As I am using a wyred 4 sound DAC-2 with ASYNCHRONOUS USB, the free cable delivered with the unit is just perfect.
With async USB there is no clock signal transferred via the cable, thus transport and interface jitter are non-existent.
In such cases, any USB cable will do.
If the DAC is synchronous adaptive, then the quality of the USB cable will make a lot of difference.
My personal opinion is that synchronous USB is not the best choice in computer audio no matter how good the cable, but I don't want to offend anybody or to hijack the thread and stop here.
I have and enjoy a cryo silver cable made by Audiogoner Acreyes. It is the first premium USB cable I have tried and I think I got lucky. I listen for timing and tonal richness mostly, and it delivered both. Not to mention the price. Acreyes sells them on auction and I got a steal.
I am using Cardas Clear USB and it's great.
Locus Designs Nucleus. Not under $200 but they have one that is. My converter is the Sonicweld Diverter.Both of which might be overkill if your set up does not eek out the last bit of resolution, otherwise, they are a necessity.
Enjoy the search, jtb
Mihaitaa, I'm calling shenanigans. How does the USB cable change the speed of the bits going across the wire? We already know the bits themselves make it intact over a "regular" USB cable or else we wouldn't be able to USB on a computer. The problem with Adaptive USB is that there's no guaranteed uniformity with the responsiveness of the USB hardware on either end (or the software controlling the USB hardware). Also the clocking used in the PC and the DACs that have to "adapt" come into play. That latter can't be helped. On an idle system the former is most likely not that big an issue. The cable is not the issue in any case unless it is defective.
I have the LOcus Designs "Polestar" cable which Jb might be refering to: I think it retails for 249. I did not compare a bunch of cords, but found it to be a noticable improvement over the "stock" cable I had connecting my MAC to DAC. It was recommended to me by another high end wire manufacturer who I think very well of. John
Larry_s, cable-induced jitter is a reality. The cable won't "slow down" the bits, like traffic will slow down on a highway. Reflections in non-uniform and ill-terminated cables will change the shape of the signal and that will impact WHEN transitions through zero occur, and that's where the bits are encoded.
Jitter is not a uniform slow-down, is that transitions are not time-equidistant.
I know that many will consider digital interconnects snake oil. I've been in that camp too until reality forced me to face it.
Only the fact that my DAC uses asynchronous USB allowed me to use the cheapest cable sent by W4S. With all other DACs the quality of the digital interconnect had a significant say.
Of course, you may choose to disregard everything I said, that's your privilege and I respect that.
I'm not selling cables here, I'm only sharing an opinion which grew from experience and some technical background.
Here is a white-paper on sources of jitter:
Not all asyc USB interfaces are immune to jitter BTW.
Thank you, Steve.
Could you, please, elaborate a bit on "Not all asyc USB interfaces are immune to jitter BTW"? I'd like to understand.
I might be wrong, but if the connection is asynchronous, that means that there is no timing sent through it, thus no interface jitter exists.
Jitter from the ADC itself will be there, in the data itself, that's clear, same for the jitter of the DAC's own clock, but that's not what I was referring to.
I meant that transport and interconnect jitter will be out of the picture in the async USB case.
Where am I wrong?
I'm in for a Locus Design Cynosure. I've worked my way through their line and have noticed leaps and bounds improvements all the way up. I'm thrilled with the product, and with Lee's generous upgrade policy.
The Locus Axis is awesome!
"transport and interconnect jitter will be out of the picture in the async USB case. Where am I wrong?"
You are not wrong. I have done several async designs, some even with FIFO reclockers isolating the USB and the output. There are still cable effects. Doesn't make technical sense, but there you have it. Ask Gordon of Wavelength or Hansen of Ayre. Same thing. It happens and we dont know why. We can speculate on mechanisms, but noone has the answer yet to my knowledge.
The effect is undoubtedly lower than with Adaptive mode interfaces, but it is evidently still there to some extent in most systems.
I find in my system that the effect is so small that I dont bother with expensive USB cables anymore.
Axis is my personal favorite.
Acr cable silver reference II purchased here on audiogon. great wire for the price. made big difference
I upgraded to the Ridge Street Audio Enopias from the excellent Althias and couldn't be happier. Both are outstanding USB cables, but the Enopias is extraordinary in my system.
Walk around sound stage, very neutral, incredible detail, very musical.
anyone here have tried Tranquility Audio Essence USB cables ? read good things about them.
Try out the NuForce Impulse Cable. It comes in 0.5 and 1.8m lengths at $20 and $30 respectively, so it's almost for free :)http://www.nuforce.com/hp/products/cable/index.php
In my setup, compared to the standard stock USB-cable that comes with the Icon HDP, the inclusion on the Impulse cable has brought with it better differentiation and added clarity/calmness. Moreover a sense a glare (with the stock cable) has now been replaced with more texture, making especially voices appear more natural and "there." There's a hightened sense of what's going on in the music, and one could say that if sound is air then it's now both a gentler and a bit varmer breeze.
It is my impression that 100+ hours through the Impulse cable has made the sound more organic. For some reason I didn't expect this cable to be sensitive to burn-in, and that being so I'm a bit more confident actually hearing the difference.
I have used the Cryoparts Custom Made USB Cable and it works pretty good.
Ok, I am going to be a bit enigmatic so please forgive me. I have recently gone through 3 USB cable which shall for now remain un-named. The total cost for these three cable is approximately $4k. The savey may be able to surmise what these cables are.
Now for the part which will probably cause you all to NOT take me serious LOL!!! Despite my testing, I have found a stock throw away cable which has thus far beaten them ALL and by quite a bit..., EXCEPT for the most expensive oft he the THREE which sounded IDENTICAL to the throw away cable and believe me, I listened long and hard and their existed NO DIFFERENCE!!!!
I got the throwaway cable from some device I purchased some time ago.., I found the same cable in a bulk buyout on parts express and ordered 10 more.... Get this!!!!!!!! they are $0.50 each!!!!! You will pay more for the shipping.
If you buy it and you think your expensive USB is better... That is fine, but my diverter hr and MSB power Dac indicate that this USB cable is an anomaly and better than some cable which have received praise from every corner!!!!
Gogo parts express and order part number Part #: 139-080
Why is it better and the cables I've had here which total into the thousands (AND YES I compared them head to head) ? I have no idea.
Let me just say this, I started not to post this because of the storm it could cause, but in the interest of helping my fellow audiophile get the best out of their systems, i went against perhaps my better judgement.
Again, I'm not going to argue with anyone concerning a fifty cent recommendation for a cable. If you buy and don't agree with my findings.., and your ever in Chicago.., look me up and I'll buy you a slice of world famous Chicago Pizza! :)
I have another $30.00 USB tweak which work with the diverter INCREDIBLY well and again...I don't know why, but I will save that for later. Try this cable first.
Can you share with us what else you have in your system (i.e. speakers, amps, source)?
IMHO, the key here is the word "better." Better in terms of what? Liquidity, musicality and detail...?
Your remarks do not surprise me. Are you sure that the particular throwaway cable that, according to you, performs so well is not a manufacturing anomaly? The 10,000 monkeys pounding on 10,000 keyboards eventually writing the great American novel kind of thing?
I've heard that it's all in the dielectric when it comes to USB cabling.
And I'm with Darrell... specifics, please, about your system and relateds, such as computer, HD, file types, cabling, that stuff.
Quick and dirty, speakers are my design, amps include the Graaf Modena OTL (modified with easy bias access ports), Acoustic Reality Thaumaturges, a pair of my own design, the Preamls include a Music First Audio Copper Classic and the Music First Audio Reference (I have multiple systems). Mac Mini (2) and of course the Diverter HR connected to a MSB USBPower Dac. I have other amps etc. but I'm not interested in listing my inventory:)
Just offering some advice on a great USB cable.
Quick and dirty, speakers are my design, amps include the Graaf Modena OTL (modified with easy bias access ports), Acoustic Reality Thaumaturges, a pair of my own design, the Preamps include a Music First Audio Copper Classic and the Music First Audio Reference (I have multiple systems). Mac Mini (2) and of course the Diverter HR connected to a MSB USBPower Dac. I have other amps etc. but I'm not interested in listing my inventory:)
Just offering some advice on a great USB cable.
Sorry about the double post.
With all due respect Istanbulu, I'm not going into the file types and all that stuff. It's $.50 cents. Try it or don't...
I mean if a guy with $4k worth of USB cables and a Diverter HR tells me to try a fifty cent cable, unless I'm a CABLE MANUFACTURER trying to save face, I'm not going to waste my time trying to figure out if he ripped his files in aiff or wav format.... I'd take the fifty cent challenge.
Next time you want to spend 4K on cables, you may want to use it to enroll in a physics class and save yourself a lot more money in the future. :^)
I'm very new to computer audio. In fact, still quite ignorant of all of this. My first venture was to get a DACmini from Centrance for my iMac and Audioengine A2 speakers. When on the phone, I asked about USB cables and was told that the ones they use have a very high RI rejection factor and that's about it. These guys are one of the major players in this market (chip design, buffer implementation, Apple and PC consultants, with a long list of manufacturers that wish to remain nameless, not to mention Lavry, Apogee, Benchmark, TI, BB, AKM, etc.)
It seems that proper shielding is of paramount importance. They go on to state that all data coming over a USB cable is in packets and comes in bursts-never in a continuous stream- and as a result you need a really good buffer on the receiving end. It seems it doesn't really matter on which side of the USB cable the clocking is done. I know this is raising a lot of hackles at various sites but I'll take their word for now as this can get real expensive real fast.
By the way, their headphone amp on the DACmini is really sweet.
Larry, I have a degree in elec eng thus I have had more than a year of physics as well as A course in waveform analysis (read Applied Laplace Transforms) continuous as well as discrete mathematical study. I also took another year of physics when working towards my Masters in Chemistry. I think I have a fair grasp of the the theory of electrical propagation of encoded data down a pipeline. Thanks for the concern, I can manage my money :)