what digital cables for my dac?


I have a cheap sony player hooked up to a monarchy dip,and into a mccormack Dac-1 with the $400.mod and nordost blue heaven interconnects to my Audio refinement Complete amp and nordost blue heaven speaker wire into my Martin Logan Aerius speakers. Yes I know I need a better and stronger amp,but for now please I need some input on digital wire going from my monarchy to my dac currently I am using $75 Kimber wire,What is good for $200 max,at 1/2meter? Tara,Nordost,kimber,mapleshades,crystalcable? Thanks for the input,Nick
Convert?fit=crop&h=128&rotate=exif&w=128happynick
First of all, don't use a half meter. I had a very expensive Wireworld Gold Starlight III+ half metre cable with my first separates, but the bargain-priced Apogee Wyde Eye in a 1.5 meter length placed the instruments in the soundstage more clearly. The WW cable was superb in many ways, but length matters. If you're not sure you believe this, there are a good many posts on the subject archived here.

As for a good digital cable at your price, I would suggest the Ven Haus cryo Pulsar. It is almost as good at timbres, warmth and detail as my old GS III+, better at dynamics, and much, much cheaper. Another possibility might be either of the Atlas digital cables available from UHF magazine. They ditched their Gold Starlight in favour of Atlas Opus--again, much cheaper.

VH Pulsar

UHF cables

Whatever you get, though, make sure it's a 1.5 meter length.
Although the starting point using a "cheap Sony player" seems to be your weakest point, the upgrading of digital IC will let you know when you have heard all there is to hear from your transport, in the digital domain.
I can recommend using matching Mapleshade digital IC's (on either side of your Monarchy DIP), inexpensively excellent without being too revealing of transport inadequacies. Also, can point you toward a subsequent upgrade to match a more capable transport in your future: Auricle Audio Design Encore Signature digital IC.
Audiogon member Joemazzaglia sells these custom crafted digital IC's which truly excel at revealing everything your digital components can do, which is much more than you expect, if accustomed to most other IC choices. Priced too low to elicit budgetary shock and awe, which is a good thing.
I'll second the VH Audio Pulsar.
Whatever you get, though, make sure it's a 1.5 meter length
1.5 meter is better than 0.5 ?can you please tell me why , thanks
Feel free to try shorter lengths of digital cable. While some cables may sound better in longer lengths, the general rules about all cables still apply to digital, shorter is always less damaging to the signal being passed in the cable. I'd suggest using the most revealing digital cable you can get, and letting your analog gear/cables tweak your sound. I try to never give up resolution in order to gain pleasant tonality, and any tweaking I do, I do as late in the signal chain as possible.
JMO.
Let me suggest you try the Audio Horizons digital interconnect. I use it. It sounds wonderful. It's in your price range. It's available for free trial period.
Duypham,

I know the use of a longer length seems counterintuitive to those of us who are used to "shorter is better". Shorter _is_ better, for analog cables.

Go to http://www.empiricalaudio.com. Scroll down to the link "Paper on S/PDIF cable length in PSOnline".

In a nutshell, this paper explains that signals are reflected internally in digital interconnects. Good DAC design can minimize these reflections but this is usually not done. In shorter cables, the reflected signal returns to the output very close to the rising edge of a wave, and confuses the DAC about the timing of the signal. The result is jitter. The longer length allows the reflection to return at a time when it is less likely to be confused with signal. The result is more coherent music.

(I apologize for any inaccuracies which may be found in the very brief summary above.)

You can also refer to Chris Ven Haus' Web site, where he specifies that 1.5 meters is optimum length for digital interconnects, and to UHF Magazine number 74. UHF tested different cable lengths and now do not recommend any length shorter than 1.5 meter.

UHF Magazine

I did my own tests and came to the same conclusion. I used 1-meter and 1.5-meter lengths of 75-ohm Apogee Wyde Eye (still a contender for best at its price point). We listened using my TEAC VRDS T1 and Apogee DA-1000E-20, and also a friend's Theta Universal and Kora Hermes. The results were unquestionably in favour of the longer length.

You could try a test yourself and see.
It seems that most of the analysis of digital cable length is based on theoretical levels of reflections in cables. These usually assume some horrible mismatch between transport and dac, or a digital cable improperly terminated. If we are talking about a properly designed and terminated cable, then other factors besides reflections come into play; such as bandwidth attenuation caused by inductance and capacitance values that increase with length.
If we're comparing apples to apples, quality cable in different lengths; then I suspect that much of the praise for longer lengths is due to personal sonic preferences.
I used to use the standard 1m lengths in my system, but then I discovered that my setup prefers .5m. It's more open, and less smeared and colored in the midrange and treble.
Maybe the best bet would be to buy some decent cable at various lengths, and see what your system 'likes' best? Then you could use that length in further listening tests with other models of cable.
Okay, so that's maybe not the most practical option, but what about this hobby is 'practical'? :)
Take a serious look at the one made my Bluemarbleaudio.

http://www.bluemarbleaudio.com/

This guy makes some awesome cables.
Sterevox. This is the designer who created the Illuminati digital cable, which was something of an industry standard for many years in the 90's. He's back and with a digital cable for well under $200. This is an easy decision.
Drubin
Sterevox. This is the designer who created the Illuminati digital cable, which was something of an industry standard for many years in the 90's. He's back and with a digital cable for well under $200. This is an easy decision.

Agreed, it's an outstanding cable for the money. I think Galen Carol audio has them at a decent price too. Try gcaudio.com.
Jack Dotson, there doesn't seem to be very much at that site. The nav buttons don't load anything--no cables, no systems, no speakers... maybe it's my browser.
Tobias
Jack Dotson, there doesn't seem to be very much at that site. The nav buttons don't load anything--no cables, no systems, no speakers... maybe it's my browser.

I think it's your browser or its' settings, it worked fine for me.
It's interesting that their digital cable is cryo'ed. I found cryoing of digital cables to make a very positive improvement as well.

The cryo treatment of my Pulsar certainly didn't hurt it. One consequence of cryo-treatment is long break-in time, according to Chris Ven Haus. That affirmation was not contradicted by my experience. The cable continued to improve _daily_ over a two-week period of 24-in-24 play.

Tplavas, have you actually tried a 1.5-meter cable? You don't mention it so I thought I'd ask.
Tobias, yes, I've tried 1.5 meters in digital cables. I think it has much to do with what cable you're using. I read a statement by Ray Kimber that their digital cables tend to have more upper-frequency emphasis in shorter lengths, which is my experience listening to a number of different cables. I found the shorter length cable to present a more realistic sound on percussion.
I think people should just trust their own ears, if 1.5 meters sounds better to some, and .5 better to others, who am I to say they're wrong? I suspect that the improved rise time in shorter lengths may offset any possible increases in reflectivity. But that's just speculation on my part.
i've been very satisfied with the original ps audio top of the line digital cable. i believe it was $300 list when it came out.

the original illuminati cable is another good choice.
Mrtennis, I agree, the xstream digital from ps audio was an overlooked gem. I suspect alot of people didn't care for it because of it's extremely revealing character.
The digi-cable from Discovery cable is another standout, but too inexpensive to be taken seriously by some :)
I know the use of a longer length seems counterintuitive to those of us who are used to "shorter is better". Shorter _is_ better, for analog cables.

Go to http://www.empiricalaudio.com. Scroll down to the link "Paper on S/PDIF cable length in PSOnline".

In a nutshell, this paper explains that signals are reflected internally in digital interconnects. Good DAC design can minimize these reflections but this is usually not done. In shorter cables, the reflected signal returns to the output very close to the rising edge of a wave, and confuses the DAC about the timing of the signal. The result is jitter. The longer length allows the reflection to return at a time when it is less likely to be confused with signal. The result is more coherent music.

(I apologize for any inaccuracies which may be found in the very brief summary above.)

You can also refer to Chris Ven Haus' Web site, where he specifies that 1.5 meters is optimum length for digital interconnects, and to UHF Magazine number 74. UHF tested different cable lengths and now do not recommend any length shorter than 1.5 meter.

UHF Magazine

I did my own tests and came to the same conclusion. I used 1-meter and 1.5-meter lengths of 75-ohm Apogee Wyde Eye (still a contender for best at its price point). We listened using my TEAC VRDS T1 and Apogee DA-1000E-20, and also a friend's Theta Universal and Kora Hermes. The results were unquestionably in favour of the longer length.

You could try a test yourself and see.


First of all, let me say that I'm not trying to prove anyone here wrong for believing that 1.5 meters is the 'best' length for digital cables, but I am trying to show that there certainly is not a consensus on the subject. According to Dan Lavry of Lavry Engineering, that Empirical Audio SPDIF article is "nonsense": http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/mv/msg/11678/0//0/
Tplavas, I appreciate the reference to Mr. Lavry's article and I shall certainly follow it up. Thank you.

I would just like to point out that "believing" is not the appropriate word in my case. If I understand the word "belief" correctly, it can be used to refer to something that one has not witnessed with his own senses, but has heard reported.

I do not base my statement that a longer cable may be better on articles that I have read. I made up two cables identical in all but length and listened to them with a friend, on our two systems. That makes just four trials, or two comparisons, in my experience.

With our gear, in our rooms, and with those cables, the difference was very clear, so I can say from experience, not from belief, that in these trials longer was preferable. I recommend that anyone who has not heard such a difference base his or her final conclusion on experience too. I only mention my own to encourage others to try it--not to encourage others to spread the word on something they haven't heard. It has the advantage of being a relatively inexpensive improvement; that is, if it works for you.

I have also heard at least one much better system than my own which nonetheless uses a 1-meter digital interconnect. Perhaps the owner would be happier if he tried a longer cable, I don't know. He is certainly happy now.
Tobias, sorry, I think you're over-thinking my use of the word 'belief'. In this case, it was used in it's broader sense to mean something a person accepts as truth, regardless of source or experience. You believe it because you've experienced it, which is the preferred way IMO. I also believe shorter to be better because I've experienced it. Which really leaves us nowhere, (as usual in this hobby).
I was mainly trying to rebutt the 'technical' support for the longer-is-better argument. Not because I need to be right, but because I want people to trust their ears on a case-by-case basis, and not defer to anyone's 'technical' expertise.
Also, your friend with the 1 meter digital cable could 'swing either way' as it were, and go up or down a 1/2 meter for greater satisfaction.
Who knows? ;)
I have been very happy with Tara labs rsc digital 75,I used kimber before and thus cable is a lot better.
Apogee WydeEye is sounding great with my DAC - I beleive it to be a bargain perhaps because it is a "professional" product - available primarily from music studio places as opposed to high end places - about 40-50 bucks. some people cannot get themselves to hook up something this cheap to the rest of their audio jewelry collection - but not me.