USB-cables..Differences

:large_orange_diamond:One of my rare entrances here :grin:.

I am 66 years old, I use my ears when judging whether a hi-fi product is interesting to implement in my music-system.
This both in my 2-channel system and in my headphone-system.
I have never looked at measured values,.it is the hifi designer’s task during the design work…

I listen to the finished result and judge via my ears whether the hi-fi product adds better soundquality or not in my music-systems.
I am known for having music-systems that sound good,.and often give advice to others based on my listening experiences.
Is also quite often hired by others to install and optimize their music-system,.always with good results that are “only” based on listening…Not Measurement.

:orange_circle: Now To the Topic of the Thread:

These USB-cables in the picture below.
I sent these around to 10 of my hifi-friends.
I did not tell them what they cost individually or my reviews of the cables.

All 10 hi-fi friends individually ranked the USB-cables based on their soundquality in exactly the same order as me.

:large_orange_diamond:The USB-cables are:
• Chord C-stream 3m
• Vertere D-FI 1m
• Vertere D-FI 2m
• Audioquest Carbon 0,75m
• NordOst Blue Heaven 1m
• Vertere Redline 2m
• TotalDac D1 0,75m (not in picture)

The interesting thing is,.that all 10 also heard the difference between Vertere 1m and 2m.
Where all 10 thought Vertere 2m was better,.this in how it “held together” the musical flow ".

AND,.the question to you is,what is your opinion about the sound differences between different USB-cables…
AND,.even if you have experienced differences in soundquality between different lengths of the same USB-cable.

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My experience with USB cable is rather limited as I only tried two “fancy” cables.

Wireworld Ultraviolet
Tellurium Q Ultra Silver USB

The Wireworld is slightly better than USB cables that came free in the box or £5 to 10 from Amazon. Almost negligible difference.

The Tellurium Q Ultra Silver is also slightly better than the Ultraviolet. An appreciable difference but not night and day.

The conclusion from my EXPERIENCE is the difference between USB cables is small. It is my OPINION that it’s not worth it to spend big money on USB cables. Power cords bring the largest difference in my experience, followed by speaker cables and interconnects. USB cable is at the bottom.

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:large_orange_diamond: Here is a picture of the 7th USB-cable that I mentioned above…

• TotalDac D1

Never used USB for audio, Ethernet is another matter but that thread died a death.

Not tested different lengths of the same. From the above I’ve had experience with the Chord C (relatively neutral, flat), Nordost BH (darker and a bit closed in, less detailed), AQ Carbon (bright and edgy/tiring relative to the others). I liked none of these three in particular and ended up using a Chord Indigo.
All of the above tested between a Melco server and a couple of DACs previously, not using a USB A-B connection at present.
USB cables I’ve found to sound quite different and sensitive (noise?), and an easy way to adjust sound presentation depending on one’s system and preference.

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Nothing to do with the subject you have posted about but just to say, nice to have you back.

In the past few months I have wondered what had happened to you as, when I joined the forum in mid 2019 you were a fairly regular poster.

I was going to ask French Rooster if he had any information about you as you both often contributed to the same threads.

Nice to know you are still ‘alive & kicking’ as we Brits say!

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No experience with usb cables. But welcome back Peder :+1::clinking_glasses:

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I imagine a USB cable being another component with its own electrical parameters in the chain. So it is (or should be) tested for compliance to the USB spec. However it seems there is another factor that is not defined clearly, a form of unwanted modulation (noise) as far as the DAC process is concerned.
If we assume this to be correct then this noise would be affected or shaped differently by-

  1. cable design (geometry, materials and lengths…) that affect electrical parameters
  2. sources like laptops, desktops, storage drives, etc (hardware and software)
  3. EMI environment
  4. DAC design- ability to minimise the unwanted effects
  5. Other stuff?

I use the DAC-V1 USB. It is sensitive to 1. & 2. It is very positively responsive to a ‘clean’ USB feed IME.

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I’ve noticed marginal difference in USB cables with lower end DACs. The higher end ones seem to better isolate from the effects of EMI.

The difference is far less than than that made by the USB protocol itself. For example, the contrast between standard audio ASIO USB versus newer Bulk Pet USB is very pronounced. Moreso than any cable difference I’ve heard.

I use Audience FrontRow USB. I’ve also used Wireworld Platinum 7, and AudioQuest Diamond.

Unless it’s the order you have bulleted them in I’d be interested to know the order in which they were rated.

I use a Chord C Stream USB cable 1.5m between my Melco and Moon Amp (on-board DAC). I read somewhere that 1.5m was the optimum length for USB cables.

I tried a cheap Lindy Red/Black before that - around £5. It was OK but clearly inferior to the Chord in every way. I’ve never been tempted to try anything fancier than the Chord C stream. It is based on the previous Chord Silver Plus, in fact Chord say it is an improved version of it. The Silver Plus was a very highly regarded cable that competed easily with very much more expensive ones. At least one H-Fi magazine had it as their reference cable.

In a review against the Chord Epic, which is much more expensive, the general conclusion was that the Epic really wasn’t much better and in some ways maybe not as good. It can happen like that sometimes. A manufacturer produces a superb entry-level product that really overshadows all their other products until you start paying very silly money.

just waiting for an atlas solid core cable to be delivered to compare to the stock ne supplied by ifi with my dac… the only reason being as the supplied one was very short…

May I ask how does the Wireworld Platinum 7 sound next to the other USB cables? Initially I was looking to get a used WW Platinum 7 but since no one was selling, I bought the Tellurium Q instead.

I preferred it to the AudioQuest. But I did discover that the equipment involved made a difference

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It isn’t, unless best last, as the 2m Vertere was rated higher than the 1m.
It would also be interesting to know if comparisons were done by the rapid ‘Tune Dem’ approach of following a tune, or on extended listening, or if different people assessed differently.

I succumbed to the temptation. Settled with the Wireworld Platinum Starlight 8 USB. Will be getting it next week. I should be able to compare it with the current Tellurium Q Ultra Silver USB in my system by end of next week.

Bloody dealer lured me to taking the Wireworld Silver Electra 7 power cord together with the Platinum Starlight 8.

I had issues with a snug fit with wireworld on the IEC end and Naim boxes. They sort of hanged out in an angle. Any issues for you?

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Same experience. The plug of the Wireworld that goes into components is always a loose fit, hanging at an angle albeit just slight.

The main reason I considered the Silver Electra was the Electra 7 which I currently own actually sounded better than the Acrolink cord which costs 15 times more when used on the Luxman DAC. The Acrolink sounds better on the Chord DAC.

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Short update. I installed the Wireworld Platinum Starlight 8 yesterday and didn’t hear any noticeable difference. I tried to convince myself that the cable might need more time to complete the burn-in but wasn’t expecting any miracles.

Just today, I spent some time listening to familiar music. I’m stunned. Trying to avoid being long-winded, this cable now sounds quite different, quite a bit better than the old Tellurium Q Ultra Silver USB. I listened to more familiar tracks and figured out there isn’t any need to swap and compare the cables anymore to hear for differences.

Improvements include improved clarity and detail across the frequency spectrum, reduced background noise, reduced smearing of notes and more defined bass and midbass. It’s just an overall cleaner and more refined presentation and a higher quality sound reproduction. The tone of instruments sound slightly different and music just sounds right. I find myself shaking my head in disbelief and at the same time tapping my foot to the beat when listening to familiar music which showed improved refinement and sophistication. And it’s just a USB cable which I didn’t put too much high hopes earlier.

Make no mistake, at this level it’s the small differences that count. I don’t claim the difference to be earth shattering night and day. The previous cable is decent but this new USB has really taken things up a notch of two. The differences in this case improvements are clear to the ears. I am now a believer.

I would like to thank the gentleman who recommended this WW Platinum Starlight 8 on another thread. It’s a good cable and I now highly recommend it. I’m not sure if the sound will improve further as the cable currently has about 20 hours on it.

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