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New Chord USB cable looks set to take on AQ Diamond and WW Platinum


JonP
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About 9 months ago I emailed Chord UK, frustrated as I was that they did not have a mid priced USB cable in their range. I had tried the Silver Plus and although fantastic at the price point, it was obvious the company could produce something significantly better at the price point shared by the top offerings from Audioquest and Wireworld. Their Sarum USB cable was simply too expensive for all but a select few well-heeled computer audiophiles, even if by all reports it is a superb cable.

 

I emailed Chord yesterday and they advised me that the new USB cable was announced in Britain over the weekend just past. There isnt any detailed info yet, other than it will sit around the £400 price point and will be called the Signature Tuned Aray.

 

I would be very interested to hear any feedback from early adopters. Their much cheaper Silver Plus had a very rounded, smooth, analogue sound but was let down by a lack of resolution and lower midrange tubbiness, but you would think with a cable in the projected price range, they would be able to address those shortcomings.

 

So it looks like it will go head to head with Audioquest's Diamond and Wireworld's Platinum Starlight. Interesting times and I look forward to reviews from users as well as the HiFi press.

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With respect - if you are considering connecting a £400 cable to the system listed in your .sig I would suggest instead look at alternative DACs as the Chordette Gem (while nice sounding) is limited by its USB interface.

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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About 9 months ago I emailed Chord UK, frustrated as I was that they did not have a mid priced USB cable in their range. I had tried the Silver Plus and although fantastic at the price point, it was obvious the company could produce something significantly better at the price point shared by the top offerings from Audioquest and Wireworld. Their Sarum USB cable was simply too expensive for all but a select few well-heeled computer audiophiles, even if by all reports it is a superb cable.

 

I emailed Chord yesterday and they advised me that the new USB cable was announced in Britain over the weekend just past. There isnt any detailed info yet, other than it will sit around the £400 price point and will be called the Signature Tuned Aray.

 

I would be very interested to hear any feedback from early adopters. Their much cheaper Silver Plus had a very rounded, smooth, analogue sound but was let down by a lack of resolution and lower midrange tubbiness, but you would think with a cable in the projected price range, they would be able to address those shortcomings.

 

So it looks like it will go head to head with Audioquest's Diamond and Wireworld's Platinum Starlight. Interesting times and I look forward to reviews from users as well as the HiFi press.

 

When one compares products based on price range I think it presupposes that something about the research development costs or/and production (process or parts) costs something comparable . For speakers and amps that seems like a reasonable supposition , but for dacs a bit less so, and for cables even less so. I think there are important and major differences among cables, but I don't see it as being obvious that cost similarity implies quality similarity. Indeed, the real competitor on equal quality grounds may well cost less than the diamond and could be plenty of other products already out . What you're really observing is something geared to the same marketing niche ....

mac mini 2011, Transparent audio usb cable, bryston bda-2, hegel h300 integrated amp, audio physic virgo 25 speakers, transparent audio speaker cables interconnects and digital cables.

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With respect - if you are considering connecting a £400 cable to the system listed in your .sig I would suggest instead look at alternative DACs as the Chordette Gem (while nice sounding) is limited by its USB interface.

 

Eloise

 

No...not the Chordette. North Star USB DAC32.

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Chordette Gem (while nice sounding) is limited by its USB interface.

 

btw, without wanting to stray off-topic, but despite it's technical limitations, the Gem still is a very good DAC so long as one does not want to play files exceeding 16 bit, 48 Khz. Most of the reviews and testing of the Gem have been using the standard, OEM-supplied very cheap wall wart and to make matters worse, people have tended to concentrate on the bluetooth functionality with it's crippling 352 kbps limit rather than the USB side of things - so it is no wonder things don't sound too good this way.

 

But feed the unit clean power (I built a 12 volt Belleson regulated power supply with Silmic II caps fed from 18 volt SLA batteries) and use a decent quality USB cable, and I still have not heard any DAC under $2,000 than is better at 16 bits for classical and other acoustic music. In my presonal experiences, you need to move up to products of the calibre of North Star and Bryston to get a tangible improvement.

 

It may be a 4 year old design and it may be adaptive rather than asychronous, but give the unit clean power and my search for a better DAC in the low-midrange still continues.

 

As for an appropriate level of expenditure for a USB DAC, a formula I have come to stand by is to spend around 50% of the cost of the DAC on the cable. Others will laugh and dismiss this, but in my experience it is entirely appropriate and leads to the best sound for the total expenditure outlay. This assumes the DAC is fed with clean power to begin with, which is more important than the USB cable. Most DACs above $1,000 will have pretty decent power to begin with and one can then concentrate on a good cable to synergise with it. But cheaper ones really have to have the power issues addressed first, otherwise spending money on the cable is pointless, since it will just emphasise the shortcomings of the dirty power. Same reason I will never use a DAC under any circumstances that is powered only from the USB port - even if the power is "clean" to the DAC it will negatively effect the way the precious power is used in the host machine. Try any software that let's you muck with power settings (i.e latest version of XXHighEnd), or muck with power settings in Windows and it is obvious by actual listening how critical power is in the transport and how even small changes to the power configuration materially affect the sound - not just the DAC itself - especially when you are talking laptops powered by batteries.

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OFF SUBJECT;

 

Wanted to take this opportunity to thank you Jon for your JPlay recommendation. I eventually got it running properly, and am very pleased with it's performance. :0)

 

Jim

PC (J River-Jplay) > USB > Mytek 192 - DSD > XLR > Adcom GFP-750 Pre > XLR > Emotiva XPA-5 > Snell C/V's (bi-amped) / Klipsch Sub <100 Hz

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  • 1 year later...
  • 3 weeks later...

 

Not a very good start. First post and facetious already.

LOUNGE: iFi AC iPurifier>Lab12 Gordian Power Conditioner>Qobuz Studio>TP-Link RE650 AC2600 WI-FI Extender>Kasimo 3mtr. CAT 8 Ethernet cable>Lumin UI Mini Transport/LEEDH volume/External PliXiR BDC Elite 12v 4amp Linear PSU>Oyaide DB-510 bnc/bnc Digital Cable>MHDTLabs Orchid DAC>Townshend DCT 300 RCA Interconnects>Amplifier Air Tight AMT-1S>Townshend Isolda EDCT Speaker Cables>Audium Comp 7 Passive Speakers/Aperion Aluminium Ribbon Super Tweeters Mk.11>Schumann Resonance generator.  Furutech fuse in each device. 

LIVING ROOM:- iFi AC iPurifier>Bluesound Node2i (as streamer only)/Qobuz Studio>Transparent High Performance Digital Link bnc/bnc>iFi Retro 50/Furutech fuse/iFi LS3.5 Speakers>Schumann Resonance generator.

 

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Just get a 24" black cat usb cable for $99 and forget about the rest. It replaced my $999 lh lightspeed usb after hearing such little differences. I had AQ diamond and WW platinum before and light harmonic sounded noticeably better. Black cat silverstar is one of the best bang for buck in my 15years in this hobby.

SR Tesla Plex SE > 8 PS Audio Noise Harvesters > Blue Circle PLC Thigee > HiDiamond P4 > HQ Player > Jitterbug > USB Adapter > Regen > USB adapter > exaSound e20 mkIII (with TeddyPardo PSU) > High Fidelity CT-1UR > Emotiva XPA-1s > OTA Storatos SC > Magnepan 3.6R custom crossover + 2 REL T-7

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  • 4 weeks later...

Any Chord Sarum USB reviews?

Triangle Magellan Concerto 2 < AQ Everest < Vitus Audio SS-010 Mk2 < AQ Dragon High Current < AQ WEL XLR < Chord Qutest DAC w UpTone JS-2 & AQ Dragon Source < AQ Diamond USB < Innuos Phoenix USB w AQ Dragon Source < Aurender N100H & AQ Dragon Source < NetGear GS105GE Switch w UpTone LPS1.2 < Supra CAT8 Ethernet < Gryphon PowerZone w AQ NRG-Wild < Stillpoints UltraSS, Ansuz Darkz D-TC & D2, Omicron Harmonic Stabilizer, Gold Evolution SE & Classic < Furutech FT-SWS (R) < Synergistic Research Orange Quantum Fuse < Solid Tech Hybrid < GigaWatt G-16A 2P Circuit Breaker

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