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need help upgrading USB cable

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by cb3874, Jan 18, 2012.
  1. TooManyCrabs
    I'm not an expert either, but I know almost for sure that USB cable DOES make a difference. From what I understand, this has to do with two clocked events: PC sending data at a certain rate and the DAC converting at a certain rate. These two events have to be synced to avoid buffer over/under-run at the DAC, which causes distortion in the sound. A good USB cable ensures the signal to be transmitted at a more accurate time, thus providing better sound quality.
  2. TooManyCrabs
    Streaming audio signal is very different from copying files to/from a thumbdrive because streaming is highly time sensitive. Whether a 0 or 1 arrives at the DAC slightly late or early can affect what you hear.
  3. Coltrane
    'Better' how?
    Your more accurate time theory would be more interesting if it made any sense. More accurate how? 1 and 0s dont make it in time? This is pretty well understood science. USB cables all function identically. Your claim is like saying you have a better lightbulb that gets the light to you faster.
    Beware of being vague. It almost always means you are relying way too heavily on marketing.
  4. TooManyCrabs
    So you are saying that all USB cables transfer data at precisely the exact same speed, regardless of length and material? I'd like to see some proof on that. Or how would you explain the fact that the USB specification does have a restriction on the maximum round-trip delay of USB cables, which can be easily found on wikipedia? And how would you explain the existence of jitter?
    By the way, your analogy of the lightbulb is not persuasive at all, as the difference between source and medium should be quite clear to anyone who's taken any physics class. To use that analogy, you'd have to argue that putting 10 layers of glass between you and the lightbulb doesn't make the light get to you faster than putting 100 layers of glass there, which unfortunately makes less sense than any of my "theory".
  5. mikeaj
    There is some small difference in propagation characteristics and so on.  Depending on the length, wiring, shielding, usage of ferrite bead, etc. the analog signal (also the +5V and GND) you see at the receiver's side can be slightly different.  However, unless your cable is broken and out of spec, the receiver's going to be able to interpret that analog signal and recover the 1's and 0's just fine.
    Some cheap device may run off the +5V and GND supplied by USB, not filter it properly, and thus be slightly noisier with a worse cable (though mostly it's probably about the USB port on the device you're hooking it up to).  Ferrite beads could help with noise slightly, or maybe putting the USB audio device on a different USB hub than high-traffic USB devices.  You talk about jitter, but let's get some things cleared up there too.  First, let's even suppose that we're talking about levels of jitter that will actually make an appreciable difference—that situation may be pretty rare.  The thing to keep in mind is that it's the jitter on the DAC that matters, not the jitter on the USB connection.  Unless the DAC implementation is really cheap, it won't use the USB data signal to clock out the DAC outputs.  Thus the jitter on the USB connection itself doesn't matter, and what you care about is whether all the data arrives correctly, which is easy.
    Cheap USB cables are fine, unless they fall apart on you.
  6. Coltrane
    TooManyCrabs, you misunderstood my analogy but I feel no need to belabor so the point so I will leave it at that.
    The timing issue that you are talking about assume that the ones and zero are being incorrectly converted into an analog signal because of supposed 'speed and timing' differentials. This is not the case as regardless of any timing issues that may exists the ones and zeros all end up in the same place and are converted when appropriate.
    More importantly, any hypothetical mathematical timing issues would also have to be shown to be audible to listener. And this clearly is not the case.
  7. FoxSpirit
    No. Because you cost me thousand of bucks with that nonsense.
    You are into cute headphones... I am also into speakers. The $1600 Dac1pre in speaker terms becomes selling you a 10k amp with a 5k source. Stupid since the DAC1pre is already a final grade tech piece and yet they want to sell you a 5k source.
    The best thing?? All those cables you tested lack the ONE thing that actually helps with USB cables: ferrite chokes, which do suppress common mode noise and also radiated noise. You do a sighted test believing in silver conductors for USB. And then you use grouped sighted test responses to confirm your bias. Your brain has all had you collectively, you heard what you wanted. This even happens to recording engineers who made adjustments on a muted mixer. They adjusted that slider and their belief that now the sound has changed was stronger than the reality of a disabled mixer.
    Please please read on testing bias and save yourselves and newcomers money and your ability to reason.
  8. proton007
    To the OP: I hope you're satisfied with the purchase, but please save us the trouble of arguing/repeating the same stuff over and over, its already been covered in the cables section. 
  9. brunk
    Anyone that says "Oh, it's just 1's and 0's, you'll be fine" has either never tried them, has low quality gear or can't afford it, or using it as some other excuse. Cables do make a difference, especially when it comes to audio applications. That said, you'll want to get a cable that has a "long grain" copper or silver conductor. Getting a stranded wire just introduces more jitter/artifacts in the chain.
    Now the "1's and 0's crew" will come along and defend their weak stance by copy/pasting quotes from the various sources on the interwebs without actually trying this simple experiment themselves in a controlled testing environment.
  10. stv014
    Cables are more likely to have a chance of making any difference with low quality gear (by low quality, I mean badly engineered, regardless of how much it costs). A well designed DAC is not sensitive to input jitter if it is within reasonable limits. "You do not hear it because you do not have resolving gear" is standard audiophile FUD.
    I am not sure about your definition of "controlled testing environment", but I am all for seeing credible measurements or blind tests that back up claims of cables making a practically significant difference. That is, of course, excluding 1.) cables that do not meet some reasonable minimum specs (e.g. a headphone extension cord with 10 Ω resistance does not count), 2.) flawed "cable sensitive" equipment, and 3.) unusual circumstances like extremely long cables.
  11. proton007
    Hmm... lemme see, where do you get your "long grain" argument from? Care to cite your resources?
    There's no need to be a troll, there's the usb cable thread if you want to have a serious discussion.
    I agree with stv, and going by the simplest understanding of "digital", there's only two states: either you recover a symbol or you don't. Period. There's no noisy recovery.
  12. FoxSpirit
    I will break down the cable argument with two audiophile tennets:
    1.)**** in, **** out - Ivor Tiefenbrunn, Linn
    2.)Information that's lost can not be recovered
    Basically, if your source is ****, the system will sound ****. If there is one component in the chain that will rob the audio signal of detail, it's gone. Weakest link rule.
    So what am I getting at? The disc. The file. The recording. You cannot get what's not on there. And I promise you that what studios use, the meters upon meters of cable just from the mic to the encoder, the meters of printed board copper lines, what ends up on the disc has NOTHING left a pure ultra-long strain silver cable can transmit extra. It's gone on the first meter when the audio signal enters the recording process. Screw it, actually the plain copper used for winding in the mic already destroys whatever part of audiophile "only silver will transmit" sound came in.
    Or where is that supposed "extra info only on silver supposed to come from? Honest question, I want to hear your reasoning and understanding of this matter.
  13. Griploc
    I recommend the SAA endorphin USB cable. It isn't cheap in the least but if you are an audiophile then it isn't about the money, it's about the signal quality and true referencing here is a link to Stefan AudioArt
  14. ultrabike
    Wait woot?! I thought your SSA cables were still on their way on 7/25/2012. Your post date seems to be 7/2/12...Wassup!?
    Anyhow, I suggest CEntrance Mike Mercer recommended (http://www.head-fi.org/t/571953/has-anyone-compared-the-dacport-to-the-hrt-music-streamer-ii/15#post_8572400) Belkin Gold Series USB cable ($2.80 at the time of this post):
    or this if 3.0 is a requirement this may get you to audiophile nirvana:
  15. Griploc
    Another colleage of mine has one and i have listened to his system. It really sounds amazing, considering my system is much more advanced i went and purchased this usb cable blindly without a second thought, now i am looking forward to dbt'ing it and really digging into its psychoacoustics to see if it was really his usb cable or if it was his acoustics environment

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