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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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Before I changed my IC's to Kimber Silver Streak I had made a bunch of cables that were designed to be directional. They had a signal wire, a ground and a shield. The shield was connected only at the end where the signal originated. The purpose of the construction was to reduce RFI.
 

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The one thing I will take exception to though is the trashing of the bi-wiring methodogy; it is definitely audible in some case and very easily measured.
Isn't bi-wiring where you run two sets of wires off of the same amp terminals and split to the high and low terminals on the speaker (parallel bi-wiring) ?

I bet most of the gains you could get from that would be the fact that you are probably increasing the wire gauge (ie: two sets of 14 gauge wire rather than just one). So that over longer distances it will have a measurable impact. It would be no different however than running a 14 gauge wire to the speaker, tying both ends together and splitting it with two sets of 14 gauge wire a foot away from the speaker. Which is really no different than connecting the high and low terminals together with 14 gauge wire and running tied 14 gauge wired to the amp from either the high or low terminals.

The effect of parallel bi-wiring two 14 gauge wires would be like running one 11 gauge wire to the speaker. The cross-sectional surface area of 14g wire is 2.08mm² and is 4.16mm² for 11 gauge. Two sets of 12 gauge wire would perform like one 9 gauge set.

Bi-amping I can see, bi-wiring no.
 

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I had to disagree with the vacuum tube and golden ears "lies."

Vacuum tubes may not be superior to solid state, but solid state is not better than vacuum tube either. It all boils down to the application and the sound you are looking for. The statement "Whatever vacuum tubes can do...solid-state devices can do better" is definitely false.

The premise of the Golden Ear lie argument doesn't really disprove it. The fact that people with training and experience can hear and interpret the information is the point. There are people with varying degrees of ability; I have known some people who wouldn't hear the difference between a top quality hi-fi and a ghetto blaster with a blanket thrown over it. Just because there are many hacks out there doesn't mean there are not legitimate Golden-eared people. I have just run through the aptly named Golden Ears course again and my scores improved dramatically. Yes, this is from training my ears, but I can indeed hear differences clearer now than before, and I am sure there are many people who can hear them even clearer.
 

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A few of those I never heard of before including the one about breaking in cables. I can't imagine why/how anyone could come up with that illogic.

One that wasn't mentioned was oxygen free copper cables.
 

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A few of those I never heard of before including the one about breaking in cables. I can't imagine why/how anyone could come up with that illogic.

One that wasn't mentioned was oxygen free copper cables.
I think that it would be covered under #1. In my opinion it doesn't make any difference. High end cables look nicer and that's about it.

My pets like the added headroom above 16Khz however...

I think the breaking in of cables followed suit that other components, like speakers or amps, could be broken in (although that is another debate). I work int he IT industry and sell hardware on the side and have had people request that I break in (burn in) their computers. That's something that is a waste of time also.
 

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I disagree with the Golden Ears lie.
Years ago at band camp, one of the instructors had perfect pitch, not that he could sing in a perfect pitch, but that he could hear any note from any intrument and know what note it is. Not only could he do it with one note, but you could play any 7 notes on a keyboard at one time, and he knows all 7 notes.
He said that he didn't learn this ability, but as a young child, the first time he heard all of the notes played on a keyboard and knew their names, he had this ability.
I believe people with this gift can hear things either more accutely or somehow differently than normal hearing people.
 

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I disagree with the Golden Ears lie.
Years ago at band camp, one of the instructors had perfect pitch, not that he could sing in a perfect pitch, but that he could hear any note from any intrument and know what note it is. Not only could he do it with one note, but you could play any 7 notes on a keyboard at one time, and he knows all 7 notes.
He said that he didn't learn this ability, but as a young child, the first time he heard all of the notes played on a keyboard and knew their names, he had this ability.
I believe people with this gift can hear things either more accutely or somehow differently than normal hearing people.
I fail to see how perfect pitch is of relevance at all, except in determining if there is some pitch related anomaly such as wow and flutter. The possession of perfect pitch does not automatically make one a better listener to determine differences between gear.
 

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As far the expensive speaker cables go,
years ago I read an article from a company explaining why their cables are expensive and why they sound better. I don't know if this is bull or not.
Their story involves frequency time alignment. They said that when using stranded speaker wire, where all strands are of the same gauge, the higher frequencies will travel faster than the lower frequencies. They found out 2 characteristics of signal flow:
1. higher frequencies travel in the center of the cable, lower frequencies travel in the outer ring of the cable.
2. the larger the gauge of wire strands, the faster the signal flows.
So knowing these characteristics they engineered speaker cable that has larger wire strands around the outer ring (this will speed up the lower frequencies), and smaller wire strands in the center (this will slow down the higher frequencies). This will allow the high and low frequencies to arrive at the speaker at the same time.
Also, bending normal speaker wire will cause the strands inside to deform and disturb the proper speed of signal flow. So their cable sheathing was lubricated inside and was designed specially to allow the wires inside to slide easily and not deform as much.
 

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I fail to see how perfect pitch is of relevance at all, except in determining if there is some pitch related anomaly such as wow and flutter. The possession of perfect pitch does not automatically make one a better listener to determine differences between gear.
It's not just the ability of perfect pitch, it's the ability to be able to hear a mess of a sound and seperate each sound and decipher it. I don't know about you, but if I hear a bunch of various keys pushed on a keyboard all I hear is noise. I couln't tell you for sure if it was 5,6,7, or 8 keys that were pushed. Not only does he know how many keys, but he knows exactly which ones. As far as I remember he can do this correctly 100% of the time. His brain processes sound differently than 99% of the people out there and I believe that he can hear differences in equipment that we could not.
To me, that's a Golden Ear, maybe not to you.
 

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So knowing these characteristics they engineered speaker cable that has larger wire strands around the outer ring (this will speed up the lower frequencies), and smaller wire strands in the center (this will slow down the higher frequencies). This will allow the high and low frequencies to arrive at the speaker at the same time.
Also, bending normal speaker wire will cause the strands inside to deform and disturb the proper speed of signal flow. So their cable sheathing was lubricated inside and was designed specially to allow the wires inside to slide easily and not deform as much.
I'm sure a technique which doubled their production cost, but increased their retail 20-fold. I'm also sure the specs for their cables included scientific measurements showing their cables provided better time alignment than a coat hanger, so you could see the difference even if you couldn't hear it.
 

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I'm sure a technique which doubled their production cost, but increased their retail 20-fold.
Same line of thinking with drug companies. Everyone wants to complain how they charge $5 for a pill that cost 10 cents to make, but nobody cares to think how much the company spent to develop and market that pill.
 

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Yep, the poor drug companies that can't turn a profit for all the R&D expenses that they have. I'm sure these cable companies are similarly hard up.

Just to be clear, I have no problem with R&D, but if you have so much R&D you should be able to show, with scientific measurements, how your cables are better and how you will be able to perceive that difference. Relying on reviews from loony audiofools who describe your cables as "chocolaty" does not count.
 

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As far the expensive speaker cables go,
years ago I read an article from a company explaining why their cables are expensive and why they sound better. I don't know if this is bull or not.
It is....
Their story involves frequency time alignment. They said that when using stranded speaker wire, where all strands are of the same gauge, the higher frequencies will travel faster than the lower frequencies.
Not at audio frequencies.

They found out 2 characteristics of signal flow:
1. higher frequencies travel in the center of the cable, lower frequencies travel in the outer ring of the cable.
This is skin effect and is a known phenomenon for a century or so. So long as the individual strands are <0.8mm or so then current density is even through the strand CSA at all audio frequencies. Even if the strand is larger, all it will mean is a slight increase in impedance as the frequency rises. As it is rare in stranded conductors used for audio interconnects or speaker cable, this is a complete non issue.
2. the larger the gauge of wire strands, the faster the signal flows.
No, the larger the CSA, the lower the series resistance.
So knowing these characteristics they engineered speaker cable that has larger wire strands around the outer ring (this will speed up the lower frequencies), and smaller wire strands in the center (this will slow down the higher frequencies). This will allow the high and low frequencies to arrive at the speaker at the same time.
Nope. All of this is basic EE.
Also, bending normal speaker wire will cause the strands inside to deform and disturb the proper speed of signal flow. So their cable sheathing was lubricated inside and was designed specially to allow the wires inside to slide easily and not deform as much.
Garbage.

All of the above is simply marketing designed to remove money from you for a higher priced product that will actually make a trivial, if any, difference for significantly more money.
 

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Agreed ^^, spend your money where it really counts and thats on the receiver, speakers and display. None of the items brought up above will make any audible difference.
 

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OK.
My HomeDepot speaker wire from years ago has turn green and was looking for replacement wires, guess I won't get those...just kidding, lamp cord is fine with me.
Something that I did believe until recently was that bigger gauge wire was better for higher wattage applications, but understand it is unnecessary. It sounded plausible to me as an electrician, I thought maybe more wattage was a more intense signal that would need a bigger path. I guess wattage has no bearing on size, mostly only length has bearing on size.
 

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The general concenses is to use the largest awg wire that will cleanly fit inside the binding posts and that is usually 14awge. 12 or larger is un-necessary unless running very long distances and using outboard amps with high output 800watts+
 

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The craziest thing about all of this is that there will always be a sucker somewhere or otherwise none of these products would exist/ methods exist. It is a shame really that such companies are out there giving people a bad taste for good audio.
 

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gdstupak,

wattage can matter. But only at very high currents. The higher the current passing through a wire, the higher the gauge needed. If not sized proper you can burn up the wire through I²R losses.

For example you don't need 12awg until you get above 6amps continuous operation. At least that is what the chart said. I am sure an electrician can better state the true ratings.
 

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Wow, where to start. Or, when to stop. Wire. I go with cheapest wire that I can find one size bigger than I require. If I calculate my biggest required size is 14 ga (for wattage and distance), I buy 12 ga and put it everywhere. Easy to run 1 cable size, and cost not a big deal if buying for $.30-.40/ft. I'll buy better if I can hear a noticeable difference but I'm not gonna hold my breath. As for interconnects, I don't like a lot of the cheapest cables for durability reasons, not the sonic characteristics. I get the highest quality cables offered by the lowest cost supplier, which I usually find to be Monoprice. Burn-in. Speakers - yes. Headphones - yes. Anything else - no (amps benefit from warm up - give them 15 minutes before getting critical). Golden ears. My hearing stinks. Left ear has 70 dB drop above 1000 Hz, yet I can tune a system decently knowing what to listen for. Many people with average hearing think it's fine, then I make it better. However I have met Golden Ears who notice problems that no one else do, make minor changes, and improve things for everyone. It is a combination of natural hearing ability and training. ABX - maybe. My rule of thumb is that if I hear a noticeable difference I am willing to spend a little more. I buy Paradigm speakers because I like the sound (personal preference) and I would have to pay at least double for anything else I like better. Monitor Audio and Boston Acoustics are arguable equally well built and priced slightly higher, but not my auditory pleasure. They don't sound inferior in quality, just different. I applaud those who listen to a variety of brands and choose MA, or BA, or KEF, or whatever. Where I draw the line is when "experts" argue over the merits of two different options. If "experts" can't come to a consensus, I'll take the cheapest option. Enough of my ranting.
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I agree with all of them. II think that they are worth receiving the first rank.
1. The Cable Lie: Agree

2. The Vacuum-Tube Lie: Agree

3. The Antidigital Lie: Agree

4. The Listening-Test Lie: Agree

5. The Feedback Lie: Agree

6. The Burn-In Lie: Agree

7. The Biwiring Lie: Agree

8. The Power Conditioner Lie: Agree

9. The CD Treatment Lie: Agree

10: The Golden Ear Lie: Agree

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