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Don't get why "Audiophile" USB Cable would improve sound quality

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by throzen0303, May 14, 2011.
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  1. john mcguirk


    Not too sure where you came up with that -- I never said a word about USB audio and I am not foolish enough to "like to think" that it's simple at all. But you are right to keep the tech-talk to that forum.
    Champ HkGt likes this.
  2. throzen0303
    If cable companies claim that their USB cable can be better than others, what is it based on?
    What factor makes a USB cable good?
    Does gold-plated connector help? Most HDMI cable are gold plated, including the one I have right now 13.8G/s speed.
    I am not sure why gold plating USB cable would help tho, most jack for USB are not even gold plated, and the connecter for USB
    are the pins inside, which are already gold plated(or is it just naked copper??) So gold plating the "housing" for the connector should not help.
    A higher gauge wire? I was someone talking about power transfer with a better made higher gauge power cable inside the USB,
    but my DAC comes with a good power supply already, why do i need that?
    Shielding should help?
    What else?
    Champ HkGt likes this.
  3. Shahrose
    A few variables that I've seen altered among aftermarket cables: conductor material and gauge, shielding (different types), length of wire, separation/shielding of power/data lines, connector quality including plating (but the latter's really for protection against oxidation).
  4. pd1516
    It seems to me, in order for a USB cable to be able to corrupt audio, wouldn't it corrupt data in the same manner? Like the waveform would be corrupted, wouldn't the text file that I transferred through this "inferior" USB cable have mistakes and incorrect characters?
    I would imagine that just like my data is never corrupted when transferring through any USB cable, I wouldn't believe audio could be altered either.
    Champ HkGt likes this.
  5. Shahrose


    Not the same, there are different tolerances for both. I can't answer your question in detail, but I know someone else on here can. (I've inquired the same before).
  6. travisg
    you need to buy cables that are relative to your other equipment. dont buy a 600.00 cable to put on a 100.00 dac. but if you spend 10,000.00 i think you might want to try and get all the advantages of a better cable even if only slightly
  7. throzen0303
    I just ordered a NFB-12 for my HD600 (tight budget >.>" at $200, seems to be the best DAC+AMP out there),
    What can I upgrade to make the sound for my HD600 better,
    I got a custom Mogami 24awg*4 + Furutech 1/4 Plug for it, which improved the sound alot,
    my current setup is Creative sound blaster 5.1 USB(using as a DAC), to a Bravo Audio V1 6922 Tube amp(cheap stuff)
  8. sridhar3

    Good choice.  Do they have units in stock?  Recently they were having issues with delivery due to high demand.
  9. DaBomb77766
    Seriously, digital is digital.  It either gets there or it doesn't - meaning that if something doesn't "get there" you'll most likely be hearing things like pauses in the sound and random static that wasn't there before.  But it's impossible for it to actually change the "signature" of the sound.  Digital just doesn't work that way.  I mean seriously, if low quality transfer cables are enough for big data centers to use for backup, it sure as hell is good enough to use for audio.  Computers and audio files store information and move it around at speeds that are simply unimaginable to humans.  If one, two, even a few hundred bits get corrupted in transit it will be physically impossible for any human to tell the difference.  If the bitrate of the stream is, say, 1.4Mbps, that's 1.4 million bits per second.  Approximately 1,400,000 bits every second.  Really, I doubt that any amount of "corruption" to this would be noticeable, especially given that we can transfer data at much higher rates with even just USB 2.0.
    It just seems that people here often don't understand the simple concept of digital.  People think in terms of "analog," it's hard to get accustomed to the concept of "digital."  They're two completely different things that should not be thought as being the same.
    Champ HkGt likes this.
  10. Prog Rock Man
    The digital signal is in analogue waveform, maybe that is why preople mix the two. Otherwise I agree, the signal either gets there or it does not.
    No one has shown how an analogue signal can make bass deeper or improve clarity, let alone how a simple on/off, 1 or 0 digital signal can do so.  Many cable makers have come up with their own reasoning, but since different cable construction methods can apparently all result in improvements to sound quality, straight away there is dubiety to those claims. There is too much puffery in cable maker claims and not enough real evidence.
    Champ HkGt likes this.
  11. justanut
    I raised the same question in the CLAS forum actually.
    How many of you use rare metal USB cables for your connections to your external backup drives, to your iPhone etc.? We're talking about just 16bit (ok some 24bit) data being transferred over at most a couple of feet? If normal cables can't do the job, I'd be concerned when I'm copying my music files into my DAP.
    I wonder if the recording studios use audiophile grade cables hmmm?
    I don't know about blind tests. But I know that when I show my friend a cable that's supposedly 10x more expensive than another "cheaper" cable, they ALWAYS end up finding that it sounds better despite them being the SAME. 
    Anyway, if you've got the money and it makes you feel that your music's better, why not? I think my swarovski covered, gold plated iPhone sounds better than the normal one :)
  12. 00940
    Oh guys, it's been discussed to death already...
    You too should really update your knowledge of what digital is. There are various digital protocols, which can be very different in implementation and weaknesses. The USB protocol to transfer data is not the same as the USB protocols used to transfer audio. You cannot compare a time insensitive flow with error detection and correction (usb data transfer) with a time sensitive flow with no error correction (usb audio). In common USB audio modes, a subtle degradation of the signal, not resulting in drop out but low level distortions at the final analog output, is perfectly possible in theory (and is routinely measured). Such degradation can mostly be traced to interface jitter. Furthermore, a USB receiver chip is pretty much a mixed-signal IC, in which interaction in between analog components (such as PLLs) and power supply noise is susceptible to affect the digital output precision.
    This said, one can make the case that in most decent implementations the jitter is too low to be heard and that any decent USB cable will neither contribute significantly to jitter nor allow power supply lines and data lines to interfere in a significant fashion. One could also say that as long as cable makers do not provide figures showing concrete improvements by using their cables, either in terms of jitter or in terms of interferences in between data and power lines, they are not to be taken seriously. I would agree with such positions.
    However, the "digital is either perfect or corrupted" motto is just plain crap.
    jlaseter, MrHeuristic and Champ HkGt like this.
  13. Prog Rock Man
    In terms of what the actual cable does, digital is an anlogue waveform of ons and offs or 1s and 0s, with a timing signal. That is it. The cable either transmits the signal of it does not. 00940, you are adding in the rest of the digital chain to a debate about the role of the cable. That is a red herring as the cable does not know or influence or anything the protocol, errors or whatever of the transmission of the digital signal, so long as it is made to standard and is not faulty. If it does affect protocols etc it is broken or badly made. So the digital is perfect or corrupted motto is not crap, when discussing the effect (or lack of) of cables.
    Some cable makers have tried to show that their cable is better at transmitting that signal than others and have then insinuated that such will improve sound quality. But there is no real evidence for that.
  14. 00940
    [​IMG]  Did you even read the part when I said that the effect of a decently built cable is likely insignificant ?
    Still, as the recovery of the timing signal in some USB audio protocols is dependant on the shape of the analog waveform and considering how the geometry and physical properties of a cable can have an effect on such analog shape (and thus on interface jitter), you need to understand the whole chain to understand the possible effects of the cable. For data transfer, the analog signal can get very distorted before we get in trouble. For some USB audio protocols (not for asynchronous though), the standard required for proper operation is higher. In order to dismiss the effect of the cable, you actually need to know the protocol and the whole chain requirements.
    And btw, that's a dual purpose cable (power and data) and not a pure digital one.
  15. Prog Rock Man
    If a cable (are there any on sale?) distorts the waveform such that it cannot recover the timing signal, then surely it would stop working rather than affect sound quality?
    When I say stop working I mean even if it just for a part of a second and it introduces a crackle or other sound that is not part of the music. Not just if the signal comes to a complete halt.
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