- Feb 14, 2008
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? 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.
 How significant is expectation bias eg marketing hype, self-justification, in forming our opinions/beliefs, or even how we mentally interpret what we hear
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.