An Unexpected Champion : Intona Ultimate USB Cable

CKKeung

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Jun 18, 2011
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I have posted a short review of the Intona Ultimate usb cable on an audiophile forum in Hong Kong earlier this week :
http://www.hiendy.com/hififorum/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=121379&extra=page=1

It's in Chinese. Sorry that I am too lazy to translate it fully to English. Please use google translate if you have interest.

062650h80bg7mpt05019w9.jpg

Let me summarize my views in a few lines :
I am a nosy CAS audiophile for many years and have auditioned nearly all the mid- and top-price usb cable in the market (except those which are unavailable in Hong Kong such as Kuro or MasterBuilt).

A CAS audiophile friend of mine bought an Intona Ultimate online a month ago. I went for a listen, pairing it with his Holo Spring level3 dac and also a set of Chord Blu2+DAVE. My jaw was on the floor within minutes.

When Intona got an official HK dealer last week, I went to its showroom for a more detailed audition with friends, using the Ultimate on a SGM EVO server and two DACs ; Totaldac Six and Aqua Audio Formula xHD.
We were totally convinced.

The character of Ultimate can be summarized in 4 words : Accuracy ; Resolution ; Energy ; Agility.
There may be other more expensive usb cables that have better bass, richer midrange ...etc but the Ultimate gives higher fidelity.
IMHO the Intona Ultimate usb cable is the current champion.
 
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wespruett

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Too funny. I just got the Intona Ultimate USB cable myself and couldn’t agree more. And it’s not even broken in yet! I have always been somewhat of a skeptic when it comes to USB cable voodoo but this has been an absolute eye opener. I am now a believer! As I write this I’m listening to Nils Lofgren ‘Acoustic Live’ and for the first time it’s actually sending shivers down my spine. Kudos to Ben at Volant!
 
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Hieukm

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Oct 2, 2016
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Hi Ckkeung,

I saw your friend has put this cable for sale. Whats he up to upgrade?

Whats the best combination USB cable to use with SOTM Tx-USBultra?
 
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CKKeung

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Hi Ckkeung,
I saw your friend has put this cable for sale. Whats he up to upgrade?
Whats the best combination USB cable to use with SOTM Tx-USBultra?

Hello Hieukm,
Are you a HK audiophile? :)

My frd is selling his 0.5m Intona Ultimate which is rather short and inconvenient.
Is it suitable for your system?

My frd use it and a Lush2 for the SOtM tx-USBultra. Allrounded performance.
 

Hieukm

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Oct 2, 2016
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Hello Hieukm,
Are you a HK audiophile? :)

My frd is selling his 0.5m Intona Ultimate which is rather short and inconvenient.
Is it suitable for your system?

My frd use it and a Lush2 for the SOtM tx-USBultra. Allrounded performance.

Dear CKKeung,

I am not HK. :D. I would like a 1m Intona Ultimate as well. However i am curious why your friend dont use 2 x Intona.

:D
 

Taiko Audio

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The character of Ultimate can be summarized in 4 words : Accuracy ; Resolution ; Energy ; Agility.
There may be other more expensive usb cables that have better bass, richer midrange ...etc but the Ultimate gives higher fidelity.
IMHO the Intona Ultimate usb cable is the current champion.

I received a 1.5 meter Ultimate ~2 weeks ago. I agree with your assessment. Especially the increased top end resolution without any glare or stridency stands out, therefor it's not noise induced "fake" resolution. It may be less euphonic then other offerings but then again it's nearly "perfect", very hard to go back once heard.
 

romaz

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Oct 7, 2015
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I am curious about Intona's Ultimate USB cable although there is no easy opportunity to try this cable without buying it and I have bought too many USB cables only to realize the cable is not as good as what I already own. My prioirity is transparency and resolution and people's descriptors would suggest the Ultimate excels here. The best that a USB cable can be, as far as I am concerned, is to be completely invisible and it would seem that maintaining a constant 90-ohm differential impedance is where other USB cables stumble and where the Intona Ultimate excels. The only other USB cable or adapter to make this claim is the inexpensive Uptone USPCB adapter. Can anyone who owns both an Intona Ultimate (or Reference) and an Uptone USPCB adapter comment on what differences, if any, they hear between these 2? That would give me some idea of what to expect and whether I should take the plunge. Much appreciated.
 
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CKKeung

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Jun 18, 2011
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I am curious about Intona's Ultimate USB cable although there is no easy opportunity to try this cable without buying it and I have bought too many USB cables only to realize the cable is not as good as what I already own. My prioirity is transparency and resolution and people's descriptors would suggest the Ultimate excels here. The best that a USB cable can be, as far as I am concerned, is to be completely invisible and it would seem that maintaining a constant 90-ohm differential impedance is where other USB cables stumble and where the Intona Ultimate excels. The only other USB cable or adapter to make this claim is the inexpensive Uptone USPCB adapter. Can anyone who owns both an Intona Ultimate (or Reference) and an Uptone USPCB adapter comment on what differences, if any, they hear between these 2? That would give me some idea of what to expect and whether I should take the plunge. Much appreciated.
I don't own both but many of my CAS friends got both because they own IsoRegen too.
They told me that they borrowed the Ultima and compared the two and everyone of them bought the Intona Ultima afterward.
 

romaz

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Oct 7, 2015
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Thank you for your feedback. It is very helpful and very much appreciated. Perhaps someone with direct experience with both could share their experience as well. I am also curious to know if anyone has directly compared the Intona Ultimate to the Intona Reference. An Intona dealer in the U.S. has suggested the difference is not great although this is probably a biased statement since the Ultimate can only be purchased directly from Intona and not through a dealer.
 
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CKKeung

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Thank you for your feedback. It is very helpful and very much appreciated. Perhaps someone with direct experience with both could share their experience as well. I am also curious to know if anyone has directly compared the Intona Ultimate to the Intona Reference. An Intona dealer in the U.S. has suggested the difference is not great although this is probably a biased statement since the Ultimate can only be purchased directly from Intona and not through a dealer.
I did compare Ultima vs Ref usb cables.
Huge difference!
But they are on hi-end CAS components during the direct comparison.

The Ultima model is short in supply but in Hong Kong they can be pre-ordered via Volent HK, the official Intona dealer.
Maybe you can give them an email : http://www.volent.com.hk/index.php/company/contact-us/
 

Taiko Audio

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I have done both comparisons and agree with CKKeung.

I don't care much for the USB adapter at all. You don't need an Intona Ultimate to beat it, that can be done at much lower prices.

It's quite amazing how much better the Ultimate is then the Reference for just slightly better impedance matching. The price difference seems over the top at first, but Ultimate grade availability is very limited, especially 0.2 and 2 meter lengths are almost never in stock. 1 meter length availability is "reasonable".

The Reference is a pretty good cable, good price / performance, but the Ultimate is simply special.
 

romaz

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Very helpful feedback, thank you. I have gone ahead and placed an order directly with Intona. It so happens they had my desired length in stock.
 
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Rhapsody

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Thank you for your feedback. It is very helpful and very much appreciated. Perhaps someone with direct experience with both could share their experience as well. I am also curious to know if anyone has directly compared the Intona Ultimate to the Intona Reference. An Intona dealer in the U.S. has suggested the difference is not great although this is probably a biased statement since the Ultimate can only be purchased directly from Intona and not through a dealer.

Rhapsody is an Intona dealer and we sell the Ultimate USB along with the Intona Reference. No problem with buying it direct, but want for others to understand that we do sell the Ultimate.
 
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romaz

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I thought I'd provide feedback on the Intona Ultimate USB cable which I went ahead and purchased. It is as good as others have suggested and as good as hoped for. Transients are especially good. Drum strikes have more speed and snap and guitar plucks have crisper and cleaner articulations. Both detail and timing resolution are noticeably better and complex musical lines are easily delineated but not at the expense of coherence which is difficult to achieve. It is a well balanced cable where nothing is unnaturally accentuated and the improvements are not subtle. Worth the asking price, imo.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Now someone needs to do an Intona Ultimate vs Goebel USB head to head. Any takers?

if someone wants to send me the Intona Ultimate i'm happy to A/B it with my Gobel LaCorde USB.....and quickly turn it back around to whoever sent it to me.

the Gobel rocked my world and switched my digital reference big time. bring it on.

not sure anyone really wants to know this information; even though they might think they do.;)
 
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CKKeung

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Now someone needs to do an Intona Ultimate vs Goebel USB head to head. Any takers?
They are on par in term of absolute performance but have totally diff characters.
If you like one of them, you may not like the other one.

All Goebel cables have a similar house sound.
The recent positive-feedback review on Goebel xlr ic written by Marshall Nack is spot-on :
https://positive-feedback.com/reviews/hardware-reviews/gobel-lacorde-statement-xlr-interconnects/

In my system I got a Goebel xlr ic between preamp and poweramp.
To my taste, even one more Goebel will be an overdose.
;)
 
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CKKeung

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Jun 18, 2011
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I was once asked : why choosing Intona Ultima usb cable as the usb cable champion, but not Goebel usb or Skogrand Beethoven usb?

My answer is that I want the upstream cable to be most all-rounded and perserve all the details and resolution in the signal.

Any personal preference such as richness, stronger bass ...etc can be fine-tuned later on by the downstream cables such as ic and sc.
My 2 cents.
 
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christoph

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Dec 12, 2015
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I thought I'd provide feedback on the Intona Ultimate USB cable which I went ahead and purchased. It is as good as others have suggested and as good as hoped for. Transients are especially good. Drum strikes have more speed and snap and guitar plucks have crisper and cleaner articulations. Both detail and timing resolution are noticeably better and complex musical lines are easily delineated but not at the expense of coherence which is difficult to achieve. It is a well balanced cable where nothing is unnaturally accentuated and the improvements are not subtle. Worth the asking price, imo.
What was your cable before the Intona Ultima?
 

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