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Why do USB cables make such a difference?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by Cartma, Jul 17, 2017.
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  1. Cartma
    As with everything, you start out as a skeptic and with an open mind you are able to stumble across pieces of equipment that you can't believe you went with-out.
    After trying a few USB cables I came across the Nordost Blue Heaven USB. This was the first USB cable that actually made an improvement in my system instead of just sounding slightly different. I then decided to go all out and get the next step up.. the Nordost Heimdall 2 USB. This thing made as much, if not more of an improvement then a power cable or interconnect. But the question is WHY?
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  2. artpiggo
    I don't know what I have been heard is wrong or not. please correct me if I misunderstand the concept.

    I have been explained that when data transfer, it comes in form of electricity (voltage,current) inside the cable. (It is not exactly 010101 inside cable but it represents in electricity form)

    Thus, when current passes through wire, it creates electro-magnetic (Right-handed rule) and if the cable's insulator is not good enough to protect interference each other, there will be so-call digital jitter through data transfer to DAC. As you know Cable Protocol for DAC is USB Audio 1.0 that means it doesn't have File Data Check whether the receiver get the same input or not. (It is like music streaming)

    You can see that this cable separate 5V power wire out from the data transfer cable as well. And they seems to use solid insulator to minimize jitters (which is what they claim in their website.)
  3. Cartma
    I tried the WireWorld Ultraviolet 7 which had a separate isolated power line, didn't hear much of an improvement. There's something about Nordost's approach that make it ideal as a USB cable.
  4. Whitigir
    I have made many USB cables myself, and I will chime in here. USB cables do bring improvements, and yes, it is even more than powercord...depends on what, how, who made it....but they are all playing a very big part of the whole system.

    If you have mid-tier to lower level of system, you may not hear and observe those changes or improvements. However, there are obvious improvements to observe with high-end systems.

    USB cables in music application simply speaking on another hand is mimicking analog waves, and will affect how it will carry out the performances.

    Virtually, everything will affect the sound performances. The higher-end and more revealing the systems, the more it reveal to you in observable ways. Everything mass produced will come with standard things to make it "tick and tock" in order to maximize profit and sales.....stock cables and so on.

    Not sure how your wireWorld were made...aka, materials and geometry wise. But there are much differences between materials of wires....silver, copper, hybrid...etc...etc...just as much as headphone cables. Though, the majority of people are still in denial and resist the urge to try Upgraded USB cables out, so the market is small, and hence the prices are super expensive to have great USB cables, and limited options. However, to many DIY people, the upgraded USB cables improvements are real, and as firm as fact.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
    legion1capone and Aslshark like this.
  5. Jazmanaut
  6. Whitigir
    bidn likes this.
  7. Cartma
    Well, I didn't waste my time with that link.
  8. Currawong Contributor
    It's not jitter, but electrical noise.
    Rhino73 likes this.
  9. Cartma
    The generic USB and other higher end USB cables just sound obnoxious with strident dynamics. The Nordost sound more controlled and mellow. Generic cables just sound dirty in comparison.
  10. gregorio
    USB cables do not carry any sound and therefore cannot "sound obnoxious". That doesn't mean you can't perceive differences between USB cables, it just means that the reason a USB cable might sound better than another perfectly functioning USB cable is nothing to do with the cable's performance.

    pila405, Rhino73, Jazmanaut and 2 others like this.
  11. Cartma
    They sure do sound different and other generic cables do sound obnoxious.
  12. Currawong Contributor
    I prefer to say "The sound with [my gear list] when using Cable X versus a generic USB cable seemed to me to be better."
    Sinarca, bidn, Rhino73 and 1 other person like this.
  13. gregorio
    I agree with Currawong. You personally might be perceiving an audiophile USB cable as sounding different and generic cables as sounding obnoxious but that doesn't mean that they "sure do sound different", especially as USB cables are not carrying any sound in the first place!

    Rach13 and Rhino73 like this.
  14. Whitigir
    No cables carry sounds, they carry signals only
    MusiCol likes this.
  15. Currawong Contributor
    And noise, which is where I think the issue has been. Supposedly Schiit Audio's new Eitr solves that by using ethernet isolation transformers to block it.
    Rhino73 likes this.
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