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USB cable comparisons


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thanks to all that are giving me ideas.

this afternoon I gave Mapleshade a call and ordered their USB cable and a DoubleHelix Mk2 Plus Powerchord. Thought that it wouldn't hurt, since they seem to have a real 30-day money-back deal. The designer of the cables is extremely confident that his products will "smoke" the competition, so I'll give it a try. I'll be able to hold on to the LD Axis until then, so I'll still have kind of a reference to compare it to.

I also have to opportunity of trying Kimber's B-BUS and Nordost's Blue Heaven so I might report on these in the near future, too.

LDMS Minix Server>Lampizator TRP w/ VC>Gryphon Diablo>Heil Kithara

Cables: Douglas Cables 'Mirage'', (Power); Douglas Cables 'Mirage' (XLR); Douglas Cables "GLIA" (speaker cables & jumper); FTA Callisto (USB)

Accessories: Furutech GTX-D (G) with cover, MIT Z Duplex Super; Equitech Balanced Power, Sistrum (for Diablo & TRP)

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I'll send you a couple low end cables that sound great to me, and one I hate that isn't cheap, if you decide to move forward with that. :) PM me with an address.

 

-Paul

 

I'd love to do some sine wave sweeps, each with a different USB cable and see if there's a measured difference in FR. Some HD sweeps would be nice too. I'd be looking for a reduction/change in the 3rd and 5th harmonic. Waiting for my laptop to come back from service, maybe i'll give it a go if some members want to send sample cables my way. My friends vocal room is pretty close to anechoic so gating can go low, maybe enough to see a relevent part of the lower octaves.

 

Last time if did some testing and posted the results on another forum, the ensuing shitstorm was enough to convince me to not repeat it.......but this USB cable thing has me baffled.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Through Maggies, strings take on an artificial hardness that is unpleasant. You know how a violin can sound a bit edgy sometimes? The pure silver cables I tried all made violins sound edgy like that all the time, even over headphones. On the PSBs and Grados, the same thing happens but it also does something that makes all the treble sound a little artificial to me. I call that "bright" but that is probably the wrong term. It could perhaps be described as if the treble was recorded separately and overlayed, not part of the original performance.

 

That was true with Kimber, AudioQuest Diamond, Pangea, a Voodoo cable, and a few others. In the AudioQuest line, for example, I greatly prefer the Carbon over the Diamond. Cymbals shimmer but don't overwhelm the rest of the music, unless of course, they are supposed to.

 

Probably just personal preference. I didn't realize that most people heard those cables all the different until just now though.

 

-Paul

 

Maggie's are definitely fussy about wires and amps. Sold them for years. They always showed amps most ruthlessly and especially inexpensive solid state ones and if you used those amps with transparent cables you could hear more about your amp than you might like.

 

In the recent review of Audioquest Diamond USB cable by Robert Harley in which he used some of the finest and most transparent speakers and electronics in the world and found not a trace of brightness as described by you. In fact he ( as I have also) found them to be SMOOTHER and gentler in the treble with less digital " glare" in the highs than many other USB cables when used with transparent electronics and speakers.

 

So when you say it is just personal preferences, be sure that those preference's are not a relection of the rest of the system more than just the cables themselves.

 

Honestly I'm a bit surprised that you auditioned USB cables of this price level back when you had your Maggie's as they had barely even come out back then and if I remember correctly you were using some very basic Nordost speaker cables with those. Not a match up I would have thought of.

David

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I should have put a TINAR in there somewhere.... as far as the cables in my systems, yeah - it is the cables and not a reflection of some other part of the system. This crazy treble moving around "issue" was with every hunk of electronics I threw at it, and a whole lot of gear moved through here for a while David. I'm going back to my notes now to check that, and yep, my memory is accurate. I seriously doubt that with the hunks of gear I threw at this, I was being fooled by low quality components.

 

I see from my notes I tried some rather expensive cables- speaker, USB, and interconnect, and a bunch of different components. Lots of rental charges from The Cable Co. Wound up getting somewhat frustrated and deciding that I was not ready to spend the kind of dollars I was getting into. It was starting to look like > $60K... and to be honest, I decided to put that money to other uses that would be of more benefit to the family. Like a couple new vehicles. ;)

 

Mostly I still use the pretty basic setup here - I know the faults as well as the strengths of all this gear very well. I can live with those faults till I find the 'perfect' setup.

 

I am pretty sure that setup is going to involve another Wavelength DAC (despite the tubes!) connected with a USB cable that is an alloy, and some Joseph Audio Pulsars, as well as higher end Nordost cables. The amp is actually the hardest thing to decide upon. It will not be any of the amps I have at present, that much is for sure.

 

The absolutely worst USB cable I listened to was a Pangea silver cable. Cheap, and according to my notes, it sounded horrible too. Other folks disagreed. The best was probably a Nordost Blue Heaven (which I still have) but actually is too good for this system. The AudioQuest Carbon is definitely a favorite. It is being saved for that new Wavelength DAC.

 

Robert Harley and I have different tastes in equipment (sound I mean) - usually stuff he thinks is exceptional I recognize as exceptional, but find I don't really like as much as other gear. I am very sure that is personal preference though! :)

 

-Paul

 

 

I do have plans... (grin)

 

 

Maggie's are definitely fussy about wires and amps. Sold them for years. They always showed amps most ruthlessly and especially inexpensive solid state ones and if you used those amps with transparent cables you could hear more about your amp than you might like.

 

In the recent review of Audioquest Diamond USB cable by Robert Harley in which he used some of the finest and most transparent speakers and electronics in the world and found not a trace of brightness as described by you. In fact he ( as I have also) found them to be SMOOTHER and gentler in the treble with less digital " glare" in the highs than many other USB cables when used with transparent electronics and speakers.

 

So when you say it is just personal preferences, be sure that those preference's are not a relection of the rest of the system more than just the cables themselves.

 

Honestly I'm a bit surprised that you auditioned USB cables of this price level back when you had your Maggie's as they had barely even come out back then and if I remember correctly you were using some very basic Nordost speaker cables with those. Not a match up I would have thought of.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Robert Harley and I have different tastes in equipment (sound I mean) - usually stuff he thinks is exceptional I recognize as exceptional, but find I don't really like as much as other gear. I am very sure that is personal preference though! :)

 

-Paul

 

 

QUOTE]

 

Not a preference thing I was bringing attention too. It was the brightness issue with silver cables and with the Audioquest Diamond specifically I was commenting on. In Bob's review (and according to everyone else that has listened to this cable here at my place), the Diamond is one of the least bright sounding USB cables we have heard and if anything find them to be extended but slightly smooth. I have found the opposite with the Carbon and so have a number of guys that have traded it in. I find the carbon brighter by a small margin than the Diamond so go figure. In fact the one comment heard most often about the Diamond is "lovely strings!".

 

Guess it's just system dependent.

David

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thanks to all that are giving me ideas.

this afternoon I gave Mapleshade a call and ordered their USB cable and a DoubleHelix Mk2 Plus Powerchord. Thought that it wouldn't hurt, since they seem to have a real 30-day money-back deal. The designer of the cables is extremely confident that his products will "smoke" the competition, so I'll give it a try. I'll be able to hold on to the LD Axis until then, so I'll still have kind of a reference to compare it to.

I also have to opportunity of trying Kimber's B-BUS and Nordost's Blue Heaven so I might report on these in the near future, too.

 

I'll look forward to enjoying your impressions when you get the chance to write them.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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I would think it more my bad hearing than the equipment, but in any case, I am definitely an outlier in this one. People should listen to all the different things they can and form their own opinions. I think it is great you have your shop and wish I was close enough to visit. Often!

 

Some folks love Klipsch speakers too and I have not liked them since at least 1978 or so. What do I know? :)

 

Probably get crucified for this, but of all the top reviewers, Chris and Art Dudley come the closest to my personal preferences.

 

-Paul

 

 

 

Robert Harley and I have different tastes in equipment (sound I mean) - usually stuff he thinks is exceptional I recognize as exceptional, but find I don't really like as much as other gear. I am very sure that is personal preference though! :)

 

-Paul

 

 

QUOTE]

 

Not a preference thing I was bringing attention too. It was the brightness issue with silver cables and with the Audioquest Diamond specifically I was commenting on. In Bob's review (and according to everyone else that has listened to this cable here at my place), the Diamond is one of the least bright sounding USB cables we have heard and if anything find them to be extended but slightly smooth. I have found the opposite with the Carbon and so have a number of guys that have traded it in. I find the carbon brighter by a small margin than the Diamond so go figure. In fact the one comment heard most often about the Diamond is "lovely strings!".

 

Guess it's just system dependent.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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I think it is great you have your shop and wish I was close enough to visit. Often!

 

 

David/realhifi: Where is your shop btw?

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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OT: I listened to the Pulsars at my local dealer about a month ago. It is an outstanding speaker IMHO. One of the best I have heard at the price point.

 

I am pretty sure that setup is going to involve another Wavelength DAC (despite the tubes!) connected with a USB cable that is an alloy, and some Joseph Audio Pulsars, as well as higher end Nordost cables. The amp is actually the hardest thing to decide upon. It will not be any of the amps I have at present, that much is for sure.

Speaker Room: Lumin U1X | Lampizator Golden Gate 2 | Viva Linea | Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature Monoblocks | FinkTeam Kim | Revel subs  

Office Headphone System: Lumin U1X | Lampizator Big 7 updated to GG 2 specs | Viva Egoista | Hifiman HE-1000SE/Audeze LCD-4z

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David/realhifi: Where is your shop btw?

 

I was really trying to be somewhat anonymous as far as that. I think it is a conflict of interest and probably against some rules here to promote my shop. I really appreciate your interest though and if you dig around I am guessing you could find me. *s*

 

Just to let you know, you have a couple of first rate shops down by you. Both shops are in Ann Arbor and between them cover a lot of ground in the Hifi arena. One of them is one of the very best Linn shops in the country.

David

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I was really trying to be somewhat anonymous as far as that. I think it is a conflict of interest and probably against some rules here to promote my shop. I really appreciate your interest though and if you dig around I am guessing you could find me. *s*

 

Just to let you know, you have a couple of first rate shops down by you. Both shops are in Ann Arbor and between them cover a lot of ground in the Hifi arena. One of them is one of the very best Linn shops in the country.

 

Thank you David. I asked because I like the way you deal with things and often agree with your take. This answer furthers that feeling, and I'd have patronized you if possible. And yes, they are just a couple of hours away from me...

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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Just my $0.02, but I would appreciate Chris making a spot for you guys to post contact information and links to your site.

 

-Paul

 

 

I was really trying to be somewhat anonymous as far as that. I think it is a conflict of interest and probably against some rules here to promote my shop. I really appreciate your interest though and if you dig around I am guessing you could find me. *s*

 

Just to let you know, you have a couple of first rate shops down by you. Both shops are in Ann Arbor and between them cover a lot of ground in the Hifi arena. One of them is one of the very best Linn shops in the country.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Thank you David. I asked because I like the way you deal with things and often agree with your take. This answer furthers that feeling, and I'd have patronized you if possible. And yes, they are just a couple of hours away from me...

 

Thanks for your good vibes!

David

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Just my $0.02, but I would appreciate Chris making a spot for you guys to post contact information and links to your site.

 

-Paul

 

Thanks Paul. Not sure it would be a great idea from a number of angles to be honest.

Appreciate the positive thought though.

David

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OT: I listened to the Pulsars at my local dealer about a month ago. It is an outstanding speaker IMHO. One of the best I have heard at the price point.

 

And a prime example of how slippery this hobby can be.....common SEAS drivers used by the DIY community for years.....$800 in drivers retail, another $200 or so in hardparts and network components......where's the rest?

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Have you listened to a pair? They are - amazing. A bargain at their price. :)

 

-Paul

 

 

And a prime example of how slippery this hobby can be.....common SEAS drivers used by the DIY community for years.....$800 in drivers retail, another $200 or so in hardparts and network components......where's the rest?

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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And a prime example of how slippery this hobby can be.....common SEAS drivers used by the DIY community for years.....$800 in drivers retail, another $200 or so in hardparts and network components......where's the rest?

 

This really is BS Mayhem. Not only are you not adding in for the most expensive part- the cabinets and assembly, but you are failing to acknowledge the parts>finished product cost factors. IIRC, you have said a similar thing quoting the cost of DAC chips.

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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This really is BS Mayhem. Not only are you not adding in for the most expensive part- the cabinets and assembly, but you are failing to acknowledge the parts>finished product cost factors. IIRC, you have said a similar thing quoting the cost of DAC chips.

 

 

I design and build loudspeakers. What about the engineering time. Does anyone know the hours it takes to get a speaker to completion? I can't even tell you how many hours. It's why I don't sell them for a living. The markup is high, but usually for a reason. Most are out of my league as far as price is concerned but now I know why a good pr cost $7k.

VPI Classic II Benz Micro, Emotiva ERC-3, Auralic Vega, Modwright LS100 Pre, Wells Audio Inamorata, GR Research H Frame Sub, TWL, Transparent Audio, WyWire, MIT etc.

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The cost of speakers issue seems like a good topic for a new thread.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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I design and build loudspeakers. What about the engineering time. Does anyone know the hours it takes to get a speaker to completion? I can't even tell you how many hours. It's why I don't sell them for a living. The markup is high, but usually for a reason. Most are out of my league as far as price is concerned but now I know why a good pr cost $7k.

 

The cost of R&D on a cable seems nebulous to me. Could be as simple as "cooking one up" from some bits laying about the workshop vs extensive testing and custom made runs using proprietary techniques.

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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I design and build loudspeakers. What about the engineering time. Does anyone know the hours it takes to get a speaker to completion? I can't even tell you how many hours. It's why I don't sell them for a living. The markup is high, but usually for a reason. Most are out of my league as far as price is concerned but now I know why a good pr cost $7k.

 

One time R&D for the prototype divided by the number of units produced.

 

Goes to DigiPete's arguement that there's little to NO value in small production run/boutique equipment as the end user pays a much higher percent of the profit. Nothing new here guys.....simple economics.

 

If value is in exclusivity, then we're talking about something else, and not really what being an audiophile is about.

 

And with that, no more OT from me.........

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There is an interesting review of different USB cables in the last issue of HiFi Critic (UK). This is a great, ad-free mag published by Martin Colloms.

 

The cable tested were:

 

AQ Carbon

AQ Diamond

Cardas Clear

Chord USB Silver Plus

Furutech GT2

Kimber USB

Kimber USB-AG

QED Graphite

Supra USB

Wireworld Platinium Starlight USB

 

Each cable was given a points score. Interestingly, they found that longer USB cables, sound noticeably worse than shorter versions of same cable.

Adam

 

PC: Hot rodded CAPS v4 Pipeline: Teradak ATX linear PSU, MojoAudio super regulator, Pink Faun Ultra OCXO USB card

Digital: Lampizator Pacific DAC

Amp: Dan D'Agostino Momentum Stereo

Speakers: Magcio M3

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Each cable was given a points score. Interestingly, they found that longer USB cables, sound noticeably worse than shorter versions of same cable.

So does John Kenny,and many members of his forum. Several members of another forum did a group buy of long expensive USB cables and cut them into shorter lengths with new plugs fitted. I use the shortest possible USB cables with Vbus disconnected at the PC end of the cable. Unfortunately you are unable to do that for some gear.IIRC, Martin also said something about coiled up cables ???

Regards

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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He compared a 5m cable in a loose lay and coiled config. Loose lay sounded better to him.

Adam

 

PC: Hot rodded CAPS v4 Pipeline: Teradak ATX linear PSU, MojoAudio super regulator, Pink Faun Ultra OCXO USB card

Digital: Lampizator Pacific DAC

Amp: Dan D'Agostino Momentum Stereo

Speakers: Magcio M3

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