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Audiophile USB cable anyone ?

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Post by hasnul on Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:29 am

Any experience guys ? Do share your results here.
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Post by sflam on Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:16 pm

i just spent a few hours testing the furutech audiophile usb cable.

it sounded richer, fuller and clearer than the stock usb cable that came with the benchmark dac1 pre.

acoustic instruments had more body.

since it's all 1s and 0s, why is there a difference? i don't know.


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Post by moderneagle on Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:41 pm

Placebo?

Kidding bro.

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Post by WongKN on Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:08 pm

Did you read my input on the thread about Monster and all aftermarket HDMI cables supposedly being con jobs and that RM30 HDMI cables will do the job perfectly because, as the saying always goes, it's all 0's and 1's. The question I posted there is : IS IT really just 0's and 1's.
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Post by hasnul on Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:25 pm

sflam wrote:i just spent a few hours testing the furutech audiophile usb cable.

it sounded richer, fuller and clearer than the stock usb cable that came with the benchmark dac1 pre.

acoustic instruments had more body.

since it's all 1s and 0s, why is there a difference? i don't know.


Thats good to hear. So how much is the price ?
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Post by tycham on Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:39 pm

WongKN wrote: IS IT really just 0's and 1's.

The transistors in the chip said, "On" "Off"
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Post by joeling on Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:00 pm

Much as I hate to admit but my ears are not that sensitive to cables. However, USB cables seems to an exception to the norm.

I am using 1.5m Locus Design polestar.

Regards,
Joe Ling
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Post by WongKN on Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:31 pm

tycham wrote:
WongKN wrote: IS IT really just 0's and 1's.

The transistors in the chip said, "On" "Off"

Ah, but if you really go into the details of the integrated circuit, then it is not a simple matter of 'on' or 'off'. Transistors will need a certain amount of current to 'switch' it on. And that is where things becomes complicated. A digital signal in a digital cable is really a series of variously distorted square waves depending on the quality of the cable and the sender-receiver circuitry. Then there is the issue of synchronization.
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Post by mugenfoo on Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:35 pm

sflam wrote:i just spent a few hours testing the furutech audiophile usb cable.

it sounded richer, fuller and clearer than the stock usb cable that came with the benchmark dac1 pre.

acoustic instruments had more body.

since it's all 1s and 0s, why is there a difference? i don't know.


If you hear it, then there must be a difference at least to you. Or are you doubting yourself ? Where is the self-confidence and self-esteem of a vaunted hifi reviewer ? Razz


Last edited by mugenfoo on Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by mugenfoo on Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:45 pm

WongKN wrote:
tycham wrote:
WongKN wrote: IS IT really just 0's and 1's.

The transistors in the chip said, "On" "Off"

Ah, but if you really go into the details of the integrated circuit, then it is not a simple matter of 'on' or 'off'. Transistors will need a certain amount of current to 'switch' it on. And that is where things becomes complicated. A digital signal in a digital cable is really a series of variously distorted square waves depending on the quality of the cable and the sender-receiver circuitry. Then there is the issue of synchronization.

Many a folk don't realise that there is a whole in-depth scientific field dedicated to the art and science behind 1s and 0s. For example, when is a "1" considered a truly "1", and when is a "0" considered to be truly "0" ? And when does the 1 and 0 happen in a timely fashion such that they occur faithfully, or have some time-lapse mind of their own, etc etc.

Engineers always have to deal with problems such as "quasi-states" and "meta-stability" issues, amongst other challenges. These are just but few of the many other mind boggling issues that the typical home consumer is ignorantly shielded from but all the while being blatantly fed with alot of half-baked quasi-facts and techno-sounding jargons from some word-savvy marketing guru bent on selling more stuff to the consumer.

BTW, On another unrelated topic,
... some well known hifi brand has been announcing a new circuit topology that is promising to reduce harmonic distortion levels to even less than 0.0001% Z- weighted against the white-noise 3Kelvin spectrum reference. They are naming this new circuit topology as the "Uranus-Hertz" Ultra wideband Signal Transfer Plateau system. Patents pending, of course...
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Post by WongKN on Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:13 am

Hmmmm..... MF is so much more eloquent with explaining this than I did ! Great work ! Laughing
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Post by hasnul on Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:11 am

joeling wrote:Much as I hate to admit but my ears are not that sensitive to cables. However, USB cables seems to an exception to the norm.

I am using 1.5m Locus Design polestar.

Regards,
Joe Ling

Wow ! Locus design. I reckon u got it via online ? Kena tax ?
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Post by jokiarch on Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:10 pm

I am using Straightwire, and it gives me significant enough to warrant for the purchase.

Prior to this, I tested those stock USB cables that comes with my HDD/SSD, with different length, and I can hear there is difference in sound that made me wanted to look into "branded" USB cable.

I can't offer technical explanation to why this digital data of '0' and '1' would make a difference with different cable, but they do.
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Post by cmboy on Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:57 pm

jokiarch wrote:
I can't offer technical explanation to why this digital data of '0' and '1' would make a difference with different cable, but they do.

Perhaps similar phenomenon with digital interconnects. Quality of the wire conductors, emi suppression, data integrity, jitter going through? I suppose its anyone's guess and could pin the finger on any of these to result in an audible diffence...I don't know for sure.
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Post by WongKN on Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:37 am

One of it is the issue of synchronisation. For those willing to read it, I will attempt to explain it without going into too deep a detail and without tangenting off to other more 'exotic' scientific issues.

Basically the USB connection is just an electrical connection. Yes, despite all those fancy talks, the USB cable is just like any other electrical cable. It transmits an electric signal, measured in terms of voltage and current, though voltage is the parameter we are mainly interested in. So the USB cable is susceptible to all those things which affects the standard electrical signal transfer. The main advantage of a digital signal is again that we limit ourselves to two voltage levels, e.g. 0V and 1V. But in real life, the signal can vary anywhere between 0V and 1V. I already explained the issue of setting the threshold for defining digital-0 and digital-1.

Then there is the issue of synchronization. This is the issue of EXACTLY WHEN the signal changes. E.g. if I want to send a digital stream - 001100. Then I modulate the signal in the USB cable to 0V, 0V, 1V, 1V, 0V, 0V. OK then, EXACTLY WHEN do I do that in terms of TIME. And for the purpose of transmission, EXACTLY WHEN do the receiver (e.g. the DAC) 'sample' or measure the voltage in the USB cable to determine what I am sending ? This is the issue of synchronisation.

Now the question of EXACTLY WHEN is the fundamental and most problematic one. TIME is a CONTINOUS entity in so far as our science is concerned, right down to quantum physics. We have a limited ability to deal with it in terms of our maths etc but in quantum physics, TIME and ENERGY levels are continous entities. OK, I will not dwell into this anymore, you can google the net if you want to read more.

A USB connection works with a certain 'clock rate'. What this means is the 'sampling rate' by which the sender sends and the receiver must measure the signal. For a USB connection this can range from 40 to 60MHz for e.g., i.e. the sender -and receiver - works with a sample, or signal change, of between 40 to 60 MILLION times a second. Put another way, the sender sends a signal - changes the voltage in the connection - once every 0.000000025 to 0.0000000167.... seconds.

NOTE one anomaly here - the 2nd value above is an approximate. I.e. a 60MHz works out to an exact value of ?.... WE CANNOT express it accurately, it is 0.000000016666666........ INFINITELY. So if we want to work with it, we HAVE to make a decision to adopt a fixed DEGREE of accuray, say 10 decimal places. Therefore 60MHz is 0.0000000167 seconds APPROXIMATELY. This is another issue which forces it way in all scientific and technology discussion. The LIMITATION of our scientific foundation, in this instance, the limitation of the most basic of our science - our NUMBERING system. Again, I won't talk about it anymore and you can google if you want to know more.

So basically the important issue about synchronisation is simply that the sender and receiver MUST work at EXACTLY the same time, or for practical purpose, given the limitations of our technology, at a level of accuracy high enough to ensure there is no error. Meaning that if the receiver tries to sample the signal at the wrong time, then it will be reading a wrong value. And as you can see, it needs to be very accurate.

So, imagine an electrical signal changing once every 0.0000000167 seconds. Now imagine how sensitive it can be to interference, to cable material quality, to sender/receiver circuitry, and all the other things we know can affect an electrical signal.

This is why it is NEVER just a series of 1's and 0's. It NEVER EVER was.

The USB connection has NOT and WILL NOT be adapted by the commercial or military/space environment for their critical communications. I.e. equipments in a massive mainframe computer or a massive server farm are NOT connected using USB. These environments are those which demands the max in accuracy and reliability. So think about what is says about this interface standard. Now translate it to what you need to do to ensure good accuracy and reliability.

Jo, you are dealing with it now so it is a good time for you to wonder why there are all these talks about using some exotic atomic clock in transports and DACs ? I think you have an idea now !!

I think others would be able to contribute more - those electrical or communications engineers (mine is from an I/T background).
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Post by microkernel on Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:59 am

Jitter is the deviation in or displacement of some aspect of the pulses in a high-frequency digital signal. As the name suggests, jitter can be thought of as shaky pulses. The deviation can be in terms of amplitude, phase timing, or the width of the signal pulse. Another definition is that it is "the period frequency displacement of the signal from its ideal location." Among the causes of jitter are electromagnetic interference (EMI) and crosstalk with other signals. Jitter can cause a display monitor to flicker; affect the ability of the processor in a personal computer to perform as intended; introduce clicks or other undesired effects in audio signals, and loss of transmitted data between network devices.
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Post by jokiarch on Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:03 pm

WongKN wrote:

This is why it is NEVER just a series of 1's and 0's. It NEVER EVER was.

The USB connection has NOT and WILL NOT be adapted by the commercial or military/space environment for their critical communications. I.e. equipments in a massive mainframe computer or a massive server farm are NOT connected using USB. These environments are those which demands the max in accuracy and reliability. So think about what is says about this interface standard. Now translate it to what you need to do to ensure good accuracy and reliability.

Jo, you are dealing with it now so it is a good time for you to wonder why there are all these talks about using some exotic atomic clock in transports and DACs ? I think you have an idea now !!
Hi Wong KN, thank you for your informative reply. I can understand what you are saying, and the error in time domain is always the problem with digital music world.

What I am specifically puzzled with is the understanding of Bryston BDP-1 and BDA-1, this digital music player and DAC respectively, do not stream music from flash drive or hard disc. It mere transfer the data, in blocks, into the built-in hard disc of BDP-1 where it is checked for dither and corrected before streaming. Since the USB cable connecting my external hard disc to the player is not directly in the "path" of the music streaming, how could it affect the sound?

I appreciate you explanation and it makes sense if the USB cable form part of the conductance where music is streamed, it will affect the sound. In Byrston's design, this is not the case. USB cable is just doing the "hand shake" as said and digital data is not streamed through it for processing and converting to analogue music signal.

What is even more puzzling is when I isolated my SSD with cones, I can hear the effects it is making much the same as the same cones are applied to other equipment of my system. If this is not enough, when I applied damping mass loading on top of the SSD, the effect match my past experiences in dampening my other equipment.

If this is just a binary codes of "0" and "1", and there is nothing in between these numbers and/or lower or higher, or is there more than just "0" & "1"?
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Post by moderneagle on Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:33 pm

I must admit the first thing that came to mind when i read these stuff about the art and science behind USB and the observations on damping of SSDs bring a feeling of 'oh man I gotta get me some of what these guys are smoking!!' On deeper thought, I believe these, like so many other things in the world of Hifi cannot be explained by the state of science today, much less understood by the logical mind. Like religion, the top end of Hifi are mostly experiential and who can doubt that? Me? I'm just trying not to loose money practising. Btw, the Wireworld Starlight works fine in my system and it's Ferrari red, how that makes the music comes out faster I'm not sure but it does.

Yours, having a hard time with the new faith, moderneagle. Very Happy

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Post by WongKN on Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:22 pm

Jo, from what I can see, your BDP-1 is more like a 'buffer'. I.e. you don't really 'stream' the music from your HDD or thumbdrive in real-time (streaming means real-time). Rather when you select the song, the song itself (the computer file so to speak) gets transferred into the BDP-1. Now, once inside the BDP-1's memory, all vestige of timing are now stripped. The important thing now is only the chronological order of the bits. Then when they stream the BDP1 contents to the BDA-1, both uses its own proprietry handshake; their own shared clock (which I understand is very accurate) for e.g.

In this case, the USB cable affects the accuracy of the data being transferred into the BDP-1. Eventhough DURING PLAY it is not being used, the important thing is that it is still used to transfer the data from the original source - the HDD or thumbdrive into the BDP-1. Unless you keep the song inside the BDP-1 forever. Then the quality will be consistent. But if each time you power up the player and you still need to transfer the data from the HDD or TD into the BDP-1, then each time you get affected by the USB cable.
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Post by mugenfoo on Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:49 pm

jokiarch wrote:
Spoiler:

WongKN wrote:

This is why it is NEVER just a series of 1's and 0's. It NEVER EVER was.

The USB connection has NOT and WILL NOT be adapted by the commercial or military/space environment for their critical communications. I.e. equipments in a massive mainframe computer or a massive server farm are NOT connected using USB. These environments are those which demands the max in accuracy and reliability. So think about what is says about this interface standard. Now translate it to what you need to do to ensure good accuracy and reliability.

Jo, you are dealing with it now so it is a good time for you to wonder why there are all these talks about using some exotic atomic clock in transports and DACs ? I think you have an idea now !!
Hi Wong KN, thank you for your informative reply. I can understand what you are saying, and the error in time domain is always the problem with digital music world.

What I am specifically puzzled with is the understanding of Bryston BDP-1 and BDA-1, this digital music player and DAC respectively, do not stream music from flash drive or hard disc. It mere transfer the data, in blocks, into the built-in hard disc of BDP-1 where it is checked for dither and corrected before streaming. Since the USB cable connecting my external hard disc to the player is not directly in the "path" of the music streaming, how could it affect the sound?

I appreciate you explanation and it makes sense if the USB cable form part of the conductance where music is streamed, it will affect the sound. In Byrston's design, this is not the case. USB cable is just doing the "hand shake" as said and digital data is not streamed through it for processing and converting to analogue music signal.
What is even more puzzling is when I isolated my SSD with cones, I can hear the effects it is making much the same as the same cones are applied to other equipment of my system. If this is not enough, when I applied damping mass loading on top of the SSD, the effect match my past experiences in dampening my other equipment.

If this is just a binary codes of "0" and "1", and there is nothing in between these numbers and/or lower or higher, or is there more than just "0" & "1"?

Joki, sometimes although we may make a change to one particular area in the hifi chain and think that it is influencing that particular item, it could be the case some other item in the chain has been altered as well which is giving rise to the greater effect.
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Post by tycham on Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:00 am

Speaking of SSD my Kingston SNV125-S2BD/30GB just died.Crying or Very sad

I am looking for an audiophile eSATA cable actually!Smile
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Post by WongKN on Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:06 am

Sad to hear that. This is one of the issues with SSD memories. They may be robust when not in use but they are just not that lasting when heavily used. But there are a lot of work being done to make it more reliable and once the commercial (at least) industry accepts it for wide usage, then they can be used for long term storage of valuable information. Best is when the aerospace and military people starts using it as well.

I don't think there are audiophile eSATA cables, THANKFULLY (or else we will see hypes and bullshits and cut-throat prices). Just go buy a branded one, e.g. if you have a Hitachi HHD, try to find one from Hitachi.
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Post by tycham on Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:45 am

WongKN wrote:Sad to hear that.

No worry. Still under warranty so can RMA.

WongKN wrote:
I don't think there are audiophile eSATA cables, THANKFULLY (or else we will see hypes and bullshits and cut-throat prices). Just go buy a branded one, e.g. if you have a Hitachi HHD, try to find one from Hitachi.

Just kidding on this one. Cables always included with the hardware. Laughing
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Post by WongKN on Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:20 am

Heheheh, you got me there. I thought you are so hardcore that you will go looking for an audiophile eSATA cable at the hifi shops !! Laughing
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Post by adrian4454 on Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:23 am

I love this un-charted destination we are heading.
Speaking of the devil... I think Jitter is just a general description of the issue dealing with digital interference

Not long ago, after flirting around with Telo Cap on my SP/DIF RCA output.. which make audible differences in sound... had me thinking...
After all the syn problem and jitter craps have been trackled to N-th degree, there is this EMI and vibration things that still play trick with the system.

So, I do suspect; all these expensive cables are in fact fooling around with the EMI and Vibration(reduce or introduce certain frequency of it) instead of dealing the with jitter, IMO; it doesnt matter no more if the whole song of 30MB, we have 1MB data plagued by jitter or error.. as the algorithm basically can re-calculate back the missing link.

It even less likely to have jitter timing error when data is buffered or data being carried through other error checking protocol... (ok, at this point, those very knowledgable one, can start shooting me for uttering nonsense)

I wasnt a believer in this crap sometime ago, until I had some money to upgrade my system, it does need a very well setup system to hear all these differences. Generally speaking, often U can't expect to hear this difference through ur 10~20 years old hifi, if neither of it being serviced properly. most likely un-audible through ur esteemed PC desktop speaker too. Or ur setup that seat completely inside a standard house furniture cabinet.

Well, it truly take an in-depth knowledge to understand the madness we all are in, right~? Smile

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Post by jokiarch on Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:51 pm

mugenfoo wrote:

Joki, sometimes although we may make a change to one particular area in the hifi chain and think that it is influencing that particular item, it could be the case some other item in the chain has been altered as well which is giving rise to the greater effect.

Hi Mugenfoo, I agree with your saying, and it is important to bear this in mind when one tweaks, which I do everytime and never failed to forget. Now how much the tweaks on hard disc will affect the rest of my equipment, firstly, it depends on the weight of the equipment and their differences; secondly, if it is multiple isolated which mine is. Thirdly, my entire system is spread over 5 racks, which is independent from each other and inter-modulating due to tweaks on my hard disc is thus kept very very low.

I am now exploring to power supply to my hard disc without relying on drawing power from BDP-1 via the USB cable, wow! This is a worthwhile route I can assure you.
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Post by jokiarch on Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:07 pm

WongKN wrote:
In this case, the USB cable affects the accuracy of the data being transferred into the BDP-1. Eventhough DURING PLAY it is not being used, the important thing is that it is still used to transfer the data from the original source - the HDD or thumbdrive into the BDP-1. Unless you keep the song inside the BDP-1 forever. Then the quality will be consistent. But if each time you power up the player and you still need to transfer the data from the HDD or TD into the BDP-1, then each time you get affected by the USB cable.
Yes, based on what is happening, it is exactly as described by you. The Straightwire USB cable must has given more accurate data into BDP-1. It has to be otherwise how to explain the improvement in the sound as a result of it?

Is there such thing called "fuzzy logic" that lesser fuzzy "0" & "1" to be corrected, and therefore sounded better?
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Post by jokiarch on Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:14 pm

moderneagle wrote:I must admit the first thing that came to mind when i read these stuff about the art and science behind USB and the observations on damping of SSDs bring a feeling of 'oh man I gotta get me some of what these guys are smoking!!' On deeper thought, I believe these, like so many other things in the world of Hifi cannot be explained by the state of science today, much less understood by the logical mind. Like religion, the top end of Hifi are mostly experiential and who can doubt that? Me? I'm just trying not to loose money practising. Btw, the Wireworld Starlight works fine in my system and it's Ferrari red, how that makes the music comes out faster I'm not sure but it does.

Yours, having a hard time with the new faith, moderneagle. Very Happy
Wow! Wireworld Gold Starlight? Or Platinum Starlight? Either one, I cannot afford it! It must be sounding so good!

I run a search for audiophile USB cable, OMG, there are quite a number. How could I know which one sounded good? Have you tried others before you decide on the WW Starlight?
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Post by sflam on Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:50 pm

btw, there's also audiophile firewire cable. weiss recommends the one made by oyaide.

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Post by moderneagle on Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:54 pm

No mang, I got the Ferrari Red one which is modelled after the Modena 430 color and it costs exactly RM430. The only cable I tried was the one that popped out of the box of the DAC2 which is in black. I like the red one better.

Yours, seeing red now, moderneagle

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Post by sflam on Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:18 pm

from computeraudiophile.com

This is what Gordon Rankin from Wavelength Audio thinks about this topic. I think it's pretty good evidence that USB cables do matter.

"Look there are 2 cables inside a USB cable. There is the DATA differential pair that must be designed for traffic up to at least 12Mhz and the POWER cable which is VBUS 5V's and Ground.

I have like tons of cables now and some do sound different. But remember it will be device dependent.

All of the PCM27xx devices require VBUS to determine the computer is there. This means there is current running from the computer to the USB Device via the POWER side of the cable.

Other devices like the TAS1020 look for signal on the DATA portion of the cable only. Therefore the VBUS is not used and only the Ground connection on the POWER side is used.

On the DATA side termination on the Device side or endpoint will have an effect on transmissions. I usually get the 5M cables put them on a couple of computers with my USB analyzer on the DAC side and check for errors.

It's not suggested to use a 5M with streaming audio. These cables were meant for low speed devices. 2M and under for audio will make all the difference in the world.

With the POWER side being used it can bleed noise from the computer into the dac.

It would be nice if you could switch the VBUS signal on the computer side from VBUS to Ground if your device doesn't use it.

Anyways another thing about the POWER side of the cable is that noise from the computer can end up on the device. The cable should do all it can to make sure that doesn't happen.

It's best like all aspects of this hobby to try this stuff before you buy it.

Remember using these expensive cables on a hard drive is worthless they are in Block mode not Streaming and will not be effected by the use of costly cables.

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Post by WongKN on Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:11 am

Jo,

The thing to understand is that a USB connection is not really designed for actual real-time delivery. Remember what happens with your computer when it has trouble reading something is that it retries again. In the meantime the cursor turns into one of those sand-clocks and you wait. The next time you put in an 'iffy' CD-ROM into the reader and hears the disc spinning non-stop, you will understand what I mean.

The problem is with an audio data, you MUST conform to a certain speed, and that is to transfer 1,411,200 bits per second. If your receiver or DAC does not have a buffer then you must be extremely precise or else the speed of playback will be affected. Most DAC has at least a small buffer. In that case, the speed of transfer, ACCURATELY, has a small window to vary. It must not be too slow or else the buffer empties and it cannot be too fast because the buffer overflows. You can now see the multitude of problems facing digital data transfer for music.

I have not really checked the so-called redbook CD data format. But a computer DATA file is stored using a parity bit scheme which allows the detection (only) of any 1 bit error. Meaning if there is a 'bit-flip' (i.e. when a bit has been changed, from 0 to 1 or 1 to 0), the parity bit will tell us that. It won't allow us to correct the error because we don't know which bit has been flipped. So the OS re-reads the data again. I believe there is a similar scheme for the RBCD format. I have not checked to see what happens if the actual data stored inside the CD itself is incorrect. When you re-read, of course the data stream stops. I think you get the idea of what is happening.

This is why everytime I read about how people boasts how much more 'superior' digital is because it is all 1's and 0's only and so it is inherently perfect, I can only shake my head at the ignorance. Each and every music format we have now have their own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. And digital has more than its fair share of technical complexities.

Now, in the future when the time is right, I will try to explain to you the issue of bit significance, re: MSB (most significant bit) and LSB (least significant bit). When you read that, I think you might start to have real doubts about how good digital is (don't, it is a good technology that can potentially give us good sound, just that it has its own unusual disadvantage). Later.
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Post by mugenfoo on Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:12 am

Redbook is also not a bit-perfect format ... ie, it actually is built to be forgiving to certain bit errors. The digital filter mechanism in the D/A stage will just gloss over and mask such slight bit corruptions.

Redbook employs Trellis-coded error correction, which is sufficient to correct for a small BER, but not completely foolproof.

Why some bit errors are actually permitted within Redbook standards is mainly due to historical legacy reasons: Bit storage & CPU processing (to handle Error correction) was very expensive back in the late 70s when Redbook format began to take shape.

Today, storage space is so damn cheap, and CPU processing power are also so damn cheap that the mfgs are free to choose a multitude of error correction and bit integrity schemes. For example, they can afford to use 48 bits to represent 32bit payload, making the data super robust and resistance to bit errors. A RM80 made in china ADSL modem today has 100x better error correction performance than a RM5K Sony ES-series CD player of the 1980s.

For S/PDIF and other consumer/prosumer digital audio transmission methods, such delays and interruptions cannot be tolerated much (when either the buffer underruns or overflows... both also equally bad) and hence also the obsession with atomic clocks to counter jitter transmission problems.

Now back in the computer world, this is absolutely not acceptable. Even
just ONE BIT CORRUPTED means data integrity is lost already.

This is why Data links such as USB, Firewire, Ethernet, etc etc will
always prioritise bit integrity over timing integrity. It's ok to screw
up the timing (but not the sequence) and let the CD-ROM or Harddisk
spin silly and re-read again, as long as the correct bits are read.


On the topic of MSB, LSB and maths in general:

The human world is mainly on base-10 digits (decimal), computers talk in base-2 (binary), computer programming and assembly-language talk in base-16 (Hexadecimal) numbers ....

WongKN, before u start to explain MSB and LSB concepts to anyone ...
its better to give everyone a refresher course on binary digit formats
.... (nombor asas-dua, in Malay). I'll leave it to you to be the Maths
teacher here... good luck !
Very Happy
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Post by adrian4454 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:37 am

Learn about MSB and LSB during college day for IT.. but all sudah surrender back to Cikgu. Smile

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Post by adrian4454 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:17 am

Hi Mugen and WongKN,
Consider the case of Jo's Bryston unit now, as what you have said; the USB is prioritizing data integrity. And I believe the clocking accuracy will be taken care by the memory chip buffer, where the data will be arranged back properly for accurate streaming; which in no point that a decent to audiophile grade USB should make a different in timing accuracy, why is difference in sound still can be heard?

Is it because of common RF and EMI within the operating frequency being carried over all along the way, bypassing all the crazy filtering? So the rest of the circuitry work still being plagued by this "Trojan House"?

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Post by WongKN on Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:21 am

Adrian,

As I explained to Jo Ki, my personal opinion, the USB cable affects the accuracy of the data that gets stored in the buffer (or memory chip buffer as you call it). So if you can ensure max accuracy of the data that goes into the buffer, then things will be fine. The first step need in this case is to transfer the music data from the HDD, through the USB cable, and into the buffer of the BDP-1. If this step encounters an error, then the final data that goes into the buffer may not be 100% accurate. As to what can happen/has happened to cause this, as I do not have such a system to 'play with' so I am unable to give you a comprehensive picture of what can go wrong, yet.
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Post by bimmerman on Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:35 am

Since Redbook is highly resilient to imperfect data, I think this is actually a good thing as we are then able to mix and match different digital equipment and cables, each with their own interpretation of the original data to arrive at the sound we are looking for. Redbook's wide acceptance of data-imperfection can indeed lend a more analogue characteristic to digital audio.
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Post by adrian4454 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:00 pm

Hi WongKN,
Accuracy of data from HDD or SSD to the Bryston's buffer shouldnt be an issue IMO. Reason is transfer protocol, MSB & LSB, or whatever error checking protocol would have anchored out as much of this in-accuracy as possible. Timing isnt even a concern here, as Buffer would have taken care of that...

All these while, I suspect there are other entities that is doing the devil dancing in this... and it is never being explained to consumer like us...

Appreciate your comments~~ Thanks.

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Post by WongKN on Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:34 pm

Adrian,

Yes you are right in that there must surely something that is affecting the sound. But I can't visualize what yet. One thing I learned from 23 years in the I/T industry and dealing with live production systems is that in real-life, a lot of totally unexpected and unforeseen situations can and will develop. It will cause a problem (e.g. long queues at a bank's ATM) and when one analyzes the problem, then one will say "hmmm... this is WHY it happened. We certainly didn't expect or cater for it". I has happened to me for countless times (hundreds, even more than a thousand times) so much so that nowadays I NEVER EVER am 100% sure of something.
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Post by tycham on Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:10 pm

WongKN wrote:Adrian,

(e.g. long queues at a bank's ATM)

In Singapore long queues at ATM is always never machine related!
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Post by adrian4454 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:18 pm

Hi WongKN,
Thanks for acknowledging this. Because what I do suspect that this branded USB cable is actually doing is EMI, RF, or Vibration rejection other than comply or over-comply the required USB standard.

As long as there is metal; the EMI will love to be in it, be it the chip, circuit, or whatever the parts inside the equipment. And this will end up in the very analogue stage of where it got output to the pre-amp.

So, the brand USB cable still make a very good stand fooling around with these entities. I wonder will they able to do the same when Fiber Optic take over..

I always think that fiber Optic is the solution to all these havocs. Unfortunately, it never got implemented properly in HiFi... Or it isnt significant enough to invest on something like Hifi yet. The link is good, but the processing bits maybe lacking.

If you check closely on all the critical industrial component links, Navigation, precision robot arm, medical; it prioritize on fiber optic. It basically immune to metal related distortion...

So go back to all the metal cable, it is like what bimmerman has said; things gone in the way.. and Audiophile cable is playing their cards masterfully.. And we really swear by it..

Of course, all these are of my own opinion. Do not held me responsible if anything sound obscene here, I often isnt a conventional thinker ..haha Smile

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Post by WongKN on Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:52 pm

Adrian,

It is unlikely we here in this forum can find a conclusive reason for the reason why USB cables when used in Jo's condition especially, can affect the sound. Finding the reason will mean we will also find the reason why audiophile interconnects and speaker cables sounds better than lamp flex eventhough they measure the same in terms of the critical electrical parameters like resistance.

So to me, it is a futile exercise. The best thing is to trust one's ears and if you hear an difference and most importantly if that difference makes the music more enjoyable to you, then personally, I will go ahead and use it and ignore what others will have to say.

There is an arguement that eventually because all sounds we hear are processed by our brain, no-one is hearing the REAL sound anyway. So it is futile to try to analyze the art of listening scientifically because in the first place, it might not totally conform to science ! Laughing
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Post by moderneagle on Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:05 pm

Hi Mr. Mod,

I appreciate your post. I was starting to worry that noobs like me need to understand quantum physics and molecular science just to listen to some USB music.

Yours, resistance is futile, moderneagle.

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Post by WongKN on Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:25 pm

You're welcomed. I intentionally brought in all those fancy scientific, quantum physics, whatchamightcallit, discussions because I needed to explain my stance why I feel there are so many hype and bullshit in the audiophile industry. Also to try to explain the gross misconception, that digital 1's and 0's are perfect, nothing can go wrong, and people exploiting this misconception to further their own agenda.

Of course la, I also need to explain that vinyl believers like me are not fools to continue to prefer what some tries to call a grossly 'inferior' medium. Because there is no one medium which is superior to every other medium. Not even master tape. In a way, eventhough I don't like that guy, Harry Person is correct after all. The ABSOLUTE SOUND is LIVE SOUND !
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Post by mugenfoo on Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:33 pm

... and LIVE SOUND also varies according to the conditions of the day that it was played ... humidity, temperature, number of people audience section, the orchestra conductor's mood of the day, etc etc etc .....

Very Happy
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Post by mugenfoo on Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:39 pm

WongKN wrote:Adrian,

As I explained to Jo Ki, my personal
opinion, the USB cable affects the accuracy of the data that gets stored
in the buffer (or memory chip buffer as you call it). So if you can
ensure max accuracy of the data that goes into the buffer, then things
will be fine. The first step need in this case is to transfer the music
data from the HDD, through the USB cable, and into the buffer of the
BDP-1. If this step encounters an error, then the final data that goes
into the buffer may not be 100% accurate. As to what can happen/has
happened to cause this, as I do not have such a system to 'play with' so
I am unable to give you a comprehensive picture of what can go wrong,
yet.

USB would not affect the bit sequence or the bit integrity of the signal, since it was meant to be robust and resillient enough to carry faithful computer data.
But USB does NOT guarantee clocking accuracies since it is of secondary importance in the computer-world as explained previously. The USB spec simply was not built for carrying timing-critical information.

Most times the differences we hear in digital cabling are mainly due to timing irregularities aka jitter. Its highly unlikely that digital bits in itself (a 1 becomes 0 or vice versa) would get corrupted by a Toslink, Coax or AT&T digital link. But it's the timing variances that cause jitter. Even a dirty mains power supply can affect the delicate D/A and clock circuitry and introduce a certain amount of jitter. Don't forget, USB links also carry a +5VDC power line as part of its spec, and hence will also carry some degree of "dirty power" within the cabling geometry as well.
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Post by WongKN on Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:10 pm

mugenfoo wrote:... and LIVE SOUND also varies according to the conditions of the day that it was played ... humidity, temperature, number of people audience section, the orchestra conductor's mood of the day, etc etc etc .....

Very Happy

Good observation. And each of these conditions contribute to their unique variation of the live sound. Thus different concert halls have their own unique sound and this is why some people prefer performances done in the carnegie hall for e.g. while others like churches and stadiums are generally considered useless for classical music but acceptable for a rock concert. This kind of variation provides 'colour' to different interpretation of the same classical symphony for e.g. So it is true that many factors affects the sound character or signature of the performers but that is what makes music so magical for e.g.

Take for e.g. the 'mood' being point out. This is why there are three highly revered performances of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 conducted by Wilhelm Furtwangler and fans considers all three unique and equal with no-one superior to the other. So the 1942 performance shows Furtwangler's hidden 'anger' at the Nazi's who forced him to conduct on the occasion of some Nazi event. The Bayeruth one was historical and the Bayeruth hall 'sound' was unique. Then the final 1954 conducted in Vienna was unique because of Furtwangler's pensive mood since apparently he knew he will die soon as his health had been failing. So to each one, its own unique version of the LIVE SOUND. There is no ONE correct live sound.
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Post by sflam on Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:22 pm

joki,

just forget abt using that usb cable and use the aes/ebu connection for yr brystons instead.

my current view is tht usb is an inherently inferior connection for streaming music, but the dac manufacturers hyped it up simply because the usb connection is so commonly found in all laptops - windows-based or mac. they tried to make an inherently bad connection (for audio) good with motherboards, master clocks, software, firmware, etc. they catered to market demand.

the aes/ebu specs were finalised by a panel of american and european electrical engineers and the aes/ebu connection is used in pro and studio equipment.

am i sparking off another debate ah?






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Post by WongKN on Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:41 pm

No sflam, in my opinion you are not. It is correct that the AES./EBU connection is very good though the technical details, MF would know more than me. But Jo cannot use AES/EBU to load the music files into the BDP-1. This is because HDD and SSD currently do NOT support this connection format. The link between BDP-1 and BDA-1 is via AES/EBU (also called XLR).

I have actually forwarded the opinion before, that if given the choice, I would prefer to use Firewire or better still, HDMI connection for music. HDMI especially is designed to transmit video and audio digitally. USB as you have pointed out is NOT. It is the main target of what I have been calling hype - by computer type manufacturers who are stepping into the audiophile field nowadays.
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Post by bimmerman on Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:00 pm

Regardless of AES/EBU, Coaxial or AT&T ST Optical connection, the protocol implemented is still SPDIF which is flawed.

PS Audio uses HDMI to transmit digital audio from transport to DAC using the superior I2S protocol which splits the signal into a Bit clock line
Word clock line and data line. I've recently fashioned an I2S cable out of Cat5 Lan cable and yes, it beats AES/EBU and Coaxial. Wonder why not many manufacturers implement I2S.
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