Need USB cable. Does USB cable make a differences

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by jhin, Jul 20, 2013.
  1. Kamakahah

    Based on your comment, you might be misunderstanding the conversation.

    The USB cable in your setup is transmitting a digital signal in binary made up of 0s and 1s. Your headphone cable is transmitting an analog signal to your headphone that was converted from digital bu your DAC (digital to Analog converter).

    Those two singal types and the way they function are very different.

    As long as the USB correctly delivers the 0s and 1s at the require specs, there will be no change. A faulty cable that isn't transmitting within the bandwidth requirements will result in a degraded signal or nothing at all.

    When the signal arrives it is the converted. That is why a DAC can play such a large role in SQ. It has an important job to do.

    Now, the Analog signal transmitted through your headphone cable is another matter.
    The changes you might hear have a basis. It will follow Ohms law. By changing materials like copper, silver and gold, you are simply changing the values of conductance and impedance. So expensive =/= better, just possibly different.

    Digital and Analog signals work different. Your $10 properly functioning and shielded USB cable will not changed the SQ anymore than your $1000 one.

    Your headphone cables of different materials transmitting an Analog signal will be affected according to Ohms law based on conductance and impedance. So they could sound different but better or worse will depend on other equipment and personal preferences, not on the rarity of the precious metal being used or the the number of 0s in the price tag.

    (edited for cellphones shortcomings)
  2. proton007
    Thanks for the effort, Kamakahah.
    However, we ignore a large part of customer psychology. Although the same scientific principles are working in all the cables in the same way, something very different is going on in the customer's head.
    The snob effect of owning an expensive cable may enhance the pleasure, although physically there may not be any difference at all in the signal transmission.
  3. Ari33
    Kamakahah ^ great effort, very well explained.... but read his post again, I think you are preaching at the wrong person buddy. 
  4. Kamakahah
    My post is more of a response to the idea that the USB cables and headphone cables are the same. They function differently. It was more of a clarification so others might not be confused about the difference. I believe there is value in buying a custom headphone cable. That value changes depending on the person. However, the USB cables are a different story. If you want to pay $200 because you like the look, then I'm behind you all the way. If you are paying $200 because you think it'll offer sonic benefits that a $10 cannot, then I will speak up to the current scientific understanding of why that is probably a waste of your hard earned money. 
    If there were peer reviewed papers in scientific journals or any testable evidence at all to the claims that those companies make, they would have a link to them for proof; They don't.
    I can completely understand the appeal of buying a custom headphone cable. In fact, I have bought from many of the well known companies. Many of their products are used in my DIY cables for myself, friends, and other head-fi members. 
    When I build cables for people and offer them options in sleeving, I find that ~95% of those people will choose the same options. Aesthetics is a large reason for custom cables and I'm all for that aspect. But people need to realize that when they pay $0.50/ft for some Canare copper vs $9.50/ft for some 7N OCC pure silver + gold, they are not paying for a better sounding cable. They are paying for a more expensive material that has different values for conductance/impedance. Those values can affect the transfer of electrons and result in a change in sound. How one perceive that sound is 100% based on their subjective tastes and expectation bias of what they think/want to hear. Furthermore, there is no material that "does it all right". You will not increase low frequency response without affecting the high frequency response, etc. There are trade offs in these equations, inverse relationships. 
    What bothers me is the social aspect of customer psychology that is all over these threads. Just because a member might have the means to buy a lot of gear doesn't mean that their opinion on the product is anymore valid than the next person. Many of those members have good intentions but at times offer up suggestions that simply don't make sense. Like the discussion in the DX50 thread about different microsd cards affecting SQ. Are you kidding me? If you have two hard drives, take a moment to put some of the same music on both drives. Listen to them both off the different drives. As long as they are function properly, there is no difference. It's like me saying "you should only play your HD tracks off of Solid-State drives because it will increase clarity and bass impact." Hopefully if I said something like that your first response would be "WTF?." 
        This way of thinking is not new, it's very old. Social perception causes people to make choices or view things in a way that they otherwise wouldn't. One story comes to mind and I think it fits the situation perfectly:
    Here is the point: Don't just take the word of people/businesses/the majority just because they tell you it is so. Think for yourself, ask questions, do research and form your own opinion.
  5. xnor
    If you don't eliminate bias your perception is gonna be heavily influenced by it. This is why "high-end" companies can skim boatloads of money.
    Also, Lappy27 ignoring #155 again speaks volumes...
  6. mtoc
    anyone who doubts usb cable just buy two different $5 ones and give a long listening. $5 might be super expensive. I even tried some $1 fuses. (you should try that too, some fuses are super a little not expensive)
  7. Thujan Krishnakumar
    monoprice sells goldplated usb cables for a decent price, if you're really about getting a quality cable.
  8. ScareDe2
    USB cables make difference. At least in my experience, going from cheap USB cables to AudioQuest Coffee. But it is just one element among many others that you have to upgrade. Even with the best USB cable in the world you will have to spend money upgrading every other elements such as the internal ones in order to make your PC the most quiet possible. The rca and power cables also play a role.

    But it is worth it. Now I have a sound that destroy even the $100k sound system at my nearest audio expert store. It sounds like crap compared to my headphone system. No joke. I have a very clean, neutral and bit perfect signal. It costed me less than $5k.

    I would say for every upgrade I made I got from 1 to 10% increase in SQ. That is a bit low but everything combined together it is a drastic change.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017

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