Question Hi-fi usb cable

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shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
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I do think the ability of a speaker cable, to carry certain frequencies, hence a cable's susceptibility to the 'skin effect', is the main reason they sound different. Having a thick cable, for low frequencies and smaller diameter 'multi-strand' cables, wrapped around the thick cable, for higher frequencies, must influence the sound.
Hi,
Skin effect does not matter at audio frequencies. Whether the current density is concentrated around the outer diameter of the strand, or is uniform across the strand, will not affect the signal. The signal is dependent on the resistance, inductance and capacitance of the cable. A null test of the cable will show that despite the cables parameters, it introduces no distortion. You get out what you put in, with a slight decrease in voltage, but even at 20kHz it is 10milli-dB's at most.

Here is a link to a loudspeaker coil design description :
For a powerful sub woofer the voice coil wire is at most 28AWG, which is 0.32mm diameter = 0.08mm2.

QED79 strand has a cross sectional area of 2.5mm2. This is 31x greater than the high power sub woofer voice coil cross sectional area.

So, for USB cables, despite the voltage being analogue, it still represents a bit, so any cable design has zero effect on the audio. Once the data is clocked into the USB receiver register, then that is it, it is either valid or not, and the errors if any will be heard as pops, or clicks etc.

Regards,
Shadders.
 
Hi,
Skin effect does not matter at audio frequencies. Whether the current density is concentrated around the outer diameter of the strand, or is uniform across the strand, will not affect the signal. The signal is dependent on the resistance, inductance and capacitance of the cable. A null test of the cable will show that despite the cables parameters, it introduces no distortion. You get out what you put in, with a slight decrease in voltage, but even at 20kHz it is 10milli-dB's at most.

Here is a link to a loudspeaker coil design description :
For a powerful sub woofer the voice coil wire is at most 28AWG, which is 0.32mm diameter = 0.08mm2.

QED79 strand has a cross sectional area of 2.5mm2. This is 31x greater than the high power sub woofer voice coil cross sectional area.

So, for USB cables, despite the voltage being analogue, it still represents a bit, so any cable design has zero effect on the audio. Once the data is clocked into the USB receiver register, then that is it, it is either valid or not, and the errors if any will be heard as pops, or clicks etc.

Regards,
Shadders.
I think this thread has drifted far enough fro m the OPs question, it's becoming a spouting match....
Unfortunately I have been told to let these threads run, ho hum!
 

shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
462
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I think this thread has drifted far enough fro m the OPs question, it's becoming a spouting match....
Unfortunately I have been told to let these threads run, ho hum!
Hi,
Yes, letting these threads run off course a bit in some areas, allows for people interaction, grows relationships organically, and provides extra information for others to learn if they want to. The forum is a community of people who have differing views.

Regards,
Shadders.
 
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WayneKerr

Well-known member
Jan 21, 2022
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Cheers for that. I do think the ability of a speaker cable, to carry certain frequencies, hence a cable's susceptibility to the 'skin effect', is the main reason they sound different. Having a thick cable, for low frequencies and smaller diameter 'multi-strand' cables, wrapped around the thick cable, for higher frequencies, must influence the sound. The amount of signal arriving at the speakers, must play a part in the speaker cable's 'tonality'. There is one thing I'm convinced of and that's speaker cable differences. I had blind listening demos at a HIFI shop, granted, when my hearing was much better, years ago and I did hear the difference between cheap copper cables and better quality copper cables, with silver plate around them. It was appreciable and I would have put money on it, back then. I can tell the difference, between Pepsi and Coca cola, by smell alone, never mind taste. I don't listen to many cables these days, but I am convinced the many elaborate materials and designs, do have an impact on the information being sent to speakers. There are so many variables and technical things to consider, but I don't obsess about this stuff now. I have decent cabling and I doubt an upgrade would be worthwhile, at my age and with the current kit I own. I remember Peter Belt trying sometimes crazy things, to improve sound quality. Having a clean power supply is one, but keeping HIFI a certain distance from copper pipes and water, might seem like overkill. I suppose if it can make a difference and you eliminate every potential problem, you would end up with the perfect sound. At the end of the day, however, we all hear things slightly differently, so its not a panacea.
Wow! Far too much pondering and deep thought going on here... just stick some tunes on man :)
 
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mgmasterv2

Active member
Mar 3, 2022
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I'm going to try the usb out on my ifi stream into my DAC .
The question is it worth spending money on a expensive hi-fi usb cable .
Could I tell the difference from a cheap one I may have from a old computer set up from back in the day?
yes and probably you can hear the difference, dont ask me why because i cant find an answer fot it. but changing a stock usb cable to ifi usb cable changed things alot for me. my player is a raspberry pi maybe usb implementation in pi is not as good as a dedicated player.
 
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They should be fined for that. I have decided to stop buying anything from AQ. Simply I do not want to support a company with such a massive deception.
Well, unless you’ve read the white paper for DBS (and understand it) and actually listened to some cables using it, it’s hard to hold a valid opinion - not too dissimilar to most other opinions on the Internet, people boycotting this or that or slagging off companies when they actually have zero experience or knowledge of said company/product etc etc.

I currently only sell AudioQuest, because ever since I heard their cables in the early 90s, I’ve liked what they do over multi-stranded cables. There were a few other brands at the time using solid core cables (like Mission), but most have moved over to multi-core for some reason. AQ won’t suit every system (whereas multi-stranded cables are more forgiving), but when it does suit…
 
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kukulec

Well-known member
Jan 25, 2015
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18,545
Are we getting personal here? Are you the one defining who can have a valid opinion on a public forum, so that you can keep running your business? "I heard their cables in the early 90s " - does this argument have any relevant connection with the subject?
I have 2 AQ HDMI cables and 1 optical cable. I have had couple of USB cables, currently have 3. 2 QED, 1 Wireworld. In case my HDMI cables all the generic ones with the right specification can keep up with AQ.
Between a printer cable and the QED New Reference High-Resolution USB anyone could hear a difference. Between my cheaper QED and the more expensive one I am not so sure, since both have decent wire and shielding. And I think my systems are quite revealing. Yes, you need a well designed and crafted cable. No, you do not have to buy 1,5 m for 689 pound :eek:
Considering the measurment history of AQ on ASR, I am pretty certain we would be all suprised by the greatness of DBS...
 

shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
462
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Are we getting personal here? Are you the one defining who can have a valid opinion on a public forum, so that you can keep running your business? "I heard their cables in the early 90s " - does this argument have any relevant connection with the subject?
I have 2 AQ HDMI cables and 1 optical cable. I have had couple of USB cables, currently have 3. 2 QED, 1 Wireworld. In case my HDMI cables all the generic ones with the right specification can keep up with AQ.
Between a printer cable and the QED New Reference High-Resolution USB anyone could hear a difference. Between my cheaper QED and the more expensive one I am not so sure, since both have decent wire and shielding. And I think my systems are quite revealing. Yes, you need a well designed and crafted cable. No, you do not have to buy 1,5 m for 689 pound :eek:
Considering the measurment history of AQ on ASR, I am pretty certain we would be all suprised by the greatness of DBS...
Hi,
You both seem to be on the same page, that USB cables sound different.

What is DBS ?

From an engineering perspective, there is no possibility that a USB has a different sound. What can happen is that the sending equipment is noisy on the ground connection and the DAC (example) has a poor design, or does not include galvanic isolation.

Bits truly are bits, so for a USB cable to affect the sound so subtly, would mean that only the LSB of the data is affected. This is just not possible. There is no mechanism where such a process can take place. So that leaves either expectation bias or poor designed equipment - transmitting the data, or the DAC.

Regards,
Shadders.
 
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podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
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670
Exactly. You have a zero and you have a one. So long as they all get through, you get all the data, for whatever you are sending, picture or sound etc. An expensive cable, will not give you better quality 'polished' zeros and ones.
 

doifeellucky

Well-known member
Feb 3, 2016
271
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11,070
One thing I can say is that my Zen DAC V2 really didn’t like it when I used an extension on their supplied, and rather short, usb cable. I was getting a consistent drop out, typically in every song. I didn’t measure the exact frequency, but every x minutes I got a couple of seconds of silence. Another cheap cable I had lying around fixed it. On a side note I recently wasted some money on a £30 ish RCA to 3.5mm. No difference, to me, to the 15 year old freebie I had lying around.
 

CleanCopperz

Well-known member
Feb 12, 2022
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When I said “think” people were still bloating there egos of trying to explain data just has to pass through then its all good…no difference in cable

…think!!!! Its freaking free people. Why are we fighting this subject….bad electricity doesnt WAIT for an invitation. It will annoy your ears, no matter how you like your 0 an 1. Its becoming an embarrasement for me that we are not problemsolving, instead we just like to prove/mislead the truth.
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
844
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19,770
The truth is there is no verifiable evidence that different USB cables make a difference to the sound. (If there was there would be no need USB cable threads)
Do USB cables vary in quality? Yes, however it will only alter how long they will last and the length you can use before dropouts occur. (They cannot affect the analogue sound that reaches your ears, as they are digital signals and thus need converting to analogue before you listen to them, hence the better (And usually more expensive) design of DAC gives an improvement over a lessor one)
If you believe the above to be a lie, then provide verifiable evidence, as just saying I heard a difference is not fact, just your opinion, which everyone is entitled to.

Bill
 
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twinkletoes

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2021
208
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970
It is a digital connection. They either work or they don’t. If a cheap one works you will not get any better result by throwing money at it.
this is a common misconception It's not a digital connection it's electrical it carries absolutely no information whatsoever! think of it more like morse code the DAC then "translates" the pulses and requires the same level of thought as RCA cable and they can fail and suffer from the same problems as an RCA and its all measurable.

To the OP's question

No its not worth it! BUT stay away from long lengths and the super-thin cables. and the ones with ferrous cores around them can make a difference if you have a lot of interference around the cable. Wouldn't spend more than a 10er from a reputable brand such as belkin and only a brand to ensure its actually meets USB standards.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nothing to argue about boys.
Yes, it is an electrical connection, carrying a digital signal.
So yes, when the digits are beyond help at the receiving end (such as the in the case of the extension USB cable mentioned above) then you will get problems.

Think of it in terms of TV reception.
With analogue transmission (sent electromagnetically), you could, often did, get noise on your picture.
With digital transmission, (also sent electromagnetically) you get a perfect picture, or (very soon after severe glitching) nothing.
You don't ever get noise on your picture. To all intents and purposes it's all or nothing.
A digital cable itself won't give you noise. Some people suggest digital cables can alter the tone of the sound.....😏
 
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mgmasterv2

Active member
Mar 3, 2022
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Nothing to argue about boys.
Yes, it is an electrical connection, carrying a digital signal.
So yes, when the digits are beyond help at the receiving end (such as the in the case of the extension USB cable mentioned above) then you will get problems.

Think of it in terms of TV reception.
With analogue transmission (sent electromagnetically), you could, often did, get noise on your picture.
With digital transmission, (also sent electromagnetically) you get a perfect picture, or (very soon after severe glitching) nothing.
You don't ever get noise on your picture. To all intents and purposes it's all or nothing.
A digital cable itself won't give you noise. Some people suggest digital cables can alter the tone of the sound.....😏
that's logical but in reality for me it made a difference. switch your stock cable with ifi's cable and post the results 😉
 

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