how to improve USB quality

Mycroft Holmes

Well-known member
May 17, 2020
13
0
520
Hello everyone,
I think I may need some community wisdom, this time it's about USB sound.

I have a custom-made PC that is linked to a Cambridge Audio CXN via USB, with a very good AudioQuest cable.
Overall, I'm very satisfied, but I was considering a SoTM usb card as a potential improvement (e.g. this: https://www.sotm-audio.com/sotmwp/english/shop/tx-usbhub/)
However I'm unsure whether it would be more convenient to improve the "transmission side" of USB with a card, or alternatively to invest some money in a better DAC.
For example, I hear that a Topping D90 basically is unaffected by "noisy" usb ports.

Any opinion?
thanks,
MH
 

Vincent Kars

Well-known member
Mar 6, 2021
58
42
70
Each interface will create some noise.
This applies to USB as well, in fact they knew this already in 2000.
A well designed DAC takes care of this.

Ask for measurements proofing by using this type of products there will be a lowering of the noise floor, better jitter performance, lower IMD, etc.
I’m afraid you won’t get them from the manufacturer.

You need some independent recourse like this: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-schiit-wyrd-usb-filter.5717/
 

Mycroft Holmes

Well-known member
May 17, 2020
13
0
520
Thanks everyone for the comments.

So to sum up, my understanding is that a decent DAC should be reasonably robust to a (non-pathological) level of USB interference, hence it's not worth to invest in "cleaning the signal", unless, of course, you have a specific reason to do it.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
976
238
19,270
Hello everyone,
I think I may need some community wisdom, this time it's about USB sound.

I have a custom-made PC that is linked to a Cambridge Audio CXN via USB, with a very good AudioQuest cable.
Overall, I'm very satisfied, but I was considering a SoTM usb card as a potential improvement (e.g. this: https://www.sotm-audio.com/sotmwp/english/shop/tx-usbhub/)
However I'm unsure whether it would be more convenient to improve the "transmission side" of USB with a card, or alternatively to invest some money in a better DAC.
For example, I hear that a Topping D90 basically is unaffected by "noisy" usb ports.

Any opinion?
thanks,
MH
Audioquest - the makers of the Dragonfly DACS - sell an inexpensive USB filter. Try it out.
 

Vincent Kars

Well-known member
Mar 6, 2021
58
42
70
You mean the Jitter Bug?

 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
976
238
19,270
You mean the Jitter Bug?

Yes! 🙂 And despite this review being negative, WHF gave it a 👍 . The posters there seem to have it out for Audioquest including their Dragonfly DACS. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle as always.
 
Last edited:

Mycroft Holmes

Well-known member
May 17, 2020
13
0
520
Long story short, I already have a Jitterbug, and I'm convinced it's a very good gadget.

A few years ago, I was using a decent AQ cable (I bought it used); then I added the JittterBug and it was really a massive improvement. So massive that when I finally decided to upgrade the cable, it took some effort to find something that had an audible improvement.
But with the new setup the JT became irrelevant: if I plug it or not, I cannot hear the difference anymore, so I just moved it to another usb port.
My guess is that the new cable is sufficiently shielded, so that no additional filter is needed.

Hence, my original question: as I don't have any evidence that there's a problem in the USB port, I'm not sure a USB card will improve anything at all.
 

millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
853
407
11,270
At the end of the day, the Humbel usb cable is still a cable that carries an electrical signal. And requires all the care that standard rca cables need. So sources of noise and all that jazz need to be thought about.

If you’re suffering from noise try all the free things before going down the rabbit hole of spending money.

Jitterbugs do work on certain dac’s but can rob the sound on some others.

My biggest problem for me, for instance is static so have to be very mindful.
 

TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
390
178
19,070
Yes! 🙂 And despite this review being negative, WHF gave it a 👍 . The posters there seem to have it out for Audioquest including their Dragonfly DACS. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle as always.
WHF haven't actually tested it, they only listened to it. Like they"listen" to bits of wire.
 

TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
390
178
19,070
At the end of the day, the Humbel usb cable is still a cable that carries an electrical signal. And requires all the care that standard rca cables need. So sources of noise and all that jazz need to be thought about.

If you’re suffering from noise try all the free things before going down the rabbit hole of spending money.

Jitterbugs do work on certain dac’s but can rob the sound on some others.

My biggest problem for me, for instance is static so have to be very mindful.
LOL.
 

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