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Thread: Do mains cables make a difference??

  1. #121
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

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    I'm AudioAl'sArbiterForPISHANTO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonuffin View Post
    I was going to ask how you arrived at the conclusion that your mains leads were doing their bit to keep the interference gremlins out of your system. 20 years of experiment and observation obviously works well for you and being right or wrong gives me no cause to challenge what you have said or your actions in arriving at that. My experience differs from that I will admit, but I must respect your opinion accordingly, as we might both be right without realising it.
    Absolutely, Dominic. And I respect your contrary experience.

    For me, however, there's a danger of allowing your natural senses and thought processes to become bogged down/governed by 'what is deemed as correct', based on currently accepted wisdom. It stifles free thought, which I'm vehemently against.

    Maybe 9 times out of 10 currently accepted wisdom is right, but what about the other time when it might not be, or in fact isn't - or are we saying that we unquestionably know all there is to know about cables, and how they influence the behaviour of audio equipment: everything that needs proving has already been proven - and so there is nothing new to learn?

    For me, that's far from the case and constitutes as lazy thinking, liable to stifle progress, just as much as blindly believing in any kind of 'foo', invented by and claimed as true, by cable manufacturers.

    There has to be a point in the final analysis when, if for what you consider to be very good reason, you have the gumption to trust your ears. Quite simply, pooh-poohing everything that contradicts your belief system, and blindly obeying text books, is no way to learn.

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

  2. #122
    Join Date: Aug 2008

    Location: Suffolk, UK

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    I'm Paul.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Macca View Post
    An interesting conjecture. I suppose it is not impossible but it does seem very unlikely to be true. Whereas the psychological explanation is highly likely to be true.
    While not as prevalent or as dratic as marketing departments would have you believe, I think youíd be surprised how likely such things can be. I do agree that you can more than likely just be convincing yourself of a difference. Thats why if I feel a minor change has made a difference good or bad I tend to leave it in place for at least a few days, to see how it bears out and then revert back and see how that goes for a few days and then repeat. I find that building the consensus over time helps counter the potential to be just convincing yourself of a difference.
    ~Paul~

  3. #123
    Join Date: Sep 2009

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    I'm Josie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    Absolutely, Dominic. And I respect your contrary experience.

    For me, however, there's a danger of allowing your natural senses and thought processes to become bogged down/governed by 'what is deemed as correct', based on currently accepted wisdom. It stifles free thought, which I'm vehemently against.

    Maybe 9 times out of 10 currently accepted wisdom is right, but what about the other time when it might not be, or in fact isn't - or are we saying that we unquestionably know all there is to know about cables, and how they influence the behaviour of audio equipment: everything that needs proving has already been proven - and so there is nothing new to learn?

    For me, that's far from the case and constitutes as lazy thinking, liable to stifle progress, just as much as blindly believing in any kind of 'foo', invented by and claimed as true, by cable manufacturers.

    There has to be a point in the final analysis when, if for what you consider to be very good reason, you have the gumption to trust your ears. Quite simply, pooh-poohing everything that contradicts your belief system, and blindly obeying text books, is no way to learn.

    Marco.
    Indeed. As we all know, Hifi isn't a static entity, it's constantly changing and like music itself people need to open up and try different things but at the same time initiate a degree of 'caveat emptor' about some products on the market costing bonkers money.

    IME mains cables can make a difference but not all agree. Just as long as people have tried and have an educated (yet open) opinion I don't mind... Standing back behind the line slinging mud is just useless.

    When I moved from standard leads to Mark Grant cables I was really surprised. Once that became the norm I tried others but the effect wasn't as profound. My next move is to get kitted out with some Furuwakky stuff. - I've tried one cable and heard a good difference but IME the real magic is when all of your cables are replaced...

  4. #124
    Join Date: Apr 2008

    Location: Warrington

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    I'm Neil.

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    Pretty much everything other than power cables makes more of a difference in HiFi, so it's one of the last things to look at IMO. For example, spending £50 or so on some well thought out decoupling of components / speakers will make far far more difference. I see a lot of systems where you could sell the expensive power leads & get something like a much better DAC, better speakers, better amps etc. Cables aren't going to 'improve' a system.

    If you feel that a power cord can transform a system, then there should be no problem in doing a blind test.
    Mana Acoustics Racks / Bright Star IsoNodes Decoupling >> Custom Silent Media Server >> Halide Bridge USB (with AQVOX USB power) >> Pedja Rogic's Audial Model S DAC + Pioneer PL-71 turntable / Vista Audio phono-1 mk II / Denon PCL-5 headshell / Reson Reca >> LFD DLS >> LFD PA2M (SE) >> Royd RR3s.

  5. #125
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Much Wenlock

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    I'm Gary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Macca View Post
    On the contrary I'd say that jumping to the wrong conclusions about cause and effect is the worst possible thing for progress. If you don't know how it works then you can't improve on it, except by chance.

    There's plenty of times that a difference is pretty obvious and there's no question that the sound has changed. Then there's those occasions where we think we hear a subtle change. It's only in those latter situations that we have to question what we think we hear. Especially if there is no credible reason for there being any change.

    We have to acknowledge that we can be fooled by our senses because it is a fact that we can be.

    To me that is the practical and realistic approach. Imagination Land is not a good place to be putting a hi-fi system together or doing anything else, for that matter.
    The knowledge that confuses conclusions reminds me of a story:

    There was an Austrian entomologist that was studying grasshoppers and their ability to communicate.
    He found a particular individual that appeared quite forward in this, he named him Johann.
    After extended sessions he taught Johann to jump on command.

    On an experimental whim, the entomologist removed the grasshoppers legs, he gave the command to jump. Nothing happened!

    Pondering on the results, he concluded that removing Johann's legs made him deaf.


  6. #126
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yomanze View Post
    If you feel that a power cord can transform a system, then there should be no problem in doing a blind test.
    But only if you feel the exercise is likely to have some potential benefit.

    I'm more than happy to conduct blind tests, and indeed have done so many times in the past, but the results are far from conclusive. And by the way, I'm in the subtle, but worthwhile improvement, not "transform" camp. If any mains lead 'transforms' a hi-fi system, then something is badly wrong!

    For me, it's about the balance of probabilities; based on MY judgement of such, no-one else's, so if (by and large) 20 years of experimenting with mains cables, and how the mains in general influences the behaviour of audio equipment, tells me that my conclusions, in that respect, are right, am I going to dismiss all of that simply because of one time I might get the 'wrong answer' in a blind test?

    I think not

    In the final analysis, once you've satisfied your judgement criteria, you need to have CONFIDENCE in your convictions - and STICK WITH THEM, if you're convinced that you're right!

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

  7. #127
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

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    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by walpurgis View Post
    So if I plug a "computer lead" into a kettle, what may happen?
    I doubt if you could do that - "kettle" leads use a high current capacity IEC connector (16A), which have a keyway. This there to to prevent the possible insertion of a lower rated lead with a lower rated IEC connector (6A) into the kettle.

    Without taking sides in this debate, I ought to pass on my concern with the construction of 'freebie' leads using moulded connectors: you can't check the integrity of the connections. Maybe this is why I prefer to make my own leads.
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?

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  8. #128
    Join Date: Apr 2018

    Location: Cornwall

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    I'm Dominic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    Absolutely, Dominic. And I respect your contrary experience.

    For me, however, there's a danger of allowing your natural senses and thought processes to become bogged down/governed by 'what is deemed as correct', based on currently accepted wisdom. It stifles free thought.

    Maybe 9 times out of 10 currently accepted wisdom is right, but what about the other time when it might not be, or in fact isn't - or are we saying that we unquestionably know all there is to know about cables, and how they influence the behaviour of audio equipment: everything that needs proving has already been proven - and so there is nothing new to learn?

    For me, that's far from the case and constitutes as lazy thinking, liable to stifle progress, just as much as blindly believing in any kind of 'foo', invented by and claimed as true, by cable manufacturers.

    There has to be a point in the final analysis when, if for what you consider to be very good reason, you have the gumption to trust your ears. Quite simply, pooh-poohing everything that contradicts your belief system is no way to learn.

    Marco.
    I think you been a bit too gracious towards accepted 'wisdoms' as to be honest they have only paid lip service to the subject, relying only on resistance, inductance and capacitance as the beginning, middle and end of the knowledge base which has remained virtually static since the 1940's. No, I am mistaken there, they actually realised that current flow direction was actually opposite to what the wisdoms said it was.

    Those measurements being used to evaluate cable performance are flawed because they are primitive in the extreme. For a start, they are purely static measurements and bear no relation whatsoever in the measurement of complex frequencies, interactions and dynamics found in real music reproduction, because they are unable to do so and won't admit that. It is the very reason objectivists throw a smoke screen of pointless accusations like placebo and expectation bias to divert attention away from those shortcomings. No wonder I bristle plenty when they are aimed at me in these debates, because I may be placebo'ed a couple times at most, have some sort of expectation bias a few times perhaps, but after hundreds of times over several decades certainly not and I always challenge these people to show me evidence of prolonged, sustained and repeatable facts that these conditions can be maintained for hundreds of times and spanning decades. They can't, because that evidence does not exist.

    I jokingly said earlier in this thread that a mains cable is not there just to convey electricity from the wall socket to the system without spilling any on the carpet and after deep cogitation for more time than I would admit to, I realised that a mains cable has more demands on it than just that simple job. If you think that it is no more than a narrow bore pipe for a steady trickle of leccy to keep your system well fed with the stuff, then you couldn't be more wrong. The current flow demand can change instantaneously from a mere trickle to a full blown call of 20 amps plus in a millisecond, but, "Aha" you might say, the power supply should provide that, but it doesn't and cannot because where exactly does all this power come from? I was taught many moons ago that a capacitor cannot discharge and charge at the same time and logic says that is true, so while the capacitor is trying to supply peak current for a transient or bass, what happens to the charge cycle for the next transient peak come from? There is always a delay and a poorly built mains cable just adds even more delay, longer in fact than the charge rate of the capacitor. It is the only sensible(ish) answer I could find that addressed the issue of bass boom and overhang from a loudspeaker which miraculously vanished when an upgrade mains cable was installed. This bass overhang is the signature for me that the mains cable is not up to scratch.

    Metallurgy I say also plays a major part with mains cables, not just curing bass overhang but also hiss. I was at a dealers and we were trying out mains cables on a Consonance valve system with corner horns. I noticed that the noise floor and particularly hiss was considerably reduced almost to zero with the pure silver power cord, which shocked me as I thought that hiss was "one of those things" we all had to live with as it was inherent with amplifiers. It is known fact that silver is more conductive than copper but it must also have a different grain structure in the metal but this wasn't confirmed in my own mind until some nice chap in Japan was also similarly inclined to the grain boundary theory and took steps to manufacture copper wire without them. When OHNO cast cables came onto the scene a similar thing happened compared to a normal copper cable, the hiss was substantially reduced. The continuous casting process virtually eliminates the grain boundaries of the metal, so it is not unreasonable to assume that it is those same grain boundaries that gives rise to hiss. The theory is that hiss is a series of millions of microscopic 'explosions' or arcs as the electrical current jumps across these boundaries. Electricity isn't like water flowing through a pipe but an electromotive magnetic force which has no physical contact with the metal itself so I am told, although the evidence seems to contradict this. Here we go again.

    It may be this trait often gets referred to as the music emanating from the proverbial "inky blackness" that many listeners enthuse over.
    CD player = Vincent
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  9. #129
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

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    I'm James.

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    May I also add that Mains cables will almost certainly interact differently depending on the equipment they are used with so where as one person hears no change in their system, someone else may perceive a significant change.

    There are some interesting facts here concerning mains cables which may make sceptical folk think differently about them - or may not?

    https://www.gcaudio.com/tips-tricks/...-a-difference/

  10. #130
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 20,255
    I'm Martin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    May I also add that Mains cables will almost certainly interact differently depending on the equipment they are used with so where as one person hears no change in their system, someone else may perceive a significant change.

    There are some interesting facts here concerning mains cables which may make sceptical folk think differently about them - or may not?

    https://www.gcaudio.com/tips-tricks/...-a-difference/
    from that link

    Every audiophile who has experimented with better power cables has heard the performance advantage they offer. Indeed, the amount of improvement can be astounding, often transforming a system from good to amazing. As audiophiles, we trust our ears but it’s hard to understand how replacing just one short link in a long chain of the power delivery system can have such a dramatic impact. The following article is intended to answer those questions

    Note the bits in bold.

    Now here is an ABX test where they had to try to distinguish between Nordost power cables and some standard leads supplied with some Parasound amps.

    https://hometheaterhifi.com/volume_1...s-12-2004.html

    No-one scored better than random chance.

    It is clear from the above analysis that no matter what background or experience a participant brought to the test, it did not help him or her score better than anyone else. 49% accuracy is 49% accuracy.

    But the amount of improvement can be astounding!

    Unless you don't know if the fancy power cord is in use or not. Then it doesn't sound any different.

    Now it is an ABX test so it is not a 'normal' listening environment. But even so you'd expect an 'astonishing improvement' to be fairly easy to spot in pretty much any circumstances.

    But no-one seems to be capable of doing it.

    There was also a home test done on Hi-fi Wigwam back in about 2004 where the cables were sent to peoples' homes so they could swap about at their leisure. The cables were disguised so that it was not possible to tell the fancy leads from the standard ones.

    Unsurprisingly people claimed to hear clear differences even between identical power leads. Sadly the pages documenting this have been deleted from the site. I don't know why this would be, except perhaps because the site hosts many adverts for fancy power cables.

    if the people making the fancy power cables really have made amazing new discoveries in electrical theory how come they are not stepping forward for their Nobel prizes?

    There is an enormous credibility gap here people, and I for one am not going to attempt to jump it.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200P CD Player * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    'The best I advice I ever received was to always remember that no-one else has any idea what they are doing either.'

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