I prefer to call it bias, so I'm gonna use that term..
Originally Posted by Fork
Yes, of course the placebo effect is real, but we're talking about experienced listeners, not random people exposed to speaker sound.
What has experience got to do with it?
If you can't get over placebo what are you doing auditioning $1,000 USB cables?
Are you serious? I don't think you understand the power of bias. Nobody is immune to it. There are experiments that show this. Olive did tests with some very experienced listeners ranging form Harman employees to audio retailers, professional audio reviewers ... They all were influenced subconsciously by bias in what they were >>> hearing <<<.
Even if someone can show you a measurable difference in a USB cable it wouldn't guarantee that it'd have any audible effect on the sound. Again there's no getting around letting your ears be the judge.
Don't you think that measurable differences at the output of a DAC due to a different USB cable would be a pretty good motivation for engineers to improve the USB specification? Don't you think serious pro audio companies would recommend these silly cables?
There are tight limits of tolerance in the USB spec for a reason - to ensure virtually error-free data transmission in time. If your DAC's sound breaks down with a cheap but built-to-spec USB cable, then the DAC is very likely crap.
I'm all for doing double blind tests. I don't do it for the vast majority of my purchases, because I don't find it necessary to spend the kind of time setting up a double-blind to find gear that satisfies me.
You really should do one between USB cables.
I also find them a waste of time when testing components that don't make a difference.
However, if you want to do it you wouldn't do nonsensical things like "measurement the magnetic fields".
That question for those measurements was directed at the science bit you posted and implied to have something to do with some magical audio product.
Just linking to some scientific paper and selling a product claiming to be based on it is utter nonsense. Btw, this has been done countless times before. Quantum woo woo healing is a good example. It's using sincere science to justify some nonsense hoping that people will buy into it when they catch a glimpse of references to (pseudo-)science.
Of course when you ask the people selling those products the answers are anything but science. When you ask about measurements you get excuses. When you ask about tests you get excuses.
The notion that any machine is better for evaluating sound quality than the human ear is silly. Yes, machines have higher capability in certain areas, but we're not talking about sound for the ears of a machine, we're talking about sound for human ears.
A USB cable does not transmit sound so there are no audio measurements with USB cables per se. Nobody is saying that machines are better at evaluating perceived qualities - that indeed actually makes little sense. We'd have to have a perfect model of our whole auditory system.
The thing is, if you take two identical DACs but with two completely different USB cables (one cheap, one super duper audiophile grade and expensive) and subtract their output signals from each other the output is the noise floor of the DACs. It is physically impossible for there to be a difference above that remaining extremely low-level noise.
Anyone who builds speakers for a living will tell you he once built a speaker with the most perfect specs and measurements imaginable and it sucked. If you want to use machine measurements to build your system your sound will most assuredly suck, but if that's how were going about it you probably won't know the difference.
Tell that to Sean Olive (Harman Research, btw he's on the forum), Paul Barton (PSB Speakers), Floyd Toole (Harman, National Research Council of Canada) ... they have the best measurement equipment and they would certainly enlighten you.
Experiments on correlation of objective with subjective "measurements" have been done over 30 years ago.
Edited by xnor - 10/15/13 at 6:03pm