10 Biggest Lies in Audio

10 biggest lies in audioI powerfully suspect that individuals ar a lot of gullible these days than they were in my younger years. earlier we tend to did not place magnets in our shoes, the police did not use psychics to go looking for missing persons, and no head of state since German Nazi had consulted astrologers. Most people believed in science with none reservations. once the hi-fi era dawned, engineers like Paul Klipsch, Lincoln Walsh, Stew Hegeman, Dave Hafler, erectile dysfunction Villchur, and C. G. McProud were our fountainhead of audio data. The uneducated tweako/weirdo pundits UN agency do not know the integral of ex were still within the benighted future.

Don’t misinterpret American state. In terms of the prevailing spectrum of data, the audio scene these days is clearly prior to the first years; at one finish of the spectrum there ar good practitioners UN agency so much outshine the introduction fathers.

At the dark finish of that spectrum, however, a brand new age of mental object, belief, and dishonesty holds sway. Why and the way that occurred has been amply lined in past problems with this publication; here I shall concentrate on the rogues’ gallery of presently proffered mendacities to snare the credulous.

Cabel Lie

1. The Cable Lie

Logically this is often not the hoodwink begin with as a result of cables ar accessories, not primary audio elements. however it’s the hugest, dirtiest, most misanthropical, most intelligence-insulting and, above all, most fraudulently profitable lie audio, and thus should move to the top of the list.

The lie is that expensive speaker cables and interconnects sound higher than the quality, ordinary (say, Radio Shack) ones. it’s a lie that has been exposed, shamed, and refuted over and once again by each real authority underneath the sun, however the tweako audio cultists hate authority and also the innocents cannot distinguish it from self-seeking charlatanry.

The simple truth is that resistance, inductance, and capacitance (R, L, and C) ar the sole cable parameters that have an effect on performance within the vary below radio frequencies. The signal has no plan whether or not it’s being transmitted through low cost or valuable RLC. Yes, you’ve got to pay alittle quite the bottom for tight plugs, shielding, insulation, etc., to avoid dependability issues, and you’ve got to listen to resistance in longer connections. In basic electrical performance, however, a pleasant combine of straightened-out wire coat hangers with the ends scraped isn’t a smidgeon inferior to a $2000 gee-whiz miracle cable. neither is 16-gauge lamp wire at 18-cents a foot. Ultrahigh-priced cables ar the most important scam in client natural philosophy, and also the pusillanimous surrender of nearly all audio publications to the pressures of the cable marketers is actually depressing to see.

vacuum tube

2. The Vacuum-Tube Lie

This lie is additionally, in a sense, a couple of peripheral matter, since vacuum tubes ar hardly thought within the age of Si. It’s AN all-pervasive lie, however, within the high-end audio market; simply count the tube-equipment ads as a proportion of total ad pages within the typical high-end magazine. Unbelievable! and then is, of course, the claim that vacuum tubes ar inherently superior to transistors in audio applications–don’t you think it.

Tubes ar nice for high-powered RF transmitters and microwave ovens however not, at the flip of the century, for amplifiers, preamps, or (good grief!) digital elements like CD and videodisc players. what is wrong with tubes? Nothing, really. there is nothing wrong with gold teeth, either, even for higher incisors (that Mideastern grin); it’s simply that trendy medicine offers a lot of enticing choices. no matter vacuum tubes will neutralize a chunk of audio instrumentality, solid-state devices will do higher, at lower value, with bigger dependability. Even the world’s best-designed tube electronic equipment can have higher distortion than AN equally well-designed semiconductor device electronic equipment and can virtually actually would like a lot of sexual union (tube replacements, rebiasing, etc.) throughout its lifespan. (Idiotic styles like 8-watt single-ended thermionic tube amplifiers ar after all exempt, by default, from such comparisons since they need no solid-state counterpart.)

As for the “tube sound,” there ar 2 possibilities: (1) it is a idea of the deluded audiophile’s imagination, or (2) it is a deliberate coloration introduced by the manufacturer to attractiveness to corrupted tastes, during which case a solid-state style may simply mimic the sound if the designer were perverse enough to require it that method.

Yes, there exist terribly special things wherever a classy designer of hi-fi natural philosophy would possibly think about employing a tube (e.g., the RF stage of AN FM tuner), however those rare and narrowly qualified exceptions cannot redeem the common, garden-variety lies of the tube marketers, UN agency need you to shop for into AN obsolete technology.

Anti Digital

3. The Antidigital Lie

You have detected this one usually, in one kind or another. To wit: Digital sound is immensely inferior to analog. Digitized audio could be a sort of a crude newspaper photograph created from dots. The Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem is all wet. The 44.1 kc rate of the optical disc cannot resolve the best audio frequencies wherever there ar solely 2 or 3 sampling points. Digital sound, even within the best cases, is tough and tense. and then on and then forth–all of it, while not exception, ignorant drivel or deliberate falsity. Once again, the lie has very little touching on the thought, wherever the digital technology has gained complete acceptance; however within the byways and tributaries of the audio world, in unregenerate high-end audio salons and also the listening rooms of assorted tweako mandarins, it remains the party line.

The most ludicrous manifestation of the antidigital false belief is that the preference for the obsolete LP over the CD. Not the analog master tape over the digital master tape, that remains a semirespectable contention, however the clicks, crackles and pops of the vinyl over the digital information pits’ background silence, that could be a perverse rejection of reality.

Here ar the scientific facts any intermediate E.E. student will verify for you: Digital audio is bulletproof during a method analog audio ne’er was and ne’er is. The 0’s and 1’s ar inherently incapable of being distorted within the signal path, not like AN analog wave. Even a rate of forty four.1 kHz, all-time low utilized in today’s high-fi-delity applications, quite adequately resolves all audio frequencies. it’ll not cause ANy loss of knowledge within the audio range–not an iota, not a scintilla. The “how will 2 sampling points resolve twenty kHz?” argument is AN uneducated misunderstanding of the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem. (Doubters ar suggested to require AN elementary course in digital systems.)

The reason why bound analog recordings sound higher than bound digital recordings is that the engineers did a higher job with electro-acoustic transducer placement, levels, balance, and equalisation, or that the recording venue was acoustically superior. Some early digital recordings were so onerous and tense, not as a result of they were digital however as a result of the engineers were still thinking analog, compensating for anticipated losses that didn’t exist. Today’s best digital recordings ar the simplest recordings ever created. To be fair, it should be admitted that a state-of the-art analog recording and a progressive digital recording, at this stage of their various technologies, can in all probability be of comparable quality. Even so, the amount of Tree-Worshiping Analog Druids is chop-chop dwindling within the skilled recording world. The digital method is solely the higher method.

listening test

4. The Listening-Test Lie

Regular readers of The Audio Critic shrewdness to refute the assorted lies invoked by the high-end cultists con to double-blind listening tests at matched levels (ABX testing), however a short summary is so as here.

The ABX methodology needs device A and device B to be levelmatched at intervals ±0.1 dB, once that you’ll hear absolutely known A and absolutely known B for as long as you wish. If you then assume they sound completely different, you’re asked to spot X, which can be either A or B (as determined by a double-blind organisation process). you’re allowed to form AN A/X or B/X comparison at any time, as again and again as you wish, to choose whether or not X=A or X=B. Since sheer approximation can yield the right answer five hundredth of the time, a minimum of twelve trials is required for applied math validity (16 is healthier, twenty higher yet). there’s no higher thanks to verify scientifically whether or not you’re simply claiming to listen to a distinction or will truly hear one.

The tweako cultists can tell you that ABX tests ar utterly invalid. everyone is aware of that a Krell sounds higher than a Pioneer, thus if they’re indistinguishable from {each other|one ANother} in an ABX take a look at, then the ABX technique is all wet–that’s their logic. everyone is aware of that Joe is taller than electro-acoustic transducer, thus if they each live precisely five feet 11-1/4 inches, then there’s one thing wrong with the Stanley tape, right?

The standard tweako objections to ABX tests ar an excessive amount of pressure (as in “let’s see however well you actually hear”), insufficient time (as in “get on with it, we want to try to to sixteen trials”), too several devices inserted within the signal path (viz., relays, switches, attenuators, etc.), and after all different jargon on the topic of aural perception. None of that amounts to something quite a red herring, of 1 flavor or another, to divert attention from the fundamentals of controlled testing. the reality is that you just will perform AN ABX take a look at all by yourself with none pressure from different participants, that you just will take the maximum amount time as would like (how regarding sixteen trials over sixteen weeks?), which you’ll verify the transparency of the inserted management devices with a straight-wire bypass. The objections ar altogether phony and insincere.

Here’s however you rouse a lying, weaseling, obfuscating anti-ABX pretender. raise him if he believes in any quite A/B testing in any respect. He can in all probability say affirmative. Then raise him what special insights he gains by (1) not matching levels and (2) peeking at the nameplates. Watch him squirm and fume.


5. The Feedback Lie

Negative feedback, in AN electronic equipment or preamplifier, is baaaad. No feedback in any respect is gooood. thus goes this wide invoked falsehood.

The fact is that feedback is one among the foremost helpful tools obtainable to the circuit designer. It reduces distortion and will increase stability. solely within the Bronze Age of solid-state electronic equipment style, back within the late ’60s and early ’70s, was feedback applied thus recklessly and indiscriminately by bound practitioners that the circuit may get into numerous varieties of hassle. That was the origin of the no-feedback fetish. within the early ’80s variety of seminal papers by Edward Cherry (Australia) and Henry M. Robert Cordell (USA) created it clear, on the far side the shadow of a doubt, that feedback is completely benign as long as bound basic tips ar strictly determined. Enough time has pass on since then for that truth to sink in. Today’s no-feedback dogmatists ar either dishonest or ignorant.

bur in

6. The Burn-In Lie

This wide reiterated piece of B.S. would have you ever believe that audio natural philosophy, and even cables, can “sound better” once a burn-in amount of days or weeks or months (yes, months). Pure garbage. Capacitors can “form” during a matter of seconds once power-on. Bias can stabilize during a matter of minutes (and should not be all that essential in well-designed instrumentality, to start with). there’s fully no distinction in performance between a properly designed amplifier’s (or preamp’s or CD player’s) first-hour and 1000th-hour performance. As for cables, yecch… We’re handling audiophile voodoo here instead of science.

Loudspeakers, however, could need a housebreaking amount of a number of hours, maybe even daily or 2, before reaching optimum performance. that is as a result of they’re mechanical devices with moving elements underneath stress that require to settle in. (The same is true of reciprocatory engines and firearms.) that does not mean an honest loudspeaker system will not “sound good” right out of the box, any longer than a brand new automotive with ten miles thereon will not be sensible to drive.


7. The Biwiring Lie

Even fairly refined audiophiles fall for this hanky panky. what is a lot of, loudspeaker system makers participate within the sham once they tell you that those 2 pairs of terminals on the rear of the speaker ar for biwiring additionally as biamping. a number of the foremost extremely revered names in loudspeakers ar guilty of this insincere obeisance to the tweako sacraments — they’re in impact surrendering to the “realities” of the market.

The truth is that biamping is smart in bound cases, even with a passive crossover, however biwiring is pure voodoo. If you progress one combine of speaker wires to constant terminals wherever the opposite combine is connected, fully nothing changes electrically. The law of physics that says thus is termed the principle of superposition. In terms of natural philosophy, the superposition theorem states that any variety of voltages applied at the same time to a linear network can lead to a current that is that the precise add of the currents that may result if the voltages were applied on an individual basis. The audio salesperson or ‘phile UN agency will prove the contrary are going to be a rapid candidate for a few really major scientific prizes and educational honors. At constant time it’s solely truthful to imply that biwiring will no damage. It simply does not do something. Like magnets in your shoes.

8. the Facility Conditioner Lie

Just about all that has to be aforementioned on this subject has been aforementioned by Bryston in their owner’s manuals:
“All Bryston amplifiers contain high-quality, dedicated electronic equipment within the power provides to reject RF, line spikes and different power-line issues. Bryston power amplifiers don’t need specialised transmission line conditioners. Plug the electronic equipment directly into its own receptacle.”
What they do not say is that constant is true, a lot of or less, of all well-designed amplifiers. they will not all be the Brystons’ equal in regulation and PSRR, however if they’re any sensible they’ll be obstructed directly into a receptacle. If you’ll afford a flowery power conditioner you’ll additionally afford a well-designed electronic equipment, during which case you do not would like the flamboyant power conditioner. it’ll do fully nothing for you. (Please note that we tend to are not talking regarding surge-protected power strips for laptop instrumentality. They value plenty but a Tice Audio magic box, and computers with their peripherals ar electrically a lot of vulnerable than tight audio instrumentality.)
The biggest and stupidest lie of all of them on the topic of “clean” power is that you just would like a specially designed expensive line wire to get the simplest doable sound. Any line wire rated to handle domestic ac voltages and currents can perform like all different. Ultrahigh-end line cords ar a fraud. Your audio circuits do not know, and do not care, what is on the ac aspect of the facility electrical device. All they are curious about is that the dc voltages they have. place confidence in it. will your care regarding the hose you crammed the tank with?

9. The CD Treatment Lie

This goes back to the vinyl days, once treating the LP surface with numerous magic liquids and sprays generally (but removed from always) resulted in improved playback, particularly once the pressing method left some residue within the grooves. business logic then brought forth, within the Eighties and ’90s, equally supernatural product for the treatment of CDs. the difficulty is that the sole factor a CD has in common with AN LP is that it’s a surface you’ll place guck on. The CD surface, however, is extremely completely different. Its small indentations don’t correspond to analog waveforms however just carry a numerical code created from 0’s and 1’s. Those 0’s and 1’s can’t be created “better” (or “worse,” for that matter) the method the undulations of AN LP groove will generally be created a lot of swimmingly traceable. they’re browse as either 0’s or 1’s, and that is that. you would possibly additionally polish 1 / 4 to a high shine therefore the cashier will not mistake it for a dime.

Just say no to CD treatments, from inexperienced markers to spray-ons and rub-ons. The idiophiles UN agency claim to listen to the advance will ne’er, ne’er establish the treated CD blind. (Needless to mention, all of the higher than additionally goes for DVDs.)

10. The Golden-Ear Lie

This is the enclosure lie that ought to maybe move to the top of the list as No. one however also will do nicely as a wrap-up. The Golden Ears need you to believe that their hearing is thus keen, thus exquisite, that they’ll hear small nuances of reproduced sound too elusive for the remainder people. fully not true. Anyone while not actual impairment will hear what they hear, however solely those with coaching understandledge|and skill} know what to form of it, a way to interpret it.

Thus, if a loudspeaker system encompasses a vast dip at three kc, it’ll not sound like one with flat response to any ear, golden or tin, however solely the skilled ear can quickly establish the matter. It’s like AN mechanic taking note of engine sounds and knowing virtually instantly what is wrong. His hearing is not any keener than yours; he simply is aware of what to pay attention for. you’ll love too if you had controlled as several engines as he has.

Now here comes the extremely dangerous half. The unauthorised Golden Ears–tweako subjective reviewers, high-end audio-salon salesmen, audioclub ringleaders, etc.–often use their incorrectly assumed superior hearing to intimidate you. “Can’t you hear that?” they are saying once examination 2 amplifiers. {you ar|you’re} imagined to hear vast variations between the 2 once essentially there are none–the GE’s cannot hear it either; they solely say they are doing, wishing on your acceptance of their GE standing. Bad scene.

The best defense against the Golden Ear lie is after all the double-blind ABX take a look at (see No. 4 above). That separates people who claim to listen to one thing from people who extremely do. it’s wonderful however few, if any, GE’s ar left within the space once the ABX results ar tallied.

There ar after all a lot of massive Lies in audio than these 10, however let’s save a number of for an additional time. Besides, it isn’t extremely the audio trade that ought to be goddamn however our crazy client culture let alone the widespread acceptance of voodoo science. The audio trade, specifically the high-end sector, is simply responding to the prevailing climate. In the end, each culture gets precisely what it deserves.

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