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Don't get why "Audiophile" USB Cable would improve sound quality - Page 46  

post #676 of 835
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talos View Post

 

 

I don't know why everybody is getting so hot under the collar.  After all, as you point out, this is a science forum, and all I am trying to do is point out areas where science might have something useful to say on the topic, which is, in case we forget, "I don't get why audiophile USB cable would improve sound quality".  I don't think I have been dissing anybody.  It is not disrespectful to address somebody's viewpoint with a reasoned counter-argument.  I am open to that myself. 

 

I have pointed out a scientifically valid explanation for why the jitter threshold for 24/192 audio could be as low as 310 femtoseconds.

I have pointed out a scientifically valid explanation for why a USB cable's properties might affect the jitter in the range of hundreds of picoseconds and below.

I have tried to point out that some aspects of jitter are measurable, whereas some are not.

I have tried to point out that any theoretical analysis of the measurable effects of jitter on the audio signal is difficult, if not impossible.

I have tried to get some measure of acceptance of the notion that some things which are audible are not measurable.

 

I don't believe I am foisting any radical voodoo or scientific pseudo-babble on anybody.

 

Taken together, all these observations add up to a basis for postulating that there is a reasonable argument to be made that a USB cable can impact the sound quality of a high end audio system.  Further, I am pointing out that this may even be true despite the fact that nobody can tell you what those audible effects could or should be, not can they tell you what to go away and measure in order to verify or deny the existence of such effects.  That's all.

 

But instead, I am reduced to a "believer", a term used dismissively, if not pejoratively.  On the other hand "no matter how much scientific evidence we provide" attempts to stake out the rational high ground, based on ... what, exactly?.

 

Sorry, but if this is a Science Forum, I'm Obama's mullah.  I won't be back, and I'm sure I won't be missed.

 




The terms (non)believer or subjectivist/objectivist are just convenient short descriptives of the different sides of the debate. The problem with much of the believer side's evidence is that it is untested speculation.

post #677 of 835
ahoy mateys.

well now, usb.org have actually replied.

may the light of non-placebo and 'omg I feel the powarh and warmth of mai cable' be witu and stuffs wink.gif

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/565791/on-usb-cables-and-controller-transfer-modes-a-series-of-questions-to-replies-from-usb-org
Edited by svyr - 8/5/11 at 9:03am
post #678 of 835

It baffles me how people can still maintain that the cable "designers" know better than the people who designed the entire specification.

post #679 of 835
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willakan View Post

It baffles me how people can still maintain that the cable "designers" know better than the people who designed the entire specification.


it also baffles me that no one bothered to ask the specs people before, since they're kinda partially there for this kind of thing and it seems will gladly exorcise the infernal audiopedophile unicorn with us. although I'm pleased to report for me and you they just confirm what we thought biggrin.gif ... on the other hand, I'm sure the devotees of magical 'thickness of your usb cable is proportional to soundstage' clan will no doubt claim their setup is polluted by evil EMI and their cables save them.
alas, not much we can do for them but *patpatpat*

anyway, hopefully that makes a meaningful contribution to 'buy properly designed gear and to spec cables' rather than wasting money on snakeoil bs.
Edited by svyr - 8/5/11 at 9:11am
post #680 of 835

svyr: Thank you! Very good info from the true experts on this subject.

 

> It baffles me how people can still maintain that the cable "designers" know better than the people who designed the entire specification.

 

What saddens me even more is how so many people on these forums will now be inevitably be trying to argue with the words from the people who designed the thing (USB). Remember the earlier comments by a poster (who I won't name) who said, specifically, that he distrusts and disrespects engineers and scientists. Reminds me of the phrase 'biting the hand that feeds you'.


Edited by ac500 - 8/5/11 at 9:12am
post #681 of 835

So USB.org don't get why "audiophile" USB cable would improve sound quality.

 

It is worth pointing out that no audiophile cable company has any official endorsements, no peer reviews of their science, nothing. I would be convinced if USB.org put their name to an audiophile cable confirming that it improves sound quality.

post #682 of 835
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prog Rock Man View Post

So USB.org don't get why "audiophile" USB cable would improve sound quality.

 

It is worth pointing out that no audiophile cable company has any official endorsements, no peer reviews of their science, nothing. I would be convinced if USB.org put their name to an audiophile cable confirming that it improves sound quality.



Your original question is still the best.  Why do some people hear differences?

post #683 of 835
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post

Your original question is still the best.  Why do some people hear differences?


Psychoacoustics via expectation bias.

post #684 of 835
The question "why?" has been answered. The sad part is that there's a general unwillingness to admit to oneself that one is under the influence of placebo. It's human nature and we're all susceptible to it to varying degrees.
post #685 of 835


 

deleted

Edited by JuicyBruce - 9/19/11 at 9:14pm
post #686 of 835
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prog Rock Man View Post

So USB.org don't get why "audiophile" USB cable would improve sound quality.

 

It is worth pointing out that no audiophile cable company has any official endorsements, no peer reviews of their science, nothing. I would be convinced if USB.org put their name to an audiophile cable confirming that it improves sound quality.

 

I, for one, expect any company actively engaging in consumer fraud by marketing grossly overpriced USB cables to at least have the common decency to bribe a non-profit's official or at least a well-respected academic to support or lend credence to their product. Drop 100k on buying an AES recommendation and I'm sure the increase in sales will more than make up for the investment. But then we have these hoighty-toighty professional organizations with their "ethics codes" and adherence to validated science, for shame!

 

post #687 of 835
Quote:
Originally Posted by anetode View Post



 

I, for one, expect any company actively engaging in consumer fraud by marketing grossly overpriced USB cables to at least have the common decency to bribe a non-profit's official or at least a well-respected academic to support or lend credence to their product. Drop 100k on buying an AES recommendation and I'm sure the increase in sales will more than make up for the investment. But then we have these hoighty-toighty professional organizations with their "ethics codes" and adherence to validated science, for shame!

 


AES proph measurement and DBT =) they'd want a repeatable procedure and someone will likely publish a paper retesting... so um yea, but no.
post #688 of 835

Has anyone noticed that the people who report differences always report these differences in areas which are completely subjective and non measurable?

 

Examples of these "perceived differences" are : Improved soundstage, increased air between instruments etc.

 

I notice that people who report improvements between USB cables it is always in these areas which are so subjective and so easy to just imagine a difference.

post #689 of 835

This is often true - qualities such as soundstage and instrument separation are quite difficult to pin down.  This could possibly be because many cables are all but indistinguishable - in my experience differences between say one copper USB cable and another are almost impossibly to cleary tell.  Much like with an SPDIF cable once you have a constant impedance (90 ohms for USB) changes are difficult to discern and to be honest from a technical standpoint this is what you would expect.  After having constant impedance, some cables have silver plated conductors which apparently can improve the signal waveform integrity by creating a more constant impedancy/frequency curve.  This probably depends a lot on the wire gauge, plate thickness etc and to be honest could be complete nonsense unless the cable designer shows some numbers to back this claim up.  The last thing that in theory can affect USB cable performance is cable length - where a shorter cable of the same construction should give better jitter performance as predicted by the USB standard paper.  The last factor is the succeptibility of the USB audio interface itself to jitter, along with other factors which may introduce jitter or noise into either the D/D converter or directly into the DAC.

 

You are quite right that soundstage and instrument separation are qualities which are rather easy to get confused about, and also in my experience many digital cables I have tested are very difficult to tell apart - I'm pretty sure I would fail a blind test with say 75 ohm SPDIF cables or USB cables of the same length and conductor type.  Personally I have heard more differences between USB ports and galvanic isolators than between different copper USB cables.  BUT I am personally quite certain I can discern between a copper USB cable and the silver plated copper cable I am using, and equally there is evidence that in theory different USB cables have different levels of jitter.  BUT the effects of jitter on D/D and D/A converters is fairly controversial, in no small part because there are innumerable variables in terms of hardware, but mostly because it is relatively simple to demonstrate that relatively large magnitudes of jitter (beyond that of any decent equipment) are not audible.

 

As you can see I personally am in quite a precarious position - I am forced to admit that on an priorised-knowledge level one cannot clearly predict that jitter will be audible.  However, based on experience I can say that elements such as USB cables have lead me to experience and articulate clear differences between USB and computer side hardware and software changes which I cannot readily explain and yet which I would not put down to cognitive bias.  As I already said I like to think I am willing to concede when I cannot clearly hear differences or when I hear negative differences.  When this happens I sell equipment very quickly as I would rather spend the money elsewhere.  Life would be much easier if I were an electrical or audio engineer researcher and had access to lab equipment to measure either electrical waveforms or jitter or even distortion levels at the output of the DAC.  Unfortunately most Audiophile tweaks are very short on technical insight and reliant upon anecdotal evidence to measure performance - and while I do not personally consider myself an objectivist - the points mentioned in this post, along with the preceding 45 pages of discussion should act as a warning not to spend too much money on digital cables.

 

EDIT: This is probably not that important but I feel I should mention that personally I prefer to focus on other factors such as bass bloom/tightness, midrange smoothness or grain, and imaging and focus (ie how clear the outline of an instrument can be discerned) along with upper midrange and treble fatigue.  These qualities are again not foolproof, but I personally find these easier to discern that soundstange and "air around instruments".  Best thing to do I would say is once you have selected a DAC -see if you can borrow a fairly short silver plated copper USB cables to compare against the generic USB cable - If you cant hear a clear difference then obviously it is not worth buying such a cable. 


Edited by drez - 5/9/12 at 10:10am
post #690 of 835

To be honest I cannot even be bothered to mess around trying USB cables until I see some hard evidence other than subjective opinions which conclusively proves that a "audiophile USB" is going to make any difference at all.

 

I am 99% sure that a reasonable quality USB cable will be completely fine to send the data to my async USB DAC.... The nature of this DAC should pretty much eliminate jitter and the cable of reasonable quality which conforms to USB standards should be 100% ok to transfer the data to the DAC.

 

Companies like wireworld and all this IMO are scammers who are trying to make money from snake oil and expectation bias.

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