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What's the best USB audio cable for the money?

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  1. Mediahound
    What's the best USB audio cable for the money?
    I've been using a generic 3 Meter one for a while and don't really believe USB cables make much if any difference in audio quality, however, I'm getting some drop outs and do need to go that distance. 
    So, I'm looking for a more robust than generic USB cable to go from my computer to the DAC.
    Any suggestion?
  2. Stapsy
    I am big fan of the Belkin gold USB that came with my Off Ramp 5.  It is 5m long, costs ~$20 and sounds very good.  In my opinion a USB cable can impact SQ in the following areas:
    1. Does it run within spec (which surprisingly a lot of audiophile company cables do not)
    2. Separating the dirty 5v power or splicing in clean 5v if your DACs USB interface requires it
    3. Minimizing reflections. I have read the best lengths for this are intervals of 1.5m
    I had an Audioquest Cinnamon that sounded very different from the Belkin Gold (in a bad way).  Once I cut the 5v on the Audioquest the two sounded the same, and I have become somewhat of a crazed audiophile for this kind of stuff.
    buonassi and colonelkernel8 like this.
  3. Mediahound
    Thanks. Is this the cable you are speaking of?:
  4. Stapsy
    Yep thats the one. Go with a shorter length if you can as it seems to make a slight difference. As I say I have yet to hear anything better than the Belkin Gold.
  5. Mediahound
    Thanks. I unfortunately have to go 10 ft due to the distance between my computer and the DAC. 
    I'll give this cable a try, the price seems right. 
  6. Speedskater
    Blue Jeans Cable is very serious about selling good tested digital cables.
    colonelkernel8 and Puget Sounds like this.
  7. Mediahound
    Received the Belkin USB today, so far so good!
  8. TwoEars
    If you're looking for a serious USB cable you could have a look at this:
    BMC is a very serious german engineering company and they are not into snake oil, they would only make something like this if they could measure that it actually works.
  9. bfreedma
    That's a solution in search of a problem that doesn't audibly exist..
    colonelkernel8 and squee116 like this.
  10. TwoEars
    Of course it does. Different equipment (especially on the motherboard where the usb port is) can have differerent ground potential or ground hum.
    When you're using a USB cable you're connecting a device that is notorious for having unclean GND (a computer) to your audiophile DAC, which is very sensitive to ground hum.
    Filtering this ground hum is just one of the things this cable does.
    Will you hear? Maybe, maybe not. But the question was "best usb cable for the money" and I'm telling you now that this USB cable will beat any $2000 gold plated beryllium USB cable on the market, and it will do it using science.
  11. bfreedma

    If you say so.
    Still waiting for any of these companies to post proof of audible improvement. I'll be first in line to buy one if they ever can/do so.

    The platitude that audiophile electronics are more sensitive to these issues than other electronics isn't validated and doesn't really make sense. Are you suggesting that audiophile electronics manufacturers are intentionally building poor electrical systems.

    Funny how this is never an issue in data centers where data accuracy and availability is regulated in many industries and the penalties are measured in 6 digits.
  12. TwoEars
    It is never an issue in date centers because they don't do digital to analogue conversion [​IMG]
    As long as you keep everything in the digital domain all is well and dandy.
    The problem is when you convert to analogue because everything is referenced to ground, especially unballanced outputs are sensitve to ground hum. But also balanced ones actually since the signal outputted from for instance a sabre chip is "single ended" but then made "balanced" with the use of an internal differential amplifier.
    Now - I don't have a usb cable like that myself. I actually use toslink, but that's mostly for other purposes and that it fits my system.
    But if used USB and had a $3000 DAC, $3000 amp and $9000 speakers I'd be picking up a cable like that.
  13. Mediahound

    I would never consider a USB cable that expensive. If signal is getting through fine without without interference, that's all that matters to me.
    squee116 and cardeli22 like this.
  14. bfreedma

    Again, I still see no evidence of audible improvement being presented. My gear falls roughly in line with what you listed but I see no need to invest in something that won't make an audible improvement.

    As stated before, if objective data is presented supporting this cable's claimed capabilities, I'll buy one that day.
  15. Stapsy
    Glad you are enjoying it.  I see no real reason to go for anything else
    Active circuit manipulation scares me.  Sounds like the Audioquest Diamond.
    If you really wanted to spend that much I think you would be better off with something like the Offramp 5 and ShortBlock USB filter.
    squee116 likes this.
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