Can't Quite Beleive it [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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harley .guy07
10-16-2013, 10:00 AM
Well I was talking to a friend at my University the other day and we got to talking about music and equipment and how he would like to build a system some day but he is too busy right now to do it and he mentioned that a friend of his was setting up a music server computer for his roommate and was trying different USB cables to see how they worked with the system and mentioned that while setting this up he got a real good deal on several of Monster Cables better USB cables, Long story short he asked me if I would be interested in buying one of them as he ordered too many of them and does not need any more for his install. Me being me I questioned the cables at first just because in my past Monster Cable while pretty good for standard run of the mil stuff isn't the best out there by a long shot, and I have read a lot about how most audiophiles use the Belkin Gold USB cables because they are cheap and made well and the USB cable does not matter when running computer through a dac as far as sound quality goes. I have been using a Belkin Gold from the beginning and really was satisfied with it.

Well I decided to try the Monster USB for the Heck of it and also the price was a steal to just try another cable. My thoughts below:

Well at first when I hooked up the Monster cable I was thinking know difference and just left it plugged it for a while while listening to some new rock stuff that I bought. But then I switched to Norah Jones come away with me from HD Tracks 24/192 download that I had picked up when I bought my new dac and to my surprise the Piano seemed to have more vibrant tone to it and seem to have more presence in the soundstage while keeping in control. Its real hard to describe but in more revealing music the Monster USB seemed to have the upper hand over the Belkin Gold as far as shear energy and vibrance and the music has and in turn makes the music have more emotion to it.

I know what some of you are thinking, that a simple USB cable can not make a difference and that I had a Biased opinion because it was a pricier cable. That is what I first thought to until i switched them back and forth several times over many songs and while the difference is very small that most would probably not hear it it is there or at least it seemed to be.

What I would have liked to have done was to do a blind comparison with someone else changing the cables out so I would not have any chance to bias my thoughts and either prove that there is a difference or prove that I need continue to be skeptical that USB cables make a difference. I know that HDMI cables don't make a difference because I have seen and heard that there is no difference but I am on the fence about USB cables at this point.

10-16-2013, 10:42 AM
Do you have a 3rd cable to try? Maybe your original cable is slightly defective?

10-16-2013, 12:33 PM
It's standard wisdom that USB transmission can cause jitter and thereby degrade sound at least in case of synchronous transmission. That's why asynchronous USB receivers have become all the rage for DACs.

Especially if your downstream component not asynchronous, but maybe even if it is, a particular USB cable might induce jitter and another not. This would be more likely in case of a longer cable length.

10-16-2013, 06:53 PM
We have found in my son's system that his sound improved with a cheap but more expensive shielded cable over a generic cable.

harley .guy07
10-17-2013, 08:44 AM
Yeah my dac is asynchronous so thats why I was so surprised to see that it made a difference. I don't have a third cable yet but since the Monster cable to to long for my application and now that I know there are differences I might some day invest in a higher end cable and try it.

10-17-2013, 01:14 PM
I might too. My Schiit Bifrost Uber has the asynchronous USB receiver but I require a long, 15 foot run so possibly it would benefit from a fancier cable.