Audiophiles Can Really Be Suckers

01/16/2014

Audiophiles get a bad rap. While many of them have good intentions, and honest motivations, some of them are suckers. They get conned into buying the damnedest stuff, at ridiculous prices, buying the audio equivalent of snake oil.

The “audiophile press” doesn’t help. No doubt in collusion with the audiophile stupidity complex, these publications just repeat the marketing drivel that companies spew out to sell their trinkets.

Yesterday, on Twitter, a couple of my followers pointed out a web page listing the best “digital interconnects.” (That’s audiophile-speak for digital cables; in this case, mostly USB cables. The texts in this article are just incredible; they say nothing, and when they do say something, they lie.

Here, for example, is a $549 USB cable; it’s 0.75m, and if you want 1.5m, then it’s $695.

rsz_wireworld_platinum_starlight.png.648x460_q85.jpg

This über-expensive USB cable is simply revelatory in its combination of ease and refinement on one hand, and resolution and transparency on the other. Although capable of resolving the finest detail, Diamond USB has a relaxed quality that fosters deep musical involvement.

You have to love the copy. “Revelatory in its combination of ease and refinement…” “a relaxed quality that fosters deep musical involvement.”

Or how about this one, at $750 for 1m:

AudioQuest Diamond.jpg

Available terminated with RCA or BNC, Eagle Eye offers excellent construction quality and terrific sound. Even when used to carry nothing but the clock signal in the dCS Vivaldi, it improves image focus, increases coherence, and produces a smoother and more organic presentation.

“Terrific sound,” “improves image focus, increases coherence, and produces a smoother and more organic presentation.” The double-talk there is exemplary.

But the best text is for a $275 USB cable; a real bargain:

AudioQuest Carbon.jpg

David Salz’s thoroughly researched assault on USB’s sonic handicaps delivers a relaxed, well-defined, dynamically evocative, and rhythmically taut performance. The Silver Starlight projects strings without screechiness, which cannot be said of most USB cables. For those seeking a mid-priced USB cable with obviously high build-quality and performance, the Silver Starlight is a solid choice.

“Projects strings without screechiness…” USB cables send bits; ones and zeroes; they don’t send sound, they don’t interpret sound, they have absolutely no effect on sound at all. Period. If you think they do, you’ve been taken in.

I feel sorry for the people who buy this crap. They’re being exploited by shameless merchants who make fancy looking cables that are exactly the same as the one you got free with that printer you bought. But I also blame the so-called audiophile publications that perpetuate these myths. There are many devices that make music sound better, but cables – especially digital cables – are not one of them. Shame on you.

Note: The Computer Audiophile forum has a thread about purported data loss with cheap USB cables. Fortunately, that forum contains a lot of very intelligent people, and few true audio fools.