Sony Claims Pricey SD Cards Produce "Less Electrical Noise"

Steven Bogos

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Jan 17, 2013
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Sony Claims Pricey SD Cards Produce "Less Electrical Noise"


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 Monster HDMI cable [http://cdn.themis-media.com/media/global/images/library/deriv/886/886673.png], 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 The Register [http://www.pcper.com/news/General-Tech/Theres-one-born-every-minute-sound-quality-different-storage-medium] 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 [http://www.pcworld.com/article/2886403/sonys-latest-snake-oil-pricey-premium-sound-micro-sdxc-cards.html]

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MetallicaRulez0

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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!
 

truckspond

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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.
 

Signa

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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.
 

Denamic

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

medv4380

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Feb 26, 2010
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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 [http://www.npr.org/2012/02/10/146697658/why-vinyl-sounds-better-than-cd-or-not]. 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 [http://us.creative.com/p/sound-blaster?ctlcmp=SEM_CLI&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=soundblaster&gclid=CjwKEAiAsJanBRCgnpfa0orvyz4SJAAbxEq-DnAFb0YNZPY24bQAnmcU6kXKlyLFYAIaVLQGspYGuhoC7hPw_wcB] card unless you're doing audio recordings.
 

Lodum

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Jul 30, 2012
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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.
 

Shinkicker444

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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?
 

Baresark

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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.
 

CrystalShadow

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Apr 11, 2009
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~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.
 

Gatlank

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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.
 

mad825

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Lodum said:
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.
 

Hairless Mammoth

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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 said:
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.
 

BoredRolePlayer

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Nov 9, 2010
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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.
 

Signa

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Queen Michael said:
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.
 

BoredRolePlayer

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Queen Michael said:
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.
 

crimson5pheonix

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Queen Michael said:
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).