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Re: [ARSCLIST] Aren't recordings original sources?

On Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 6:20 PM, Larry S Miller <lmiller@xxxxxxx> wrote:

>        The current discussion of power cables brought me back to my
> days as an audio equipment salesman.
>        In the late 70's, Bob Fulton had the temerity to market a set of
> interconnect cables for the outrageous price of (are you sitting down)
> $30/pair.  To say they were met with scepticism is an understatement;
> condemnation was more like it.  This is understandable since, as the
> time, interconnects ran about $5/pair.
>        I was among the muttering sceptics.  How could anyone in good
> conscience charge $30 for cables?

I was with ya, pal, I was with ya.

>        Then I listened to them.  As I recall, the first words out of my
> mouth were, "Holy [bleep]!"  To make sure I hadn't accidentally
> sipped the punch at a Grateful Dead concert, I replaced the standard
> cables and heard the sound degrade.  Back to the Fultons: sweetness and
> light.
>        I felt very conflicted about this.  One the one hand, I was
> delighted that for only $30, I could have as large an effect as
> replacing my power amp; on the other, I was still hung up about paying
> $30 for a pair of cables.  Eventually, I caved and bought a set, which I
> still have.

For myself, this clever salesman at Natural Sound gave/lent me an 8' set of
mere Monsters (although they had Fultons too) to listen for myself. Next day
I sent a check.

Or was I just fooling myself, so invested was I in that $20?

>        Through the years, I've heard many cables, some good, some
> not, and I've come to a few conclusions.  One reason audio cables are
> particularly difficult to review is that, more than most types of
> equipment, cables are synergistic.  Their performance, good or bad,
> varies with the equipment they are connecting.  An interconnect may
> sound good between a CD player and preamp, but not so good between the
> preamp and power amp.

Too, too true.

>        I remain very sceptical about judging equipment by measurements
> alone.  If measurements tell us everything about how audio equipment
> sounds, why do they keep inventing new ones?


>  First, there was THD,
> total harmonic distortion.  Then, when that didn't seem to be getting
> the job done, they came up with IM, intermodulation distortion and TIM,
> transient intermodulation distortion and others.  My point is not to
> disparage these tests, but to suggest that we can't yet describe how
> something sounds using numbers, words, and graphs on a piece of paper.
> There is no substitute for listening with a critical ear.

Heck, advanced instruments can't even tell where a wine is from (although
they're good at the color), while a trained palate can identify terroir,
grape, vintner and year.

>        Getting back to the current discussion about power cables, do I
> think many of them are ridiculously overpriced?  Of course.  It seems
> like many audiophile products are priced by what the market will bear
> with little regard for actual production costs.  But is this industry
> alone in that practice?  Hardly.

Plus there's none of that saving grace, economy of scale.

>        Are there some snake oil salesmen in the audio accessory
> marketplace?  Absolutely.

Still, they'll all let you take it home for a weekend, or sometimes a month.
Lots of time to wash off that oil!

>  What makes it difficult is that there are
> also some products which offer genuine sonic improvements.  Years ago I
> was convinced by the writings of the late Enid Lumley to replace my
> electrical receptacle with a hospital grade receptacle.  Sounds looney,
> right?  Well, it was some of the best money I ever spent.  Who
> knew?

Only those who cease to snicker and sneer.

>        No manufacturer is holding a gun to anyone's head, forcing
> them to buy a $1500 power cable.  Would you buy a $1500 power cable
> unless you clearly heard a $1500 improvement in the sound of your
> system?  I wouldn't.

The idea is laughable.

>        I happen to think spending a quarter million dollars on a car is
> absurd, but I don't blame Ferrari, Maserati, or Lamborghini for making
> them.

And how about that Ch. Petrus? $1000 a bouteille at introduction.

>        (These views reflect only my personal opinions and not those of
> any company or institution with which I have or had any affiliation.)

But I bet they'd agree, if thay had *you* on board.


> Larry Miller
> >>> Clark Johnsen <clarkjohnsen@xxxxxxxxx> 10/16/2008 3:22 PM >>>
> On Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 2:50 PM, David Breneman
> <david_breneman@xxxxxxxxx>wrote:
> > --- On Thu, 10/16/08, Clark Johnsen <clarkjohnsen@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> >
> >
> > > > * An example of this type of marketing, and the associated
> > > > reviews in magazines, is the $1499 power cord, for which
> > > > the reviewer states that "The choice of power cord one makes
> > > > to transmit AC over the final feet to a component has the
> > > > potential to be the most influential sonic link in a music
> > > > system's power chain."
> > >
> > > And that statement is incorrect, how, exactly?
> >
> >
> > David Breneman replied:
> > Well, if the power cord cannot conduct enough current to
> > run the device, I suppose that makes it the most
> > influential component in the chain.
> Yes. *Reductio ad absurdem.*
> >   Otherwise, the claim
> > is patently silly on the face of it.  I mean, is the
> > reader meant to believe that a stinking power cord is
> > more important than a transformer, or rectifier or
> > filter?
> The reader is indeed, and *correctly*, meant to believe that way, and
> then
> to experiment. The fatuous phrase "a stinking power cord" could only
> be spoken by someone with no experience in this area.
> >
> >
> > > And what
> > > makes it a matter of "marketing" anyway? Alternatively,
> > > everything is marketing.
> >
> > Because a $1500 power cord is designed to separate a
> > sucker from his money.  That's pure marketing.
> You have data on that?
> Perhaps a study published in a reputable, peer-reviewed journal?
> If not, then you're operating on the same level as the evil
> marketeers, albeit taking the negative. Claims vs. counterclaims, but
> none
> of the "evidence" and "proof" usually demanded by "objectivists".
> On another tack, perhaps a $1000 power cord would please you better? Or
> how
> about a $500 one? Specialty cords are available for $100 as well. Are
> any of
> these OK by you?
> See, I can't quite decide what you dislike more, the price (admittedly
> high)
> or the very concept that a mere cord (!) could make more difference
> than "a
> transformer, or rectifier or
> filter". There being no evidence offered, I'll just have to note that
> on all
> wide-range high-resolution audio systems I've ever heard, specialty
> power
> cords have wrought major improvements. Granted that's just
> observational
> data, but it's the only data so far.
> clark

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