Which USB Cable best for my new USB DAC

Just bought an AUDIO ALCHEMY DDP-1 USB DAC for my computer. It’s due to be delivered on Monday and I don’t have a USB cable for it. I’ve never bought a USB cable for audio before so I thought I’d ask if anyone has particular experience buying USB cables for this particular product. Or if not this particular product, then which audio USB do you like.  I listen to classical music and opera and have a fairly good stereo set up for my computer, a Musical Fidelity A3cr Preamp, Adcom Amp and Spendor S3/5 Monitor Speakers.  It’s all quite musical and hopefully the Audio Alchemy will fit in nicely.

This article has given me some ideas, but it’d be nice to have some second and third and more opinions.


Hi there , I dont know anything about your Audio Alchemy as I use a modifed Oppo Sonica Dac and the cable I use is the Telurium Q Ultra Silver cable. I listen to classical music also and find this cable once burned in just the ticket. It is not cheap , over here in the UK it cost £450 but I think it is well worth it. To burn in I just put it on a spare laptop and connected to an old dac and played BBC Radio 3 for a fortnight. After that I put it on my main rig and listened and it really was superb. The low basses in Mahler's Symphony No 2 had a growl to them I hadn't heard before and as I went through more of my music files I had similar experiencies. The treble is the last thing to settle down seeing as it is silver instead of copper I experienced from day to day that it would sound wonderful one day and brash and aggresive the next day. The bad days get fewer and fewer as time goes on.
Thanks for your comments on your Telurian Q Ultra Silver Cable.  They are pricey!

 Your comments about breaking in remind me again how amazed I always am when I read about the necessity to break in our audio products.  I suppose that is a tell tale sign that I’m not a trained engineer that understands what happens at the electron level.  Nevertheless, it seems to be a real effect, but I must say it complicates choosing cables when long break in periods are needed.  
@echolane  Congratulations on your new DAC. If you are U.S. based, you can utilize The Cable Company's Lending Program to trial a few USB cables. They will be fully broken in and you will be able to test them out within your own system to determine which one works best for you. 

Thanks for sharing the link to the USB cable comparison. You may also want to look at Audio Bacon. They have a number of USB cable reviews / comparisons.

All the best.

@echolane Firstly, the USB cable will be a type B from your PC to a type A to the DAC. I am not aware of your PC setup, however music player straight from a PC USB port will have jitter error. There are intermediate plug in solutions for that mentioned somewhere in the current topics in A'gon.

Again, I am not sure what program you are using to play your music, but file format and driver can effect the music quality. You might be tempted to source an expensive USB cable up front, but from my experience, don't, at least not yet. Get $20-$50 cable and you will see that the music is not bad. It may be quite acceptable for quite a while as the main issue is the PC. I am not sure why posters immediately quote $300-400 cables first up!

Have a look for products on this forum for re-clockers such as Synchromesh, unless your DAC already has a jitter eliminating clock.

Thank you david_ten for the tip about The Cable Company’s lending program.  Sounds absolutely the right sort of way to go about choosing a cable and that’s what I plan to do.
Hello amg56. I don’t have a program to play from a NAS yet! I am in the difficult stage of trying to put everything together and without a good means yet of testing things out. For example, my nephew has my new Naim Uniti Core and most of my CDs which he is going to rip for me. He will also help me install and test everything. He’s in Louisiana and I’m in California and things will come together when he makes the trip here in about a month. And the Naim Uniti Core goes in my living room stereo system which is at the other end of the house from my computer system, a significant complication.
Meanwhile, the Audio Alchemy is the first piece of gear I have so far in the new streaming process. I will have to test the new Audio Alchemy at this point by playing YouTube or Deezer. I won’t have an app or a NAS until my nephew shows up at which point I will get technically challenged again because I’m not quite sure what I will have to do to send the NAS music through the Audio Alchemy.  It all just seems so complicated right now and constantly challenges me!

Hi echolane,I'm sure you find this all daunting but once through the initial process it will become easier. I notice one poster was having a dig about us recommending more expensive cables and saying for you to get a cheap one first. I'm afraid I find this a bit of a false economy as if you ever want to resell it you will only get peanuts for it. I tend to get a really good cable first and the chances of wanting to change it later are very small plus I don't see why I should break in a cable for someone else to get the benefits. Jitter was also mentioned and there are many ways of fighting that little chestnut some very expensive and some not so. The one I would recommend is a program called Fideliser Plus, what it does is shut off lots of windows programs that actually contribute a lot of jitter thereby taking an imense load off the processor and forcing the processor to just use one core on audio based programs. It works a treat and is super value for money. I find as we get older we get more and more afraid of technology and we shay away from it. I have just built a new PC for my friend and set it up for him and he has taken it up like a duck to water and he is 72 so it can be done. Good luck in your quest and if you need any help at anytime just post it up and I shall do my best to help.Jim.
Firstly, the USB cable will be a type B from your PC to a type A to the DAC.

It is Type A on the PC and Type B (generally, but not always) on the DAC.
Good to learn the connector ends are different - thanks for that bit of info!

I tend to want to use at least “better” quality on the scale of good-better-best.  Besides wirh cables becoming really expensive, I just cant afford to play in that kind of high stakes game.
Echolane, Try different USB cables before you buy. There is a chance that it won’t make any difference. Guy who made video, in the link you posted, is a little bit confused. He describes two things that might happen to digital USB signal: bits might not be recognized properly or timing jitter will convert to noise. As for the first - you need only cable with good shielding and no power wires. As for the second - there is no jitter involved at all since your DAC has asynchronous USB input, meaning that timing/clock of the data has nothing to do with timing/clock of the DAC. DAC receives data in packets (frames) at about 1kHz rate and places this data into buffer, signaling back to computer buffer under/overflow status to which computer adjusts size of the next frame. DAC takes data from this buffer at its own clock rate. The only jitter involved is internal clock jitter that is affected by the system noise. USB cable might inject some noise into the system but it is more likely dependent on you DAC sensitivity to it, cable design and not the fancy materials or high price. It is possible that you will hear difference between USB cables, but there is also possibility that you will hear none. Don’t spend a lot of money before you try. You can also investigate USB conditioners that will rebalance, reclock and possibly even add optical isolation between computer and the DAC.

(He also talks about extremely low USB 2.0 input levels and bits being not recognized properly because of electrical noise, but forgets to mention outputs levels, where high level is 2.8-3.6V. In addition it is differential)