Why do USB cables make such a difference?
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Sep 15, 2017 at 4:48 AM Post #181 of 1,606

gregorio

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[1] And we go around the circle again with someone asserting position 1) (which I more or less agree with) and then the same several people coming on the thread asserting position 2) based on their beliefs, often I assume, derived from their own experiences of the failure of the hypothesis that there is a difference occurring between USB cables when a double-blind testing is used, or perhaps based of extensive other relevant experience, such as years spent in the recording/mixing studio.
[2] How significant is expectation bias eg marketing hype, self-justification, in forming our opinions/beliefs, or even how we mentally interpret what we hear
1. That (position 2) is not a fair characterization of my position. If it were only a case of my personal experience and the results of double blind tests then I would be far less certain of my position than I am. My personal experience and the results of reliable DBTs contribute to my position but there are a number of other, at least equally important factors; digital audio theory and the maths which supports it, what "digital" actually means and how it demonstrably works and the fact that every explanation of those with position #1 is irrational and contradicts the known, proven and demonstrated facts (with the exception of broken/faulty equipment). I thought I'd made the rationale for my position fairly clear?

2. Exactly how significant expectation bias is, depends on the individual, the efficacy of the marketing, etc. That it is significant (to some degree) is pretty much indisputable and self-evident. As virtually all music is dependent on expectation bias, why would audiophiles be willing to spend money on equipment to reproduce music which they are incapable of appreciating? There are a number of different types of expectation biases, some obvious, some sub-conscious, some which can be consciously changed, some which can change instantly, some which evolve over years and some which never change. Typically we do not have "an" expectation bias but a bunch of simultaneous different expectation biases.

You are transmitting a 1 and a 0 not sound. There can not be any sound influenced from the cable that is the whole point of digital audio. If the cable is not malfunctioning there is no audio charismatics the cable can impart in the audio chain.

I entirely agree with your first and second sentences but not with the third one. The audio chain includes someone/people as the last link in that chain and there are a significant number of factors (of a non-malfunctioning) cable which can affect that link. I believe you are well aware of this and intended to say the digital audio equipment chain rather than just the audio chain. I agree with your point though, it is false to state that USB cables have a sound signature because that is a physical impossibility. However, they can have properties which will make some people perceive that they do (for a period of time).

The title of this thread is Why do USB cables make such a difference? Not Do USB cables make a difference? Titled this in effort to keep people like you out. Every time you post you are going off topic.

Then you mis-titled the thread and your "effort" was wasted. We are making the point that USB cables do not make a difference to the sound, we are NOT saying that USB cables do not make a difference (for example to what you believe you are hearing). We are therefore NOT "going off topic" and I presume you are stating that we are, simply because you do not like some of the answers you're getting to you question. If you only wanted answers you like, rather than factual answers, you should have stated that in the title. Not sure how you could have done that, maybe something like "What magical properties do audiophile USB cables have?" or "Please post marketing materials from audiophile cable manufacturers/retailers" or "Why do USB cables make such a difference (no science, facts or logic please)?"

If anyone has any methodological suggestions/protocols please post them in the next 24 hours and if they are not too difficult to implement I will use them provided they don't impinge on my personal privacy.

I commend your openness to try such a test. It's very difficult to do a scientifically valid test of this sort and for the vast majority of us, we don't really need to because we're trying to learn something about ourselves rather than prove something to others or the scientific community. In this respect you appear to be taking fairly reasonable steps to eliminate as many of the most obvious biases as practical but I have a couple of suggestions to remove a few more which shouldn't be too difficult: Try to eliminate any visual or verbal communication with the person switching the cables. You could do this by you both having a piece of paper, you writing down your observations for test 1, 2, etc., and the person switching the cables writing down which cable was used for test 1, 2, etc. Something else which is relatively simple, make sure the person switching the cable doesn't always switch to the different cable, some of the tests should be unplugging the cable and then plugging that same cable back in again (don't skip the uplugging and plugging back in again steps). Good luck.

G
 
Sep 15, 2017 at 6:07 AM Post #182 of 1,606

canthearyou

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I have a real nice USB cable and if I listen carefully I can hear a few "2's" along with the "1's" and "0's". That adds a lot to the soundstage.

Jk! But I am enjoying this thread.
 
Sep 15, 2017 at 6:23 AM Post #183 of 1,606

gregorio

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I have a real nice USB cable and if I listen carefully I can hear a few "2's" along with the "1's" and "0's". That adds a lot to the soundstage. ... Jk! But I am enjoying this thread.

Ah, so you're listening in stereo and if the left channel is at 1 at the same time that the right channel is at 1, then everyone knows that 1 + 1 = 2, so you must be hearing some twos. I'm sure I've heard some sixes when listening to 5.1 surround. Obviously though, I use a USB cable which is six times more expensive than the one I use for mono recordings, just to be sure I'm getting bit perfect results! :)

G
 
Sep 16, 2017 at 12:28 AM Post #184 of 1,606

Cartma

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Hey theorist,

I keep losing the low end impact. Did you find this with your Nordost as they burned in? I noticed this with another Nordost system. Has to be the USB cable as it's the only thing I changed in quite some time.
 
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Sep 16, 2017 at 12:36 AM Post #185 of 1,606
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How exactly can a cable burn-in? What electrical properties change? You realise this is impossible right?
 
Sep 16, 2017 at 4:36 AM Post #186 of 1,606

gregorio

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[1] I keep losing the low end impact. Did you find this with your Nordost as they burned in?
[2] Has to be the USB cable as its they only thing I changed in quite some time.

1. You really didn't think about that statement before you posted it. If you had, you would have very quickly realised why it cannot be true. Let me explain: A USB cable is a digital interconnect, so if there really were a difference in the sound (a loss of "low end impact") before and after burn in, it can only be because the cable is changing the digital data (zeros and ones) it is transferring before burn in compared to after burn in. If this really did occur with digital interconnects, think of the consequences. All mobile phones, tablets, laptops, computers, digital TVs, etc., would constantly crash when you first bought them until all the digital interconnects inside them had "burnt in" and became capable of transferring the digital data perfectly. There are billions of digital devices in the world, all packed with digital interconnects and all of them (with the exception of the odd broken one) work perfectly straight out of the box, none of them require a burn in period before they can transfer digital data between their internal components perfectly and therefore function.

2. It's good that you are using logic to work out what's going on (the logical device of deduction through a process of elimination). If you eliminate all the other variables (the items which have not changed), then whatever is left (that has changed) absolutely MUST be responsible for any differences you are hearing. Nothing wrong with that logic at all ... but of course it's logical and only actually works if you really have eliminated all the other potential variables! Unfortunately though, you haven't, there's still one other variable remaining, your perception! Using your own process of logic, that whatever is left absolutely must be responsible, you are left with two possibilities, the digital interconnect changes or your perception does: The digital interconnect changing is addressed in point #1 above, the numerous digital interconnects in each of the billions of digital devices which obviously do not change. So what about the other possibility, of your perception changing? When you listen to a recording for the first time do you perceive absolutely all the details, or over time, as you listen to the recording several/numerous times do you perceive more details which you did not perceive on the first hearing? If it's the latter, then your perception is obviously changing. Applying your own logic to your own observations (of your perception changing and of countless digital interconnects in the digital devices you've owned/seen which do not need to "burn in" in order to function), the only thing that's left which absolutely MUST be responsible for any differences you are hearing is your changing perception! So, let's do a tally: On one side there's all the science, proven maths, engineering, demonstrated facts, your own observations and your own logic, while on the other side there's what, marketing materials and what a relatively small group of other audiophiles believe! Which side are you going to throw out?

G
 
Sep 16, 2017 at 6:38 AM Post #187 of 1,606

castleofargh

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Hey theorist,

I keep losing the low end impact. Did you find this with your Nordost as they burned in? I noticed this with another Nordost system. Has to be the USB cable as its they only thing I changed in quite some time.
so you really go believe in even the most controversial ideas so long as it might be cherry picked to support your feelings. and at the same time you play the offended card if someone suggests a logical fallacy. nice explosive combo and my cue to unsubscribe before I get hit. if someday you actually wish to answer your own questions instead of whatever game of "am I right or am I right?" you're playing now, just loop your DAC into your soundcard get some free RTA or whatever and check for real how much low end you lose over time with your next cable.
 
Sep 16, 2017 at 11:56 AM Post #188 of 1,606

Cartma

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Well I don't know how or why burn-in is real, but it's real. Real with even SPDIF digital cables, so why not USB? Like I said, the signature of this USB cable match's the signature of other Heimdall 2 cables. So I am treating the USB as any other cable be it power, speaker, or interconnects.
 
Sep 16, 2017 at 12:26 PM Post #189 of 1,606

gregorio

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Well I don't know how or why burn-in is real, but it's real.

I didn't ask if you knew why burn in was real, I asked if you were willing to ignore your own observations and your own logic (plus all the demonstrated facts) in favour of marketing and audiophile belief, guess you've given us your answer. The power of marketing is impressive but I couldn't imagine allowing it to dominate/override my own observations, my own logic and such demonstrated facts! That's just me though, there's all sorts of people in this world and I suppose there must be many like you and that's why companies spend the countless billions they do on marketing.

G
 
Sep 16, 2017 at 12:34 PM Post #190 of 1,606

Cartma

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Sep 16, 2017 at 1:02 PM Post #192 of 1,606

chef8489

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Well I don't know how or why burn-in is real, but it's real. Real with even SPDIF digital cables, so why not USB? Like I said, the signature of this USB cable match's the signature of other Heimdall 2 cables. So I am treating the USB as any other cable be it power, speaker, or interconnects.
Burn in does not occure with spdif cables either. That also is ridiculous. First of all it is a digital signal, optical is light passing through a clear plastic cable. No electricity is flowing so how can burn in occure?. Coaxial spdif is digital signal similar to a usb cable. If burn in occurred you would have errors from the start and the cable would be useless until burned in and they would do this at the factory before shipping and you would not notice a difference because who in there right mind would send out a cable that would not work from plugging in from the start, but that is not how it is and you get perfect transfers and no cable burn in as it is impossible for a digital cable to burn in as well as a digital cable to have a sound signature. The more you post the more you prove you have no credibility. You are driving away the people that were sticking up for you with your ridiculous posts and when people dont agree with you you just go deeper into your delusions and get butthurt when everyone does not agree.
 
Sep 16, 2017 at 1:06 PM Post #193 of 1,606

Leo-

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Unfortunately I don't have a mini to mini cable with me and i will be out on a business trip next week, otherwise I would record it for all to listen. Perhaps I can do it on the way back. As I suggested before, it is fairly easy to verify that USB cables don't carry only digital signals but they carry any electrical noise that is fed straight through the USB interface and DAC chip unles it's filtered out on the way.

I have a liquid cooled PC with PWM fans and a pump. When I connect it to my Mojo via USB, I hear a high frequency clicking noise through the headphones. No digital signal whatsoever passing through the cables. The Mojo is dead silent when disconnected, when connected to my Android phone in airplane mode or through my ultraRendu+LPS1 combo (all without any audio stream through the USB). I also don't hear clicking noise when the PC is connected directly to my stereo DAC - the reason is that the stereo DAC does not connect the USB power.

I don't see how one could explain this without acknowledging that USB cables carry more than "1s and 0s".
 
Sep 16, 2017 at 1:19 PM Post #194 of 1,606

Cartma

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Burn in does not occure with spdif cables either. That also is ridiculous. First of all it is a digital signal, optical is light passing through a clear plastic cable. No electricity is flowing so how can burn in occure?. Coaxial spdif is digital signal similar to a usb cable. If burn in occurred you would have errors from the start and the cable would be useless until burned in and they would do this at the factory before shipping and you would not notice a difference because who in there right mind would send out a cable that would not work from plugging in from the start, but that is not how it is and you get perfect transfers and no cable burn in as it is impossible for a digital cable to burn in as well as a digital cable to have a sound signature. The more you post the more you prove you have no credibility. You are driving away the people that were sticking up for you with your ridiculous posts and when people dont agree with you you just go deeper into your delusions and get butthurt when everyone does not agree.

I'm not talking about optical/toslink. I'm talking about coax.
 
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Sep 16, 2017 at 1:21 PM Post #195 of 1,606

chef8489

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Unfortunately I don't have a mini to mini cable with me and i will be out on a business trip next week, otherwise I would record it for all to listen. Perhaps I can do it on the way back. As I suggested before, it is fairly easy to verify that USB cables don't carry only digital signals but they carry any electrical noise that is fed straight through the USB interface and DAC chip unles it's filtered out on the way.

I have a liquid cooled PC with PWM fans and a pump. When I connect it to my Mojo via USB, I hear a high frequency clicking noise through the headphones. No digital signal whatsoever passing through the cables. The Mojo is dead silent when disconnected, when connected to my Android phone in airplane mode or through my ultraRendu+LPS1 combo (all without any audio stream through the USB). I also don't hear clicking noise when the PC is connected directly to my stereo DAC - the reason is that the stereo DAC does not connect the USB power.

I don't see how one could explain this without acknowledging that USB cables carry more than "1s and 0s".
You have serious issues then. I also have a liquid cooled pc, dual graphics cards about 13 fans in my system and using a 12.00 led Amazon sub cable and my dac is dead silent when I have hooked up several. But as far as data that the dac decodes it is only 1 and zeros. Everything else would be considered distortion if it is passed along. A digital cable does not burn in and carry sound characteristics. A usb cable carries 1 and zeros and if powered it carries a charge. If it does not then it only carries 1 and zeroes. Now with interference from systems that need to be isolated that you are referring to it comes down to the source and how well the dac is made.
 
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