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Reflections on Music, Life, and "Beauty Gone Wild"

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Indiedog, Jul 14, 2015.


  1. I don't really think someone as famous and respected as Kevin Killen would scam him, but stranger things have happened I am sure.
     
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  2. Indiedog

    Indiedog

    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    "By the way, I think what you meant to say was to FEEL your Taurus III's in serious fashion. Leah still gets mad at me sometimes, because I like to listen at levels where you can not just hear, but FEEL the bass. I crank it up now and then and sometimes the SPL annoys her to no end, but I don't care, I have to beat some life into me with the deep bottom magic I so often crave."

    --BassHappy


    Boy Howdy! My very first "rock" concert was Harry Chapin in 1975. It was a cool event (and I have a few stories about it) but my second show was Genesis at the Beacon in 1976. Mike Rutherford's Taurus pedals made a very large impression on me. Yes, one needs to "feel" the bass. Many other shows I saw had them too. So when I got mine I knew I needed something to reproduce that effect.

    But like Leah, my frau is a bit shy about bass. The rig in my company van includes a very powerful sub so I can easily go to "too much" territory. My Tacoma has a more modest Infinity sub. But both bass-heavy environments can be very useful for figuring out bass lines. In both vehicles I can really hear the bass line. I can get lost in a bass line...say, "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" by CSN...Stills' bass line is exquisite and to fully appreciate it, one needs some decent bass.

    And as you say, it really does energize me and give me energy. I am rather experienced with too little bass as well. Because my first portable speakers were teeny little Aiwa's, when I camped I heard music without proper bass. Each successive speaker set I got improved things. I often rigged batteries up to make AC-only speakers work in the field. The brain can "add" in a certain amount of bass but nothing succeeds like the real thing. I remain passionate about portable sound. It is so cool to hike or bike or drive someplace lovely and deploy my sound system. Just as food tastes better outdoors, music sounds better outdoors. (I always respect Nature and other people---I never play it when others are around and I choose a modest level so I still hear birds---and so much of the time the roaring wind makes it so that even 50 feet away my system cannot be heard.)

    I keep a healthy dose of Mapleglo's skepticism when it comes to things like crazy-expensive cables and accessories. So what are we to make of Rick's example (his client)? The guy sounds bright, has good ears, and feels he had a proper A/B test. Is it really just salesmanship or is there some truth in these fancy cables and such? It gets contentious on this forum when it gets discussed.

    So many tiny things affect sound. The way our fingers fret, the way we plug or pick, the balance of bridge/neck pickups, active/passive systems, bass amps, etc. I know...many of these things clearly DO affect sound and some electronic things are almost certainly NOT an issue. But there are many devices and products that haven't been "proven" yet. (For instance, there is a device called a Kickport for the bass drum. KickPort International
    I bought one and think it really helps the sound of MY bass drum. But I changed both heads when I added it so I cannot be sure how much is the port and how much is the heads. And plenty of people cry "Snake oil!" when they hear of it. Some people have produced tests that "prove" it works. Others "prove" it doesn't work with similar tests. Hard to say, right?)

    My point is I am not an expert physicist, I am not even a good player. But I pay attention. And I know how easily stats can clear up confusion or in fact, obscure the truth. I also know how subjective our minds and ears are. Your hands-on experience means A LOT to me, Nexy. I guess the easiest thing to say is that I don't have two sets of $65,000 cables in my cart right now.

    How we "see" things depends on our brain, our education, and our experience. To pivot simultaneously to Rick's mention of new Apple products and to things that are a bit more concrete, I sure would want one of these to see things on (when I dream of the new Mac Pro).
    Pro Display XDR

    But first, I am going to check my bank account and set up a meeting with Mapleglo to see if i can afford that bridge. ;)
     
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  3. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    I don't think Kevin Killen is trying to scam anyone, I think he really believes his cables make a difference. I'd venture a guess that he's never done a double blind listening test.
     
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  4. Why "Double Blind" Testing Can't Work For Audio
     
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  5. Indiedog

    Indiedog

    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    The most important element when someone is trying to convince people is believing in your product or cause. A passionate person that believes in something is mightily persuasive.
     
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  6. Indiedog

    Indiedog

    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
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  7. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I avoid believing in anything that is From: $65,000.00... saves me a lot of money :)
     
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  8. Yeah, but if I won the lottery and had 300 million it's one of the first things I would buy....

    I would have to find out for myself...
     
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  9. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    gotta play to win ;)
     
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  10. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    I find it extremely telling that "audiophiles" are making the argument that double blind testing won't work in listening tests, especially when there are gobs of money to be made in high end cables and other forms of voodoo.
     
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  11. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Seriously?

    I would think that if so many characteristics are changing, it will be easy to tell the difference between the two samples, and easy to determine which one sounds better. Why does one need to "isolate them and make sure that all of the testees are hearing the same test of the same thing in exactly the same way."?

    The first word of one comment on the article sums it up perfectly. "Nonsense".
     
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  12. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    A lot of opinions on tb about products (and probably elsewhere/everywhere) tend to be linked to ones personal alignment with this or that product. (like, you own this or that and like it/feel good about it) I mostly understand that as I too have such opinions. Like with many things I can't really afford, I'm sure many if not all of those things are very nice, sound good, etc. But I try to keep my tastes/preferences in-line with what I can actually afford, which actually - covers a lot. (and not meaning I can afford a lot, but that there is a lot you can achieve w/o breaking the bank or going in debt) And it's not that I don't 'get it' or have 'refined' ears or taste - I commonly gravitate to the most expensive, well designed, cool version of this or that. I just don't encourage a want for it. The (musical) products we use are tools and we love them for many reasons - but as is always brought up by many tb's... no product will magically make our input better - it starts & ends with our fingers, dedication and passion.
     
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  13. I don't have any idea, I haven't heard any of these cables first hand. I haven't had the chance to be involved in a listening test, blind, double blind or otherwise. But I do have a lot of respect for my client and his ears and even more respect for Kevin Killen. In fact, I think amp to high-end cables on studio monitors are a dying breed. For whatever reason, everyone uses powered "active" monitors these days, I guess because they feel that the amp/speaker combination on the active side is more perfectly matched when the same company provides the amp and the rest of the components.

    I don't see it myself, and think it is potentially a grand fallacy. I have read several articles recently about a return to passive monitors and higher quality amps, but I don't see it on the street. I will always prefer a separate killer amp and assorted passive speakers myself, but it's highly subjective. I like the idea that the only variable is the speaker, because the power source remains the same. To me, it's easier to gauge where you really are with a mix, you are hedging your bets. Multiple sets of active monitors are each going to be colored by the amplifier contained in the speaker. Much harder to A-B-C them and get a clear picture.

    I also think the high end cable argument is moot when it comes to guitar cables, mic cables, and patch cables. I don't believe that those cables can make much of a dramatic difference. I could be wrong. I do allow for the concept that amp to monitor cables might be overlooked and more important than we realize, though. And of course, if you are using active monitors, you don't have speaker cables at all.

    I am not sure which Cello amps Kevin uses but:

    "The Cello Rhapsody amplifier has a worldwide suggested retail price of $17,000 for the two-channel and $20,000 for the three-channel version. A 2-meter pair of Cello Strings interconnect, terminated with Neutrix XLRs has a retail of $520 and a 3-meter pair of Cello Strings speaker cable terminated with Rhodium Plated spade lugs has a retail of $875.For more information, visit www.matthew-james.net."

    mast-enc-mono.

    Seems the Cello cables are much more reasonable when compared to the Transparent Cables. So, as far as I am concerned it's all relative. If you are like Kevin and successfully producing artists such as U2, Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel, perhaps you are entitled and of course, able to afford the best.

    When I bought my larger System 8 Tannoy's I sprang for a set of matching Teflon cables that were around 8' long and around $500 bucks, which was an awful lot of money at the time. Was it worth it? I will let you know, because I have never had the placement right. With proper placement and the isolation they require, I hope that investment is about to pay off. Will keep you posted!
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
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  14. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    "If you are like Kevin and successfully producing artists such as U2, Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel, perhaps you are entitled and of course, able to afford the best."

    Possibly true in the rarified air (and pocketbook) all these artists are used to breathing/affording. What we (we, the audience/listeneres) hear in the hyper-compressed version of their music though whatever level of system we listen through (from an i-Phone to a home computer w/headphones) is quite a long leap. They can afford to entertain their rarified discretion, and that's ok - it keeps the wheels of commerce oiled.
     
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  15. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    It would actually be easier for me to believe that low level signal cable would have a greater effect on sound quality than speaker wire, but I proved to myself that I could not hear or measure a difference. And active speakers have speaker cable - they're just really short. They have longer signal cables though.
     
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  16. UOTE="mapleglo, post: 22723130, member: 249225"]It would actually be easier for me to believe that low level signal cable would have a greater effect on sound quality than speaker wire, but I proved to myself that I could not hear or measure a difference. And active speakers have speaker cable - they're just really short. They have longer signal cables though.[/QUOTE]

    No, active speakers don't have "speaker cables" at all - they usually have XLR microphone type cables or balanced phones coming out of the mixer or the DAW. The amp is in the speaker so there is no cable run from amp to speaker - it's inside the speaker itself.

    Here is the back of an ATC Powered monitor. Nary a banana plug or equivalent in sight:

    Screen Shot 2019-06-04 at 9.25.41 PM.

    I see your point, really short is right, like less than a couple of inches in most cases. It's an entirely different theory. I never considered that a cable run.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
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  17. Remember, Kevin uses cables in the $6K range, which would be around $3K per cable, he is not a $65K guy. A reasonable sum for a guy making his kind of fees, and a sum he feels is more than worth it or he wouldn't be singing the praises. I really can't believe that i find myself defending him, when I have no idea what the right answer is here.

    It's a very interesting debate, and I know I can't depend on my client's observations if he goes for it. He will be far enough in financially that he will have to sing the praises or risk being a fool for having spent the money.

    The only thing worse than buying the cables is probably trying to sell them if you are a fool.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
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  18. Indiedog

    Indiedog

    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    I feel that the best thing the brain can ever do is to suspend the desire to judge when we do not yet have all of the facts.

    I don’t have all of the facts. Therefore I cannot judge these issues. It doesn’t hamper my life if I fo not judge every concept I am confronted with. I keep an open mind.

    In my opinion, you are not “defending”him. You are stating that not only do you not have all the facts but that you also have no attachment to having to judge whether he is wise or a fool.
     
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  19. You are right, and you are a sage. Part of my problem is - as his financial guy - he is looking to me to help him make this decision.

    gulp.
     
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  20. Conflict resolved as of this morning.

    My client has active older Genelec's that he adores, and he finally focused in on the cost - that it's not just the cables - he would have to get a nice power amp, the cables and some passive speakers in order to monitor the way Kevin does. That's a big investment if he wants to go passive and stay in the world-class arena. So, problem tucked away, at least for now.

    Glad that is behind us. I wonder if my studio guys have any of the expensive cables they could bring by so I could do some A-B tests here? At least I could satisfy my curiosity.

    Hey 'glo, no offense intended on this locking of the horns we had. I know you had a great experience of being able to hear for yourself, and I need that same experience. I could easily come to the same conclusion as you, that the expensive speaker cable thing is BS.
     
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