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Why do USB cables make such a difference?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by Cartma, Jul 17, 2017.
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  1. Redcarmoose
    I am divided too in a sense as it doesn’t seem like something that would change the sound. But.......if you were to understand where I’m coming from it may make more sense. My system is a closed loop where the cable is not going from a computer but a DAP in a cradle which is simply a file sever for an external DAC/Amp. In this configuration it’s maybe like a computer or maybe not? But I have no other methods at this point to get any better sound unless I was to make a major upgrade. No other headphones, no other DAC or amplifier. No more cables or DAP file players.....there is nothing I could do other than AC filtering or AC regeneration. So getting an expensive USB has been suggested by others as a way to get improvement; with those folks owning the exact same equipment as I.

    So it’s maybe a slightly different application than simply using a computer, as the DAPs actually have a reputation of sounding slightly different than using a computer. Of course this is also an unprovable concept in itself.
     
  2. SoundAndMotion
    Put some water in the Mr. Fusion so we can go Back to the Future:
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
  3. JRG1990
    The usb in a dap and pc are built to the same spec otherwise you wouldn't even be able to copy files to the dap. Like you say theres 0 evidence a dap or pc sound different over usb and a cable certainly won't change anything. Both should sound transparent.

    The dap has the advantage in couple of ways being battery powered, having no fans, harddrives or other devices connected to it. But won't sound different to a noisey pc.
     
  4. bigshot
    If your power is relatively clean and you aren't having problems, then you are done. Buying equipment at this point would be buying for buying's sake. Your best upgrade is music. Go out and buy a bunch of CDs in a genre you aren't familiar with and grow musically. Buying expensive wires is throwing money in a hole. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, as the old saying goes.

    You have officially graduated from Head Fi. You no longer need better equipment. That is the goal we're all striving for and you have achieved it. Congratulations. I wish you well in the wider world of recorded music.

    Soundandmotion, please don't back seat moderate. Castle does a very good job and these things are up to his discretion, not yours. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
    stuck limo likes this.
  5. SoundAndMotion
    Hmmm... You need to reread my post. I was complaining about @Brooko back seat moderating. I agree that Castle does a very good job and I respect his discretion. It seems that you and others who try to shoo people away are doing the back seat moderating.
     
  6. taffy2207
    Maybe he should moderate his attempted moderation of you trying to moderate. Sorted. You're welcome :thumbsup:
     
  7. bigshot
    Ha! Everyone should just make points and stop all the BS. I try to do that myself. Sometimes it seems like an endless vortex of argumentativeness. Im sick of it. I’ve written off several regular posters for that sort of nonsense. I’m happy to write off more.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
  8. Brooko Contributor
    I'll reply via PM - he is breaking the rules if he's trolling. I should know - I used to moderate here. And clearly you haven't read a lot of his posts. I'd hazard a guess if we polled those on the forum - trolling yes/no, the response would be one-sided and overwhelming
     
    SoundAndMotion likes this.
  9. SoundAndMotion
    Wow! That was a very classy PM. You have my respect. Given your explanation I have edited my post (although, yes, I know it lives on in your quote).
     
    Brooko likes this.
  10. SoundAndMotion
    ...time for some music!
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
  11. bigshot
    No, I'm not talking about you. Sorry to be vague about it.
     
  12. castleofargh Contributor
    I believe we can all agree that I'm the best moderator in Sound Science(also usually the only one, but let's not mind the small details).
    @GrussGott do you get a sense of what in your posts is perceived as trolling?
    the reason we can't disprove all the claims of people hearing a difference is because pretty much none of those people are providing us with any relevant data. meaning first and foremost that we don't have to disprove anything because they only provided us with empty claims/impressions. we can reject them all without having to demonstrate anything. and that's the situation we're in. it would be wrong to assume that we cannot dismiss them because we lack data. the lack of data is the reason to dismiss those impressions.

    but let's say we wish to engage anyway and help demonstrate or disprove something. let's say you try 2 cables and feel you're getting a difference, if I purchase the same brand of cables and same DAC you have, do a proper blind tests and detect nothing, will that prove beyond doubt that you're not actually hearing anything and that the cables make no difference? no it won't. in effect your situation might not be duplicable for me. even if I got your own 2 cables and your DAC to strongly reduce the potential variables, there could still be too many unknowns. from the computer, the environment, our respective listening skills, etc. and that means 2 things:
    1/ what I would do is never going to be more than an anecdote.
    2/ if anybody can show anything and provide any sort of evidence about your experience, it's probably you! and same thing for all those who wish their opinions to be taken as more than a sighted impression. but throwing more or less random hypotheses at us and hope we'll bite, that's not how you're going to demonstrate something. you think it's RFI, cool, show us it is. you think it's the super proprietary whatever from a cable seller, cool, show us measurements showing the significant improvement in fidelity. but just throwing ideas everywhere, that only makes more ideas you need to test, as you're the one allegedly getting clear differences and arguing that those hypotheses are worth something. that part will not change, you only increase your own burden(assuming that you wish to get to the end of this and aren't only here to troll).
     
    WoodyLuvr and Brooko like this.
  13. GrussGott
    Yes!

    Because I'm reminding people their unscientifically-proven position is, in fact, only an opinion and that annoys them. However, since this is the science thread, I'm holding them to the scientific standard:

    If they're going to take a definitive position on the topic, they should scientifically prove that opinion (and miscellaneous amateur experiments do not equal scientific proof, otherwise Newton could've just eaten the apple and skipped the hassle of inventing a gravitation equation). Anyway, @SoundAndMotion said it much more epically than I could.

    Which brings me to providing some clarity (again) on my own opinion, given it's constantly mischaracterized:

    GG's Definitive Opinion on the topic of "Why do USB cables Make Such a Difference" <-- please reference or copy this if you wish to tell people what I think (this means you @bigshot )

    (1.) USB cables might not matter as there's some evidence supporting that.

    (2.) USB cables might matter as there's some evidence supporting that.

    (3.) Neither of these positions have been scientifically proven, thus nobody knows

    (4.) Proving whether cables matter requires access to the firmware source code, which has nothing to do with science, it's just analysis, so I'd question if this thread even belongs here

    (5.) A high quality listening test such as I've recommended won't prove anything, but it might disprove an industry expert who believes he can tell the difference, and that would be fun AND interesting.

    In short, we cannot definitively answer this question due to inability to complete the analysis, not for any science reason.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
  14. Brooko Contributor
    Please address the tests which have been done and show no measurable difference. And stop with the "unscientifically-proven position". I've given you measurements and opinions from people in the industry (ie expert opinions).

    As to the "USB cables might matter as there's some evidence supporting that." - please provide the evidence. So far all you have is anecdotal - no blind tests, and definitely nothing performed under rigorous testing conditions. For it to mean something - it needs to be:
    - blind (the gold standard)
    - no deviations in anything except the cables
    - random generation of samples
    - repeatable
    When you provide evidence of that, then we can actually get the cables mentioned into a laboratory and see if we can measure a difference.

    Oh - and what is this gobble-de-gook (4.) Proving whether cables matter requires access to the firmware source code,

    More attempts to obfuscate and confuse?

    Please show the evidence.
     
  15. bfreedma

    Have you not read any of the information in the links @Brooko keeps posting, or are you purposely ignoring them? If you disagree with the findings, specify why.

    Please provide the evidence supporting #2 that clears all of the hurdles you’ve “established” as requirements.

    Point 4 is bunk. There is no need to have access to the source code when the output of two cables can be captured and compared. Either the data is identical or it isn’t.
     
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