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Need USB cable. Does USB cable make a differences

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by jhin, Jul 20, 2013.
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  1. proton007

    This is something I never understood.
    Essentially it means a PhD in placebo.
  2. xnor
    That's why a rational mind will ask for the scientific evidence and not the credentials of the person making the claims.
    To all those that claim to know that there is an audible difference between built-to-spec USB cables: if you know it you can show it. Get together with some skeptics and do a proper listening test. Good luck, you will need it.
  3. Fork

    I haven't experimented with it.  I believe the answer is no, because some DAC manufacturers have told me they didn't see a performance advantage with USB 3.0.  I wouldn't discourage you from trying it if you have the time.  I'm pretty sure all cables are backward compatible.
  4. xnor
    The USB 3 spec has tighter tolerance for materials, jitter, etc. so by applying the same logic that expensive USB cable manufacturers apply, a USB 3.0 cable will sound better.
    That's nonsense of course, but the good thing is that you can get USB 3.0 certified cables from €2.
    USB 3.0 would definitely yield advantages for DACs. For example bus powered devices could draw more current. The signaling method is finally full-duplex and asynchronous. The new 8b/10b data encoding further reduces EMI. And so on and on...
    But that's wrong. Already answered in #120 btw.
  5. mcandmar
  6. invrlose
    As an electrician let me tell you guys something, all a USB cable is is insulated copper conductors. There is hardly a difference between all cables across the broad except for shielding, gold plated contacts etc. which do mostly nothing. Gold contacts are just for anti-corrosion. You cut open a $1000 USB cable and a $2.00 USB cable and strip the wires and tell me if you really see a difference.
  7. xnor
    As Kurt Denke (Blue Jeans Cable) said: "in a lot of cases a $17 and a $150 cable may have been made in the same factory and may have cost the same to make" and "price is a very, very poor metric for cable quality".
    Indeed the first thing I'd look for in an USB cable is the standard connector and logo as required in the specification. Shrink wrap is one sign that the cable might be expensive crap.
  8. Lappy27
    Copy/paste of a post I made today on another forum.
    Everytime I surfed on the web looking for reviews or comments about USB cable and on different forums, there are always hardcore scientific sceptic with the prove it attitude to either contest audiophiles listening impressions or even worst, making fun of them, like they are retarded ados that they don't know what to do with their money.

    I would risk myself in saying that 95% of this crowd never care to compared high quality USB to generic or even really good ones to other good ones. They simply say: How come 0 and 1 can sound different, it's theorically impossible, etc.

    In theory maybe...but in practice, like it or not, there are significant to HUGE differences between different USB cables I tried in my system. Don't ask me how it's possible, I don't know but the differences are there without any shadow of a doubt. I am a 46 years old and I am in the audio hobby for about thirty years and I trust myself (and my brain) when I heard differences in performances among audio and video components AND cables. 

    Recently, I have decided to give attention to the power feeding my components starting from the replacement of the AC receptacle to a power regenerator to new powercords. Each steps changed the sound significantly for the better. For one, I was totally blown away by the difference my new Furutech Alpha 3 power cord made to the sound. For years, I was reading comments from other audiophile about significant improvments power cord can bring to a system but I wasn't prepared for this. So I'm definitly a cable do make a difference (including USB) believer. You have the right to disagree but you should have at least the honesty to try it for yourself in a good environment before making fun of us or being sarcastic. I am not specifically talking about George here as he was to my perception, only challenging our impressions and not making fun of them.

    In the last four months or so, I experimented with five USB cables.

    Generic from W4S, Wireworld Starlight 7, Transparent Performance, Silnote Audio Silver Statement Reference and Oyaide Continental 5S. I still have the Silnote and Oyaide. All these cables have different to very different sound signatures in comparaison to each other. The two cables I kept are obviously head and shoulders over the others in terms of performance. They are obviously way more expensive too. Coincidence? I will have the chance to try an Audioquest Diamond in the upcoming weeks too. And I have a project with a cable maker to built a custom cable with only 7N 22AWG solid silver conductors without any power conductor in the cable as I run my USB cable in the Audiophilleo with PurePower. I think this will work, have to confirm with Audiophilleo.
  9. invrlose
    It really is a shame that you spent so much time and money on the placebo effect.

    USB cables are just copper conductors assembled in a factory in a poor country for 30 cents. Strip your cables and see that they are exactly the same. If a USB cable is USB 2.0 certified then it can not have a difference, period.
  10. mcandmar
    There are two potential issues, the device (Audiophilleo or whatever) may or may not need the 5v power supply to function.  I've seem some devices that have galvanic isolation built in that will need power for the input side of the isolator to function.
    2nd issue is the host, or computer end. Usually they require some load over the power supply pins to sense a device is connected and start initialization.  If that is the case a simple resistor across the + and - will sort that problem.  In the case of the isolator i built a resistor/led got around that issue.
    Personally i don't understand how a solid silver conductor can make a difference, i would be more interested in the quality of the shielding used in the construction of the cable, that much can be seen/quantified on a scope.
  11. xnor
    I think you got it quite backwards. It's a few hardcore audiophiles that believe in USB cable sound.
    The rest of the world doesn't. Those not into audio/science - the majority - will indeed find even the idea completely ridiculous. I don't because I know how powerful bias and cognitive dissonance is.
    But I don't want to appeal to majority here. Those who make the claims have the burden of proof. It's that simple.
    Then why is it that the believers are so scared of doing proper blind listening tests? Right, because that would eliminate bias leaving only the indistinguishable sound quality.
    So you think you're immune to bias? Thank you, you've made my case.
  12. proton007
    So according to you, 0s and 1s are different in theory and practice. Perhaps if you would spend a little bit of your time understanding the 'theory' from all the time you spent trying out cables, you'd have a different take on the issue.
    Its not like someone's charging you for revealing the magic behind USB, unlike most exotic equipment manufacturers. The USB standard is freely accessible for anyone to read and measure.
    Do not assume. Do not make judgements until you've understood how digital transmission works. You've dismissed the skeptic's argument without understanding it, just like you accuse them of dismissing your argument.
    While the skeptic relies on objective evidence, you rely on experience. Guess what. Experience is subjective, in your head. The physical world is objective. The same laws work everywhere outside your own head.
    Its a massively hypocritical world we live in. You rely on the objectivity of science everyday (count the number of devices you use everyday), and yet you accuse the scientific skeptics of dismissing subjective experience.
    Most of the cable fanatics seem to hear what they want to hear. Both in the musical and logical sense.  Essentially to me its a lack of effort to understand what they're dealing with, and compensating this lack of understanding with all sorts of voodoo.
  13. Lappy27
    If you ever happen to live near Montreal, I will be more than happy to demo you my two current USB cables. And after that, I want you to look at me in the eyes and say that they both sound exactly the same. Or, you will be honest and say that in fact they have very different sound signature at your biggest surprise.
    Oh...and of course, we will throw in the mix an as good generic cable in comparaison, he, he,he...
  14. Lappy27
    You know what, I already knew that discussion is a never ending issue. This are cables make difference thread is like religion. People are going to stick to their position to death.
    I just want to tell stubborn people that obviously never care to try a real comparaison to be honest in doing their claims with real world experimentation. I did it with an open mind and the results considering all this scepticism are quite surprising and revealing.
    I read alot of technical threads on the subject and like I wrote before, I don't know why they are significant to huge differences between USB cable but THEY ARE THERE and sometime it's not subtle at all. Even the most stubborn poster here will have his jaw dropped if he listen to a Wireworld Starlight 7 and a Transparent Performance. These cables are the most opposite in sonic signature then all the cables I tried. REALLY, REALLY, DIFFERENT SONIC SIGNATURE. LIKE IT OR NOT. AND I REPEAT I DON'T KNOW WHY, SORRY.
    But my opinion won't change your opinion but at least, I can say that I made a real and extensive real world experimentation. You?
    I guess ignorance is really bliss.
  15. proton007
    So since you relied on experiences in your own head, others should use the same method to reach to conclusions. Great.
    Ever heard of the logical fallacy 'begging the question' ?  Trying a cable is a subjective experience itself. You can't prove a statement's objectivity be relying on subjective experience.

    Next time, try to do a blind test. Maybe get a friend to do so, since you already bought the cables. Then see if you can still hear the differences.
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