USB Cables

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jonboy_rs

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Morning, I appreciate this is a sensitive subject but what are the views on audiophile USB cables? Do they make a difference? 
 

I am currently using a cheapish AudioQuest cable and it sounds good but have been looking a silver AQ USB cables with the DBS system fitted. 
 

Im on the fence with this but have an open mind. I was wondering what experiences people have had upgrading the USB cable. Having searched the net there are differing opinions all over.
 

In my system it will run from a MacMini to an Auralic G1 DAC. 
 

Thanks in advance.

Jon 

 

wHIZZY

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I was lent a usb cable by a friend that cost around £800 and I could not hear any noticeable difference. Of course, it could have been my set-up did not have any issues such as RFI that the more expensive cable would have solved.  If you want to try for yourself then I believe that 'Future Shop' have a 60 day money back guarantee should you find a cable not to your liking. 

 
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StingRay

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I don't have USB in my system. As Uzzy says buy from somewhere, you can return for a refund, if you are not satisfied. I would try to do some blind tests if you can. Some differences are only apparent after some hours of listening, so don't just do a quick 30 second comparison. 

I have not seen any tests that shown large differences between cables. 

You maybe better off concentrating on improving the Mac: 


You could do a trial of  https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bitperfect/id455545700?mt=12 or  https://audirvana.com/subscribe/ if you have not already.

 

jamster

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Snake oil.  

There might be a difference between a very cheap quality USB cable and a reasonable quality one, in terms of more CRC errors. 

A decent quality, multi-shielded USB cable for about £6 will perform as well as (possibly better than) one tens or hundreds of times the price.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/AmazonBasics-USB-2-0-Cable-Male/dp/B00NH11KIK/ref=sxin_14_trr_430473031_0?crid=204MERSMWE6C1&cv_ct_cx=usb+cable&dchild=1&keywords=usb+cable&pd_rd_i=B00NH11KIK&pd_rd_r=4c4a530b-f738-4d45-b354-ff87b03b81b2&pd_rd_w=pBjNY&pd_rd_wg=SfpXq&pf_rd_p=84c219d2-fa1e-4262-8105-0460a607e48c&pf_rd_r=F05YGB874NQ4WCMYSHN6&qid=1635591545&sprefix=usb+cable%2Caps%2C247&sr=1-1-439ac954-ad46-4ba0-bd86-480f8aab80ed

Here's a useful write up of why: https://forum.headphones.com/t/mis-understanding-usb-audio/6719

There's nothing wrong with buying expensive USB cables for the feel of quality engineering and the satisfaction of owning something expensive, but the chance of them making a material difference to sound quality is remote.

 
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DomT

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I use a USB cable largely for YouTube and other low quality audio that I want to hear though monitors.  For Audio I used a MacBook Pro 2020 and as reported on here even when using Audirvana and an Audioquest Cinnamon cable into a Benchmark DAC 2 HCG I found the sound to be harsh sounding.  A move to using my Auralic Aries Mini solved this harsh sound immediately.  

Given the transparency/excellence of your system I would be inclined to try out a non-computer audio source. I use an Auralic Altair and Innuos Zen Mini with power supply and they are both a big step up. 

If you really do want to stay with a computer based system and in relation to your question I noticed a small difference between a standard printer cable and the AudioQuest Cinnamon.  I didn't test any other hifi USB cables. 

 

MotherSky

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I would echo what @DomT says above - if you are sticking to a computer as a source, choice of USB cable is a secondary consideration - at the very least I would suggest you experiment with something like a Teradak X1 to provide clean power on the 5v line - I found this (and running my source laptop from its battery) to make a real difference - I subsequently moved to an Uptone IsoRegen + LPS 1.2, which I actually still have in place between my streamer and DAC. I have absolutely found differences in sound quality between different USB cables, but I would say this is very much the icing on the cake, and to overstretch the metaphor, you still have a bit more baking to take care of... :D - MH

 

jonboy_rs

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Many thanks for the responses. 
 

I may see if I get loan a cable before I consider buying, the one I have is decent enough so may stick with it. 
 

On the subject of the computer I am very happy with the MacMini and actually prefer it than using the Auralic as a streamer. 
 

If anyone uses a MacMini as a source I would welcome any advice on tweaks, I was told to avoid power supply upgrades as it sounds best in stock form? 
 

Thanks 

 

MartinC

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I've noticed big differences in coax digital cables, why would USB be any different?
The signals are very different, with one consequence being that the timing of data potentially having an impact for the former but not the latter I believe.

(Personally I'm very sceptical about audible differences between cables of either type being significant though.)

 
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Psilonaught

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I have a supra usb cable that I'm happy to loan you to try. PM me.

USB cables do make a difference from personal testing with basic Amazon printer cables Vs something more "audiophile".

 

Psilonaught

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I have a supra usb cable that I'm happy to loan you to try. PM me.

USB cables do make a difference from personal testing with basic Amazon printer cables Vs something more "audiophile".
I'm also afraid that you will also find that the "source" into a dac makes quite a big difference too, so your pc is...ahem...

 
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Fourlegs

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@jonboy_rs I have found a considerable difference in USB cables and have settled on the Sablon 2020 as my favourite. However I have head talk that people are now finding they prefer some of the Sunyata USB cables and in particular the Omega but that is getting into serious money.

Ås ever, take what the supporters and the naysayers are saying with a huge pinch of salt and make up your own mind by having a demo over a few days in your own system.

 
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tuga

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@jonboy_rs I have found a considerable difference in USB cables and have settled on the Sablon 2020 as my favourite. However I have head talk that people are now finding they prefer some of the Sunyata USB cables and in particular the Omega but that is getting into serious money.

Ås ever, take what the supporters and the naysayers are saying with a huge pinch of salt and make up your own mind by having a demo over a few days in your own system.
I find the USD$650 for the Sablon serious money. The Omega at £3,250 is more like stupid money...more than 1/3 the cost of your DAC.

 
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MotherSky

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I find the USD$650 for the Sablon serious money. The Omega at £3,250 is more like stupid money...more than 1/3 the cost of your DAC.
to each their own and all that - plenty of people would regard the £180 I spent on my Vovox Excelsus USB as absurd, whereas I feel it to be excellent value for the degree of improvement in SQ - all these things are very dependent on the context of the system & the perception of the owner, as well as the depth of their pockets - I would imagine if you are in the business of high end cabling yourself, it makes these things more palatable... 

 

Fourlegs

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I find the USD$650 for the Sablon serious money. The Omega at £3,250 is more like stupid money...more than 1/3 the cost of your DAC.
The Sablon was not much when I bought it, but yes it is not a trifle to buy but to my ears it was worth the cost for its sound.

The Omega is in a whole different ballpark but many people have systems where the total cost of the system means that spending that amount on a cable is not disproportionate within the context of the system. One has perhaps to be careful not to dismiss something merely because it is expensive when to others it might seem like good value. 

But in case you are in any doubt I have not asked for a home demo of the Omega. 🤣

 

tuga

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The Omega is in a whole different ballpark but many people have systems where the total cost of the system means that spending that amount on a cable is not disproportionate within the context of the system.
I would not call it spending so much as wasting.

What is it about the Omega that cannot be had by a fraction of the price.

 I can understand people paying daft money for exclusive looks and extraordinary fit and finish, but wasting so much money on a USB (or any other) cable just because it exists is just, well, daft. IMVHO

 
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