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Old 21st Oct 2017, 7:39 am   #361
Radio Wrangler
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

Aha! I see where this is leading!

Following Godel's idea about the completeness of mathematical systems; If you perform the experiment with an audiophool and a piece of 'directional' speaker cable with one conductor reversed, and then tell the audiophool what has been done, we can then expect the immediate creation of a new pseudoscientific. theory 'explaining' what the audiophool says he heard.

The same will happen for any rational experiment disproving an audiophool theory, and there will thus always remain at least one undemolished pseudoscience theory. The destruction of one automatically creating another.

This explains why we just can't win.

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Old 21st Oct 2017, 7:53 am   #362
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

There is a certain, um, tension between scientists and engineers.

Scientists get to look down on the somewhat simplified views of science used by engineers. Some scientists derive great satisfaction from this. Some make rather unkind remarks.

Engineers get to watch scientists fighting like cats over access to the latest Smashum Whizzerator which engineers have just developed, or going cap-in-hand for funds for a mark II version to be built. Some engineers derive great satisfaction from this. None comment on it, because that might end the entertainment.

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Old 21st Oct 2017, 8:24 am   #363
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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The same will happen for any rational experiment disproving an audiophool theory, and there will thus always remain at least one undemolished pseudoscience theory. The destruction of one automatically creating another.
It might be argued that you cannot undertake a rational experiment on a mere human because their expectaton of the experiment and their desire to notice something different will obviate any rationality. If their senses don't detect any difference they will be flummoxed and will just say what they think is expected to be said.

We're back to 'Emperor's New Clothes'!
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Old 21st Oct 2017, 9:54 am   #364
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

That's true, but it's the reason behind the double-blind tests.

Thinking cables still, it's perfectly feasible to set up a 4-pole double-throw switch to completely reverse a cable, and carry out such a test on a group of audiophools. If there really is a preferred direction, there'd be a strong bias towards one switch position.

Of course, the switch might introduce artefacts which mask the effect of the cable. But, the cable could be made really long (with corresponding increase in amplifier power) to compensate.

It's significant that, with the membership of this Forum, there isn't someone with a foot in both camps who is standing up for his beliefs with a post saying, "Yes, cables ARE directional and I've proved it!"
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Old 21st Oct 2017, 10:05 am   #365
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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Of course, the switch might introduce artefacts which mask the effect of the cable.
The 'difference' in sound introduced by the switch may be regarded as a unique selling point. You're missing a trick here!

The academics of complex exponentials, overdamping, underdamping (did I see something alluding to Euler's formula in there?), grain structure eutectic points and interwoven copper may be discussed until the cows come home, but the question that really needs to be asked is:

Why do people buy this stuff?

The answer to that will say more about the human psyche than is comfortable.
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Old 21st Oct 2017, 10:07 am   #366
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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Of course, the switch might introduce artefacts which mask the effect of the cable.
You can safely bet your very last farthing that the switch would be blamed for "entirely invalidating" the test, with interminable back-and-forth on contact resistance/potential, dissimilar metals, switch dielectric material, the poor damping of actuator materials and construction...
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Old 21st Oct 2017, 11:40 am   #367
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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It might be argued that you cannot undertake a rational experiment on a mere human because their expectation of the experiment and their desire to notice something different will obviate any rationality.
This is exactly right and it is why with most medical therapies and drug trials they are subjected to a "double blind controlled trial" where neither the investigators nor the subjects (who are randomized into control and treatment groups too) are aware of who is getting the real treatment and who is getting the placebo and the results are analysed by an independent third party.
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Old 21st Oct 2017, 11:56 am   #368
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

Isn't there an element of 'white-coat'* syndrome at work here too? 'The professional is always right?'

I seem to remember reading about an experiment where a group of people were stood in front of a variac controlling an electric chair. Someone was strapped into the chair, and a volunteer was sought to wind up the variac, instructed to do so by the 'scientist' wearing the white coat.

Of course, there was no power and the whole thhing was a set-up, but yes: people came forward to inflict pain on their fellowkind because 'they were assured' that everything was OK as 'the professional said so'.

The thing that is wrong about this is that it taints the minds of otherwise intelligent people not versed in science and engineering and engenders mistrust.
It's one thing selling snake oil, but it's another thing again when it's discovered to be snake oil.


*Not 'white coat' syndrome as associated with the rise of blood pressure when going to see the doc.
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Old 21st Oct 2017, 6:15 pm   #369
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

Stanley Milgram's famous experiment, which demonstrated obedience to authority figures in general, not just scientists. It was originally intended to determine whether the atrocities of war could be directly blamed on their perpetrators.
There certainly seems to be some relationship to the placebo effect (and the less famous, but more devastating, nocebo effect).
I wonder if thre's a combination of both - the word of the authority figure is accepted as an initial premise (generally a beneficial approach to unknown factors), but Placebo takes over and clouds further judgement.
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Old 21st Oct 2017, 7:18 pm   #370
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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Why do people buy this stuff? The answer to that will say more about the human psyche than is comfortable.
Isn't that absolutely the crux of the matter? At some level none of us is the cool, rational, thoughtful and civilized creature we like to think of ourselves as being. Jung was right
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Old 21st Oct 2017, 9:06 pm   #371
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

True, too true...
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Old 21st Oct 2017, 10:20 pm   #372
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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Why do people buy this stuff?
Because it makes the music in their head sound better.

The debate is about whether or not that effect is only in their head.

Cheers,

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Old 22nd Oct 2017, 12:31 am   #373
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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Because it makes the music in their head sound better. The debate is about whether or not that effect is only in their head.
If one’s measure of sonic experience is in the head rather than in objective measurements, this raises the thorny issue of ‘audio memory’. I’ve never been convinced that I can retain a reliable sense of the ‘sound’ of an audio component for very long – perhaps a few tens of seconds at best – and from my BBC days and subsequent experience as a reviewer I’m fairly sure that a high proportion of people can’t either, even if they're experienced listeners with no axe to grind. Hence presumably the importance of carefully controlled A/B tests.

If ‘audio memory’ is generally as short-term as that, presumably any assertion that component A sounds better or worse than component B cannot be substantiated unless the comparison is made in real time. But no doubt the audiophool will reply by saying that the comparator switching mechanism will invalidate any such test. Da capo sine fine.
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Old 22nd Oct 2017, 8:34 am   #374
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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Old 22nd Oct 2017, 8:59 am   #375
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

The effect is not only in the head, it is also in the wallet.

I don't see anything wrong if it affects only a single individual or someone rich enough to afford it without consequences. What concerns me is the effect on a family of lesser means.

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Old 22nd Oct 2017, 11:15 am   #376
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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I don't see anything wrong if it affects only a single individual or someone rich enough to afford it without consequences. What concerns me is the effect on a family of lesser means.
David
Well yes - I cannot help to agree with that. But there are other evils that plague the less well off, like on-line betting.

But high quality audio has always been a hobby of the better heeled. Taking the price of the Quad ESL57 from its introduction price in the late 50's to today price works out at slightly less than £3000 a pair. And similar heady prices for turntables from Garrard and Connoisseur. The Leak TL12 power amp works out as £1200 today.

The prohibitive nature of the prices not long after the end of WWII of course led to many people doing DIY audio. That is certainly how I started in the early 70's - and continue to do so over four decades later.

Craig
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Old 22nd Oct 2017, 11:33 am   #377
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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Well yes - I cannot help to agree with that. But there are other evils that plague the less well off, like on-line betting.
Craig
Yes, and there are the Pokies (gambling machines).

There is an Australian band, The Whitlams, who did a great song about this, not only the lyrics, but the song is good too, a lyric fragment:

"And I wish I, wish I knew the right words
To blow up the pokies and drag them away
'Cause they're taking the food off your table"

If you want to read all the lyrics they are here:

http://www.lyricsdepot.com/the-whitl...he-pokies.html

Its worth reading them.

So you are right Craig, this sort of thing trumps any rip offs in the audiophile industry.
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Old 22nd Oct 2017, 1:44 pm   #378
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

In any field you care to name there are some people putting in all the money they have and sometimes more money than they have, in answer to some imperative that they feel.

The existence of crazy prices in any field does not excuse those in other fields, though they may go part way to explaining things.

The root cause comes down to the common human tendencies to show off and to fit in with the herd.

It's a hard thing to admit that you're mortal, that your eyes and ears have finite resolving powers. But without doing it, we are trapped in an ever costlier spiral where nothing is ever good enough and everything must keep being replaced by things supposedly better.

David
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Old 22nd Oct 2017, 10:08 pm   #379
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

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.... we are trapped in an ever costlier spiral where nothing is ever good enough and everything must keep being replaced by things supposedly better.
David,

There is a great documentary about this topic, it is called The Light Bulb Conspiracy, its on you tube. It is not just about the way that in the past light bulb makers agreed to set the life (life cycle) lamps to run 1000hrs, but how also we are coached to believe that old tech is bad and new is good, so as to keep our industrial complexes running. Throw away the old and buy the new.

Of course it has created mountains of E waste now and across the course of a century fantastic devices and appliances have been sent to waste all over the world. Also appliances with long expected life times (like Einstein's refrigerator with no moving parts) are not selected for manufacture & sale.

A good thing about everybody on this forum is they can see the beauty and value in much of the old tech and try to preserve that, despite the brainwashing and life cycling tricks used by the marketing engineers from industrial complex.

Now things get life cycled at a software level, like a print counter IC in a printer, that disables the unit when its reached a max count. This guarantees obsolescence.
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Old 23rd Oct 2017, 8:00 am   #380
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Default Re: Audiophoolery. 'Cable Break In' - I never knew that!

The light bulb conspiracy is easily dealt with. Make the filament out of thicker wire, the surface temperature drops (Stephan's constant, kelvins to the fourth power) and the light gets less strong and redder.

Different lamps have been available. Rough service ones last longer, run redder and are less efficient than normal. Photoflood run hotter and have a more natural colour temperature but suffer in life expectancy.

bulb manufacturers chose to pin the tail on the tradeoff curve for 1000 hours average life and tried to compete on the best light. If you wanted more life you bought rough service bulbs and lived with dimmer, redder lights.

Mobile phones and fashion make for incredible wastage.

I might go easy on light bulb makers, but surely hell has a special place put aside for inkjet printer people? Or are they too evil for hell's tastes?

David
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