Digital Cables

Discussion in 'Modifications and Tweaks' started by starence, Sep 22, 2018.

  1. Gruss Gott

    Gruss Gott Almost "Made"

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    Well, it's not the last the 3 feet of wire, it's the first 3 feet of wire because A/C power, but yeah, $13k seems like an iffy value prop given electricity is not a well-understood force.
     
  2. elmoe

    elmoe Almost "Made"

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    Eh, I tend to believe anything costing more than monoprice cables prices is money thrown out the window. Especially when it comes to digital cables, I'd have to see some convincing measurements to believe that an expensive USB cable had any effect on sound quality - aren't you passing 1s and 0s? How is a digital cable going to affect sound quality? It either works or it doesn't.

    Do you need a hi-end USB port on your motherboard when you copy FLACs to a USB key? Help me understand the logic here...
     
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  3. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...hield-resistance-technical-measurements.5662/
     
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  4. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    It takes a stupendously shitty cable indeed to mess up the 0s and 1s - and when that happens, you get cutouts, not changes to the sound.

    What does make a difference is the quality of power delivery. Most DACs power at least part of the USB interface with USB power, and unless the design is uncommonly good, dirty power will mess up the sound.

    Some tests you can find on this forum show just how alarming the changes are to the electrical properties of some cables when simple bent or squeezed as they would be in a realistic application.

    Anyone who actually interacts with usb changing on a regular basis will have experienced this empirically, I have one cable that will simply not power my Fulla 2, even though it has the USB logo and is only 20cm long, and came as charging cable for another device.

    Also beware of cheap type-c cables, as the power involved here and the fact that they have to be assembled manually means cheap out of spec cables (which are still abundant) will burn devices.
     
  5. elmoe

    elmoe Almost "Made"

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    Ok, so yes, we can agree that when the USB doubles up as a power cable for the unit, this can have an effect on sound.

    That is still a fairly rare set of circumstances though. As for shielding, eh, unless as pointed out above the cable powers the unit, there is redundancy CRC checks to ensure data is not corrupted. How is EMI a problem if you're not powering anything?

    Should you use an el cheapo USB cable to power a HiFi unit via USB? Probably not. Are you going to hear a difference in sound quality using a cheap USB cable vs a $300 dollar one when you're just passing 1s and 0s? Bad/good shielding doesn't answer that, or I'm misunderstanding something. Not to mention most stock USB cables that would come with HiFi gear are likely not going to have crappy shielding. We have people in this thread singing the praises of $350 USB cables, and describing how bass or treble changes...

    Can you really tell me with a straight face the Audioquest Coffee USB cable sounds different from a $4 monoprice premium USB cable??
     
  6. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    I'm not saying one way or the other, but it's clear your mind is made up so it would be a complete waste of energy to engage you.
     
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  7. elmoe

    elmoe Almost "Made"

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    Should probably have prefaced this by saying that I think hi-end cables are bullshit by the way. That goes for analog cables as well, in my opinion. I did buy into the craze over a decade ago and have owned ICs and speaker cables costing hundreds even thousands of dollars. Then I blind tested and now I buy premium monoprice cables for everything. Maybe my system is not resolving enough. Maybe monoprice is just that good. Either way I am very satisfied with the build quality and I've yet to read an account of someone doing a proper abx double blind test who could tell the difference between a $3 50ft spool speaker wire and $15k diamond gold wire dipped in bull ejaculate before being cryo frozen for 10 months.
     
  8. elmoe

    elmoe Almost "Made"

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    Change my mind. If you really do believe it, then I do regard SBAF members well enough to give you the benefit of the doubt. My mind is only made up until it's not. So far I haven't really seen anything to support the claim that a $350 USB cable is going to perform audibly differently from a well built $4 one. If you have access to information I don't have I would be grateful if you shared.
     
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  9. uelover

    uelover Acquaintance

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    So far, based on my experience, a few of the “high end” digital cables I have tried (eg Cardas, DH-Labs, Black Cat) have the effect of degrading the sound quality, and I always go back to my trusty Blue Jeans Belden 1694A (although I don’t really like it’s cosmetic appearance).

    That is how I became convinced, without being able to offer (or bother) any scientific explanation, that digital cable do make a difference (for better or worse).

    For USB cable, I love Belkin Gold USB 2.0 cable. Too bad it has gone out of production and it’s almost impossible to find one brand new.
     
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  10. elmoe

    elmoe Almost "Made"

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    This sounds more like badly made cables make a difference, as opposed to 2 properly built cables offering different sound signature though.

    If digital cables, in a pure "transmitting data" kind of way, sounded different, then copying an MP3 or a flac file onto 2 different USB drives would also result in a difference in sound quality no? Yet when put that way, it sounds ridiculous.
     
  11. uelover

    uelover Acquaintance

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    I do not have any evidence to determine and to conclude whether they are made badly. To give them the benefit of doubt, they are not made badly because they still transmit the digital audio signal without any drop off or cut out.
     
  12. elmoe

    elmoe Almost "Made"

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    They could still be made badly if they weren't properly shielded and passing EMI as explained in the thread quoted in the post above, which would account for sonic differences.

    At the end of the day though, properly shielded cables would not sound any different since they are in fact just transmitting the same 1s and 0s, and badly shielded cables could have an effect on noise, but to say that they change the property of bass or mids or treble? I don't buy it.
     
  13. uelover

    uelover Acquaintance

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    I think that I have successfully helped you drafted out your thesis that:

    “Cables either work, or they don’t. Any difference in the properties of the sound between digital audio cables can be explained by the difference in the level and quality of shielding”.
     
  14. k4rstar

    k4rstar Sad on the inside

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    I am glad you have closely studied all of the complex properties of digital audio transmission protocols to arrive at your logical conclusion that bits are bits and it's all 1s and 0s. You should spread word of your intelligence on other forums dedicated to the reviewing of audio science. I am sure your healthy skepticism in the pursuit of wisdom will be appreciated there.
     
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  15. elmoe

    elmoe Almost "Made"

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    No need to get butthurt buddy, we're just talking here. If I wanted my ego stroked there are indeed plenty of other places I could discuss this topic. Hope I didn't make you too sad on the inside.

    Bits are indeed bits and they are all indeed 1s and 0s. A copy of a file is a copy of a file, at the end of the day whether you're transmitting it to a DAC via USB or copying it from one hard drive to the next, bass is not going to get tighter, mids lusher or treble sparklier.

    Got anything worth discussing to bring to the table or just noise? There's a pun about shielding in here somewhere.
     
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  16. Raicorl

    Raicorl Rando

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    You dont have to repeat 0 here, 1 there. Just try it, 50-100usd wont break your bank anyway..

    Spending 350usd+ USB cable is kinda dumb since you better buy spdif or AES transports which proved benefitcials for years

    We are no scientists here but I hate the idea that data always contain 0 and 1.
     
  17. elmoe

    elmoe Almost "Made"

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    I have tried it. No audible difference whatsoever to my ears, between USB cables ranging from a few bucks to several hundreds. Wouldn't make the argument without having tried it for myself. I also compared interconnects, headphone cables, speaker cables and came to the same conclusion when comparing decently built cables: snake oil fuckery.

    SPDiF/AES are different implementations, each with their own benefits and drawbacks from what I understand, depending on how they're implemented. Different optical cables (given that they're properly built to minimize jitter), now that's a different story. They all "sound" the same.
     
  18. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    your trials are recognized and likely hold water with respect to your chains and headphones.
    yet would recommend refraining from attempts to be the One True Cable Know It All,
    preaching from a pulpit where absolute truth does not exist.

    calm down and realize that different interconnects, speaker and headphone cables can react differently with other downstream and upstream gear.
    the last word in any cable argument is often unnecessary.
     
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  19. elmoe

    elmoe Almost "Made"

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    So the argument here is that you need gear worthy enough to hear differences in cable?

    Interesting how many claim to hear these differences with chains that others would claim unworthy if the aforementioned had the opposite opinion don't you think?

    That argument could hold ground with analog cables, I can concede that though I'd have to hear it to believe it, and though if true, the differences certainly wouldn't warrant the thousands of dollars of difference in price. With USB cables? That's a different story.
     
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  20. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    am not for or against USB cable deltas, they are hard to prove.
    only saying that analog cables or other folks experiences hold as much weight as yours,
    and the straw man argument of "thousands of dollars in difference in price" is not what anyone is claiming as sane.

    attempts to continue passing of your solo experience as the One True Truth however will result in STFU.
     

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