FWIW, I asked this question about a year and a half ago, and at that time, no one thought it mattered or could recommend one. I went with one that had gold plated conductors (Belkin or Monster, not sure). I have occasionally used different USB cables without noticing any difference.
I think Cardas has a USB cable now, I'm sure others do too.
I've used four different USB cables, just for fun, because
I already happened to own them.
Each of the four cables are less than a few years old,
and all visibly fine. One happened to be the
$29, 6' Monster, the others standard things that
shipped with a scanner and printer, and also
a tiny retractable cable with a very thin cord.
No one of the four cables made any difference at all.
I wasn't necessarliy surprised. Bits is bits.
I looked at the Cardas and Kimber sites. I could not find a USB cable on either of them. Perhaps they have not updated their sites with them yet.
I think music direct had one in their new catalog
I don't know about Cardas, but Kimber makes a hell of a USB cable. I have several in various lengths in my system. I noticed a nice improvement over other silver plated USB cables when it came to video and audio playback and file transfer. Highly recommended!!!! I purchase mine through The Cable Company.
There is no such thing. USB is digital, and as much as people want to believe that there is a difference, of course there are differences but any USB cable need to fall within specs, meaning that it meets the error rate requirement such that 1 sent arrives as a 1 and 0 sent arrives as a 0 within that allowed error rate. This is purely digital signal transmission, has nothing to do with digital-to-analog or anything that degrades the signal. And since the message sent is reassembled at the receiver, any erroneous message just got requested and resent again. Imagine your USB keyboard behaving differently using different USB cable, or your external USB harddrive writing different data using different USB cable. USB devices talk USB, meaning they exchange messages the USB way, whether the device is a keyboard or an external USB DAC. Any honest guy will tell you this exact thing, but as always it's up to you to listen to what you want.
I think you're right Boogiemk4, but don't you like to have a good looking cable to conect your components? Maybe there won't be much of improvement in sound quality but I do prefer to have a nice looking cable with gold contacts then a cheap one similar to that used for connecting my printer...
Oehlbach makes a nice USB cable which, I quote from their website, has silver plated inner conductors, 24 ct. gold plated pins and a high solid shielding.
But I don't know if it can be found in the US, maybe an overseas online shop.
Elhazard, I like good looking stuffs too. Too bad that that's the strongest differentiation between USB cables. I wonder why there are no SPDIF coax or optical connection for external hard drives....
"Bits is bits," eh? Well, I guess I'll just have to disagree.
My dealer recently offered me a FANTASTIC deal on an audiophile-grade USB cable manufactured from a critical blend of silver, rhodium, gold and platinum with hand-drawn teflon insulation. It was cryoed at -462 degrees Fahrenheit (that's right, two degrees **below** absolute zero) for over six months. And the best part? it was only $5,600.00 for a 3 foot length (or two 3 foot lengths for only $11,995)!
The minute I put it into my system my jaw hit the floor: the difference was NOT subtle. It was as if a veil had been lifted and layers of grunge had been peeled away--almost as if the musicians were actually present in the room!
I like to think of myself as a fairly down-to-earth, sober, sceptical type, though. So I thought I'd hook the new cable up to my computer just to see if it made any difference.
I tried the mouse first. I was struck by how much smoother and more accurate the movements were. They had an almost indescribable elegance to them that the old USB cable simply couldn't match. The fluidity was positively intoxicating.
Connecting the cable to the keyboard, I was immediately struck by how much faster I could type, and how much better the letters looked on the screen. The contrast was improved, and the definition of the serifs was greatly enhanced. But then I noticed my writing was clearer, more articulate, more concise, and had fewer spelling mistakes. I was sold.
I now plan on replacing all my USB cables with "audiophile quality" USB cables. I'm just so glad I have one of those "cost plus" contracts with the Defense Department!
Well, I'd like to use that cable on my external hard drive and get 100 times speed up. Or use it for my printer and get it to print 100 times sharper.
I audtioned the same USB cable. At first I found it
pretty good ... but for the price, sleightly veiled, and with a
distinct roll-off at the bottom end.
At a full 2 inches thick, and 6' long ( only 40% more $ than the 3' length BTW )
I found it a little hard to work with though. It's also so darn heavy
that it tends to fall out of the A-end socket when listening
to anything with a heavy bass track.
Those niggling details aside however, I hasten to add ...
I was shocked at the difference in sound-stage,
clarity, and unrivaled sweetness the beast can offer, only
*after* the 1,216.25 hours of recommended burn-in.
1,217 hours-- and this snake really shines!