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picked up a Audioquest Carbon USB cable

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I just got an Audioquest Carbon USB cable ( http://www.audioquest.com/usb-digital-audio/carbon ) yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised by the results. I originally got it to decrease as much noise as possible in my signal chain but I didn't think it would have a big impact on sound quality. Here's my setup:

 

Ebtech Hum Exterminators ->

Monster Power Station Pro 1000->

2010 Apple iMac ->

*Audioquest Carbon USB Cable* ->

Apogee Duet 2 ->

Mogami Gold TRS Balanced Patch Cables->

KRK Rokit 5 2nd Gen & Shure SRH 440

 

 

I listened to the Shins " Port of Morrow" and Wilco 'The Whole Love" and everything sound clearer and a tad louder than the stock USB cable. Has this happen to anyone else regarding USB cables?

post #2 of 51
Thread Starter 

Same results the following night listening to the M. Ward album.

post #3 of 51

I was wondering if you had any more opinions about the AudioQuest Carbons since April?

I am slowly venturing in to the world of hi fi, and and have ran across the great USB Audio debate, a vicious one at that.

There does not seem to be a defined explanation as to why a USB transfer of digital audio would make any difference if its all 1s and 0s. What I do know is that those who have tried it confirm there is a difference with no certain scientific explanations. The skeptics though prefer to stick to the science that they understand, often with no experimentations.

So to me it's all a bit confusing, and said "why not just try it for myself!"

I have ordered 2 popular cables amongst Head-Fi members and reviews I found on the net. The Kimber Kable Mini BUS CU, and this AudioQuest Carbon.

My set up is an

HP NC6000 notebook connected to a

Creative X-Fi HD DAC which output to a

Onkyo TX-8050 receiver, with 

BIC America FH-68B Speakers &

Sennheiser HD 558 Headphones &

BOSE AE2 Headphones

 

Right now I'm using the stock USB cable which was included with the Creative DAC, the sound is decent, I never heard any distortion or dropout, so I look forward to seeing what the "Audiophile-Grade" cables will do.


Edited by TJ Max - 9/6/12 at 12:25pm
post #4 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ Max View Post

I was wondering if you had any more opinions about the AudioQuest Carbons since April?

I am slowly venturing in to the world of hi fi, and and have ran across the great USB Audio debate, a vicious one at that.

There does not seem to be a defined explanation as to why a USB transfer of digital audio would make any difference if its all 1s and 0s. What I do know is that those who have tried it confirm there is a difference with no certain scientific explanations. The skeptics though prefer to stick to the science that they understand, often with no experimentations.

So to me it's all a bit confusing, and said "why not just try it for myself!"

I have ordered 2 popular cables amongst Head-Fi members and reviews I found on the net. The Kimber Kable Mini BUS CU, and this AudioQuest Carbon.

My set up is an

HP NC6000 notebook connected to a

Creative X-Fi HD DAC which output to a

Onkyo TX-8050 receiver, with 

BIC America FH-68B Speakers &

Sennheiser HD 558 Headphones &

BOSE AE2 Headphones

 

Right now I'm using the stock USB cable which was included with the Creative DAC, the sound is decent, I never heard any distortion or dropout, so I look forward to seeing what the "Audiophile-Grade" cables will do.

Regardless of opinions expressed, most here are equally passionate for getting closer to the music...

One camp is telling you to spend money and the other is saying keep your wallet closed. It doesn't get any simpler than that imo

 

 

Good Listening what ever path you choose!

post #5 of 51

Ok, my Carbon arrived today. Nice looking cable! beyersmile.png

After going back and forth between my stock cable and the Carbon, I have to say that my initial impression isn't that high. I was listening to a Chet Baker album called Chet btw.

There is a difference but I'm not sure if $120 justifies it. One problem is my Notebook only has 2 USB ports which I'm sure share the same bus. My ext. HDD is in one port and the Carbon is in the other. I had read this could influence results, and even AudioQuest recommended to have a dedicated USB bus, Ext. HDD should be on a separate bus or connected by Firewire.  So with my external drive connected I heard no differences between the stock cable and the Carbon. I say no difference only because I could not perceive anything with certainty (I think I hear something different but I might not). And I did go over it several times.

 

So I decided to copy a track to my Notebook's internal drive, and disconnected the external. Ok here is where the difference became more certain. The stock cable sounded the same, but the Carbons this time made things sound 'a little bigger'. Not louder, but bigger, The trumpet has a little more warmth, a baritone saxophone definitely sounds more detailed, the details are also heard with the stock cable but I don't feel like I have to strain to hear them with the Carbons., one of the first things I noticed. I don't want to say it's louder, but it sounds like the guy playing it, Pepper Adams, was standing 5 steps behind Chet Baker with the stock cables then moved 2 or 3 steps closer with the Carbons....it's hard for me to explain. I don't know the lingo. And lastly the bass sounded a bit more surrounding. When I say bass I mean the bass instrument played by Paul Chambers. Both cables are a bit "Boomy" with the bass, but with the Carbons the bass was more than audible, I kind of feel it. And maybe everything sounded like there was more space around them. Anyway these differences I did find BUT they are not dramatic, and I heard no difference when my Ext HDD was plugged in on the same bus. If you secretly swapped out cables without my knowledge I don't know if I could actually tell. This is definitely for the fanatic!


Edited by TJ Max - 9/7/12 at 10:48pm
post #6 of 51

Is it really worth the $100+ price tag, cause I think my stock Scarlett 2i2 cables work fine ^__^

post #7 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMOR3S View Post

Is it really worth the $100+ price tag, cause I think my stock Scarlett 2i2 cables work fine ^__^

 

My honest answer is no. But I "just" got them. Do they need to be burned in? Is my equipment right?, multiple USB devices seem to make a difference, and I only listened to one album....I'd like to sample more. In time my answer might change.
Edited by TJ Max - 9/7/12 at 11:29pm
post #8 of 51

I use all AQ interconnects in my setup; Cinnamon for my USB.  Was a substantial upgrade from a standard store brand USB A/B.

post #9 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by I3eyond View Post

I use all AQ interconnects in my setup; Cinnamon for my USB.  Was a substantial upgrade from a standard store brand USB A/B

 

Some small questions,

What differences do you think you noticed?

Are there any other devices that share the same USB bus with your AQ and DAC?

Do you upsample your music?

On a scale of 1-10 how loud do you play your music?

Do listen with headphones or speakers?

post #10 of 51
Thread Starter 

I have the AQ Carbon USB cable and think it's an improvement over the stock USB cable that came with the Apogee Duet 2. I feel it helped everything sound wider and clearer. 

post #11 of 51

Did you notice this right away or did you wait for a burn in?

post #12 of 51

Burning in a cable doesn't make a whole lot of sense. There aren't any moving parts that need to break in.

 

Saying that there is varying qualities of digital data transfer also doesn't make sense, but it appears you've heard that before smile.gif

post #13 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

Burning in a cable doesn't make a whole lot of sense. There aren't any moving parts that need to break in.

Saying that there is varying qualities of digital data transfer also doesn't make sense, but it appears you've heard that before smile.gif




Cable burn in is not new concept , Ive heard of it for years. Even the skeptics who don't believe in improved USB Audio believe in Cable burn in.

Here is a response from "AudioQuest" when I asked them if it were myth or fact that thier cables require burn in.
Quote:
It's a fact. Due the interaction between the insulation (dielectric) and the conductors, all cables will go through the break in process with use and all cables will sound better once they're broken in. Break in takes approx. 150 hours.
post #14 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ Max View Post


Cable burn in is not new concept , Ive heard of it for years. Even the skeptics who don't believe in improved USB Audio believe in Cable burn in.
Here is a response from "AudioQuest" when I asked them if it were myth or fact that thier cables require burn in.

It's certainly not a well agreed upon subject. Especially for digital cables...

post #15 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by CB3874 View Post

 

 

I listened to the Shins " Port of Morrow" and Wilco 'The Whole Love" and everything sound clearer and a tad louder than the stock USB cable. Has this happen to anyone else regarding USB cables?

Nice! I'm gonna try the carbon soon with hd700 and nuforce dac 100 and also port of morrow! popcorn.gif

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