HD-AUDIO — 13 February 2016

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It’s going to be hot tomorrow! Having missed last year’s race because of pneumonia, I was confident that the weather would cooperate this year. The organizers moved the race from mid March to mid February because of the Olympic trials. This was going to be my year to break 5 hours. My training group (the LA Road Runners), which began back in early September, has put us all through our paces. A recent email claimed that we’ve run over 800 miles since then. Amazing, but I guess it could be true. I logged 133 miles in January alone. I’ll be in bed by 8 pm tonight, wake up at around 4:00 am, and catch a shuttle bus down to Dodger Stadium. The race starts at 6:55 am and will end (for me) just after noon. This will be my 6th marathon and hopefully my best. We’ll see.

Things continue to interesting with regards to the “cablegate” situation. I’ve heard from AQ CEO Bill Low about his findings. He has acknowledged that the video was “authentically fraudulent”. We will probably never know who falsified the video or directed that the audio be “juiced”. And frankly, I’m not sure it matters at this point. Someone, somewhere decided that the actual sound produced using the various grades of the HDMI cables wasn’t obvious…so they gamed the results. I think most high-end cable companies believe that their digital cables regardless of format are able to contribute to “subjective” fidelity improvements. If the data stream contains any digital errors, they assert that an expensive, well-engineered cable can bring about subtle yet important fidelity gains. This is all pure fantasy.

I read the following on another high-end cable company’s website:

“A perfect digital audio cable wouldn’t just change the sound of your system, it would also let you hear much more of the original music.”

A digital cable must absolutely NOT CHANGE the sound of your system…otherwise it’s not doing its job. Come on, let’s drop the ridiculous claims and move on. And the online reviewers continue to spew forth the same nonsense. Here are a few lines from a recent review of a USB cable costing $700/meter:

“One of the most outstanding abilities of the Platinum Starlight 7 is its ability to unravel complex musical passages. While other cables become somewhat congested, the Platinum Starlight never seemed strained when called upon to do the heavy lifting.”

“I didn’t need to use additional add-on filters to experience the exceptional noise reduction qualities of this cable.”

During the week I heard from the owner of another high-end cable company. He applauded my role in the whole “cablegate” affair:

He also forwarded a “joke” press release that actually prompted some inquires. It’s worth sharing:

DH Labs introduces
Gravitationally Compensated Audio Cables

If the moon’s gravitational pull has the power to move entire oceans, imagine what it does to the tiny electrons traveling through your audio cables. In light of this, DH Labs has created the world’s first gravitationally compensated audio cables. By using proprietary electro-gyroscopic technology, DH Labs has defeated the laws of physics, and the results are spectacular. This new technology necessitates maintaining a double inventory, as all cables shipped to the southern hemisphere must have their conductor strands wound in the opposite direction. Price: $7000 per meter.

Wait, there’s more:
To make the best even better, our Earth MFC (Magnetic Field Cancellation) option can be added for only $30,000. As the name implies, Earth MFC cancels the negative effects of the earth’s magnetic field, using precision calibrated magnetometers coupled to proprietary monitoring circuitry. The monitoring circuitry is necessary to maintain calibration should the planet’s magnetic poles ever reverse.

The net effect of these revolutionary new technologies is the purest sound ever heard.”

LOL

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(12) Readers Comments

  1. I’m just waiting for Synergistic Research or similar to introduce a product counteracting the recently confirmed gravitational waves.

    • One of my favorite companies!

  2. Hi Mark,

    I trust by now that your marathon run is now successfully over.

    I have been a long time follower of your blog and applaud your work in exposing the fraud of ( I won’t say high end) high cost cables. Although I can honestly say that I could not keep it up with your tenacity. 🙂

    Thomas Paine, one of your own political activists, writer and revolutionary is said to have said ” To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”

    I have worked in the electronic component industry all my life and am now quite happily retired. I am also a musician , a guitar player and could hardly believe the following ad for “directional” guitar leads. The ad does not say what happens when you plug it in the “wrong” way around. So it’s not just audiophiles being targeted by these snake oil merchants. Quite funny reading all these claims really, if it wasn’t so blatantly fraudulent and taking so much money from the gullible.

    David Button (Australia)
    =============
    Laboga “Way of Sound “- Directional Instrument Cable
    Way of Sound cables are hand made at the Laboga factory. Designed specifically for the musician, for use with electric and electro-acoustic guitars, bass guitars, keyboards and effects.

    Directional
    Laboga cables are wired to be patched in and used in a certain direction. The arrows indicate the direction of the signal flow along the cable, and connector is to be plugged into which device. The connectors have a double cable protection on their most exposed areas, which serve to reduce the risk of any cable fault.

    No Twist cable
    Laboga have manufactured their cable using oxygen free copper and infused silver, with a spiral wound shield which ensures a clean signal. The cable has a low capacitance, and the outer shield is made of specially designed material that prevents the cable from twisting, ensuring a longer life than most other instrument cables.

    Features

    Directional cable
    Oxygen free copper wiring
    Specially designed non twist outer shield
    Spiral inner shield
    Double connector protection
    2 x 1/4” jack connectors
    Cable Diameter: 7.5mm

    http://www.swamp.net.au/laboga-directional-instrument-cable.html

    • Thanks David…I survived my marathon. Not fast but I got through all 26.2 miles.

  3. Mark,

    two days ago on Feb. 12th 2016 I wrote the following in Paul’s Post “The long tail of Zip Cord” @ Psaudio.com:

    ” … Now that gravitational waves have been found I wait for the first cables which avoid distortions caused by them.
    I’m so tired to argue about so called “audiophile cables”.
    Everything that is technicaly and scientifically to know about cables is well known today and the “normal” cable industry offers cables for all applications.
    Nevertheless we will find people swearing that cables have to be directional, swearing that skin-effect does exist in the audio-band and so on, and so on..”

    LOVL

    Good luck at the LA Marathon
    Greetings

  4. You made my day. I never laughed so hard at a cable ad. Thanks!

  5. Unfortunately the $30.000 cabling system does work. I’d send you some screenshots to share but it’s impossible-m bovinianfecalometer & auto selfmetaphoricalibration computers from area 57 were overdriven resulting in a cataclysmic event. Someone flushed a toilet nearby and the powers of the cables were apparent judging by the sudden loss of gravity. We had to use the equipment in a remote area, we leased a farmers grazing acreage. The sudden loss of gravitational pull effected pigs and cows in a 50 meter radius. The farm animals were frightened, either by the sonic impurities coming to life, or it was a will to fly higher and thus removing any unwanted waste (which also floated until the unthinkable). I’d no idea that those animals gastric capacity was so large. My bovinianfecalometer is ruined, melting its housing into a smelly brown pile. The good news is someone’s already offered me a salvage buyout of half a million dollars-how insulting!

  6. Hi Mark,
    Thought that the spoof ad. was hilarious! But the main reason for contact is to wish you and your buddies a good race. Hope that you break the five hour barrier.

    Best wishes,

    Alex.

  7. Now that scientists have confirmed Einstein’s prediction of gravitational waves, true audiophiles will want to start identifying this newly discovered phenomenon’s undoubted effects on their audio systems. I’m sure there are already plans afoot to develop a cable and filter network capable of eliminating the acoustical damage caused by out-of-phase gravitational waves.

  8. Good luck at the race tomorrow Mark! Get out there and run off all the angst you’ve acquired over this whole Cable gate ordeal. Bet you’ll set a personal record!
    Thanks again for all you do.
    Sal

  9. Man are you ever obsessed with this cable industry stuff. Has it ever occurred to you that the people who get fleeced buying it deserve to get fleeced? Wasn’t it PT Barnum who said never give a sucker an even break? They want to get fleeced, it’s in their nature. If you are out to save them, good luck, you’re not going to change anyone’s mind. The people who sell this junk will do and say anything and while the extent they go to might be amusing to rational people, those who aren’t rational will buy into whatever they say and eagerly hand over their money to the guy with the best and most absurd story.

    I recall nearly fifty years ago a “senior trip” to “see industry.” One evening after dinner we went to a burlesque house in Cleveland, the Roxy Theater. In between each act someone would come out and sell 5 cent candy bars for $1 (my how prices have changed.) And there were all these drunken farm boys in the audience who were buying them like they were gold paying twenty times what they cost in any supermarket or candy store. If they want to give their money away, take it. Isn’t that what high end audio is all about anyway? That’s how I see it, ALL OF IT.

    • I did get heavily interested in the cable stuff and it only gets worse as I look deeper. I guess I should let the hucksters have their way and just let people buy what they want…at whatever price. I just have a very hard time hearing reviewers write such non sense about 1-meter USB digital cables. Here’s a typical example from What Hi*Fi?, “It has impressive detail and secure timing. Its presentation is relaxed, and listening is an easy-going experience. The sound isn’t quite as clean as some of the more expensive products, but that’s just nitpicking.”

      Is it nitpicking to ask what “secure timing” is in referring to an asynchronous USB cable? Geez.

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