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Decent quality USB - mini USB cable

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi guys. A cousin of mine who is heavily steeped in home theatre audio directed me to a site (http://www.drhifi.net.au/Hi-Fi/Digital%20Is%20Digital/1.htm) which claims that 'digital is digital' and as compared to analog, there is no 'in between' or 'gray patch' with digital signal - either it reads and passes through your cable, or it doesn't. I've researched the science of it, and his argument makes sense. Though i'm STILL paranoid. 

 

I've recently purchased a few components for a desktop headphone system (asgard 2, jds labs odac) I've already got my RCA to go between the amp and dac, but I was looking for a mini usb - usb cable, and then this ^^^ entire thought process hit me. 

 

In summary, does it matter if I use a $2 cable that came with battery charger for my camera, or a $70 furutech cable online ?

post #2 of 7

I'm assuming you mean Mini-B USB cables?

 

Go to the website Monoprice, low costing "Premium" cables (gold plated or Ferrite core or just extra thick).

Maybe also get a "Premium" RCA cable to go between the DAC & amp.

I like to buy several cables at a time from them, makes the shipping cost per item very low.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 7/20/13 at 11:32pm
post #3 of 7

Primarily, USB cables need to be made to spec, with the correct characteristic impedance. The whole "digital is digital" argument ignores what is going on at the electrical level where the devices are attempting to send a perfect square wave (if you look at it in analogue terms). Issues here can end up as distortion down-stream with digital to analogue converters. However, the latest crop of USB audio chipsets seem, in my experience to be mostly immune to being significantly affected by these problems.

post #4 of 7

IMO the benefits of aftermarket USB cables are highly system dependent.  I have heard systems where aftermarket USB cables made very noticeable improvements in SQ.  

 

I tried a higher end USB cable with the ODAC and compared to the supplied cable - differences were pretty subtle.  I personally wouldn't drop half the cost of the ODAC into a USB cable for the slight improvements I experienced.

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

Primarily, USB cables need to be made to spec, with the correct characteristic impedance.


This is correct.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

The whole "digital is digital" argument ignores what is going on at the electrical level where the devices are attempting to send a perfect square wave (if you look at it in analogue terms). Issues here can end up as distortion down-stream with digital to analogue converters.

 

This part, however, is not correct. Digital signals are not analog signals! Since I have joined, this topic has been discussed several times. However, I recently addressed exactly this fallacy in the post here. The details of the shape of the "digital waveform" is irrelevant as long as the voltage is sufficiently high to represent the 1s and sufficiently low to represent the 0s at the correct times.

 

The USB standards (or I2C, or SPI, or PCIx, or any other digital transmission standard) specify the requirements for the hardware that is necessary to achieve the performance such that the distortions are sufficiently small to not affect the data. If all of your equipment meets the USB standard, then the information gets transmitted in exactly the same way, regardless of how much you paid for the cable. Any loss of integrity in the data sent indicates that at least one of the components is operating outside of the specification and therefore should be considered broken.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

However, the latest crop of USB audio chipsets seem, in my experience to be mostly immune to being significantly affected by these problems.

 

This is correct again, and a big part of it is because modern usb dacs operate in asynchronous mode.

 

Cheers!

post #6 of 7

ab initio: I'll leave you to argue your second point with people who design DACs for a living. wink_face.gif

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

ab initio: I'll leave you to argue your second point with people who design DACs for a living. wink_face.gif

I would love to discuss it with them! Ball is in their court smily_headphones1.gif

Cheers!
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