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Best USB cable to use between computer and dac?


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I have $100K in my audio system ("I mean, a lot of folks here wind up investing $8k to $20k or more in their audio systems"). By the time it takes to burn in a cable, the return policy is over. Does this not seem a little off? I want to compare Cardas Clear (great price from a known, top of the shelf company) to a Locus (outside of the audio community- never heard of them). These are just examples. I hate to go to a dealer, pretend to want to buy a cable to try out, and then go online and find same cable for 50% less. I got so frustrated, I just bought a $45 MDHT cable and be done with it. Summery: for the usb beginner, all I get is " my cable is better, that is why you should buy it."

 

"then please don't ask me.

 

Roch"

 

LOL. Believe me, I never will.

 

Alpha Dog>Audirvana+>Light Harmonic Geek>MacBook Pro> Sound Application Reference>Modwright Oppo 105>Concert Fidelity CF 080 preamp>Magnus MA 300 amp>Jena labs and Prana Wire cables>Venture CR-8 Signature[br]

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I cannot say they do all sound the same as I have only tried four. My 'gut feeling', based on my general electronic expertise (yes, I do have some) is that all USB cables should sound the same, and my four do. But I an not going to go around saying that because of that it is impossible that some may sound different. If they do I suspect there might be something wrong with them. But that also is only a feeling, not a fact.

 

 

 

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Next thing you know, you might even decide that some good stuff was not invented in England! (grin)

 

That is a very reasonable way to look at it. I think people listen for, and hear very different things in the same sound. Same way as one person can look at a painting and see something completely different than another person. A camera will not record what each person "sees" in this sense.

 

It's the same with sound of course. People get all pissy about it, claiming what a person hears is all hallucination or impossible and wearing superior smirks. Those folks never get it I suppose. :)

 

And no, Picasso and grunge rock isn't my style. Elgar and Van Gogh is more my style!

 

Paul

 

 

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

Robert A. Heinlein

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You are quoting me out of context, since my commentary was regarding cables burn in, that I believe is needed. If I would said this regarding a physic or mathematic equation like E=MC2, then there will be a lot of heavy discussions from some techie others arguing something like E>MC2.

 

The USB cable I use is bellow, on my signature. Is expensive, but you can get in on eBay at half the price, but still expensive. But I don't like to recommend anything being expensive, because if you don't like it, you will blame me.

 

You are on your 24 reply on this forum, when you reach 100 you will understand me.

 

Roch

 

PS/ I trust and admire more Einstein for his philosophies than for his discoveries on quantum physics. Maybe because they are easy to understand and much more practical for an easy living.

 

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Roch-thanks for the heads up on the Acoustic Revive usb cable.Looks pretty good and good review on 6Moons. I will try and reach that 100 mark asap.:)

 

Alpha Dog>Audirvana+>Light Harmonic Geek>MacBook Pro> Sound Application Reference>Modwright Oppo 105>Concert Fidelity CF 080 preamp>Magnus MA 300 amp>Jena labs and Prana Wire cables>Venture CR-8 Signature[br]

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I'm a software engineer and a USB cable doubter. I have posted critical comments about USB cables here. On a whim, I decided to replace my 15' Belkin cable with Chris's recommended Kimber cable. I have to admit that I do hear a difference in overall clarity. However, I'm not totally convinced that it is not a placebo effect and the difference was relatively small.

 

I advise friends new to the hobby or on limited budgets to get a Belkin cable and spend the majority of their budget on better speakers and components. However, if the money is not an issue, I think a USB cable upgrade is a good idea, if only for peace of mind.

 

A word about timing in data transfer applications. A number of posters, searching for an explanation of why IT professionals don't think cables mater, have claimed that IT does not care about timing. This is not true. There are many applications where data transfer timing is crucial. A quick example from my own past work -- I wrote the software for a Windows-based ultrasound system that received image data over FireWire. It was critical, for diagnostic reasons, that the image display be smooth and that the timestamps be correct. I would bet that we could come up with a list of hundreds of applications in many fields that have similar requirements. Data transfer is about a lot more than copying files to/from a corporate server.

 

I'm dubious that timing/jitter full explains USB cable differences anyway. Jitter can be measured and I have not seen data that shows significant jitter differences between well made USB cables. There was a recent review in Stereophile where John Atkinson said that he heard better sound with an AudioQuest USB cable even though it had slightly HIGHER jitter than another cable.

 

My bet would be on grounding, RF, or EMI having an effect on the DAC or USB converter. I suspect that many devices that claim to be galvanically isolated on coax are not due to the case connecting to the ground, but I'm not an EE, so I'm guessing.

 

 

 

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"My bet would be on grounding, RF, or EMI having an effect on the DAC or USB converter. I suspect that many devices that claim to be galvanically isolated on coax are not due to the case connecting to the ground, but I'm not an EE, so I'm guessing."

 

It would be great if somebody could do listening tests with USB cables with and without an USB isolator (such as this: Cesys USB Isolator).

 

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Let's get back to some testing, and offer some recommended brands for those interested.

 

Also some that are not recommended, because of poor performance, high price, non durable construction, etc.

I would like to hear from some dealers or store owners, who have access to many brands and a variety of audio equipment. I don't mean those who are pushing a certain brand for sales profit.

 

So far, I am satisfied with Cardas and LAT. Not a big difference like power cords, and I do not notice a degradation in sound quality, from one USB cable to another, unlike what some power cords will do. Each of the brands I have here, cost less than $300.00 (to give a price range).

 

I'm curious to try the JPS Labs USB cable. Has anyone tried this one ?

 

Any excellent ones on the cheap ?

 

 

 

Tarq

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I compared a couple of cables with my DAC and personally couldn't detect a difference..

 

That said i compared different quality/length HDMI cables by playing a hi res image through them to my LCD TV and there was a clear difference... so i have an open mind...

 

I wonder if there would be anything gained by playing a similar image from a USB drive down different quality cables... given you could use two monitors and compare the images directly and not rely on memory ?

 

Mike

 

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I just bought a $550 Revelation Audio Prophecy usb cable to compare against my (have not received it yet) $45 MHDT usb cable. Should be fun and I will report back.

 

Alpha Dog>Audirvana+>Light Harmonic Geek>MacBook Pro> Sound Application Reference>Modwright Oppo 105>Concert Fidelity CF 080 preamp>Magnus MA 300 amp>Jena labs and Prana Wire cables>Venture CR-8 Signature[br]

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I could not get the RA Prophecy with it's 2 usb connecters to work on my MacbookPro. It sees the Wadia, but no sound. Plus it is cumberson to have usb ports on different sides of my Macbok.

 

Alpha Dog>Audirvana+>Light Harmonic Geek>MacBook Pro> Sound Application Reference>Modwright Oppo 105>Concert Fidelity CF 080 preamp>Magnus MA 300 amp>Jena labs and Prana Wire cables>Venture CR-8 Signature[br]

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I hate to re ignite a firestorm, but has anyone here stopped to think about the sheer magnitude of engineering stupidity that would be required to somehow design a digital (or for that matter an optical) cable that could some how "mess up" or re-arrange, or re-order the bits/bytes as they pass thru it......???????

 

I suppose it could theoretically be done, but I think it might just end that particular e. engineer's career.....

 

something here is not making sense.......

 

win8 (on Fujitsu ah532 , 6Gmem), Musical Fidelity vlink192, Benchmark Dac1-usb, Jriver mediacenter 18, HDTracks 192/24 (mostly), DROBO FS, 2xNuForce Ref. 18 monoblocks, Paradigm Sig s8's, 2xParadigm Sub2's (240v, two seperate, independent electrical circuits feeding these), various high-end analog cables, ZeroSurge power filters (except on subs), sennh. hd800 headphones.

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"I hate to re ignite a firestorm"

 

As do I. Thus, I highly recommend everyone interested in responding to this comment please read the several hundred comments that came before it. Everything under the sun has likely been discussed. If a new angle must be presented please leave a comment. Otherwise please be content knowing that most everyone is smart enough to read the opinions and come to their own conclusion :~)

 

This wonderful hobby is about much more than discussions that turn good people away.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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Got to admire those quick reflexes. :-)

 

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 -> wi-fi to router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> USPCB -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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on the other hand, it is getting easier with each post that I read....

 

win8 (on Fujitsu ah532 , 6Gmem), Musical Fidelity vlink192, Benchmark Dac1-usb, Jriver mediacenter 18, HDTracks 192/24 (mostly), DROBO FS, 2xNuForce Ref. 18 monoblocks, Paradigm Sig s8's, 2xParadigm Sub2's (240v, two seperate, independent electrical circuits feeding these), various high-end analog cables, ZeroSurge power filters (except on subs), sennh. hd800 headphones.

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Engineers do get fired and layed off similar to any other field. Also some are more productive and innovative than others, depending on many things such as interest in the product line, dedication to the company, personal problems, skill level, etc.

 

There will always be a variance of products, at least in this world!

 

Tarq

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Did you read the book: "How to classify, reorder and output in perfect order your bits trough your USB cable before you got a mess on your DAC"?

 

Jules Verne, Copyright March 24, 1915, ISBN: ITGH24-1915

 

He died on 1905, then this must be on heaven production, and from a visionary man.

 

Roch

 

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ok ok I have been chastised soundly......my apologies.....

 

it just (had) genuinely occurred to me that if digital cables vary considerably in their ability to convey digits to the dac from the computer, (but are consistently getting better, closer to the theoretical "perfect" ideal)....then there also (it reasons) must be truly terrible cables out there that routinely scramble and "mess up" the data stream......

 

if a high end usb cable can make cymbals sound more "real" with more "air" around them, then there must be a usb cable out there somewhere that can make frank sinatra's voice consistently and repeatably sound indistinguishably like a contra-bassoon ........

 

I honestly wonder if anyone out there has heard such a (sinatra butchering) usb cable.....after all, there seem to be hundreds of people that have heard cymbals sound more "real."

 

And yes, I did read every single word of every single post here, you have to understand, some of us are just getting started in this hobby.....ahem....

 

win8 (on Fujitsu ah532 , 6Gmem), Musical Fidelity vlink192, Benchmark Dac1-usb, Jriver mediacenter 18, HDTracks 192/24 (mostly), DROBO FS, 2xNuForce Ref. 18 monoblocks, Paradigm Sig s8's, 2xParadigm Sub2's (240v, two seperate, independent electrical circuits feeding these), various high-end analog cables, ZeroSurge power filters (except on subs), sennh. hd800 headphones.

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Being unable to quickly obtain the device mentioned I made up something similar. Mine has inch-long wires joining the two connectors, so it is as near to 'no cable' as I can get.

 

I have now tried four cables of varying lengths and varying brands, plus this home made device. With two DACs, each with and without a USB to SP/DIF converter.

 

I hear no difference whatsover between any of them.

 

Some USB cables cost several thousand dollars.

 

If anyone can explain to me how *any* cable can carry the signal better than no cable at all, and thus improve on 'no cable', I would be most interested. So, I would imagine, would be the manufacturers of the millions of miles of cables of all types installed every year. Perhaps someone could recommend the brand(s) capable of this improvement.

 

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"it just (had) genuinely occurred to me that if digital cables vary considerably in their ability to convey digits to the dac from the computer, (but are consistently getting better, closer to the theoretical "perfect" ideal)....then there also (it reasons) must be truly terrible cables out there that routinely scramble and "mess up" the data stream......"

 

That is because you are applying engineering logic. That is just a sign of a closed mind. You have to remember that audiophilia is not about something as ugly and limited as engineering, but instead is about opening your ears to the harmony of the Cosmos.

 

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"If anyone can explain to me how *any* cable can carry the signal better than no cable at all, and thus improve on 'no cable', I would be most interested."

 

Well, surely using virgin pure noncrystalline titanium that has been demagnetized and aligned by passing through a high-voltage field, with an insulator of rare rainforest-grown bamboo fiber makes the sound infinitely sweeter and more spacious?

 

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