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Old 12th Oct 2017, 1:57 am   #81
joebog1
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

Some would ask why I am building somebody else s amp design. I have designed and built many amps ( I cant remember how many) both vacuum AND sand, and even ventured into modern mosfets for a time.
WHY ?
I used to own a small audio manufacturing business. I am NOT a brilliant engineer by any means, BUT I am extremely proud of my output transformers. Also my toroid design.
I just happen to have an abundance of brand new, unused big fat output transformers, AND as it happens, a fairly large ready made supply of power toroids. Add to this a couple of hundred weight of passive components.
I have retired from working mostly, except for a few repairs here and there for beer money.
WHY will I build the Golden ears amplifier? I still love building stuff. I still build model aeroplanes ( yes balsa and tissue style) BUT I dont fly them.
It keeps me off the street, and I derive huge pleasure from drilling and filing and soldering, then desoldering after discovering a better layout. At the end of the day, my kids will have a stonkin' amplifier to listen to, ( or do rock festivals with ).
I have a seven watt amp at present that I have displayed here, and I almost dont use it at all.
I still love my construction projects though!!!.

To keep on topic, I use "modest" cables for inputs and outputs, BUT to buy anything that isnt directional or oxygen free copper is nigh on impossible these days. So speaker cables are about 4mm cross section, and after years of break in I still cant hear them, even if I jam them into my ears. These cables are perfectly silent!!
Input cables are "matching" being OFC and directional.
The speaker wire was about $1 / mtr
Screened input cable about $2/mtr. I did try using twisted pair telephone cable but it hummed alarmingly, so I still use my hot pink directional input cables. These cables also dont make any sound BUT they did stop the hum.
One thing I did do that was audiophoolery was to change the arm wires in my SME3009. I used Van den Hull cable. Cost about $50 for a half mtr. It DID improve the sound though, and yes I wasnt being deluded.

Joe
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 7:18 am   #82
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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Originally Posted by dave walsh View Post
True enough but it's all about what's in the head as most people suggest-if you perceive it...it's real As I said in post 15, it's not just about audio equipment. People spend 3k on a TV when 300 one is much the same or a fitted kitchen that is so impressive they don't actually use it. The Audio irony [although I'm not sure if it still applies] used to be that when you were old enough to be able afford the Sports Car or Hi Fi it was too late. In the case of the audio it's further complicated by hearing loss which might mean you can't hear half the frequency range you've bought expensive cables to [allegedly] achieve
No, but with a decent graphic equaliser (or just tone controls) you can quite easily boost the upper frequencies to lift them to a level 'that you perceive' as being correct given your now limited frequency range. In fact I am confirmed believer in the judicious use of tone controls as no two studios' playback (monitoring) systems have the same frequency response, not to mention the mixing engineers' tastes, etc etc. That's fine for me, but audiophools sadly believe that such audio tools belong to the devil and drastically degrade the sound. Just another phoolish belief, their loss!
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 8:20 am   #83
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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Originally Posted by stevehertz View Post
... with a decent graphic equaliser (or just tone controls) you can quite easily boost the upper frequencies to lift them to a level 'that you perceive' as being correct given your now limited frequency range ...
To be fair, what you would be attempting to do would be to travel in time. My ears have lost some of their treble response, so my experience of The Clash's records now is duller than it was when I saw them live in the early 80's. But if they were to perform now (hypothetically of course, given that Joe Strummer is no longer with us) my ears would be just as dull at the live gig as they are when I use them at home. So I wouldn't need tone controls to reproduce (my) current reality accurately.

You've also hinted at the wider question of whether an 'accurate' hi-fi system matters, given the processing that the audio signals go through before we get our hands (ears ?) on them. In the early days of stereo the point was made quite often that the job of a hi-fi system was, first and foremost, to create an illusion. It may be that a strictly accurate system doesn't do that as well as one which in fact distorts the signal somewhat. If I fancied an evening listening to music at home then my first choice mght be to invite these ladies round, make some space in the living room and have them sing to me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OguVb3uSZTs. Sadly they're busy and I probably couldn't afford them even if they weren't. So I have to use two speakers and some electronics to try to create the illusion that they're there. That requires my brain to fill in a lot of gaps. That might be easier for it if the electronics and speakers have modified the signal to suit my brain's particular abilities. I was struck by dseymo1's account of exactly this experience. His brain suddenly created an acoustic 'image' that previously hadn't been there. Do you recall the craze, a few years ago, for those visual images consisting of a page covered in a highly repetitive pattern of what looked like tiny abstract shapes and colours ? When you first saw them there was nothing else there. But if you stared for long enough and you were in the right frame of mind a vivid 3D image would suddenly snap into existence, created entirely by your brain. I suspect that our brains are having to work pretty hard to create a 3D sound image using only the waves from two speakers. I therefore wouldn't be surprised if what an engineer would call a 'distorted' signal could sometimes do a better job of supporting the brain in that effort.

Cheers,

GJ
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 8:31 am   #84
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

There are actually some really good spin offs from the Audiophile industry.

Although original brand audio tubes have gone up in price, which is really annoying for those restoring vintage gear and trying to make it period correct, there were not enough valves to satisfy demand. As a result a number of valve making factories have cropped up worldwide, that otherwise never would have. Some of the products are actually pretty good.

For example a while back I bought some new manufacture Tung Sol 6L6G's and some Ruby brand 5U4G rectifiers, and after subjecting them to a number of scientific tests in my lab, I was delighted to find they are every bit as good as RCA's original parts. Not only that the prices were very reasonable, unlike the originals.

Also some good quality high voltage electrolytics and non electrolytic caps have been made recently too.

So maybe like many things, there could be a silver lining to the Phoolery.

It has created a renewable valve resource.

If only the same thing could happen with CRT's. Hmm.. I'm sure I read somewhere that if you wire a monochrome CRT gun up as a triode amplifier it gives an amazingly clear picture of the sound, sort of bringing it into focus and illuminating it with a P4 moonlight like sound color.
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 9:53 am   #85
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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So maybe like many things, there could be a silver lining to the Phoolery.
True. And we shouldn't forget the guitarists either. In the darkest days for valves (late 70s, early 80s ?) what valve manufacturing plants there were were kept going by the demand from owners of valve guitar amps.

Cheers,

GJ
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 10:42 am   #86
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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Originally Posted by GrimJosef View Post
To be fair, what you would be attempting to do would be to travel in time. My ears have lost some of their treble response, so my experience of The Clash's records now is duller than it was when I saw them live in the early 80's. But if they were to perform now (hypothetically of course, given that Joe Strummer is no longer with us) my ears would be just as dull at the live gig as they are when I use them at home. So I wouldn't need tone controls to reproduce (my) current reality accurately.
You seem to be saying that your reduced upper frequency hearing capability is something that can't, or more to the point, shouldn't (!) be 'fixed'. I have a test CD (Hifi News & record Review) that has test tone frequencies on it, and anything above 10k I struggle with. It's proof (if I needed it) that my upper hearing range has degenerated. The fix is simple, I just boost the treble control a tad until I can hear those frequencies once again. It's not rocket science, it doesn't have to be 'correct' to the dB, just enough to make the music sound nice again. Depriving yourself of good hifi on the basis that if you were to see a live band (live band sound normally leaves a lot to be desired anyway!) the sound would be wrong to you, seems pointless to me! Just boost your treble control a tad and all those cymbals and lovely higher harmonics will be there for you to enjoy. Yes, technology does enable you to travel back in time; hearing aids, tone controls, spectacles etc etc. Clearly, we're all different, I accept that, but I'm just not 'getting' your way of thinking, a kind of self imposed denial of using audio tools to correct for a perfectly normal degenerative human hearing problem. Will you also deny yourself hearing aids if your hearing degenerates to such an extent? I'd wear them tomorrow if needs be, just like I now wear specs 24/7. Hey-ho, like I say we're all different!
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 12:49 pm   #87
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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Originally Posted by stevehertz View Post
You seem to be saying that your reduced upper frequency hearing capability is something that can't, or more to the point, shouldn't (!) be 'fixed'. I have a test CD (Hifi News & record Review) that has test tone frequencies on it, and anything above 10k I struggle with. It's proof (if I needed it) that my upper hearing range has degenerated. The fix is simple, I just boost the treble control a tad until I can hear those frequencies once again. It's not rocket science, it doesn't have to be 'correct' to the dB, just enough to make the music sound nice again.
I neither said that it can't or that it shouldn't be altered. But it is true that folks who want their hi-fi to do what it says on the tin (reproduce with high fidelity) wouldn't approve of altering the signal in any respect (other than amplitude, and the Fletcher-Munson curves mean that serious listeners take a position on that too). These days with digital signal processing it is possible to do a lot better than just boosting the treble control a tad. A good friend of mine has hearing aids which have been programmed, as far as possible, to restore his detailed hearing sensitivity to that of a much younger person. He's delighted with them - mostly, he says, because he can now distinguish birdsongs again when he's out on a country walk . They mean he doesn't need tone controls on his hi-fi either, although personally I approve of them if there's nothing better for getting the hi-fi-plus-room behaviour closer to optimum.

There is something better of course. I've just acquired one of these https://www.minidsp.com/products/min...minidsp-2x4-hd along with its matching calibrated mic. All I need to get now is that rarest of things - a round tuit !

Cheers,

GJ
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 3:24 pm   #88
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

I've got a similar thing, and it works a treat, again, with its calibrated mic. http://www.music-group.com/Categorie...EQ2496/p/P0146
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 4:38 pm   #89
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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Originally Posted by David G4EBT View Post
Now I've solved that problem, there'll be no looking back!
Wow! This page feels like home! Thank you so much, David!

I use an alloy of gold, silver and palladium for all phono jacks and I use solid 4mm silver busbar with Teflon insulation for speaker cable. I can't understand people who use multi-strand cable as it obviously messes up the frequency response.

Unfortunately, the alloy degrades after a month of so and I have to replace the jacks but the improvement in sound quality is astonishing. No smearing or jumping of signal for me and no horrible 'capacitance' in my cables.

I am saving up to buy a solid ruby stand for my speakers as the bass response is a little off at the moment. I think it's the increased humidity with autumn arriving, obstructing the flux density of the sub-woofers.
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 4:42 pm   #90
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

Well, if multistrand cables smear sound where the strands touch each other in a bundle... and the atoms get aligned as the cable is broken in making the sound less edgy... and people can hear this sufficiently to part with lots of money and it makes them happy, then where ignorance is bliss 'tis folly to be wise!

I'm sure I get as much pleasure listening to my workshop radio (EF80 leaky-grid detector / PCL82 amplifier) as they do from their pre-conditioned oxygen-free solid core cables, single-ended triodes (cryogenically treated), all powered via gold-plated mains plugs with silver fuse cartridges. While I have a chuckle at their set-up, they'd likewise have a snigger at mine. And I'd concede that measurements would prove their system is superior! But who cares as long as we're both happy?

GrimJosef and others have made a good point that those who like the 'valve sound' (even if it's just a constant-current load or cathode follower in a sand amplifier), while currently mopping up quite a lot of NOS valves and inflating their price, they have stimulated demand for continuing small-scale production.

I'm waiting for the current trend for magic-eye level indicators to get someone restart build of EM80, EM34, TV4's... now that would be a success story!
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 5:44 pm   #91
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

I wonder if a previously unexploited method of metallurgical analysis might be possible?
Firstly, a panel of audiophiles is played a standard sample of music derived from a signal which has been passed through each of a range of pure metal conductors. They note how each sample affects the sound. The standard sample is then replaced by the unknown alloy (presumably burnt-in to the same extent). Its effect on the sound should surely correlate with the 'known' properties of its constituents, in corresponding proportions.
Well why not, if there's anything in these claims?
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 5:55 pm   #92
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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And I'd concede that measurements would prove
They don't do measurements, probably some quantum effect!
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 5:58 pm   #93
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

As far as the cable's concerned, I've always been an advocate (in theory) of twin PVC tubes (a bit like twin loudspeaker wire but with the copper all pulled out, and somewhat larger bore, maybe 6mm?) between amplifier and speaker. Then, you fill them with mercury.

No problem with atomic alignment; no problem with strand-to-strand smearing! Liquid conductor continually re-optimises itself!

And to be honest, even with current price of mercury, still cheaper than phool-exotica!
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 6:13 pm   #94
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

The tubes would have to be exactly the same length. Mercury delay lines are, I think, fairly well known. Any difference in the tubes would result in the signal to each speaker arriving out of phase with the other. But then what about the small but surely audible difference in timing between the axis and the radius of the mercury columns...?
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 6:29 pm   #95
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

Of course you wouldn't need to bother about cable quality if you linked everything up with bluetooth...
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 6:40 pm   #96
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

I thought mercury delay lines worked by sending a sound wave down a long, thin column of mercury?
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 6:44 pm   #97
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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Originally Posted by kalee20 View Post
I'm waiting for the current trend for magic-eye level indicators to get someone restart build of EM80, EM34, TV4's... now that would be a success story!
I believe there were some radios which used the F bit of an EFM11 in preference to other pentodes as some characteristic or other was better and didn't bother with the M bit. As someone with a load of radios that use EFM11s I wouldn't have anything against a few new ones being made.

Regardless of that, I have often wondered what the "correct" audio is. Nowadays everything is recorded multi-tracked then mixed, equalized, compressed etc. so there is probably nothing available which sounds like what the musicians originally played. So why do you need clever cables etc. when the audio is so messed up anyway?
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 6:44 pm   #98
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

Replying to post 96: They do, but since when have audiophools bothered with facts?
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 6:54 pm   #99
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

I was thinking earlier and I came across the pinnacle of audio experience for me. It was a lowly NAD C340, 521 and some Tannoy Mercury speakers wired with 3A mains flex (from B&Q because Richer Sounds wouldn’t give me any free) and the interconnects that came with it.

A good friend came over and we did some psychoacoustic brain remodelling with a bottle of Smirnoff. This culminated in playing cricket with a poster tube and a rude stress toy with Pink Floyd’s High Hopes on in the background. That sounded absolutely amazing after half a bottle of vodka! Much cheaper than fancy wires even if you do feel like muck in the morning.
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 7:00 pm   #100
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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Originally Posted by dseymo1 View Post
... Its effect on the sound should surely correlate with the 'known' properties of its constituents, in corresponding proportions.
Well why not, if there's anything in these claims?
You risk opening the can of worms marked 'Listening Tests'. Believe me you really don't want to go there. Really.

Exec summary:

1. No test is the same as extended listening at home where you are neither fatigued nor stressed nor are you troubled by the wrong choice of music or ancillary equipment. And since you are buying hi-fi to use at home no other test is nearly as important.

2. It is not practical to stage a double-blind test over a long enough period to avoid fatigue/stress yet still achieve statistical significance in anyone's home.

3. Audiophile claims are therefore untestable which means they have the status of 'belief' rather than 'science'.

Cheers,

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