Why do USB cables make such a difference?
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Sep 1, 2017 at 11:08 AM Post #76 of 1,606

gregorio

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I use a high quality USB lead ( which sounds better ) rather than a Cheap USB cable.

You just don't seem to be getting it, you DO NOT use a USB lead which is higher quality than mine. My cable provides bit perfect results and as there is no quality which is higher than perfect, therefore either you've paid a lot more for a cable which provides the same quality as mine or, if your cable produces something other than the bit perfect results of my cable, then you've paid a lot more for a cable which actually provides lower quality than mine. If your cable really is producing something other than the bit perfect result of my cable and it really does sound better to you, that must mean that you just prefer the sound of a poor quality/inaccurate USB transfer?! This isn't some complex theoretical problem, just the basic fact of what is digital data and simple logic, your response further confirms that one or both of the options I presented must be correct.

G
 
Sep 1, 2017 at 11:13 AM Post #77 of 1,606

Clive101

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You just don't seem to be getting it, you DO NOT use a USB lead which is higher quality than mine. My cable provides bit perfect results and as there is no quality which is higher than perfect, therefore either you've paid a lot more for a cable which provides the same quality as mine or, if your cable produces something other than the bit perfect results of my cable, then you've paid a lot more for a cable which actually provides lower quality than mine. If your cable really is producing something other than the bit perfect result of my cable and it really does sound better to you, that must mean that you just prefer the sound of a poor quality/inaccurate USB transfer?! This isn't some complex theoretical problem, just the basic fact of what is digital data and simple logic, your response further confirms that one or both of the options I presented must be correct.

G
 
Sep 1, 2017 at 11:43 AM Post #78 of 1,606

Clive101

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I have never compared your usb cable to mine. I have no intention.
It would seem you have an opinion and so do I , they differ.
I think you need to understand we have different views.
You with one cable me with another.
I have no interest in any further debate.
My experience is different to yours that's all.
Perhaps you should reflect on earlier posts on this thread other people have a similar view to mine and you did not agree can we all have faulty equipment!
Your system works for you with your USB lead fine I have no issues with that.
 
Sep 1, 2017 at 11:45 AM Post #79 of 1,606

chef8489

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You just don't seem to be getting it, you DO NOT use a USB lead which is higher quality than mine. My cable provides bit perfect results and as there is no quality which is higher than perfect, therefore either you've paid a lot more for a cable which provides the same quality as mine or, if your cable produces something other than the bit perfect results of my cable, then you've paid a lot more for a cable which actually provides lower quality than mine. If your cable really is producing something other than the bit perfect result of my cable and it really does sound better to you, that must mean that you just prefer the sound of a poor quality/inaccurate USB transfer?! This isn't some complex theoretical problem, just the basic fact of what is digital data and simple logic, your response further confirms that one or both of the options I presented must be correct.

G
The thing is, he paid more for his cable, so he is deluding himself into thinking and fully beliving that they sound different. That is why he needs a double blind test setup by someone else not trying to sell cables. But he will never go for it as he has too much to loose. Remember we dont know what he can hear even though we have been at this for several decades and have been up and down the price scale with gear. Tested and re tested the gear and blind tested it.
 
Sep 1, 2017 at 12:17 PM Post #80 of 1,606

gregorio

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[1] I have never compared your usb cable to mine. I have no intention.
[2] It would seem you have an opinion and so do I , they differ. [2a] I think you need to understand we have different views.
[3] Perhaps you should reflect on earlier posts on this thread other people have a similar view to mine and you did not agree can we all have faulty equipment!
[4] I have no interest in any further debate.

1. Others can read your quote/posts and decide for themselves what your intention was.
2. No, I have data which shows my cheap USB cable provides the highest quality possible, bit perfect transfer. You on the other hand seem to have an opinion which flies in the face of the facts and simple logic, that your expensive cable provides higher quality than perfect and it therefore somehow defies the basic principles of digital data.
2a. Of course, you can ignore the facts and have whatever view you wish. You could for example have the view that 1 + 1 = 3.
3. And perhaps you should reflect on the hundreds of millions of people who've enjoyed countless petabytes of USB data transfer bit perfectly for 20 years using standard/cheap USB cables but of course, you won't do that, actual facts and logic apparently have no impact on you, the opinions of a tiny group of audiophile extremists, the marketing BS designed to relieve them of their money and your own investment in it are the only things which appear to influence you, which brings us right back to the second option I mentioned!
4. Of course you don't and I fully appreciate why.

G
 
Sep 1, 2017 at 4:40 PM Post #81 of 1,606

theorist

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An interesting overnight exchange! While I side with Clive101 I have learnt some technical details about USB standards from Arpiben and gregorio I was not aware of, so thank you for that. Further, I also agree with the basis of what I think was chef8489's argument about how we interpret our senses mentally, which was very much consistent with Kant's version of German Idealism, which I rather generally agree with. That is that everything is open to how we interpret what our senses present to our mind about the world, and we all do that mental processing a bit differently. But, where I differ with my critics is that you all appear to think that there can be be such a thing as perfection, eg a perfect transfer of information. This I cannot agree with.

Everything in the universe is subject to entropy, information loss, a digital signal is no exception, and off course there are IT protocols to deal with this, which I have no great knowledge of, but I know this is why my Word document is always almost always printed out 'perfectly' and my music played back off my server without drop outs. But ultimately there is also a matter of what my ears tell my mind. At least, my mind does interpret what I hear as a very significant difference between better and worse USB cables, not that dissimilar to the variations of quality I can also hear between different types of any other kind of audio component in the system.

For USB cables, perhaps this is down to the parasitic noise that these cables also transfer with the 'perfect' bits, or not (or an artifact of the error correction being employed somewhere in the signal path to ensure these bits are 'perfect'). But I do know that there are differences between the sound I get when I have different quality USB cables in my system and that this difference in quality does not always correlate with the cost of the USB cable. Further, without pretty good gear within my system, I suspect that these differences would undoubtedly be much less noticeable as, no doubt, they would be masked by the lower resolving gear.

I look forward to more comments on this discussion and I value them from all perspectives, because we all have a strong interest in our music and hobby in common, otherwise we would not get passionate about it!
 
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Sep 2, 2017 at 8:16 AM Post #82 of 1,606

gregorio

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[1] But, where I differ with my critics is that you all appear to think that there can be be such a thing as perfection, eg a perfect transfer of information.
[2] This I cannot agree with. ... Everything in the universe is subject to entropy, information loss, a digital signal is no exception, ...
[3] But ultimately there is also a matter of what my ears tell my mind.

1. Then you have to discount/ignore both your own experience of printing your word documents and the hundreds of millions/billions of people and countless exabytes of data which has been transferred perfectly. And, not just music and word documents but critical data like schematics for buildings, vehicles, weapons and military data, medical technology/data, civil infrastructure, etc. We live in the digital age, how would that even be possible if the perfect transfer of digital data were not just a theoretical possibility but a trusted and completely expected reality? Indeed, it's hard to think of any fact which has been practically demonstrated more than the fact of perfect transfer of digital data! How can you logically rationalise this most demonstrated of facts with your assertion that the perfect transfer of digital data is impossible?

2. I only see two possible avenues of response to the previous question; Either your assertion is false and you have to question your knowledge/information upon which you've based that assertion or you have to respond illogically/irrationally. In part you've already unwittingly answered this question, with the statement I've quoted which indicates a serious hole in your knowledge, it indicates that your knowledge/research ends in the 1870's with the development of the second law of thermodynamics (Entropy). Your situation is analogous to someone whose knowledge/research ends with Newton's law of gravity in 1687 and therefore ignores the C20th work of Einstein which revolutionized our understanding of gravity. The C20th genius apparently missing from your knowledge/research is Claude Shannon, whose seminal paper in 1948 (A Mathematical Theory of Communication) mathematically proved that entropy can be manipulated to preclude information loss! It provides a mathematical proof of a communication system with a limit below which information will definitely be lost and above which it can be perfectly preserved. Shannon's paper is describing the digital system, although the term "digital" does not appear in his paper and wouldn't be coined for some years. Shannon has been called the father of the digital age because without this paper and it's proof of a method to preclude information loss, there would be no mass digital technology and no digital age! Your statement that "there are IT protocols to deal" with information loss is therefore not entirely correct, the protocol to deal with information loss is the digital system itself!!

3. No, because ultimately you have almost no idea what your ears are telling your mind! Information from the ears (to the mind/brain) is prioritized, most of it discarded and what's left is combined with other information (sensory and stored in memory) to produce an image of the sound which has essentially been created by your brain. This interpreted/manufactured sound is the ONLY thing of which you are aware. There is an entire field of science which specifically researches the difference between what enters our ears and how our ears and brain ultimately modifies and interprets this information, it's hard to believe that a uni prof specializing in the philosophy of scientific knowledge could apparently be ignorant of the existence of the field of science primarily concerned with the claims he is making?! That the brain is making a highly flawed representations/interpretations of what the ears are actually "hearing" is completely indisputable and is what allows us to manipulate what people hear ... or rather, what they think they hearing! Furthermore, this is hardly some new or contentious discovery, in fact the exact opposite, it's both ancient and ubiquitous and the vast majority of the commercial audio content you hear absolutely depends on it!! For example, there's a music genre called counterpoint which relies on what's called "implied harmony", harmony which isn't actually there in the music but which the brain predicts/invents itself, hence "implied" harmony. JS Bach was the master of counterpoint and he (and all other composers) was manipulating/fooling what listeners were certain their ears were telling them 300 years ago! I often hear the audiophile cry of "I trust what my ears tell me", which ultimately is nonsense because if they really could trust what their ears were telling them then pretty much all music (not just counterpoint) and indeed just about all commercial audio content in general, would sound like meaningless semi-random noise. When I hear audiophiles say of a recording that it sounded real, had a realistic sound stage, was like being there or lamenting that it doesn't sound real, I find that amusing as an audio content creator because it's complete nonsense. There was no "there", there was no real sound stage and most of the time there wasn't even a performance! If audiophiles were visiophiles, they would have to say that they believe what their eyes are telling them. In which case they must believe that Pandora is a real planet and that James Cameron must have taken a film crew there to shoot Avatar!

G
 
Sep 2, 2017 at 3:08 PM Post #83 of 1,606

Cartma

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This thread has gotten way outa hand. USB cables do make a difference, a very big difference. Now back to the subject.. WHY?

Just ignore the ignorant.
 
Sep 2, 2017 at 3:26 PM Post #84 of 1,606

chef8489

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This thread has gotten way outa hand. USB cables do make a difference, a very big difference. Now back to the subject.. WHY?

Just ignore the ignorant.
Sure they do.
 
Sep 2, 2017 at 4:33 PM Post #86 of 1,606

theorist

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Make up your mind, what is it you want? Do you want your question answered or do you want to be ignored?

But you have not answered WHY some USB cables improve the perceived musicality of a system over others USB cables, at least for many listeners.

Its a question not dissimilar to comparing why a good analogue turntable based system sounds more musical for many listeners to that of an equal or even more expensive pure digital system, even if there are some digital signal stages in the production of the LP being listened to?

Sure, past experiences and biases may be a contributing factor for the listener, but it is only some peoples' opinion, including perhaps yours, say that this is the only reason. What I hear/perceive/intuit says otherwise. How do you explain how a twenty year old song that I have heard a thousand times over the years suddenly sounds unexpectedly clearer, more musical, just out-of-the-blue better, as though its the first time I have really really heard it, when the only change to the system since the last time I had listened to this song had been an upgrade to the USB cable six months before?

That's what I want to discuss. If you don't believe that that is at all possible, if this and similar experiences have not occurred for you, then don't partake in the discussion! But that would be a pity as you are obviously knowledgeable and likely have much to contribute.
 
Sep 2, 2017 at 4:51 PM Post #87 of 1,606

bfreedma

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This thread has gotten way outa hand. USB cables do make a difference, a very big difference. Now back to the subject.. WHY?

Just ignore the ignorant.

And yet if I asked you to produce measurements showing this "very big difference", you wouldn't be able to. Or asked for results of well controlled testing that validated this "very big difference", you wouldn't be able to produce that either.

How about even a reasonable theory based on what we know about the USB interface and cables indicating an audible difference is possible between two properly working cables. Not the marketing claims from a cable makers website - something based on the known operating model for USB. Again, something that would be audible....
 
Sep 2, 2017 at 4:56 PM Post #88 of 1,606

chef8489

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But you have not answered WHY some USB cables improve the perceived musicality of a system over others USB cables, at least for many listeners.

It's called placebo. You can not trust your ears and that is what cable manufacturers count on. Problem is people like you who continually insist that you can and no need to do a double blind test are the ones they feed off. If you could do a double blind test and get every one correct then then it might have Merritt, but never happens. You might get people close to 50%. I was a big advocate for custom analogue cables and followed suite into digital cables instill I did the research and testing.
 
Sep 2, 2017 at 5:03 PM Post #89 of 1,606

theorist

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But a placebo effect cannot account for what I posted half an hour ago, which was:

How do you explain how a twenty year old song that I have heard a thousand times over the years suddenly sounds unexpectedly clearer, more musical, just out-of-the-blue better, as though its the first time I have really really heard it, when the only change to the system since the last time I had listened to this song had been an upgrade to the USB cable six months before?

There has to be other factors at work, just as when I swap USB cables in my system, there are changes to what I hear, and these changes do not just correlate to the cost/packaging/appearance of the cable.
 
Sep 2, 2017 at 5:14 PM Post #90 of 1,606

chef8489

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But a placebo effect cannot account for what I posted half an hour ago, which was:

How do you explain how a twenty year old song that I have heard a thousand times over the years suddenly sounds unexpectedly clearer, more musical, just out-of-the-blue better, as though its the first time I have really really heard it, when the only change to the system since the last time I had listened to this song had been an upgrade to the USB cable six months before?

There has to be other factors at work, just as when I swap USB cables in my system, there are changes to what I hear, and these changes do not just correlate to the cost/packaging/appearance of the cable.
That happens all the time with the same gear. You hear things in songs you did not before, song sounds different, clearer, amazing. Nothing new. We hear songs differently in different parts of the day, in different moods. That's again why you can not trust your ears. It's not the usb cable unless the usb cable is faulty. It's not like an analogue cable that you can change the sound by changing the cable material, dampening material, thickness of wire. There is no sound passing through the cable at all. No way for any additional info to be added to the 1 to change how it sounds. No way to add 0 or 1 unless you change the original file. It is just not possible to change the sound of a digital file inside an usb cable.
 
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