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Using multimeter to compare interconnects (Read 56120 times)
Matchstikman
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #50 - 02/08/17 at 14:58:28
 
I've read in Get Better Sound book that a real ficus tree or an artificial one that is tall enough to have leaves at your ear level do a great job as diffusers or wife-acceptable bass traps.  A few rugs here and there, and maybe a panel with some kind of art can do the job.  I've seen room with so much treatment that they resemble churches and are very cold in appearance.  I would never do that no matter how good the sound.

You just have to find the line.

I once had a bass trap that doubled as a lamp stand.  I wish I would have kept it.
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JD
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #51 - 02/08/17 at 14:59:04
 
Everything matters but not equally to all. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but so is music. Please do not disparage or disregard if you haven't heard. Try some silver cabling then make a comparison/judgement. A good start might be to compare some Decware IC's with silver Xhadow terminations vs regular.
Just try to keep an open mind.

JD
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Archie
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #52 - 02/08/17 at 19:03:16
 
I don't see why there is even any argument on this "silver vs copper" issue.  There can be an audible difference and to some it's much more than obvious.  I don't think this Forum is populated by liars.  If you can't hear a difference between cables then great!  Save money and get the least expensive cables available.  If you can hear it -- "I pity the fool!"   Cheesy  Down the rabbit hole you go.

Most manufactures build to a price point and LR's point is well taken.  Even with Steve's "cost no object design" he makes cost concessions.  I don't think anyone here is saying that silver is better than copper; just that it can offer a different sound signature and is more expensive.

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will
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #53 - 02/08/17 at 22:48:58
 
Flargosa

I started this post a few days ago, leaving it with some redundancy that is also agreement!

Wire - Do the research...many kinds of copper…different purities, crystal structure, dielectrics, stranded, litz, or solid. Also, lots of kinds of silver, and also all sounding different. Hard annealed silver can be hard sounding, while pure and soft, with good structure, can be pleasantly warm, but also with characteristic, uncolored clarity. 1% gold in silver is coming up, great to me...I like to blend wire types. Saying “copper” is copper, or “silver” is silver, is just not true.

Cables - With your revealing source, power not too bad, vibration relatively controlled, your Decware, a well implemented speaker/room setup, and decent cables...there is no doubt that different cables that measure well will sound different, and that some will make your music better.

Alternately, with notable weak links anywhere in the system/room, or with unfortunate limitations in perception and/or discernment, as stated, it is possible not hear a difference.

Sounds like your source, amp, speakers are good, leaving potential impediments to noise from power, cables, vibration, room and body/mind.

To get the most from a system, everything has to be as revealing and musical as everything else. Even the amp is not up to itself without a good power cable, fine-tuning tubes, likely some vibration control, and though not mandatory, a decent audio fuse.

This is not conceptual, or about belief. It is true that conceptual belief without experience is belief, not real. But for those of us who have revealing systems, personal experience proves cable quality effects the music. What we hear in experience is not conceptual belief.

If some of us can hear things more fully, the difference is that our system/room and body/mind will let us hear things.

Transparent neutrality is a big deal for a lot of us on this forum. Reading through this thread with an open mind shows this.

It is also a fact that every part of system and room contributes its "signature" to the whole, making system/rooms very complex and variable.

A system based entirely on measurement can easily miss what makes music...the right balance and complexity to begin with, and then correct reflections/absorption allowing detail complexity, harmonics, timbre...things that make recordings into authentic feeling music. Though you can do a lot to understand with measurements, for ultimate refinement we need the perception and discernment of the human body/mind.

Below is some of my story toward “neutrality” that is like music:

Always able to hear cables, wires, caps, resistors clearly in this room, it seems I have an exceptionally revealing room.

When I first got Decware, a SE342 and 944s, I went from hearing a lot to hearing a lot more, especially nuance, fine detail, liquidity, harmonics, spaciousness... But I had a good source, decent cables, and a decent room. The SE34 was not a bass powerhouse like the Torii though.

My room has great natural reflection dispersion, irregular plastered adobe walls that slope outward as they rise with virtually no plumb wall surfaces. Also there are angle and space changes, walls, alcoves, segues to other spaces; irregular round log beams; ceiling shifts; an irregular brick floor on sand, all helping reflection issues. Also lots of African sculptures all around; throw rugs in good places; rough wood herringbone ceilings with overlapped tar paper, loads of insulation, and fairly air-tight air space above. Lucky room in many ways.

The unconventional way I set my speakers also helps here, about 5 feet apart tweeter center to tweeter center, and toed out slightly.

Early on, the room being connected living/dining/kitchen areas, and because of design, not allowing much wall treatment, I got a Kemp Schumann Resonator and a used set of Synergistic Research Art Basik. Not night and day in some ways, but very helpful here. Adjusting the resonator changes spaciousness and clarity, one way, more tonal density, and one, more spacious, the middle best for refining music and sound stage here. It cleans up congestion, clarifying timbre, space and stage. Now with two, one on each side of my cabinet, I can fine-tune the soundstage some right to left.

Don’t know how Art Basik works either, but called resonators, I am guessing they reduce reflections and buildup by specific frequency area energy being absorbed and drained into the vibration of the bells. Sound-wise, they open and clarify the sound stage in my super wide living room, while refining authentic tone and resolving some bass resonance. Even now, after more conventional absorption and bass trap work, I can move the little Art Basik bells, finding the right location for solving whatever they solve best. Moving the bass unit slightly, helps resolve thickness, making low mids in particular more rich. Another bell, more for midrange, between the speakers near driver level, up or down a little can tune the mids to clearer or richer/deeper. Like the Schumann resonators, they help clear up congestion, thus consolidating and refining the player’s expression and stage. This is ancient stuff now, but helped complete the better parts of this space.

Then the Torii MKIII, things changed! Much more power, and the bass went from very occasional boom, to too often overwhelming, a serious problem with this room set up. So I built more serious bass traps, and put specifically arranged dense fiberglass and bubble wrap where I could in alcoves and corners; tuned the speakers to be tighter and less bassy; lots of tube refinement; and slowly integrated more and more relatively subtle EQ for the most part, except deeper cuts low down, toward a beautiful, revealing and balanced sound.

Though conceptually and effectively, in most areas a good natural room, and with good everything else, I had to adjust and tune a lot to get neutral sound.

Not perfect, but very beautiful, and beginning from an easier place in many ways than square/plumb sheetrock rooms with more intense tendencies to combing, buildup, and confusion.

This story is one example that great sound is not just about putting good gear in a room. And that tuning is inevitable, whether you measure or not. Interestingly, after I started rudimentary measurement, my EQ adjustments made by ear fit quite closely with the measurements.

But it is fragile. Anything can throw it off. Even with everything sounding great, with excess bass and mid bass, there could easily be masking of important fine detail and associated spacial cues, timbre, nuance, detail….etc limiting ability to hear subtle realities from recordings.

That said, with the gear you have, I have no doubt that if your power, vibration, and room are up to the rest, reflection/room-modes relatively controlled, you can get really good sound from this gear with less-than great cables.

The other side though...why continue the signal path from source to speakers in a potentially amazing 5K system with poor sounding cables? Even your 1000 figure for all your cables, not just one, with the right choices and care in shopping, this could at least approach the quality of the rest. At 15% of the total system, that is not bad economics to me. I think you could get really decent “starter” cable sound cheaper though, bought used, or if you are “handy!” Jeez, I could likely set you up with quite nice used ICs and speaker cables that were bought at good values.

Speaker cables and ICs are the signal path, and they are much longer than the wires inside the amp. So their qualities are that much more important relative to the quality of the wires in the amp if you hope not to degrade the amp, and associated, source and speakers. The longer the wires, the more electronic noise can effect them, as well as progressive and cumulative impact from lower quality metals, dielectrics, shielding, coverings, geometry, degrading the signal as it makes its way from source to speakers.

Power cables are equally important, potentially clarifying current to the amp power supply. If the power supply is receiving weak flow and noise, it will pass that to the signal path in most Decware amps. Bypassing caps in my Torii power supply was crazy good for reducing subtle noise, and thus leaving the signal more intact...less damaged.

For me the last 5-10 percent is worth as much or more than first 90-95. Solving the last impediments to beauty allows an already resolved signal/sound to blossom. The other side of the same coin, reduction of subtle distortions clarifies and empowers the signal, letting us hear what was masked by distortions.

You can work the more obvious percentages and get great sound, but it is very unlikely that it will be a truly “white sheet” without doing a lot with the last 5-10 percent. For me, the last bits bring it closer to sublime, magical, consuming etc.

These things are what better cables are about to me, as are cleaner power and vibration control...better signal integrity. Resolving slurring and distortion (ones you may not discern until they are gone), lessens damage to the signal, leaving more density without thickness, more clarity, more subtle detail and speed, better timbre, ambience...This is the big stuff to me, though not as obvious in measure of percentage.

Effective room and room treatment will definitely help us hear these things if they exist, but not create them. If it is not coming out of the speaker, the best treatment can't bring it out.

And everything has sonic tendencies! So we have subtle to not-so-subtle choices from relatively equal quality parts that solve signal transmission issues and noise. All good cables will present sound more clearly, but with various degrees of detail, neutrality, warmth, smoothness, complexity, richness, bassier, leaner….etc.

If the system/room is revealing, every thing we put in will adjust the whole. So not recognizing and utilizing “tuning,” be it room treatment or cables, is simply unrealistic. Balancing, if done carefully can “make the sheet whiter” in the most pleasant ways.

Like most here, the gradual path is easier, and can be better, learning as we go, our system/rooms improving at a pace we can absorb, helping us make better decisions as we improve our musical experience.

But, very important if solutions are the goal, if the system is hobbled to begin with, we may not hear cables or tubes much, causing us to believe they can’t be heard. So decent cables are a must if you want neutrality that sounds like recordings were intended.

As other have said, if you want to test beliefs, there are a number of good cable makers who are selling what they make at reasonable prices for the quality, including Decware. Most of the small operations allow a decent trial and return period. Or for big company cables, something I have never tried, there are many small and large sellers with good return policies.

Why not try some variety and see, or make some. But remember, it is definitely not all equal….some talked up stuff is not really that good...I for one can’t use the Pangea AC9 SE power cable...too colored for my setup...but that notable color could help some systems to be more neutral!@#$

Doing all we can in room is critical to real sound, potentially solving issues more difficult to solve with alternative treatments, gear, cables, tubes etc. If you can't use obvious tools, like LR said, speaker placement and toe arrangement is huge, speaker placement seriously effecting reflection/modes for better or worse.

With creative thought, often you can hide/integrate some traditional room treatment pretty well, and if that is not enough, there are alternatives to traditional absorption and diffusion, some of which helped here.

Finally, there are a lot of one-bone dogs out there...likely some of the ones who believe different wires don't matter, caught enough by ideology to rule out even listening to other options.

Probably will always be folks who dis things based on conceptual ideology, contempt, bias, etc, and their passion can make them convincing. But in denying effective things they don't get, often with no personal experience, this is self limiting, and also delusion making for those who believe them.

Remember the stories about Columbus being thought mad thinking the earth was round. If good reviews make something compelling, it fits budget, and can be tried cheaply or for free, in my experience, there are things that are hard to understand that really work...the bottom line for me.

Putting all the stories together we can create a more complete picture with general agreement...room is big, setup is big, source is big, amp is big, speakers are big, cables are big, power is big, vibration is big….everything effects everything.

OK...enough.
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maddog07
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #54 - 02/11/17 at 00:07:12
 
I think there is common ground that can be reached between the objective and subjective camps on the “sound” of wire.  There are just some known aspects that are not being taken into account.  A wire's performance is governed by resistance, capacitance and inductance which define its impedance.  And potentially its susceptibility to EMI and RFI noise can affect the signal passing through it.  These are well understood parameters and accepted among the electrical engineering profession.  Nordost has another “spec” it throws around part of the time they call “Velocity of Propagation” which they express as a percent relative to the speed of light.  Do with this spec what you will – we are talking about an electrical signal traveling extremely short distances here – relative to the speed of light.
I think, perhaps, what at least contributes to a given cables ability to sound differently when used between different components, is the “reaction” of the cables impedance with the output impedance of the source and the input impedance of the target.  If you put a signal of a given frequency, of a given amplitude and a given phase into one end of a cable and get the same exact signal out the other end, you can sleep well at night knowing the cable is “accurate”.  It does not costs shameful amounts of $$ to get “accurate”, well made, cables.  If you will do a little studying, I think you will find/discover as you look at esoteric, boutique cables… they never publish any specs for them – because they are “passive” equalizers in a sense and they absolutely have “inaccurate” performance from an electrical engineering perspective.  And because of this, they absolutely do “flavor” the sound.  The degree of their sonic effect is dependent on their impedance characteristics and how they interact with the input and output impedances of the components “interconnected”.  You may “like” or not like the sonic effect they impart to the sound of your system.  This explains why there are so many people in the cable business, why all audiophiles differ in their opinions as to how a given “cable” sounds, and why everybody has their own preferences.  
Just my .02 cents on perspective and approach, but I “prefer” well made, accurate cables (which BTW do not  require second mortgages) and choose to spend my audio dollars on the components themselves.  It’s just not logical to me, to spend more money on a piece of insulated wire with a connector on each end that costs more than the components it’s connecting.  If you don’t like the sound of your components when connected with “accurate” wire, then get different components that you do like the sound of.

Take a look inside a Decware component… I have seen with my own eyes – Mogami shielded microphone cable in use.  This is an industry standard wire used throughout the recording industry for not only mics, but also patch cords and everything else.  So… it’s highly likely that the recorded music you listen to – passed through quite a bit of Mogami mic cable before it got to you.

Now… having said all this.  Over my last 35-40 years of chasing the audio holy grail, simply by experience(I have no formal electrical engineering education), I have come to discover that wire possessing similar physical and thus likely similar electrical characteristics if one were to measure, regardless of the “brand”, tend to have similar sonic personalities, connecting “most” components.  There are exceptions… there are always exceptions.  I have amassed a collection of cables based on their differing sonic personalities that I use “fine tune” with.  Some sound warmer, more relaxed.  Some sound brighter, more vivid, more forward.  Some tend to give a farther away presentation, etc.  I suspect… if I had the tools and the knowledge to fully measure each one and could then figure in the interaction of each with input/output impedances of connected components, that a “pattern” would reveal itself that would demonstrate why/how a given wire sounds the way it does.  
And let’s not forget the connectors..  I have been told, by people in the industry who are likely to know, that the connectors are more important than the wire itself.  And that this is especially true with RCA connectors, for which there is no industry standard governing their electrical parameters, and only "loosely defined" standards for their physical dimensions......  
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flargosa
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #55 - 02/11/17 at 16:41:52
 
Thanks for the detailed reply guys.  Yes, different materials no doubt change the sound signature.  What I am looking for is true transparency, meaning no sound signature changes from DAC to speaker or at least as little deviation from the original signal.  Honest to the source.

maybe a cheaper way of testing is using a rca extension adapter and extending my interconnect with more  expensive cables in my baseline system.  A transparent cable will keep the current sound signature and colored cable will change the baseline system's sound signature. This test should work because nothing in the control(baseline system) is changed, only one cable is added.

What I have found out so far is there is no difference between my LC-1($30) blue jeans cable and Black Dragon Moon audio cable($200), both sound equally excellent. One of these days I'll buy something more expensive and see if it adds coloration or keeps the sound signature.  

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will
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #56 - 02/12/17 at 18:28:43
 
If one or both cables are new, you are not hearing them fully yet. Variable, but roughly it takes 100-200 hours for most ICs I have tried to begin to show their subtler qualities. With burnin, the dielectric/cable interaction sorts out, and associated, the wire signal path, and same with RCA ends. Before burnin in finished, they will be more rigid and less complex sounding, this part showing more obviously in the mids to highs. The bass also will become more complex, but more noticeable, focus, depth and clarity will refine with burnin.

Without burnin, you will not get the finer qualities the cable is capable of.

I don't doubt the possibility of cables sounding the same in a transparent and revealing system/room, but I have heard lots of ICs, (I think most 200 or less in cost or parts) and never heard two that sound alike. If they are burned in, and these two test cables sound the same to you, that is interesting.

As I mentioned earlier, I have done extensive IC testing lately using two different silver/gold signal wires and Absolute KLE RCA ends, considered by many to be the most transparent and revealing RCAs made (especially of the money...lately $100 on sale). I burned in all my stuff for quite a while (as well as burnin rigs can do it) before starting, and then gave them at least many days in the system before adjusting things.

The Neotech 24 gauge silver/gold and 24 Mundorf silver/gold sound quite different to begin with. And experimenting with different ground wires, both materials and gauge, both of these cables changed notably. And different geometries can be subtler in the big sound ways, but equally influence the ultimate sound of the cables. To get neutral transparency and beauty, and to best utilize the sounds from the different Silver/gold wires, I ended up with different ground wires, and different geometries for each of these cable pairs. And of course they sound different after completion, but are the best I could get from each. Part of the reason these changes were so clear, is that the wires and RCAs I used are some of the most transparent and revealing materials made for ICs. Bought with good prices on materials, each pair ended up costing less than your Moon cables and are world class.

I don't understand the extension idea. If you get things sorted out in your room and system, you should be able to hear RCA ends and different wires and geometries. In your pursuit of "transparency," an extension will impart its own "signature," altering to various degrees the transparency, color, quality of detail, etc of the signal beyond the extension.

At best, a seriously transparent and neutral extension adds parts for the signal to pass through, effecting it, influencing different cables beyond it. At worst, it will color and limit signal traits from the source to a greater degree, and you will not be able to hear all the new ICs have to offer. Whatever the extension imparts, whether shifting neutrality, transparency, masking or coloring, those qualities will change your test cables. Why not just try cables direct...hearing only the difference in ICs.

Also, if your speaker cables are limiting and colored, as well as potential power, vibration and room issues, if they don't mask things too much to hear changes, collectively these will influence your decisions as to how a cable adjusts your system to be more or less "transparent."

Wink
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flargosa
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #57 - 02/12/17 at 19:41:23
 
A truly transparent cable should not change the current sound signature of my system.  That is what I'm testing, that is why I'm not replacing one cable for another but rather adding to it. This keeps the controls the same and any changes to the sound can be attributed to one variable change, the cable.

What’s the idea behind cable burn-in?  Is there some scientific explanation behind it?  I read some discussions about it.

I can understand speakers needing break-in to loosen the spider and surrounding rubber.  Tubes needing some burn-in to get to a stable state.  How does a cable get better with use?  Does prolong  exposure to electrical signal change the conductive properties of copper or silver?
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Matchstikman
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #58 - 02/12/17 at 23:46:41
 
flagorsa, after reading about this for over a decade and possibly much more than that, and after using several, several cables I can tell you that cable burn-in is valid and cable burn-in is a myth.  Take a side and enjoy the music.  I've picked my side and I'm happy with it.  You'll be happy, too.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #59 - 02/12/17 at 23:49:46
 
Quote:
This keeps the controls the same and any changes to the sound can be attributed to one variable change, the cable.


And not the resistance or capacitance issues of adding unnecessary length or added connections? I'm getting the idea you're working on incorrect premises (again).
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will
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #60 - 02/13/17 at 01:53:14
 
Quote:
A truly transparent cable should not change the current sound signature of my system.


This is true if a truly transparent cable actually existed. This statement proves that you either have not read posts on this thread with an open mind, or that those of us who's experience is different than the conclusions you have adopted (based on limited theory and experience) are delusional and/or liars.

Quote:
That is what I'm testing, that is why I'm not replacing one cable for another but rather adding to it. This keeps the controls the same and any changes to the sound can be attributed to one variable change, the cable.


If you want the most transparent test, with no extension the controls would also be the same, but more accurate....Eliminating the variable of the extra extension, the only variable would be different cables. Your DAC with nothing after it will definitely give the most transparent signal to whatever you test.

As I have said, there are no wires or cables that are purely transparent that I have heard, though there are many that approximate it. All wires and cables are influenced by the many flavors of metals, configurations of the metals, wire sizes, dielectrics, geometry, shielding, techflex on not, construction and materials of ends.....etc. That all the cables aspiring to being transparent sound different indicates that even subtle variations and combinations of what signals pass through have effects. And there are a lot of conceptual and scientific reasons for this, also pointed to in this thread.

Same with burnin. You can find explanations out there for burnin, so I am not going to use more of my time trying to explain another area you are likely not to believe.

But you could check it out. If your system/room is not hobbled with weak links, all you have to do is listen to a new amp, or DAC, or cable carefully over a couple hundred hours. If you don't hear a difference, you may as well stay with as cheap a cable as you believe fits your technical criteria, and not be concerned over getting the best sound you can get from your system.

So have fun! For those who are interested, collectively, a lot of us have already said much of what can be said about understanding, finding and hearing good cables. For many that will stimulate exploration. That is the cool thing about these discussions. Even resistance to the many subtle possibilities of experiential and scientific complexities can stimulate conversation that can be useful to others.

Good luck!

Will
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rmt
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #61 - 02/13/17 at 02:48:27
 
These threads always amuse me as the debate over what is or is not better sound and how to achieve it.  It often gets stated to ask yourself what sounds good to you and go with that.  That is probably the best advice and the rest of what I contend may be way out of the ballpark.  

The basic thing is people hear differently.  I have not followed much on this forum in some time so maybe this topic has been covered but I will go forth anyway.  Some people have hearing impairments and some have hearing advantages.  Some prefer higher frequencies and some don't.  The subjective perception of sound may also be culturally, gender, and biologically influenced.  Without some baseline of personal preference to sound frequency and actual ability to perceive varying frequency and amplitude most of this debate is a mute point to me.

This cable discussion roughly parallels the talk about what speakers sound best. I have read where someone will say that speaker sounds tinny don't buy it.  Well that might be perfect for me because I cannot hear worth a damn about 9k and maybe this guy has dog ears.  So I say go with what sounds good to you with what you can afford which is usually the most common advice anyway.
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flargosa
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #62 - 02/14/17 at 00:07:19
 
Lets end this thread with a quote from Roger Russell, Director of Acoustic Research at McIntosh Laboratory.

http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm#bigpicture

"When confronted with the truth, believers do not want to hear about it. They want to remain in the magical world of fantasy where they think they can hear improvements in their wire, often arrived at by making listening tests without adequate controls or understanding of the problems involved including speaker impedance and amplifier stability. One of the prime tools in creating such a faith for the average consumer is by capitalizing on fear and ignorance as in many other things that aren’t readily apparent. There is fear that the wire currently in use is not good enough. There is ignorance because most people do not have scientific knowledge in this area and lack adequate measuring equipment to prove otherwise."



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Archie
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #63 - 02/14/17 at 00:30:47
 
As someone with an engineering/science background, I find that quote smug and arrogant in the extreme.  How many times has the end of knowledge been declared to be reached by experts?  Our science is fundamentally missing how the universe really works.  My sense is that about 99% of Decware gear wouldn't pass "measurement" standards for high fidelity status.   Huh

All I can say to those who think that only what we can measure exists -- Hold on to your hats because what's coming will blow your mind!   Cheesy
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #64 - 02/14/17 at 00:35:53
 
LOL Archie. I'm with you.
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #65 - 02/14/17 at 01:27:00
 
Archie, that is interesting; a scientist that believes that there is more out there beyond what can be measured?  Do I have that right?

Me, I'm hoping that I'm long gone by that time that which will blow my mind shows up.  And, it will.
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #66 - 02/14/17 at 02:02:40
 

Quote:
Archie, that is interesting; a scientist that believes that there is more out there beyond what can be measured?  Do I have that right?


No, I believe what he's saying is we still have a lot to learn about the universe - chances are, we don't know all the things to measure that matter!

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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #67 - 02/14/17 at 02:23:48
 
Wow, deep sh*t.  I just want to listen to a few tunes in a nice way that creeps into the soul.  That's if we don't find out souls are non-existent.  Man, maybe I don't want to know.
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #68 - 02/14/17 at 03:08:01
 
Another quote from a respectable company.

"Many high-priced cables are made with materials for which special claims of high performance are made. The most common among these are silver instead of or in addition to copper, "oxygen-free" copper, and Teflon.

it's perhaps helpful to point out that professional cables of the highest quality are routinely made without resort to any strange, exotic or expensive materials. If you look inside a typical audio or video production facility, you won't find it wired with silver-plated cables, oxygen-free copper cables, or (except, as we'll explain, in limited circumstances) Teflon-insulated cables. Broadcast studio engineers--people whose livelihood depends on the signal getting through with the lowest possible distortion and losses--rely on cables from companies like Belden and Canare, made with ordinary high-quality materials. People who spend millions of dollars on high-definition studio gear rely on these cables not because they're out to save a buck at the cost of quality, but because they are looking for the best possible product.
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #69 - 02/14/17 at 03:36:23
 

Of course that makes sense - studios are in the business of making money. If a perfectly functional$20 copper cable get's you 95% (just random example/number - I'm not even saying silver is "better") of what a solid silver cable does; just using the cost of raw materials today (copper $2.79oz silver $17.84oz).  That same $20 cable in silver would be $120 X the hundreds of cables they use? That wouldn't make financial sense.

Being an audiophile is a recreational expense using disposable income, not a business.  So I'm sorry, that example is just another logical fallacy.

Again, I'm not even saying silver *is* better, I'm just calling bullshit on your logic.
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #70 - 02/14/17 at 12:57:29
 
"People who spend millions of dollars on high-definition studio gear rely on these cables not because they're out to save a buck at the cost of quality, but because they are looking for the best possible product."

I am sure these cable decision were made based on product availability and interchangeability, workplace ruggedness, typical industry practices, and  budget constraints versus any kind of thought to non-production exotic materials that would drive up costs beyond recovery.  So no I don't buy that contention.
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #71 - 02/14/17 at 14:16:06
 
Here is what I'm finding guys and I don't want to offend anyone.  I don't think copper is being used for cost savings. It is being used because it is as good as it gets.  Even the most expensive and one of the best sounding speakers use copper in it's voice coil.   I don't think the argument that silver is too costly for studios or highend audio devices is true.  Here is a pair of speakers costing $269,000 a pair.  Focal Grand Utopia EM.  They put in the best materials they know, and it's still copper.

Product Description:
“The Focal EM Electro-Magnet is made of a 15.4lb (7kg) copper coil. The motor including the coil weighs 48.5lb (22kg). The 16” reaches a total weight of 52.9lb (24kg).”

Source:
http://www.grande-utopia-em.com/en/technologies/em.php.

Here is what we can agree on. Various materials and geometries change the sound signature, that's a fact.  What we do not agree on is that plain copper is as transparent as it gets. So yes, lets end this discussion.
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #72 - 02/14/17 at 14:18:10
 
Edited. I decided not to feed this argument.
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #73 - 02/14/17 at 14:59:18
 
I now understand what an internet troll is, thank you flargosa.

JD
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #74 - 02/14/17 at 15:42:15
 
Good movie.

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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #75 - 02/14/17 at 17:35:47
 
Sorry, I've lost track of what exactly the question in this thread is.  I think it started out asking about cable measurements and hearing differences based on them.  The debate now seems to be either; whether or not different cable materials affect sound OR whether it makes sense to buy "boutique" cables at all?

If it is the former (Do materials affect sound?), than it's not a productive argument since, how can someone who hears something be convinced that they don't hear it and visa versa?  

The need to have everything quantifiable is a weakness since that will never be the case.  Imagine all our daily experiences that would be pure magic to even an 18th Century mind.  It's not much of a stretch to see that what would be magic to us will be commonplace to a 22nd Century person.

I've always thought that this Forum was about expanding our thoughts and ideas as opposed to being "frogs in wells" and thinking that all we see is the whole universe.  Prejudice is poison to investigative thought.  We all have underlying assumptions (prejudices) to everything we think and how we interpret experience.  The challenge is to not let our prejudices stand in the way of new understanding.

I'm being kind of preachy   Lips Sealed  but it is important to continue to question what we "know."
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #76 - 02/14/17 at 17:48:10
 
Well said Archie. And thanks for the saying.
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #77 - 02/14/17 at 18:00:53
 
Archie & Lon,

Couldn't agree more!  That's why I stopped feeding this monster early on.  There's simply no point in doing this, I find that it just improves the bottom line of Advil or Tylenol, money that is better spent on... cables???
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #78 - 02/14/17 at 18:05:03
 
We have no need to prove to each other what is or isn't.
Audio is a personal experience and everyone has the right to pursue it in there way. I am older and have had several different systems and rooms and homes and all of them factored into what I noticed and what worked and did not. I have had several set ups that cables interconnects and other tweaks did not make much of a noticeable difference to me. My current system reveals everything I change. So I now can tell very easily, when I change tubes interconnects cables capacitors etc., what it does to my system. Music is organic and to me a living entity and responds to everything introduced. Lets remember that we love music that is why we are here and science is a tool to help but so are my ears and my emotional connection to how music makes me feel. Sometimes I change something and can't really explain it but it connects me to the music in a better way and I don't really care for an explanation and don't need to prove it to anyone. Now back to listening to the music not the equipment.
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #79 - 02/14/17 at 18:24:45
 
(shrug) I just don't like logical fallacies.  But I'm being ignored, or thought to be proven incorrect with more logical fallacies based on assumed premises. Such as, because an expensive speaker uses copper voice coils, it's the *best*.

Completely not taking into account the science and engineering...like the fact that voice coils get hot and silver has a higher impedance rise than copper does when it gets hot, only making it suitable in certain situations. But what the hell does science matter, right?
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #80 - 02/14/17 at 18:28:10
 
SonicSeeker,

See my earlier post concerning just what you are talking about.  Since that post I've been listening to live music.

I've had the privilege of listening live to a number of Cuban groups.  WOW! Full of heart and soul.  Besides the beaches these were the highlight of the trip.  When you see people spontaneously and with gusto get up and dance you just know it's music.  I saw one lady pick up her infant son and just heartily danced with him, both with large smiles.

The brand of instruments never was a consideration.  No one cared - they were too engaged in the music.

Getting back I decided to see what was happening with this "discussion".  Popped a couple of Advil, responded, and now I'm going to enjoy 6 CD's I've picked up - Bolero, Salsa, Interpretive and Cuban Traditional.
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #81 - 02/14/17 at 18:30:55
 

That sounds wonderful. I love live music, I just hate big crowds - so I usually catch artists at small venues. Hell, I'll stop and gawk at street performers and throw them a few duckets for their efforts.

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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #82 - 02/14/17 at 19:24:17
 
Sorry, I got going again in the midst of a number of good posts. But it is written, so here it is, a sort of summary of how I see this thread.

Flargosa. Intellectually acquired assumptions and theories are not true Knowledge. Anything approaching truth must be tested in experience. If it is learned "knowledge," it is not necessarily real, but rather "belief" in the observations and opinions of others.

True scientists knows there will always be more to learn. One "known" in science, is that as we develop knowledge, we only know what we know to date, each discovery widening the foundation from which to explore deeper information ...This in turn implies that absolute truth is suspect.

Alternately, if the parameters of the theory or testing are too narrow and biased, the information to begin to test is flawed, invalidating the test.

I don't think any references to wires and cables (except yours) in this thread were about what is best, more references that there are a lot of choices based upon differences defined by materials and designs. This gives body to the primary discussion, the question of science being up to human perception and analysis in defining subtleties of sound and how and why wires/cables effect it.

Your need to prove "copper" to be as good as it gets seems to be one driving force for your assumptions. I don't think this has been disputed per se, rather it is not necessarily the best depending on many variables, including the quality of the copper. That silver can be useful in many ways was presented mainly due to denial of its usefulness, not as better or worse.

Related, the stories on specific wires illustrate that all wires of any one metal type are not the same in sound, and that there are many variations in sound character from different metal types.

Another thread is that economics define much of what small developers and industries use, and that this can be different for audio lovers.

Another is that theory and biases expressed in the past, especially ones that are clearly stated by absolutists, are suspect for many reasons.

Alternately, beyond measurement and ideology, experiential knowledge, in concert with empirical theory, have defined most deep refinements in quality of audio revelation, especially over the last 30 years. The "information age" has vastly broadened the knowledge, and also allowed very small companies to find clients....Decware fits in both ways.

As a personal example, the cable making and mods I am doing have foundation in my experience and thoughts, with substantial help from experienced designers, and from searching the web, finding useful and innovative information from folks around the world.

Another example. The DAC I am modding has a strong foundation of information and methods for improvements from "lay" folk's with a deep thirst for beauty, and with experiential knowledge about the parts that are proving best to create beauty.

Refining what works best, it appears the DAC makers are likely taking advantage of this too. Apparently, this DAC is in a steady state of build change as better parts and design become apparent...probably based in part on what modders are finding and posting on the net.

This illustrates a different world than the relatively ancient and hyper-narrow views of absolutists of a few decades ago.

The fact is: Amps, DACs, cables, speakers, etc that truly excel, are all seriously listened to in their creation, taking innovative development beyond science.

This "fringe" development leads to profound potential in home audio less expensively... And many refinements have come pretty recently, taking forever to move out of tape and vinyl and into utilizing digital better. It is finally getting really good, and in the process, other parts, components, cables, etc, were refined to help solve digital issues, and later to help meet the demands of more affordable, excellent and revealing sources. Every year there are more revealing and real sound possibilities for more people.

Then, we all get to play with this amazing sound, and to learn and talk about what we learn, feeding the knowledge for home listeners and developers alike.

Most of this refined development is from innovative people who are on a personal quest for beautiful music. For guys like Steve, it is not just a job, but an artistic vocation. Like true scientists, these folks know from experience and exploration that there is always more to learn, and the primary way to get somewhere exceptional is to learn more broadly...to go beyond what is "known." And listening and experimenting is at the core.

Experiential awareness of wire, dielectric, shielding, noise etc... and how to work best with these various qualities and characters in amps, transformers, caps, resistors, tubes, etc, is more a result of creative process than science at this point.

The knowledge of the character of different materials is so widespread now, among those who care, that you don't really need to test good wire except by sound. Experienced people know what tends to do what. Then it is choices of economy and sound much more than science.

It is a different day than when the absolute statements and biases you have adopted were written. And of course we can stick with disbelief and mistrust as long as we choose, but in the end, not opening to new truths is self-defeating.

In this thread, no one said you have to have 1000 dollar ICs to sound good. No one said you have to have silver to sound good.

All but one have tried to help you look into a wider field of knowledge that could provide greater possibilities for your musical enjoyment.

So for the most part, this is your fight...no one else is trying to win as far as I can read, but rather trying to help open the doors to greater possibilities for beauty.

When most posters on the thread, through broad experience and personal knowledge, don't agree with the limitations of your assertions, does this not cause questions about these assertions to come up?

Absolute assertions based on the thoughts and words of others are not convincing anyone here, just frustrating those who are trying to help present the broader world of wire and cables.


If nothing else, trying to force these assertions on this forum makes little sense. If you are looking for people to support similar beliefs, they are out there....just look around.
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #83 - 02/14/17 at 19:31:23
 
Lonely Raven,

Not much for crowds either.  Fortunately the crowds were made up of largely "mature" people and families.

I spoke with some of the musicians as well - icing on the cake.  I noticed that their instruments weren't the best of the best.  But it didn't stop them from making incredibly engaging music.

I didn't feel the need to question their credentials on the basis of the technology.  In view of the obvious that would have been incredibly ignorant on my part.

I do understand and see the intention in your responses, but sometimes it's best to walk away - live and let live, to each his own.  Fortunately the majority of the forum members seem to have the same end goal.

By the way, I didn't really pop a couple of Advil, just "tongue in cheek".
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #84 - 02/15/17 at 00:14:42
 
Will,

With respect to your points about keeping an open mind and the importance of not letting prejudice and bias get in the way...

I consider myself to be a open minded un-biased type person, that is until my recent experience with my own biases made me feel like a complete ass.

In my recent posts I made mention of the great experience I had in being able to enjoy live music while in Cuba.  As a result I picked up several CD's from one of the souvenir shops.  While trying to decide which discs to get, in the back of my mind was this nagging feeling of "the live music is great but how good could they be at recording, after all this is Cuba, after all this is a souvenir shop".  Open minded, ya right.

I did get past myself though, bought 7 discs and played them today and now I feel like I owe all Cubans an apology.

Is the recording ever good!  Turns out that Engram is one of Cubas' oldest recording studios and the results show that they care as much about their recording as they do about their music.

Fortunately I didn't let my bias get in the way and seriously limit my exposure to other... "possibilities".

Bias limits one in all aspects of life not just the technical aspect of reproducing music.  After this I don't know that I want to be referred to as an Audiophile - much too limiting.

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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #85 - 02/15/17 at 18:05:13
 

Quote:
I do understand and see the intention in your responses, but sometimes it's best to walk away - live and let live, to each his own.  Fortunately the majority of the forum members seem to have the same end goal.


Yeah, I know...I guess a flat-earther combined with me being a little ornery lately compelled me to spout off a bit much.  I don't have the temperment, nor eloquence of words that Will does (hat-tip my friend).


For the longest time I had the bits-is-bits mentality, because people I really respected, really smart MIT types said it was so. But the more I researched, the more I realized that they were right, just not in this realm of audio that we live.  The point had been driven home when Palomino, and my friend Jester (one of those MIT types) swapped digital interconnects on my system, and we clearly heard not only a timing improvement, but what we could only describe as a apparent volume increase!!

Now, the science/logic side of me says a volume increase is impossible - any bits-is-bits guy or math guy would shut down right there and say it's not possible it's all in your head.  Well, yes, that's actually true - a volume increase probably isn't possible, and it *is* in your head, because note; I said apparent volume increase. The only thing I can figure, is that the DAC had an easier time processing that stream of bits, and the improvement in timing *appeared* to sound like a volume increase.  If I didn't have an open mind, trusted my ears, and compared notes with others who had the same experience.... Well, again, everything matters.
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #86 - 02/15/17 at 18:37:59
 
Not sure this relates but it popped into my mind. I used to work at Harvard (sounds prestigious but wasn't) in charge of Helen Keller's garden at Radcliffe.
We used to make a joke when we were driving by MIT because some students are so focused on thinking, reading etc they often will walk right into Mass Ave. without looking. These are some of the "smartest" people in the world but forgot they were walking into the street.
Combining knowledge is better than standing alone.

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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #87 - 02/15/17 at 18:48:03
 
Interesting JD. Lots to "mind" that culture does not look at with our bias toward thinking only!

Raven,

I am so with you on trusting the ears...our body/mind is our music "receiver" after all! This ties in with some thoughts Joman's experience with Cuban recording suspicion inspired for me.

Good story Joman.

It is impressive how cultured conditioning can be so tricky, hard to identify, even brutal!

I look at biases a lot, trying to uncover what is real and what is not, in hopes of solving learned self-destructive habits. Without recognizing energetic drains that are habitual rather than functionally necessary, it is hard to learn that the same energy can be shifted to useful things. Looking at how tired and defeated we become after getting really fearful and angry is a good pointer to how much energy these things can cost us.

Not to mention the joy we can miss from holding on to conditioning like: "I don't trust my own perception."

But the bigger stuff is getting trapped into wasting energy we really don't have to waste. If fear and anger arise as conditioned ideological responses, rather than something real, like escaping a tiger...the energy spent on them is the same as losing some of the life we have left.

And with our cultures becoming progressively more reactive, fight-or-flight ubiquitous, we all tend to "catch" it. Making it worse, in reaction, we have difficulty utilizing our intelligence to discern reality.

So "realities" easily get corrupted becoming conditioned beliefs, rules and habits. And once integrated, they are hard to notice, in turn, too easy to support by being reactive....

Like our biases "against" cultures or sub cultures, be they Cuban, republican or democrats, young or old, black or white....corporatists or humanists...environmentalist or polluters...givers or takers....Habits of suspicion and fear are too easy to learn, hold and inadvertently propagate.

Finally rules and habits become "normal" whether self destructive or not, things we just do. So I figure it is worth it to "question reality."

Not different than "audiophiles" aggressively dissing things we do not understand. Mixed with broad cultured suspicion, fear, hatred, and mistrust "the beat goes on," our feelings of lack of time, understanding, and mistrust creating and reenforcing our self-destructive cultural habits.

Without careful observation and effort, "The Box" remains fully intact.

And those who step outside "the box" are typically held as suspect without considering why!

I just bought a DAC from China, with no US supplier or support. I was intrigued by reports last year, almost buying one. Then, concerned over potential complications if something went wrong I forgot about it.

Recently Raven linked threads I had forgotten about, praising the sound, quality and value of the DAC. Contributing to this, conversations with Palomino about the amazing quality of resampling 16/44.1 to DSD in-computer, the DAC now having easy work, further sparked my interest.

Then reading up rekindled my interest even more. In theory, a powerful computer is better able to perform the complex PCM to DSD resampling task, and DSD is inherently quieter, supposedly more than compensating for the noise from the computer having to work harder.

Inspired to try to beat my beloved NOS Tranquility DAC again...And "needing" a DAC in my workspace, I figured I could use it there if it were not better.

Consideration for potentially negative consequences now background, at well under 1000, and apparently improved from last year's, I ordered the Gustard x20 pro.

So far so good, some basic mods others have sorted out working really well. With only 50 hours or so of burnin, running 16/44.1 Redbook to DSD 256, it is quite good. Since a lot of DACs take 200-300 hours to burn in fully, and seeming a bit better than the Tranquility in some ways now, I am very hopeful...especially since the Tranquility is masterful at Redbook.

So....do I mistrust "the Chinese" because culture is suspicious of them and their products...Not lately! Wink
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #88 - 02/16/17 at 16:14:00
 
Quote:
So far so good, some basic mods others have sorted out working really well. With only 50 hours or so of burnin, running 16/44.1 Redbook to DSD 256, it is quite good. Since a lot of DACs take 200-300 hours to burn in fully, and seeming a bit better than the Tranquility in some ways now, I am very hopeful...especially since the Tranquility is masterful at Redbook.


Any chance you can elaborate on this adventure and the mods in the digital section? I'd like to know more!
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will
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #89 - 02/17/17 at 01:58:00
 
I should probably start a thread about recent adjustments...mostly in the CSP3 and Torii so far. In the Gustard, pretty basic but effective...removed magnetic metal bolts, metal caps and rubber seats from transformer setups. So far, I am just resting them on thick cardboard donuts, probably putting in some nylon bolts one day. Twisted all the AC wire bundles, and used Deoxit Gold on the connectors...both really good, the latter surprisingly good for all it was. Pretty extensive exploration of optimal cap damping, trying different materials and caps. Seems to sound best with some undamped and others damped. A better fuse. A little exploration using Stillpoints ERS cloth to reduce EMFs, also good for the fine detail. Good power cord, ICs and feet!@#$%^ More to go...but not ready to leave warranty status yet. These were quite transformative though. There are several good threads on the DAC and mods, especially Ric Schultz, and a couple guys named Quadman and SimonBromley doing some pretty intersting stuff.

I see no need to do anything digital at this point, though some have, especially with earlier versions. I am using a really good DIY USB cable and a Curious link, a Jitterbug, and Regen into the DAC's XMOS usb card. I started with DSD256, then after messing around with OS changes, the computer stopped keeping up. It was new/used, and having some weird problems OS-wise. So I ran the best disk repair and optimizing program I have (Disk Warrior) and back to 256 no problem...Interesting!

256 is notably more refined than 128, though 128 is really good. Seems good!
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All Modified: PSA P5, Brickwall/Shunyata Defender>RevolutionMacMini/Amarra>Kitsune Singxer/Gustardx20pro or NOS Tranquility; CSP3, ZRock2, Torii IV, HR1, DIY ZBIT; 1 Pi PC, DIY PCs, ICs, USB, I2S, Speaker; Feet- Archie's platform, alum/ball bearing, SR+
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Using multimeter to compare interconnects
Reply #90 - 02/19/17 at 01:51:46
 
I prefer 256 as well - it's just more analog.
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physics or magic! :O
Reply #91 - 03/07/17 at 00:38:25
 
Just wanted to put in my 2 cents.

All cables- hell all electrical circuits- are dominated by their LCR properties. You can make an interconnect or speaker cable a passive EQ by varying these properties, or you can make a cable that is transparent because their LCR properities do not effect the signal.

The other things that are debatable are wire material (aluminum, copper, silver, gold), thickness or gauge,dielectric material, skin effect, and geometry.

Here is my opinion- aluminum is alright, but copper isn't much more expensive and a much better conductor. Copper's oxides are actually a semiconductor and any signal traveling through these may be effected like a diode. Silver is much more expensive than copper, and is only about 5% better at conducting all else being equal, but it's oxides are conductive. Gold is mega expensive and has conductivity between aluminum and copper- but does not oxidize.

Skin effect is determined by material, frequency, and conductor gauge. Here is the important information: an 18 gauge copper wire will begin to have frequencies travel along it's skin at 17khz. This is above my hearing range- and probably yours too unless you're under 20. So it does not concern me that frequencies greater than I can hear are traveling along the skin, or that the oxides on the skin may effect the frequencies I can not hear. 18 gauge is also more than conductive enough to use as speaker wire unless you're using an unusually long connection. You can look up charts online. So I recommend 18 gauge copper wire for speaker wire, and 18 gauge or above copper wire for interconnects.

Geometry effects a conductors LCR properties. My opinion is unless you want your cable to be a passive EQ, make sure the cables LCR properties do not effect frequency response.

Lastly we come to dielectric absorption. If you look up a chart online you'll find that air and a vacuum are the gold standard, followed by PTFE, Polypropolene (which is 99% as good as PTFE), cotton, and silk are superior materials. What is not often mentioned is that the thickness or mass of the insulator also effects the amount of dielectric absorption. For safety I don't recommend uninsulsted wires. Military grade PTFE silver-plated copper wire is readily available, so it's what I recommend, in 18 gauge or higher ofcourse.  ;D

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