Digital Interconnects

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Thompsonuxb said:
BenLaw said:
Thompsonuxb said:
Digital interconnects make more difference than anolog by the nature of the digital signal. Its more precise and less splashy at the top end
I don't really know what that means, but can you provide a link in support?
Provide a link, what for......lol.

If you have access to a digital reciever connect your CD player to it directly with digital/optical coax, compare them to Anolog interconnects and agianst each other and then hand on heart report back and tell the truth......provide a link......indeed.
Hi Thompsonuxb

I use a basic (single) interconnect to transfer digital data between a Yamaha BD-S1900 Blu Ray player (coaxial digital out) > Chord Electronics DSP8000 AV processor.

Btw, for optical connection i use a basic fibre optic cable which i bought at the local market for a £1.

All the best

Rick @ Musicraft
 

SteveR750

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
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Dr Lodge said:
i-CONICA said:
There'll be no improvement in sound quality what so ever unless the fibre is broken, and then it'll simply break up, in a binary "all or nothing" style, than degrade the sound
I disagree, certainly with respect to different cables whether coax or toslink. You may hear some difference in SQ depending on the differing levels of jitter that the cables impart on the signal. Basically the signal goes into the cable as a square wave and as it goes along the cable may have the edges rounded so that the transition from "high" to "low" or vice versa is not so clearly defined. This leads to timing issues at the other end (normally a DAC) and its this timing error that is known as "jitter". To what expect a cable imparts jitter on a signal and you can hear any difference can only be measured via listening to one cable against another.

As others have said here, compare cables and be sure you can return them if you don't want them.
I don't think it is quite like that - the best analogy I csn think of is a bar code label. Imagine that the edges of the printed black lines were smudged slightly, this is your "squaring" of the data signal. It's nothing like the rounding off or clipping of an analogue waveform. At some point, our barcode reader cannot distinguish the correct width of bar, plus if you can imagine the reader being held at an angle to the lable so that the perspective changes the image, or "timing". An async DAC should be capable of printing a new lable (reclocking) thus eliminating alot of the transmission jitter perhaps?
 

idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
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SteveR750 said:
......

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)
Yes, so the cable wars should end. :bounce:

They work because of reviews and marketing and the amazing human mind. If they work for you it is not because you have golden ears. It is because of the way your mind works. That is why even though I am a sceptic and non believer, I can still hear differences sometimes with some kit.

However, there is a twist to the tail. I have no real evidence of this, but I think that with ICs attenuation can make cables genuinely sound different. The reason behind that is my experience with attenuated cables, they sounded slightly louder and slightly louder improves SQ because dynamics are enhanced and details come through. It may be the case that some ICs attenuate the signal anyway, just by their construction and so thye sound slightly louder and so 'better'.

PS -I have added my blog to my signature. If you can be bothered I have a six part explanation of my theory re how cables really work, a blog about ABX and blind comparison testing and a reference section with links to audiophile science. :)
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
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idc said:
...I think that with ICs attenuation can make cables genuinely sound different. The reason behind that is my experience with attenuated cables, they sounded slightly louder and slightly louder improves SQ because dynamics are enhanced and details come through. It may be the case that some ICs attenuate the signal anyway, just by their construction and so thye sound slightly louder and so 'better'.
Attenuate means to lessen or reduce.

How does attenuation make cables seem louder?
 

idc

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Jan 2, 2008
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Some how attanuating a cable affects volume, here is Russ Andrews take on the subject

http://www.russandrews.com/article-viewindex-attenuation&target=blank.htm

and it shows a connection between voltage and volume. It was my experience with attenuated cables that leavign the volume alone and plugging the cable in, the volume was slightly greater.

The human ear is sensitive to volume changes, hence when blind testing volume must be equalised between what is being tested.
 

busb

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2011
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idc said:
Some how attanuating a cable affects volume, here is Russ Andrews take on the subject

http://www.russandrews.com/article-viewindex-attenuation&target=blank.htm

and it shows a connection between voltage and volume. It was my experience with attenuated cables that leavign the volume alone and plugging the cable in, the volume was slightly greater.

The human ear is sensitive to volume changes, hence when blind testing volume must be equalised between what is being tested.
OK - I understand you (I'd thought you had lost some marbles!) - RA wants to sell ICs with built-in attenuation. That's one way of doing it & if you like those Kimber cables anyway: an elegant solution for input stages that are too sensitive (as many are).
 

Thompsonuxb

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Feb 19, 2012
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Honestly, you guys...... :rofl:

Lets all get together at a hifi shop , bring a few interconnects digital and anolog and have a test.

All the sceince in the world means nothing and all this talk of 'percieved differences' in what is heard is silly. Denial makes no sense.

We set up some kit, fix volume and speaker location, put a chair in the sweet spot and listen, there is no magic involved, no desception and no bullying to convert. A straight test amongst people with an interest in hi fi and music is all it will be.

C'mon....I live in Birmingham and can't travel outside or too far...the wife may think I've met an internet woman who's willing to do nasty things with me.

Super fi Birmingham I'm sure would be willing to accomodate us, bring sandwiches and some ear buds. I'm confident you will hear differences how confident are you?
 

Thompsonuxb

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Feb 19, 2012
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MUSICRAFT said:
Thompsonuxb said:
BenLaw said:
Thompsonuxb said:
Digital interconnects make more difference than anolog by the nature of the digital signal. Its more precise and less splashy at the top end
I don't really know what that means, but can you provide a link in support?
Provide a link, what for......lol.

If you have access to a digital reciever connect your CD player to it directly with digital/optical coax, compare them to Anolog interconnects and agianst each other and then hand on heart report back and tell the truth......provide a link......indeed.
Hi Thompsonuxb

I use a basic (single) interconnect to transfer digital data between a Yamaha BD-S1900 Blu Ray player (coaxial digital out) > Chord Electronics DSP8000 AV processor.

Btw, for optical connection i use a basic fibre optic cable which i bought at the local market for a £1.

All the best

Rick @ Musicraft
I know, you keep saying you do......I don't know if you're just cheap or you really don't have that set up...er...set up to really listen to your music.... you have a shop Rick ? lets all go to Ricks shop to do this test.
 

Overdose

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2008
279
1
18,890
I really don't see what the problem is. It's blindingly obvious that there are some people who will not be swayed either way. Ultimately, it's the bloke who's spending his cash, whos opinion of what sounds best, that really counts.

FWIW, I'm in the 'cables don't contribute greatly to sound quality' camp and 'digital optical cables make no difference at all', assuming a (perfectly serviceable cable). Enough tests appear to have already been conducted in the past to cement my belief and that's what it is, belief.

I don't buy epensive cables for this reason and my system sounds fine to me. For those that disagree and wish to spend their hard earned, on something more exotic, that's fine also.

I'd quite like to have the time to participate in a proper ABX test, but have more important things to do.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thompsonuxb said:
Honestly, you guys...... :rofl:

Lets all get together at a hifi shop , bring a few interconnects digital and anolog and have a test.

All the sceince in the world means nothing and all this talk of 'percieved differences' in what is heard is silly. Denial makes no sense.

We set up some kit, fix volume and speaker location, put a chair in the sweet spot and listen, there is no magic involved, no desception and no bullying to convert. A straight test amongst people with an interest in hi fi and music is all it will be.

C'mon....I live in Birmingham and can't travel outside or too far...the wife may think I've met an internet woman who's willing to do nasty things with me.

Super fi Birmingham I'm sure would be willing to accomodate us, bring sandwiches and some ear buds. I'm confident you will hear differences how confident are you?
Whatever about the analogue cables sounding slightly different-maybe they could-very very slightly. But digital cables can't.

Digital cables merely link two devices, the information they carry is digital, it can't be different with different cables, it doesn';t work that way. For one digital cable to er "sound" better or worse than another, it has to "sound" different, but that can't happen with digital data transfer, it's perfect or you get nowt. You may as well listen to the bread.

P.S. what are the chances most would say Hovis sounds better than Tescos value brown :?
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
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John Duncan said:
Thompsonuxb said:
the wife may think I've met an internet woman who's willing to do nasty things with me.
Well if it's a choice between that and ABXing cables...
Now if we combine the two, and ABX the women you find on the Net, then count me in......Actually come to think of it, maybe you could delay it a little until I get my back sorted! :shifty:
 

idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
1,113
67
19,270
Thompsonuxb said:
Honestly, you guys...... :rofl:

Lets all get together at a hifi shop , bring a few interconnects digital and anolog and have a test.

All the sceince in the world means nothing and all this talk of 'percieved differences' in what is heard is silly. Denial makes no sense.

We set up some kit, fix volume and speaker location, put a chair in the sweet spot and listen, there is no magic involved, no desception and no bullying to convert. A straight test amongst people with an interest in hi fi and music is all it will be.

C'mon....I live in Birmingham and can't travel outside or too far...the wife may think I've met an internet woman who's willing to do nasty things with me.

Super fi Birmingham I'm sure would be willing to accomodate us, bring sandwiches and some ear buds. I'm confident you will hear differences how confident are you?
I find it very odd that music reproduction, which is possible only because of science, that science is then routinely dismissed and held as suspect when it comes to why we hear sound quality differences.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Now, to throw a spanner in the works...

I'm as big a non-believer as you can get, it wasn't always that way but at work I got trained in proper sensory testing, ABX being only a part of that (this was in reference to food but the basic principles are the same). It also covered the subjectivity of the human mind and how even knowing something in a system (/recipe) is being changed will skew the result, even if the taster/listener doesn't want it to. I digress but the area of the human mind in subjective perception is alarming and fascinating...

So, armed with this new knowledge I designed an experiment to test all the various cables I had, speaker and analogue interconnect. The results, when all factors were tested equally were that there wasn't a difference so I stuck with my Van Damme / Neutrik home-brews and sold the others (actually, I think I still have some Kimber PBJs in a drawer upstairs) and became much more rightous in the process :rofl:

A while after I was chatting with a guy who I'd known for a few years and designed pro amps and electronics for a living. He shares my view in that a cable is either fit for purpose or it's not BUT he was said that the SPDIF interface is an age old relic and has it's problems, namely that impedence differences in the signal path can cause reflections that are MEASURABLE. To negate the problem you need your SPDIF cables (coax) to be less than 25cm (from memory) and you should try and make sure that all the components in the chain are impedence matched.

Now, this I believe as it is actually measureable on proper instruments, whether it makes any difference to the SQ I couldn't be bothered to test...
 

paradiziac

New member
Jan 8, 2011
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nawty said:
Now, to throw a spanner in the works...

I'm as big a non-believer as you can get, it wasn't always that way but at work I got trained in proper sensory testing, ABX being only a part of that (this was in reference to food but the basic principles are the same). It also covered the subjectivity of the human mind and how even knowing something in a system (/recipe) is being changed will skew the result, even if the taster/listener doesn't want it to. I digress but the area of the human mind in subjective perception is alarming and fascinating...

So, armed with this new knowledge I designed an experiment to test all the various cables I had, speaker and analogue interconnect. The results, when all factors were tested equally were that there wasn't a difference so I stuck with my Van Damme / Neutrik home-brews and sold the others (actually, I think I still have some Kimber PBJs in a drawer upstairs) and became much more rightous in the process :rofl:

A while after I was chatting with a guy who I'd known for a few years and designed pro amps and electronics for a living. He shares my view in that a cable is either fit for purpose or it's not BUT he was said that the SPDIF interface is an age old relic and has it's problems, namely that impedence differences in the signal path can cause reflections that are MEASURABLE. To negate the problem you need your SPDIF cables (coax) to be less than 25cm (from memory) and you should try and make sure that all the components in the chain are impedence matched.

Now, this I believe as it is actually measureable on proper instruments, whether it makes any difference to the SQ I couldn't be bothered to test...
Well, that's interesting on 3 counts.

1) It relates actual experience rather than what you've read on the web somewhere.

2) Your experience of perception from another field. I'm neither a believer or non-believer. I go with my ears (cos I have to live with how the kit sounds to me, not with how it "must" sound according to "science"/some "expert"). But I admit that my ears are fallible--I've experienced this from ABX-ing mp3s v lossless. Generally, my rule is that if the difference is so small that I might doubt my hearing, I don't worry about it. To a certain extent, I accept the potential self-delusion as part of the fun. I don't listen to my kit blind, so if the sight of a well-made cable puts me in a good mood to appreciate the music, why not? As long as I'm not spending silly money.

3) You highlight the importance of matching components, often overlooked IMHO. The effect of a cable on the sound depends on what it's connected to and in fact the whole system.

P.S. The connectors are probably at least as important as the actual wire, and Neutrik are very well thought of, so it's not a surprize that your homebrews were as good as anything else!

P.P.S. SDPIF cable optimum length depends on the actual cable, generally longer (2m+) is thought to be better. But agreed it's unlikely to matter in many/most people's systems.
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
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Just my 2 pence worth regarding my own ABX testing on cables... :)

Digital cables - So long as they are functioning properly they don't make any difference.

Analogue cables - Good ones that don't add distortion don't make any difference because they can't make the original signal better than it already is. Bad ones that do add distortion can make it worse though, I suspect this is what often gets mistaken as an 'improvement' with overpriced audiophile cables.

Hope you've all enjoyed a nice sunny Sunday afternoon. :cheers:
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
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paradiziac said:
I accept the potential self-delusion as part of the fun. I don't listen to my kit blind, so if the sight of a well-made cable puts me in a good mood to appreciate the music, why not? As long as I'm not spending silly money.
That's a very interesting point. If it works for you and makes you happy then why not go for it. :)

At least you have the intelligence to realise that it's your mood that's making the music sound better.
 

oldric_naubhoff

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Mar 11, 2011
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nawty said:
and you should try and make sure that all the components in the chain are impedence matched.
...which is nigh impossible with a RCA connector. cable can be 75 Ohm but the connector will almost definitely skew the end result impedance. BNC is way better but it's hard to find sources and DACs with this connection. don't really know how's it like with XLR for digital but since it's naturally used in pro audio I reckon there's nothing wrong with it too. so, instead arguing if digital coax would or would not make a difference try to find source and DAC with BNC connectors.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Indeed, BNC is/was the way to go and have you ever seen an expensive BNC cable or bling connector? :)

XLR is a high level/voltage balanced system which has the ability to reject noise, or rather the electronics can reject the noise if it is designed to do so, the cable does not reject noise itself (which is why twisted pair configuration isn't much use in normal speaker systems).

Do you know if HDMI corrects these issues, I assume it does? (I've not kept up to date with new developments)
 

Thompsonuxb

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Feb 19, 2012
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Cables do make a difference.

Note those who will claim they don't, appear to be the most reluctant to do a simple test such as the one I propose. A controlled enviroment a fixed set of parameters only the cables/interconnects will be changed and we listen. its not even a which one is better test.

And why don't some of you trust what you hear, I mean believing your mind is playing tricks on you if you hear a difference......whats that about?

Regards digital interconnects - fibre optic, copper or silver. the more expensive the cable the purer it will be. Its like diamonds to a degree. why do two stones, same size same weight have different value. considering they are both diamonds. Could it be that one is clearer, purer than the other.

If you can understand that then why is it so hard to believe this will have an affect on an electrical signal passing through it. I am confident in a test such as this you will hear the differnces in cables, both digital and anolog, confident enough to put good money on it....my car tax is due and It could do with a service too.

I'm not desperately looking for friends, but c'mon lets do this settle the argument....I dare you.
 

Thompsonuxb

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Feb 19, 2012
129
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idc said:
Thompsonuxb said:
Honestly, you guys...... :rofl:

Lets all get together at a hifi shop , bring a few interconnects digital and anolog and have a test.

All the sceince in the world means nothing and all this talk of 'percieved differences' in what is heard is silly. Denial makes no sense.

We set up some kit, fix volume and speaker location, put a chair in the sweet spot and listen, there is no magic involved, no desception and no bullying to convert. A straight test amongst people with an interest in hi fi and music is all it will be.

C'mon....I live in Birmingham and can't travel outside or too far...the wife may think I've met an internet woman who's willing to do nasty things with me.

Super fi Birmingham I'm sure would be willing to accomodate us, bring sandwiches and some ear buds. I'm confident you will hear differences how confident are you?
I find it very odd that music reproduction, which is possible only because of science, that science is then routinely dismissed and held as suspect when it comes to why we hear sound quality differences.
Science is not being dismissed, but actual listening is more 'real' its the Captain Kirk, Mr spock thing - Logic is all good and well on paper but the ability to improvise to individual situations works better in the real world.
 

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