Reference Laboratory Looking Ahead in Pro Audio
TUCK & PATTI's report about RMC01

From: Tuck & Patti
Date: Fri, Sept 4, 2009 at 6.37

Tuck & Patti's report about RMC01 - PressroomHi, Angelo!

As you know, we have done many cable A/B tests over the years, starting in the early 80's. It was clear to us from the beginning that not all cables sound the same, and we went to considerable lengths to find the best-sounding ones. We did not have the tools to do scientific A/B tests, so we were reduced to switching cables as fast as possible, then singing or playing some more. Even that way, relying on our memory, both of us could hear clearly that there were differences. Patti became our top tester. She would go into another room while Tuck played and switched cables, then she would yell "That one!" whenever she liked one. She always picked the same one! 

We quickly came to the opinion that "best-sounding" should be defined as most "zero-sounding" or most transparent. In both live and recorded audio, the analog signal goes through many cables and connectors from source to speaker, and, even if you think you like the subtle coloration of one cable or another, by the time you add it to the coloration of all the other cables, it is guaranteed to degrade the sound. Plus, we always found that we liked the sound of the most transparent one best. We decided the best approach was to try to find cables that changed the sound as little as possible, so the sum of all the cables would be as transparent as possible. 

Now, years later, we have a mastering-level, audiophile studio as our tool. Here is how we test cables now: First we create a reference by playing the source signal (usually Patti's vocal, because we find it is most revealing *) out of our Sequoia DAW through our normal mix path (but with no reverb), and record it back into Sequoia. Then we interrupt the mix path at the first analog point in the chain, insert each cable we want to test and record the mix. We line the mixes up in Sequoia. Since we define the best cable as the one that sounds like it isn't there, we compare each recording to the reference. Now it is possible to switch instantly between the reference and each of the other cables added to the reference. The one that sounds most like the reference (no cable) wins. 

RMC 01 As you can imagine, we have accumulated quite a few different high-end cables over the years! Cables have improved over time and we got rid of all our ordinary cables years ago, so there has been no need to do a cable A/B test for a long time. So today we pulled out a lot of them, as well as one of your Reference Laboratory RMC01 "Live & Studio" cables. We performed the test we described. 

The results: There were variations among some of the various high-end cables, but none sounded more accurate than the Reference Laboratories cable.

We just could not find any sonic difference between the Reference Laboratories cable and no cable.

We have no doubt that your other cables meet the same standards, and we congratulate you on creating such a great product. You are welcome to include this letter in your brochure. 

With respect,
Tuck and Patti Andress

4th September 2009

(*)We recorded two short segments of Patti singing a capella, one with long, sustained tones and one with her mouth percussion.  For the first segment, we recorded separate files for reference (no cable), Reference Laboratories, Mogami 2549, Mogami 3713 and Monster Sigma.  For the second segment, as a double-check, we recorded only reference (no cable) and Reference Laboratories.

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