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News WireDream claims audio boost with silver SATA cable

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by brumgrunt, 26 Mar 2012.

  1. Pookie

    Pookie Illegitimi non carborundum

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    I paid £90 per metre for my QED XT350 speaker cable back in 2001 and it was a worthy investment as far as im concerned. But this much money on a digital cable seems a bit daft to me.
     
  2. faugusztin

    faugusztin I *am* the guy with two left hands

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    There probably are differences, if the player does some postprocessing ("image enhancement"). Otherwise no.
     
  3. west

    west What's a Dremel?

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    Question: what does anyone think about video and audio quality difference between Blu-Ray players?
    given the same CD two players may output different signals due to:
    -poorly balanced disk, causing the laser to miss it's target
    -poor optics causing incorrect readings of the laser's reflection from within the disk
    -poor hardware/firmware causing errors when interpreting output from the optics
    But I'm no expert, this is just a guess.
    I suppose you could just read the same disk with two drives and compare the output bit-by-bit and find out for sure whether there is a difference or not.

    Also the quality of a cable doesn't affect an analog signal (as some have said here). Shielding might though, if the cable is exposed to appropriate EMI.
     
  4. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

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    Oh yes, fair point. But I'd argue that your Blu-Ray player shouldn't be doing ANY processing at all - it should deliver the uncompressed signal to the monitor in the pure form it was intended to have. Any digital processing required (and for a well mastered Blu-Ray processing should be minimal if any) should happen in the monitor, which is already tasked with colour calibration etc. To process the image in multiple places risks a form of generation loss.
     
  5. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

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    I assume you mean it doesn't affect a DIGITAL signal, right? All conductors have resistance, capacitance and inductance, all of which can affect an analogue wave form. There is plenty of real world evidence to support the argument for higher quality analogue interconnects and speaker cable, though the law of diminishing returns definitely applies. For a digital waveform, yes there is the possibility of introduction of jitter and skew, which may theoretically affect the output of an unbuffered DAC if it relies on the input for timing, but I have yet to see a credible study claiming to have found a detectable difference in ABX double blind viewing / listening tests. Shielding helps exclude EMI, which improves signal to noise ratio, but (as has been stated above) if the SNR drops below the level required for the receiving device's error correction circuitry to function correctly, you will get potentially quite severe corruption in a digital signal, leading to very obvious effects in the output (we're not talking about light analogue degradation like reduced sharpness and colour fidelity; instead think audio pops, picture tearing and sparkly miscoloured pixels). The point is you don't need super high spec shielded silver cables to stop this - ANY in spec digital cable should deliver an SNR well within the error correction capabilities of an in spec receiver given a signal from an in spec source. That's the point of the HDMI etc. specifications!
     
  6. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

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    All true - disc read errors are an anticipated part of the spec for all optical platforms, so the specs include error correction mechanisms, for the reasons you state and also so that scratched discs can remain readable. Now for a CD, a single uncorrected error just gives a pop in the sound (because a CD contains uncompressed digital audio). For a DVD or Blu-Ray, an uncorrected error in the compressed bitstream may cause major problems in the output. I don't know a huge amount about the DVD / Blu-Ray formats, but I assume their ECC code is sufficiently robust to reconstruct an identical compressed bitstream given the same disc even if there are (inevitably) small scratches, laser misses, balance problems etc. I think we should take it as a given that (unless a disc is so defective that one of our test Blu-Ray players can't cope with it at all), the bitstream read from the disc is identical irrespective of the player used. And my argument is that from that stage onwards, the transformation of that bitstream into the output that is piped over HDMI (video and audio), assuming no processing, should be mathematically identical.
    You could, with the correct equipment. But it is made difficult by the HDCP protection on an HDMI link - the bitstream is encrypted using a key that is generated by negotiation between the source and the receiver, so even if the unencrypted bitstream is identical, two different players will output an entirely different encrypted bitstream.
     
  7. west

    west What's a Dremel?

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    @ mclean007
    " I think we should take it as a given that (unless a disc is so defective that one of our test Blu-Ray players can't cope with it at all), the bitstream read from the disc is identical irrespective of the player used"

    Well my point was that if the player is of poor quality you might expect more errors due to poor balance, poor optics, or whatever. But your right as long as the errors are correctable the output will be the same.
    I guess the question is whether or not small (as in single-bit or close to it) errors cause playback to fail completely or just alter it (causing "poor quality"). I don't pretend do know.

    @mclean007 again
    "I assume you mean it doesn't affect a DIGITAL signal, right? All conductors have resistance, capacitance and inductance, all of which can affect an analogue wave form."
    I mean analog audio. When it comes to normal speaker cables there's no audible difference between a coat hanger and $2000000-magic-cables. If your using conductors that have no business being used for speakers then sure, you'll have a problem, else, not.
     
  8. kylew

    kylew What's a Dremel?

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    Well of course you think it was a worthy investment, you spent £90 a metre on magic pixie dust. The cables you bought, in the real world, don't do what you think they do over a standard properly specced cable. The cable merely needs to be of a sufficient gauge and that's it.
     
  9. kylew

    kylew What's a Dremel?

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    Generally with expensive Blu-Ray players you'll be paying extra for all the extra features they offer. I'm fair sure some come with DLNA capabilities for example, better OSDs, build quality, warranty, better build materials so it'll end up lasting longer, and all those kind of things.

    If I were looking for a new Blu-Ray player as soon as you go over £100 I'd just pick up a PS3 because of all the benefits that come with it. I personally can't see me liking a stand alone Blu-Ray player more than my PS3, not because it's a games console because it's very rarely used for that, but for a media player. 95% of its use is either Blu-Ray movies or streaming Blu-Ray/DVD rips and TV shows over my network to my TV.
     
  10. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

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    Agree entirely. I'm not mocking anyone for buying an expensive Blu-Ray deck - build quality, aesthetics, ergonomics and features are all valid reasons to spend more money. My issue is that some AV review sites constantly bang on about how sharp the picture is or how deep the colours are with an £800 Blu-Ray player compared to an £80 one and I can't believe this is anything more than the Emperor's new clothes.
     
  11. west

    west What's a Dremel?

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    @kylew
    I agree
    I would guess that actual AV-quality-per-$ differences between various players are not worth worrying about. If a player works at all chances are you wont be able to tell it's output apart from another working player's output.
    If a player is corrupt enough to degrade AV to a noticeable amount chances are it's output wont be able to be used at all.
    Overall quality or features should be the deciding factor.

    I would assume that AV quality claims for blue-ray players are mostly ********.
     
  12. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

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    That's a matter for debate. Personally, I agree that spending more than a few pounds a metre is a waste of money, but to my ears the sound quality from my system is better with thicker gauge OFC cable than it was with the thin aluminium bell wire I used as a stop gap. I haven't done a blind test so it may be pure placebo effect, but I don't really care - the perceived improvement is enough to justify my modest outlay. I'm sure Pookie feels the same about his £90 a metre cable!
     
  13. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

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    It wouldn't necessarily fail completely but this sort of error doesn't result in reduced sharpness or colour fidelity or image ghosting or noise or shimmery edges like analogue degradation can (or, equivalently for analogue sound, softness, hiss and compression of dynamic range). It would give you serious image corruption - freezing, tearing of frames, smeared blocks, gaps in the image etc. For audio you'd get dropouts or pops. In short, you'd definitely know about it! And if it was any more than incredibly intermittent, it would make your system unusable.
     
  14. west

    west What's a Dremel?

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    @ mclean007
    "That's a matter for debate..."
    Thicker wire might result in a louder signal if your dealing with a few hundred watts or more, which might in turn let you turn the volume down on your amp. If your amp was over-worked before then using a thicker wire may indeed result in better sound (as your amp is working better at a lower volume).
    But in terms of audio quality (not volume) as a result of just the cable (not the amp or speaker which may do better with various levels of cable resistance) I doubt there is any difference.

    I'm not saying that using an ethernet cable for a 1kW amp is a great idea - you do need to use the right cable for the job, I'm just saying that cable material (or build quality ) isn't going to affect relative voltage at the other end (which what this comes down to).
     
  15. kylew

    kylew What's a Dremel?

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    That's exactly how it is. It's very much like the HDMI cable reviews where you'll find a lot of the same phrases. They purposely focus on things that can be deemed subjective . Generally there's no reason to buy an expensive Blu-Ray player, it's just a way for some companies to make more money from gullible people with bulging wallets. Well I say gullible, but it could also include people who are very well off and are happy to spend a huge amount to get one that they like the look of. However, as I said before anything over £100 and just get a PS3, they're the best blu-ray players to get in my opinion with the added benefit of being able to play games on them if you wanted to.

    I am very interested in Hi-Fi and AV stuff, but I tend to avoid websites and magazines related to it (other than AV forums) because it's full of rubbish about how quality doesn't stop going up as long as you keep dropping loads of money on the latest audiophile fad. Cable elevators says it all as far as I'm concerned, that in this kind of industry they're not completely and utterly blasted in to oblivion upon the mere mention of them. Magic pixie dust cables are bad enough, gold plated toslink are even worse but cable rises? They hurt my brain.
     
  16. kylew

    kylew What's a Dremel?

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    This is where the problem lies. Too many people exclaiming "this magic pixie dust cable makes loads of difference". People will hear *a* difference in the sound and attribute it to it being an increase in sound quality without actually understanding what they're hearing.

    It reminds me of that monster test that had two speakers next to each other, one with "MONSTER" cable, and one with woefully inadequate bellwire. Naturally, the one wired up with bell wire's volume was pretty low, whereas the "MONSTER" cable was of a sufficient gauge, so it was louder. Obviously they're being very ambiguous by saying "Hear the MONSTER difference" because there was a difference, you could easily tell that but they were falsely misrepresenting the inadequate cable by inferring that it was a standard cable.

    This is how they effectively conned people with their "tests", a lot of people fell for it and they made a lot of money from people who had no idea, and weirdly they still do. Some people just don't want to listen to the suggestions that their magic cables aren't actually magic and it's just a con that they spent £90 a metre on them.

    Any changes in sound are related to sound degradation, or the lack of it when you use an adequate cable, not an increase in sound quality.
     
  17. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

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    You're oversimplifying this. It is indisputable that there are properties of a wire beyond simple resistance that affect the signal it carries - inductance and capacitance being chief among these. You can definitely measure a difference between identical electrical signals transmitted over different wires. The only matter for debate is whether it can be heard. I believe that I can hear the difference between my old, thin, cheap bell wire and my newer, chunkier OFC speaker cable and that difference alone, placebo-induced or otherwise, is sufficient for me to be happy with my purchase. You're welcome to disagree and use coathangers to wire your speakers if you wish.
     
  18. west

    west What's a Dremel?

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    @mclean007
    "You're oversimplifying this"
    I don't think I am.
    As far as normal home audio goes (anything from a few to a few thousand watts per channel) capacitance and inductance of the loudspeaker will affect sound FAR more than wire will. Resistance of the wire is the only thing that has any real possibility of degrading your signal (audibly).

    "You can definitely measure a difference between identical electrical signals transmitted over different wires. The only matter for debate is whether it can be heard."
    Sure, I agree with that. I'm just saying that the difference cannot be heard.
    And if your happy with your purchase then more power to you, but I think a lot of these products are unfair to most consumers who don't know they are wasting their money. It's kinda like people selling fuel-saving additives (that don't work), it's a total scam (even if the consumer is happy with their purchase).

    Also OFC, oxygen free copper, used presumably to keep copper-oxide out of cables, is a gimmick. You can make a cable entirely (or partially, it doesn't matter) out of copper-oxide and you'll detect no signal distortion.

    So yeah I disagree with you, but I don't have enough wire coat hangers to connect my speakers D:
     
  19. dunx

    dunx ITX is where it's at !

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    Having added a pair of psx-r PSU's to my Cyrus system, I can say that I can hear an improvement in dynamic response. Similarly, a hi-spec Blu-Ray player will benefit from a more stable high quality PSU IMHO, not that I claim to be able to see the difference myself.

    dunx
     
  20. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

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    That's theoretically true for analogue devices, but for a purely digital device like a Blu-Ray player, I don't believe it.
     
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