Sony Claims Pricey SD Cards Produce "Less Electrical Noise"

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Sony Claims Pricey SD Cards Produce "Less Electrical Noise"

sony preimum sound SD card

And if you believe that, I've got some snake oil to sell you...

Sony has a wee bit of a reputation for misleading, or even contradictory advertising, but this time it has gone full Monster HDMI cable, claiming that a super pricey micro SDXC card produces "less electrical noise" when listening to music than its cheaper counterparts.

The company is now selling a 64 GB Micro SDXC card "for Premium Sound" in Japan, for a whopping $160. This price is four to five times higher than any other 64 GB Micro SDXC on the market.

"We aren't that sure about the product's potential demand, but we thought some among people who are committed to great sound quality would want it," a Sony spokeswoman said.

Writers at PC perspective and The Register have pointed out that it is impossible for music's storage medium to effect the quality of sound without actually changing the actual data being transferred - a process that would be a much bigger problem for all kinds of applications.

The whole thing is certainly reminiscent of the "premium" HDMI cable craze we went through a few years ago, where companies claimed that super expensive gold-plated cables produce better video than the bog-standard $5 generic brand (hint: they don't).

But hey, if you wanna drop an extra $100 for a perceived quality increase, go for it!

Source: PC World

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Yet another company taking advantage of it's customers' lack of knowledge to squeeze out some extra profit.

Do your research folks!

Unless they have fundamentally redesigned the card so that the electrical currents cancel each other out then you will still get exactly the same amount of noise as you get from a dirt-cheap MicroSD-XC card.

I'm actually kinda surprised they are doing this with the SD card format. What happened to the Memorystick? At least attempt it with your own product instead of going for the open standard that EVERYONE is using.

And I have a special ethernet cable that makes video streams crisper. Seriously, what the hell.

Good marketing.

At this point I don't care how badly audiophiles get ripped off. They've been more than willing to buy snake oil from just about anyone. Audiophiles are easily con'd into believing records with the pop and hiss of a needle are "better" than digital. They think that the sound ranges on vinyl are better, but their actually more restrictive because the needle will bounce if the music gets too extream. They've been sold so much snake oil over the years because there is no more improvements to be made in audio. Once we went to digital signalling, and had the entire range of sound the human ear can hear mapped out there was no more "clarity" to be had. That won't stop them from saying they can hear the improvement, or sounds outside of the range of human hearing that they then fail when tested.

Take audio cards as an example. There hasn't been a good reason to upgrade and have a separate audio card in a pci slot for easy upgrades since the late 90's. There is some high end stuff for people who like to use a lot of audio equipment with their PC, but no real reason to get the latest Sound Blaster card unless you're doing audio recordings.

It might just be an SD card designed for reduced EMI emission.

This (admittedly really old) standards doc for the SDIO includes a section:

For some SDIO devices, there may be a need for a lower impedance ground connection to the host. This may
be needed to reduce the card's EMI emission or susceptibility.

https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/pls/simplified_specs/archive/partE1_100.pdf

Now, I still think this is silly, but there may be some basis to it.

If it's the exact same technology doing the exact same thing as other stuff, claiming what they are would be illegal right? Misrepresentation or something, surely?

When they were doing this with their own crappy standard, it was one thing, but to do this with a standard like MicroSDXC... what morons.

~facepalm~ What a joke. Digital transmission... >_<

The only way this could ever make ANY kind of sense, and that's being extremely generous, is if the analogue audio pathways in the playback device were picking up the electrical noise of the SD card in operation and somehow adding that to the output...

But that's pretty far-fetched, and you'd better hope the rest of the device the card is in is at least as well made then, because otherwise the effect of the SD card alone is going to be pretty minimal...

How stupid.

Sad thing is, there's probably enough people around that are gullible enough to believe this nonsense that they'll make a hefty profit from selling these things.

This will be bought by the same people who swear that their $300 Monster-brand gold-plated HDMI cable makes their DVD as clear as Blu-Ray.

It worked with Vaio laptopts, it could also work with SD cards. Heck people bought Beats by Dre so you dont need much to part a sucker and its money.

Lodum:
It might just be an SD card designed for reduced EMI emission.

This (admittedly really old) standards doc for the SDIO includes a section:

For some SDIO devices, there may be a need for a lower impedance ground connection to the host. This may
be needed to reduce the card's EMI emission or susceptibility.

https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/pls/simplified_specs/archive/partE1_100.pdf

Now, I still think this is silly, but there may be some basis to it.

I suppose it would more clear if the source wasn't written in Japanese...


It seems be about what you're saying but again, translating with google isn't accurate. For now, I'll hold my opinion until more is said in English.

I'm sorry, but I can't fully appreciate this article. I'm currently using a cheap DVD-D cable, since the gilded silk HMDI cable, woven and forged by master Dwarven smiths, with mithril plated contacts is still on its way from Narnia.

Signa:
I'm actually kinda surprised they are doing this with the SD card format. What happened to the Memorystick? At least attempt it with your own product instead of going for the open standard that EVERYONE is using.

Maybe they finally realized that no one cares about memory stick , and SD is the one true standard. Also, going with SD micro let's them reel in more suckers.

hah oh man..

did sony hire apple's marketing team recently?

of all the ways to make a quick buck...

I'm not good at tech. Can anyone explain to me if electrical noise is a thing?

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Hang on

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

What the hell is wrong with Sony, is this them also trying to justify the crappy memory cards for the Vita as well? Ironically out of all the flash based memory cards I own the only one to break over time (And not me fucking with it out of a Mao like need to experiment) was a Sony Memory Stick.

Queen Michael:
I'm not good at tech. Can anyone explain to me if electrical noise is a thing?

I'm good enough at tech to say with 95% confidence that if it is a thing, the electrical noise caused by the device itself will be more of a problem than whatever is flowing through the card. I really can't comprehend how this would actually be beneficial to a customer over another card. I'm wondering how Sony doesn't get sued for lies.

Edit: Actually, looking at that picture that Mad posted is making me wonder something else. It could be that the card just uses less power to operate. Those SD cards take a surprising amount of power once you hit the HC or XC versions. I'm being generous though, there's no way this isn't a scam.

Queen Michael:
I'm not good at tech. Can anyone explain to me if electrical noise is a thing?

It is a thing, but not how Sony is making it out to be. Noise is interference from other devices that can disrupt a signal. Take a Ethernet cable, most of them are braided in a spiral so outside interference (Noise) won't hit one part of that cord distorting the signal. Same thing with a Coaxl (The cord used in a cable modem), but because it's one copper wire it's shielded with metal to prevent interference. The only way I can see noise being a issue is if during the write process to a flash card for some reason interference happened corrupting a block of bytes. And I'll be honest that has never been a issue for me in any of the devices I use that has flash storage.

EDIT: I take that back I have had SD cards corrupt on me, but that was my own fault of yanking the power supply out of a Raspberry Pi without a proper shutdown. The OS was doing some writes and was interrupted corrupting the image. The other time was the Raspberry Pi corrupting it's own SD card because it would crash due to low memory issues. Either way both of those instances was not due to noise, but the computer being suddenly turned off during a critical write.

If you want here is how I feel about Sony's comment on flash storage and noise. I'm more worried about the bear bottom of my Beagle Bone Black sitting on my metal PC case causing a short then the SD or eMMC flash getting screwed up from noise.

Queen Michael:
I'm not good at tech. Can anyone explain to me if electrical noise is a thing?

Technically yes, though it's largely meaningless in digital formats. Digital only cares if a signal reaches a certain threshold, which noise won't reach unless you're using like a salt encrusted connector going through a puddle or something. Where noise matters is in analog and at the transducers (speakers and microphones).

Queen Michael:
I'm not good at tech. Can anyone explain to me if electrical noise is a thing?

Basically, they're reducing the sound like this:


Then again, this is a very extreme example that I've given. It's rare that someone can hear this without specialised equipment however it's long associated with that low constant "hum" sound that most people can hear.

I wonder if my Vita memory card is rigged for premium sound. I certainly paid enough for it.

Why do I keep getting the image that the people who say this are the people from Dilbert's marketing department?

image

medv4380:
Take audio cards as an example. There hasn't been a good reason to upgrade and have a separate audio card in a pci slot for easy upgrades since the late 90's.

Bad example. Most audio cards don't support Dolby and other standards even if they do have 7.1 and optical out. Also most of my boards (mind that I buy 150€+ boards and even costlier PSUs) emit a slight hiss that can be distinctly heard when listening to something that doesn't have a lot of bass to mask it. This usually boils down to electrical interference that can be heard through my headset.

Also mind that I'm not an audiophile. I just want my games to sound as perfect as possible and a separate sound card enables me to do just that. Although I buy Asus cards which are cheaper and support all the standards I need and also don't emit any hisses.

So that's that about the need for sound cards. Purchasing any other cable than the standard cheap one is rubbish and that includes "special" SD cards unless the speed makes them special and in that case I'm purchasing a few ASAP (for my phone and tablet so that I can have apps on them).

medv4380:
Good marketing.

At this point I don't care how badly audiophiles get ripped off. They've been more than willing to buy snake oil from just about anyone. Audiophiles are easily con'd into believing records with the pop and hiss of a needle are "better" than digital. They think that the sound ranges on vinyl are better, but their actually more restrictive because the needle will bounce if the music gets too extream. They've been sold so much snake oil over the years because there is no more improvements to be made in audio. Once we went to digital signalling, and had the entire range of sound the human ear can hear mapped out there was no more "clarity" to be had. That won't stop them from saying they can hear the improvement, or sounds outside of the range of human hearing that they then fail when tested.

Take audio cards as an example. There hasn't been a good reason to upgrade and have a separate audio card in a pci slot for easy upgrades since the late 90's. There is some high end stuff for people who like to use a lot of audio equipment with their PC, but no real reason to get the latest Sound Blaster card unless you're doing audio recordings.

I can already imagine one of those guys trying out this card, realizing that there's no fucking difference and then trying to convince himself that there's an improvement and slowly going insane.

Having looked around a little, this sorta seems legit. Copying from reddit here

EDIT: Since i keep getting replies from people who missed this:

In my second point, I am referring to the possibility of interference from an SD card affecting the signal reproduction of an ANALOG TO DIGITAL RECORDING DEVICE.
I am not referring to the SD card mangling or otherwise effecting a digital signal due to interference..

Two points:

First, I'm not sure this is being targeted at end users.

Second, electrical interference from capacitors, motors, and other sources can and will get picked up by audio interfaces.

Computer equipment is VERY prone to generating that interference.

It's a severe enough issue that most professional audio recording uses external usb/firewire audio interfaces when recording directly to a computer. It's just easier to avoid the problems that it is to try and shield things like the computer's CPU.

Stand alone audio recording interfaces are used for on-site recording when you can't be in a studio. Most of them will record to a laptop via USB/firewire, but a large number of the newest ones can record directly to SD.

$160 for an internally shielded SD card is not that much compared to the results of having a whine from a failing card show up in a live recording.

EDIT: If it's got traces/wires and current, it has a magnetic field.
Shielding helps, but portable audio gear rarely includes a faraday cage between the SD card and the inputs.

So yeah, this seems to be a thing?

YEAH NO

I'm not falling for this one.

It actually does not matter how much electrical noise the card makes unless the noise is so bad that it cuts through all the electronics and the shielding of the speaker/headphone wire, at which point it should not be called SDCard but a "small-EMP -generator". The music is only read, digitally, of the card. everything else happens on your memory and processor, which means that the quality of sound is in no way affected by SD card unless we talk about bad sectors and read errors.

medv4380:
Good marketing.

At this point I don't care how badly audiophiles get ripped off. They've been more than willing to buy snake oil from just about anyone. Audiophiles are easily con'd into believing records with the pop and hiss of a needle are "better" than digital. They think that the sound ranges on vinyl are better, but their actually more restrictive because the needle will bounce if the music gets too extream. They've been sold so much snake oil over the years because there is no more improvements to be made in audio. Once we went to digital signalling, and had the entire range of sound the human ear can hear mapped out there was no more "clarity" to be had. That won't stop them from saying they can hear the improvement, or sounds outside of the range of human hearing that they then fail when tested.

Take audio cards as an example. There hasn't been a good reason to upgrade and have a separate audio card in a pci slot for easy upgrades since the late 90's. There is some high end stuff for people who like to use a lot of audio equipment with their PC, but no real reason to get the latest Sound Blaster card unless you're doing audio recordings.

Do not mix audiophones with vynil collectors. Digital sound is as "pure" as we got with terms of sound ranges and the like since they are, in theory, unlimited.

There is a reason to buy sound card though. if you are a regular home user that likes to listend to music you dont need one, sure. however if you really care about quality of your audio a seperate card is worth it. of course such card should also be accompanied with audio system that can actually reprduce the difference, which 99% of people do not have (or ever think is affordable for audio equipment). Sound cards nowadays are mostly aimed at people who make music rather than listeners. but it does benefit listeners with proper setups.

Queen Michael:
I'm not good at tech. Can anyone explain to me if electrical noise is a thing?

Electrical noise is a thing in analog transmission. this means that for purpose of audio playback the only place where electrical noise matters is your speaker/headphone wires. these are usually shielded. even if yours arent (some cheap models arent, but they are also low enough quality that it doesnt matter) the electromagnetic interference from SD cards will be the least of your worries. the electronics that process playback make more electric noise than the card, and the ouside world has even more. you will get more interference just by getting next to a window (in a city) than from SD card on its worst day ever.

Also if you are user of the new apple digital signal headphones (i dont recommend for other reasons) even that is no longer a factor.

maneyan:
Copying from reddit here

The person him/herself admits that the computer eequipment is doing this and it only affects analog signal. You know what also generates it - not living in faraday cage, that is, your enviroment is FULL of electrical interference. the only way an SD card can have a significant impact on playback that overshadows other components if its some kind of EMP in disguise. He mentionca capacitors, yep, those are usually the culprits for electrical noise in hardware. guess what SD is not - a capacitor.

the part about recording directly to SD is simply wrong. in order to record directly to SD you need to convert your recorded signal to digital BEFORE moving it to SD, so shielding on SD is irrelevant.

JCAll:
I wonder if my Vita memory card is rigged for premium sound. I certainly paid enough for it.

My guess is that if you crack one of these cards open you'll find a vita card that they're trying to unload. Seriously, who sells you a system and then prevents you from getting enough space (affordably) to buy and store games on? It's like they don't want you to buy games.

Strazdas:
Do not mix audiophones with vynil collectors. Digital sound is as "pure" as we got with terms of sound ranges and the like since they are, in theory, unlimited.

They're equivalent terms when it comes to people who think the sound is actually better. And no they are not unlimited in range. Collectors on the other hand would be different. They don't care as long as they are collectible. Heck collectors wouldn't even play the records since the needle would destroy the collectability if it got scratched. The dynamic range compression that everyone is using to make themselves the loudest that audiophiles complain about actually has to be done for vinyl. But because the tech document uses the word compression the idiot audiophile thinks its done the make mp3's smaller. In truth you don't get added compression from it on CD's at all, or on other Digital compression schemes of any note. You get it on vinyl because you can squeeze the tracks physically closer, and it makes it so the needle is less likely to jump. But you'd know that if you bothered to read the linked npr article I gave.

truckspond:
Unless they have fundamentally redesigned the card so that the electrical currents cancel each other out then you will still get exactly the same amount of noise as you get from a dirt-cheap MicroSD-XC card.

It might reduce the microscopic amount of RF interference created by the card, but even if it eliminated RF noise entirely, that would have no effect whatsoever on the quality of audio retrieved from the card.

Sony's major technical achievement is producing a SD card that produces a faint odor of BS.

truckspond:
Unless they have fundamentally redesigned the card so that the electrical currents cancel each other out then you will still get exactly the same amount of noise as you get from a dirt-cheap MicroSD-XC card.

No that isn't true, every electronic component has a certain amount of noise it generates and a certain amount it can function with. A high grade component that is designed for signal stability absolutely does better in that aspect.

But that shit does not become relevant until the connections actually reach breaking point, if you wanted to use an SD card with an absurdly long extension without fault then that shit is important, then the gold plated cables become relevant, and all sorts of other high grade equipment. In regular use however it doesn't matter one tiny bit... or byte.

Poor Sony. Before Sony was a brand for quality electronics. Now there are many companies making better products that are cheaper. Yet still Sony think their branding is meaningful and an excuse to rip off consumers. No wonder they are losing so much money, they just never learn.

medv4380:
They're equivalent terms when it comes to people who think the sound is actually better. And no they are not unlimited in range. Collectors on the other hand would be different. They don't care as long as they are collectible. Heck collectors wouldn't even play the records since the needle would destroy the collectability if it got scratched. The dynamic range compression that everyone is using to make themselves the loudest that audiophiles complain about actually has to be done for vinyl. But because the tech document uses the word compression the idiot audiophile thinks its done the make mp3's smaller. In truth you don't get added compression from it on CD's at all, or on other Digital compression schemes of any note. You get it on vinyl because you can squeeze the tracks physically closer, and it makes it so the needle is less likely to jump. But you'd know that if you bothered to read the linked npr article I gave.

The reason i said it is unlimited in theory is because we could artificially create a soundwave with any range we want digitally, not that we could ever play-back such soundwave.

And i wasnt arguing your point against vinyl fanatics. I just argued that they werent all there is to an audiophile.

medv4380:
Take audio cards as an example. There hasn't been a good reason to upgrade and have a separate audio card in a pci slot for easy upgrades since the late 90's. There is some high end stuff for people who like to use a lot of audio equipment with their PC, but no real reason to get the latest Sound Blaster card unless you're doing audio recordings.

I had to buy an audio card because the front ports and rear ports on my computer picked up noise from mouse movement. Yes it was probably a mobo issue, but the card was $20 and everything works wonderfully now.

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