**Official HTF Cable Comparison!**

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jim A. Banville, Oct 29, 2001.

  1. Jim A. Banville

    Jim A. Banville Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 1999
    Messages:
    630
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Okay, when is this gonna' happen? It's apparent that there are groups here that (a) see and hear differences between audio and video cables, (b) groups that don't see differences and (c) groups that aren't sure if non-placebo differences exist and are looking for opinions on what to buy and how much to spend. In another post I outlined what appears to be a simple, no-fuss quasi-scientific way to conduct un-biased tests to see if there really are audible and visual differences. We just need a place to hold it, equipment to use, and some judges! I'd offer my setup - Sony KP-53HS10 HDTV, Sony NS300 interlaced DVD player, Denon AVR3300 receiver and Mirage OM series speakers, but some may argue that this stuff isn't high-end enough. Not to mention I doubt many members live within driving distance of the backwoods of Columbus, GA [​IMG]
    My method is this, place a group of "observers" in the "sweet area" of a high quality HT system. For the video portion, we need only place the source (DVD, etc.) behind the TV (I can't see using a projector unless it is mounted well behind the observers) where the "switcher" will change the cables per the que of a test "master". I'd keep it simple and leave out a video and audio switching device. The observers need only mark on a ballot IF the hear a difference in the random switching. Latter we can look to see if the observers saw differences when the same cable was simply unplugged and plugged back in. After it is determined that none, one, some or all of the observers were able to 100% correctly tell when the cables were switched, we can go to the next test - let those with 100% scores listen again and determine which is the "no-name" cable and which is the premium one. Surely this test would fail hard-line scientific scrutiny, but wouldn't it be interesting if ALL the observers saw a difference! And wouldn't it be interesting if the cable they preferred was the premium cable! Then again, my guess is none could be 100% in "guessing" which cable is which. Any guesses about my bias? [​IMG]
     
  2. RyanDinan

    RyanDinan Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi Jim,
    I too would like to see something like this - But who do you pick to be the observers? Should they be people who are trained to know what to look for? People who don't see a difference between RF and component? A mix?
    Should it be done with several different setups to determine if there is a "minimum" system "grade" to see if and where premium cables make a difference?
    I think it would be really cool to put members here to the test, on several different systems of varying qualities, and see what happens.
    I for one, straddle between camps A and C [​IMG]
    -Ryan Dinan
    ------------------
     
  3. Darrel McBane

    Darrel McBane Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 1999
    Messages:
    363
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I for one don't need a test to tell me what I hear.
    ------------------
    Enjoy the Toys!
     
  4. David Ely

    David Ely Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 1998
    Messages:
    753
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    My 'proof' came when my mother came to watch a movie in my HT and asked "Okay, so what did you upgrade now?". I asked "Why?" and she responded "The picture and sound are better".
    Case closed [​IMG]
     
  5. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2001
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I would really like to see this happen as well, but the logistics will make if very hard to pull off. To do it properly it's not something that could be done in one evening. The video would be the easiest, pick 2-4 different cables to test with and just run several hours of blind comparisons and tabulate the results.
    The audio would be much harder. You have speaker wire, whether it is biwired or not, and for the systems with seperates you have the interconnects. Say you have three systems you are using. Then say you have 3 different kinds of speaker wire, and 3 kinds of interconnects. To make it a little easier we will use the DVD player in each system and an optical connection for the source. Then you have 6 possible configurations with each of the non seperates systems (which we will say is 2 of the three systems being tested). This gives you 12 configurations to be tested. Then the third seperates system adds another 18 configurations to be tested. The total would then be 30.
    Even if you decide to not care about all the possible permutaions in the seperates system and fix everything but one set of cables for each test it will be no small task.
    Still maybe some larger HTF meet will manage to get the necessary equipment and test procedures together to run a comprehensive series of experiments over a weekend and compile the results for us. I would definately like to see them. The larger the number of people used and trials done the better.
    ------------------
    Dustin
    [email protected]
    My Adire Tempest Sonosub
    [Edited last by Dustin B on October 29, 2001 at 05:19 PM]
     
  6. Mark Rich

    Mark Rich Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Simply buy a cable set. try it on your system. It if sounds or looks better than what you currently have keep it. if not return it! Why do you need some panel or worse some paid reviewer ( or magazine/web site that is paid by the cable maker)to tell you what is the best cable? cables sound and look different on each system.
     
  7. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 1998
    Messages:
    3,806
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Jeff Kowerchuck, Jay Mitchosky and I did a similar thing a while ago and both Jay and I could pick one interconnect out from the other every time (Jeff was switching for us)...that proved it for me.
    ------------------
    http://www.mts.net/~glendap/
     
  8. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2001
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Mark
    The reason I have for wanting to see a comprehensive set of expirements run with a large number of trials and participants is curiousity. Will everybody be able to tell the difference with statistical significance, will nobody, will half, will 3/4, will 1/4. I'm just curious.
    For my own system, if I ever get the money to try expensive cables, I would just buy the stuff and try it. Although I would get someone to help me do the comparison blind as I'm a firm believer in the placebo effect.
    ------------------
    Dustin
    [email protected]
    My Adire Tempest Sonosub
     
  9. Jim A. Banville

    Jim A. Banville Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 1999
    Messages:
    630
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    "I for one don't need a test to tell me what I hear."
    No one said you couldn't hear what you wanted to hear. The point of this "test" would be to either prove or disprove with some degree of certainty that high-end cables sound "better" than generic stuff.
    "My 'proof' came when my mother came to watch a movie in my HT and asked "Okay, so what did you upgrade now?". I asked "Why?" and she responded "The picture and sound are better".
    Case closed"
    Well actually, there are so many variables that her mood could have made your system appear better. Not that this stuff is rocket science (or really that important in light of recent events) but I wouldn't trust the opinion of someone who comes in "cold" and declares a difference, especially when dealing with the replacement of a single set of cables unless the old stuff was a straighented out clothes hangers.
    "I would really like to see this happen as well, but the logistics will make if very hard to pull off. To do it properly it's not something that could be done in one evening. The video would be the easiest, pick 2-4 different cables to test with and just run several hours of blind comparisons and tabulate the results."
    The first round of these tests seems pretty simple - a cheap, but properly constructed "no-name" quad-shield RG6 coax with a copper conductor vs. the most elaborate and expensive coax you can afford. If a difference doesn't exist there, there is no point to continue. If there are differences, that would lead to phase 2 [​IMG]
    "Why do you need some panel or worse some paid reviewer ( or magazine/web site that is paid by the cable maker)to tell you what is the best cable? cables sound and look different on each system."
    Ah ha! No one NEEDS to be told what the best cable is. Some people look to others for their opinions. That is basically what this site is all about. Point is, some people seriously dislike the snake-oil cable companies. It's put-up or shut-up time [​IMG] No one need fear the truth [​IMG]
    [Edited last by Jim A. Banville on October 29, 2001 at 06:50 PM]
     
  10. Mark Rich

    Mark Rich Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Unless you try the cables on a variety of systems, Low to high end.How would this be a valid test? Cable a may sound better than cable b on your system but that doesn't mean it would on another system. What sounds good on yours, to you is the only thing that counts. Just my opinion. But test away if it makes you happy:)
     
  11. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You have to be very carefull with audio that the sound-levels are adjusted equally for each cable set.
    An experienced reviewer admitted that comparing amplifiers that one amp would win the blind competition because it was a bit louder. Even experienced reviewers would pick this unit because louder is perceived as better.
    Before I bought a DVD player I rented one and got both a VHS copy of Fifth Element and a DVD copy. I got them both playing in-sync and did a comparison. I actually prefered the VHS sound over the DVD! I finally read that VHS tapes are mastered with a higher audio signal and this is why I prefered the sound. And for a short test, louder sounds better. But the sound is fatiguing over the run of a movie.
    This same principle applies to video: brighter is better. Everyone agrees that TV's have the brightness and contrast turned way up to try and make the TV stand out on the show-room floor.
    And Secrets of Home Theater when they did their side-by-side test of Progressive DVD players found that they had to compensate for different signal levels on each player. They made a point of saying that the TV must be adjusted differently depending upon the video source.
    So keeping the video source the same, but changing cables may simply change the overall brightness of a video image and make one appear better than the other.
    The only fair way to do this is to have a ISF certified installer adjust the display for cable A. Make notes on the settings for this cable. Then re-adjust for Cable B/C/D also making notes. Then as you switch cables, change the TV setting to match. This way, the observers can look for the smaller/finer differences and not overall brightness or convergence issues.
    Jim: I respect your intent. Good Luck. And if you really decide to do this, I'll donate a set of component video cables made from Canare coax and connectors to be a homebrew "wildcard" for your comparions.
     
  12. Dennis Oblow

    Dennis Oblow Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 1999
    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    10
    Real Name:
    Dennis
    In my case their was a very big improvement when I changed video cables. Just the reverse took place on the audio side, my Straightwire cables sounded better (fuller more bass ) than the Silver serpents I replaced them with. So you never know until you try, that's part of the fun.
     
  13. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2000
    Messages:
    550
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The point of these comparison seems, appears, hints at, approaches, and resembles an attempt to disprove, dissuade, and basically "invalidate" all cables that cost $10. more than 12AWG zip cord.
    What's the point ?
    The rhetoric and verbiage which surrounds DBT is akin to that bad fog we last saw emitted by that ersatz band at our high school prom. Smoke'um enough so they can't tell one from the other, a bad song from a good one.
    Invalidate all the human senses in favor of a flawed method to mask an agenda motivated by some odd "get-evenism".
    Bob Crump, a near two decade old cable maker, says "cables are more an art, than science". Think about it.
    Test, and test again, count and recount like the last election, until we get it right. Is that the mantra?
    Naysayers appear to be forever hung on an "idea fixe" that cable makers are scam artists. The free market has a way of weeding these guys out BTW. Gee, can't remember the last time I got a threatening e-mail from Ray Kimber.
    But free will, instinct and the five senses seem to be under assault these days so I will just leave it at that.
    Why be threatened when someone says his $670. set of speaker cables smoked his Monster zip. It's not a conspiracy, it just a better crafted wire, with better materials, better connectors, and probably hand terminated. I would pay for that if I was in the market for such wire. If not, I would certainly not invalidate my fellow enthusiasts choice.
    Why would I ? I don't have an agenda to undermine such choices.
    Some appear to do that however. Beats my why, though.
    BOK
     
  14. Jim A. Banville

    Jim A. Banville Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 1999
    Messages:
    630
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    People...people...people [​IMG]
    If you are happy with your cables, GREAT! I'm not trying to make you discard your $$$ cables for "throw-aways" that came in the box. I honestly don't care [​IMG]
    The WHOLE point of this test is to determine IF there is a visible/audible difference between cables and IF expensive cables actually do outperform cheap cables on -ANY- HT system, high or low-end. An entire industry is based on the myth/fact that they do. I (and many others) are curious if it is true. Personally, I have compared "freebies" with Canare/Belden cables and I saw ZERO differences. Was I missing something? Should I be so presumptious as to think that just because I didn't see a difference, then no one could? Why some people resist such a "test" is beyond me. What are they afraid of? Not to ruffle any religious feathers, but they remind me of a bumper sticker I read once- "God said it, I believe it, and that's it!". Have premium cables risen above the level of any scrutiny?
    We just replaced our "cheap" General tires with Michelins. Do they ride better? My wife says YES. I can't tell. Are all tires of the same size - treadwear - traction -temperature, the same? Do the Michelins ride better because she THINKS they should? Or should I take her word that they are better - case closed?
     
  15. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2000
    Messages:
    550
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Sounds like a trivial pursuit....
    but good luck on your test drive...[​IMG].
    BOK
     
  16. RyanDinan

    RyanDinan Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have to agree with Jim here...
    Why are people so opposed to a blind test?
    Hey, if you can see and hear a difference with your cables, that's great. But I want to see if they can pick them out of a group of cables, varying in quality - Just out of curiosity.
    It would be very interesting if someone ened up prefering the el' cheapo RCA interconnects over some Silver Serpent ones.
    Yes, I want to see proof that someone can consistently hear/see a quality difference between cables.
    I'm not saying I want to see someone tell them apart - I want to see someont pick out which one he/she likes better.
    Set up 3-4 different cables of varying quality, and hook them up. Let the person pick which one they felt looked/sounded better on a particular system. Do it a few times to see if they consistently pick the same cable. Then look at what cable they picked. Was it the most expensive? Was it the cheapest? Middle of the road?
    See if other people come to the same conclusion.
    It would just be very interesting to see, IMHO.
    -Ryan
    ------------------
     
  17. Marcelo T

    Marcelo T Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2001
    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Does anyone knows if a audio magazine did this kind of blind test? I remember reading a SV comparision on DTSxDD and the reviwers couldn´t pick which one was which. JUst curious.
     
  18. Randy G

    Randy G Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 18, 2000
    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hellooo, anybody ever run a search of "ABX Comparator Box"??? This whole discussion is has been discussed ad nauseum. The idealists want to subject the notion to rigorous scientific examination in order to "EXPOSE" the cable voodoo for what it might be. The flat-earthers(believers in cable differences) will ALWAYS find a "problem" with the testing procedure in order to invalidate it. They can be likened to the "Emperor who wore no clothes", and the idealists(truthseekers) can be likened to the little girl who pronounced to everybody that the "Emperor is wearing no clothes".
    Personally, I think it's all the snake oil peddlers who give the hobby a bad name, but like the old sayings go, caveat emptor(and, a fool and his money are soon parted). Vested interests will never admit the validity of ANY test that doesn't support their product, and the bottom line is that if you ask any electrical engineer, audiologist, acoustic engineer, physicist....ANY electronics expert, they'll LAUGH IN YOUR FACE if you suggest that there is an audible difference in cables. I can just imagine some audiologist going to an audio salon and mentally masturbating over the decision of which type of wires he should use to hook up his testing machine with. And why isn't Monster cable making the big sales pitch to the likes of GM, Ford, etc. to "enhance" their car audio systems? Oooh, and doctors should should double check the wires for those EKG machines, no? snicker..snicker. USE YOUR HEADS!
    To be totally truthful, if you have measuring equipment with the requisite sensitivity, you'll find that cables will measure differently, but those minute differences are soooo many magnitutdes below our hearing threshold as to be rendered non-existent.
    Ah, now I feel better.
    The truth shall set you free.
    ------------------
     
  19. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    3,181
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Take Cable A: Cable B: And Cable C:
    Assuming that A, B And C all use the same grade of
    cabling with the same EMI sheilding, Capacitance, Impedance
    and assuming the termnations reguardless of the fact one may
    be mass prod and one may be hand terminated these cables
    will produce exact results. It is impossible for them to do
    otherwise.
    Does that mean that a $100.00 cable is not worth $100.00 ?
    Well, the owner of the small comapny will disagree when you
    take into consideration that they do custom lengths and they
    are hand assembled on a tiny scale, they have to charge that
    much to remotely turn a profit.
    The best thing about Botique Cable companes would be that
    everything they use to construct thier cables IS available
    to us the consumer so that we can construct out own cables
    at a fraction of the cost.
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
    Brett DiMichele
    My Home Theater Site!
    [email protected]
     
  20. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2000
    Messages:
    1,299
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Real Name:
    Henry Carmona
    quote: Why be threatened when someone says his $670. set of speaker cables smoked his Monster zip.[/quote]
    LOL, Why be threatened when somones $30 Monster Zip smoked his $670 set?
    ------------------
    [​IMG] "Charlie don't surf."
    [Edited last by Henry Carmona on October 30, 2001 at 03:27 AM]
     

Share This Page