Jump to content
IGNORED

The Monster raises it's head(again)!!!


maldaw

Recommended Posts

And here's the original blog post from Malcom Steward that the PCPro article refers to... http://www.malcolmsteward.co.uk/?p=2479

 

He also disparages "internet knowledge" on this subject and is very anti Apple & iTunes. Recently (in a Magazine letters page) he recommended not using AIFF "because it's a proprietary format" and using FLAC instead. And controversially when reviewing the Linn DS-I commented that different UPnP servers produced different sound quality. Having said that, his comments are not unique amongst users/reviewers and IF a cable emanated additional RFI it could have an effect on computer playback, though I can't see how that effect could be transmitted via Ethernet to a networked device.

 

Having said that, as an audio reviewer I do think he's quite good compared with some.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment

Wow, quite interesting.

 

I have an open mind to almost everything in high end audio and computers. I will never suggest anyone's conclusions are incorrect as people hear what they hear. I also will not say it's completely impossible for something to make an audible difference.

 

I will say that I have used about ten different SATA cables and never noticed a sonic difference or computer performance difference. The newer SATA III cables are nicer because they have metal clips that lock into the SATA port on the motherboard. I only wish they locked into the SSDs I have used.

 

I will also say that I have no idea how a SATA cable between a HDD or SSD and motherboard could possibly effect audio quality. I can't even venture a guess. I can speculate on how USB cables between a DAC and motherboard could effect sound quality, but not USB cables between a HDD or SSD and the motherboard.

 

Back to the SATA cable differences in Malcom's article -> Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Malcom could be 100% correct. Thus, it would be great if someone could enlighten me (us) on the possible differences between SATA cables and the possible reasons, or impossibility, of sonic differences.

 

By the way, does anyone know what cable he used? I can't believe a SATA cable manufacturer wouldn't announced this cable yet.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

Link to comment

he says some of that in last months hifi choice magazine, iirc. some of the things i've read that man write, have led me to dismiss anything he says regarding computer audio. and given he writes such rubbish about c.a., i have to question anything he writes about hifi in general.

 

all the above is strictly imo, and all that.

 

mac mini - chord qbd76 - atc sia2-150 - atc scm19[br]www.atcforums.co.uk

Link to comment

"IF a cable emanated additional RFI it could have an effect on computer playback, though I can't see how that effect could be transmitted via Ethernet to a networked device."

 

We're all still wondering how a USB cable makes a difference using Async USB, and ditto for Firewire, so I think it's only logical that we find ourselves in the same boat for Ethernet transmission.

 

OTOH hand, one could also wonder out loud whether the device in question (Naim) is overly sensitive to (some sort of) noise being transmitted via the cable, and therefore 'benefits' from a cable with better "noise" rejection (where the specific "noise" is still an unknown).

 

That wouldn't mean that everyone would benefit from Sata, of course.

 

George (aka Panelhead) had a similar situation occur with his KRK Ergo DAC. With some Firewire cables it had significant issues, and with others it was fine. The KRK folks said there device was a good "firewire cable tester". I'd say it had issues.

 

This would seem to be a possibility with the Naim device, especially if it's not been repeated with other gear. Has anyone heard reports of Sata cables improving the sound of other gear (when compared to other Sata cables)?

I haven't.

 

of course, there's always Door #3. Perhaps no one else would hear this.

 

just my two cents.

 

clay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment

While you maybe correct, if we're ti believe such claims were back to the idea of different (checksum identical) files being differen depending on the source.

 

This is a NAS (actually Windows Server) supplying a Naim device via SMB: a system which is tried and proven. If such things happened then were looking at corrupted word files, etc. Data from a NAS to Computer (via standard file sharing) get there or it doesn't. Either that or someone needs to be rewriting Computer Engineering sylabuses the world over.

 

All IMO of course.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment

 

 

I'm totally agreed with you on the data thing.

 

[speculation Alert]

 

I'm wondering if the device might be (overly) sensitive to noise being picked up and transmitted by the cable without corrupting the bits.

 

I believe this is the issue with the KRK, the bits were probably fine.

 

UPDATE:

the technical specifications claim:

"Electrical isolation of data lines and clocks", but doesn't explain how it's done.

 

going back to my first point, all I was trying to say is that we've all been assuming that Ethernet would eliminate any impacts of cables (and I"m not saying it doesn't based on the unsupported opinion of a guy who apparently doesn't like, Apple / iTunes / AIFF / Computer Audiophile), just as we thought Async USB would (but didn't). Would I be any more surprised to learn that we were wrong about Ethernet too? Probably not.

 

clay

 

 

 

 

Link to comment

I cannot rule out the possibility that an Ethernet cable could make a sonic difference, but this possibility seems extremely unlikely. Ethernet does not stream audio the way Firewire and USB do, Ethernet just sends data from one computer to another: the receiver end is a computer that must gather the data, and process it approprietly to create a digital audio data stream. Additionally, Eloise's thought that perhaps RFI is a possible explanation for differences also seems unlikely: my understanding is that all Ethernet connections are transformer isolated-that the Ethernet standard includes transformer isolation at all send and receive points-it is doubtful that any significant level of RFI could couple through this isolation.

 

SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888 speakers-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Purple Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.  ISOAcoustics Oreas footers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

Link to comment

Hee hee! Get a load of this:

 

"My only guess is that the Super SATAs reject interference significantly better than the standard cables and in so doing lower the noise floor revealing greater low-level musical detail and presentational improvements in the soundstage and the ‘air’ around instruments. The most marked and worthwhile difference, I felt, was in the increased naturalness in both the sound of instruments and voices, which seemed more organic, human and less ‘electronic’, and in the music’s rhythmical progression, which was also more natural and had the realistic ebb and flow that musicians exhibit when playing live. In short, recordings sounded more like musical performances then recordings."

 

Dude! That's classic! I mean, Hey-Zeus, I have seen some GREAT boilerplate before, but this is just so NAKED. Wowee!

 

Here's what I read:

 

[opening: admit cluelessness]

[insert wild hypothesis A]

[select result from following list:]

[insert comment about "noise floor"]

[insert hyperbole about low-level detail]

[insert deliberately vague comment about "improvements"]

[insert comment about sound stage = widening|deepening]

[insert comment about "airiness"]

[insert comment about naturalness of timbre|tone of mid-range]

[insert comparison against straw man]

[insert comment using term "natural"]

[close with obvious comment about "live performances"]

[bonus points: work more than one into comment]

[offer result as a reason to purchase]

[insult those that question your conclusions, biases, age, possible mental stability or financial incentives]

 

Malcolm was definitely into bonus round material with this post. Brilliant!

 

Link to comment

I have no idea (nor do I care) if these cables do in fact offer a positive audible contribution. My only point is that I derived tremendous enjoyment out of the absurdity in the wording of the post itself. His conclusions might be entirely valid (it could happen), YMMV, &c &c.

 

But seriously, that was some great stuff.

 

Whew! I haven't laughed this hard in a while ....

 

Link to comment

Sorry Clay ... I was talking about the other SMB: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Server_Message_Block

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment

 

"If such things happened then were looking at corrupted word files, etc" ....

says enough for me ...

 

 

He'll probably read our comments.

 

Has he ever posted on here ?

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

Link to comment

Never posted here that I know of...

 

I think this question/answer in HiFi Choice sums Malcolm up...

 

Q: After reading Malcolm Steward's articles on computer audio, I wondered if he has considered AIFF as a file format as it supports metadata and 16-bit PCM. I have ripped CDs in iTunes using AIFF with very good results.

A: I have not tried AIFF, as I neither like nor trust proprietary formats. What is more, AIFF only runs on Apple computers which I do not use. My preferred format is FLAC, which is open format, hardware agnostic and for which there is reassuringly widespread support.

I have heard good things about XLD from Mac-using friends. Apparently it also integrates well with the iTunes music database, which some people find important.

 

So we have in order:

Admission of ignorance.

Incorrect information: AIFF may have been developed by Apple (from an earlier format) but is not proprietary - it has a publishes specification anyone can work with.

More incorrect information: AIFF is supported on Windows and Linux though not always with metadata support I admit.

Two pieces of relevant (though maybe irrelevant) advise: use FLAC; use XLD.

Given his previous comments, a veiled put down: "integrates well with the iTunes music database, which some people find important"

 

At the end of the day this is the kind of "advise" Malcolm Steward is giving out.

 

In a previous month's magazine he wrote a long column "warning" against listening to information on the Internet from forums such as this. He regularly berates Apple Mac's and iTunes with comments like "the Mac and DAC" brigade. A choice quote would be... "Many self-appointed computer audio experts [and he isn't "self-appointed??] on passive/aggressive sites such as this [he doesn't name particular sites though comments about "One such site seems clearly run or sponsored by a highly opinionated loudspeaker/electronics manufacturer"] appear to me to be completely single-minded and obsessed by one hang-up or another."

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment

...that audiophile Hi-Fi whether you like it or not is more and more an 'old farts' hobby.

 

Yes I expect a few folks saying "hey I'm only 21 years old!" but I stand by my opinion.

 

Most of the named reviewers in this industry are patently 'old farts'.

 

Nothing wrong in that, however, they are still thinking in the analogue world. They cant let go of the foibles of analogue and keep on applying them to the digital world. They could get away with it back then. But now it just looks seriously misinformed and out of touch.

 

They need to embrace a new philosophy (not that new really, 20+ years old) but then they would be struggling to find the other 1500 words for their 2000 word review.

 

Sad really.

 

Oh and I often swap out my SATA cables. But only for the Akasa ones with the nice retention clip on them to make sure they dont fall out. Thats the biggest performance improvement you can get from changing SATA cables.

 

Meridian 551 amp / Meridian 507 CD / Zune Mk1

Link to comment

The original article is no longer on Malcolm's blog... seams like someone upset Malcolm ... http://www.pcpro.co.uk/blogs/2010/08/18/can-sata-cables-make-your-music-sound-better/ ... he really has no idea about the internet does he ... the whole point (one of them) is that people have the right to post what they want ... though "death threats" do seam a little over the top.

 

Eloise

 

PS. Google cached version of the original is here ... http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Oi06md947_oJ:www.malcolmsteward.co.uk/%3Fp%3D2479+http://www.malcolmsteward.co.uk/%3Fp%3D2479&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&client=safari

 

Super SATA Cables on Sale Soon

Posted by Malcolm Steward on 8/17/10 • Categorized as Audio

 

 

Critical SATA

The Super SATA cables I recently tested proved to be real shockers. Every logical thought was telling me that the wires that transmit the raw digital data between a hard disk and the motherboard in a NAS simply could not influence the sound that emerged from the player – after the music has already subsequently passed through metres of CAT5.

 

But they do.

 

I listened to the cables in my NAS feeding my Naim HDX/DAC/XPS and clearly identified easily perceptible improvements through my highly revealing active Naim DBL system. Quite what it is that wrought these improvements I do not know. My only guess is that the Super SATAs reject interference significantly better than the standard cables and in so doing lower the noise floor revealing greater low-level musical detail and presentational improvements in the soundstage and the ‘air’ around instruments.

 

The most marked and worthwhile difference, I felt, was in the increased naturalness in both the sound of instruments and voices, which seemed more organic, human and less ‘electronic’, and in the music’s rhythmical progression, which was also more natural and had the realistic ebb and flow that musicians exhibit when playing live. In short, recordings sounded more like musical performances then recordings.

 

As you can see the cables do not look anything special even though they are far more robust than the standard issue flat cables, and they are are irradiated, I am told, to vapourise any moisture that has found its way into the molecular structure of the conductors.

 

The photo here shows the original, Generation 1 cable but there is now a more advanced, wider bandwidth Generation 2 version that is soon going to be available from the same American manufacturer. They will, of course, be more expensive than ‘ordinary’ SATA cables – the red and grey insulated flat cables that come free with hard disks or sell for around £2.99. But their superior performance easily justifies the extra expense.

 

When I have a definite price on the new cables and the URL from which they will be able to be purchased, I will post the information here. I cannot wait: I only have one of the generation 1 cables and wanted a dozen more for other hard disks and SATA peripherals. Now there is a supposedly ‘better’ version I cannot wait to evaluate it and if it is, as I am told, substantially superior, get my order in for a dozen of those.

 

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment

Qui? Moi?

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment

 

I use Evernote for "caching" useful information that I think might no longer be available in current form (in the future).

 

Not that I saved this, as I didn't think it useful.

 

I'd like to see Malcolm and Ashley James go hammer-and-tong on a forum. :) Two old farts (and I use that term respectfully), both very opinionated, and with apparently perfectly opposite opinions.

 

I'm gonna guess that the loudspeaker/DAC manufacturer-sponsored site is a reference to Ashley.

 

clay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment

Speakers at 20 paces eh clay ...

 

You're right ... not particularly interesting except as an example of (possibly) outrageous claims some HiFi "experts" make. What I did find amusing was how he (in that other article int he printed press) berated people who set themselves up online as computer audiophile experts, while doing the same thing himself in the printed press. I'm sure he does hear a difference, I'm just not sure the difference is likely down to the SATA cable.

 

Yes I was also guessing the loudspeaker / equipment manufacturer was AVi / Ashley James.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment

 

 

"What I did find amusing was how he (in that other article int he printed press) berated people who set themselves up online as computer audiophile experts, while doing the same thing himself in the printed press."

 

agreed,

 

but, if it's writing his opinion in blogs, he can no long even claim the 'printed press' distinction. :)

 

 

 

"I'm sure he does hear a difference, I'm just not sure the difference is likely down to the SATA cable."

 

Agreed.

 

Perhaps, for Scot's amusement, I should resurrect my comments about other digital cables - i.e., if my digital playback system needed an expensive [insert digital cable type here] cable to sound it's best, I'd investigate the real source of the issue, since expensive digital cables should NOT be required.

 

 

clay

 

 

Link to comment

If the SATA cable in the picture of his article is one of his super SATA cables then they look very much like the Akasa shielded cables I use.

 

I bet the Akasa cost only a fraction too.

 

These old guys may know their turntables but they really know jack about modern computer based kit.

 

It shows....badly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meridian 551 amp / Meridian 507 CD / Zune Mk1

Link to comment

Essentially echoing what I said.

 

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/that-sata-cable-saga-the-aftermath/9382

 

Couple of good comments too.

 

It's funny but I typed "new SATA cable standard" into Google and found nothing but links to this article.

 

We often get new SATA controller standards but no news on any new cables. That would have been flagged ages ago by the tech sites.

 

Maybe he was getting muddled with USB3.0?

 

 

 

Meridian 551 amp / Meridian 507 CD / Zune Mk1

Link to comment

"Perhaps, for Scot's amusement, I should resurrect my comments about other digital cables - i.e., if my digital playback system needed an expensive [insert digital cable type here] cable to sound it's best, I'd investigate the real source of the issue, since expensive digital cables should NOT be required."

 

Indeed, while most things ought to be done for my amusement, I will allow this once to most graciously allow Clay the opportunity to do as he sees fit. In all other matters, however, I will retain my prerogative to amuse myself.

 

You may proceed [insert kingly wave here].

 

As for USB cables, I will offer this -- after (now) months of testing various USB cables with a variety of "transports" and DACs, I think I can honestly say the following: YMMV.

 

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...