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USB cable supposedly improving DAC sound quality? How can I take other posts seriously after that? - Page 8  

post #106 of 256

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post

 

What about audio exempts it from being an "exact science?" What do you have to support this assertion? Sure there is an art to a good recording, and mastering, but there is nothing about designing audio equipment (or electrical engineering in general) that is magic or alchemy - the principles are known, testable, repeatable and predictable. Especially not regarding the behavior of a piece of wire. That's about as exact and unchanging as things get in this particular realm. 

 

Everything designed for audio is first chosen to meet certain requirements, designed, tested under various conditions and calibrated. Repeat as necessary. AFAIK, USB is a pretty small deal for most. Personally, I've not had any USB cable making the signal so noisy it cannot be transferred reliably. In analog data transmission, maybe, but digital is pretty robust by its nature.

 


Edited by proton007 - 4/25/12 at 5:20pm
post #107 of 256

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

 

 

Everything designed for audio is first chosen to meet certain requirements, designed, tested under various conditions and calibrated. Repeat as necessary.

 

 

Exactly. 

post #108 of 256

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post

 

R=pL/A (Resistance = resistivity (ohms/m) x length / cross sectional area)

 

Length and cross sectional size matters when determining resistance. A short length of very resistive material is much less problematic than a very long length of it.

 

No, that doesn't make sense.  A narrow river is a narrow river, only so much water will flow through it.  I'm not supporting cables, either way.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post

 

1. A measurement can tell the difference between two signals. If you play one recording through one cable and measure the "jagged lines" and play the same recording through a different cable and measure the jagged lines. You can compare them for differences. If there are none, then the jagged lines are the same, no matter how you brain interpolates the jagged lines into music. The same = the same, regardless of content.

 

2. A computer or instrument can instantly tell that two languages or voices are different, even if it cannot tell you what language, or content of the speech. All we are looking for here is measurable differences - something instrumentation excels at.

 

 

1.  You are assuming that the jagged lines are total and conclusive.  It's like assuming audio components "have no sound", and everything audible is visible... in the dScope, in RightMark AudioAnalyzer software, at X website, at Y website, with X ADC sound-card, with X expensive software, according to X recording studio, accoridng to Y wikipedia entry, and X study, referenced in Z.

 

2.  Yes that's correct, in theory.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post
Quote:
Carbon-dating is an exact science, audio is an inexact science.

 

What about audio exempts it from being an "exact science?" What do you have to support this assertion? Sure there is an art to a good recording, and mastering, but there is nothing about designing audio equipment (or electrical engineering in general) that is magic or alchemy - the principles are known, testable, repeatable and predictable. Especially not regarding the behavior of a piece of wire. That's about as exact and unchanging as things get in this particular realm.

 

Well I'm not supporting cables, especially not USB or HDMI cables.  I am aware there is a lot of marketing, and overpriced components in audio, since unlike measuring PC monitors or TV screens, audio is an inexact science.  They can't get away with the marketing in TV screens, you can use quite accurate instrumentation, or have two screens right next to eachother.  Does the lack of silver cables, power cables and overpriced components for TV's support my assertion of "inexact science" for audio?  If your answer is audio is suspect to psychoacoustics, can you show me some evidence to support that theory?, and no the McGurk effect is not evidence, that's a visual stimuli to speed up linguistic processing.  A lot of Asian people can't hear the difference (at all) between R and L, if they could see the difference, and the mind processes the visual as a different sound, that helps.  This isn't related to using expensive equipment and hearing information which isn't there.  I doubt anyone hears sounds in equipment which aren't there, unless they hear voices.  I think people focus on different sounds at different times and have different levels of emotional intoxication, like drinking a can of Coca-Cola on a hot day at the beach, versus from the fridge.  Or they may just say X equipment sounds better when it doesn't, to support/enhance some kind self-image or other personal incentive.

 

It's not easy to support an intuitive assertion of a lack of science with... science.  Sure, accurate blind-testing and extensive surveys are key... however, it's a painstaking process and very unexplored.  Yes, I have seen a few studies which look convincing one way or the other, but they usually come with flaws one way or the other, and it's not like they're going to appear in The Lancet.

 

Audio is a bit like asserting that some kind of skin cream works, or it doesn't.  You can say it doesn't work since there's no scientific evidence (and that chemistry is an exact science), you can think it works since lots of independant reviews say so, or you can assert it works from your own experience, etc.

 

 

Anyway, here are some examples I collected today in a different thread

 

 

Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

 

Here are some of my quick notes relating to the new subjective / objective discussion.

 

 

- The Sony Qualia 010 has some of the worst measurements on paper of any headphone, ever. (yet, it's legendary, and it sells for more today second hand than it did when it was new)

 

sony_qualia-30Hz.jpgsony_qualia-300Hz.jpg

 

 

- Measurements will vary from tester to tester, they're not uniform, look up an IEM, look at it's FR charts from different testers, it always varies.

 

Example, look at the volume level of the NE-700X here at 20kHz. That looks... very very good. Compare the 20kHz volume to every single IEM here http://sonove.angry.jp/

 

13bfc7295668fbfe7de02278ec33e870.gif

 

 

 

- Measurements, even from the same tester, don't seem to indicate the overall sound very well, anyway.

 

Example 1, q-Jays versus Shure SE535 (I've heard both, they sound nothing alike, at all, totally different)

 

q-jays versus se535 50hz square wave.pngq-jays versus se535.png

 

 

Example 2, Sony MDR-EX700 versus Sony MDR-EX1000 (I've heard both, these sound totally, nothing alike. If anything, the EX700 is famously harsher)

 

FR_MDR_EX1000vs700.gif

 

source: http://sonove.angry.jp/sony_MDR_EX1000.html

 

 

So what does this tell us about audio, at least at the end of the chain?  That it's an inexact science.  The results vary all over the place, are non-indicative, and don't correlate very well to what we hear.

 

Keep in mind you can make a Skullcandy look better than a STAX on paper, if you play around with them with an equalizer and advanced effects prior to measurement.

 

A lot of people like to look at the world in black and white, i.e. if there's no data... it doesn't exist. That isn't reality, there is a lot in this world which exists, with no data or evidence to support it.

 

 

 

post #109 of 256

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by kiteki View Post
 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post

 

R=pL/A (Resistance = resistivity (ohms/m) x length / cross sectional area)

 

Length and cross sectional size matters when determining resistance. A short length of very resistive material is much less problematic than a very long length of it.

 

 

No, that doesn't make sense.  A narrow river is a narrow river, only so much water will flow through it. 

 

1. That it doesn't make sense to you, doesn't make it any less true. The equation is not mine, it is the way things are. Electricity is not water, nor does it behave like water.

 

 

2. If you want to call into question the accuracy and sensitivity of measuring equipment, you are free too - provided you can support your assertions. It is not enough to say we are "assuming everything audible is visible" - Thus far, we can and have shown a huge range of audible things with measurements, and measurements of things so tiny as to be inaudible by humans (but still measurable). The burden is on you to provide examples of something audible that is not measurable, before you can claim that humans can hear something our technology cannot. 

 

 

3. That there is variation in the measurements provided by amateurs (or even pros), does not prove that the science is in any way flawed. Measurements can be flawed, certainly, which is why you require many many instances of any given test, and verify your methodology and results with your peers and have things reviewed. Someone dicking around with the eq and poor set up will be corrected and called out.

 

As with anything here, no single test, or single measurement provides "proof" of anything whatsoever. But over time, if a preponderance of evidence and evaluation begins to trend towards the same answers - to point at the outliers and say that the science is inexact and flawed, is foolish and immaterial to the answers we do learn.


Edited by liamstrain - 4/26/12 at 8:42pm
post #110 of 256

 

Okay.  Well, I think everyone in this thread pretty much agrees cables pretty much sound the same, and should be well understood by science.  You can galvanically isolate a USB cable, or add a ferrite bead, or something like that, but at the end of the day, I think everyone knows that cables are the least important part of the entire chain, let's say 1%.

 

Marketing, lifts cables to expensive and important levels, instead of that 1% and $5, it's changed to 20% and $200, so new fish, and people that don't have time to research, just buy them, and hear no difference, that's an issue!  I think we can all agree.

 

My posts aren't aimed at cables, they're aimed at the people which take limited scientific scope and pretend it's total.  Like measuring DAP's with RMAA, and assigning a sense of totality to that, like... that's all that sound is.  It's annoying.

 

 

post #111 of 256

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post

 

 

1. That it doesn't make sense to you, doesn't make it any less true. The equation is not mine, it is the way things are. Electricity is not water, nor does it behave like water.

 

 

2. If you want to call into question the accuracy and sensitivity of measuring equipment, you are free too - provided you can support your assertions. It is not enough to say we are "assuming everything audible is visible" - Thus far, we can and have shown a huge range of audible things with measurements, and measurements of things so tiny as to be inaudible by humans (but still measurable). The burden is on you to provide examples of something audible that is not measurable, before you can claim that humans can hear something our technology cannot. 

 

 

3. That there is variation in the measurements provided by amateurs (or even pros), does not prove that the science is in any way flawed. Measurements can be flawed, certainly, which is why you require many many instances of any given test, and verify your methodology and results with your peers and have things reviewed. Someone dicking around with the eq and poor set up will be corrected and called out.

 

As with anything here, no single test, or single measurement provides "proof" of anything whatsoever. But over time, if a preponderance of evidence and evaluation begins to trend towards the same answers - to point at the outliers and say that the science is inexact and flawed, is foolish and immaterial to the answers we do learn.

 

Actually, from a perfectly scientific standpoint, for any result to be accepted, there has to be a min. of 99.99% chance of obtaining the result. So yes, experiments can be flawed.

But then, to argue against such a result, that one headphone sounds better even though it measures bad, needs 99.99% repeatability. Which one will I choose?

post #112 of 256

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

 

 

Actually, from a perfectly scientific standpoint, for any result to be accepted, there has to be a min. of 99.99% chance of obtaining the result. 

 

It depends on the nature of the query, and the expected accuracy of the testing method. What will be accepted depends wildly on what you are investigating. (Accepted of course, being in the sense that everything is subject to review, should new evidence come to light.) 

 

But overall, yes. We agree. 


Edited by liamstrain - 4/26/12 at 9:17pm
post #113 of 256

Sorry if I don't have anything intelligent to say but I totally LMAO'd when I read the title lol.

 

Just imagine the "audiophile" purchasing the silver-or-what-ever-usb cable and plugging it on his setup.. "ahh everything sounds so much better now" Cable companys boss just counting the money... "another dumbf**k".

 

Look at the cable included with a Benchmark DAC-1 usb. It's just a standard cable isn't it? And that DAC is usually used as a reference in many reviews etc. If usb cable actually made a huge difference, it wouldn't come supplied with a standard usb cable.

 

But I have never tried differences between usb cables, and never will, so I don't know why im typing here.

post #114 of 256

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post

 

2. If you want to call into question the accuracy and sensitivity of measuring equipment, you are free too - provided you can support your assertions. It is not enough to say we are "assuming everything audible is visible" - Thus far, we can and have shown a huge range of audible things with measurements, and measurements of things so tiny as to be inaudible by humans (but still measurable). The burden is on you to provide examples of something audible that is not measurable, before you can claim that humans can hear something our technology cannot.

 

 

I have provided those examples.  Identifying human voices.  Identifying sound-stage, imaging and layering in an IEM or headphone, etc.  I provided the example of TV's versus audio, that audio gets away with marketing, where TV's don't, since visual... is a more exact science, with more accurate instrumentation, and more conclusive data.  It's also more visible, and the results vary less.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post

 

3. That there is variation in the measurements provided by amateurs (or even pros), does not prove that the science is in any way flawed. Measurements can be flawed, certainly, which is why you require many many instances of any given test, and verify your methodology and results with your peers and have things reviewed. Someone dicking around with the eq and poor set up will be corrected and called out.

 

Yeah they will be corrected and called out I just meant the STAX will still sound better than the Skullcandy which could be proved with a blind-test survey, even if you used EQ and various effects to make the STAX look like crap on paper.

 

 

post #115 of 256

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post

 

As with anything here, no single test, or single measurement provides "proof" of anything whatsoever. But over time, if a preponderance of evidence and evaluation begins to trend towards the same answers - to point at the outliers and say that the science is inexact and flawed, is foolish and immaterial to the answers we do learn.

 

So, for instance, is what you're saying "a preponderance of evidence and evaluation begins to trend towards the same answers" that all USB cables will perform identical?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Headzone View Post

 

Look at the cable included with a Benchmark DAC-1 usb. It's just a standard cable isn't it? And that DAC is usually used as a reference in many reviews etc. If usb cable actually made a huge difference, it wouldn't come supplied with a standard usb cable.

 

That's assuming that Benchmark know everything about USB cables and have measured them with all science in totality, yes.

 

 

post #116 of 256

AFAIK I've never seen any professional/studio equipment maker say USB cables make a difference. Infact I've read about plenty denying it.

Why is it that these things exist only in the personal audiophile market? Is it because professional consumers understand what they're buying?


Edited by proton007 - 4/26/12 at 10:02pm
post #117 of 256

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

AFAIK I've never seen any professional/studio equipment maker say USB cables make a difference. Infact I've read about plenty denying it.

Why is it that these things exist only in the personal audiophile market? Is it because professional consumers understand what they're buying?

 

So since you haven't seen data evidencing a difference, there is none as far as you're concerned, right?  Not a personal attack... just curious.

 

post #118 of 256

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

So since you haven't seen data evidencing a difference, there is none as far as you're concerned, right?  Not a personal attack... just curious.

 

 

My idea is that for studio equipment manufacturers, these things matter a lot more, since their devices will be used to analyze and produce music. If anything, their standards have to be more stringent than ours. As far as I've read, they have found no difference.


Edited by proton007 - 4/26/12 at 10:55pm
post #119 of 256

 

That makes sense, but studios are flawed too, with varying standards.  Hey, as far as headphones go, they're mostly using Sony MDR-V6 / CD900ST, Fostex T40RP / T50RP, Shure SRH-840 / 940, from what I've read.

 

A lot of their equipment uses op-amps like NE5532 or cheaper, not the higher grade ones, like AD797.

 

If there is a measureable improvement from one USB cable to the other, it doesn't mean studios or their suppliers will find it.

 

post #120 of 256

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

 

That makes sense, but studios are flawed too, with varying standards.  Hey, as far as headphones go, they're mostly using Sony MDR-V6 / CD900ST, Fostex T40RP / T50RP, Shure SRH-840 / 940, from what I've read.

 

A lot of their equipment uses op-amps like NE5532 or cheaper, not the higher grade ones, like AD797.

 

If there is a measureable improvement from one USB cable to the other, it doesn't mean studios or their suppliers will find it.

 

 

If they have no reason to.

Otherwise, from the manufacturer's point of view I don't think why I would miss on the opportunity of using a 'better' usb cable that'll give me a competitive advantage over other manufacturers.

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