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Who has tried out different USB Cables?

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14 hours ago, wgscott said:

 

This is how it works.  They take over, one USB cable at a time, seizing control of audiophile computers everywhere.  Soon very strange things start to happen after a critical tipping point comes, somewhere around late 2016.

 

Through firmware that embeds itself into the computer, the USB cable can increase jitter on the motherboard and thus reduce EMI ;) 


Custom room treatments for headphone users.

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On 8/9/2019 at 6:01 PM, jabbr said:

Oh god, there are so many cables and so little time. I don’t do listening tests between USB cables (but I’d love an OK Computer cable TBH!) 

 

Lets see: I like that white Swedish cable with my iFI — oh wait it uses that weird connector so I use the AQ Dragonfly ... with @PeterSt‘s DAC I use his Lush cable ... with the Pro-Ject S2D I use whatever was in the box.

 

Life is short, I prefer sampling Bourbons ;) 

Yes, sampling bourbons is much more fun and rewarding than sampling USB cables. I stopped using USB on my main system because I don’t think it sounds very good and now connect my main audio system computer via TOSLINK SPDIF and my Squeezebox Touch (Internet Radio only) via coax SPDIF. I do use USB in my office to connect my computer to my desktop system (Napa Acoustics N208A amplifier and a pair of Martin-Logan Motion 4i speakers served by an AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt DAC from my desktop Mac).


George

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On 10/7/2019 at 7:58 PM, xyzzy1 said:

Feeding a project dac s2+ from a MacBook pro.

 

Tried generic USB cable vs Pangea USB cables, heard differences in amount of edge/harshness in the sound with the Pangea cables being the better, but not by much. Switched to a linear power supply for the dac s2+, that made a pretty big improvement in sound clarity and reduced edge/harness further.

 

Then tried optical cable as the MacBook has optical out in the headphone jack and heard a huge improvement in sound quality with much reduced to almost eliminated edge/harshness and nice added liquidity/naturalness to sound of voice and instruments. No way I'm going back to any USB cable. Strongly recommend moving to optical cable if your setup allows it.

SPDIF Toslink is much better sounding, in my opinion, than USB as I have a similar setup: MacBook Pro to a 24/96 up-converter to a Schiit Yggdrasil DAC. While I realize that Toslink is generally only good to 24/96, I generally don’t listen to anything higher than that, although I do have a couple of audio-only Blu-Ray discs that do 24/176.4 and 24/192, I play them through my Oppo BDP-205.

I use the MacBook Pro to access my Tidal account on my main system and remote control it from my iPad using Remote-Pro.

 


George

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I wish I had saved it but Barrows posted something about two very audibly different USB cables once, elsewhere here. Worth looking up if only to read how he describes the differences. I agree that you have to have sufficient signal quality and listening experience to hear the differences, but that kind of goes without saying here.

 

I like the Lush, the Lush^2, and an older cheaper Shunyata Venom. Wireworld Starlight too. And Uptone's ISO Regen/LPS 1.2 are key in that chain with an oldie but goodie Halide USB DAC.


Fav Gear Schiit Yggdrasil A2 + SR UEF Black power cable, W4S Remedy/Uptone LPS-1, Linn LP12/Hercules II/Ittok/Denon DL-103R, Naim, PSB, Elac, Uptone Audio USB, Phasure Lush/ZenWave/Transparent Audio cables 

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These were the two cables:

 

The Lush (not 2)

 

And the Inakustik Referenz

 

Even with a DAC with a well a galvanically isolated USB interface the difference was not subtle.  


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Why even use a USB cable at all. Why not just go WiFi or Ethernet?


"Let's pick a tune and get out of this mess"  - Earl Scruggs

"There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind ... " - Duke Ellington

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2 hours ago, barrows said:

 

 

I do believe, that ultimately, there will be very good DACs, with very good Ethernet interfaces built in, we are just not there yet, although the Linn Klimax DS is one DAC with Ethernet which is very, very good (but still somewhat limited in sample rate).

 

Yet other technology has evolved in leaps and bounds in the same time we have had digital audio! Whats holding audiophile audio back... maybe focusing on cables, fuses etc. 

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6 hours ago, marce said:

Yet other technology has evolved in leaps and bounds in the same time we have had digital audio! Whats holding audiophile audio back... maybe focusing on cables, fuses etc. 

What is the actual question?  Right now most DAC manufacturers do not have the capability (or time/money?) to develop their own Ethernet interface for inside the DAC, so they turn to pre made available solutions-unfortunately the solution most often used is made to a price point which does not allow for best performance.  I think we have all seen specs for DAC's with ethernet inputs which only handle up to 24/192 and DSD 2, right?  While we know that Ethernet is capable of much higher rates (Sonore Renderers handle at least 768 PCM and DSD 512, and likely higher, without any issues).  Also, these affordable "solutions" are just not developed for best performance, they are developed for affordability.

Certainly, the tech to put a really good Ethernet interface inside a DAC exists, as you are well aware; but right now that is not done (for the most part).

As I said, as Ethernet distributed audio takes over from other methods, we will see more and more DACs with better Ethernet interfaces.  In the mean time, external Ethernet renderers offer higher performance than what is currently available in most DACs.


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15 hours ago, barrows said:

Because the Ethernet interfaces built into most current DACs (for those that even offer them) are often poor performers.  I am very particular about DACs, and I would never choose a DAC based on whether or not it had an ethernet interface.  It is now rather trivial for any manufacturer to have a good USB inout in a DAC, this is not so with an ethernet interface which is much more difficult to develop and implement, and requires much more attention to do it right.  And putting WiFi in any audio component is a very good way to seriously degrade audio performance.

 

I do believe, that ultimately, there will be very good DACs, with very good Ethernet interfaces built in, we are just not there yet, although the Linn Klimax DS is one DAC with Ethernet which is very, very good (but still somewhat limited in sample rate).

 

I'm not saying you're wrong, but is there any evidence to support this assertion? What would you suggest I look at to become more familiar with this if anything?  Thanks!


"Let's pick a tune and get out of this mess"  - Earl Scruggs

"There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind ... " - Duke Ellington

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35 minutes ago, Soothsayerman said:

I'm not saying you're wrong, but is there any evidence to support this assertion? What would you suggest I look at to become more familiar with this if anything?  Thanks!

I think we are a little off topic here, perhaps...  Maybe the OP will indulge us a bit...

 

What kind of "evidence" would you suggest?  I am NOT going to mention specific products and throw them under the bus.  But for a simple example, anyone can see the DACs which have Ethernet interfaces which only accept up to 24/192 and DSD 128, for just a simple example of limitations.  But, that is not all I am talking about,

 

I am a aware of many people who have DACs which have built in Ethernet interfaces, who instead choose to use a Sonore Renderer (and the USB input on their DAC), I suspect the same is true for other Renderers, but my own experience is with Sonore and its customers, for sound quality reasons.

 

The fact is an Ethernet input is essentially a small computer, rendering Ethernet streams to a digital audio format requires a computer (albeit not a hugely powerful one).  As mentioned, the one DAC I am aware of that does this pretty well is the Linn Klimax DS (although sample rate limited).  Take a look at what is inside DACs in terms of ethernet interfaces and ask these questions:

 

1.  Is the Ethernet interface powered by a completely separate power supply from the rest of the DAC?

2.  Is the Ethernet interface's output fully galvanically isolated from the rest of the DAC?

3.  Does the Ethernet interface offer optical input?

4.  How good is the clock running the Ethernet interface?

5.  Does the Ethernet interface support all sample rates to 768 PCM and DSD 512 (or even higher)?

6.  Is the Ethernet interface well shielded physically from the rest of the DAC circuitry?

7.  What software is the Ethernet interface running and is compatible with things like HQPlayer?

 

The above are just the tip of the icebaerg, and the obvious things which I am aware of.  I am sure that John Swenson could point out many, many more (highly technical) design details which matter to the sonic performance of a really good Ethernet interface.

 

As what we have with an Ethernet Renderer is a small computer, if one is going to put that inside a DAC, one has to be very careful to isolate the noise produced by that computer from the DAC circuitry-computer processors are by their nature sources of noise.  Doing this right, inside a DAC is not simply done, or very affordable, that is why the best stand alone Renderers cost significant money.  Again I am not saying it is impossible, just a bit difficult and expensive, and I do believe in the future we will see more DACs with well implemented high performance (sound quality) Ethernet interfaces.


ROON: DSD 256-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, Cardas Clear AC, Iconoclast XLR, Nordost Frey speaker, cables, Synergistic Blue & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

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1 hour ago, barrows said:

...

1.  Is the Ethernet interface powered by a completely separate power supply from the rest of the DAC?

2.  Is the Ethernet interface's output fully galvanically isolated from the rest of the DAC?

3.  Does the Ethernet interface offer optical input?

4.  How good is the clock running the Ethernet interface?

5.  Does the Ethernet interface support all sample rates to 768 PCM and DSD 512 (or even higher)?

6.  Is the Ethernet interface well shielded physically from the rest of the DAC circuitry?

7.  What software is the Ethernet interface running and is compatible with things like HQPlayer?

 

The above are just the tip of the icebaerg, and the obvious things which I am aware of.  I am sure that John Swenson could point out many, many more (highly technical) design details which matter to the sonic performance of a really good Ethernet interface.

 

As what we have with an Ethernet Renderer is a small computer, if one is going to put that inside a DAC, one has to be very careful to isolate the noise produced by that computer from the DAC circuitry-computer processors are by their nature sources of noise.  Doing this right, inside a DAC is not simply done, or very affordable, that is why the best stand alone Renderers cost significant money.  Again I am not saying it is impossible, just a bit difficult and expensive, and I do believe in the future we will see more DACs with well implemented high performance (sound quality) Ethernet interfaces.

 

Yes, indulgence (papal ones are on sale now)

 

1,2,3 suggest parasitic leakage currents from the ethernet circuitry into the low level signals of the DAC

 

The WiFI mod/demod argument isn't established as far as I'm aware


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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3 hours ago, Soothsayerman said:

I'm not saying you're wrong, but is there any evidence to support this assertion? What would you suggest I look at to become more familiar with this if anything?  Thanks!

Your point might be valid if all the DACs on the market offered these interconnect options, but most don’t and there is a lot more to DAC selection than merely it’s interface options.


George

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6 hours ago, sandyk said:

 

It may now be rather trivial for any manufacturer to have a good USB inout in a DAC, yet the disturbing fact remains that even when an Iso Regen is used, differences can still often be heard between USB cables. Barrows himself has said this "Even with a DAC with a well a galvanically isolated USB interface the difference was not subtle."  [...]

 

And, there are differences between Ethernet cables. Cat 5, Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 7, Cat 8 all influence the sound in different way, because of different construction or other factors.

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10 hours ago, gmgraves said:

The electronics says no to both of these, but many other audiophiles embrace both, so the jury remains out on whether or not those who buy into these ideas are hearing real phenomena or are just victims of expectational bias, or of their own imaginations. 

 

 The Jury isn't out. Neither are many people imagining these things that they report , especially when the cables are USB cables .

 Many of these things are capable of being verified by correctly performed DBT sessions.


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 18-06-2019

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4 hours ago, PeterSt said:

If only that were true.

USB, as how it is implemented in PC's relate to the mains PE.  USB is a total mess.

Peter, I was referring to how USB is implemented in a DAC.  Anyone who has read all of my posts here should understand that, as I suggested that anyone who expects to connect a consumer computer directly to a DAC via USB and achieve excellent sound is likely to be disappointed.  But this is not a problem with USB itself, or with the USB audio (async) protocols.  Again: every interface has its' share of engineering challenges, these are just things to be solved by good implementation.


ROON: DSD 256-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, Cardas Clear AC, Iconoclast XLR, Nordost Frey speaker, cables, Synergistic Blue & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

                                                                                                  SONORE computer audio

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It is odd that ethernet intitially had or has better isolation than USB simply because of it's original intended use.  It also uses basically a small transformer at each end to reduce noise.  As mentioned fiber is the only way to have galvanic isolation but the original spec for USB was no where near as robust as ethernet.   USB is certainly a more flexible interface and that's why more development has been going on there.   I think the market has decided that usb is better perhaps because it's more familiar with it than ethernet. Interesting, and by now, it probably is inherently better.

 


"Let's pick a tune and get out of this mess"  - Earl Scruggs

"There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind ... " - Duke Ellington

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