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Testing audiophile claims and myths - Page 173

post #2581 of 3743
There is audible change between my tube hybrid and SS amps, that's for sure! Ofc there a difference between my different Staxes and also 500/5LE. Haven't been able to reliably notice differences between my DAC and a sa1.32 in AB testing, though I found them to sound different subjectively.
post #2582 of 3743

Were you using the same amp while ABing those two DACs?

post #2583 of 3743
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmoe View Post

Were you using the same amp while ABing those two DACs?
Of course. I used my srm-t1, which has 2 inputs, switching in windows sound settings. The output on 1 DAC was higher than the other, corrected by ear through software.
Edited by davidsh - 5/20/14 at 9:46am
post #2584 of 3743
Have we discussed this miraculous product yet here in sound science?

Cheers
post #2585 of 3743

I wonder how many people fell for that power brick, looked like they cut the cable off a existing one and closed up the hole, you know they most be rolling around in cash with that non-sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ab initio View Post

Have we discussed this miraculous product yet here in sound science?

Cheers

I wonder how many people fell for that power brick, looked like they cut the cable off a existing one and closed up the hole, I betting they made a killing and is rolling around in cash.

post #2586 of 3743

So one of my buddies told me yesterday that his USB powered hard drive and his externally powered hard drive changes how his music sounds.

 

Serious. He told me that when he played his music through his Asus O Play mini if he used a USB powered hard drive the music sounded flat and just lacking whereas if he used his externally powered hard drive it sounded great.

 

Now he is questioning whether the difference was a result of the power supply. Correct me here, but there is no possible way that a hard drive, whether USB or not, can alter the sound quality of an audio signal?

post #2587 of 3743
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mezzo View Post
 

So one of my buddies told me yesterday that his USB powered hard drive and his externally powered hard drive changes how his music sounds.

 

Serious. He told me that when he played his music through his Asus O Play mini if he used a USB powered hard drive the music sounded flat and just lacking whereas if he used his externally powered hard drive it sounded great.

 

Now he is questioning whether the difference was a result of the power supply. Correct me here, but there is no possible way that a hard drive, whether USB or not, can alter the sound quality of an audio signal?

 

-If the analog part of the sound card is not galvanically isolated from the rest of the computer, a ground loop could form and thus affect the sound. However, that would not make it sound 'flat', but rather cause an annoying hum. Also, it would require the sound card designer to be completely clueless. (Also, I wouldn't be surprised if it was a requirement in USB that the interfaces are galvanically isolated - but I do not know this; just a guess)

 

That aside, I am at a loss. Would he be willing to test out foobar and the DBX plugin? You could simply play the same file repeatedly, stored on either drive without him knowing which was which, then do the tally afterwards and see whether there is any true difference.

post #2588 of 3743
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mezzo View Post
 

So one of my buddies told me yesterday that his USB powered hard drive and his externally powered hard drive changes how his music sounds.

 

Serious. He told me that when he played his music through his Asus O Play mini if he used a USB powered hard drive the music sounded flat and just lacking whereas if he used his externally powered hard drive it sounded great.

 

Now he is questioning whether the difference was a result of the power supply. Correct me here, but there is no possible way that a hard drive, whether USB or not, can alter the sound quality of an audio signal?

Depends on the particular setup. Manufacturers go to great lenghts to ensure the best possible result for the first part of any audio device to be made right - the POWER SUPPLY.  No audio device can be better than its power supply - it should be absolutely stable and quiet, which is an obvious impossibility - yet devices powered from only so-so and superb power supplies definitely do sound different. Over USB, it is very hard to have enough current, low impedance and noise free supply for anything attached to it. It is perfectly possible for an externallly powered drive to offer better performance than something working off USB. 

 

There are special cables/filter for USB powered devices ( like http://ifi-audio.com/portfolio-view/micro-iusbpower/ ) - and the trend is to incorporate same/similar within DACs etc.

 

Computer as generally known is EXTREMELY noisy enviroment - be it mechanically or electrically. If one insists

on really quiet operation and good power supply - forget about "bang for the buck" bargain machines - what suffices for computing is in no way enough for computer audio. It can also be that a laptop powered off its internal battery will work better than powered off mains - usually by switching supply that usually can be heard.

 

Just general observations - there is as many variables with computers as is there computers. It is perfectly possible for two of the same model computers to sound differently - once  I traced the culprit to be a subpar display, which did not manifest any malfunction but *slight* buzz with audio during quiet passages.

 

As always, YMMV.

post #2589 of 3743
One of my buddies told me that the sound can be improved significantly by putting the NAS server on a kilobuck table. He happens to be a vendor of audiophile equipment, which obviously includes furniture. He does not believe in the magic of uber expensive cables, though. Those tables look quite nice, actually, but not as impressive as some cables. Should I trust him?
post #2590 of 3743
Quote:

Originally Posted by OddE View Post

 

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if it was a requirement in USB that the interfaces are galvanically isolated

 

It is not. Implementing isolation increases the cost of the device, so cheap USB DACs tend not to include it. It may be missing from more expensive ones because some audiophiles are worried that the extra parts in the digital signal path "increase jitter". It can also be unnecessary if the device is not connected to anything grounded other than the PC. In any case, USB isolators can be bought for a few tens of $, should one be needed.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by OddE View Post
That aside, I am at a loss. Would he be willing to test out foobar and the DBX plugin? You could simply play the same file repeatedly, stored on either drive without him knowing which was which, then do the tally afterwards and see whether there is any true difference.

 

Maybe it could be detected by listening to acoustic noise from the drives themselves, if at least one is not an SSD. But chances are the OS would cache any data that has already been read once in memory - today's computers with gigabytes of RAM can easily cache entire CDs. Anyway, my guess regarding the "difference" is that it could very well be imaginary, especially judging from how it is described. Or maybe the files are not actually identical (e.g. due to ReplayGain tags), but this is not likely.

post #2591 of 3743

So then it could just be hearing bias that caused him to hear a difference. Or he looked for a difference that wasn't there, or expected one.

post #2592 of 3743
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mezzo View Post
 

So then it could just be hearing bias that caused him to hear a difference. Or he looked for a difference that wasn't there, or expected one.

With storage device, any type and powered with anything, it may also be important if the files are fragmented or not - and to what extent they can be fragmented before it can be manifested as deterioration in SQ. On an infinitely fast infinitely capable computer this should not ba an issue - in real life things can be different.

post #2593 of 3743

But

Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post
 

With storage device, any type and powered with anything, it may also be important if the files are fragmented or not - and to what extent they can be fragmented before it can be manifested as deterioration in SQ. On an infinitely fast infinitely capable computer this should not ba an issue - in real life things can be different.

How does fragmentation affect the sound quality? Things like the tonal qualities of the sound? Because I thought that if there were errors that the music would be garbled, or parts missing, or something of that nature.

post #2594 of 3743
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mezzo View Post
 

But

How does fragmentation affect the sound quality? Things like the tonal qualities of the sound? Because I thought that if there were errors that the music would be garbled, or parts missing, or something of that nature.

It could affect jitter - depending on the configuration/processing power of the computer.

 

Degradation occurs long before there are audible  errors causing garbled music, missing parts or something of that nature obvious even to a bystander listener. The first thing to suffer is the warmth of sound as heard live or from a good master - it gets ever colder more this master is "downgraded", then gos spatial rendition, etc, etc, - long before the point described above has been reached.

 

Any computer works with some kind of "error correction" in case data stream is not what it should have been - and the less this pre-programmed error correction system is required and triggered/used, the more accurate the audio reproduction. If buffering of the whole file is possible, than fragmentation of files on original drives should have no consequence on SQ.

 

Just a reminder - it takes 25 frames ( or so...)  per second for humans to perceive a series of stationary pictures as moving picture - which is roughly 1000 times slower than what we perceive as sound - that is why so tiny errors in timing have great effects on audio quality.

 

Even if we make that factor 500 or so to accomodate hearing loss with age etc.

post #2595 of 3743
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mezzo View Post
 

But

Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post
 

With storage device, any type and powered with anything, it may also be important if the files are fragmented or not - and to what extent they can be fragmented before it can be manifested as deterioration in SQ. On an infinitely fast infinitely capable computer this should not ba an issue - in real life things can be different.

How does fragmentation affect the sound quality? Things like the tonal qualities of the sound? Because I thought that if there were errors that the music would be garbled, or parts missing, or something of that nature.

the only effect I can think of would be about power consumption on a hard drive crippling what was already obviously not enough for the rest. I don't imagine that happening on a lot of systems.

with speeds available now, and the initial buffer, I really can't imagine how bad the fragmentation would have to be to have any effect at all on sound, and as you said it would probably cause real errors, not sound changes.

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