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Author Topic: Audible Microphone Cable Changes  (Read 28097 times)

Offline Barry Hufker

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Re: Audible microphone cable changes
« Reply #30 on: June 23, 2007, 03:11:36 pm »
I will definitely give that a try.  Thanks!

EDIT: Here's where I got the idea Gotham makes a Star Quad cable: http://www.gotham.ch/products_en/gac/11002.htm

Thank goodness I found that.  I was *sure* I was right (but doubted because I so seldom am!).

Barry

Offline Schallfeldnebel

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Re: Audible microphone cable changes
« Reply #31 on: June 24, 2007, 06:23:28 am »
Klaus wrote:"It's unknown to me what the exact electrical and acoustic properties of a cable are when the common ground of a balanced line is achieved via a dedicated conductor (GAC3) instead of when it's done just through the shield (which is of course made of different material/configuration as the signal carrying conductors.)"

I have had nothing but trouble using this kind of connection method you describe above; radio interference was the result. Especially when cables were connected to snakes or when using extension cables having the same wiring method. I believe it is a nice method using one wire to a microphone preamp, but not in complicated set-ups.

I use GAC 3 cable, but only two inner wires are connected. The third wire is used with 4 pin XLR using active powering to some microphones.

Erik Sikkema
Schallfeldwebel
Bill Mueller:"Only very recently, has the availability of cheap consumer based gear popularized the concept of a rank amateur as an audio engineer. Unfortunately, this has also degraded the reputation of the audio engineer to the lowest level in its history. A sad thing indeed for those of us professionals."

Offline maxdimario

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Re: Audible microphone cable changes
« Reply #32 on: June 24, 2007, 11:35:59 am »
when you connected the third wire as ground and had r.f. problems did you connect the sheld only on one side?

Offline Schallfeldnebel

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Re: Audible microphone cable changes
« Reply #33 on: June 24, 2007, 02:39:46 pm »
maxdimario wrote on Sun, 24 June 2007 23:35

when you connected the third wire as ground and had r.f. problems did you connect the sheld only on one side?


In our set-up the shield was only connected on one side.

Schallfeldwebel
Bill Mueller:"Only very recently, has the availability of cheap consumer based gear popularized the concept of a rank amateur as an audio engineer. Unfortunately, this has also degraded the reputation of the audio engineer to the lowest level in its history. A sad thing indeed for those of us professionals."

Offline maxdimario

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Re: Audible microphone cable changes
« Reply #34 on: June 25, 2007, 04:33:02 am »
the shield's internal resistance and inductance must play a role then.

when you consider that cables are like antennas with internal capacitance etc. there are a lot of issues with rf.

in my tube mic I have shielded wires for the power supply as well as the audio, and shunt caps throughout at the connector on the mic itself.

Offline Kees de Visser

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Re: Audible microphone cable changes
« Reply #35 on: June 25, 2007, 09:43:48 am »
Schallfeldwebel wrote on Sat, 23 June 2007 18:02

for anyone who still has doubts if cables have a sonic influence on a recording, my detection of the right spot prooves there is more than L, C and R.
I still have doubts. You might have heard it correctly but you might have been lucky as well. When counting from 1 to 11, the transition was quite likely to be after 5 or 6 Wink. Apart from that it takes many trials to make a (statistically) valid double blind test.

Analog sources will always be different by nature, in contrast to digital ones. This makes comparing transducers e.g. so difficult. It has to be proven or at least made very plausible that the variable under test (here: cable) is the only dominant one.

When looking at Barry Hufker's graphs I wonder if the differences wouldn't have been similar when doing two sweeps with the same cable. There is likely to be some variation in every test. Can it be assumed that we're not just comparing random differences in the stimulus ?

Klaus already pointed at the difficulty of discussions about audibility. I think that one of the major problems is the individual "proof threshold". Schallfeldwebel apparently finds justification in one positive result. I prefer to find evidence in (time consuming) double blind (ABX) tests, which are IMNSHO the only valid way to prove audible differences.
Kees de Visser
Galaxy Classics

Offline Barry Hufker

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Re: Audible microphone cable changes
« Reply #36 on: June 25, 2007, 11:22:43 am »
Kees,

I can't disagree with one word you say.  There is nothing statistically that "proves" anything in what I've done.  In fact, of the two graph responses (Gotham and Accusound), there is nothing to say which one of them is more accurate.  

But I also want to make clear my goals:

1. I did hear a difference between the two wires.
2. I wanted to present sound samples for other people to decide for themselves.
3. I wanted to present graphs so there was some "objective" data.
4. I don't want to "prove" anything.  I want to spur interest so people will explore.

Erik certainly doesn't need anyone to speak for him, but as long as I'm writing, I'll say this.  I've known Erik for quite a while.  I have *no doubt* that with circumstances he is comfortable with he would reliably be able to pick out a difference.  He has remarkable ears and is a keen listener.

Except for the remarkable ears and keen listener, I would say the same for me.  I feel I could reliably choose either cable in a blind test between the two.  And I'm not saying I could do more than that.

I value your comments Kees and thank you for making them.  You bring us back to an important "ground" for us to have in this discussion.  Time permitting at some point, I'll try to make another test or two.  (and please include the GAC 3 which, to my ears sounds quite different than the 2-conductor series! K.H.)
That won't be any more statistically significant but it may help us clear things a bit.

Barry

Offline Kees de Visser

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Re: Audible microphone cable changes
« Reply #37 on: June 25, 2007, 05:48:24 pm »
Barry Hufker wrote on Mon, 25 June 2007 17:22

I've known Erik for quite a while.  I have *no doubt* that with circumstances he is comfortable with he would reliably be able to pick out a difference.  He has remarkable ears and is a keen listener.
Yes I know, Erik and I are classmates from the conservatory Smile. We both love music and audio and have spent lots of time together listening and discussing while we were still living at a reasonable distance.

The (pro-) audio world is full of enthusiastic people and I love that. At the same time I often notice a lack of scepticism and objectivism. From time to time I try to blow a whistle when I feel conclusions are being drawn based on insufficient or wrong facts. IIRC it was Bob Katz who once wrote: "If jumping to conclusions were an Olympic event, we would have some gold medal winners!"

In a recent discussion about scepticism, Bruno Putzeys (who also has his forum on REP) wrote:
"When confronted with a new phenomenon, the first thing you do is organise a controlled trial to see whether it's real or not. When that trial confirms its existence, you can start looking for an explanation. When someone comes to you saying he can find water using a bent stick, the real question you need to answer is not "How can he find water with a bent stick," but rather "Why does he believe he can find water with a bent stick". Only when the answer is "because he can", you would move to the first question. Failing that, the question becomes a psychological one."

So first one has to prove that a difference is audible (in a DBT).
Klaus, do you know of any standardized DBT for microphones ? It's probably not easy to set up.
Kees de Visser
Galaxy Classics

Offline Schallfeldnebel

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Re: Audible microphone cable changes
« Reply #38 on: June 25, 2007, 06:40:09 pm »
Thank you Kees, for chiming in here. I hope you are doing well and have some nice projects going on.

Barry asked us if we possibly could hear where the recording with the counting jumped from one cable type to the other. When I listened the first time I immediately felt on the 7 something changed in the character of the sound. When I relistened a couple of times, I knew it for sure, so I wrote my reply.

But..... I was wrong in which was which. I found the 1-6 sound better than 7-11. So my conclusion was simple, I heard a difference even with MP3, but what was the best for me, was pure a matter of taste.

I have lots and lots of experience with dedicated microphone cables, and it has happened several times in recordings I started making balance using my multcore-snake, and then switched over to a highend cable, and asked the musicians if the they liked the result better. Then when I explained I only swapped cable, they could not believe a cable could make such a difference.

I would just advice, use your own ears, but keep in mind not to invest a fortune, and cables should be practical in use, and stay alive.

Erik Sikkema
Schallfeldwebel




Bill Mueller:"Only very recently, has the availability of cheap consumer based gear popularized the concept of a rank amateur as an audio engineer. Unfortunately, this has also degraded the reputation of the audio engineer to the lowest level in its history. A sad thing indeed for those of us professionals."

Offline Barry Hufker

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Re: Audible microphone cable changes
« Reply #39 on: June 25, 2007, 11:51:57 pm »
Kees,

I can be as skeptical (and even as cynical) as anyone.  But I don't know this area (sound of cables) needs a technical explanation.  I am not claiming anything scientific.  I am stating a personal observation and offering a little bit more (graphs) to see if anyone else can tell a difference, no matter how that difference is produced.  And for all purposes, the sound example I present is blind.  It can't be double blind because I know the answer, but it can be blind to you.  And that ought to be good enough for people to judge.  If you think the division I made between the two samples was too intuitive, that can be changed.

I would suggest this kind of thing doesn't need science as a foundation any more than a good meal does.  How is one going to do double blind experiments to find out who makes the soup?
When recording I put up a mic I think will do the job and then listen to it.  If I don't think it sounds good, double blind experiment or not, I change it.  The same would be true for a cable.  Personally I don't care if a group of people can always tell which cable is which.  It matters that *I* hear a difference and employ it or not.  That's the nature of the business -- and the nature of so many businesses.

Barry

Offline Klaus Heyne

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Re: Audible microphone cable changes
« Reply #40 on: June 26, 2007, 12:18:49 am »
Kees de Visser wrote on Mon, 25 June 2007 14:48

...Klaus, do you know of any standardized DBT for microphones ? It's probably not easy to set up.


To my knowledge, there is no standardized double blind or any other type of listening test that is universally accepted by the professional audio community at this time.

The reason seems to me pretty straight forward:
In addition to the considerable logistics of developing a standard, the professional audio community, in difference to the audiophile community, seems still rather unsure when it comes to the acceptance of anything but hard data for evaluating audio gear.

As hard data are hard to come by and often not very helpful in the evaluation of sensual perception, the whole field of (subjectively) evaluating audio information is woefully stunted and lacking in my opinion.  

Few "professionals" have invested time and energy into their own hearing education, and consequently are unsure of what they hear, and how to file in their brain what they heard. Many of them would not risk being exposed as tin ears and amateurs, possibly ruining their reputation and source of income.

I will continue to defy those who are unwilling to first and foremost use their ears to judge audio. But I will also continue to stress to improve our perceptions, and start to work towards a universal language and protocol of evaluation that is broadly agreeable.

Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

Offline Barry Hufker

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Re: Audible microphone cable changes
« Reply #41 on: June 26, 2007, 12:55:30 am »
Forgive me as I've told this story before -- although maybe not here.  And all I have are old stories.

At an AES convention of some years ago, a manufacturer was trying to convince people cassettes sounded as good or better than CDs.  I decided to take the challenge.  They had a Nakamichi Dragon ultra-tweaked.  They switched between music on CD and on cassette while I wore headphones.  I got the test completely correct, able to tell which was which every time.  As a prize for having done so well, the manufacturer gave me a t-shirt.  It read,"I took the Cassette-CD Challenge and couldn't hear the difference."

Barry

Offline maxdimario

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Re: Audible microphone cable changes
« Reply #42 on: June 26, 2007, 05:25:33 am »
I clearly heard the (cable) difference of the speech (in Barry's MP3 file) on the built-in speakers of the laptop (qosmio)

Offline Markus Sauschlager

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Re: Audible microphone cable changes
« Reply #43 on: June 26, 2007, 06:05:05 pm »
Just an experience I recently made on the smoothness vs. detail aspect:
I recorded some concerts during the last 2 months performed on great historic instruments of the V
Markus Sauschlager

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Offline maarvold

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Re: Audible microphone cable changes
« Reply #44 on: June 26, 2007, 09:05:20 pm »
Kees de Visser wrote on Mon, 25 June 2007 06:43

 I prefer to find evidence in (time consuming) double blind (ABX) tests, which are IMNSHO the only valid way to prove audible differences.


It seems like one potentially valuable 'analog' source (although Stephen Hawking might not agree that it is truly analog*) for double blind A/B/X testing might be a piano equipped with Yamaha's Disklavier recording/playback system.  


* For example, he says that if you were able to take an extremely high speed movie of a child's spinning top, you could watch the movie in slow motion and observe that the top's spinning slowed down in a series of discreet steps rather than linearly.  
Michael Aarvold
Audio Engineer