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ESP MusicCord listening test Part 1

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bongomania, Jul 31, 2011.


  1. test-1

    5 vote(s)
    6.4%
  2. test-2

    10 vote(s)
    12.8%
  3. test-3

    9 vote(s)
    11.5%
  4. test-4

    6 vote(s)
    7.7%
  5. I seriously cannot hear a difference.

    43 vote(s)
    55.1%
  6. carrots

    17 vote(s)
    21.8%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    This link:
    http://www.bongomania.com/ESP-test.exe (self-extracting zip for PC)
    http://www.bongomania.com/ESP-test.zip (regular zip for Mac or PC)
    contains a set of recordings, for you to listen to and compare. Very large file, please be patient while it downloads. Much explanation is needed!

    First, if you don't yet know what the point of this test is, please check out this LOCKED thread: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f15/esp-musiccord-786890/ :)

    The file contains four clips, numbered 1-4. All are .wav's, originally recorded at 24/96. Huge thanks to JimmyM for providing the source material! All of the clips started with a single 24/96 recording of some different bass lines, with no processing. All of the clips were then processed identically except for one detail: the power cord.

    The signal path is: laptop soundcard --> FEA Dual-Band Limiter (to deal with the peaks from slapping) --> H&K Blues Master preamp --> recording computer. The Blues Master contains a tube preamp and a 1-watt tube power amp with a dummy load, so it is good for emulating a full tube amp for this test. The power cord was used to power the Blues Master preamp. Prior to the recordings I ran the ESP cord 24 hours a day for about a week, powering a desktop PC, to "burn it in" according to manufacturer instructions.

    At least one of the clips was recorded with the preamp powered with the ESP MusicCord PRO power cable. At least one of the clips was recorded with the preamp powered with a super-cheapo 18 AWG power cable of the same length as the ESP. What this means is out of the 4 clips, there may be 1, 2, or 3 of them with the ESP cord, and there may be 1, 2, or 3 of them with the cheapo cord.

    I have put up a poll here allowing you to pick which track(s) you think were done with the ESP cord. Again, maybe there's only one, maybe there are three, who knows.

    One potential problem with this particular round of testing is I drove the preamp into much more distortion than I wanted. It's still a perfectly good test, but some people will want to hear a very clean tone for careful listening purposes--so I will make sure "round 2" later this week is all about clean tone.

    PLEASE do not engage in any further debate about who is or isn't an idiot for any reason whatsoever. We are all monkeys. I'd like this thread to be an open, fair, unbiased opportunity for people to ascertain for themselves whether the ESP cord makes an audible difference--whether or not science validates it, and whether or not a famous endorser validates it!

    And again, this is only round 1 of the test. There will be more variations and versions.

    I will reveal the truth about which track is which in... let's say... 10 days. :)
     
  2. Implosion

    Implosion

    Oct 19, 2007
    Finland
    I liked the one that had the crisp & clear highs, punchy mids and tight & thunderous lows. Also the one that will receive compliments from the audience was one of my favorites.

    -> Poll choice number five.
     
  3. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    Here
  4. Would love to listen but not on Windows.

    Why not just post a regular zip file?
     
  5. MooseLumps

    MooseLumps

    Nov 4, 2007
    Portland
    Getting some Vitamin C in the ole' listening diet. Carrots all the way.
     
  6. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Mac-friendly version added to first post!
     
  7. lowfreqgeek

    lowfreqgeek Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    Endorsing Artist: Regenerate Guitar Works, Honey Badger Pickups, Westone Audio
    I've been using that for many years!

    Does wonders for this and that, no matter if you're here or there, more or less...

    And it's Good Housekeeping Approved. Does it get any better?

     
  8. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Thanks, Bongo! That's a lot of work to put this together (JimmyM as well!)...
     
  9. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I couldn't tell a difference between the power cords, but I definitely noticed that Jimmy was using a Windows computer to e-mail the files to you. Windows has a more grainy sound than Mac, with sound stage and is also a different number of definition.

    :bag:
     
  10. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    I honestly couldn't hear any easily discernible difference from clip to clip. I do think that the length/duration of each clip makes it difficult to recall any differences without loading into a multi-channel mixer application (like ProTools) and quickly 'soloing' each clip to compare. (Which I didn't do.)

    I did load each clip into Audacity for a quick & dirty frequency analysis. Only the first 10.9 seconds of each clip is analyzed (Audacity program limitation). Here's the screenshot of each clips' respective frequency plot:

    Test 1
    [​IMG]

    Test 2
    [​IMG]

    Test 3
    [​IMG]

    Test 4
    [​IMG]


    Keep in mind we should hear with our ears, not our eyes, but this is still interesting. You may notice the high-end of Test Samples 3 & 4 have an approx. 5db bump from about 10k to 30k. Very interesting.
     
  11. Infidelity

    Infidelity

    Jan 14, 2010
    IMO don't tell what you're voting for..

    Just vote on the poll and discuss what your thoughts are..
     
  12. Dark Barn

    Dark Barn Supporting Member

    Aug 3, 2010
    Seattle
    Bongo do you plan to do any sort of spectrum analysis on your results? This poll is fun and an engaging way to involve people in the discussion, but I'd also like to see some data as with your guitar cable thread. After the poll is closed of course! Thanks Bongo and JimmyM for taking the time.

    Edit: aw c'mon Scotch, let the poll do what it's supposed to do. Nashville session musician? no theater, all business. :bag:
     
  13. Bassflute

    Bassflute

    Jun 24, 2006
    Vancouver
    Endorsing Artist: MTD basses and strings
    I can't hear a difference on my crappy little clear-plastic Harman-Kardon computer speakers from 11 years ago, but that's not surprising. Also, every computer has a SOUND CARD of hugely varying qualities, I'm on an iMac, so mine is probably decent as far as COMPUTER pre-amps go, but absolutely AWFUL as far as ALL PREAMPS go. I can BARELY tell the difference between my MTD Marilyn 635-24 and my students NON-CHAMBERED bass through this computer, even though it is profoundly obvious to everyone with hearing when playing the two basses through my bass rig. So I don't know how good this test will actually be, in spite of him posting high-quality WAV files. It is probably going to be too subtle to detect through computer music systems, unless you've got some really good gear.

    Just my 2¢. And I'm not biased one way or the other...I like Monster cables on the front end of my system (from the bass to my amp), I know they sound different, from the rest of the rig (rack interconnect cables, speaker cables) they don't make ANY difference.

    But my gigantic $350 power cable does...sorry...when plugged into a Eden WT800 with rack mount effects through the FX loop...changes the noise floor. Through low powered gear (the effects themselves, etc.) it makes NO difference. Also, I hear a TINY bit of difference plugging the thing into my powered PA head...a little crisper, a little less noise. Students who have come to me for YEARS say the same thing when A/Bing them in a blind test...at least as blind as I can make it. If I recorded that and sent it through the internet to be played back through everybody's $50.00 or less soundcard and crappy little computer speakers - probably not. Or even if you plug really good studio headphones into your crappy computer sound card - probably not. Live in the room, you'd probably hear what I'm hearing - a TEENY bit of difference.

    Cheers,
    Cameron


     
  14. Of course they sound the same. It's a power cable. Anybody who tells you otherwise is deluded or selling something.

    Tracks 1 and 2 are the same recording. Would have been better to use four different takes, even if the same cable was in use for some of them.
     
  15. You are not testing what you think you are testing. You need to sync the recordings up, to within a sample. You are looking at the transform of a huge window.
     
  16. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Assuming the original Wav's were synced from the start of the clip (which is very likely), they should be synced.

    What else could I do to improve the comparison?
     
  17. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I'm curious, what are you basing that on?
     
  18. Why would that be likely? You think dude hit the record button to within 1/96000th of a second every time he made a recording?
     
  19. Line them up and flip the phase. They null perfectly. Not -60 some dB which would be the noise in the preamp (I'm being generous) or -90 something which would be the noise in the converters but -infinity. Perfect zero, every sample.

    They are the same file.
     
  20. rpsands

    rpsands

    Jul 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I don't know what is the deal but:

    Track 1-2 are exactly precisely the same. I base that on listening test (panning one to the left, one to the right) and comparing the wave forms down to the gnat's arse in audacity.

    Track 3 and 4 are the same as well. Same test.

    I don't know whether it's the ESP cord or what that makes the difference but it seems like 3/4 are just started a hair (maybe .08 seconds later).