REVIEW: Audioquest Diamond 1.5 meter USB Type A to Type B cable
I own a System76 Bonobo Professional laptop. Here are the hardware and software specifications:
System76 Bonobo Professional:
Ubuntu 11.10 64 bit
Ubuntu One with free 5 GB of storage
17.3" Full HD LED Super Glossy Surface (1920 X 1080)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 580M with 2.0 GB GDDR5 Video Memory
2nd Generation Intel Core i7-2960XM Processor Extreme Edition (8 MB L3 Cache, 2.70 GHz)
32 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333 MHz (4 X 8 GB)
Dual 240 GB Intel 520 Cherryville SATA-III 6 GB/s Solid State Drives
8X DVD+/- R/RW 4X +DL Super-Multi Drive
Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 802.11 A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module
Bonobo Pro extra Lithium Polymer battery
Standard Carrying Bag
3 year LTD. Warranty and 3 year Technical Support
I also own a Resolution Audio Opus 21 CD player, Power Centre, Extra Sources, and S30 power amplifier. I own the Ray Samuels Audio Emmeline HR-2 with OPA627BP operational amplifiers. I own a Balanced Power Technology BP. Jr II Ultra with custom BPT 9 gauge Litz power cord. I own the Cardas Golden Reference Power cord, Interconnects 0.5 meter RCA, DNM Reson RCA interconnects. I own a Sennheiser HD-650 headphone with stock cables and Moon Audio Blue Dragon cable.
I listen to a wide variety of music including pop, rock, jazz, classical, opera, blues, folk, Celtic, and mostly female singers or bands.
I took home an Audioquest Diamond Type A to Type B USB cable from my local authorized Audioquest dealer today. He let me borrow it for the rest of this week. I ordered an Audioquest Cinnamon 1.5 meter Type A to Type B USB cable from Amazon and I expect it will be delivered to my home later this week. I plan to do a comparison review and I will update this thread when I get a chance to compare both of them. Previously, I used a generic Type A to Type B USB cable to connect my System76 Bonobo Professional to my Resolution Audio Opus 21 music system. The generic USB cable sounded decent, but I realized that I have very expensive boutique cables connected to my home audio system and I thought it was the right time to upgrade to a boutique USB cable as I viewed this to be the weak link.
The generic USB cable sounds pretty flat. It has limited dynamic range and it distorts the tonal balance by softening the bass while it rolls off the treble regions. The mid range sounds dull and lifeless and the sound stage is narrowly constricted. In short, the generic USB cable was choking the full performance of my home audio system.
The Audioquest Diamond USB cable information can be found here: http://www.audioquest.com/usb-digital-audio/diamond.
It is an unbelievable USB cable. It uses a single AA battery to power the Audioquest Diamond USB cable so it does not need to be burned in for a significant period of time to sound its best. How does it sound? Amazing! Bass tightened up firmly and it sounds authoritative, punchy, and textures are quite vivid. The bass notes extend much deeper and they have more power and speed. Kick drums, high hats, snares, etc. sound much more vivid and they have an authoritative kick that gives the music a rock solid foundation. The mid range simply shines. It is like sitting in the first row of a concert. Gone is the distant veil and the haze from the generic USB cable. The Audioquest Diamond USB cable sharpens the focus of the mid range by adding layers of textures, details, and resolution without sounding edgy or hot. Clarity is the best word used to describe it. Everything sounds sharply focused and clear. Female singers sound fuller, richer, and more alluring as if she was singing right in front of me. Gone are the layers of haze and opacity from the generic USB cable. Imaging is precise and the sound stage sounds wider and deeper so that I can picture each musician and instrument in its proper place. Live recordings sound more real and authentic while pre-recorded songs sound much more vivid and clear. Treble is airy and extremely focused and clear. I can close my eyes and picture the dimensions of the sound stage perfectly and there is more air surrounding every singer and instrument. As I mentioned previously, the sound stage is full and airy with precision imaging so it makes the recording sound much more natural and effortless. Dynamics are definitely improved as the transitions from soft to loud sounds is more natural and the full dynamic range of the music is kept intact. Music sounds much more alive, natural, and real using the Audioquest Diamond USB cable for certain. I can listen to my music at lower volumes and come away more satisfied with every .FLAC file played.
This Audioquest Diamond USB cable adds vividness, clarity, focus, and textures that were immediately lost when I replayed the same .FLAC files using the generic USB cable. No doubt about it. I am now convinced that the most important cable between a computer and a DAC is the digital cable that connects them. USB is a universal and convenient industry specification. All computers have USB 2.0 or Super Speed USB 3.0 ports. Most modern DACs come with a USB port for home or portable applications. At $649.00 USD for a 1.5 meter USB cable, I will not be able to afford the Audioquest Diamond USB cable anytime soon. However, I now know what is currently possible with a state of the art USB cable if you own a high end audio system at home.
For those that will inevitably reply by stating that USB is a digital cable and all bits are the same, I urge you to find your local authorized Audioquest dealer and ask him or her to audition the Audioquest Diamond USB cable in your own home audio system for a week. Let your own ears be the judge. As for me, I am positively convinced that upgrading to the Audioquest Cinnamon 1.5 meter USB cable will be well worth the price that I paid which is less than $40 USD compared to using my generic USB cable. In fact, I will relegate that generic USB cable to connect computer accessories such as a multi-function ink jet printer, a digital camera, or an external hard disk drive. The Audioquest Cinnamon 1.5 meter USB cable will be used to connect my System76 Bonobo Professional to my Resolution Audio Opus 21 music system exclusively when I receive delivery of it. In the meantime, I just can not wait to re-discover my music library consisting of .FLAC loss less audio files all over again using the Audioquest Diamond 1.5 meter USB cable. Bravo to Audioquest for producing the state of the art USB cable for audiophiles!