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Wireworld Starlight USB vs. Nordost Blue Heaven USB


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Ok, after listening to the new Nordost USB cable for awhile, I decided to make some comparisons. First up was the Wireworld Ultraviolet-right away it was pretty clear that the UV was not on the same level as the Starlight, so in order to make for easy comparisons, I focused my attention on the Blue Heaven (BH) and the Starlight.

First up CD resolution: Natacha Atlas' "Yariet", and Shelby Lynne's "Loser Dreamer". This was really close, after many switches, a couple of differences seemed to emerge, but they were very subtle. The Starlight seemed to portray a little more roundness to the sound, and the BH seemed slightly more resolved (not bright though, just lit up the real edges a little better). But this comparison was so close that I really preferred whichever cable I was listening to: in other words, they both produced great sound, and only the closest listening hinted at the differences.

I decided to go right to 24/192, hoping that the greater demands of high res might point out more diffences. I used 2Ls Beethoven, string quartets, the Presto movement (very busy and dynamic) from their most recent release. Here the differences were more pronounced, with the BH clearly resolving more information, allowing for a better perception of the string textures and timbre, but, to be fair, I thoroughly enjoyed this music with the Starlight as well-it only lost a slight bit of the tone and dynamic contrasts which were more clear with the BH.

In conclusion, I am going to keep the Nordost Blue Heaven in my system,as it is just ever so slightly better at conveying the musicians intent. But, considering the performance delta, the Wireworld Starlight is still a very impressive USB cable, and at about $100.00 less than the Nordost, the Starlight is the best value in a USB cable I have ever heard. On CD material, it was almost impossible to prefer one cable over the other. Both cables tested were 1 meter, used in the system listed below.

 

SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888 speakers-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Purple Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.  ISOAcoustics Oreas footers.                                                       

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Barrows -- much obliged for posting this!

 

AFAIK, the difference between the two Wireworld cables is simply the amount of silver in the mix. Both cables have the same geometry -- same gauge, with power/ground separated out from the signal wires. Interesting that you're able to separate out the two so clearly. FWIW, I had the same experience, if not quite to that degree, but I'm glad to see I'm not nuts.

 

Also interesting that there does seem to be a plateau effect. My ability to discriminate between the Starlight and, well, anything else at the $100+ level (like the Synergistic Research Tesla Tricon, at $400+) is a matter of splitting hairs. There's a difference -- maybe? But swearing to the character of those alleged differences might cause me some serious heartburn. I do feel that the degree of improvement is, if present at all, rather minor. Does make me wonder what the ROI would be on an investment in an uber-USB cable like the Locus offerings, though I have to say, I'd be up for the challenge! Anyone want to send me one???

 

Anyway, glad to see your fanboi status for all products Nordost is alive and well.

 

[Ducking and covering]

 

;-)

 

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sounds like we are on the same page. The difference between the Nordost Blue Heaven and the Starlight is really small. I had a Locus Design Axis here when I listened to the Diverter, and I felt the Starlight was the equal of the Axis, as any differences I thought that I heard seemed to dissappear with careful listening.

I might try a USB cable comparison on my PS Audio DL-III, with its rather ordinary USB interface cable differences might be bigger than with the (async) Wavelink. But for now I am settling down and listening to music rather than gear!

 

SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888 speakers-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Purple Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.  ISOAcoustics Oreas footers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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Thanks for that: very useful. I'd agree that the two Wireworld cables are worlds apart: it mystifies me why the Ultraviolet is raved about in the British press. Then again, the only worthwhile 'inexpensive' USB cable I've heard is the LAT interconnect.

 

I wouldn't put the Axis in the same category as the Starlight, personally, but I do agree that differences between digital cables in the £250+ price point are pretty subtle, and need prolonged time (and a crack system) to differentiate. That the Starlight is in this league is impressive, considering its price.

 

Oh: and of course, the input cable to the Diverter is supposed to be 'irrelevant', so maybe that's why they sounded similar? In reality, I accept that input cables to the Diverter are material, but they don't make as big a difference as direct source > DAC connection.

 

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  • 2 months later...

I look forward to hearing about your impressions of the Silver Starlight... I suspect the dCS Debussy via USB should be a pretty good "microscope" to reveal USB Cable differences.

 

SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888 speakers-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Purple Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.  ISOAcoustics Oreas footers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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"had a Locus Design Axis here when I listened to the Diverter, and I felt the Starlight was the equal of the Axis, as any differences I thought that I heard seemed to dissappear with careful listening."

 

You didn't have them there at the same time though.

 

Glad to see there are a myriad of choices now in the USB cable arena, much different than four years ago when I started to make them. I talked with Joe at Nordost at RMAF about their USB cable, and from what he told me, I bet it Sounds pretty darn good!

 

"But for now I am settling down and listening to music rather than gear!"

 

That's what it is all about! You know you have reached a good place in audio when you stop thinking about the next upgrade.

 

Peace,

 

Lee

 

Locus Design Group[br]www.locus-design.com[br]www.cryo-parts.com[br]www.cryo-freeze.com

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"I suspect the dCS Debussy via USB should be a pretty good "microscope" to reveal USB Cable differences."

 

It is. Should be even better when they finally release the upgrade for 24/192.

 

Love that DAC! No, I don't offer it for sale. ;-)

 

Peace,

 

Lee

 

Locus Design Group[br]www.locus-design.com[br]www.cryo-parts.com[br]www.cryo-freeze.com

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"the input cable to the Diverter is supposed to be 'irrelevant',"

 

Wish that were true. As talented as Josh is at high speed digital design (ie, very), the cable still makes a difference...

 

OK, enough posts from me, I'll go back under my rock now.

 

Lee

 

 

 

Locus Design Group[br]www.locus-design.com[br]www.cryo-parts.com[br]www.cryo-freeze.com

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""had a Locus Design Axis here when I listened to the Diverter, and I felt the Starlight was the equal of the Axis, as any differences I thought that I heard seemed to dissappear with careful listening."

 

You didn't have them there at the same time though."

 

Yes, I had the Starlight (red version) and the Axis here at the same time as the Diverter. I did not have the Nordost at that time though, or the Wavelink (how I compared the Nordost and Starlight) at that time though. So I have not compared the Axis to the Nordost directly, or with the Wavelink. I did compare the Axis directly to the Starlight, via the Diverter-but I did not spend a whole lot of that time on cable comparisons, I did do enough comparisons to feel the Axis and the Starlight were close, in that system, with the Diverter. My current set up is more resolving, which might show differences which I did not previously hear...

 

As usual, I hope people will make their own comparisons, in their own systems, as every system is different.

 

 

 

SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888 speakers-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Purple Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.  ISOAcoustics Oreas footers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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I am using the Ridge Steret Audio Enopias USB cable to connect the M2tech EVO to my mac. The WW Starlight is Ok yet for audiophiles, you should go with high end cables and USB does make a difference.

 

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"I am using the Ridge Steret Audio Enopias USB cable to connect the M2tech EVO to my mac. The WW Starlight is Ok yet for audiophiles, you should go with high end cables and USB does make a difference."

 

Have you compared the RSA Enopias to the Wireworld Starlight and Nordost Blue Heaven USB cables? If so, please post the sonic differences you noted here to contribute to the discussion, thanks!

 

locqho: since you have the Cardas, maybe you could compare it to the cables in this thread to add to the discussion? I ahve not heard the Cardas clear USB, anyone?

 

 

 

SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888 speakers-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Purple Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.  ISOAcoustics Oreas footers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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  • 4 weeks later...

I to am very interested in the Cardas Clear USB. More so that it is copper wiring, and not silver. I prefer the sound of copper interconnects, speaker cables and SPDIF cables, so interested how a good copper USB performs. I have the Wire World starlight and ultraviolet, yes there is a difference. a cleaner, slightly more focused sound from the starlight. wonder how starlight compares to Cardas Clear?

Also Locus Design Polestar and WW starlight might be another good comparison.

 

Roon | Metrum Acoustics Ambre | Metrum Acoustics Onyx NOS DAC | Technics SL-1210GAE + Ortofon 2M Black | Nakamichi BX-125 | Yamaha A-S3200 | JBL L82 Classic

Inakustik Cabling | Isotek Power Management

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  • 3 months later...

Hello,

 

Ahhh... the digital Gremlins strike again!

 

People, this review is utter nonsense! Why? Simply because USB transports DIGITAL data that has ERROR CHECKING build into it.

 

If anything goes wrong during transport of the digital signal (which is unlikely to begin with; is your USB harddisk slow because of errors???), it depends on the specific protocol used by the DAC how that manifests itself. In most cases, you will hear a 1 ms. silence (the faulty packet is dropped), or absolutely nothing as faulty packets are resent by your computer.

 

And, unless the USB-capable DAC is of extremely poor design, it will filter out any picked up interference (if any) as well (a simple trick, btw).

 

Keep your money in your pocket or do something useful with it, but don't waste it on things like this! Any USB cable that makes good contact will do just fine, and they can be picked up at any computer store for peanuts.

 

Regards,

Peter

 

BTW, I am not picking a fight. I just get upset when people are made to believe they need to buy very expensive stuff that makes no difference. I do not doubt that the writer of this review believes every word he writes. He is simply wrong / influenced / misinformed, and because of that, NOT a liar!!!

 

 

 

 

 

“We are the Audiodrones. Lower your skepticism and surrender your wallets. We will add your cash and savings to our own. Your mindset will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.” - (Quote from Star Trek: The Audiophile Generation)

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"I am not picking a fight. I just get upset when people are made to believe they need to buy very expensive stuff that makes no difference."

 

Peter - Please give the readers here a little credit. None of them have "been made to believe" anything. Also, what supporting evidence do you have to state "unless the USB-capable DAC is of extremely poor design, it will filter out any picked up interference (if any) as well (a simple trick, btw)." According to many leading DAC designers this is untrue. Maybe there is a terminology issue here?

 

Are you familiar with the difference between transferring data from a hard drive via USB and and transferring time sensitive audio data? How adaptive and asynchronous USB transfer works?

 

The reason I bring this up is it's common for misinformed people to claim all digital data is the same and without problems that can't be cured by the transfer protocol in use. Since this is your first post I also want to make sure you are honestly not starting a flame war and you have some solid reasoning behind your statements.

 

As usual I always encourage people to discuss controversial topics and express opinions. As long as it is done like an adult we can all benefit.

 

 

 

 

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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The usb issue has always confused me. USB 2 bandwidth is at least an order of magnitude faster than the most demanding audio encoding. Why can't DACs be designed with a big buffer that can be always kept full and that buffered data is fed to a dac at the precise rate with zero jitter, problem solved. Given the huge markups relative to the cost of goods of high end audio equipment, the 5 or 10 dollars the buffering will cost won't matter. In fact, why don't they spend a few dollars more and support streaming flac or some other lossless compression.

 

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"The usb issue has always confused me."

 

Well said Dave :~)

 

This type of implementation explanation is best left to component designers.

 

Your comment about huge mark-ups is a little off for most of the industry. Given what it costs you to make trades I'm guessing the mark-up for your fee is even larger on a percentage basis?

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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causes the receiver chip to work harder, that will induce power supply fluctuations appearing on both the power supply rails and ground, no? It doesn't take much thinking to realize that a USB cable could, even just theoretically, cause a sonic difference.

 

But you have to actually think.

 

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Chris, Dave & Peter, this forum, and ALL the music forums are full of cable discussions.

 

There are believers and non believers, as always.

 

The USB computer port, drivers and chip are very 'fragile' for musical purposes, even more on the last years with high definition computer music. This port was mainly for printers, and some other gear. With the implementation of asynchronous drivers/interfaces and great improvement on software playing computer music, AND with some USB cables carrying the fragile data, we are getting for the first time in my long audiophile life an incredible SQ with a consumer product= a PC (Personal Computer).

 

There are some places where you can get nice cables for a trial, money back if you don't like it, no problem, a lot of price choice. Then what is the discussion about?

 

Best regards,

 

Roch

 

PS/ "Happiness is not a goal, but a way of life". Then, don't worry be happy!

 

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Well Chris.

 

First, I'm with a prop trading group, not a bank or a brokerage. We pay for trades just like every one else although I will tell you that with exchange liquidity rebates there are strategies where the rebate exceeds the trade cost. You can make money in a flat market by just making lots of trades.

 

Second, I used to be with a vc firm in the valley. I know the economics of manufacturing electronic equipment, and I know the cost of goods for a $5,000 dac is in the 100s of dollars, that's an unheard of markup.

 

Oh, the USB issue is confusing because it seems an obvious fix to the "jitter" problem is being ignored, why don't they design a dac with a big front end buffer?

 

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Dave - Here is a link to a very long thread about buffers and what they are or aren't a panacea. http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/buffer-universal-panacea

 

 

The whole markup thing has also been discussed here ad nauseum. High quality low volume manufacturers with the world's best engineers simply can't charge cost + 10%.

 

The markup in diamonds, designer sunglasses, and other jewelry can be much more than high end audio.

 

 

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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