Upgrading USB Cable

Right folks, let me be clear that I have no interest in claims that there will be no difference with USB cables although I understand that people can post whatever they like. Nevertheless, I would appreciate advice from people who have compared and found some which actually sounded better than few others.

My speaker cables and interconnects are quite decent. The only USB cable that I have is a Wireworld Ultraviolet (Type A to B) which was bundled together free with the Musical Fidelity M1 DAC which I bought many years ago. The USB cable is used to connect the laptop to DAC.

Has anyone upgraded the USB cable and found a noticeable or worthwhile difference? If yes what is the brand of the cables? Price range is irrelevant and can be anything from £2 to say £2,000.

I’ve used Audioquest Diamond, replaced by Wireworld Platinum. Currently using Audience Front Row.

Luxman JPU-150

Not sure what I’d compare it to though. Like the Naim DC-1 BNC cable, I assume the JPU-150 is designed to have optimum synergy with their own DACs. But it seems to be well regarded.

Thanks for the response. Looks like you are the cable man. I presume you have found positive audible differences between these rather premium USB cables.

I’m just weighing the options and may pull the trigger…

Currently looking at Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7 and Viard Audio Silver HD USB.

Thanks for the information. I’ve looked at the Luxman JPU-150 and the new price is rather reasonable. Can’t demo any of these cables and will likely buy used so have to just buy blind.

FWIW the Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7 and Viard Audio Silver HD at their used prices are more expensive than the new Luxman JPU-150.

Best advise I can give is to try them. Platinum 7 even though discontinued is a excellent cable, and you should be able to get a good price on it. Also don’t go any shorter than 1 meter, any less sounds a bit congested. And Black Cat Cables the Digit 75 is excellent and I’ve heard Curious Cables makes a really good USB

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I bought a Curious Cables USB to try on the basis of positive reviews. It’s the bright yellow one from Australia that separates the 5V DC wire separate from all the others. It replaced a no name USB cable between music server and Chord M Scaler and made the music smoother, less grainy or relentless and it seemed to flow better while providing greater resolution. On this basis, I recommend it.

In the end though, I replaced server - USB - M Scaler with server - optical ethernet - opticalRendu - M Scaler which was better still.

There are lots of USB cable reviews and comparisons on-line. The Curious Cables USB usually comes out somewhere near the top, regardless of price.

Hope this helps, BF

Thanks Bluesfan. I’ve looked at Curious USB cables after Opus recommended it. I read about Curious USB several years ago but didn’t really pay attention to it. To be more specific, I didn’t focus much on the USB cable throughout the years as it was neglected all this while as I continued to upgrade the speaker cables and interconnects. Perhaps it’s time.

I just noticed that there is now an evolved version of the Curious USB which is now called “Curious Evolved”. The price of Curious cables is not exactly cheap and I’ll see if I will eventually end up with one of these.

I have been tweaking and tuning over the last few months and currently I am using a Project Ultra Stream S2. Connecting this to my MScaler is an AQ Carbon USB which replaced a no name cable and brought immediate and obvious improvements, tightening the bass, improving the soundstage and removing grain/hash from the top. It also brought a more indefinable improvement, in that it just felt better to listen to - maybe ‘music flows better’ or ‘a more balanced sound’ best describe it.

I mention the Project because the marketing spiel says it ‘Bypasses all audio formats to the DAC, supplying only a clean, bit-perfect USB signal’ and ‘PC input allows for USB-connected PCs to benefit from the “detox” process’. I have the aforementioned no name USB connecting the Project to my NUC and have been wondering whether, with the Project doing its thing, a better USB would make any difference (on the to try list).

Anyway, it may also be worth trying something like the Project in your set up. The question for me is will a similarly priced USB cable match or exceed the performance of the Project?

I’m kinda embarrassed to admit the amount of usb cables I’ve tried and own. Currently using a fanless NUC connected to DAC but this flaffing around with usb cables went on for years. Here’s the list in order of purchase date:

1: Chord Silverplus
2: Supra USB
3: Audioquest Carbon
4: Chord C USB
5: Cheapo Lindy (Bought this and the Belden as supposedly all USB cables sound the same (wrong))
6: Cheapo Belden
7: Oyaide NEO d+ Class S
8: Furutech Formula 2
9: Chord Signature

The cable I prefer is my first purchase, the Chord Silverplus so could have saved myself quite a bit of cash if I wasn’t such an idiot trying to improve on it. Indiviually most were reasonably priced apart from the Signature although got that at half price due to Chord replacing it.
Both the silverplus and signature bring a certain body to the music which none of the others do in my system. The silverplus is the most natural sounding to me and although I found the signature to be more detailed, it didn’t present the music coherently and the bass was overblown.
I’m begining to think that Chord discontinued the silverplus because of how good it was, I found its replacement the C USB to sound thin by comparison.
So that’s me finsihed buying USB cables although forgot to mention that I do have a couple of spare silverpluses.
If anyone sees any of these for sale on ebay or wherever I’d recommend you snap them up as they are good uns.

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An alternative if £2k is affordble would be the Innuos Phoenix USB reclocker which cleans up the USB. It has linear power supplies and is based on their Statement top of the range music server.

Because I had a nDAC/555DR I choose the Audiophilleo + PurePower USB to SPDIF which hangs off the nDAC rear BNC connector with no cable to bother about.

I use a cheap computer USB cable on the basis that whatever mess is coming in will have little affect on the output. Computer USB cables don’t corrupt the data. The SPDIF output of the Audiophilleo has only a few picoseconds of jitter.

Phil

Thanks for all responses. I will be picking up a Tellurium Q Ultra Silver USB by this weekend. My first USB cable upgrade.

I just installed the Tellurium Q Ultra Silver USB and yes, it’s an improvement over Wireworld Ultraviolet. A noticeable difference. It’s subjective to say whether it’s a big or subtle difference but I would think it’s a worthwhile upgrade.

In simplest choice of words, improvements include reduced smearing and digital nasties especially in the treble and reduced hardness. As a result music sounds more real, sounding more analog than digital. Overall better clarity and refinement and cleaner sound.

Will switch to the Ultraviolet sometime just to be sure. I wonder how other USB cables such as Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7 or Silver Starlight 7 will compare. At this level perhaps differences will be more subtle and it will be a matter of taste.

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Right folks, the differences are marked. Rather noticeable improvement, not a subtle one.

For a more accurate assessment, I figured out I need to carry out a more methodological approach with the listening by swapping the cables between each track. So I listened to a complete track with the Wireworld Ultraviolet and upon completion I switched to the Tellurium Q Ultra Silver and listened to the same track at the same volume. I was prepared to do a 3rd switch back to the Wireworld in case I didn’t hear a difference but there wasn’t any need to do so as the difference is very noticeable.

Music used is David Benoit’s “Drive Time” which is a random selection.

The differences. With the Wireworld Ultraviolet, music sounds good and I still tap my feet to the beat. Once I switched to the Tellurium Q Ultra Silver, I realised the Wireworld lacks the control from top to bottom. The bass sounds big but loose and smeared. Sound of instruments such as piano, saxophone and trumpet is slightly louder and 1 or 2 rows in front. With the Tellurium, everything sounds more controlled. Bass sounds more defined and textured with reduced smearing. Sound of instruments sound slightly softer and 1 or 2 rows behind. The tone of piano is more controlled with shorter decay and sustain times which may have contributed to a cleaner sound.

In summary, the Tellurium cable brought better control and refinement to the sound with an overall cleaner presentation. With the Wireworld, music sounds “messier” with higher levels of smearing especially in the bass and instruments sound slightly larger, airier and louder than they should.

I would recommend trying a better USB cable to connect the laptop or computer to the DAC if anyone is still using some cheap off-the-shelf USB cables, or the Wireworld Ultraviolet.