In my previous blog post I Lied! Pure OS is Now My Home! I mentioned that I was an audio enthusiast. I bring this up today because I recently received in the mail, an auxiliary audio cable made by Hart Audio. I was curious of the claims audiophiles make about higher end cables being able to improve the sound quality of their music. I thought this was total rubbish. You wouldn't be able to hear any difference, right?....right?
So what does this have to do with free and open source software? Well nothing directly, but a lot of us do use audio cables for listening to music on our computers and our phones which can run free and open source software(loophole!). Plus I really wanted to talk about this.
Now let me get a few things out of the way first. One, Hart Audio does not market their audio cables as “audiophile” cables or mention anything about improving the sound quality. Two, I'm not an audio reviewer so pardon the terminology I employ. Three, this was done as a fun experiment to see what I could derive from these tests. We all good here? Good! Let's move on!
The following tests were done on two different headphones. One is the Audio-Technica M40X which I have modified with Brainwavz Ear Pads and the ability to use a 3.5mm audio jack on. The second pair is the wired Steel Series Arctis 5(which I use for gaming).
The cable I was using before was an Anker braided auxiliary audio cable which connected my headphones to my Fiio HiBY R3 DAP(Digital Audio Player). I tested both cables with a track I know very well. Wandering by A_Rival, off the album TRUTHCANNON which I purchased off their Bandcamp in FLAC format.
What Did I Notice?
Before we go any further though, let me give you some insight in to how I though things would go down. I personally didn't believe audio cables would make any difference. It's all rooted in science, it's just transferring ones and zeros. Any cable can do that. I just like ones that look nice. That's what made the test so interesting.
The Anker cable runs about $8 and the cable from Hart Audio runs $20. When the song began I noticed an immediate difference on both sets of headphones. The Hart Audio cable seemed to me, to boost the signal coming into the headphones. Like they were being driven correctly for the first time. There was a lot more mids to the sound, a lot more drive to the music. I felt the music sounded a little bit better because of that. I guess some audiophiles call it more lively(their phrasing, not mine).
I could have chocked it up to being in my head, but I heard the difference each time I went back to the Hart Audio cable. To make sure I wasn't crazy, I changed out the aux cable in my fiances' car to the Hart Audio cable and had her play some music through Spotify. She noticed the difference in sound right away as well. She's not even in to high end audio!
So, a neat little test for not a huge investment. Still, I wonder if seeing the higher end cable colors my opinion of what I hear. I may need to do a blind test in the future to see if I come to the same conclusion. Either way, I'm glad I was able to bust this myth for myself. Try it out, you may not come to the same conclusion.