Do USB cables matter ?

I know from the PC to the DAC the USB matters. But... to copy from one exterior HD to another one, does the quality of the USB make a difference in SQ ?
A friend is loaning me his HD with 6000 albums on it. (All uncompressed & some High rez and DSD) I'll be copying the HD to my HD with JRiver.
Thank in advance.
Cee5caef 5ddc 4449 b8c0 b4a9b11d36e5zmanastronomy
It's only data copy. Any functional usb cable will do. Just like copying any kind of data on a computer.
I agree with Mapman 100%. All you are doing is copying data files from one drive to another. The fact that the bits in those data files represent music is irrelevant.

Although it would undoubtedly be a complete waste of time, if you want to satisfy yourself that the bits were copied accurately you could use one of a number of downloadable free programs that are available, such as this one (for Windows-based computers) which generate and compare file "checksums."

However one thing that could conceivably be desirable from a sonic standpoint, at least if you are using a Windows-based computer, would be to defragment your external drive after the files are copied to it. At least, that is, if the defragmenter program (which is built into Windows under "Accessories/System Tools") indicates a significant percentage of fragmentation.

If the computer is directly connected to the DAC, for example via USB, it seems to me to be at least slightly conceivable that some of the electrical noise which would occur during playback as a result of the hard drive constantly jumping around to read individual files that are broken up into diverse physical locations could ultimately find its way into the DAC and adversely affect sonics, at least slightly. On the other hand, though, be aware that defragmenting 6000 albums worth of data is likely to take many hours of computer time.

If the computer is a Mac, though, I can't speak knowledgeably on that potential issue.

-- Al
Mapman, Almarg... this is good info. So, data is data to copy from one HD to another. That's great to know.
De Fragging the Ext HD... I would have never thought of that. Seems it would allow things to run smoother.

Almarg, does the program in the link you provided check as your copying data or after to validate the data ?

I'm planning to run my NAS HD to my Laptop via wireless router. From there, I'm going USB to Asynchronous DAC to Pre to Amp.
It's all new to me, but I can't pass up 6000 albums for free.

Just getting my feet wet right now. I may go with a dedicated server in the future. I want to take small steps right now.

JRiver with Fidelizer as an optimizing program is about as far as I have planed for this system. I'm hoping to at least get as good of playback as my CD Player.
Does the program in the link you provided check as your copying data or after to validate the data ?
The program would be used after copying, not on the fly during copying. You would select a file on one drive and have it calculate the corresponding checksum, and then have it compare that checksum with one it would calculate for the corresponding file on the other drive.

On the page I linked to, if you click the "read more" link under "Editors' Review" you'll see a brief YouTube video illustrating the use of the program. The detail in the video will be easier to see if you blow it up to full-screen, using the "button" which will appear at the lower right hand corner of the video window when the video starts playing.

-- Al
For moving data non-real-time from disk to memory or another disk, the USB cable is not very important. Any decent one that meets specs will do.

For USB streaming audio interfaces it is very important. This is real-time sensitive. Losses, impedance and dispersion all matter.

Async USB interfaces contain the Master Clock of the system, so they are extremely important. The vast majority of USB interfaces are poorly implemented, so they will likely not match the SQ of your CD transport. There are exceptions though. Its just like shopping for a good cartridge for your vinyl. You get what you pay for.

As for the USB cable, the Async interface makes the jitter from the computer unimportant, however there are other mechanisms that can add jitter to the receiver. One of these is common-mode noise. This can vary with the cable and the computer USB port. A second one is EMI or radiated emissions. If the cable and connectors are not the proper impedance, reflections occur and radiation occurs. This can impact the receiving device. Thirdly, the error rate can impact the SQ.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio