hobby. If the people enjoy their 5K cables and it adds pleasure for them, then it was money well spent. As long as it isnt my money....

Live life with zeal. Yes?

As usual, just my opinion YMMV

Mike
 

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I understand your point in not posting as I have been atacked elsewhere for having what some forums push as over-priced gear but I dont think this site is that immature, I post my gear because I like to talk about others journey in this hobby and offer "ata boy's" for others efforts so why not share mine.
I knoiw my gear is pretty humble, I also know others think its too much money but we all can share what we have done and the paths we took to get where we are....cheers
 
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Superchad,

Your stuff looks great to me. A very fine set-up. I loved my Phonomena phono stage. When I got my current pre-amp, it had a built in phono stage or I would still be using the Phonomena.

How I got here? Man, if I knew that I would have saved a bundle not buying stuff that didnt work out. :)

Mike
 

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I agree with all, to an extent (there was a great deal of talk about "science", but the methods as listed were not controlled enough, at least not in the vague description given), except for the portions covering vacuum tubes, bi-wiring, and power conditioners.
There is significant data available on the benefits of vacuum tubes (while they have higher distortion, it is even order distortion = pleasing to ear), although I would NOT go so far as to say it is better than solid-state, just different. Low power tubes are also equally valid, and not as expensive as some would have you believe (they can be built for $100-200 if you are savvy in parts acquisition).
Bi-wiring has so many installation applications that it can’t be considered a performance myth. For example, it may be easier to use two sets of 16 AWG cables than to use a single set of 12 AWG cable for a long cable run. Crossover networks can also come into play, especially if using an aftermarket network. Also, bi-amplifying is completely valid for speaker manufacturers to incorporate, and bi-wiring is just a possibility offered as a result. Increased SNR and available power if used with multiple low power amps does not sound bogus to me.
Power conditioners are over-hyped, but not unnecessary. It all depends on source voltage and the conditioner/stabilizer used. My old apartment had 119~121 V line voltage all the time, and I never felt compelled to use a line conditioner, nor would it have yielded any plausible results. However, at my current house (built circa 1960) the electrical system is sub-par, and my grid’s line voltage varies dramatically throughout the day (114~123 V). I also live near a lot of businesses that run interference-inducing equipment. This caused a lot of minor, but annoying, problems not only with the audio but also the video. All of this was alleviated when I inherited a Monster 3600 (I would never buy one, ridiculously over-priced).
 

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Hey Nathan and welcome to the Shack! You bring up some good points there.

I also inherited a Monster 3600. About the only thing it did for me is give me a ground isolation circuit for cable. Pretty minor for the cost of those things. It is cool to watch the amp meter climb during loud scenes though!
 

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I agreed with pretty much everything given the caveats presented except for the antidigital lie. I agree that I certainly can't tell the difference between the 2 given good/equivalent recording conditions. His claim though that there isn't a difference I can't quite get behind. I am an electrical engineer and am quite famililiar with the Nyquist theorem as digital sampling is something I do for work. The difference between analog and digital though is that while analog is a continuous spectrum of volumes and frequencies, digital is by definition a discrete set. Therefore it is possible (and in actuality nearly inevitable) that nearly identical frequencies and nearly identical volume levels will in fact be recorded as exactly identical in a digital environment. That said, I agree that even at 44.1 KHz the differences are likely indistinguishable and so it's probably a difference that doesn't make a difference.
 

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The "lies," just like the opinion of any who take a hard line on one side or another of a generalization like they represent, are inevitalbly inadequate to decide any specific comparison that they attempt to inform. The fact is that most of them begin with some small grain of truth which gets taken out of context to create some monster (pun definitely intended). The real answer is "it depends" in each case, and any particular one of them is less interesting to me than a fact based exploration of a specific situation. The lesson that they should leave us with is that we can always find better ways to study these matters and that we should not make assumptions based upon either "conventional wisdom" nor the belief that we understand all of the variables involved in the perceived performance of the products and systems that we build and use.
 

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Interesting poll! However, there are some holes in the Agree/Disagree option in that it's not always a matter of Y/N, B/W, etc... In a broad, general sense I find myself agreeing with all the points but, I could also argue for disagreement on at least half of them. I opted to disagree with TWO: no.2 (tubes) and no. 10 (Golden Ears).

Again, while I don't totally disagree with the writer's point I have to say TUBES are sometimes a better choice. The writer calls the sound of a tube a "a coloration introduced by the manufacturer to appeal corrupted tastes" - such a broad statement is also a bit egocentric. First of all, taste is subjective therefore we can argue at infinitum without going anywhere. In being so absolute in the arguing against tubes he then, elevates himself to the same 'Golden ear' pedestal he himself despise. Which brings me to the other disagreement I have...Golden Ears :)

My ears are my work, that's how I make a living. Whereas we are all born with more or less the same apparatus, there is a HUGE difference in the way people hear things. You can have the same speaker components placed in different cavities and they will sound hugely different. We are pretty much the same.

In addition to that, there is a vast area dealing with neurological issues which we are just starting to tap into, at a research level. The brain!

Aside from having different levels of emotion and/or at least, different triggers, your brain also adapts your senses to whatever the current situation requires. You play music softly, the brain adjusts your hearing accordingly. If you very gradually increase the volume, over time, your brain will make relative adjustment so that you'll never noticed you doubled the DB level in the room, and viceversa.

Then, as he mentioned, there is training but, he didn't mention it enough. Even if everything else were equal, and it's not, training is vital to being able to hear 'more than the average' person.

I can play a UNFINISHED mix of a score I wrote to my wife or my friends (even those who are professional instrumentalists) and none of them ever ear anything except what the average person would ear: "it sounds great!", they say. I ear a totally different thing and when I point each section out to them, they all invariably say "ah, you are right. I didn't hear that...or, I didn't catch that".

So, there is a huge difference in the way people hear things, both in nature and because of training. That is not to say that one can claim some sort of super-natural Golden Ear (or goose for that matter) and base all their findings on that claim.

Overall, I agree with his general assertions: it's good that all these (sometime nonsensical voodoos) are exposed...! Though, my audiophiles friends will no doubt disagree with all of it...I mean, try and tell someone who just spent 8K (!) in speaker wire that $100.00 would have been MORE than enough :)
 

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I believe that bi wiring is worthless in almost every situation. Bi wiring is suppose to improve audio quality by eliminating any electronic interference that could still exists. It splits the highs and mids on most speakers and is essentially just a waste of an extra set of speaker wire...I have tried it with dozens of speakers...in different setups and have never heard a quality difference
 
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It' early here on the West Coast so I might have missed it. HIGH END POWER CORDS This is the snake that will kill you dead before you take a step.
 

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Here’s my favorite quote from the article:
I pretty much agree with all of it, except for the cables. I generally not a believer in that stuff, but I have seen two instances where I could hear a difference. Which was surprising, because I wasn’t expecting anything at all. So I’m hesitant to denounce the idea outright.


Aesthetics that no one will ever see... Now that I don’t get. :huh:

I never could figure out the ABX foes, with their complaints about additional switches, etc. How many switches and relays does the signal go through as it is? Let’s see, the pre-amp source selector, the amplifier relays (that many have), the amp’s speaker selector switch, etc. Silly, just silly. :dizzy:

Regards,
Wayne
What about when your New Home Theater is finished and your giving your PROUD Private tours to the Envious Neighbors, Relatives, Friends, etc, and you take them into your Sound Equipment Room and show them the Neatly Routed, Color Coded, Low Resistant, Cables. There is something to be said for HIDDEN Aesthetics. If nothing else ..... for YOU the Installer.

Just an attempt at Realistic Humor. More laughing at myself than anything else. My step-daughter calls me MONK.
I personally have an Obsession with Cable Routing.

Order minimizes Confusion, and it looks Really Cool.

Thomas
 

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Many years ago, I was a salesman, at a, now obsolete, Hifi store in Southern California. Pacific Stereo, for the curious. Anyway, I have never bought into, or at least understood the concept of frequency response for speakers being advertised way beyond the realm of Human Hearing. I always thought. "Am I buying this for me, Or my Dog, which has much better hearing than I do?

Just another LIE

Thomas
 

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Discussion Starter #54
I agree Thomas... and I cannot believe there are too many over 40 folks out there that can hear that well anyway... probably not many and much over 8-10KHz.
 

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Back in the days of Analog, I witnessed a person so obsessive with a perfectly flat response that he not only EQ'd his room flat, but also adjusted the EQ frequencies to include his own personal hearing test. I guess if you want it perfectly flat, that too must be considered.

*Just a note off the subject... I am very happy to have found this forum. To all of you who welcomed me, my sincere thanks. Nice folks here!
 

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It' early here on the West Coast so I might have missed it. HIGH END POWER CORDS This is the snake that will kill you dead before you take a step.
I love that one also. What those folks that spend $500 for a 6 foot power cord don't realize is that on the other side of that wall receptacle is 10 cents a foot romex - and a lot more of it than 6 feet, too. Then there is the "audiophile" grade $50 wall receptacle, connected to, yep, the same cheap romex.

Then, let's go back to the power generating station itself. I have designed those for 38 years. Nothing "audiophile" about that atmosphere, I guarantee. Tens and hundreds of thousands volts and tens of thousands amps.

Like the old saying about a fool and his money...
 

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A very interesting discussion, about much of which I have nothing worthwhile to add.

I would remark however that I've just set up a stereo system in my new games room (aka "The Shed"). This room does not have the best acoustic, therefore there was no point spending money "unneccessarily" (we'll come to that later). The system is based around a 1976 Pioneer receiver which has basically been out of action for most of the last twenty years, having gone through a dozen repairs for the same fault but it always failed again. Anyway, the last engineer (a brilliant one mind you, and I don't exaggerate ... in this case) insisted on having the unit back after it failed after his repair, as I was about to bin it, partly because I'd given up, and partly because the thing had got a lot heavier over the years. On getting it back, he asked "What speaker cable are you using?" After describing the massive diameter hawser, he said ... "There's your problem. Use lighting flex."

Well, that's not the point of the story, just an amusing aside, to anyone but me. I thought, "Well, if I'm using lighting flex, I'll search out all the tatty RCA interconnects I can find, clean the plugs, join it all up and hear what we shall hear." Nice. And not only did I not have to care which way round the little arrows on the cables went (there weren't any), the whole system cost less than one pair of speaker cables from my "reference" system, even though the receiver originally cost me more than a brand new car in the days when cars were expensive.

That said, some of the respondents are missing some of the point. If it makes you feel better spending $10k on a pair of cables, you'll get more pleasure listening to your system for having them. I have a "clean" supply, power conditioning, nice cables, and it all cost less than a year's depreciation on my car, so where's the harm? Actually it's the car that bugging me, not the claims of cable manufacturers and hi-fi cranks.

Can I hear the difference between the two systems? Well, my reference system may not be high end, but yes, and it pleases me, even down to the fact that I'm still happy with my behemoth CRT projector BECAUSE it's the pinnacle of the old technology, rather than a transient phase of the new. Can I put that difference down to cables and power supply? Who knows, but it can't be doing any harm. Apart from to my Pioneer ....
 

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because the thing had got a lot heavier over the years
I love this part:jiggy:

Funny how the weight of things increases as our age (and yes, our own circumference) increases.

I have a 90 pound Denon receiver sitting about 5 feet up on a reinforced shelf. Many times I have thought about moving it to a lower shelf to make it easier to see the display and get to the connections on back. Then I think of the day my son and I hefted that thing up there and decide that it is fine right where it is:bigsmile:
 

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I love this part:jiggy:

Funny how the weight of things increases as our age (and yes, our own circumference) increases.

I have a 90 pound Denon receiver sitting about 5 feet up on a reinforced shelf. Many times I have thought about moving it to a lower shelf to make it easier to see the display and get to the connections on back. Then I think of the day my son and I hefted that thing up there and decide that it is fine right where it is:bigsmile:
What about removing the dust from the receiver and the load of the speakers :bigsmile: :rofl2:
 
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