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Bird Box for Subjective impressions of digital stuff


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Here's a  bit of fun I said I would never do. Never say never they say. They are right!

 

An issue I have found a bit tiresome is whenever someone starts posting some interesting things about their subjective impressions of some digital thing on some of the excellent threads on different aspects of digital reproduction here,  often someone else comes in and starts talking about how none of this is possible because I learnt this opposite stuff in IT school. Suffice to say there is a big divide between these perspectives that I dont think are worth trying to sort out at this stage because there is no data to back up either perspective. (this means no studies to show correlation with some digital property and subjective listening preference), and all that happens is people get upset and throw veiled insults at each other and then the thread gets shut.  I can almost hear the collective mod groan when these pop up as it just means more work, and for what. NO ONE EVER CHANGES THEIR MIND!

 

This thread has been setup to provide a safe space for those that want to give their impressions on the differences they may find from one digital component to another.  A place to support each other in our "delusional" observations that many aspects of the digital chain can and do cause changes in what we hear.

 

Its going to work like this. You have to have heard a component in your system and compared it to another. You can then give your unfettered subjective opinion on the differences found (or not) as is your absolute prerogative.  good, bad, indifferent is all ok and valid.

 

Things not allowed in this thread are discussion on why things cant be heard  because of some technical knowledge you learnt at IT school or any other theoretical reason why these subjective comments might not fit with your idea of how the world works. Blind testing is not to be suggested unless someone chooses to do it for their own reasons. I think those of you that are prone to this type of comment know what I am talking about and any loopholes found in my statement will be closed off and any posts that do not follow my directive will be removed. Well ok, perhaps I am not quite so omnipotent as I make out and clearly with the good grace and consideration of mods will be removed and I dont really have any say on the matter.

 

To those that would like to make such a comment be assured that you have been heard  I and all others posting on this thread are well aware of your opinion on the matter and do take it into consideration.

 

To the mods I say, if you think this is a bad idea of course obliterate it. I think it could really be good and with no conflict could flourish as a flawed but honest appraisal of various components in someones system. To  be clear I wish there to be no conflict that is likely to require it being put in a thread which requires constant moderation so hopefully not much work for you guys.

 

My hope is that this allows people some freedom and confidence to share their experiences as varied and opposite as they may be. And I expect them to be really opposite as that mirrors my own impressions with the same components!. I think this sharing has been really lacking in this space and I want to make it ok to share this stuff.  If you think people are going to think less of you well, seriously! you are trying different ethernet cables to get better sound for gods sake!!  Its not exactly going to win you the order of Australia is it? Its not helping the less fortunate. Its just indulging your (some might say) dorky, or perhaps unhealthy obsession with better sound!! Anyway, no judgement here. Join the brotherhood, or siblinghood (for that 1? girl on the site, sorry April and (maybe) others🤣). Anyhow, I digress.

 

I will start with some of my own, I have plenty I have been storing up for such an occasion and they are clearly bursting to come out.

 

Edited by frednork
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One of the first things that I tried that made me think that changes in digital cables might make a difference to the sound was a Chord cable company usb cable.( Not to be confused with the Chord that Rob Watts is part of )I had been using a typical printer cable at the time with ok results and splashed out the bucks on an "audiophile" usb cable. Once i plugged it in I fired up some music and thought ok, better sounding stereo on its way to old Freddie boy.  i had a listen and thought hmm, its not much better and after some time wondered was it better at all. I then went back to the printer cable. The printer cable was heaps better. This began a journey of discovery regarding this totally unexpected area of improvements or otherwise..

 

Now just before you say well what does that do for the poor Chord company usb owners out there, You have just bottomed out the value of their cable. Well , maybe, but maybe not. Read on and see why.

 

Much later in my digital cable journey I was comparing 3 cables which are all reasonably expensive (for an ethernet cable) They were an AIM NA-7 a SOTM DCBL-cat7 and an acoustic revive cable fitted with telegartner plugs which has been popular of late on this forum. 

 

What I did is compare the 3 cables in 3 different configurations of server and endpoint and depending on the configuration either the AIM was the best , or the SOTM DCBL was the best or they were all similar. This did blow my mind. The differences were not tiny and the result seemed obvious (to me anyway). 

 

So what does this all mean? Well maybe the chord cable owners havent lost out as the system seems to have as big an effect on the end result as anything else and one result doesnt necessarily predict the same for a different system. 

 

Would love to hear from you on your observations.

Edited by frednork
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14 hours ago, frednork said:

I have plenty I have been storing up for such an occasion and they are clearly bursting to come out.

Thanks for starting this thread.  I have much to post on this topic in a collegiate thread as this one is intended.

 

I will give some thought as to where to start.

John

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Thanks for the thread Mr Nork!
 

I’ve been comparing 3 different USB cables recently.  They have been changed in and out, according to my own whim, between my Antipodes EX and my Mola Mola Makua.
 

The 3 cables are: Curious Evolved, Atlas Mavros Grun, and Wireworld Platinum Starlight 8.

 

All excellent cables, with the Atlas Mavros Grun being my preferred cable overall with a “lit from within” presentation, albeit with a slightly darker tilt to the tonality.  It excels at giving a sense of realistic space to recordings that capture this.

 

The WW PS8 is a close second, with highly detailed and airy presentation.  There is a real sense of openness to the music with a noticeable emphasis on natural rhythmic timing.

 

The Curious Evolved is a bit cheaper than the 2 other cables.  It competes closely on most fronts, but sounds a bit thicker and less detailed.  The upper midrange is noticeably warmer when compared to the other 2 cables, and this accentuates richer sounding vocals.

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1 hour ago, Stereophilus said:

Thanks for the thread Mr Nork!
 

I’ve been comparing 3 different USB cables recently.  They have been changed in and out, according to my own whim, between my Antipodes EX and my Mola Mola Makua.
 

The 3 cables are: Curious Evolved, Atlas Mavros Grun, and Wireworld Platinum Starlight 8.

 

All excellent cables, with the Atlas Mavros Grun being my preferred cable overall with a “lit from within” presentation, albeit with a slightly darker tilt to the tonality.  It excels at giving a sense of realistic space to recordings that capture this.

 

The WW PS8 is a close second, with highly detailed and airy presentation.  There is a real sense of openness to the music with a noticeable emphasis on natural rhythmic timing.

 

The Curious Evolved is a bit cheaper than the 2 other cables.  It competes closely on most fronts, but sounds a bit thicker and less detailed.  The upper midrange is noticeably warmer when compared to the other 2 cables, and this accentuates richer sounding vocals.

Yes USB cables was my first digital cable exploration. I have owned and tried, original curious, chord company, mad scientist, lush 1, lush 2, and a couple of cheaper ones I can't remember.

I have tried in my setup, audioquest diamond, MIT, sablon and have settled on the wireworld 8 platinum after having the wireworld 7 platinum for a long time. Lots in there would be fine though. The mavros sounds like its worth a listen. 

I find USB cables to impact more on leading edge and macro/micro tonality with less impact on soundstage. Whereas Ethernet cables seem to have impact on both tonal and soundstage characteristics quite a bit.

 

I sometimes think ethernet cable impacts can be/are greater than USB cable impact. Interested if others think this or not.

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2 hours ago, Stereophilus said:

 

 

The Curious Evolved is a bit cheaper than the 2 other cables.  It competes closely on most fronts, but sounds a bit thicker and less detailed.  The upper midrange is noticeably warmer when compared to the other 2 cables, and this accentuates richer sounding vocals.

I found the yellow (original) Curious USB cable to be more so. I moved from the yellow to the evolved and then back to the yellow again. I like the warmth, thickness and density of the original as it sounds more musical to me. 🙂

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44 minutes ago, Niktech said:

I found the yellow (original) Curious USB cable to be more so. I moved from the yellow to the evolved and then back to the yellow again. I like the warmth, thickness and density of the original as it sounds more musical to me. 🙂

Sure, that’s 100% valid.  I used the original Curious USB a while ago in a different setup and was very happy.  The Evolved is still on the same spectrum as the original, but as you say, the original is just more “intensely flavoured”.

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2 hours ago, frednork said:

I sometimes think ethernet cable impacts can be/are greater than USB cable impact. Interested if others think this or not.

I agree ethernet cables are a different impact.  Greater or lesser is a bit dependent though.  My early forays with Ethernet cables up to $300 were, for me, useless, as I was not noticing any change.  Even the Acoustic Revive cable is quite a subtle change for me.  The AIM NA7 was a real eye opener in that regard.  That cable forced me to re-evaluate Ethernet as a whole!  I still find it thoroughly intriguing and mystifying that the digital signal transmission matters so much, whether that be Ethernet, USB, SPDIF, AES or whatever.

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7 hours ago, frednork said:

Yes USB cables was my first digital cable exploration. I have owned and tried, original curious, chord company, mad scientist, lush 1, lush 2, and a couple of cheaper ones I can't remember.

I have tried in my setup, audioquest diamond, MIT, sablon and have settled on the wireworld 8 platinum after having the wireworld 7 platinum for a long time. Lots in there would be fine though. The mavros sounds like its worth a listen. 

I find USB cables to impact more on leading edge and macro/micro tonality with less impact on soundstage. Whereas Ethernet cables seem to have impact on both tonal and soundstage characteristics quite a bit.

 

I sometimes think ethernet cable impacts can be/are greater than USB cable impact. Interested if others think this or not.

 

Do you have experience with Supra CAT network cables? I'm looking to grab a LHY network switch in a few weeks. 

The Supra CAT's seem to get reasonable feedback.... 

 

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Yes, bearing in mind what I said earlier regarding system interaction , I found the supra a bit too warm and veiled in my setup.  Could be good in an overly bright or harsh setup. For an inexpensive cable,  I liked the Elecom cat 7 (thick version).  It was a bit more balanced and deeper soundstage whilst still being quite smooth. And a lot cheaper. If you want to see if eth cables make a difference try the supra vs the blue jeans. They are quite different.

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9 hours ago, frednork said:

Yes, bearing in mind what I said earlier regarding system interaction , I found the supra a bit too warm and veiled in my setup.  Could be good in an overly bright or harsh setup. For an inexpensive cable,  I liked the Elecom cat 7 (thick version).  It was a bit more balanced and deeper soundstage whilst still being quite smooth. And a lot cheaper. If you want to see if eth cables make a difference try the supra vs the blue jeans. They are quite different.

 

Thanks for the feedback. 

I would consider my system very well balanced, definitely not bright.

I'll check out the Elecom CAT7, I'm not looking to spend money I don't need to :).  

 

Reading through various forums, many recommend non-metalised connectors, to prevent grounding issues. Has this been your experience? 

 

Its obviously not difficult to grab a few cables to try for myself - but definitely interested in the experience of others. 

I was thinking of grabbing a few CAT6 and CAT6a non-metalised cables to try, and see what I prefer. 


 

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Grizaudio said:

 

Thanks for the feedback. 

I would consider my system very well balanced, definitely not bright.

I'll check out the Elecom CAT7, I'm not looking to spend money I don't need to :).  

 

Reading through various forums, many recommend non-metalised connectors, to prevent grounding issues. Has this been your experience? 

 

Its obviously not difficult to grab a few cables to try for myself - but definitely interested in the experience of others. 

I was thinking of grabbing a few CAT6 and CAT6a non-metalised cables to try, and see what I prefer. 


 

 

 

 

 

 

I suspect there is a happy hunting ground at the cheap end of the market but will take some effort and trialing. I havent found a benefit with non metalised connectors but have only tried some simple substitutions where the cables were very different. Others have found some benefit so will need to circle back and retry.  There is also some discussion regarding grounding only at the upstream end on cat 7 cables as another benefit. My cat7's are grounded both ends and designed that way as the same manufacturer in a lower model grounds only at one end. I have seen some comment by a cable manufacturer where they say that the "noise" that is transferred is piggybacking on the data and not through the grounding so who knows?  If my supposition regarding interaction with other components is as strong as I have found then either way you will need to try and find out for yourself in you system regardless of any theory you might be trying to follow. Please report back on your findings. 

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SPDIF:

My days of Spdif are long gone, but I will say I experienced/heard many differences between coax Spdif cables. 

In my Spdif days, I tried a number of different coax's - All terminated with true 75ohm BNC adapters, including Belden 1505a, Canare LV-61s, Kordz Silver coax, various 75ohm premade coax cables. 

IMHO the cables all had subtle to quite noticeable differences in SQ. 

 

I haven't undertaken the same level of comparison with USB cables. As I have been pretty happy with my Oyaide class A USB.

But I am searching for a decent USB type A to C atm, as I have just acquired an Intona 7055-B isolator.

Any USB A to C cable recommendations would be welcome. ;) 

 

I have been considering either acquiring another Oyaide with a type B to C adapter, or maybe a Wireworld or AQ cable.

Not looking to spend more than $200. 

 

POWER SUPPLIES ON DIGITAL STREAMERS/DAC

I am a big believer in quality LPS for digital sources.

I know this is a contentious issue (and one that gets jumped on by the measurement crowd) but for me a quality LPS typically improves SQ for digital sources. 

 

I have particularly heard this benefit whilst powering my Pi4 & Pi4 pi2aes HAT based solutions. 

I also observed audible differences moving from a reportedly low noise ifi power X to my Gieseler KW2 Dual (LPS). 

The Gieseler KW2 provided improvements in overall tonality, treble quality and ease/naturalness of sound. 

 

ATM, I currently use the Gieseler Kraftwerk 2 Dual to power my Pi4 and Motu MK5 DAC. 

 

Edited by Grizaudio
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I have had great results (and very positive feedback from others who tried them) with the Viablue EP7S ethernet cable. https://viablue.de/cn/cables_ep7s_solid_ethernet.php

I used Linkup ethernet connectors - https://linkup.one/linkup-rj45-connectors-cat6a-6-pack-shielded-metal-die-cast-field-modular-termination-plug-10g-easy-internet-tool-free-plugs-for-cat6a-up-to-22awg-solid-bulk-s-ftp-ethernet-cable-red/

In my cables, I have only connected the grounding at one end. I then use red heat shrink on the end that has the ground connected to differentiate it from the ungrounded end which has black heat shrink.

I found that they gave my set up a really clean, authoritative sound. I also found their effects additive. I have my NUC connected to an Etheregen, then from the Etheregen to a SOTM ethernet filter, then to a RJ45 outlet in my wall that feeds to the router. As I gradually added the Viablue cables from the NUC up to wall, swapping out the other generic cables i was using, the sound got better, The biggest jump was from the NUC to the Etheregen and the other changes were less dramatic. I am not in a position to rewire from the RJ45 wall socket back to the router though.

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Repeated use in the original post of "IT school" is somewhat patronising.

 

It's a bit like referring to a surgical professional as having acquired their expertise from their time as a butcher's apprentice.

 

It was beneath you.

 

All of the demands and stipulations on what will be allowed and what will not are not in the remit of you or I. It sits entirely with the Volunteer Team. All that is being set-out in the original utopian vision of the thread is essentially a one-sided game with the rules adjusted to suit the fact that learned opinion and reasonable burden-of-proof for outlandish claim and flight of fancy has no place here. It seems that rationality and reason have been asked to collect their coats and are being shown the door. Hopefully, the appeals to the Volunteer Team as a reasoned group of arbiters to police this thread so stringently are going to go straight-through-to-the-keeper.

Edited by El Tel
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Greetings,  since I am computer illiterate, having last had at home whatever followed a 486 using windows xp, and experience only with a sadly missed squeezebox for internet radio, can I ask some basic questions about where these USB and Ethernet cables fit in a system and what signals they carry? 

 

For example I have cd transport to dac to amp to speakers and the signals are obviously digital then low level analog and finally high level analog to the speaker. 

 

I ask because I have time,  waiting room type time, to burn at the moment and am a bit bored with what I usually read. 

 

thanks s.m

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55 minutes ago, El Tel said:

Repeated use in the original post of "IT school" is somewhat patronising.

 

It's a bit like referring to a surgical professional as having acquired their expertise from their time as a butcher's apprentice.

 

It was beneath you.

 

All of the demands and stipulations on what will be allowed and what will not are not in the remit of you or I. It sits entirely with the Volunteer Team. All that is being set-out in the original utopian vision of the thread is essentially a one-sided game with the rules adjusted to suit the fact that learned opinion and reasonable burden-of-proof for outlandish claim and flight of fancy has no place here. It seems that rationality and reason have been asked to collect their coats and are being shown the door. Hopefully, the appeals to the Volunteer Team as a reasoned group of arbiters to police this thread so stringently are going to go straight-through-to-the-keeper.

For goodness sake. The title of the thread is "subjective-impressions-of-digital-stuff". And not surprisingly we have people offering subjective impressions of digital stuff.  If this find thread so objectionable then go start an "objective evaluations of digital stuff" perhaps. That way you can restore balance to this forum. I suspect it will be a boring read but give it a go.

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  • Volunteer

The OP has started a thread that is like pretty much every other thread on SNA. That is, it has a topic. It is about “something”. 
Just like every other thread on SNA, the “something” a thread is about should be respected. Of course threads can and do, drift but that’s usually an evolution rather than people barging in and saying “I think this thread shouldn’t be about the OP’s topics, my topic is more important”. 

 

 

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  • Volunteer

We're not going to have a conversation about the heavy hand of censorship or the limits of discourse. Take that somewhere else. 

Be polite and courteous to other members, respect their opinion and its difference to yours, and be open minded!  

And stay within the bounds of the topic.

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2 hours ago, Deepthought said:

I have had great results (and very positive feedback from others who tried them) with the Viablue EP7S ethernet cable. https://viablue.de/cn/cables_ep7s_solid_ethernet.php

I used Linkup ethernet connectors - https://linkup.one/linkup-rj45-connectors-cat6a-6-pack-shielded-metal-die-cast-field-modular-termination-plug-10g-easy-internet-tool-free-plugs-for-cat6a-up-to-22awg-solid-bulk-s-ftp-ethernet-cable-red/

In my cables, I have only connected the grounding at one end. I then use red heat shrink on the end that has the ground connected to differentiate it from the ungrounded end which has black heat shrink.

I found that they gave my set up a really clean, authoritative sound. I also found their effects additive. I have my NUC connected to an Etheregen, then from the Etheregen to a SOTM ethernet filter, then to a RJ45 outlet in my wall that feeds to the router. As I gradually added the Viablue cables from the NUC up to wall, swapping out the other generic cables i was using, the sound got better, The biggest jump was from the NUC to the Etheregen and the other changes were less dramatic. I am not in a position to rewire from the RJ45 wall socket back to the router though.

The Viablue EP7S sounds like an interesting option for a long cable run to another room. Did you import it, mate, or is there a local supplier? 

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I bought some of these Ethernet cables, as recommended by El Tel:

 

“I recommend U/UTP CAT6 cables from either R&M or Panduit.”

 

They are well made and sound as good as any other Ethernet cable in my system. I’ve tried various Wireworld Ethernet cables, an “Afterdark” cable and various cheaper shielded and unshielded, metal and plastic plugs.

 

Just my unmeasured subjective opinion. 

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