Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Does the USB Cable Matter (USB DACS)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Does the USB Cable Matter (USB DACS)

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
I have an Ayre QB-9 DAC, Bryston Amp, Threshold Preamp, and B&W Speakers. My question is, does the USB cable I use matter.

I am considering a Transparent Audio Performance USB Cable, but I don't want to spend the extra coin unless someone can confirm there is a difference.
post #2 of 41
i think that'll depend on the listener. different people will have different opinions on this. just the same way people have different opinions on whether the cable makes a difference.
post #3 of 41
Ayre QB-9 employs asynchronous usb communication so that the (audio) clock inside the DAC isn't derived from the incoming usb stream as in the (non-audio) adaptive usb mode.

Hence, you can use any usb cable as long as it works with your printer, camera, or mp3 player.
post #4 of 41
If the cable is compatible with the USB spec (any cable bundled with a brand name periferal must be) then it will sound identical to any other cable which meets the spec.

Cables made of unobtainium gold plated silver by niche audiophool companies might not meet these specs. If they don't it might affect the sound, maybe it won't.

Flipside: If those same cables are built to far tighter specs than the USB specs, then it won't offer any benefit. Exceeding the specs won't somehow magically make the USB host perform better.


Spend the money elsewhere. Like on speaker cables and interconnects, where there is no spec to meet and thus any kind of modest or rediculous claims of performance enhancement can be made.
post #5 of 41
Its a cable opinion thing, but with digital transmission it shouldn't matter as long as the 1s and 0s get to their intended destination.
post #6 of 41
Thread Starter 
This isn't a theoretical question. I am looking for empirical experience and actual observation. Even the designers of the best USB DACs have said that the cables theoretically shouldn't make a difference, but that they do.

One reason might have to do with the cables ability to not carry noise from the computer into the DAC. Remember, the USB cable is not just a digital cable, but it also has a power cable inside it. This isn't optical cable we are talking about.
post #7 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackstoneJD View Post
This isn't a theoretical question. I am looking for empirical experience and actual observation. Even the designers of the best USB DACs have said that the cables theoretically shouldn't make a difference, but that they do.

One reason might have to do with the cables ability to not carry noise from the computer into the DAC. Remember, the USB cable is not just a digital cable, but it also has a power cable inside it. This isn't optical cable we are talking about.
Your Ayre is not USB bus powered. It gets its power from a normal wall plug on the back. So why are you concerned that the cable can transmit power? The Ayre is also asynchronous so is different than pretty much every other typical USB connected DAC.

If you've already found engineers who say that USB cable makes a difference to a USB DAC then why ask the question here? You already have your answer that you apparently want. Unless you are just here for the inevitable controversial discussion about USB cables.
post #8 of 41
Circular discussion...
post #9 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ham Sandwich View Post
why are you concerned that the cable can transmit power?
ground loops? you can definitely get noise from the computer ground through the USB cable, wallwart or not.
post #10 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post
ground loops? you can definitely get noise from the computer ground through the USB cable, wallwart or not.
The ground loop must be solved elsewhere than the USB cable.
post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by limpidglitch View Post
The ground loop must be solved elsewhere than the USB cable.
I'm not a $500 USB cable seller, no worries

I used a $6 Monster USB2 cable bought on ebay in the past...it worked fine
post #12 of 41
I was pleasantly surprised that an upgraded USB cable DID make a difference for me. Surprised, I say, because the notion struck me at first as both "mumbo" and "jumbo." I own the Locus Design "Axis" and "Polestar" models. Settled on the "Axis" after much comparison. Some over on Audiogon have written nice comments about the Ridge Street models but I haven't tried them.
post #13 of 41
In theory, Async USB interfaces should be immune to jitter on the USB cable, but there has been a lot of anecdotal reports on asylum that it does make a difference, at least with the current offerings. With Adaptive USB interfaces it certainly makes a difference, so I have gotten to hear quite a few different cables. Here are my favorites:

1) Axis
2) Kimber Silver (new)
3) Polestar (great even in long lengths)

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
post #14 of 41
I wouldn't pay big bucks for a USB cable. But I replaced a generic cable with Belkin Pro Series USB 2. The difference was not at all subtle listening to Audioengine A2 speakers or Senn 600 phones.

The model is Belkin F3U138-06, with a 5-pin, mini B connector.

Price for 6-feet was $5 on Amazon, eligible for free shipping with $25 purchase.

I also found a Belkin Gold series (same model with Gold in the name) discounted to $10 on Amazon, but that seems to be in 10-foot lengths only.

For these prices, you can hardly go wrong.
post #15 of 41

Yes it does...but not that much.

A good USB cable will have an effect. For me I used a USB cable from HP my job threw out. Worked fine. Just for kicks I used a monster USB cable, 40.00 some dollars. The sound was improved. Cleaner and stronger signal. $40.00 of improvement? Meh. Lesson learned. Get a well made cable with good contacts and shielding and you'll be OK. Remember a good cable will do only one thing, give a cleaner signal to the DAC. That's all.

P.S. Picked the 2 of the same cables from monster at same store 2 months later. $16.00 each.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Does the USB Cable Matter (USB DACS)