- Feb 3, 2012
I think I'll quote the banned OP after this conversation and bloviate for a moment. Anyone in the current USB discussion, note I'm going to be tying this conversation back to the OP, and not actually directly addressing the current topic of conversation. You've been warned.
This loop is instructive: There are those who will never be convinced. But I wanted to try to dispel discouragement, if I might. I once believed that I could get "better audio" from the right device. I bought my first "HiFi" DAP in 2011, a HiFiman HM-601 based on the information I obtained on this forum (not the Sound Science section, of course, but Head-Fi more generally). I truly believed my ears. I have always had an interest in science, and am a software engineer by trade, so I eventually found my way to the Sound Science section and was at first appalled by all the folks saying that I had wasted my money. So I read, at first attempting to reinforce my preconceived notions, and find assurance that I hadn't wasted money, and there was plenty of that to be found (away from this section of the forum).
But I ventured back, understanding that I hadn't really approached these questions in an honest way, and I started doing a lot more digging around "high resolution" audio. I eventually did my own blind testing and confirmed that everything I owned sounded like everything else I owned. I tried really hard to find audible differences, and even wrote a review that probably contributed to people disliking the Sony ZX1 (as I revealed that without the DSP on the device, it was indistinguishable from my Clip+).
There are those that will never be convinced, but you aren't talking to them when you hash this stuff out on an internet forum. You're talking to the lurkers. I could afford the small amount of money that I spent on a silly little DAP, but when I read about people on here putting savings towards their 14th DAP I just cringe. But while some folks have to be right, there are also those that want to get it right (thanks for that Colin Cowherd). I think these conversations are worth having for those lurkers just trying to get it right, and not waste their money.
I mostly lurk myself here, people like @gregorio have a deeper understanding of the analog side of audio than I will ever have, and I more or less leave those conversations up to people like him. I'll jump in on things like USB, as that's a bit closer to my own wheelhouse. the question is, of course, do you trust people that don't have skin in the game? Or do you trust the person who is trying to convince you that this $10,000 DAC has some magic pixie dust that can overcome the occasional error in USB data transmission?
Nicely written and I suspect many (most?) of the Sound Science denizens who came to this hobby without an EE background have followed a similar path. At some point, it became painfully obvious that how vendors claimed things "worked" just wasn't aligned with the basic physics involved and I had to acknowledge that the name brand cables I was buying weren't the right direction to be looking for improving audio reproduction.
The best ROI I've ever realized in audio was purchasing and reading https://www.amazon.com/Sound-Reprod...p-113892136X/dp/113892136X/ref=dp_ob_title_bk. It certainly didn't make me an expert, but it did enable me to focus on measurable improvements and their likely root causes.
But if anyone can produce reliable evidence that USB cables can make a difference, I'll be at the front of the line to buy one. Not waiting up nights for that to happen though.