USB cable creating noise??? how?? Seriously I am really interested, as I can see no possible way for you to add noise to a digital signal, from a "noob" perspective. If you send data down a cable, the same data is at the other end, no degrade, no interferance. I could be completely wrong as I am not a tech expert but the usb cable cannot be subject to interferance like audio noise. This leads me to believe its either source (crap in = crap out) or its bewteen the apogee and the speakers.
Is this why you said hornets nest??
really if I am able to learn something I am open to others opinions.
I'm not an expert either, but I know almost for sure that USB cable DOES make a difference. From what I understand, this has to do with two clocked events: PC sending data at a certain rate and the DAC converting at a certain rate. These two events have to be synced to avoid buffer over/under-run at the DAC, which causes distortion in the sound. A good USB cable ensures the signal to be transmitted at a more accurate time, thus providing better sound quality.