I enjoy visiting the Steve Hoffman Forums for perspective. I think it's probably one of the most balanced places to hang out at. Of course, as in any audio forum, there will be a number of heated arguments here and there, but overall, it's great to see a place where heterogeneous music lovers of various experience levels and beliefs can congregate, share tips, and get advice... It's certainly one of the more vibrant audio communities out there!
Recently there was an interesting poll on whether USB cable upgrades can improve a system's sound quality. Titled "The Great USB cable debate poll" (full disclosure, I took part and posted a comment as well), it ran from February 22 to March 8th before it was closed. In total, it received 415 votes, gathered 36 pages of responses and the outcome was:
About 1/4 felt that upgraded USB cables make a difference, and 3/4 did not. Surprised?
Of course, any poll must be viewed in the context of the respondents. This one was conducted in the "Audio Hardware" forum and like I said, I think the denizens of this site does capture a broader group of audiophiles and music lovers than most places; from pros to reviewers to the general music enthusiast. Topics range from people posting pictures of their audio room, to discussion of LPs and turntables, to opinions on the latest DACs, computer servers, speakers, headphones...
I certainly do not expect we should put full faith in something or other based on general consensus. In areas where we are passionate about, of course we should figure things out ourselves and come to our own conclusions... Once awhile, it is nice however to see a poll such as this to get a sense of what the "cohort" thinks. As an audiophile who reads the usual magazines, one might get the impression that there's almost 100% acceptance that upgrading USB cables for sound quality is a "given" within this hobby. Likewise, some might pigeon-hole all "audiophiles" as "audiophools" spending all kinds of money on questionable claims. IMO both perspectives would be inaccurate.
I think it's fair to recognize that most audio lovers are reasonable people even though sometimes it seems like the most fringe and outlandish voices appear to be the mouthpieces of this hobby.
Hmmm, I wonder what the result would be if we asked "Can upgraded ethernet cables at various price points improve the sound of your system?"
Okay, just a quick post here today as I'm working behind the scenes to get another blind test going... More information in the next week or so I hope!
Have a great week.