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Which of these upgrades should I make to my system?


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Hello, I have an ARCAM rPAC USB DAC and a pair of Yorkville YSM6 6.5 inch studio monitors. (Yorkville is a Canadian company. These speakers are made locally in my town. They sound good)

 

Anyways, I can afford at this time to perform one of the following upgrades. Which of the following would provide the greatest increase in audio quality?

 

1) Upgrade analog cables from DAC to speakers (currently using $12 P.O.S. cables)

 

2) Upgrade USB A/B cable from PC to DAC (currently using the included cable that came with DAC)

 

3) Purchase monitor isolation pads for the speakers

 

Which one should I buy right now? I will eventually buy all 3. My guess is that the greatest improvement I can get right now is the isolation pads but I need to hear opinions from more experienced audio-heads.

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Biggest difference I've experienced is the Supra USB cable that J. Swenson on CA said to buy "and be done with it". It is because as G. Rankin says you must have a true 90 ohm USB cable or introduce reflections or distortion into your signal. The Supra and others fix this. My cable shipped was 44 dollars on EBay new. I tried four cables in all. It's a big difference as if you changed DAC units. Some DACs are so good they reportedly don't get as big an improvement. The cost of the DAC probably reflects this. If you've spent a grand or even two hundred what's another fifty bucks?

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Biggest difference I've experienced is the Supra USB cable that J. Swenson on CA said to buy "and be done with it". It is because as G. Rankin says you must have a true 90 ohm USB cable or introduce reflections or distortion into your signal. The Supra and others fix this. My cable shipped was 44 dollars on EBay new. I tried four cables in all. It's a big difference as if you changed DAC units. Some DACs are so good they reportedly don't get as big an improvement. The cost of the DAC probably reflects this. If you've spent a grand or even two hundred what's another fifty bucks?

 

Can you tell me which cable you bought so I can buy the same one please? Thanks for your time.

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No problem. I will find and post a link from Ebay. I'm in the USA and these cables are from Sweden. The US distributor is in Seattle and sells cables in different lengths. The beauty of Supra USB cables is they are 90 ohms so you can run them at any length up to tens of meters with no sound loss. Hardly any USB cables can do this. That said, buy as short a run as you can. The cost to double your length is only about ten US dollars so it's no big deal. I got a meter cable for 44 bucks. These are hand made cables with tags on them from the person who made the cable. I did the research and the guy who invented the Regen that everyone's talking about J. Swenson loves these cables. They get an eight of ten against cables that cost hundreds of dollars getting eights and nines. So a huge bargain. I will buy more of these for all my systems.

 

Supra USB 2 0 for Audio 1 Meter 3 28' What Hi Fi 5 Star Rated Made in Sweden | eBay

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Can you tell me which cable you bought so I can buy the same one please? Thanks for your time.

 

In fact, if I were you, I'd buy Supra cables for your speakers and interconnects. Their quality of construction is amazing and the value dollar for dollar if you read the reviews is the best in the world. They won't win beauty contests, but are your really paying for looks in audio cables... Search Ebay to find the other cables you need from Supra. I am going to buy their DAC to Amp interconnects next. Their speaker cables are expensive though. I can assure you that fancy speaker cables and interconnects will not really affect your sound that much. The USB cable will absolutely SHOCK you. I have a cheap Chinese DAC board I bought for thirty bucks on Ebay that sounds truly amazing with the Supra. People laugh at me, but this DAC is awesome with the Supra.

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In fact, if I were you, I'd buy Supra cables for your speakers and interconnects. Their quality of construction is amazing and the value dollar for dollar if you read the reviews is the best in the world. They won't win beauty contests, but are your really paying for looks in audio cables... Search Ebay to find the other cables you need from Supra. I am going to buy their DAC to Amp interconnects next. Their speaker cables are expensive though. I can assure you that fancy speaker cables and interconnects will not really affect your sound that much. The USB cable will absolutely SHOCK you. I have a cheap Chinese DAC board I bought for thirty bucks on Ebay that sounds truly amazing with the Supra. People laugh at me, but this DAC is awesome with the Supra.

 

Your speakers are self powered. I looked them up. You don't need speaker wire.

 

You should probably go ahead for peace of mind and buy the interconnects from Supra. They only cost like 30 dollars. Those are pretty nice speakers from what I can tell and what's another thirty bucks...

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Isolating your speakers can have a big impact - especially in the lower frequencies. Try Herbie's Audio Labs for various options. I have found all his products to be very good and do what they were designed to do.

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Speaker isolation pads can provide a genuine benefit.

 

I know it isn't popular, but the POS cables you have now work just as well as any others suggested. Ditto for USB.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Speaker isolation pads can provide a genuine benefit.

 

I know it isn't popular, but the POS cables you have now work just as well as any others suggested. Ditto for USB.

 

I know that's not true, at least of analog cables. I noticed a HUGE difference between the 3 cables I used with my old system.

 

If enough people call it a duck, its a duck. Cables are definitely a duck.

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Can anybody link me to a regen that I can buy on Ebay or Amazon or something? And tell me how to hook everything up? Do I need another USB cable to run REGEN>DAC? I imagine I'm going PC>REGEN>DAC, right? So I will need 2 USB A/B cables right?

 

You are highly unlikely to find a Regen show up on EBay for a while. It's a niche product and the first batch just shipped out.

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I know that's not true, at least of analog cables. I noticed a HUGE difference between the 3 cables I used with my old system.

 

If enough people call it a duck, its a duck. Cables are definitely a duck.

 

Well the interesting part is you heard huge differences when the signal sent across different cables was the same. That is the interesting part.

 

So my suggestion is to pursue the REGEN as you appear to be doing. That way you have the probability of hearing an improvement from the regen, plus the probability of hearing an improvement twice more as it will require two USB cables instead of only one. There are some benefits discussed of using Regen at both ends. That would allow the use of one additional USB cable for one additional chance of improvement plus a chance at yet more improvement with a second regen unit. Enjoy.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Herbie's Loudspeaker Feet

 

Which "fat dot" etc should I buy? I have a pair of 6.5" studio monitors weighing about 30 something pounds each. They are about 10.5X13" base. They are Yorkville YSM 6 monitors made by Yorkville Audio of Pickering, Ontario, Canada. You guys would probably laugh at them but they're the best speakers I've ever owned.

 

I guess I just get 8 of the square dots? Need help with this. Thanks.

 

I'm definitely getting the Supra USB cable. I already ordered the Kimber Cable RCA to 1/4" set today. I'm on the fence about the regen... I think I will wait for them to be on the market a little longer before I jump on that product.

 

I want to get isolation materials as well so someone please tell me what to buy from Herbies.

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Herbie's Loudspeaker Feet

 

Which "fat dot" etc should I buy? I have a pair of 6.5" studio monitors weighing about 30 something pounds each. They are about 10.5X13" base. They are Yorkville YSM 6 monitors made by Yorkville Audio of Pickering, Ontario, Canada. You guys would probably laugh at them but they're the best speakers I've ever owned.

 

I guess I just get 8 of the square dots? Need help with this. Thanks.

 

I'm definitely getting the Supra USB cable. I already ordered the Kimber Cable RCA to 1/4" set today. I'm on the fence about the regen... I think I will wait for them to be on the market a little longer before I jump on that product.

 

I want to get isolation materials as well so someone please tell me what to buy from Herbies.

 

I would get some of the 15/16" Herbies dots (Small sticky thin FAT DOT) for the USB cable ends.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Well the interesting part is you heard huge differences when the signal sent across different cables was the same. That is the interesting part.

 

So my suggestion is to pursue the REGEN as you appear to be doing. That way you have the probability of hearing an improvement from the regen, plus the probability of hearing an improvement twice more as it will require two USB cables instead of only one. There are some benefits discussed of using Regen at both ends. That would allow the use of one additional USB cable for one additional chance of improvement plus a chance at yet more improvement with a second regen unit. Enjoy.

 

Actually when using regen & Corning optical USB there isn't actually *any* USB cable in the system rather straight connectors.

 

In any case while I don't really hear any differences between reasonably spec'd USB cables -- this combo is readily audible -- lower noise floor for example.

 

Of course my listening areas are infected with nasty noise sources such as 4k and plasma monitors, graphics cards etc.

Custom room treatments for headphone users.

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Well the interesting part is you heard huge differences when the signal sent across different cables was the same. That is the interesting part.

 

So my suggestion is to pursue the REGEN as you appear to be doing. That way you have the probability of hearing an improvement from the regen, plus the probability of hearing an improvement twice more as it will require two USB cables instead of only one. There are some benefits discussed of using Regen at both ends. That would allow the use of one additional USB cable for one additional chance of improvement plus a chance at yet more improvement with a second regen unit. Enjoy.

 

Regen, luckily, does not require purchase of an additional USB cable. It comes with both a solid adapter and a 6" cable adapter for installations where the solid adapter won't fit.

 

I've already mentioned in this thread that I don't think Regen would be a cost effective choice for the OP, given it's more than half the cost of his DAC.

 

Also, as he's on a limited budget at the moment, have mercy with the audiophile humor, Dennis. :)

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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None. Buy more music or save your money for a larger purchase to really upgrade something. That something not being any sort of tweak. I'd say save your money and start with the room and get some GIK Room Treatments. Truly the best bang for your buck.

W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

 

Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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Regen, luckily, does not require purchase of an additional USB cable. It comes with both a solid adapter and a 6" cable adapter for installations where the solid adapter won't fit.

 

I've already mentioned in this thread that I don't think Regen would be a cost effective choice for the OP, given it's more than half the cost of his DAC.

 

Also, as he's on a limited budget at the moment, have mercy with the audiophile humor, Dennis. :)

 

 

It is due to the limited budget I suggest one be very careful to invest resources into things certain to make a difference. The Regen is a tweak. At this point as jtwrace has said, tweaks are not your best bang for the buck.

 

It actually pains me that such has become a common event. Someone with a rudimentary system gets the idea these esoteric tweaks are worth spending money on for the 'big improvement'. That this is the path for fixing rather mundane issues. Maybe some mercy with the tweakery and hyperbole related to it is in order. Sorry to be so humorless about it, but I see it as a very real problem in computer audio.

 

How many devices and connections are you guys going to end up with to replace the simple act of connecting a computer via USB to a DAC? It has become an entire realm of equipment to do this simple thing. If the stuff works half as well as it gets talked about I expect to see a big obvious improvement in the analog output of the DAC so 'seriously' connected. Won't hold my breath on that one though. :(

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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It is due to the limited budget I suggest one be very careful to invest resources into things certain to make a difference. The Regen is a tweak. At this point as jtwrace has said, tweaks are not your best bang for the buck.

 

It actually pains me that such has become a common event. Someone with a rudimentary system gets the idea these esoteric tweaks are worth spending money on for the 'big improvement'. That this is the path for fixing rather mundane issues. Maybe some mercy with the tweakery and hyperbole related to it is in order. Sorry to be so humorless about it, but I see it as a very real problem in computer audio.

 

How many devices and connections are you guys going to end up with to replace the simple act of connecting a computer via USB to a DAC? It has become an entire realm of equipment to do this simple thing. If the stuff works half as well as it gets talked about I expect to see a big obvious improvement in the analog output of the DAC so 'seriously' connected. Won't hold my breath on that one though. :(

 

Elsdude and jwtrace,

 

Well I guess we are going to have to "agree to disagree" on this.

 

The fact that the OP hears a clear difference between USB cables means that the OP will benefit from the REGEN/Corning combination. The impact is not subtle and the benefits are far beyond what I would label a tweak. If the the OP is looking for the biggest SQ benefit for the buck, it is hard to think of better value per dollar. The reproduction chain is only as good as it's weakest link. The standard USB cable is that weak link. An investment in the REGEN/Corning cable combination strengthens that link in a way that will impact both a $300 USB DAC and DACs costing 10 to 20 times more. I have tried this solution on both. Reports of these benefits have been confirmed many times by some of the most qualified people on CA.

 

If you haven't tried it yourself, you should. For a total cost of $300 this solution delivers terrific bang for the buck, and the investment will continue to deliver as adjacent components are upgraded in the future.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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