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csq2's picture
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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

USB cables do make a DIFFERENCE in sound and does depend on the construction and materials of the cable. Yes, people always tell me its all 0s and 1s, but my ears tell a different story. The more revealing your system is, the more your USB cable will have affect your sound. I recently upgraded to Kimber AG and found a dramatic increase in resolution, timing, and overall musicality. I've borrowed and demoed Audioquest Cinnamon, WIreworld UV, Straightwire, Furutech Formula 2, and Chord. Not saying the other cables are bad, but the Kimber AG best suited for my system as it smoother sounding which tames the brightness of my speakers. With laid back speakers, it could sound dull. 

USB cables all sound different. Some are smoother sounding with less treble energy, whereas others are more dynamic, brighter sounding. 

If your system is laid back sounding, I suggest a brighter sounding cable. If your system is bright sounding, I suggest a smoother sounding cable. Find one that suits your system. 

I recommend the Chord USB where as the imported American cables can be expensive in the UK. I was skeptical to pay a lot for a USB cable before, but I am believer now and you won't regret getting the Chord USB for your system. If you're not ready to take the plunge, you can recommend the Belkin gold usb cable. 

 

 

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

csq2 wrote:
USB cables all sound different. Some are smoother sounding with less treble energy, whereas others are more dynamic, brighter sounding.

I had to check the date on that posting to make sure it wasn't 1st April...

There is absolutely no mechanism by which USB (or ethernet) cables could make any difference to the sound whatsoever, other than poor screening (which would mean the cable was out of spec) leaking RF, whereby the amplifier picks it up and raises the noise floor when it tries to amplify it.

USB cables are all screened, so provided they are within spec this will not happen.

Ethernet cables aren't usually screened as the wires are twisted together (UTP == Unshielded Twisted Pair). The two wires in each pair are driven in differential mode. This means that any interference, both induced and radiated, will cancel out.

If you're still that bothered then get a screened ethernet cable, which you can find on the shelves at PC World or Maplin for a few quid - they're sold as either STP (Screened Twisted Pair) or FTP (Foil-shielded Twisted Pair). They cost a bit more than the standard Cat5 cables but are still far cheaper than "audiophile" ethernet cables.

For what it's worth I use Chord Rumour 4 speaker cables in the main system, and a decent filtered power cable with a Wattgate IEC plug for the AV receiver. These do make a difference. Ethernet and USB cables... don't.

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

csq2 wrote:

USB cables do make a DIFFERENCE in sound and does depend on the construction and materials of the cable. Yes, people always tell me its all 0s and 1s, but my ears tell a different story. The more revealing your system is, the more your USB cable will have affect your sound. I recently upgraded to Kimber AG and found a dramatic increase in resolution, timing, and overall musicality. I've borrowed and demoed Audioquest Cinnamon, WIreworld UV, Straightwire, Furutech Formula 2, and Chord. Not saying the other cables are bad, but the Kimber AG best suited for my system as it smoother sounding which tames the brightness of my speakers. With laid back speakers, it could sound dull. 

USB cables all sound different. Some are smoother sounding with less treble energy, whereas others are more dynamic, brighter sounding. 

If your system is laid back sounding, I suggest a brighter sounding cable. If your system is bright sounding, I suggest a smoother sounding cable. Find one that suits your system. 

ok, lets say you are correct.  In order for the USB to change the tonality of the data as you are suggesting would require some kind of inline dsp built in to the cable.  Why?  Becuase it's data and hasn't been converted in to an analogue signal yet.  When the the data hits the usb it's still 0s and 1's as you well know.  So in order to add a brighter sound, or less treble, you are talking about adding EQ to the music.  In order to do this, the cable would have to interface with the computer in way that it knew what was being given to it, otherwise how does it know what it's passing though?  The only way it could do that is if it had some kind of dsp/microcomputer in it, so it knew it was dealing with say a Flac file.  Only then could it add these extra tonal nuances before it then passes it on to the dac.  Without any of that, it's just a cable that passes data across it and it if was to have an effect on the data, it would be in form of drop outs, or corruption.

 

I've checked the cables you mentioned and none of them appear to have any in line dsp processors or microcomputers in them....

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

I have a nuforce impulse usb cable  a-b (just got it today) http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=nuforce%20impulse

 

I feel compared to  a standard usb cable from my presonus 22vsl usb soundcard, (if it's placebo effect or not i don't know), that the top is cleaner (not louder) less distrotion, more jitter free..... it just feels cleaner and more comfortable to list to in the high frequency at high volume.

 

From a german review.

Played beautifully taut, clearly structured, stable with clear edge sharpness is excellent at retaining the balance between timbres fullness and loose musical flow. Very smooth to swallow without swallow details. Price / performance hit. 

35 Euro / 1.8 m

 

 

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

gasolin wrote:

I have a nuforce impulse usb cable  a-b (just got it today) http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=nuforce%20impulse

 

I feel compared to  a standard usb cable from my presonus 22vsl usb soundcard, (if it's placebo effect or not i don't know), that the top is cleaner (not louder) less distrotion, more jitter free..... it just feels cleaner and more comfortable to list to in the high frequency at high volume.

 

It probably is placebo (not meant in an offensive you're imagining it way, but as one would and should reference a placebo - ie you are hearing a difference, but the cable itself is just a catalyst for that difference, it's not actually changing the sound).

 

There are ways one can prove that a usb cable isn't making any difference, but it still doesn't meant that people won't hear a difference.

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

MadSquirrel wrote:

For what it's worth I use Chord Rumour 4 speaker cables in the main system, and a decent filtered power cable with a Wattgate IEC plug for the AV receiver. These do make a difference. Ethernet and USB cables... don't.

Have you even tried any audiophile-grade USB cable? After what you said, I did a comparison between my old custom-made gold plated 6N OFC usb cable, which is an excellent cable over the Monster USB cable I had before, and my  new Kimber AG usb cable. The difference was night and day. You didn't even have to squint at the differences, they were right in your face. It's a dramatic improvement with more expensive cable: more air, depth, and was actually louder with same volume setting. The Kimber is thicker than the other cable, thus, less signal was being degraded through the transmission between the computer and dac. For hi-fi, a high quality USB cable is a must. I'm thinking of getting Audioquest ethernet cables. 

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

cheeseboy wrote:
It probably is placebo (not meant in an offensive you're imagining it way, but as one would and should reference a placebo - ie you are hearing a difference, but the cable itself is just a catalyst for that difference, it's not actually changing the sound).

There are ways one can prove that a usb cable isn't making any difference, but it still doesn't meant that people won't hear a difference.

What of it could be proven that they do make a difference - would those that steadfastly believe that zeros and ones can't be messed with, suddenly hear a difference?

I've not read the whole thread, but based on the first page, it is treading familiar waters. I just wanted to make a few points, and get some feedback.

Most of us don't want to spend money. It's natural. If we don't have to spend it, we won't. Particularly nowadays when money is tight, and £100 can be seen as a lot of cash, even if it doesn't go far towards the daily bills. I'm sure for most people, £100 on shopping every week is more important than 'app on a cable...

The accepted rule is that placebo pertains to those who hear a difference when there isn't any. If someone says that USB cable A (£100) sounds better than USB cable B (£3), its placebo. If someone says that USB cable A sounds worse than USB cable B, then "high end" cables are nonsense, and the word placebo is nowhere in sight. I know a lot of people subscribe to the "it's zeros and ones" explanation, but how many of those that enforce that on others in threads like these have actually tried cable A and cable B out for themselves, and formed an opinion based on what they heard? Be honest...

I'm not saying USB cables do make a difference here, as I've not tried any out for myself so I can't comment from any sort of experience, but is it beyond the realms of all possibility that they might make some sort of difference, however small? And this relates to other digital cables too - including optical cables, ethernet cables, HDMI cables etc. The reason I am asking, is that there is an increasing number of people I have spoken to recently who have tried cables like these (particularly ethernet cables), and are reporting differences. Some of these people work with data on a daily basis, and they can't explain why because it is supposedly impossible, but they have heard a difference.

If someone doesn't want to hear a difference, they won't. If someone wants to hear a difference, they will. If someone can't hear a difference, they don't have to buy anything. If these cables can't make any difference whatsoever, and people don't want to spend money on pointless things, why are they hearing differences? 

Once again, to be 100% clear on this, I've not done any A/B demos between the cables discussed, so I'm not coming at this from any particular angle. I'm of the opinion that the money should be spent on the electronics in order to get the basics right - cables can be messed about with at any point at a later date. If they improve things (for a price that isn't extortionate), then they can be invested in, should one desire.

Thoughts?  (sensible, of course)

DavidF @FrankHarveyHiFi, Coventry.

"Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light"

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

The fundamental problem with the digital difference brigade is why would the usb cable effect a particular frequency in a different way from another considering it's a digital signal? How could a high frequency  one or zero be treated differently to a low frequency one or zero... If there is a degredation in signal then it should affect highs, lows and mids. Can anyone provide a logical or illogical explanation behind this? The degration of selective high, low or mid ones and zeros, of which the cable has no knowledge of what frequency they represent, is impossible.

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

David@FrankHarvey]</p> <p>[quote=cheeseboy wrote:

Once again, to be 100% clear on this, I've not done any A/B demos between the cables discussed, so I'm not coming at this from any particular angle. I'm of the opinion that the money should be spent on the electronics in order to get the basics right - cables can be messed about with at any point at a later date. If they improve things (for a price that isn't extortionate), then they can be invested in, should one desire.

There you go. People who don't believe in the difference USB cables haven't really tried them. If you go to a lot of Hi-Fi shows, you would see a large amount of money is spent on cables. I've seen budget systems using expensive Nordost cabling at these shows that cost as much as the electronics themselves. Cabling is more important than people initially thought. If your system does not sound "right" even if you got 5 star electronics, blame the cables. I regret selling a lot of highly rated amps and speakers in the past like the Rega Brio 3 and Totem Rainmakers, because my budget cables was ruining the sound.  If I had upgraded the cables or used cables that suited my system then I would have saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars buying new dacs, speakers, and amps.

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

David@FrankHarvey wrote:

 

What of it could be proven that they do make a difference - would those that steadfastly believe that zeros and ones can't be messed with, suddenly hear a difference?.

yes, and also they could win a million quid from James Randi, yet nobody has done that yet.  Surely if it were so simple, somebody would have done it now as it's gotta be easy money hasn;t it?  The thing is though, we can actually prove that they don't make a difference.  It's just then met with "well I can hear a difference", which is subjective and about as useful as a fart in a jacuzzi. 

David@FrankHarvey wrote:

Most of us don't want to spend money. It's natural. If we don't have to spend it, we won't. Particularly nowadays when money is tight, and £100 can be seen as a lot of cash, even if it doesn't go far towards the daily bills. I'm sure for most people, £100 on shopping every week is more important than 'app on a cable...

I agree Smile  (y'see, it can happen Smile )

 

David@FrankHarvey wrote:
The accepted rule is that placebo pertains to those who hear a difference when there isn't any. If someone says that USB cable A (£100) sounds better than USB cable B (£3), its placebo. If someone says that USB cable A sounds worse than USB cable B, then "high end" cables are nonsense, and the word placebo is nowhere in sight.

True, some people do that, but it's still a placebo if there are differences heard regardless of the direction and it doesn't do people any favours to not recognise it can happen both ways.

 

David@FrankHarvey wrote:
I know a lot of people subscribe to the "it's zeros and ones" explanation,

It's not something to subscribe to though, that's the crux of the issue.  This is how computers and data works.  It's not something that you can choose to believe.  The very fact that you are typing on a computer to reply to this is a practical demonstration on how it works.  If those ones and zeros are messed with, you'll probably end up with a blue screen.

David@FrankHarvey wrote:
but how many of those that enforce that on others in threads like these have actually tried cable A and cable B out for themselves, and formed an opinion based on what they heard? Be honest...

I have tried with my studio owning freind a couple of "audiophile" usb cables.  I put the word "audiophile" in brackets because it's a bit of an oxymoron as usb is just usb.  It's doesn't distinguish what it's passing through.  This is something some people in the hifi world really have a hard time getting their head around.  A usb cable is just a cable that needs to adhere to a standard.  Once it meets that standard it will carry out the designed job, no matter how much pretty braiding or colours you put on it.  By it's very invention it can't do any more.  Yes, it can do less, in which case, it's faulty.

 

David@FrankHarvey wrote:
I'm not saying USB cables do make a difference here, as I've not tried any out for myself so I can't comment from any sort of experience, but is it beyond the realms of all possibility that they might make some sort of difference, however small?

The differences would be a faulty cable would introduce drop outs, or just not plain work.  If you we were to say that it did make the dfference that audio nuts like to think they do, then the internet would stop working.  Printers would print different colours which means the entire print industry would probably fall over as people could rely on anything to print out the correct colour.  Downloaded music would be awful depending on which route each packet took to get the computer etc...

 

David@FrankHarvey wrote:
And this relates to other digital cables too - including optical cables, ethernet cables, HDMI cables etc. The reason I am asking, is that there is an increasing number of people I have spoken to recently who have tried cables like these (particularly ethernet cables), and are reporting differences. Some of these people work with data on a daily basis, and they can't explain why because it is supposedly impossible, but they have heard a difference.

That's the placebo effect.  Like I just said, if ethernet cables did make a difference, it would mean the internet would be screwed.  Really.

Very Basic Ineternet 101 (please note, this is not meant to be condesceding, but it's explaining why it can't make a difference and what would happen if it did) - when you request data, it's get split up in to chunks.  Each chunk is then sent on it's merry way and can take different routes depending on a whole factor of things and then is re-assembled at the other end.  Now, if we say that ethernet cables do make a difference, then every time that chunk of data passes through a difference ethernet cable, it will change the data in it.  (this is what those who believe ethernet cables making a difference are saying)  So, if this were correct, when it re-assembles all the chunk to give your flac,mp3 or whatever, then every single change would manifest itself in the re-assembled track.  That would mean that the first 5 seconds may have slightly more bass than the next five seconds and then you might suddenly get increased treble for 2 seconds, which then dissapears.  Has anybody ever experienced this?  Not that I've ever heard, but that would be the outcome if ethernet cables did make a difference to the extent that some people claim.

 

David@FrankHarvey wrote:
If someone doesn't want to hear a difference, they won't. If someone wants to hear a difference, they will. If someone can't hear a difference, they don't have to buy anything. If these cables can't make any difference whatsoever, and people don't want to spend money on pointless things, why are they hearing differences?

Expectation bias and placebo.  See about the blind coke testing.  Your brain can acutally alter your experience and views based on what you see, or think you see.  These are perfectly normal brain functions.  There is also the issue of echoic memory, in that basically you could listen to the same song twice on the same stereo without chaning anything and still hear differences.  These are the types of control you put in testing to prove that acutally it's not the cables/equipment making a difference, it's just the brain being a brain.  There have been numerous tests whereby people have been told the calbes have been changed, differences have been claimed, but in reality, no changes have taken place.  Why are they hearing differences?  When you know this, it makes it more difficult to believe that that claims made by cable manufacturers are real.  Even Audioquest state they are a marketing company first.  Marketing is an awesomely powerful tool and should not be underestimated in the grand scheme of things - again I refer you to the coke test on this.  Also worth reading up on the testing they have done with wine as well.  People who claim to be able to differentiate certain wines getting it all horribly wrong when the bottles are removed from the equation, or different wine poured in different bottles etc...  It's all very interesting regardless.

 

David@FrankHarvey wrote:

Once again, to be 100% clear on this, I've not done any A/B demos between the cables discussed, so I'm not coming at this from any particular angle. I'm of the opinion that the money should be spent on the electronics in order to get the basics right - cables can be messed about with at any point at a later date. If they improve things (for a price that isn't extortionate), then they can be invested in, should one desire.

Thoughts?  (sensible, of course)

 

And that I agree with you 100% Biggrin :cheers:

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

csq2 wrote:

Have you even tried any audiophile-grade USB cable? After what you said, I did a comparison between my old custom-made gold plated 6N OFC usb cable, which is an excellent cable over the Monster USB cable I had before, and my  new Kimber AG usb cable. The difference was night and day. You didn't even have to squint at the differences, they were right in your face. It's a dramatic improvement with more expensive cable: more air, depth, and was actually louder with same volume setting. The Kimber is thicker than the other cable, thus, less signal was being degraded through the transmission between the computer and dac. For hi-fi, a high quality USB cable is a must. I'm thinking of getting Audioquest ethernet cables.

csq2 wrote:

There you go. People who don't believe in the difference USB cables haven't really tried them. If you go to a lot of Hi-Fi shows, you would see a large amount of money is spent on cables. I've seen budget systems using expensive Nordost cabling at these shows that cost as much as the electronics themselves. Cabling is more important than people initially thought. If your system does not sound "right" even if you got 5 star electronics, blame the cables. I regret selling a lot of highly rated amps and speakers in the past like the Rega Brio 3 and Totem Rainmakers, because my budget cables was ruining the sound.  If I had upgraded the cables or used cables that suited my system then I would have saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars buying new dacs, speakers, and amps.

 

Christ it's like playing Audiophile bullshit bingo.  Want to wheel in your girlfriend/wife can hear the differences so it must be true?  Wink Biggrin  Anybody want to help me make a playing card?

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

Good posts cheeseboy; if some people still don't get it, there's no hope.

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

csq2 wrote:

There you go. People who don't believe in the difference USB cables haven't really tried them.

Really? That's quite a claim to make. How do you know?

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

csq2 wrote:

  If I had upgraded the cables or used cables that suited my system then I would have saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars buying new dacs, speakers, and amps.

You know that how? It's an assumption based on subjective opinion.

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RE: Best usb cable under 50.

The other thing of note, which is something I've also mentioned before is that data can be transmitted over quite sketchy mediums and still work 100% perfectly.  The case in point of this is two fold.  Anybody here ever own a spectrum, amstrad, C64, bbc micro?  Ever loaded a game from a crappy analgoue tapedek?  It still worked and we all still played the same game, however, if the data wasn't transmitted properly, or there was an issue, what happened?  It just didn't work full stop.  1's and 0's.

Also, anybody here use an old dial up modem?  Sending all that data in to analgue format, then back again - it all still worked and you still got the exact same data as somebody else.  It just goes to show the robustness, and also the fragility of transmitting data and how it is an all or nothing thing, not some grey analogue inbetween. 

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