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mexicoke68

USB Cable

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1 hour ago, Beacon said:

I basically agree with Zaphod on this. There really is no discernible difference between cheap USB cables and higher priced ones. And I am speaking from experience, unfortunately. I have a great DAC (Auralic Vega) so I thought I might "upgrade" from the USB printer cable I was using. I might add that I need a 3m cable hence my concern about the quality of the cable. Despite my IT background I threw caution to the wind and listened to the snake oil peddlers from the various cable companies and purchased a Chord USB Silver Plus which I think was about $100. Lovely cable - to look at!!!

 

I have done many, many comparisons between the 2 cables (printer cable and Chord) and to my ears there is absolutely no difference between them. I have also compared them using headphones with the same result. Having spent the $$$ I am still using the Chord and it's very well made and looks quite stunning to boot. I didn't spend hundreds of $$$ so am not too concerned about any perceived lack of improvement in SQ but if I had my time over I would have done the comparison before buying the Chord.

 

So my advice to the OP is: do the comparison first between a cheap USB and an "audiophile grade" USB then make up your own mind. At the end of the day if you really must have that "audiophile grade" USB don't buy anything too expensive. I will admit that they do look much better than a cheap grey printer cable but that to me is the only benefit!!! Good luck with your quest.....

Which is exactly what I was alluding to when I said get a cheap but quality (certified) cable. Separating the power on USB powered DACs is the only valid reason for any different type of USB cable. I've done the same comparisons as you, and my DAC's worth $70k, but I still use a $14 cable.

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1 hour ago, Ittaku said:

Which is exactly what I was alluding to when I said get a cheap but quality (certified) cable. Separating the power on USB powered DACs is the only valid reason for any different type of USB cable. I've done the same comparisons as you, and my DAC's worth $70k, but I still use a $14 cable.

Surely they could throw In a pretty cable with a $70k day though.. :P

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for what it's worth, i was using a cheap amazon 5 mtr usb cable from laptop to dac and thought that a better quality audiophile type cable would give me better results, i bought a 5 mtr audioquest cinnamon usb cable, well call me stupid cos i couldn't tell any difference between the two. 

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12 minutes ago, ray4410 said:

for what it's worth, i was using a cheap amazon 5 mtr usb cable from laptop to dac and thought that a better quality audiophile type cable would give me better results, i bought a 5 mtr audioquest cinnamon usb cable, well call me stupid cos i couldn't tell any difference between the two. 

I wouldn't call anyone stupid for trying those things out. After all, the snake oil merchants provide a great deal of convincing arguments in favour of their products. OTOH, if anyone reading this thread slaps down a whole stack of cash on a fancy USB cable........

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18 minutes ago, ray4410 said:

for what it's worth, i was using a cheap amazon 5 mtr usb cable from laptop to dac and thought that a better quality audiophile type cable would give me better results, i bought a 5 mtr audioquest cinnamon usb cable, well call me stupid cos i couldn't tell any difference between the two. 

At least you weren't prone to the power of suggestion to convince yourself it sounded better. Also the Amazon cables are excellent construction and in terms of actually carrying what is in a USB signal properly meet all standards meaning they're second to none. Surprisingly (or perhaps not) most audiophile USB cables never specify whether they meet standards. Of course people assume they must exceed the specs, but most simply apply the same principles they use for their other audio cables which has almost nothing to do with reliable transmission of USB data.

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It has been postulated that the poor engineering (eg not meeting specs, excessive R/L/C) is what actually makes cables high end/system dependent/whatever you want to call it. It's artistic.

 

ron

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I attended an Audioquest session at Len Wallis Audio a few years ago where they successively demo’d their range of USB cables. They played music through a single system and changed only the USB cable every few songs. I was not expecting to hear much impact, but must admit I noticed an improvement each time. While their most expensive cable sounded best the next one down was close and better value for money. (I didn’t buy anything but found the session informative).

For your own system you need to hear a difference that is enough to justify the expense. However, if you can’t hear an improvement it is not that cables are all the same. It is just that other parts of the system need attention before cables. My experience is that as the system gets upgraded aspects that seemed less important, like cables,
start to become more noticeable. That makes sense if the system is becoming higher resolution.

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14 minutes ago, Ball said:

For your own system you need to hear a difference that is enough to justify the expense. However, if you can’t hear an improvement it is not that cables are all the same. It is just that other parts of the system need attention before cables. My experience is that as the system gets upgraded aspects that seemed less important, like cables,
start to become more noticeable. That makes sense if the system is becoming higher resolution.

By your logic my system isn't resolving enough to tell apart different USB cables; I'm not sure how much expense qualifies as enough. Either that, or there's something wrong with my ears. At the end of the day, if it sounds the same to me, I'll buy the cheaper cable.

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Con,

 

Have you tried the Curious USB cable? It’s the only one where I think I heard a positive difference. The next best one to me was the Oyaide Continental 5S, both $300-400 cables ...both small potatoes improvement, with the Curious being a larger potato.  🤔

 

Steve

 

 

 

.

Edited by Steve M

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7 minutes ago, Steve M said:

Have you tried the Curious USB cable? It’s the only one where I think I heard a positive difference. The next best one to me was the Oyaide Continental 5S, both $300-400 cables ...both small potatoes improvement, with the Curious being a larger potato.  🤔

I'm an open minded software engineer that actually understands the USB protocol (I've even written quite a few USB drivers, though not for audio). I was open minded enough to try about 10 different cables up to $1000. Having confirmed my suspicions, I gave up and will not bother with said experiment again. So now I'm closed minded maybe? Nocebo effect maybe? Whatever, it allows me to spend more on components that make differences I can hear, or more music. Sorry Steve, I appreciate the gesture though.

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No worries Con ...I don’t like bs in this hobby either and as you may have seen in my eclectic collection of system components, I use what I use based on what pleases my ear and what I personally perceive to be realism in audio reproduction. 

 

http://stevem1960.blogspot.com/

 

I was highly sceptical of USB cable differences too (its only data transmission, right?), but the Curious was trialled over a couple of weeks and I felt that there was an increase in overall timing, separation and coherence with it in place. Though I wouldn’t bet my house on it and it is one of those 1-2% incremental moves rather than anything dramatic.

 

Steve

 

 

 

 

.

Edited by Steve M

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1 hour ago, Steve M said:

No worries Con ...I don’t like bs in this hobby either and as you may have seen in my eclectic collection of system components, I use what I use based on what pleases my ear and what I personally perceive to be realism in audio reproduction. 

 

http://stevem1960.blogspot.com/

 

I was highly sceptical of USB cable differences too (its only data transmission, right?), but the Curious was trialled over a couple of weeks and I felt that there was an increase in overall timing, separation and coherence with it in place. Though I wouldn’t bet my house on it and it is one of those 1-2% incremental moves rather than anything dramatic.

 

Steve

 

You can bet your house on one thing:

 

Under a properly conducted double blind test, using certified USB cables, that you will never reliably pick one cable from another. Not ever.

 

Bet your house on it.

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I reject the bet Trevor ...instinct and experience says the Curious USB cable does something positive, but I wouldn’t bet on it.🙄

 

Steve.

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1 hour ago, Zaphod Beeblebrox said:

You can bet your house on one thing:

 

Under a properly conducted double blind test, using certified USB cables, that you will never reliably pick one cable from another. Not ever.

 

Bet your house on it.

This is what I do... Or at least did. Well, single blinded was enough.

Edited by Ittaku

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In all my testing I have reached the conclusion that DBT's make everything sound the same.

So now I know why Ittaku , Zaph and others that like DBT's, say cables all sound the same!!  :D

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12 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

This is what I do... Or at least did. Well, single blinded was enough.

 

Nah, I think you’re better than blind testing as you straddle the line between belief and truth (what the science tells you) ...hence your leap to valves and Supratek which is not misguided. Things either sound REAL to you or not - regardless of topology. :thumb:

 

Steve

 

 

 

 

.

Edited by Steve M

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9 minutes ago, rocky500 said:

In all my testing I have reached the conclusion that DBT's make everything sound the same.

I have been involved in and conducted a number of DBTs. I can attest to the fact that your conclusion is incorrect.

 

9 minutes ago, rocky500 said:

So now I know why Ittaku , Zaph and others that like DBT's, say cables all sound the same!!  :D

I have NEVER said such a thing.

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14 minutes ago, rocky500 said:

So now I know why Ittaku , Zaph and others that like DBT's, say cables all sound the same!!  :D

Nope, analogue cables all sound different. Speaker cables dramatically so, interconnects subtly so. Well made digital cables all sound the same. Crappily made digital ones, or ones not made to spec sound different, usually worse. That's been my unblinded opinion, and confirmed with blinded tests.

Edited by Ittaku

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21 minutes ago, rocky500 said:

In all my testing I have reached the conclusion that DBT's make everything sound the same.

So now I know why Ittaku , Zaph and others that like DBT's, say cables all sound the same!!  :D

So they all sound  different when you stare at them....:D

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28 minutes ago, Addicted to music said:

And this review confirms exactly what I was saying before about DACs where the USB power pin is connected and used. It's the only scenario where there is an advantage to different cables - preferably you should be using a cable which separates out the power pin allowing you to power the DAC with a less noisy power supply instead. In terms of actual noise (not transmitted power supply noise) the Wireworld performed worse than the Amazon cable.

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To add some value to the USB cable question the following is a quote from PSAudio DAC guru Ted Smith Sept 2018 in their forums.

“The 2nd most common source of noise from USB is running the data lines parallel to the power and ground lines for the distance. There are some “audiophile” USB cables that basically split into two USB cables, one with the power and ground the other with the data. Since they are separate cables (except at the ends) they can be shielded from each other. I’m not sure how easy it would be to make one at home, but it’s a cheap experiment if you are using generic USB cables.”

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Guest Muon N'
On 06/02/2019 at 7:33 PM, rocky500 said:

In all my testing I have reached the conclusion that DBT's make everything sound the same.

So now I know why Ittaku , Zaph and others that like DBT's, say cables all sound the same!!  :D

Could it also be that because they expect no difference then they perceive no differences?

 

DBTs would not preclude a null outcome when those involved expect no differences.

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16 minutes ago, Muon N' said:

Could it also be that because they expect no difference then they perceive no differences?

 

DBTs would not preclude a null outcome when those involved expect no differences.

As there is no scientific explanation for many of the claimed improvements from different accessories, the only way to prove the accessories actually make some audible difference would be a DBT. Scientific explanation does not extend to product blurb from a company without the rigours of publication with experimental support, repeatability, and peer review. If they fail due to lack of a scientific mechanism AND a double blind trial, then all that's left is... [fill in the blank however you see fit].

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Guest Muon N'
2 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

As there is no scientific explanation for many of the claimed improvements from different accessories, the only way to prove the accessories actually make some audible difference would be a DBT. Scientific explanation does not extend to product blurb from a company without the rigours of publication with experimental support, repeatability, and peer review. If they fail due to lack of a scientific mechanism AND a double blind trial, then all that's left is... [fill in the blank however you see fit].

That's fine if you believe that a DBT can preclude an null outcome due to expectation bias in the negative, I don't but that is just my take on it.

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