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Old 3rd June 2013, 02:14 AM   #181
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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I did some testing this afternoon thru 6 feet of tap water, salt water, diet Coke, wine and coffee. The beer - I drank.

Conclusions:
  • Tap water: Very bad, almost no signal
  • Very salty water: OK. About 6dB attenuation and some noise.
  • Diet Coke: Had to boil it to release the carbonation, otherwise it was just fizz. Terrible conductor, heavy attenuation.
  • Wine: A little better than Coke, but not much.
  • Coffee (black): Similar to wine.
Don't try to make liquid cables, unless it's mercury. The things I tried make awful conductors. Maybe over a few inches, like the banana, they would be OK - but not over 6 feet.

I'll get some files up pronto.
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Old 3rd June 2013, 02:37 AM   #182
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Just tried an interesting exercise of more vigorously comparing the FLAC versions of the track, which I hadn't done as yet now knowing the results -- which for my setup points out there are 3 factors at play: the variations in the recorded tracks, the impact of mp3 encoding, and the relatively cheap and nasty quality of my playback hardware. These are very roughly of similar levels of impact in degrading the sound, making it a more obtuse exercise to pick rankings.

By only playing FLAC, the mp3 bits are discarded; and now the easily discernable last place is D, the mud version - this has nothing to do with the glitch, the cymbals are clearly rendered more poorly. But the others are harder, and this is due to junk connections and components of the PC speakers; reseating the plug, and refreshing the volume pot setting makes as much difference as switching between versions. To get an authorative assessment would require taking the quality of the playback mechanism largely out of the equation, by transferring all tracks to a significantly higher quality system ..

This is where blind testing can get into trouble -- are you hearing the real underlying differences, or are the inadequacies of the testing environment masking these qualities ...?
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Last edited by fas42; 3rd June 2013 at 02:40 AM.
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Old 3rd June 2013, 02:42 AM   #183
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Once you know what is what, it's not a blind test. You don't like D because you know what it is. I'll randomize those files again in the FLAC version and let you listen.

But don't worry, you'll have no trouble picking out the awful wine and coffee recordings.
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Old 3rd June 2013, 02:50 AM   #184
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Default The goofy set up

Here are photos of my goofy test rig - just so that you can see what I'm doing. It's not pretty, but science rarely is.

The test leads are some unknown mic cable with 2 conductors and shield. The two conductors are tied together into 1, the shield is connected only at the sound card.
Sound card is the M-Audio Fast-Track Pro USB running at 44.1KHz, 16 bit. Player software was Foobar 2000, recording done with Audacity. Editing done with Goldwave. Computer is an HP netbook with Atom processor, Windows 7.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg backstage.jpg (77.6 KB, 98 views)
File Type: jpg mud.jpg (67.6 KB, 99 views)
File Type: jpg steel-wool.jpg (74.4 KB, 97 views)
File Type: jpg salt-water.jpg (25.4 KB, 96 views)
File Type: jpg Coke.jpg (45.2 KB, 79 views)
File Type: jpg coffee.jpg (30.0 KB, 27 views)
File Type: jpg wine.jpg (32.7 KB, 31 views)
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Old 3rd June 2013, 02:57 AM   #185
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I don't get fussed about the blindness, what disturbs me is that the quality literally alters as you listen, call it 'memory distortion' of the system if you want - I've been doing this type of critical listening for decades. If what you're listening to is of sufficiently high quality then this effect is relatively low level, you don't notice it happening - depending upon everything, the quality change can go up or down over a period of time - speaker drivers typically steadily improve as they warm up, say.

Knowing how good something is supposed to be doesn't do for me, the amount of crap sound I've listened to from 'good gear' over the years is a total turnoff ...
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Old 3rd June 2013, 03:13 AM   #186
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I wonder if the coil of fluid has diffrent inductance? Not that it matters for your test just got my weels turning.
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Old 3rd June 2013, 03:15 AM   #187
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Keep dancing, Frank.
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Old 3rd June 2013, 03:28 AM   #188
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Trollin', trollin', trollin', keep them ...
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Old 3rd June 2013, 03:48 AM   #189
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I feel I've got a decent handle on separating the FLAC versions now: the DAC is reasonably well conditioned after a couple of hours running, and I needed a section of the track where the quality issues of the playback can be overridden. So, using Audacity on repeat for the section from about 17.5 to 20.5 secs makes it quite straightforward, it's a good conjunction of a peak of the voice, drums and piano, where one can compare the clarity of each element in the presence of the others.
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Old 3rd June 2013, 04:44 AM   #190
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Default New clip order

OK, here are the same files again, but the mud is gone replaced by steel wool.

EDIT: I had some glitches. Will fix and upload again. Sorry.
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