Digital Interconnects

Page 3 - Seeking answers? Join the What HiFi community: the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products.

Alec

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2007
478
0
18,890
Ambrose said:
The last reply was meant to be in response to Ooh and the loaf of bread gag :beer:
Stuff ya then :p

And no. Only heard one coax ever AFAIK and, if I'm anything, I'm a cynic/don't care.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Ambrose said:
For what it is worth, I am ordering a Mark Grant coax on 30 day trial as I found the RCA phono to be very good, in fact for the money a downright bargain.

The coax is also on sale for today as well so only £22.50. If I like more than my Codac then I'll keep, else it'll go back.

Will report findings next week... not that anyone will believe me but completes the circle!

Ambrose
Good on you :clap:

I'm interested in your findings, if positive I may fllow suit.
 

idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
1,113
67
19,270
A blind test of HDMI cables

http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=fr&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lesnumeriques.com%2Fblind-tests-avec-deux-jurys-experts-et-lecteurs-p770_6175_93.html

Nine participants using no name, Belkin and Monster HDMI cables. Only one claimed to have a preference, but his feedback was inconsistent.

During my abscence I have been busy researching the subject of blind testing and cables in particular. I have numerous blind comparison and ABX tests of cables and digital components such as DACs. The results are consistent. That consistency tells us something.

With sighted tests of cables, all types of cables, differences are heard, by some people some of the time. Some will go as far as claiming the differences are night and day and will easily be able to pass a blind test.

With blind comparison tests (where the subjects are asked for an opinion on the sound and not to identify what they are listening to) the results change. The differences in sound become smaller and there are no reports of night and day differences. Then the products perform in a different way from sighted tests in that cheap can do as well as if not better than more expensive.

With ABX tests of cables the differences disappear completely and no one has yet to reliably tell whether X is A or B.

That shows us sight can affect preception of sound quality. I suspect that is down to brand, image, the listener themselves. So those people who say the cables cannot affect sound quality are correct, it cannot. There is evidence for that. But those who say that they can still hear a difference are also correct, because they can. There are too many credible reports from credible people to really dispute that. I have also heard differences in cables and I like to think that I am credible too!

It is just that the evidence shows us any sound quality perception is with the listener and not inherant in the cable itself.

So buy different cables and see if you do hear a difference and if it makes your hifi sound better then great. If you don't return them and be happy as well that you do not need a new cable.

But if you are one of those who does hear a difference, fine but I would suggest you stop claiming you will pass an ABX with ease. That is until you conduct one and get a minimum 90% pass rate over at least 20 switches and can show you have a so far unique ability.

Based on the above you can now buy cables, try them out, see if you hear something and then decide if is worth it.

P.S

Hopefull those, like Chebby who wonder why these debates keep on occurring and the circular route they keep on taking, will appreciate I have been trying to take a different view of how cables work in relation to sound quality and have based that on evidence of proper testing.
 

Craig M.

New member
Mar 20, 2008
127
0
0
cracking post idc, that mirrors my experience with cables, they can sound different but the difference is in the listeners head.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Excellent post, idc.

The human factors in this topic are significant yet are usually forgotten or deliberately ignored. It strikes me that marketing material and price play more of an important role in product discrimination.
 

idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
1,113
67
19,270
Thanks iggle and Craig.

The cable makers themselves can offer no explanation as to how it is possible that no matter what a cable is made out of and how it is made, they all sound better than each other. They put forward suggestions, but none offer any evidence to connect construction to sound quality.

What cable makers claim would make sense if say the AWG of a wire was clearly linked to bass and treble, the smaller the guage the more pronounced the treble. Or a teflon casing made a measureable difference to soundstage over a cotton based one. But there is no evidence whatsoever that anything like that affects sound quality. How can both silver and copper sound better than each other? Unless of course the difference is in the listener and not the cable.

In 2000 Cardas cables stated regarding cables that the "‘overall depth of knowledge is now at a new level". I am sorry but I beg to differ. The cable companies work with the science on electricity and its transmission that has been known since the c18th. Skin effect, which is a favourite amongst cable companies for expalining how they have tackled sound quality and made a better cable, was first noted in 1883. Cable companies have come up with no new discoveries themselves, nothing.

So with no link between construction and materials and sound quality and no new discoveries about how electricity is transmitted through wire, I am sorry, but cable maker science claims have to be regarded with suspicion.

Since this thread is about digital interconnects it is worth asking what is it in a cable and the way it transmitts a digital signal that can influence sound quality? Is it the 'eye' (the voltage variation between in effect the 1s and 0s, which is how the analogue signal transmits digital information in a wire) as a number of makers would have you believe and they can show you pictures of it as well in minute detail. QED suggest the clearer the eye the better the sound. An experiment to back that up would be nice. Two cables one with a clear 'eye' and one without and then sighted, blind comparison and ABX tests. Simple, but never done.

How does the digital signal vary in different cables to produce one that has better sound quality than another? The bottom line is that no one knows, least of all the cable companies.
 

idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
1,113
67
19,270
This is not about digital cables, but instead is about interconnects. It is a paper submitted for a degree in Electrical Science and Engineering at MIT in Boston.

http://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/46225/41567257.pdf

The conclusion is that there is no connection between construction or price and sound quality. Instead psychoacoustics and the perception of sound is suggested as a factor.

Going back to skin effect, here is a study from St Andrews University

http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~www_pa/Scots_Guide/audio/skineffect/page1.html

It also finds no connection between skin effect and sound quality. It goes on to find no difference between bi wiring and single cables

http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~www_pa/Scots_Guide/audio/biwire2/page2.html

The final conclusion is that " If this were a detective story, we would end by discovering that nothing mysterious had actually happened!"
 

Overdose

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2008
279
1
18,890
idc said:
The final conclusion is that " If this were a detective story, we would end by discovering that nothing mysterious had actually happened!"
Damn, you never gave a warning that there was a spoiler in the post and I was really looking forward to finding who dunnit!

:wave:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
[UNPUBLISHED]

I have found that insulating my digital interconnects with this material DOES WITHOUT QUESTION make a difference to sound quality but that may be, I accept, because I have considerably more wealthy hearing than yow!



On a serious note can someone please tell me where I can buy this "ABX" cable that everyone is raving about?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
[UNPUBLISHED]

I have found that insulating my digital interconnects with this material DOES WITHOUT QUESTION make a difference to the sound quality vs value for money argument but that may be because I have considerably more wealthy hearing than yow!



On a serious note can someone please tell me where I can buy this ABX cable that everyone is raving about?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
[UNPUBLISHED]

My independently appointed bank manager has proven that insulating my digital interconnects with this DOES WITHOUT QUESTION make a difference to the sound quality vs value for money argument but that may be because he has considerably more wealthy hearing than yow!



I can't afford this solution myself so can anyone please tell me where I can buy this ABX cable you are raving about?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
[UNPUBLISHED]

My independently appointed (neutral of course) bank manager has proven that insulating my digital interconnects with this material DOES WITHOUT QUESTION make a significant difference in the sound quality vs value for money argument but that may be because he has considerably more wealthy hearing than yow!



I personally can't afford that solution however so can someone please tell me where I can buy these ABX cables you are all raving about?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
[UNPUBLISHED]

My independently appointed (neutral of course) bank manager has proven that insulating my digital interconnects with this material DOES WITHOUT QUESTION make a significant difference in the sound quality vs value for money argument but that may be because he has considerably more wealthy hearing than yow!



I personally can't afford that solution however so can someone please tell me where I can buy these ABX cables you are all raving about?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
[UNPUBLISHED]

My independently appointed (neutral of course) bank manager has proven that insulating my digital interconnects with this material DOES WITHOUT QUESTION make a significant difference in the sound quality vs value for money argument but that may be because he has considerably more wealthy hearing than yow!



I personally can't afford that solution however so can someone please tell me where I can buy these ABX cables you are all raving about?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
[UNPUBLISHED]

My independently appointed (neutral of course) bank manager has proven to me that insulating my digital interconnects with this material DOES WITHOUT DOUBT make a significant difference to the sound quality vs value for money argument but that may be because he has considerably more wealthy hearing than yow!



Personally I can't stretch to that though so can someone please tell me where I can buy this ABX cable you are all raving about?
 

busb

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2011
60
0
18,540
Jim L's papers on audio are well worth reading. My own view is changing more towards my acknowledgement of merely going by "what my ears tell me" is not quite so reliable as I'd like to think. Although I'd love to take part in well conducted DB/ABX tests, I'm not arrogant enough to state in advance that I'd pass them. I now have a strong suspision that I may not.

I too have been reading up ABX tests - they are not easy to conduct properly & need to take into account listening fatigue. It is an entirely different process to just enjoying music. Good ABX tests may need to be spread over months & not a single session - that would make them very expensive to conduct.

ABX have a serious problem to overcome: they can only prove a positive & not a negative. If several participants have a preconceived notion of the outcome, in this example, they don't believe they will hear differences of lets say cables, they can just state that they didn't hear those differences, possibly being totally honest if not unbiased. This will skew the results in their favour. Those that believe that cables do make a difference will have to pass the ABX test. The results remain skewed!

Some say so what; if a number of people want to spent silly money, that's their affair - live & let live! That's is true but I don't feel that comfortable with an industry partly based on voodoo & deception whether that be from cynically making money or well meant but false precepts. Another idea which is probably daft is that we need to spend a certain percentage of total cost on cables. At the very minimum we need to spend enough to buy well made & reliable cables, this is a fixed price & doesn't mean we should spend thousands just because our total spend was ten times that!
 

idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
1,113
67
19,270
The ABX tests I have read have all varied slightly in the way they have been conducted, but I have only included ones where the methodology at least appears sound and there is enough descriptive of the test to be sure of that.

Some, like Hifi Wigwam where disgused power cords were sent to various testers for a week each, the testers reported hearing differences, but got them wrong and they could not reliably tell the difference between the ketttle lead and the audiophile one. Others like an Australian ABX test of CD transports involved the testers resourting to guessing. Indeed to reinforce the stereotype of Australians, they gave up and cracked open the beers!

The important part is that those who do report hearing a difference under ABX tests get no better a result than those who guess.

I think it is wrong to then dismiss ABX testing as faulty as that is clearly being done because the tests have kicked up an unsatisfactory, inconvenient result. If ABX tests were passed all the time with the likes of cables, I have no doubt that they would then be used to prove such do sound different.
 

SteveR750

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
560
33
18,920
+1 great post IDC, exactly my point of view. Our perceptions of our universe are massively coloured by an inbuilt prejudice (there was an interesting Horizon doc on TV couple fo weeks on this very subject) where it's been shown that we cannot process more than about 5 streams of information at once, so the brain fills in large gaps, based upon experience, so we think we see a lot but we in reality don't - it really is all in the mind!

I'm convinced that a lot of the smaller changes are indeed in my mind, I think I can hear a slight difference, therefore I can! Ultimately, it really is only academic interest if it really exisists or not; if my perception is that there is, then it makes complete sense to use / buy that product. Never underestimate the power of reviews and "expert" opinion! (or the relationship between price and perceived quality)
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts