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USB cable supposedly improving DAC sound quality? How can I take other posts seriously after that? - Page 7  

post #91 of 256

a better digital cable can generally help if:

 

1. The original cable is broken or really poorly made.

 

2. The cable run is absurdly large.

 

 

but in general, it does nothing.

post #92 of 256

I do not understand why people keep commenting on this. If you believe it has no effect then how does it affect you ?

Since you are never going to use it anyway, the only reason someone who would state it does nothing is to deny someone elses
experiences/beliefs. So what is the point anyway ? It doesnt help you in any way whatsoever.

Let people do what they want to do, if they notice a perceptible difference for them, then good on them, its got nothing to do with you naysayers. It is just pride of point trying to argue so you can convince everyone to agree with you. So in the end your opinion is worthless as you believe what you do no matter what anyone else sais, you have no valid opinion cause it comes from close mindedness.

For all we know we just dont have the technology to detect the difference, everyone hears differently, and there are many

psychological phenomenon that can account for differences in what you hear.  In the end people will believe what they want to.


Edited by garetz - 4/19/12 at 10:23pm
post #93 of 256

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by garetz View Post

I do not understand why people keep commenting on this. If you believe it has no effect then how does it affect you ?

Since you are never going to use it anyway, the only reason someone who would state it does nothing is to deny someone elses
experiences/beliefs. So what is the point anyway ? It doesnt help you in any way whatsoever.

Let people do what they want to do, if they notice a perceptible difference for them, then good on them, its got nothing to do with you naysayers. It is just pride of point trying to argue so you can convince everyone to agree with you. So in the end your opinion is worthless as you believe what you do no matter what anyone else sais, you have no valid opinion cause it comes from close mindedness.

For all we know we just dont have the technology to detect the difference, everyone hears differently, and there are many

psychological phenomenon that can account for differences in what you hear.  In the end people will believe what they want to.

 

 because selling a USB cable for a few hundred $ is unethical, and the manufacturers of that cable don't have the technology to create the differences that can't be measured.

post #94 of 256

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by garetz View Post

For all we know we just dont have the technology to detect the difference, everyone hears differently, and there are many

psychological phenomenon that can account for differences in what you hear.  In the end people will believe what they want to.

 

There's plenty of technology to measure the difference. The fact is there isn't any difference to measure , and even if there is, it doesn't make a dime's worth of a difference. A transport medium is built with a certain objective in mind: To transfer data reliably.

Once that is met, there is nothing more that can be done. A digital signal is no better than another digital signal if they both carry the same information.

 

Secondly, its good to know these things happen and how to avoid them. Those who have money to burn do not care anyways. For those who don't its important to get their money's worth.

post #95 of 256

It may not help us, but it will help those new to our hobby, who stumble across these threads.  If no one is refuting the claims, they will believe in this nonsense, and may end up wasting hundreds if not thousands of dollars! 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by garetz View Post

I do not understand why people keep commenting on this. If you believe it has no effect then how does it affect you ?

Since you are never going to use it anyway, the only reason someone who would state it does nothing is to deny someone elses
experiences/beliefs. So what is the point anyway ? It doesnt help you in any way whatsoever.

 

 

post #96 of 256

 

The theories I've seen which I think may have some kind of validity are

 

 

- keep the USB cable short

 

- it may conduct EMI/RFI

 

 

Of course, it's just data transmission, and $200 USB cables are nonsense, just like $200 HDMI cables.

 

On the flipside, it seems like cables for electric guitars do make an audible difference, and there is some scientific data for that.

 

 

When it comes to expensive headphone and IEM cables, I think they purposely intertwine lead and stuff into the cables which may make them sound different (i.e. worse), what gets me with silver cables is why isn't the 3.5mm jack silver too?

 

Surely the higher conductivity will reach a dead-end at the jack.

 

 

post #97 of 256

      Quote:

Originally Posted by garetz View Post

 

 

It's because audio has a spirit of overkill and excess to get the best sound possible.

 

It's our duty to define where that excess pays off, and where it doesn't.

 

Unfortunately, I don't think scientific instrumentation and ABX testing is sufficient, so we have to be open minded to human evaluation.  Unfortunately x2, that human evalution is mostly nonsense reviews and marketing, this creates a divide between science versus marketing, when neither is correct, so audio is really an extremely difficult mine-field.

 

 

post #98 of 256

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Doug View Post

It may not help us, but it will help those new to our hobby, who stumble across these threads.  If no one is refuting the claims, they will believe in this nonsense, and may end up wasting hundreds if not thousands of dollars! 

 

 

 

 

Great post, I discovered all this audiofoolery after stumbling across an old thread on the AVS forums.  It does make a difference, and we should not let absurd assumptions go unchallenged.

post #99 of 256

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

      Quote:

 

 


 

Unfortunately, I don't think scientific instrumentation and ABX testing is sufficient, so we have to be open minded to human evaluation.  Unfortunately x2, that human evalution is mostly nonsense reviews and marketing, this creates a divide between science versus marketing, when neither is correct, so audio is really an extremely difficult mine-field.

 

 

 

No wonder it's a mine-field, 'scientific instrumentation and ABX testing isn't sufficient' .

Just like 'carbon-dating is wrong, you need to 'be open' to 'intelligent design'' ...

So, we need to 'be open-minded' to 'human evaluation' ??

That means Silver-cables sound 'Cold',  Gold-Cables sound 'Warm' and pink cables sound 'Queer' .

 

You can't have your cake and eat it.

Is it solid science that has made it possible to even listen to recorded music or is it alchemy and 'magic' ??

 

 

 


Edited by AKG240mkII - 4/23/12 at 5:54am
post #100 of 256

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

 

When it comes to expensive headphone and IEM cables, I think they purposely intertwine lead and stuff into the cables which may make them sound different (i.e. worse), what gets me with silver cables is why isn't the 3.5mm jack silver too?

 

Surely the higher conductivity will reach a dead-end at the jack.

 

 

With most connectors, the greater surface/conducting area overcomes the difference in material conductivity. Also, it represents a very short length at the reduced conductivity. These are cumulative changes, so it is only a very minor reduction in comparison with the much longer cable length difference. 

 

With that said, there is little to suggest that even pretty drastically increased conductivity (relatively speaking) makes any audible difference at all.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

Unfortunately, I don't think scientific instrumentation and ABX testing is sufficient, so we have to be open minded to human evaluation.  Unfortunately x2, that human evalution is mostly nonsense reviews and marketing, this creates a divide between science versus marketing, when neither is correct, so audio is really an extremely difficult mine-field.

 

 

1. ABX and Double Blind testing IS human evaluation. Just without the bias (conscious or un-conscious). I refuse to believe without sufficient evidence, that biased/sighted evaluations are somehow more valid than those which are controlled for bias. Similarly, there is nothing to suggest that eye/ear/brain system is more sensitive than well designed measurement instrumentation, far from it. But there are mounds of data on the unreliability of that system - more than enough to call into question the evaluations of even the most "trained" listeners, before you would get into the data questioning the research instrumentation.


Edited by liamstrain - 4/23/12 at 9:10am
post #101 of 256

I answered those queries in a different post at length I'll try to find later.

 

In short blind testing will reveal differences and is scientific yes, the issue is almost everyone will (at least initially) fail an ABX of MP3 320 versus FLAC, does that mean the difference isn't there?  No, because there have been successful ABX's of it too.

 

So in short, failed ABX's will prove the difference is slight.  Another issue is, the amount of blind testing in audio is actually very limited, for example, can anyone link me to a blind test of op-amps?  I can't find any, just an example.

post #102 of 256

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

I answered those queries in a different post at length I'll try to find later.

 

In short blind testing will reveal differences and is scientific yes, the issue is almost everyone will (at least initially) fail an ABX of MP3 320 versus FLAC, does that mean the difference isn't there?  No, because there have been successful ABX's of it too.

 

So in short, failed ABX's will prove the difference is slight.  Another issue is, the amount of blind testing in audio is actually very limited, for example, can anyone link me to a blind test of op-amps?  I can't find any, just an example.

 

Nobody is suggesting a failed ABX (especially by itself) proves anything. Though repeated data points with that effect show a strong trend towards the null hypothesis. 

 

The difference in this example (MP3s), however, is that both the measurements and theory support that there could be differences. So the question is one of audibility. 

 

With cables, however, both the measurements and theory suggest that there should be no difference. When this is also supported by ABX and DBT data, it becomes harder and harder to suggest that sighted/biased human perception somehow trumps the mountains of other data. 

 


Edited by liamstrain - 4/25/12 at 5:55am
post #103 of 256

I haven't read any of the posts and only skimmed the OP's first one.

 

I would say that from a super crappy USB cable to a normal one there is a difference, I've had USB cable's that delivered no song, couldn't work, or had super crackles and......the devil himself in it. But those are rare and super cheap one's, the moment you get to most USB cables.....(like $2 to make and $4+ to buy) there is no difference thereafter.

 

How can you take posts seriously?.....by learning on how to sort through posts. IT's a skill you aquire from being on HEad-fi for a while.

post #104 of 256

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by AKG240mkII View Post

 

No wonder it's a mine-field, 'scientific instrumentation and ABX testing isn't sufficient' .

Just like 'carbon-dating is wrong, you need to 'be open' to 'intelligent design'' ...

So, we need to 'be open-minded' to 'human evaluation' ??

That means Silver-cables sound 'Cold',  Gold-Cables sound 'Warm' and pink cables sound 'Queer' .

 

You can't have your cake and eat it.

Is it solid science that has made it possible to even listen to recorded music or is it alchemy and 'magic' ??

 

Carbon-dating is an exact science, audio is an inexact science.  So yes, music and audio still has a lot of alchemy and magic involved.

 

The cable sector = marketing/profit.  In audio there is a lot of junk and few diamonds.  p.s. A lot of people say cables sound exactly the same too, you know, it's not all science versus victims of Nike, Prada & Versace Hi-Fi equipment.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post

 

With most connectors, the greater surface/conducting area overcomes the difference in material conductivity. Also, it represents a very short length at the reduced conductivity. These are cumulative changes, so it is only a very minor reduction in comparison with the much longer cable length difference.

 

With that said, there is little to suggest that even pretty drastically increased conductivity (relatively speaking) makes any audible difference at all.

 

Why does a short length matter?  How am I supposed to conduct a 10,000 Volt power-line into a phone-line, whether it's 1 kilometre or 1 centimetre?

 

I haven't suggested that silver/higher conductivity makes an audible difference but I understand why a lot of people like to use it in DIY projects.  I believe there is a lot of controversy surrounding cables (at the utmost end of the chain) since they may very likely sound different due to having different impedances and/or intertwining tin, lead etc. which may result in some kind of audible shift (for the lesser).

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post

 

ABX and Double Blind testing IS human evaluation. Just without the bias (conscious or un-conscious). I refuse to believe without sufficient evidence, that biased/sighted evaluations are somehow more valid than those which are controlled for bias.

 

Similarly, there is nothing to suggest that eye/ear/brain system is more sensitive than well designed measurement instrumentation, far from it. But there are mounds of data on the unreliability of that system - more than enough to call into question the evaluations of even the most "trained" listeners, before you would get into the data questioning the research instrumentation.

 

Yeah, we can call listening evaluation into question all the time.  We don't call measurements into question because they're exact... at a specific task in specific conditions.

 

As humans, we can identify millions of voices, accents and languages instantly, which on paper with all scientific instrumentation I know of is just a bunch of jagged lines.  Extrapolate on that, and suddenly you'll have vital sonic information like "natural sound" which, even though this should be the easiest of them all to measure in speakers and headphones, the science fails to do so, AFAIK.

 

 


 

Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

 

Audio is not about reading lol.

 

I have to admit though, in the last two years, I've probably read and written more about audio than I've listened to it, since I have a hard time concentrating on music/audio and writing at the same time, unless I'm listening to speakers.

 

As for subjective VS objective, I think they both have limitations. Here is an example for objective, if you show an expert the measurements of a new headphone, without him having any idea what the headphone is, can he tell you exactly what it will sound like? If it's open-air or closed? If it's an little earbud or a STAX? An IEM? How many drivers in the IEM? Nope... they can't.

 

What the science can do very well though, is compare different measurements against eachother, such as here http://sonove.angry.jp/, or make sure all units are identically volume matched, such as with the Etymotic ER-4.

 

Nonetheless, some scientists like to believe we can measure speakers, IEM's and headphones beyond human perception, and that science is king. That simply isn't reality, and yet they'll wave off human perceptions like sound stage, transparency, natural tone or sensations of higher resolution as "psychoacoustics" with a "pix or it didn't happen" attitude. The same applies to DAC's and Amps, if someone has a theory for example X sounds better due to less EMI/RFI they'll say "pix or it didn't happen", come on, it's difficult to take accurate pictures of audio, in 2012, maybe in 2112 it'll be easier.

 

As for blind tests, they have some limitations too, one limitation is they're time consuming and difficult to set up, so usually the tester has a motive, and is inclined to a certain outcome, he may tweak the conditions and variables to his liking, to achieve that outcome, subconsciously. This most likely happened in Oohashi study of ultrasonic content, and it happened in the Meyer&Moran study too, neither study is intact at all, and yet, you'll find people cherry-picking them as "evidence" to support their own flawed belief system, whether it's SACD or "objectivist", in those two examples.

 

The other limitation of blind testing is people think ABX testing is easier than normal blind testing, I suspect ABX is harder in some situations (with very similar sounding content, and same FR) due to the way our mind culls audio information and likes to identify sounds. See the McGurk effect, for an example.

 

On the subjective side of things audio is littered with marketing, fashion, hype, and people believing in expensive CD players and cables, because they want to believe in it, not because they can actually hear any difference. It's like when people talk about FLAC saying how much better than MP3 it sounds, that's just a belief system, keeping stuff pure, in reality they sound extremely similar, more similar than different sound-cards or DAC's, for example.

 

 

post #105 of 256

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

 

Why does a short length matter?  How am I supposed to conduct a 10,000 Volt power-line into a phone-line, whether it's 1 kilometre or 1 centimetre?

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

Quote:
As humans, we can identify millions of voices, accents and languages instantly, which on paper with all scientific instrumentation I know of is just a bunch of jagged lines.  Extrapolate on that, and suddenly you'll have vital sonic information like "natural sound" which, even though this should be the easiest of them all to measure in speakers and headphones, the science fails to do so, AFAIK.

 

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. 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. 

 

 

 

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. 


Edited by liamstrain - 4/25/12 at 3:34pm
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