USB cables really matter


I have been messing around with all manner of USB cables. After a lot of trial and error I first settled on Uptone USPCB connectors. I have now replaced them with an INTONA USB Reference cable to the DAC:
WHOA! The increase in transient transparency, frequency extension and horizontal and vertical sound stage improvement is nothing short of revelatory. The inconsistencies in USB performance clearly result from interference and mirroring within the cable and finding the right shielding solution is paramount.
antigrunge2
I do agree that USB cables really matter.  It's all analog within the cable.  But I am unimpressed with the Intona ad copy description. 

There may be many routes to great cables.  In the extremely high markup world of cables, though, price has to be a consideration.

I have had very good results with various solid core USB cables and have found my nervana with a shielded 5N solid core silver USB cable custom produced in Asia at a very favorable price.  I have described the changes in sound much as you have, and more.

What is at each end of the cable matters too, of course!
The last cable I used was a solidcore silver cable with a separate 5V lead from artisansilvercables.co.uk before shifting to the Uptone USPCB. Intona is very focused on impedance variations and I can confirm that the improvement over Uptone and Artisansilvercables is significant, albeit at a price.
@millercarbon,

Agreed, I was trying to rile the bits-are-bits crowd...
USB cables do make a difference and in my case it was huge. I`m using a Shunyata Research Sigma USB, not cheap but a huge jump in performance compared to my Nordost Blue USB, it was like adding a new component. For a long time i was not a believer that there were differences in USB cables i`am now.
 
 
"The inconsistencies in USB performance clearly result from interference and mirroring within the cable and finding the right shielding solution is paramount."

That's just part of it. BTW I wouldn't worry too much about "mirroring", you're reading too much marketing hype. More likely to hear differences due to materials and the methods used to assemble them.
So, what impact does a USB cable possible have an a DAC? Noise on the 5v line. Perhaps some EMI. The noise may have a big impact on jitter, but...soundstage depth and width "revelatory"? Sorry, that's really hard to swallow.
@madavid0
I can certainly understand your point of view. Lots of people would agree.   In my case BTW the 5V line doesn't matter; my latest cable doesn't even have a one because the USB board in my DAC has its own power supply.

It all may depend upon what's at both ends of the USB cable.  The first time I heard a really good cable, and it lists for only $40 and can be gotten for less, I found it hard to believe.  But a great (and likely expensive) cable introduced into a jitter prone system is not going to improve things at all.


Emi/RFI, vibration as well as mirroring all affect not the digital transmission but the digital to analogue conversion. As I mentioned, I have gone through a multi-step process of improvements. The cable between the streamer and the DAC, or even better, between the isolator (Intona, Uptone Regen, Ifi) and the DAC is crucial for systems’ performance. Ideally short and with maximum adherence of impedance to USB 2.0 spec.