Maybe the best $ 140 ever spent .....


Please take look at my system.  Now, I have recently added the Emotiva XDA-2 DAC as a way to enjoy computer streaming with a minimal investment.  The huge majority of my listening pleasure comes from LP's and CD's, but I think that streaming is a great way to discover new music and to enjoy albums that I always wanted but never bought.  I started with MOG.com, and then switched to Rdio.com when MOG when out of business.  A few weeks ago, when Rdio folded, I signed on to Spotify Premium for $ 0.99 for three months (pretty much a no- brainer way to spend a buck.)  I started with a  5 m. Belkin Gold USB cable from my Mac Mini to the Emotive DAC ..... very nice sound of music which allowed me to really enjoy MOG and Rdio.  But since I switched to Spotify Premium ..... major upgrade.  

So, I figured "what the hell" and let's try the new AQ Jitterbug for $ 49.  Well, I gotta tell you .... a significant improvement !  Computer streaming finally sounding as good as CD quality ! Then, after reading a bunch of internet propaganda, I decided to change from my trustworthy Belkin Gold USB cable to the WireWorld Ultraviolet  ($ 90 for a 5 m. run) and see if it made a difference.  Holy Cow !  An almost unbelievable difference !  Greater dynamics, a deeper and more focused bottom end, a mid range to die for, smoother treble, a wider and deeper soundstage, and an astonishing leap ahead in resolution and clarity.  So, my dear friends, for a total investment of only $ 139, I have transformed my streaming music listening pleasure from an "okay" activity to a point where I'm streaming way more often than I'm listening to CD's (over a thousand) or LP's (over 500) ..... I am totally amazed !  By the way, I have absolutely no affiliation with Spotify Premium, AQ jitterbug, or WireWorld .... I'm just a very, very happy music lover !
adam18
Great to hear.  I use Wireworld USB cables, Starlight 7s, in my main system and have used the Belkins in secondary ones.  Five meters is a very long run for USB and I don’t question the value of better cables in that situation. Would be better to shorten the run however.
Thanks Mesch.  Yup, I think the WireWorld Ultraviolet 7 is a pretty special USB cable.  As far as the 5 meter length goes, I don't have the option of using a shorter cable, as I keep my computer next to my listening chair, and I need the length to reach the DAC on my equipment rack.
@adam18 Which system are you talking about? What speakers are you streaming Spotify to?
Hi Justin ..... my current system is the "beautiful music ... updated system" on my page.  So it's Spotify Premium from my Mac computer, through the WireWorld Ultraviolet 7 USB cable, into the Emotive XDA2 DAC (not yet described on my system page), through AudioQuest Sidewinder IC's, into my Rogue Audio Cronus integrated amp, through Paul Speltz Anti-cable speaker cables, and finally out of my Revel F12 speakers.
Correction to above post .... The AQ Jitterbug sits between the computer and the Ultraviolet cable.
adam18, don't you love it? This is the joy that audio is all about! :)
The best part is, if you want to keep exploring there is no end to it. All systems have characteristics/personalities and you can take it as far as you wish. This is truly a hobby for a lifetime. :)

Yup, digital can be contoured every bit as much as analogue, though with less "moving parts", obviously. But, every piece of a digital system has capacity to render significant improvements. Pursue those improvements with abandon and you will have a marvelous experience!

I spent two years on an experiment whereby I took a stock Mac Mini and iTunes as a server. I used approx. one dozen USB cables and one dozen DACs to see how much improvement could be had in letting the DAC do the "heavy lifting". The results were startling, and like you the sound went from OK to splendid. Now I am moving into examination of the dedicated server territory and I presume it will be ripe with potential as well. I am excited about it because the sound I have is already very gratifying. However, after decades at this I have learned to never say, "I'm there, it can't get any better." There are limitless improvements, experiences in this hobby there for the adventurous.  :)

Looking at your system I have some suggestions, if you don't mind. I strongly recommend you move to file playback vs. disc. Put your discs on file playback and you will hear your collection better than ever. I have found file playback consistently better than CD or streaming audio and the convenience is fabulous. Check out software for up conversion of PCM files (native 16bit/44.1Khz) and you will have a grand time. To date one of the "best $100 I ever spent," for me has been HQPlayer software. A bit ragged in terms of functionality but powerful to contour the sound. 

You may wish to elevate your speakers a bit more; raising the soundstage a couple inches by placing speakers on inert pedestals of a couple inches is an easy way to alter the experience and often it is more enjoyable. Keep exploring cables for power, speaker, etc. You can tune a rig quite well that way. You don't need to spend more, just rotate them with cables of comparable cost but quite different build/geometry and you will be shocked at the variety of performance.

Explore power cords if you have not. It doesn't have to be expensive, but even affordable power cords will render similar changes as the digital cable has. Trust me, well worth the effort. (Maybe you will believe me considering the "wow" experience you had with a digital cable.) Tuning rigs with power cords is a regular event for me. Also, try different speaker cables if you have not. Compare the sound of speaker cables with heavier gauge to the Anticables. You may be surprised at that, too. 

Plenty of fun things to do for not too much cost. That's one of the wonderful aspects of audio. 
Hi Doug ..... Thank you so very much for your insightful and informative post.  Lot of great ideas and helpful thoughts !
Thank you OP! Good info to know!