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Need USB cable. Does USB cable make a differences - Page 2  

post #16 of 170

Apologies for my posting error, I meant unshielded... "Additionally, you will notice my DIY cable design is unshielded (or should I say it does not employ braided shielding) - SHOCK HORROR!! (My copper twisted pair design retains the UTP twist offering decent EMI rejection) Once you hear the design you wont go back to traditional USB cables, simply the best way to go, provided your environment is not infested with EMI. " direct quote.

 

Personally I am using a USB cable that came supplied with my Roland Quad capture, and have also used a basic USB connector from my Clip+ mp3 player and the one supplied with my fiio E7.  I dont have "golden ears" but I can tell no audible difference regardless of cable or DAC.  Using Beyer DT770, KRK KNS 6400 or even through ADAM A7x.  Simply put I believe its all placebo, or I am losing my hearing.

post #17 of 170
I would like add my 2 cents to this thread In my opinion until the usb cable meet the 2.0 specification shouldn't affect the sound in any way, the problem can begin when we out of spec I always wondered why some people can hear "audible" differences between the usb cables in their audio ring? One of these reasons may be mentioned by me out of spec, usb cable is not just a bundle of wires with the A&B connectors just like what some people think. Design of such a cable is not as simple as it might seem it must have the right impedance which is 90 ohm (+/-15%) and very important the impedance have to be exact 90 ohm in the wide range ( to minimize signal reflection caused by impedance mismatch and run this cable in the High Speed Mode) to meet this, cable must have a wide bandwidth, frequency of twisted pair is not random and low propagation delay is required etc. As we see is not so easy, the wires for audio purpose used to build usb cables or some fancy high priced USB cable maybe looks nice, and cool but just not gonna work as should be IMO.
 
Some time ago I was experimenting with diy usb cables over longer runs, have a look if you interested is cheap, easy to do and you're sure that cable have parameters even better than 2.0 spec required for usb High speed data transmission.
 

Edited by WALL-E - 7/26/13 at 10:24am
post #18 of 170

Absolutely not. A USB cable is a USB cable. There are standards for a reason. As long as it is compliant with standards you will be fine.

post #19 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by whitedragon551 View Post

Absolutely not. A USB cable is a USB cable. There are standards for a reason. As long as it is compliant with standards you will be fine.


This is incorrect.  USB cables do not always deliver the same performance.  This conversation has been going on since 2007 and it's been well settled except with everyone who can't hear a difference with USB cables in their system or more often than not, hasn't tried.  The USB standards were not designed with sound quality of a DAC/computer connection in mind.  Connecting to a DAC is not at all like connecting to an external hard drive.  Your sound quality through USB will depend on a number of factors, most importantly the level of resolution your components can produce, also the cable length, the audio driver and the extent to which your BIOS and OS are optimized for audio.  If your setup isn't exactly cutting-edge, don't worry about the USB cable; from what I've used I'd say at least something like a Burson Conductor with Senn HD800.  I find the Furutech to be very good for the money (we sell Furutech, so I'm not unbiased).  How Furutech can make a 10M USB cable, when the standard has always been 5M max is beyond me.

 

I have not found the same to be true with HDMI cables.  In my experiments with a digital TV signal (analog was improved) a PS Audio silver cable did not improve the picture from the one that came in the box.

post #20 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fork View Post


This is incorrect.  USB cables do not always deliver the same performance.  This conversation has been going on since 2007 and it's been well settled except with everyone who can't hear a difference with USB cables in their system or more often than not, hasn't tried.  The USB standards were not designed with sound quality of a DAC/computer connection in mind.  Connecting to a DAC is not at all like connecting to an external hard drive.  Your sound quality through USB will depend on a number of factors, most importantly the level of resolution your components can produce, also the cable length, the audio driver and the extent to which your BIOS and OS are optimized for audio.  If your setup isn't exactly cutting-edge, don't worry about the USB cable; from what I've used I'd say at least something like a Burson Conductor with Senn HD800.  I find the Furutech to be very good for the money (we sell Furutech, so I'm not unbiased).  How Furutech can make a 10M USB cable, when the standard has always been 5M max is beyond me.

 

I have not found the same to be true with HDMI cables.  In my experiments with a digital TV signal (analog was improved) a PS Audio silver cable did not improve the picture from the one that came in the box.

 

You just described 5 other scenarios that need to be perfect to hear any difference in a USB cable. With that in mind prove it was the USB cable or something else that was changed. I call placebo without an statistcal and measurable proof that a USB cable did infact change the wave forms or reduce distortion in any way.

post #21 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fork View Post


This is incorrect.  USB cables do not always deliver the same performance.  This conversation has been going on since 2007 and it's been well settled except with everyone who can't hear a difference with USB cables in their system or more often than not, hasn't tried. 

Yeah it has been settled to be nonsense. Can you name any reference that shows evidence to the contrary, that a cheap but built-to-spec USB cable fails to transmit properly?

 

 

Quote:
The USB standards were not designed with sound quality of a DAC/computer connection in mind.

Eh, one of the main goals of USB was/is: "Full support for real-time data for voice, audio, and video".

 

That's why we have isochronous transfers in the first place:

Constant-rate transfer: check.

Guaranteed bandwidth: check.

Bounded latency: check.

 

But back to cables, they don't care if you send a data packet that contains 1 ms of audio or 1 kB of text. The cables are specified to be able to transfer magnitudes of more data per second than even 192 kHz, 24 bit, 8 channel audio.

With bulk transfers you can do a simple check using a cheap and expensive cable and comparing transfer speeds to your external HDD. At least with my cables it didn't change one bit, which means the cheap (< $5) cable produces just as few errors as the expensive one because errors would mean retransmission which in turn would slow down the transfer.

 

Similarly, you can get crazy (~100 MB/s) transfer speeds over arguably much more complex Ethernet cables without any (nada, zero) transmission errors over several times the max length of an USB cable. That's 30 cents per meter. Why should a USB cable built to spec fail to transmit 1 MB/s over a few meters?

 

 

Quote:
Connecting to a DAC is not at all like connecting to an external hard drive.

Right, an external HDD doesn't need constant-rate transfers, guaranteed bandwidth or bounded latency. It just waits for data or tries to send data.

 

 

Quote:
Your sound quality through USB will depend on a number of factors, most importantly the level of resolution your components can produce, also the cable length, the audio driver and the extent to which your BIOS and OS are optimized for audio.

What level of resolution other components can produce doesn't change the sound quality of USB per se, but I see where you are coming from. Cable length is limited by the USB spec to 5m, yes. Audio drivers are supposed to be bit perfect - if not upgrade to hardware with non-broken drivers. BIOS/OS, yes since the computer needs to provide those data packets (see above) at least 1000 times a second. Any failure to do so will result in a (usually plainly audible and annoying) glitch. A broken (not built to spec) USB cable is not much different in that aspect.

 

 

Quote:
If your setup isn't exactly cutting-edge, don't worry about the USB cable; from what I've used I'd say at least something like a Burson Conductor with Senn HD800.  I find the Furutech to be very good for the money (we sell Furutech, so I'm not unbiased).  How Furutech can make a 10M USB cable, when the standard has always been 5M max is beyond me.

If they really make 10m cables then they are not proper USB cables. Propagation delay is about 5ns per meter. The USB spec limits max delay to 26 ns. So about 5 meters max.

They only way this could work would be an active cable.

 

 

Quote:

I have not found the same to be true with HDMI cables.  In my experiments with a digital TV signal (analog was improved) a PS Audio silver cable did not improve the picture from the one that came in the box.

Because the eye is not as easily fooled as the ear. tongue.gif

post #22 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fork View Post


This is incorrect.  USB cables do not always deliver the same performance.  

Someone selling me cables will tell me about the magical properties of premium usb cables. Yeah right... 

post #23 of 170

I love these kinds of discussions---it's in excellent opportunity to correct misinformation and everybody gets a chance to learn something.

 

Basically, every modern usb DAC with halfway decent controller will be able to communicate with the computer within specification as long as the cable connecting them meets usb specification. If the system's performance is suboptimal with a usb cable that meets spec, then something else in the chain is broken.

 

Cheers!

post #24 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

Even a $2 cable will beat this unshielded botch. There's a reason for the "tight" cable specifications in the USB standard.

 

Also, there is not a shred of evidence that expensive USB cables cause better sound quality.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ab initio View Post

I love these kinds of discussions---it's in excellent opportunity to correct misinformation and everybody gets a chance to learn something.

 

Basically, every modern usb DAC with halfway decent controller will be able to communicate with the computer within specification as long as the cable connecting them meets usb specification. If the system's performance is suboptimal with a usb cable that meets spec, then something else in the chain is broken.

 

I don't doubt that many of you guys have studied engineering and electronics extensively.  I'll refer you to the man who developed asynchronous USB.  Maybe you just have a difference of opinion, but he disagrees with you and his credentials are unparalleled in this field.  To be clear, I'm not referring to whether an expensive cable is worthwhile for JHIN, but what your posts suggest, which is essentially that different USB cables that comply with the USB 2.0 spec cannot possibly sound different in any system (unless something is broken), which is quite a claim.

 

JHIN, you don't mention what's in your system, but I'll make some assumptions and say that a $10 Belkin Gold from Amazon is a decent quality cable and would probably sound as good as anything else in your system.

 

 

http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/pcaudio/messages/2/28679.html

post #25 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fork View Post

 

I don't doubt that many of you guys have studied engineering and electronics extensively.  I'll refer you to the man who developed asynchronous USB. 

He did not develop asynchronous USB. He may have been the first to sell a consumer DAC with asynchronous synchronization, but the transfer is still isochronous (see above). We've had such DACs in the pro market for years.

Asynchronous synchronization, just like adaptive (usually used in DACs that are called "non-async") is part of the USB specification. Version 2.0 was released 13 years ago.

 

 

Quote:
Maybe you just have a difference of opinion, but he disagrees with you and his credentials are unparalleled in this field.  To be clear, I'm not referring to whether an expensive cable is worthwhile for JHIN, but what your posts suggest, which is essentially that different USB cables that comply with the USB 2.0 spec cannot possibly sound different in any system (unless something is broken), which is quite a claim.

What? Most of what he writes in the same thread you linked agrees with what I wrote. (http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/pcaudio/messages/2/28728.html)

 

Audio data, just like any other data, is sent in packets. Those packets contain 1 ms of audio data, so are sent 1000 times per second by the USB host. If the OS cannot keep up providing the data in time you will get plainly audible glitches. Transfer rate is a measly 0.5 MB/s for 96/24 stereo.

Even cheap and old adaptive ("non-async") USB receivers like the PCM27xx series have a buffer to prevent glitches due to transmission jitter.

 

We are not making the claim. Just like the USB spec says, a cable that was built to spec is "good enough" to transfer digital data in time and virtually error-free. So that is the default position.

 

A claim is to say that special cables somehow transfer that digital data, which was error-free in the first place, even error-freer which makes no sense. Or to say that the cables have a lower propagation delay, which makes no difference since max. propagation delay is specified in the USB spec; USB receivers have buffers; cables don't magically change their length.

 

 

All I see is just an anecdote, no evidence, and it's a bad one at that.

 

When noise bleeds from the computer's PSU into the DAC, because it is bus powered, you either have an extremely noisy PSU or a bad DAC. No amount of money you spend on cables is gonna change that. It's like plugging a 110V device into a 230V outlet and trying to fix the problems with a "better" power cable.

In that case you should upgrade your PSU or DAC unless the DAC has an option to use a separate power supply.

 

Quote:
JHIN, you don't mention what's in your system, but I'll make some assumptions and say that a $10 Belkin Gold from Amazon is a decent quality cable and would probably sound as good as anything else in your system.

I'd say the Amazon cables are good ones but not exactly cheap. As for hearing differences, those go away in properly controlled comparisons. It's a shame that even some people developing this stuff don't do such tests that include basic honesty controls.


Edited by xnor - 7/29/13 at 6:30am
post #26 of 170

Please enlighten us: which cables are better or which ones do you recommend?

post #27 of 170

Data (Source) ->->>>>USB cable >>>>-> Data (Destination) -> Sound.

 

No relation between the sound and the USB cable. The data needs to be transferred reliably, and intact at the reqiured rate, whatever transfer methodology one follows. Thats the job of the cable.

 

While a bad cable can certainly affect the transfer, so can an overloaded system, going borderline with the cable length, a system with too much EMI, or just plain hardware faults.

 

The function of the cable, once its proven to be reliable, stays constant in the many variables. Hence, I agree with others here that any USB approved cable will work fine.


Edited by proton007 - 7/29/13 at 9:16am
post #28 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

He did not develop asynchronous USB. He may have been the first to sell a consumer DAC with asynchronous synchronization, but the transfer is still isochronous (see above). We've had such DACs in the pro market for years.  Asynchronous synchronization, just like adaptive (usually used in DACs that are called "non-async") is part of the USB specification. Version 2.0 was released 13 years ago.

 

I didn't say Gordon invented Async, I said he developed it (more precisely for audiophile USB DACs).  You may disagree with that, but companies like Ayre and a number of other large DAC manufacturers who send Gordon a check every time you buy one of their DACs probably have a different perspective.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post
What? Most of what he writes in the same thread you linked agrees with what I wrote.

 

Huh?  The title of his post is "RE: Guys remember what the cable does and why they make a difference".

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post
It's a shame that even some people developing this stuff don't do such tests that include basic honesty controls.

 

You might not agree with his methods, but he did hook the cables up to a machine and took measurements, so it's not like he just did a few random listening tests.  I'm not sure what basis you might have for claiming he, his methods or his machine is dishonest?

 

 

Come on guys.  You keep referring to the Standards as if this defines everything about what a cable is capable of.  The standards were designed with printers and storage devices in mind (which have the advantage of error checking).  Errors happen all the time over USB, but unlike the other uses streaming audio has no mechanism to correct them.  Regarding power noise pollution, do you believe that when the group came up with these standards, more than a decade ago, they were concerned about whether some guy with a $50k stereo system might be able to hear computer noise coming through the power leg of the cable?

post #29 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fork View Post

 

I didn't say Gordon invented Async, I said he developed it (more precisely for audiophile USB DACs).  You may disagree with that, but companies like Ayre and a number of other large DAC manufacturers who send Gordon a check every time you buy one of their DACs probably have a different perspective.

As I said, he implemented the first consumer USB DAC with asynchronous synchronization, which btw makes "better" cables even more unnecessary. All of this (USB hosts, receivers and also the OS' drivers) is based on the USB spec. USB audio receivers that support async can be bought from various companies that have nothing to do with his specific implementation.

 

Other companies have the choice to license his solution or design one on their own. Good for him earning money with companies that want to go the easiest route.

 

 

Quote:
Huh?  The title of his post is "RE: Guys remember what the cable does and why they make a difference".

That's just a single post but there's a whole thread and he replied at least once more (which I linked and discussed above).

 

 

Quote:

You might not agree with his methods, but he did hook the cables up to a machine and took measurements, so it's not like he just did a few random listening tests.  I'm not sure what basis you might have for claiming he, his methods or his machine is dishonest?

Do you have any links to his measurements? It sure would be great evidence to try to begin backing up those claims. Of course you'd still have to do controlled listening tests..

 

 

Quote:
Come on guys.  You keep referring to the Standards as if this defines everything about what a cable is capable of.  The standards were designed with printers and storage devices in mind (which have the advantage of error checking).  Errors happen all the time over USB, but unlike the other uses streaming audio has no mechanism to correct them. 

No again. Isochronous transfers in the USB spec were developed specifically for audio, video .. streaming. Adaptive/asynchronous is in the USB spec. USB (Universal Serial Bus) was not made for printers or storage devices only.

 

Errors do not happen all the time. You clearly underestimate what is specified and probably have never looked at the (btw freely available) spec. There's worst case eye patterns where the receiver will still receive all bits with an error rate so low that it is virtually error-free. That means that you can listen for a couple of days to 24/96 stereo nonstop and maybe 1 bit will flip during that whole time.

There's all kinds of tests specified for the cables ranging from visual inspection to mechanical to electrical stress and performance tests. And I can tell you that some audiophile USB cables fail already at the visual inspection!

 

 

 

Quote:
Regarding power noise pollution, do you believe that when the group came up with these standards, more than a decade ago, they were concerned about whether some guy with a $50k stereo system might be able to hear computer noise coming through the power leg of the cable?

No, why would they? An USB device doesn't have to use the 5V supplied by the host. If a $50k stereo includes a bad bus-powered DAC and noisy PSU I guess we can stop talking.

 

 

I really feel like I'm just repeating stuff from my previous posts.


Edited by xnor - 7/29/13 at 1:03pm
post #30 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

If they really make 10m cables then they are not proper USB cables. Propagation delay is about 5ns per meter. The USB spec limits max delay to 26 ns. So about 5 meters max.

They only way this could work would be an active cable.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fork View Post  How Furutech can make a 10M USB cable, when the standard has always been 5M max is beyond me.

 

 

I've even seen usb cables of length of 15M handles high speed 1200 Mbps!
high/full speed cable is determined by the attenuation and propagation delay, the max total one way signal propagation delay allowed is 30ns(26 ns delay from connector A to B + max 4ns in split between host and receiver) The maximum cable length is 5 meters anything longer starts to cause problems due to propagation delays right?
How can explain that 12M cable I did worked fine with my asynch Burson Conductor streaming 24/192 without even single glitch or dropouts (no usb active repeaters or extenders was used)?
My understanding is that the receiver buffer size plays a big role, am I right?


Edited by WALL-E - 7/29/13 at 3:27pm
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