PC audio has come a long way over the years. A decent sound card is well worth the money. Audiophiles are known to spend exorbitant amounts of money in the pursuit of audio excellence, but there are limits. An audiophile SSD though? Grab the tin foil hat.
Tom’s Hardware (opens in new tab) drew our attention towards the Audiophile Style forums (opens in new tab), where a developer proudly showed off a 1TB NVMe SSD with several optimisations that aim to provide improved 3D sound and “dynamic sound no other SSD currently can offer or even close to.” Yeah. Sure. Right.
The specs of the drive look good enough. There’s a 1TB capacity, or 333GB in pSLC mode which is supposedly the mode that makes the magic happen. There’s an external clock oscillator, Audionote capacitors, increased PCB copper isolation, gold plated connectors and even an external 5V power input. That would all sound pretty good if we were dealing with analogue signals. Attention to detail on the electronics side of things will usually improve analogue sound quality, though perhaps not so much on the physical storage side. There are other more influential parts in between the SSD and your ears.
The problem with this concept is that an SSD stores binary data that’s stored in 1s and 0s. Those 1s and 0s should not encounter any interference or alteration until they reach the audio processing part of the PC or DAC where they’re converted to analogue. That’s the area where electronic components will affect audio fidelity, and by that time, the influence of the SSD is irrelevant. Since the storage medium is apparently so important, I wonder if an audiophile thinks about the CD that cost 10c to manufacture when they pop it into a $2000 CD player?
Its interesting reading some of the comments from users on the Audiophile Style forums who really do believe that their ears can detect the difference between this SSD and a regular consumer drive. I wonder if a blind audio test would reveal the same? Confirmation bias at its finest.
I actually consider myself a bit of an audio buff. A high-quality set of speakers is a real investment. I have a set of Klipsch Reference speakers that I’ve had for over ten years, and they’re worth every one of the roughly $5000 I spent on them. But my PC connects to a Rotel amp via S/PDIF and so this SSD would have exactly zero influence on what comes out of my speakers.
We simply have to laugh at the absurdity of an audiophile SSD. There’s no information on price, but surely it won’t get close to this $10000 Ethernet cable (opens in new tab). Or will it? Someone with too much money will buy it. A fool and his money are soon parted.