Why do USB cables make such a difference?
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bigshot

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Why?
 
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Redcarmoose

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Because I rarely believe important stuff unless I try it for myself. Maybe you should try one too.

Have you ever done a blind test with an expensive USB?

Many of the chances I’ve taken have been surprising in audio. I basically only believe my own ears. Also I can’t get a system upgrade unless I spend another 8K, which I’m not doing.
 
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GrussGott

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There’s no reason to believe USB cables make an audible difference.
Except for the thousands of people who perceive a difference and the fact that nobody has ever proved they can't.

Although your certainty despite zero expertise in the field, and any proof otherwise is impressive!
 
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PointyFox

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Except for the thousands of people who perceive a difference and the fact that nobody has ever proved they can't.

Although your certainty despite zero expertise in the field, and any proof otherwise is impressive!
Proving you can't hear a difference doesn't prove anything since that particular person may not have the ability to perceive any differences if they exist. The proof would be someone out of these "thousands of people who perceive a difference" proving they actually can hear a difference; which would be astonishing since people haven't even been able to prove they can hear a difference between amplifiers (Richard Clark Amp Challenge) let alone a single digital connector.
 
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bigshot

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If there is anyone who has been able to discern a difference between USB cables, under controlled conditions I would appreciate their help to validate the fact through listening tests and measurements conducted by the Sound Science brain trust. If this is true, let's prove it. If it's a lie, why are we wasting our time talking about it?
 
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bigshot

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I meant the first I have personally tried which sounded different in sighted tests. Maybe because it was more expensively priced?
Because I rarely believe important stuff unless I try it for myself.
Did you think it wasn't actually important, or did you buy it because it was expensively priced? Did you really just buy it or have you had it for a while? You're acting like you are trying to prove something through your argument. Would you like to submit your cable to independent testing and find out the truth?
 
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Redcarmoose

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Because I rarely believe important stuff unless I try it for myself. Maybe you should try one too.

Have you ever done a blind test with an expensive USB?

Many of the chances I’ve taken have been surprising in audio. I basically only believe my own ears. Also I can’t get a system upgrade unless I spend another 8K, which I’m not doing.
Did you think it wasn't actually important, or did you buy it because it was expensively priced? Did you really just buy it or have you had it for a while? You're acting like you are trying to prove something through your argument. Would you like to submit your cable to independent testing and find out the truth?
I was told it could result in an important sound upgrade. And in sighted tests it does just that.

Again, this is a fairly simple process for myself. I would never give the cable out. Just going to test it myself. I’m not really interested in what others do, though I feel they should try a simple test themselves instead of just believing there is no difference.

I personally think when I’m done with my blind test, I figure there will be no difference between expensive AQ USB cables or cheap ones. But......in case there is a true sound quality improvement, then that’s a win!



My history so far is pretty simple:

1) Get suggestions from others. Purchase cable. I have just purchased the cable new.

2) A blind test to hear for sonic improvements.

End of story.

But..........you never answered my questions. I will repeat the exact post at the top as quotation of myself; in case you missed my question.

“Have you ever done a test yourself to determine if expensive USB cables improve sound in your system? “
 
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I don't use USB cables for audio. I use HDMI. It was all wired by my home theater tech. He used Monoprice I think. I use USB and Firewire to connect my disk arrays to my media server. I use the cables that came with the arrays. Never noticed any skipping on serving high data rate video, so it must work fine. The only problem I've ever had with a digital cable is an extremely long run of HDMI from my AVR to my projector mounted up in the beams on the ceiling. The home theater guy bent the cable a little too much trying to work it around a corner and the cable shorted out. HDMI is delicate, especially over long runs. I doubt that more expensive cables would be more flexible. It's easy to tell if a cable is out of spec with HDMI because the handshaking at the beginning of the connection won't complete.

If you find that your cable is colored and doesn't sound like other USB cables, I hope you'll consider loaning it out to be tested. It would be useful to know what makes it sound different. I'm curious though... I seem to remember you used to argue that you didn't believe in the value of blind testing. What changed your mind?
 
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castleofargh

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Because I rarely believe important stuff unless I try it for myself. Maybe you should try one too.

Have you ever done a blind test with an expensive USB?

Many of the chances I’ve taken have been surprising in audio. I basically only believe my own ears. Also I can’t get a system upgrade unless I another 8K, which I’m not doing.
I'm really divided on this. on one hand I completely agree that actual(proper!) experiment is a really good way to know where we stand with our own gears and circumstances.
on the other hand, giving money to expensive(for what they are) audiophile products, to me that's like feeding the animal you're trying to get rid of.
 
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Proving you can't hear a difference doesn't prove anything since that particular person may not have the ability to perceive any differences if they exist. The proof would be someone out of these "thousands of people who perceive a difference" proving they actually can hear a difference; which would be astonishing since people haven't even been able to prove they can hear a difference between amplifiers (Richard Clark Amp Challenge) let alone a single digital connector.
Well, first, to @castleofargh's point, we have no proof one way or another, and random experiments by some dude with some meters proves nothing, so hyperventilating about links and numbers is as valuable as me trying cables on my system: it's not scientific and proves absolutely nothing.

This is all the more true because we're not trying to find the Higgs Boson here - this is just encoding and decoding via software, thus whatever the truth is, it's trivially easy to prove if one has the code. Thus the only reason nobody here knows, is because nobody here has the code. Get it, and we'll know, don't have it and we won't. / thread

Specific to your point, that's exactly what I suggested 1000 pages ago:

(1.) Start with a world-class system that's familiar to audiophiles, and someone who's very familiar with that system and who claims to hear cable differences.
(2.) Then have the doubters control the system, swap out the cables, and see if the person can identify the high quality cables.
(3.) Repeat a few times.

I suggested we test with Paul McGown, CEO of PS Audio, given he claims to hear differences, has access to some of the best audiophile equipment in the World, has 40 years of experience, and is willing to do the test in his Music Room 1. He's even got Gus Skinas, who runs one of the best DSD mastering labs right on site. Given Gus has recorded a large chunk of the SACDs out there, he probably has some listening experience too, and might have a few suggestions.

Unfortunately everyone here wussed out and won't do it because it'll likely prove them wrong. Anyway, would be easy to do for anyone willing to schedule it with Paul and run the test.

Here's measurement nut Jon Atkinson of Stereophile in PS Audio's music room 1:



Here he's using music room 1 to test binaural recordings:

 
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Well, first, to @castleofargh's point, we have no proof one way or another, and random experiments by some dude with some meters proves nothing, so hyperventilating about links and numbers is as valuable as me trying cables on my system: it's not scientific and proves absolutely nothing.

This is all the more true because we're not trying to find the Higgs Boson here - this is just encoding and decoding via software, thus whatever the truth is, it's trivially easy to prove if one has the code. Thus the only reason nobody here knows, is because nobody here has the code. Get it, and we'll know, don't have it and we won't. / thread

Specific to your point, that's exactly what I suggested 1000 pages ago:

(1.) Start with a world-class system that's familiar to audiophiles, and someone who's very familiar with that system and who claims to hear cable differences.
(2.) Then have the doubters control the system, swap out the cables, and see if the person can identify the high quality cables.
(3.) Repeat a few times.

I suggested we test with Paul McGown, CEO of PS Audio, given he claims to hear differences, has access to some of the best audiophile equipment in the World, has 40 years of experience, and is willing to do the test in his Music Room 1. He's even got Gus Skinas, who runs one of the best DSD mastering labs right on site. Given Gus has recorded a large chunk of the SACDs out there, he probably has some listening experience too, and might have a few suggestions.

Unfortunately everyone here wussed out and won't do it because it'll likely prove them wrong. Anyway, would be easy to do for anyone willing to schedule it with Paul and run the test.

Here's measurement nut Jon Atkinson of Stereophile in PS Audio's music room 1:



Here he's using music room 1 to test binaural recordings:

Nope - you don't get to do this.

Onus on you - not on us. Put up or shut up.

  1. Objective real evidence:
    http://archimago.blogspot.com/2013/04/measurements-usb-cables-for-dacs.html

  2. More objective real evidence:
    https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...s/do-usb-audio-cables-make-a-difference.1887/
    Note that they also talk about audibility here, and the measurements confirm that any differences would be beyond the threshold of audibility unless packets were being dropped.

  3. Further discussion about the tests in (1) above
    http://archimago.blogspot.com/2013/06/musings-about-those-usb-cable-tests.html

  4. Commentary - well worth reading - from an engineer - he talks cables in the section on Audiophile Digital Cables
    https://medium.com/@skikirkwood/truth-lies-and-fraud-in-the-audiophile-world-a365e56c97c4

  5. Commentary from Mark Waldrep - Studio owner, does this for a living, and in audio world his set-up is "mission critical"
    http://www.realhd-audio.com/?p=5561
    Most of the comments I’ve read around the web devolve into the same age-old argument about whether cables make a difference in the fidelity of your system or not. Intelligent people on both sides of the debate make their cases without any convincing anyone to change their mind. Believers will continue to believe while those that tend to the “show me data” end of the spectrum remain steadfast in their rejection of $1000 HDMI or USB cables. You all know where I stand on this issue. Don’t buy cables thinking they are going to improve the fidelity of your system. If you like the wonderful windings, the cool colors, the heavy connectors, or the status of a branded cable, then by all means spend the money…but don’t expect the sound to improve. There are plenty of other things you can do…at far less cost…that will affect your sound.

    A functioning digital audio interface cable (AES-EBU, S/P DIF, SDIF, USB, or HDMI) cannot and should not alter the bit stream connecting a digital source component to a digital destination. All those “believers” who challenge this important fact are living in a dream world. Simply stating that hearing is believing doesn’t cut it. I know there are many individuals, reviewers, companies, consumers, and publications that profess otherwise but they all have a vested interest in perpetuating this myth…and others. Professional audio studios don’t use expensive cables or power cords so why should you?

    I can’t say that I’ve tested every permutation, format, cable, connector, or material but I did compare the data delivered by a $300 USB cable and a $5 USB and found that each successfully delivered exactly the same data. The audio from the different cables when the polarity of one was reversed completely and exactly nulled the other. The both accomplished their tasks with equal “fidelity”…as expected.
Right - I've shown from multiple sources that in every instance, the USB cables in question make zero audible effect.

So please - just deliver ONE - repeatable measurable difference using two cables which both meet the audio standard and that produce audible differences. Just one.

And to reference your previous (pitiable) answers:
  • The measurements aren't anecdotes of amateurs - at least 3 of them are professionals in the industry
  • Its not conclusive, but in the absence of any contradictory measurable data in this thread, and the fact that no one has produced any (my internet search definitely didn't turn up any), it does point to a repeatable pattern
  • While this is not my field - it is for the people I've quoted - and please lay off the smarmy "deluding" comments. The only one doing it appears to be you. It's obvious, and it denigrates from the purpose of the thread. Please have some respect for the people actually looking for enlightenment
  • I have shown documented real evidence in the links. They are not guesses. They are not speculations. And if you want to call people like Mark Waldrep amateur or deluded - then I don't need to go any further.
 
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@castleofargh - if he keeps this up, its the very nature of trolling. I would expect you as a Moderator to close him down. This isn't about closing down one side of the story either. All he has to do is produce clear measurable evidence. This is Sound Science after all.
 
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I'm with Brooko. He started out saying he had done a controlled listening test and proved to himself that he could identify USB cables consistently. Then when he was questioned about the test to attempt to verify it, and provided with examples of tests that showed the exact opposite of what he claimed, he changed course and started saying that tests don't prove anything. Now he's saying there are no tests at all. I don't believe a word that comes out of his mouth. I'm done with him.
 
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Apparently now to determine whether theres an audible difference between usb cables we need code?.

Measuring thd, jitter etc isn't scientific enough, even though the tests are repeatable and 1 was done with nearly £3000 hardware that is even used by the manufacturer's of dacs.
 
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