Appalling: ‘audiophile’ USB cables

The gains in low-end body and punch, midrange spaciousness and detail, and high-end smoothness alone are significant.

So sayeth What Hi-Fi. Apparently if you spend 50 UK pounds on the Wireworld Ultraviolet USB cable (I’m assuming one metre), that’s the improvement you will experience.

Seriously, what a load of crap!

What gets me about this kind of thing isn’t the vendors. As it happens, I don’t know whether Wireworld are delusional or fraudulent. Just as I don’t know the truth about the vendors of the Power Balance Bracelet. I do know that despite the ‘significant’ improvements in those airy-fairy subjective claims of spaciousness and body and detail, Wireworld have come up with two more cables. These ones actually use a ‘DNA Helix conductor layout’ that must obviously be better than than just about anything. After all, aren’t we made of DNA. Isn’t our frequency 7.83Hz (as claimed by Power Balance)?

And the prices make it impossible that they could be anything other than better. 249 UK pounds for the cheapie, and 499 for the pricey. Remember, these are one metre long USB cables, the main purpose of which is to carry, mostly, digital audio (packaged into USB format serial data) of CD-ish densities. (Or less. Did they do their listening tests with MP3 perhaps?)

As it happens, a while back I demonstrated that 44 metres of crappy audio cables, roughly joined together, could comfortably (almost) carry 3.5x CD capacity.

Neither do I blame the customers, at least in terms of regarding them with moral opprobrium. I have myself been swayed, momentarily, from time to time, by the purveyors of this kind of plastic and wire snake oil. If you’re a decent human being who generally likes people, the sheer conviction displayed by some adherents of this weird faith can be quite persuasive.

For me it is only ‘momentarily’ because I’ve learnt some stuff about myself. I know for a fact that I am very gullible in the face of a well-acted lie. I learnt that when I was a young policeman and tended to believe what the crims would tell me, until the senior policeman would thump the interview table, and they’d tell the truth. I learnt to follow the logic and evidence, not my sense of whether someone was truthful or not.

Who I do blame are the writers at What Hi-Fi, and any other writers who go along with this crap. They are being paid to deliver a service to the readers, and they are allowing themselves to be fooled by their own misconceptions, and thereby misleading their readers.

If they find themselves able to claim that a friggin’ USB cable can ‘significantly’ improve sound quality, then I would suggest that you cannot trust their views on how an amplifier sounds, how a CD player sounds. Indeed, how a loudspeaker sounds! Their opinions are worthless.

If I am wrong about this, then the writers at What Hi-Fi, or some others, can easily prove me so, and earn themselves a stack of money in the process. Just take Randi’s Million Dollar Challenge. He has previously permitted analogue cable devotees to start the process. But they’ve pulled out before getting very far.

So, come on. Prove me wrong! Prove you aren’t being paid good money by your magazines to simply spread your delusions about what you’re hearing.

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