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I have a similar configuration—I stream WAV files from an external hard drive to my Bryston BDP, or, when I want a little different flavor, to an Oppo 105. I’ve wondered the exact same question: does the cable from the hard drive feeding into the Bryston/Oppo make a difference and is there something out there that can better the stock cable that comes with the hard drive. These are not your typical audiophile USB cables in that the connection at the hard drive end is some kind of micro-connection. Good question.
Exactly my question. The WD HD uses is a USB 3.0 so the hd end is different from the usual USB cable that is used from player to DAC or Computer to DAC.
My understanding is that computer USB ports produce a lot of noise and so the theory is that a better designed usb cable will help eliminate or reduce the noise.
I don't know if the same applies when just using an external hd whether Solid State or otherwise. I'm sure that probably makes a difference as well.
I would like to also mention that I’ve had my Bryston BDP for a few years and, while I initially pondered your question, after a while I decided not to pursue it. Both my transport and my Bryston BDP feed into the same DAC (a Bryston) and the difference in sound is very hard to discern (I actually do prefer one over the other, but I’m declining to get into that here). You might also be interested to know that if I feed the hard drive into the OPPO 105 (instead of into the Bryston BDP) the OPPO (to my ears) puts out discernably better sound if the files are WAV format instead of FLAC. Just some additional perspective.