Originally Posted by Scotth3886
I just checked the box the cable came in. I'm mistaken. It is a 5 meter so I'm right on the limit. Plus never any dropouts, static or anything like that. It's as dead silent as the room, which is very quiet.
Then you are good to go.
99.99% of the time USB digital is either [state number 1] a perfectly good transfer or [state number 2] completely dead [no sound]. There might also be a tiny, fleeting "glitch" noise as you transition from state 1 to state 2, say for example if you yank the cord out during playback [do so to check] but other that that tiny, fleeting pop, tick, or snap sound there are no other states of sound.
The people who claim there is an intermediate state of "lowered sound quality" either are:
imagining things because they don't conduct tests under blind conditions [and since a USB cable comparison will inherently be level matched from the get go it is probably the easiest of blind tests for a consumer to conduct with the help of an assistant to do the secret cable swapping, since it requires no external gear to calibrate levels]
The digital signal itself is successfully transferred however occasionally there are other faint noises from RFI, EMI, or ground loops which introduce changes and noises in the analog
preamp sections of their gear, including the outboard DAC itself or other things down stream from it. Noise, hum, and buzz are instantly identifiable as "this is dead wrong and shouldn't be there" when heard in isolation however
when they are at faint levels with music playing not only is it harder to tell but there are some instances where listeners actually prefer
them to a clean signal!
Faint low frequency noise is sometimes misheard as "I hear more of the vastness of the concert hall, the 'room sound', and the inherent, deep room rumble that was successfully recorded by the mics and can be heard in real life when I'm at that concert hall". [I definitely dig that sound too (found only in in some
recordings), but I want it presented to me at the correct
level, not exaggerated.]
Faint high frequency noise is sometimes misheard as "Added air, brilliance, sheen, and clarity". For example, my informal tests of MQA under double blind conditions, backed by Archimago's spectral analysis, would seem to support this.
All the talk about "Sometimes the 1s and 0s show up as 3s and 7s on cheap USB cables", "jitter", and "this USB cable has less errors so it sounds better" is scaremongering marketing baloney. Don't be fooled by people who show differences can be measured: what counts is can it be heard under blind conditions.