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professorhat's picture
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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

Well most people on this forum don't know what the placebo effect is - link. It has certainly got nothing to do with hearing differences between USB cables.

 

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

cheeseboy wrote:

John Duncan wrote:

cheeseboy wrote:

Not sure why you were asking to be honest as you know all this already.

Unfortunately - unlike you - I don't know anything - I just have suspicions and, fundamentally, a great deal of apathy.

So you are now claiming that you don't know what the placebo effect is? Pull the other one Biggrin Blum 3

So must have been the doppelganger john duncan that's been on the other cable threads that have discussed these types of things ad infinitum them? Wink Biggrin (tongue is in cheek btw)

Incorrect.  I know exactly what the placebo effect is, and I know that it not only makes you *think* things are so, it actually makes things so.  

My point is that I do not know that USB cables have no effect, only suspect so (that suspicion only being tempered by the fact that electrical digital cables carry, contrary to popular opinion, not 1s and 0s but an analogue square wave, and are therefore feasibly susceptible to the same interference as analogue cables).  I suspect also that you are in a similar position of lack of knowledge (knowedge being distinct from certainty).  

However, as I've tried to say before but perhaps have not been clear enough, I don't actually care whether they do or do not because I know that tilting my head or cupping my hands behind my ears has an enormous effect on sound, and therefore the small differences that I might believe a USB cable could make (if they were to) are irrelevant in comparison.  

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

professorhat wrote:

Well most people on this forum don't know what the placebo effect is - link. It has certainly got nothing to do with hearing differences between USB cables.

 

Placebo effect certainly isn't restricted to the field of medicine.

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

John Duncan wrote:

Incorrect.  I know exactly what the placebo effect is, and I know that it not only makes you *think* things are so, it actually makes things so.  

My point is that I do not know that USB cables have no effect, only suspect so (that suspicion only being tempered by the fact that electrical digital cables carry, contrary to popular opinion, not 1s and 0s but an analogue square wave, and are therefore feasibly susceptible to the same interference as analogue cables).  I suspect also that you are in a similar position of lack of knowledge (knowedge being distinct from certainty). 

sorry, disagree there.  Even if it as analgue sqaure wave, it's still 1s and 0s to the computer.  Hence people are able to transmit digital signals though analgue devices - think things like spectrum games and old modems - you can hear the data as audio, but for the computer, all it gets is data, which either works or doesn't.  So whilst they maybe open to the same interference, it wouldn not manifest in the same way at all.  A good example would be the difference between analgue and digital tv signals - on the old analogue, when you had interference the picture/sound would slowly degrade, but still watchable.  However, in the digital world, when you get interference, you get blocks, the sound cuts out, the picture cuts out.

John Duncan wrote:

However, as I've tried to say before but perhaps have not been clear enough, I don't actually care whether they do or do not because I know that tilting my head or cupping my hands behind my ears has an enormous effect on sound, and therefore the small differences that I might believe a USB cable could make (if they were to) are irrelevant in comparison.  

 

I totally agree with you :grin:

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

professorhat wrote:

Well most people on this forum don't know what the placebo effect is - link. It has certainly got nothing to do with hearing differences between USB cables.

 

 

Why would you post a link to something, and then disagree with it in the next sentence? odd.  Unless I missed what you were trying to say?

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

cheeseboy wrote:

professorhat wrote:

Well most people on this forum don't know what the placebo effect is - link. It has certainly got nothing to do with hearing differences between USB cables.

Why would you post a link to something, and then disagree with it in the next sentence? odd.  Unless I missed what you were trying to say?

JD explained it - the placebo effect doesn't make you think something has happened, it actually makes something happen. In medicine for example (where the term is usually used correctly), someone has a headache, takes a placebo and then doesn't have a headache. This isn't imagined, this is a real side effect of the placebo.

The term doesn't really work in the audio world, but my interpretation of you using it would be that those suffering from the placebo effect are hearing real, not imagined, differences. And I don't think you're trying to say that somehow.

 

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

professorhat wrote:

cheeseboy wrote:

professorhat wrote:

Well most people on this forum don't know what the placebo effect is - link. It has certainly got nothing to do with hearing differences between USB cables.

Why would you post a link to something, and then disagree with it in the next sentence? odd.  Unless I missed what you were trying to say?

JD explained it - the placebo effect doesn't make you think something has happened, it actually makes something happen. In medicine for example (where the term is usually used correctly), someone has a headache, takes a placebo and then doesn't have a headache. This isn't imagined, this is a real side effect of the placebo.

So by using it in the audio world, you're saying those suffering from the placebo effect are hearing real, not imagined, differences.

 

 

Ahh i see now.  It's a bit of a yes and no thing isn't it.  Yes, they mabye hearing differences which are real to them, but that's because the brain has rewired itself to expect a difference, or forces itself in to hearing a difference.  TAfter all, it's more a philosophical question about what is "real" I think.  However, the placebo effect will never cause the cable to change what it actually does in the world around it, only the humans perception of it.  Say for example, changing a speaker cable like for like, but making one look fancier than the other.  A person might swear blind that they are hearing real differences, even though you know the cable is the same the placebo affect will not suddenly magically change the physcial properties of the cable.

I mean it's possible to prove that say for example, there is no real world difference between 2 hdmi cables, yet one person may swear blind they can see/hear differences.  therefore for them , the placebo that is the new cable has made a difference in their brain, even when there isn't one outside of the brain if that makes any sense whatsoever! Biggrin  Still doesn't mean that the cable itself is doing anything different, only the human perception of what the cable does.  (although this then does cross the line in to to snake oil, for want of a better term, territory I guess)

Doesn't make it any clearer as such, but I do find it all damn interesting how the brain works Smile  Some people need to be told the prices of things before they accept that something will be better, and some people don't. 

 

sorry for the steam of brain farts Smile

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

...saying essentially that if the ones and zeros are the same, the sound must be the same: "Somehow I can't conceive of an audiophile (binary) 'one'."

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

cheeseboy wrote:

After all, it's more a philosophical question about what is "real" I think.

You've hit the nail on the head there on "what is real". We don't know really - we don't even know what 95.4% of the universe is made up of at the moment, instead just labelling it dark matter and dark energy - this is in itself worth remembering before folks get all high and mighty about what we "know".

However, in terms of our perception, real is what we perceive in the world based on signals our brain interprets. Most of what we "see" doesn't actually happen - the brain simply doesn't have time to process all the input it gets through the eyes, so it makes stuff up that it expects to be there e.g. you look at a tree, then you turn to look at a wall. You might still "see" the tree in the corner of your eye, but you're probably only seeing what your brain expects to be seeing there based on what it saw a few moments ago, since your brain is now focusing on actually "seeing" the wall. Things like movement around the tree might well attract your attention back to it so you "see" it again (as part of our primeval efforts not to get eaten and the like).

In the audio world, many people would use this argument to suggest we can't trust our eyes and ears and therefore we need to measure things to see if they make a "real" difference. I'd definitely agree with this Angel when something of absolute scientific interest is at stake and (b) as long as we know exactly what we're measuring. The trouble comes with the hobby of Hi-fi and Home Cinema. In my mind, Angel certainly isn't fulfilled by the majority of us here; and (b) how exactly do you measure something like someone's happiness with things like sound and vision?

I would instead argue that, in the hobby of Hi-fi / Home CInema, the "real" that is our perception of things is more important. People don't generally listen to music by producing images of waveforms which represent the music and then looking at these to see what the music is like. Some do I'm sure, and good luck to them. But most people use their eyes and ears - since these are our measuring devices, then these define what we interpret as "real", and changes measured consistently through them should therefore be trusted.

Just my opinion - I respect those whose opinion differs and would expect the same in return.

 

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

professorhat wrote:
We don't know really - we don't even know what 95.4% of the universe is made up of at the moment, instead just labelling it dark matter and dark energy - this is in itself worth remembering before folks get all high and mighty about what we "know".
We don't even know if 95.4% is the correct figure. Smile
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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

professorhat wrote:

cheeseboy wrote:

After all, it's more a philosophical question about what is "real" I think.

You've hit the nail on the head there on "what is real". ...

 

 

sorry, truncated it a bit.  Yep totally agree, however it's also worth stating that obvious that there are things one can do when trying to judge differences to reduce the amount of brain mystical voodoo influence, as well as things we can do to increase it Biggrin

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

[UNPUBLISHED DUPLICATE]

To think a USB cable is going to change your audio quality or an HDMI cable is going to change your TV picture quality is the same as thinking a different coputer to printer cable is going to affect the quality of your printer output.

Thankfully printer manufacturers have not yet been drawn into the world of cable hype...

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

To think a USB cable is going to change your audio quality or an HDMI cable is going to change your TV picture quality is the same as thinking a different computer to printer cable is going to affect the quality of your printer output.

Thankfully printer manufacturers have not yet been drawn into the world of cable hype...

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

It's really not, but welcome and well done for joining the forum to resurrect an old thread to make the same (incorrect) point that's been said 5 squillion times before...

 

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

Ok, just to throw in my £0.02 worth:

In the analogue domain, eg interconnects, speaker cables, composite or component video, the cables do make a difference to the sound (or picture as appropriate).

In the digital domain, things are different. Whilst theoretically it's possible for the cable to have an effect with SPDIF (it's an asynchronous interface and the receiver has to do clock recovery, so interference can induce jitter which will degrade the sound using mechanisms that I really can't be bothered to explain here - just trust me for now!) in practice that difference is most likely inaudible.  Likewise with optical connections between digital source and receiver or DAC. As long as the connection is secure and not wobbling around, there should be no audible difference between co-ax or optical SPDIF cables.

In fact the best way of making up a co-ax SPDIF cable is to get a length of RG58 (I think?) 75 ohm co-ax and solder a metal plug on each end. Not the crappy plastic ones, but purely for practical reasons; the plastic phono plugs tend to disintegrate. You don't even need gold plated, although if your receiver or source has a gold plated SPDIF socket then by all means use a gold plated plug. This will do nothing for the sound but may improve long-term reliability by not having two dissimilar metals in contact.

However, USB, HDMI and Ethernet are different. All of these are packet-based protocols with error correction (unlike SPDIF which is a streaming protocol).  For technical reasons (which I'm not going into on this particular posting) there are theoretical reasons why different HDMI cables may have an effect, but as with SPDIF, those effects would be so slight as to be inaudible. If an HDMI cable is introducing errors then you'll get blocking and sparklies on-screen, and audio drop-outs. It either works or it doesn't.

As far as "audiophile" USB cables go, the only possible mechanism by which the USB cable could affect the sound would be if a freebie USB cable was poorly screened (and thus out of spec) and spewing out RFI in close proximity to the amp/DAC.  Replacing it with a properly screened £2 cable that meets the USB specs will solve this problem. Obviously putting a properly screened Audioquest one in would also solve the problem, but I'd rather have the £48 difference in my wallet and go buy some new blu-rays (or CDs) with it instead.

And as for "audiophile" Ethernet cables... when I first heard about them I had to go and check that it wasn't the 1st April.  But no, these things are actually for real. See comments about USB cables spewing RFI, but ignore them as Ethernet uses twisted pairs which cancel out any RFI or induced interference. If you're that bothered you can always use FTP (foil-shielded twisted pair) Ethernet cables rather than UTP. They cost about £2 for a 3m cable rather than £1.50 for a UTP one.

So I shall stick with my filtered mains outlet, screened IEC with Wattgate connector, Wireworld HDMIs (thrown in by the dealer at no extra cost), Chord Cobra analogue interconnects and Chord Rumour 4 speaker cable, and keep using the bulk Cat5 Ethernet patch cables that I get from CPC/Farnell for about 50p each for a 1.2 metre length.

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