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Why are sound cards marketed wrong? - Page 4

post #31 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

Nah, the different cables are often (or at least sometimes) structured differently on the inside. So a different geometric arrangement of conductors and insulators, including possibly different thickness. Sometimes a different material such as silver is used. Is the flow of electrons really interested in or impacted by any of these changes? Well...

The problem is that generally you need to try hard to actually build something that makes a significant impact on the signal that appears across the headphone drivers, when all is said and done. After all, these aren't being used to transmit 100 MHz signals, just mostly 22 kHz and below or so (okay, a little higher possibly, for some high-sampling rate playback, if the recording has ultrasonics in it). It's easy to get the different electrical parameters to be meaningful at higher frequencies and longer lengths than are of interest.

This is another one of those sticky areas because different people have different opinions here, though.

Yeah, that's what I was thinking. The higher quality cables may indeed allow the signal to travel less restrictively, or shield better from EMI, but the attenuated sample rates on today's digital files pretty much cut any beyond-perceivable frequencies anyways. I'm thinking the changes would only make a difference on ultrahigh frequencies where the human ear won't even stand a chance of hearing (MHz, GHz?).

I wonder if balanced vs. unbalanced headphone cables are subject to subjectivity more than objectivity too? The main reason for a balanced setup is to cancel out the noise generated from the cable's antenna-like properties. Unbalanced conductors still carry that noise through and rely more on the materials used in the cable (and the cable itself) to passively deflect any interference, thus reducing noise being picked up on the cable, while balanced cables cancel out the noise regardless. This video tells you why. Then again, it isn't like your average unbalanced headphone cable is super noisy to begin with, or noisy at all for that matter. So, under normal conditions, the benefit of expensive cables usually isn't perceivable. It kinda reminds me of that one blind test that used a coat hanger and a monster cable for the audio signal to go through. Both were basically the same.
post #32 of 53
Balanced cables are for very long runs, not for a short runs in these personal listening setups. Long wavelengths from stuff like AM stations can penetrate any shielded cable and the system will pick it up. That's where balancing comes in. But for runs only a few feet, those kind of wavelengths are your GHz radio devices, and your standard shielding is enough to reject those very weak signals.
 
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post #33 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramicio View Post

Nothing but sine waves exist coming from a microphone, and speakers can't do stuff like square waves, so it's fine that all DACs can do is sine waves.
Yeah, but there's more than microphones to make music. Pretty much every software synth has adjustable waveforms of some sort. And a speaker can't reproduce a perfect square but it will try to, you'll get different sound if you feed it a perfect square/triangle/sawtooth/sine wave.

One of the draws to electronic music is that you get sounds that simply don't exist on any other instrument or in nature and it's because of the non-sine waveforms.
Edited by Darren9 - 4/25/13 at 9:12am
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post #34 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren9 View Post

Take a look at different waveforms in the 5KHz to 15KHz range, a square wave at 1KHz has forty sample points at 44.1KHz sample rate so you get back a reasonable approximation of a square made from small sine waves, if you move up to a 10KHz square wave there's only four sample points and the DAC can only make sine waves so at higher frequencies (still easily audible) you lose timbre effects. Higher sample rates will better preserve non-standard waveforms. It seems to be a case of square/triangle/sawtooth waves are so uncommon in music in the higher frequency ranges that it's OK to ignore the fact that 44.1KHz sample rate can't properly deal with them. If you wanted to hear the difference between a sine and square wave at 10KHz though you'd probably need a higher sample.

Square waves, saw waves, or whatever waves, take the same amount samples as sine wave does throughout all frequencies, to my knowledge. Take a look at this video and navigate to "bandlimitation and timing" on the dropdown bar.

Not to mention that no speaker or headphone can perfectly reproduce a square wave:


Edited by airisom2 - 4/25/13 at 9:36am
post #35 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by airisom2 View Post

Square waves, saw waves, or whatever waves, take the same amount samples as sine wave does throughout all frequencies, to my knowledge. Take a look at this video and navigate to "bandlimitation and timing" on the dropdown bar.
He takes the sine wave from 1KHz to 20KHz to show it remains the same but only shows a square wave at 1KHz, that's 20x more sample points for the reconstruction. Why not show a square over the same 1KHz to 20KHz range?
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post #36 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren9 View Post

I understand that the resistance/capacitance/ect. effects are generally negligible but my desk has a PC, 2 monitors, receiver, TV Box, ect. on and around it. Possibly quite a hostile environment for a speaker wire? I thought certain designs had been proven more effective than the standard "two parallel bits of wire".

The Resistance, Capacitance and inductance of a cable aren't really influenced by outside sources at all, but rather increase more or less linearly with wire length. If your wires are short, they don't matter. If they are long or very long, they very well may matter. With normal length runs, what you have to worry about is noise and moving between the wires. Shielded wire helps with this. Of course, longer wires will also increase noise pickup, so keeping the wires short helps too. But that's only really for line-level stuff.

With speaker wires (the wires that go from amp to speaker), noise is almost never a concern because of the much higher voltage/power levels in the wire way overpowers any noise. That's why shielded wires aren't used for speakers. Also, shielded wire has a higher capacitance, which can cause problems with amplifier stability over longer cable runs.
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post #37 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by airisom2 View Post

Square waves, saw waves, or whatever waves, take the same amount samples as sine wave does throughout all frequencies, to my knowledge. Take a look at this video and navigate to "bandlimitation and timing" on the dropdown bar.

Not to mention that no speaker or headphone can perfectly reproduce a square wave:

I do understand that a speaker can't accurately reproduce straight edges and sharp angles, still though if you feed it straight edges and sharp angles you'll get a different sound than feeding it a sine wave. It doesn't seem a reasonable argument to say a speaker can't properly reproduce them so it doesn't matter - it can produce a clearly audible difference between them.

I don't think a DAC can make a square wave from 2 sample points (20KHz sound at 44.1KHz sample rate), it makes a sine wave. They work by making a sine wave that fits through the sample points? It's fine when you've got forty sample points in a wavelength but when there's only two or four I don't think it works so well.

I think you get a bit of "selective inclusion". If your singing the praises of 44.1KHz sample rate you may not want to show what happens to your square wave at or above 10KHz, just suppose that you probably aren't going to encounter a square wave at 10KHz so it doesn't matter. I would like to see a square wave at 10KHz and higher at 44.1KHz sample rate to know what happens but they're really hard to find.

I was reading through some articles posted on here a while back Chinese Kiwi and in the first they explain sampling/frequency/bit depth/DAC reconstruction and say square/triangle/sawtooth in the 10KHz range are a reason to use higher sample rate than 44.1KHz, then go on to ignore that in subsequent discussion and state 44.1KHz is perfect. I'm trying hard to find it again but I can't frown.gif
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post #38 of 53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren9 View Post

I do understand that a speaker can't accurately reproduce straight edges and sharp angles, still though if you feed it straight edges and sharp angles you'll get a different sound than feeding it a sine wave. It doesn't seem a reasonable argument to say a speaker can't properly reproduce them so it doesn't matter - it can produce a clearly audible difference between them.

I don't think a DAC can make a square wave from 2 sample points (20KHz sound at 44.1KHz sample rate), it makes a sine wave. They work by making a sine wave that fits through the sample points? It's fine when you've got forty sample points in a wavelength but when there's only two or four I don't think it works so well.

I think you get a bit of "selective inclusion". If your singing the praises of 44.1KHz sample rate you may not want to show what happens to your square wave at or above 10KHz, just suppose that you probably aren't going to encounter a square wave at 10KHz so it doesn't matter. I would like to see a square wave at 10KHz and higher at 44.1KHz sample rate to know what happens but they're really hard to find.

I was reading through some articles posted on here a while back Chinese Kiwi and in the first they explain sampling/frequency/bit depth/DAC reconstruction and say square/triangle/sawtooth in the 10KHz range are a reason to use higher sample rate than 44.1KHz, then go on to ignore that in subsequent discussion and state 44.1KHz is perfect. I'm trying hard to find it again but I can't frown.gif

Nah, it's nothing about "selective inclusion." I just don't know the whole story. Whatever I think I know, I just reiterate here to make sure I'm just not spouting nonsense like I usually do, and if I'm wrong, just correct me. I've known nothing about sample points until you brought it up, and I was under the impression that all frequency ranges had the same amount of samples taken by the what the sample rate was, no matter what kind of wave it is. Then, you're saying that the higher the frequency, the less samples are taken, so I'm just a bit confused right now. I'm trying to research it, but there isn't much on the web that details what you're saying. Then again, the 500Hz square wave that I posted up has more ripples in it than a 1KHz square wave, like the one detailed in that video, and the 50Hz square wave has even more. So, I hope you find the article you're talking about thumb.gif
post #39 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren9 
I don't think a DAC can make a square wave from 2 sample points (20KHz sound at 44.1KHz sample rate), it makes a sine wave. They work by making a sine wave that fits through the sample points? It's fine when you've got forty sample points in a wavelength but when there's only two or four I don't think it works so well.(

False. The 20KHz square wave is different from 20KHz sine wave by virtue of having harmonics at 40KHz, 60KHz, 80KHz, and so on. You won't hear any of them. Therefore, nobody can really distinguish between 20KHz square and sine waves (or even 10KHz, for that matter).
post #40 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tegiri Nenashi View Post

False. The 20KHz square wave is different from 20KHz sine wave by virtue of having harmonics at 40KHz, 60KHz, 80KHz, and so on. You won't hear any of them. Therefore, nobody can really distinguish between 20KHz square and sine waves (or even 10KHz, for that matter).
This is where my understanding runs out. So when I listen to a square wave VS. a sine wave at a certain frequency I can't tell them apart except for the harmonics at higher frequencies? It's not the shape of the wave that I hear but the different harmonics at higher frequencies, and if those harmonics are above my hearing range I can't tell a difference?
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