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Thread: Why Do Different USB Cables Sound Different

  1. #31
    https://www.nexthardware.com/forum/p...tml#post966153
    (with Chrome you can easily translate it)

    Here you can read some measurements of various USB cables, made by a dear friend of mine (a real nuclear engineer), on how they radiate different electromagnetic fields that affect data flow. Obviously, the DAC is able to reconstruct the signal, but the downstream result is different.

    For the record:
    1.) Generic cable
    2.) WireWorld UltraViolet 7
    3.) WireWorld Starlight 5
    4.) diyCAT7

    You should also read the following messages because there are some clarifications about it.

  2. #32
    Addicted to Best! marty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amirm View Post
    He is saying as speeds/sampling rates go up, you get USB data errors. I don't buy that argument. If audio samples are dropped, you will immediate and highly audible static, pops, glitches, etc. at that moment. You will not hear an overall change in tonality/fidelity of the music across all of the music you play. That would require data errors all the time which is not remotely supported by any data I have seen.

    It is of course possible to cause errors by using poor cabling or instrumentation but I don't think any audiophile is hearing those artifacts per above.
    Thanks Amir. I guess some of my take away from the article is that Rankin says, in essence, everything matters; the type of USB transmitter and receiver used, the ongoing computer operating system processing that occurs simultaneously with USB signal transmission, the quietness of the power supplies, the type of wire used in the digital cable, the type of insulation, etc. What seems somewhat surprising is that most of these things are constant in one's system and yet changing a single variable such as the USB cable itself is enough to alter the sound. Then again, I think the point of the article is that we shouldn't be surprised at all this can occur. Whether there are differences that can be measured to explain this phenomenon is certainly beyond my expertise and thus defer to others for discussion on this point.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by bibo01 View Post
    https://www.nexthardware.com/forum/p...tml#post966153
    (with Chrome you can easily translate it)

    Here you can read some measurements of various USB cables, made by a dear friend of mine (a real nuclear engineer), on how they radiate different electromagnetic fields that affect data flow. Obviously, the DAC is able to reconstruct the signal, but the downstream result is different.

    For the record:
    1.) Generic cable
    2.) WireWorld UltraViolet 7
    3.) WireWorld Starlight 5
    4.) diyCAT7

    You should also read the following messages because there are some clarifications about it.
    Thanks bibo01 - JosephK is always interesting & his measurements well executed - He presented some very useful measurements on a thread of mine on DIYAudio "RF attenuators = jitter reducers?"
    Manufacturer digital products www.Ciunas.biz
    "The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance it is the illusion of knowledge." - Daniel J. Boorstin.

  4. #34
    Addicted to Best! marty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkeny View Post
    Thanks bibo01 - JosephK is always interesting & his measurements well executed - He presented some very useful measurements on a thread of mine on DIYAudio "RF attenuators = jitter reducers?"
    This is interesting as it's the first time I've seen something "measurable" to distinguish a USB cable that is just supposed to transmit "0"s and "1"s. Not that I have any idea as to what I'm looking at, but it's interesting. It would also be very presumptuous of me to try and correlate any of these measurements with sonic performance, but I sure would like to see the data of the cables I've reviewed lately.

    I’ve listened to a bunch of USB cables over the past 2 months and for what it’s worth (YMMV) here are some thoughts on individual cables.

    Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7- a good cable with lots of detail but a bit forward on the top end. I would not think it would be a great match with electrostats or some solid state amps

    Tchernov – supposedly preferred by Vladimir Lamm. A very good cable, well balanced, very musical. The “Lamm” of USB cables as you might expect. Not the last word in bottom end definition but quite good.

    Masterbuilt Ultra. This cable came with a lot of fanfare and I tried as hard as I could to cotton up to it but could not. It's got a very good midrange, a super top end, but it's quite bottom weighted, at least in my system. I even tried to adjust my subs by turning them down considerably, however I just couldn’t achieve the overall balance that I was seeking. For those of you that know JL subs, I had to turn down the “ELF” control by 6dB as well as the main gain. Without doing that, I thought an earthquake was occurring in my room. I plan on re-visiting this again after I receive some MB Ultra speaker cables since this could be a “loom” effect issue (i.e, things sound best with the same brand throughout) , though I’m not even sure why this might be the case. My gut tells me otherwise.

    Canare. This is the cable John Atkinson supposedly uses on all his recordings. I figured, for $40 bucks, what’s not to try? My hope is that this cable would convince me that we are all nuts and irreparably damaged and that for all intent and purpose, this bargain basement special would perform as well as the high priced spread. Well, apparently, there is a high-end audio God. The cable is a lackluster performer at best. I would suggest that Mr. Atkinson avail himself of an alternative, although more expensive option.

    Stealth Select “T”. I was essentially unaware of Stealth cables until I visited Philip O'Hanlon’s home a couple of years ago. When Philip played a tape source, I was knocked out and wandered by his equipment rack to see what he was using. That’s when I noticed these fat white interconnects on his front end gear and learned about Stealth for the first time. I don’t even think he was using the latest and greatest of their current line at the time. But it didn’t matter. It was clear that whatever the hell he was using, it sounded damn good and they have intrigued me ever since. I subsequently tried a pair of their Sakra 10 interconnects from my Meitner DA2 DAC to VTL 7.5 III preamp and confirmed they were superb. Somwhat surprisingly, they were essentially the equivalent of my MIT SHDs sonically, although I gave the slight nod to the MITs. Therefore I didn’t replace the MIT SHD’s but I have paid attention to Stealth ever since. When the opportunity came to try their USB, I gave it a whirl and am thankful I did. It replaced the Wireworld USB in short order. The more I listen, the more impressed I have become. This is by a considerable measure, the most impressive, best sounding USB cable of the bunch. It is balanced, detailed, musical and has spatial detail that is unlike any other USB cable I’ve heard, and is in fact, a very analog sounding USB cable in that regard. As mentioned previously, the placement of the sliding tunable thing-a-magig on the cable is critical, but it's fairly easy to set. Stealth cables have been widely reviewed but mostly outside the US. I really loved this review of their Select “T” USB cable in particular because it’s in Chinese and I can’t read a word of it!

    http://www.stealthaudiocables.com/re...%20_review.pdf

    However, if you look at the graphic ratings of the cables reviewed, it sure seems easy to conclude they loved the Stealth Select “T”. Actually, I did run this article in Google Translate and even though the English translation was at times comical, I got the gist- their one liner said it all: "True water without fragrance". I can’t say much more than that (even if I have no idea what the heck they meant by some of the things they said- you really need to read the translation for yourself.). It’s just been a wonderful performer in my system. And it's reasonably priced (1m=$1250 retail).

    For now, my USB explorations have taken a much needed break. I’m happy to live with the Stealth Select “T” for quite some time.
    Marty
    Last edited by marty; 06-14-2017 at 07:56 PM.

  5. #35
    Site Founder And Administrator Steve Williams's Avatar
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    Masterbuilt Ultra. This cable came with a lot of fanfare and I tried as hard as I could to cotton up to it but could not. It's got a very good midrange, a super top end, but it's quite bottom weighted, at least in my system. I even tried to adjust my subs by turning them down considerably, however I just couldn’t achieve the overall balance that was seeking. For those of you that know JL subs, I had to turn down the “ELF” control by 6dB as well as the main gain. Without doing that, I thought an earthquake was occurring in my room. I plan on re-visiting this again after I receive some MB Ultra speaker cables since this could be a “loom” effect issue (i.e, things sound best with the same brand throughout) , though I’m not even sure why this might be the case. My gut tells me otherwise.
    Definitely system dependent Marty as fat bottom end is not anything I have ever heard with the MB USB cable. Definitely revisit it after you get your MB SC in and I bet it will be different. There is absolutely nothing that stands out with the USB Ultra cable in my system
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  6. #36
    Addicted to Best! Alrainbow's Avatar
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    USB cables matter no doubt on that. They matter less as the server is better they matter less . In mine I have many reg DC supplies one for the USB audio card alone. My msb needs the 5 volt handshake . My lampi does not I have cables for both . On my ref server the 5 volt ISO does not matter. Steve does that cable have a way to remove the 5 volt ? Also does this cable have anything more than the cable itself ? Steve Nugent I think it was him and also Paul pang audio supplies also said the length matters. Too short is not right I forget the distance. It has something to do with an echo. I make no claims in knowing only hearing. When I bought my msb stack I bought a audio quest USB cable its there diamond from a few years back. It's the one with a battery on it that is suppose to charge the shield. I never liked that cable lol. It's to hard sounding no matter what DAC or server I use with it.
    What I do wonder about is AES and its lack of use in computer audio. While there are some cards made rarly does anyone use them. I don't. My msb stack has a server steamer the UMT plus . It has many outputs and the one they Recomend is gues what. AES , I had my lampi have one. While luk of lampi was not happy claiming it added another board inside . I can say for PCM it rivals my custom server USB . Msb claims balanced digital is better than USB. And consider i2s over cat6 is the choice from server to DAC.
    They also now have a network renderer to keep us away from servers.
    There claims seem to point get away from servers. I think it may have some merit but it also makes things simple too once you have some network storage with music on it.
    I cannot say with certainty if my server is better than the msb streamer but they do sound a bit different . But my server does have win 2012 with AO and find pro so as they update my sound does change a bit.
    Steve what type of server do you have ?
    One model of arrender has a USB output I have heard it a few times on different systems it did sound good too.
    Over time I think we all become to either like or hate our systems. If we love it changes need time like Steve did taking days to tune it in . Once we lock on an a b gives us some sanity in this hobby.
    Now my take on why is jitter , in general it's noise be it voltage or timing errors in the digital domain. While a normal data stream is one and zeros and filling in the making bits by sampling over. In audio I think this matters . All of our servers and dacs have to take the stream that is recloked , stored in memory , converted and so on all before it's actually processed from digital to analog .
    Even the hardrives in our servers move the data around causing fetch noise. I think the future of great digital is to get away from the many varibles . This means network attached storage or internal storage. Why we can spend 90 k on a msb sel 2 and it has no internal storage is just crazy and dcs with many boxes and no storage . On my setup the UMT plus plays tidal as good as my custom built server streamer does.

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