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  • “Any change is audible — even when it isn’t.” (my rule)

    Suggestion… If you believe that cables sound different, try putting different cables on each channel. Let me know what you hear. (Really. Try it.) It was this experiment — and its unbelievable results — that drove me out of reviewing.

    My current cables are premium Acoustic Research (which aren’t expensive). They appear to be have been designed by someone who paid attention to the details of what an interconnect electrically should and shouldn’t do.

    I remain bothered by Andy Doe’s seeming lack of deep technical knowledge.

  • This was a very disappointing episode. A critique of high-end audio cable marketing could certainly be informative. But the scoffing tone is, at best, I’ll-advised. At no point in the episode did Kurt or Doug indicate that they had ever experimented with high in cables in their systems to see if a difference can be heard. I’ve heard the leading American high-end cable manufacturer demonstrate its products at audio shows many times. I’ve never witnessed any one in these demonstrations ever denying that an audible and positive difference could be heard. Compare a system with a stock power cable versus one with a $300 high-quality cable and the sound is night and day. Ditto with interconnects. Digital cables are a different matter. But the point is that there are two sides of a discussion and The Next Track is only presenting one side. I wonder who they think their audience is? Is a podcast for anti-audiophiles really Likely to build a following ?

  • Many things that could have been said were not said.

    • Electromagnetic interference (radio, microwaves) and magnetically induced currents (transformer effect) may well be irrelevant to loudspeaker cone movement but the currents in loudspeaker cables are not negligible, cause magnetic fields and can induce interference in other, close by interconnects.
    • The current carried by loudspeaker cables can be more than the current available from a mains outlet (if your expert doesn’t know how then he’s no expert) so the assertion that a cable capable of carrying the maximum mains outlet current must be suitable for loudspeakers won’t be true for high performance loudspeakers driven by powerful amplifiers.
    • The idea that the last metre or so of the mains supply to a component (the mains cable between socket and hifi component) is no different from the many, many metres of cable from substation to dwelling and then within the dwelling is not correct. Unlike the cable before the socket the mains cable from socket to hifi component runs close to sensitive signals in interconnects. So those last few metres should be well screened, which cheap mains cables are not.
    • The idea that if something makes a difference to what we hear then it must be measurable ignores two problems. (1) It assumes that we know /*what/* to measure (human hearing is extremely sensitive to timing and phase differences, something that has been ignored by hifi measurements for years. (2) It assumes that the cost of making such measurements would be carried by the hifi industry. We might be able to determine the movement of single electrons but unless it can be applied to the billions of billions of billions … … of electrons in hifi electrical conductors then it’s irrelevant to measuring hifi components.
    • Copper is a very good conductor but comes in different purities and different crystal structures. Some copper is more expensive than other. So some wires are more expensive than others for justifiable reasons.

    None of the above means that I believe that there are no mains cables, interconnects, speaker cables or network cables that are oversold (with questionable advertising copy) or overpriced. However your discussions missed some important points and so may have misled some listeners.

    A conversation with a competent electronic engineer of audiophile hifi equipment would be a good way to provide a more balanced view.

  • There will always be a few people who spend disproportionate amounts on cars, wine, houses, vacations, or anything else that’s a luxury.

    Most of us can understand at least some aspect of why someone might want those. But wanting better/best sound is treated oddly different. Many people believe it doesn’t exist, because they haven’t experienced it and so, think it can’t exist. Or maybe they have experienced it but don’t care, and it’s not “worth it.” Thanks for your opinion?

    Do us all a favor and park your inability to care someone else. This a podcast about MUSIC. Some of us care a great deal about how the music sounds! It would be far more honest to approach these topics as things being of interest to some people, as opposed to being of no value to no one except crazy people. The latter remains a reoccurring Next Track insult without justification.

    If Connaker had appeared on the same episode, the discussion would have been over in 30 seconds—and without argument. This is because, Chris would only have had to remind Doe that audiophile components and concepts are not an all-or-nothing “must have” proposition. You might audition cables and wire LAST, which is basically universally accepted as reflecting their influence on the system. But no, better to spend an episode outlining what a ripoff it all is?

    That said, Chris had his chance to do that a few episodes ago, when he poked fun at both his own hobby and profession, to the detriment of both in order to gain acceptance by the show hosts here. On his site, Chris usually does a good job putting audiophilia in its place, but does so with a context there that’s ALWAYS missing from The Next Track.

    Re-read what Mark typed, above: Marketing will frequently contain some snake oil, but that doesn’t imply that the TYPES of things being offered might not have value. Ever bought a car, and then gone back to look at how it was marketed? Wince inducing. All ya gotta do is audition and decide. Placing blanket conclusions, good or bad, on any of it is a fool’s errand.

    • Snake oil is snake oil. I don’t really care if it’s of interest to some people; they are getting hoodwinked. There are varying levels of snake oil, of course, but the snakeier the oil, the more it needs to be exposed.

      One of the problems around hi-fi is that there are a number of claims that are taken for granted, and that have been around for a very long time. There are people out there conducting objective measurements in an attempt to refute them, but they are often dismissed by people saying “I know what I hear.” The placebo effect is real.

      • Kirk and I would likely agree on what is and isn’t snake oil. But measurements are meaningless, unless we know what sonic effects they’re supposed to describe (or not describe, if such effects don’t exist). As much as I detest phonograph records, I would never have the guts to say that the huge amounts of distortion they add to the source material “proves” they’re inferior to other, lower-distortion methods of recording and playing back sound. You can’t quantify something until you can qualify it.