Crazy digital audio theories

Thanks for the cogent explanation. At last.

I look forward to the countering arguments.:laughing:


So let’s just say your daughter (or son) graduated from MIT and was the head of engineering at a company that did audiophile ethernet cables. If somebody at a cocktail party asked you what she did, would you tell them, or would you take the easy way out and say “She ended up getting her degree in English and works for Uber now”?

1 Like

There is no engineering actually happening at companies doing audiophile digital cables, even less actual heads of engineering.
There is only marketing based on fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Any MIT electrical engineering graduate would know how it works, and why it is working like that: because an alumni of a similar university did the engineering, and the principles were part of the curriculum.

That makes your scenario highly unlikely.

But, if the salary is good enough, the ego low enough and scrupules absent, why not go for the job?

“She ended up lying and selling dishonest products now. She is earning a fortune because there are enough people with a budget and an expertise on completely different topics ready to buy her company’s products.”


You lost all credibility with your first sentence.

Well, when any digital connection needs a cable

  1. a defined level of performance is needed to make things work
  2. this level of performance needed is called a specification, something that has been engineered with the transmission type, at creation time
  3. this specification is openly and freely published
  4. as for any digital transmission, once the specification is respected, going over it will not achieve any improvement in performance

So, any company who wants to put such a digital cable on the market just needs to pick up the specification, follow it, and manufacture. There is no engineering needed. Any additional engineering staff would be useless and only add cost, which would lower the margins and the bottom line.

Ergo “There is no engineering actually happening at companies doing audiophile digital cables, even less actual heads of engineering.”


You gotta have an engineer (of sorts) to make em look pretty and design the boxes…

1 Like

And come up with the names! I mean, some of those materials they use and the various configurations require at least a deep technical vocabulary.


And be handy with a vacuum flask, a pair of rubber gloves and a set of tongs for the mandatory cryogenic treatment.


Since when did head alignment become obsolete? Whenever I listen to music, I always brace my head in exactly the same position. And if anyone else tries to pouf out my sweet spot butt groove, there be hell to pay.


:joy::joy::joy:Sweet spot butt groove :joy::joy::joy:

1 Like

I didn’t know that Sheldon Cooper was into music! :smiley:

1 Like

So far the theory…

I’m happy to invite you and give you the chance to listen to different digital cables. Everything else being equal and you will hear a difference.

Or maybe not I don’t know. I just know that me and a lot of others hear differences with various margins. No theory against it can help. It depends on the resolution of the system to make those obvious. And to the capability of the listener in some aspects.


[DELETED - Use the version control if you are interested in reading me getting swallowed by something I have, after all, zero interest in. No educational deed goes unpunished, apparently! :confused: ]


Typical response.

1 Like

I always think that the designers of decent equipment have designed out any impact digital cables have in a decent all digital system. My experience is with Meridian and Bluesound in this regard.
Analog system tuning with cables is not required in a digital context when your equipment is designed as a system.
I always like what Meridian used to say about Hot Roding a system to get a sound you like and all these stages changed the music with inevitable losses.
On the other hand, if you like the result and enjoy the process, go for it.

You lost me when you claimed that hotrodding caused inevitable losses. But even before then, the reason why cables can seem to have a significant impact is because cables should already be out of the equation by virtue of the specification that should exist globally for the interconnection of hifi hardware. But manufacturers who seek to make their gear sound ‘different’ find ways to make cables more important than they should be. In short, it is within the gift of manufacturers to make interconnects irrelevant, but why would they when industry gurus tell the uninformed they need to spend preset percentages of their budget on cable?

All analog components alter the sound and this I refer to as Lossy. Hence people saying, this amp is warm, or bright and the following matching process with cables speakers etc attempt to balance those distortions with a pleasing sound as the end goal.
Pleasing it may be and that’s great, but it cannot be transparent with so much altering in the chain. This is not a criticism it’s just how it is and there are countless amazingly enjoyable examples out there.

Back to the topic, in the digital world with well manufactured components the data arrives or it doesn’t. Wether or not interference makes its way to analog circuitry is down to the component design and i am convinced quality manufacturers mitigate this at the design stage.

The principle of keeping the signal digital until the very last moment and designing the final DAC process well appeals to me. Hence I like DSP Active systems.

1 Like

It may surprise you but audio manufacturers are not always experts. If you want examples there are some awful USB implementations you could look at. The reality is that real innovation comes from those new to this, not someone steeped in 30 years of analogue experience. (Meridian are one of the few exceptions!) Getting the data from a to b is trivially easy. You won’t find anyone who argues that isn’t the case. So why is that the mainstay of so many arguments? The difficulty is only passing the data. In a computer you get around that by building robust systems designed to reject noise and spurious data. Audio is a different beast designed to be sensitive to everything it is exposed to and hopefully sticking everything spurious below the noise floor, rather than it being the noise floor. This ability is what is trickling down so that some of the best measuring devices are also extremely affordable now.

That is clearly true and I choose my equipment wisely because of this. Just because it’s digital doesn’t meant it’s perfect and so the industry of add ons and tweaks persists and has a place.

With good choices, one can avoid it all though if you want to, or embrace all the add ons if that works for you. The choices are endless so it’s back to the joy of listening…

I would agree with this. And I’d add two other points.
As a basic scientist, we are driven by facts, theories and hypotheses. You really need to work this way for risk of getting nowhere. A big problem with experience is it can give you a bias that straps you to just one way of thinking of the data/theories you have. So, getting an orthogonal view of things can often help you get outside the thought box you put yourself into.
The other thing is that sometimes shit happens you just don’t understand. Maybe that is because of a thought box you are in, but maybe the theory is wrong or we’re measuring the wrong stuff. History is replete with people who saw a different way to explain a given set of facts or made it possible to define nature in a previously unattainable way. Most Nobel Laureates got the kronas because they could do that.

So at the end of the day I’m not easily persuaded by nutty theories about stuff that we’re pretty sure works a certain way. If something comes along that revolutionizes how I hear music, I’ll buy it. But it will take more than occasional anecdotes.

1 Like