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

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by mus1cjunk1e, Mar 26, 2011.
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  1. sonitus mirus
    The thing that is defective is most likely neither the USB cable nor the DAC.
  2. bigshot
    If you asked your wife to fill the tank with either one or the other without telling you randomly ten different fill ups, how many times do you think you would be able to correctly identify the brand of gas? Have you ever tried to determine the difference blind?
  3. bigshot
    Around here, we call that argument ad verecundiam. We'll go ahead and challenge your anecdotal argument from authority, but if you choose to not support it, we'll cheerfully dismiss your claim. See! It's a fun game we can all play together!
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  4. Mediahound
    Ironic, given that you're actually perpetuating a car gasoline analogy here in this thread.
  5. GChief
    Like I said no skin off my backside. If people are to ignorant to consider experience it’s all good to me.
  6. sonitus mirus
    Consider that any experience can be ignorant, too.
  7. GChief
    Lol, really, I work with digital control signals everyday but whatever you chose to believe is cool with me. And I work with 20 something EE’s (pretty sure that’s a large part of the demograpgic on here which would explain a lot) everyday and we have discussions about why thier designs are not working properly and then we try what one of the techs with exprenice suggests and hey, it works.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
    Mediahound likes this.
  8. sonitus mirus
    Ignorance is bliss. Enjoy your blissful experience.
  9. castleofargh Contributor
    what I can do is try to refocus the topic, because trying to win the internet about fuel filters is clearly not going where we want.

    if we had something we could begin to trust about audible experiences, instead of empty claims over sighted tests, maybe over time we'd see some pattern. maybe we'd notice that some DACs have very few testimonies of audible differences, maybe a specific DAC would come out as a main source of positive differences. maybe some specific cable would come up often as showing significant difference, and ideally someone would try to measure a few things on that cable, or at least measure the output of the DAC to make sure that difference is an objective improvement. we could try to look how stable some of the DACs are and how often the idea of changing the DAC would indeed be the proper action. we're not researchers and we have no budget to do all that, but sometimes with a little bit of luck, we get people with a DAC and the means to test things properly.
    we could try to check if somehow it happens on all formats, or only with DSD or crazy high PCM resolutions. there are many things to look for and study once we have evidence of change and some data we can trust and work with.
    but with mountains of empty claims, my natural instinct is to flush it all down the toilet. because I can't use what I can't trust, and I can never trust an empty claim. at least not when pretending to want to establish facts. in the comfort of my house, personal choices are all well and fine. personal belief is fine as well. but on a forum while claiming to know the objective reality of things, we do need a little more than "trust me I'm an audiophile".

    also how does someone pick a cable? when I pick a DAC I start with a filter on specs. any manufacturer website that doesn't offer at least the usual specs, I don't buy from it. anything with specs that don't suggest transparency, I don't buy. then I go with the little game of luck/price/interconnections/look, and most of the time I end up with 2 or 3 products I want. and even more often, the first I try is fine and I keep it.
    now with a cable, I know I want a USB cable and... well, that's it. for non audio gears I would sometimes be concerned over maximum speed and how they comply to some specific standard for USB3 or whatever. but for audio I don't usually give it too much thought. then most audiophile cable manufacturers provide close to no electrical specs(and I would guess a good deal of them don't have the gear to measure them accurately anyway). so we're back to some guy telling me to trust him for no reason. and I'm not likely to go spend 300$ on that.

    so IMO, people sure of how their cables make a positive and audible difference, but who won't do or can't do any proper testing, should send those cables to some of the non believers who happen to have the means and will to test stuff. one way or another we'd get more data.
    GChief likes this.
  10. GChief
    Let me know how that is so I can try it when I am to ignorant to listen to expreniced people’s input.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  11. Mediahound

    That would only apply if listening to audio were an objective experience. Isn't listening to audio a subjective experience?

    We all have one thing in common though: we all want the best listening experience possible.

    You would think that a USB interconnect between your DAC and computer only carries bits having zero effect on sound quality, but that is not always the case. I think we all agree that not all DACS or USB busses or computers or music severs are created equal. Not to mention everyone having totally different listening environments with varying RF/EMI levels, or lack thereof.

    I recall reading a white paper by Apogee (they make Pro studio recording digital equipment) a few years back explaining that for USB audio “speed” is crucial as time relationships within a digital stream are absolutely critical to the reconstruction of the analogue wave form that brings the sound experience into the analogue world. When playing audio, you’re depending on the DAC and the computer’s clock to avoid jitter. But because your DAC is connected to your computer via a cable, the cable itself can have an effect as well.

    Time-based damage, jitter, negatively affects the experience of sound by making it sound flat, small, harsh and “foggy”. Yes your DAC, even an inexpensive one, has a USB chip on board that will correct for data loss, but it’s the computer’s and DAC’s internal word clock that must prevent jitter from corrupting the timing. That’s easier said than done and Apogee has even developed an expensive rack-sized device, Big Ben ( http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/big-ben ), a master word clock specifically for the purpose. Big Ben is a word clock that takes care of the jitter when recording audio in recording studios and guess what? It uses a special cable to ensure no jitter is introduced along the way.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
    GChief likes this.
  12. sonitus mirus

    Why not bother yourself to read through this thread rather than regurgitate baseless claims without any merit or objective proof. This stuff has already been discussed. No need to repeat the discussion anew.

    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  13. bigshot
    Quite frankly, I don't see how the gasoline analogy applies to sound at all. But I've never noticed any difference between brands of gasoline at all, and I'm puzzled why people think they can tell clear differences. I'm suspecting it may be some sort of bias, which would make the analogy much more applicable to audiophile sound.

    I can only speak to how I do it... I go to Amazon and order the "Amazon Basics" cable that I need. Or I go to Monoprice and order their plain vanilla cable. I haven't had any problems doing this so far. I will certainly let everyone know if I do.

    You are pretty much admitting you're too ignorant to listen when you say "Just don’t expect me to explain myself when I make a point that has 30+ yrs of experience working on digital electronics and sound processing equipment. I will be stating real world experiences and people can take it or leave it." You're assuming that you don't need to discuss the issue because your experience is more important than everyone else's experience there. Why would you assume that? Ignorance is simply not knowing something. Nothing wrong with that. No one can know everything there is to know. But willful ignorance is something else altogether. Refusing to discuss and saying "I know more than you do so you can take it or leave it" sounds like willful ignorance to me.

    Listening to sound can be analyzed objectively. Appreciating music is a subjective process. But it's still possible to discuss the subjective experience of appreciating music in a critical and objective matter. Just because there are subjective elements to something, it doesn't mean that there are no objective elements that can be discussed. That is a logical fallacy called False Dilemma, it also strays into Affirming the Consequent.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
  14. gregorio
    What evidence do you have to back up your claim that it's not easy? We've already had posted to this thread objective, measurement evidence which demonstrates the exact opposite. If even a $79 device, which is both an ADC+DAC, can reduce jitter (and other) artefacts to well below audibility how much easier does it get? AGAIN, even IF an audiophile cable (or other accessories) do actually reduce jitter, how would "even more inaudible" be audibly better than something which is already "well below audibility"? And YET AGAIN, if a $79 DAC can accomplish this "well below audibility" feat with a generic USB cable, how on earth is it possible and/or acceptable for more expensive DACs to perform the dozens of times worse which would be required for these jitter (and other) artefacts to reach audibility? This isn't the first time I've asked these questions, WHY DO YOU REFUSE TO ANSWER THEM?!!!!

    And how can you have a "subjective experience" of something which is inaudible? Hint: There's only one RATIONAL answer to this question!

    1. No, that is NOT the purpose of an external masterclock. In fact, using an external masterclock actually increases jitter (or at very best makes no difference), relative to using an ADC's/DAC's own internal clock (supporting evidence here)! The reason for a masterclock is to provide a COMMON clock when synchronising a lot of different digital devices and is most commonly used in AV studios to sync digital video with digital audio.
    2. No it doesn't! It uses/requires completely bog standard component video cable (75ohm BNC connectors/coax cable), a few bucks a foot! As do all other studio masterclocks.

    You can't just keep going round in circles, repeating the same nonsense while either completely ignoring the facts (and measured evidence) or deliberately misrepresenting those you don't ignore. Why don't you answer the questions above?

    sonitus mirus likes this.
  15. Dulalala
    I have to partially agree with @Mediahound statement. You CAN have a subjective experience of something that’s inaudible because things like the placebo effect and expectancy bias exist.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
    GChief likes this.
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