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CINCH cables blind test, On high-end hifi gear.
Pio2001
post May 10 2005, 22:49
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In the homecinema-fr.com forums, I organized a listening test of CINCH audio cables (the ones between CD player and amplifier, asymetric).

We were 5 people trying to show an audible difference between such cables in a blind setup.

Protocol

The protocol was this one :

Phase 1 : we listen to the system, we listen to the CDs, we listen to the cables, and look for the differences that they can bring. This phase ends as soon as we have chosen a system and a musical sample with which two cables show plainly they difference.

Phase 2 : we listen in a simple blind setup in the following way. Among the chosen cables, a drawing of lots is performed twice. The first result is plugged in, and the musical sample is played. The same is done with the second drawing. The listeners must tell if the cables were different or the same. When one listener at least has given 7 right answers in a row, phase 3 begins.

Phase 3 : The listeners who managed to identify the cables in phase 2 go on with the trials begun in phase 2. The total number of trials depends on the number of listeners in such a way that the probability that one listener at least finds all the right answers is less than 1/100000. The success condition is then "one listener at least gets a score superior or equal to R right answers for S trials". The validity of this success is given by the probability that one listener at least gets this score or a superior score.


Listening setup

The system was composed of an SA15 Marantz CD/SACD player (1,500 ), an RCD02 Rotel CD Player (600 ), a 530 Acuphase integrated amplifier (8,000 ), Prism RC500 Taralabls speaker cable, and Magellan Concerto Triangle speakers (15,000 ).

Here are some of the cables that we listened to (click to zoom in) :



From left to right :
Taralabs RCS Reference generation 2 (560 for 1 meter).
DIY ACR (4.5 per meter)
DIY RG179 silvered copper + golden / Teflon plugs (4.5 per meter)
DIY by Ogobert
DIY by Ogobert (unshielded)
2.30 standard cable, with an optional 5 meters extention (between 4.50 and 8 )
Audioquest Diamondback (137 for 1 meter).
There was also a Van Den Hul Ultimate the first.

The tests didn't pass phase 2. No one managed to identify reliably if the cables were changed or not between two listening sessions.

Here is a full account in French with pictures, and many instructive details about the listeners answers : http://www.homecinema-fr.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=29781210

The protocol and the probabilities were discussed in this thread : http://www.homecinema-fr.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=29770792
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boojum
post May 10 2005, 22:57
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QUOTE (Pio2001 @ May 10 2005, 01:49 PM)
The tests didn't pass phase 2. No one managed to identify reliably if the cables were changed or not between two listening sessions.


Copain - I am so happy to see the results of your tests. They seem to support what common wisdom, physics and engineering indicate: wire is wire is wire. Those high-end salemen are selling snake oil. Chapeau!


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ChristianHJW
post May 13 2005, 00:09
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I'd be more than interested to see a CINCH vs. SPDIF comparison, with same prepositions. Needless to say, i expect CINCH to perform better wink.gif .,...


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Rotareneg
post May 13 2005, 01:01
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Clearly your skepticism interfered with the harmonious transfer of the higher order musical energy signatures within the audiophile cables. Also it's rather obvious your listeners didn't have golden ears and were unable to appreciate the significant improvements to the synergy that is present when using high-end audio cables. wink.gif

And the scary thing is, there are some hard-core "audiophiles" out there who would probably think that and be serious about it... ermm.gif

This post has been edited by Rotareneg: May 13 2005, 05:37
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HbG
post May 13 2005, 01:36
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Nice test, i love it.

You could argue the listeners were not trained well enough or had bad ears, but it certainly proves that any difference, if present, is not at all clear for everyone to hear. A nice additional test might be to setup a high end mic & recording system and analyse the data, it'd be interesting to see if there are inaudible differences between cables. And if so how cheap a cable can be and still perform exactly like the expensive ones.

With a 25k audio setup it doesn't hurt to spend more than 2,30 on audio cables though as you'll want some physical durability and the cost will still be a tiny fraction of the total setup.


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Acid Orange Juic...
post May 13 2005, 05:14
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QUOTE (Pio2001 @ May 10 2005, 03:49 PM)
The tests didn't pass phase 2. No one managed to identify reliably if the cables were changed or not between two listening sessions.

For me is very pleasant to confirm (with your test) that many years of electronic engineering were not wrong. happy.gif

Many electronic engineers (including me) knew this, but a proper listening tests confirms it.

Thanks for so interesting report. smile.gif
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Pio2001
post May 13 2005, 12:47
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QUOTE (ChristianHJW @ May 13 2005, 01:09 AM)
I'd be more than interested to see a CINCH vs. SPDIF comparison, with same prepositions. Needless to say, i expect CINCH to perform better wink.gif .,...
*


SPDIF uses CINCH plugs !

QUOTE (Rotareneg @ May 13 2005, 02:01 AM)
Clearly your skepticism interfered with the harmonious transfer of the higher order musical energy signatures within the audiophile cables.
*


But we heard the differences ! Better bass handling, better decay, better stereo image, clearer harmonics, less bass...
The only problem is that we also heard the differences when the cables were the same biggrin.gif

QUOTE (HbG @ May 13 2005, 02:36 AM)
A nice additional test might be to setup a high end mic & recording system and analyse the data, it'd be interesting to see if there are inaudible differences between cables.
*


I've added the RMAA results of most cables.
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Latexxx
post May 13 2005, 13:23
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Anything which is magnetically shielded should be enough IMHO.
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JeanLuc
post May 13 2005, 13:24
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QUOTE (Pio2001 @ May 13 2005, 11:47 AM)
QUOTE (ChristianHJW @ May 13 2005, 01:09 AM)
I'd be more than interested to see a CINCH vs. SPDIF comparison, with same prepositions. Needless to say, i expect CINCH to perform better wink.gif .,...
*


SPDIF uses CINCH plugs !
*



I guess he was talking TOSLINK vs. Cinch ... or bit-true against bit-true ... laugh.gif


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Latexxx
post May 13 2005, 14:03
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Why not glass vs. plastic optical s/pdif? laugh.gif Some people really believe they can hear the difference.
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precisionist
post May 13 2005, 14:04
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Nice test. What a pity I can't read the links!
A team of German magazine ct once performed a test high end chinch vs. simple wire (both as digital electrical cables) and couldn't tell the difference...
Would be interesting to do the same for analog. How cheap can the cable be then ?


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JeanLuc
post May 13 2005, 14:30
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QUOTE (precisionist @ May 13 2005, 01:04 PM)
How cheap can the cable be then ?
*


Obviously, it can be cheap enough to still offer proper electrical and mechanical (plugs are most important IMO) abilities.


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Latexxx
post May 13 2005, 15:09
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The only problem is that non-shielded cable can be interfered by surrounding cables and magnetic fields.
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CiTay
post May 13 2005, 15:58
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Interesting test indeed. Some crude Babelfish translation of the french thread: "Results of the test as a blind man".
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ChristianHJW
post May 13 2005, 16:22
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QUOTE (JeanLuc @ May 13 2005, 12:24 PM)
QUOTE (Pio2001 @ May 13 2005, 11:47 AM)
QUOTE (ChristianHJW @ May 13 2005, 01:09 AM)
I'd be more than interested to see a CINCH vs. SPDIF comparison, with same prepositions. Needless to say, i expect CINCH to perform better wink.gif .,...
*

SPDIF uses CINCH plugs !
*


I guess he was talking TOSLINK vs. Cinch ... or bit-true against bit-true ... laugh.gif
*



blink.gif blink.gif ......

/me goes to hide in the cellar ......


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precisionist
post May 13 2005, 16:37
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QUOTE (CiTay @ May 13 2005, 03:58 PM)
Interesting test indeed. Some crude Babelfish translation of the french thread: "Results of the test as a blind man".
*

The link doesn't work for me:
CODE
phpBB: Critical Error

Could not connect to the database


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Pio2001
post May 13 2005, 16:50
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QUOTE (precisionist @ May 13 2005, 05:37 PM)
The link doesn't work for me:
CODE
phpBB: Critical Error

Could not connect to the database

*

This is because the homecinema-fr.com website is down for the time being.
QUOTE (Latexxx @ May 13 2005, 02:23 PM)
Anything which is magnetically shielded should be enough IMHO.
*


Why do you need a magnetic shield ? Only esoteric cables include magnetic shield in addition to the conventional shield. None of the tested cables was magnetically shielded.

QUOTE (Latexxx @ May 13 2005, 04:09 PM)
The only problem is that non-shielded cable can be interfered by surrounding cables and magnetic fields.
*


One of the tested cables was not shielded, and didn't perform worse than the others. Though we did not listen to it much.
The original RMAA results showed a stronger 50 Hz component with it, in the background noise, but the new results that I posted after the test didn't show it. The devices had been moved between the tests, and the cables position was not the same. I think that this is why the DAT deck did't pickup the 50 Hz hum the second time.
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precisionist
post May 13 2005, 17:01
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QUOTE (Pio2001 @ May 13 2005, 04:50 PM)
QUOTE (Latexxx @ May 13 2005, 02:23 PM)
Anything which is magnetically shielded should be enough IMHO.
*


Why do you need a magnetic shield ? Only esoteric cables include magnetic shield in addition to the conventional shield. None of the tested cables was magnetically shielded.
*


The agressor signals are electric-magnetic waves. Waves with only a magnetic or only an electric field don't exist. Kill the electric part, kill all.


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Kenno
post May 13 2005, 20:42
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QUOTE (precisionist @ May 13 2005, 03:04 PM)
Would be interesting to do the same for analog. How cheap can the cable be then ?
Wait... in this test, the analog signal was run over the CINCH cables, right? (else it wouldn't even be worth the trouble)
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Pio2001
post May 13 2005, 22:47
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Yes.
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deaf
post May 13 2005, 23:16
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I think you were under pressure and that made you confused.
I am sure there is a difference, even if I can't hear it eiter.
Was not the color of the cables different?
That alone should have made enough difference to SEE!
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Kenno
post May 14 2005, 01:55
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Oh c'mon, this test is clearly corrupt! I bet these homecinema-fr.com people are heavily sponsored by the producers of ... euhm ... cheap cables, yes, that must be it!
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Rotareneg
post May 14 2005, 06:34
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LoL, someone made the horrible mistake of trying to post this over at Head-Fi in the cable forum. laugh.gif
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Nero
post May 14 2005, 08:08
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Evidence of what I've always suspected...the only appreciable difference between cables is how they look.

Personally, I'll pay extra for pretty blue cables. tongue.gif


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cabbagerat
post May 14 2005, 09:41
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Great post, Pio2001. It's always nice to have a good test confirm that interconnect cables don't make a big difference, as many have suspected for a while. I think the take home lesson is that, when buying interconnects, go for a decent quality shielded cable with good plugs - anything more than that and you are wasting your money.

It would be nice to see a similar test with speaker cables. I suspect that the vast differences in measured parameters (R, L and C) between different cables will have audible effects. It would also be interesting to measure speaker cable parameters, use transmission line theory to calculate the effect they will have on the signal, and see whether listeners report these same differences.


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