So What Is Real?

There is a newsletter I subscribe to because the guy seems to talk about reality and not what some sales dude wants to sell you.   Now the funny thing to me is that all these cable specialists of high dollar remedies for flawed playback are somehow going to magically change what you hear and will then rise above the abilities of the music file limitations and recording engineers. A dumb wire that is used to create the hi-res recordings so sought after is not somehow suitable for the playback of the same. The following is from Waldreps newsletter and I fully agree. I love this guy and he is a light shining through all the smoke and mirror BS of high end audio. I confess I too am a cable denier and incapable of hearing " further uptick in micro-dynamic jump " but love the delicious word salad these guys create to try to describe something that is not there. I can see the cable guy sitting there with his buddy. Wow did you hear that uptick in micro-dynamics!!  You just know that's how he would talk, right?
  As an aside here how does one become a professional listener? What is the criteria for attaining this lofty goal? How do you know when you have arrived and what governing authority sets down the requirements for such a thing so you know  you are not deceiving yourself and others? Is it a nebulous category that is assigned to you when you spend a certain level of money or do you have verifiable and provable abilities above the norm as recognized by a large group of people including recording industry engineers, professional sound installers and high end audio system owners? In other words anyone but cable sellers?

  The following is from "Dr. AIX Post for January 25, 2020"

 " Cable Nonsense

What is it that Art Linkletter used to say? Kids say the darndest things. Well, it seems some FB audio group administrators, audiophiles, high-end audio salespersons, audiophile society officials, and manufacturers also say things that make little or no sense when talking or posting about cables.

I usually steer clear of FB posts or online magazines that promote high-end audio cables. It's just never safe to present with science, established electrical engineering theory and practice, or objectiveness when cables are concerned. A recent exchange on a familiar FB audio group page resulted in a member calling me a "cable denier" because I advocated for science and physics in evaluating power cords.

The thread basically dismissed my comments because I'm a member of the professional audio engineering community. Audio equipment salespeople, FB administrators, high-end audio marketing managers, and the general audio buying public are claimed to be better and more reliable sources of information when it comes to recommending expensive accessories and cables. According to the gentleman below, they are capable of listening in ways that audio professionals can not.

One commenter wrote:

"Mark is a pro and speaks just like one, but he is not a professional LISTENER, like you (Writer's NOTE: the guy offering the ultra expensive power cords), I and so many others in the high-end industry. Interesting is that most so-called experts are also naysayers who work in the recording industry, not in the high-end industry."

What does this statement actually claim? That professional audio engineers and producers do not know how to listen? That spending one's professional life in front of speakers in a control room doesn't require listening?Maybe...just maybe...the engineers responsible for producing the recordings that are played back in these guys high-end systems are correct in their assessment of power cords and expensive USB/Ethernet cables. Image that!

Can you really trust a gentlemen that just launched a new cable company that offers a 6-foot power cord for $3150? Oh and this person also believes that cables are directional! BTW They are not.

Here's a couple of additional comments...

"Cables can make a difference. I’m glad I can hear those differences it truly enhances the experience. I have been a dedicated audiophile and in the industry for over 45 years and have been able to identify those differences since my first experience with Smog Lifters in the 70’s. I search for and usually discover great products that deserve special attention by people looking for the last bit of resolution and coherency. I’m truly sorry for those that wouldn’t hear the difference."

Here's a comment from an individual that swapped a normal Ethernet cable for an expensive one.

"...the Vodka seemed to remove a layer of film for superior textural reveal. There was also a shade more tonal depth and recording space ‘air’. Most noticeable of all was a further uptick in micro-dynamic jump."

I don't know about you but I cringe when I hear people talk about audio in such terms. And this after listening to a commercial album and then stopping, swapping the cable and relistening. It's unbelievable.

I could pull quotes from cable reviews all afternoon but I think you get the point. When anyone starts spewing nonsense about power cords, digital interconnects, or network cables, run away. Keep your wallet in your pocket and unsubscribe from that group or online magazine. Their motivations are suspect. They either want to sell you something (usually at very high cost) or are dependent on advertising dollars from the companies they write about or the individuals they interview.

BTW:  I don't knock casual listeners.  I am one sometimes.  In the gym I listen to music streamed to my (not i) phone through Bluetooth headphones.  Even in that mode, though, I am a little bit picky.  I listen to CD quality FLAC files (from TIDAL) and when I buy a new phone I pay attention to the quality of the on board DAC (current phone LG G7) because I don't care to plug in an external one.  My current Bluetooth headphones are Bose Soundsports.  Definitely middle of the road IMO, but not bad for the price.

"after listened different cables: The differences are so small that I can’t even repeat my own blind test picks. So I just buy decent entry level cables( low hundreds) and spend my money on speakers, electronics, and source."

Same advice goes for bitrates in my case, but mastering definitely matters.

Earlier today I compared tracks from ’The Hollies 20 Greatest Hits’ (one of the very few recommended - unfutzed - early compilations of this1960s Manchester outfit).

Even with headphones I could not easily detect much difference between flac and 192kbps rips!

Yet a similar volume levelled comparison between the above mentioned CD and the similar ’The Hollies All the Hits and More : the Definitive Collection (1988)’ revealed clear, easy to distinguish sonic differences.

Despite what I’d read previously, mainly on the wonderful Steve Hoffman forum, I found myself preferring the latter. This CD transfer seemed to have a touch more (original vinyl-like) punch and energy.

Both versions sounded vastly preferable to my ears than the more modern sounding Ron Furmanek remastered and remixed effort ’The Hollies 30th Anniversary Collection’ 3CD set, from 1993.
"  When it comes to digital cables, the cheapest ones that are not defective work EXACTLY the same as the most expensive ones you can buy. I have been on this horse before, but a digital signal is just data until it gets to your DAC. Anyone who knows how data transfer protocols work knows that even a marginal cable can deliver 100% accurate data.  "

 yeah, this is what people believed in the 80`s
I going down this path once again except with USB cables from server to a converter reclocker taking care of any ground loops and other noise then out using 12s to my dac. The focus will be on USB and I just ordered ,as wire goes , a fairly inexpensive USB cable from Audiogon member GrannyRing designer and fabricator of his own line of cables . Along with GrannyRings popular bang for buck cable I’ll also will be trying out Curious Cables new USB cable including one other at 4 times the cost.
Always cracks me up when a guy like the OP brings up a subject that has already been argued for decades like they’re the first ones to ever think of it :^ /