Good quality USB cable from laptop to DAC - Page 6 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #151 of 242 Old 04-27-2019, 07:12 PM
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You have facts to support this? I do as linked.
Yes, but I'm also a ninja, super double secret agent working for the CIA but I'm not allowed to talk about it.

I mean, I mean I work in construction. All official and everything like.
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post #152 of 242 Old 04-27-2019, 07:16 PM
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Yes, but I'm also a ninja, super double secret agent working for the CIA but I'm not allowed to talk about it.

I mean, I mean I work in construction. All official and everything like.

I don't care where you came from, I just look at what you said. It's the result.

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post #153 of 242 Old 04-27-2019, 07:21 PM
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I wonder if Orange Speaker thinks DSD 512 sounds superior to 16/44.1 FLAC?
Depends on the DAC, the recording, etc.
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post #154 of 242 Old 04-27-2019, 07:27 PM
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I'm an astronaut, also self taught.
Really? I thought you were a HIFI Salesman.
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post #155 of 242 Old 04-27-2019, 07:40 PM
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Boy there's no putting one over you guys. Dang.


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post #156 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 06:12 AM
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USB is digital, not analog, so the concern with exaggerated cable length is a loss of data (signal strength), not degradation of quality in sound.

I bought a 15’ USB 2 cable to drive a wireless charger, Amazon Basics I think. Though the wall adapter had plenty of potential current to power the wireless charger at the other end, there wasn’t enough current through the cable to make it worthwhile. So in this case, if the voltage of the data lines is attenuated, the sending and receiving equipment may be performing more error correction than normal; how that effects the analog audio on the output of a DAC depends upon the sophistication of the equipment I think.

Short answer: try to avoid unnecessary length. Check with the DAC device manufacturer if that long a cable is supported.

Addendum: Wikipedia entry on maximum cable length limitations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_hardware#Cabling
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post #157 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 07:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChromeJob View Post
USB is digital, not analog, so the concern with exaggerated cable length is a loss of data (signal strength), not degradation of quality in sound.

I bought a 15’ USB 2 cable to drive a wireless charger, Amazon Basics I think. Though the wall adapter had plenty of potential current to power the wireless charger at the other end, there wasn’t enough current through the cable to make it worthwhile. So in this case, if the voltage of the data lines is attenuated, the sending and receiving equipment may be performing more error correction than normal; how that effects the analog audio on the output of a DAC depends upon the sophistication of the equipment I think.

Short answer: try to avoid unnecessary length. Check with the DAC device manufacturer if that long a cable is supported.

Thanks. That's the concern. I ordered 1.5m good cable, actually same cable in 1.5m length, and will try it with long interconnects. I will find someone to help me blind, level match, AB to see if there's anything. I'll never be satisfied until I prove it to myself one way or the other.
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post #158 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by emcdade View Post
Depends on the DAC, the recording, etc.
When comparing DSD and PCM, what is your listening test methodology?

In the audiophile world, ignorance truly is bliss. Save your money.
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post #159 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
Thanks. That's the concern. I ordered 1.5m good cable, actually same cable in 1.5m length, and will try it with long interconnects. I will find someone to help me blind, level match, AB to see if there's anything. I'll never be satisfied until I prove it to myself one way or the other.
If all you are doing is swapping USB cables you don't need to worry about AB match unless the DAC is powered through the cable (and probably not then for any decent design; minor voltage drop should be compensated for by the DAC's supply circuitry).
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post #160 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 09:49 AM
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All these talk about laptop noise, I always use a laptop connects to the QA401 to do FFT THD measurement. Last night when I was doing test, I was thinking about the noise problem with USB through laptop. The QA401 is connected to the laptop through USB. I tried unplug the power cord and ran the laptop on battery, one of the hump on the base line was gone when I powered the laptop with battery!!! I thought it was the problem with the QA401, turn out it's the power connection!!


I don't have ground loop problem because the signal from the power amp is connected to the QA401 in differential signaling, no ground connection at all.


Using a ferrite on the power cord of the laptop and on the USB cable between the QA401 to the laptop did NOTHING to help. I suspect it's the switching power supply to the laptop that radiate out noise. You can see the hump is about 60KHz area, likely the switching frequency of the power supply.


This is a totally different ballgame, That's why noise is such a problem and I said ferrite has a 50% chance to fix the problem. If it doesn't, things get ugly very fast!!! Just first line cheap and dirty try. Now you are getting into the design of the laptop, SMPS, the devices..


Don't just think those that passed the UL and CE test will not emit noise. There are so many ways to cheat those tests. I was the manager to lead the group to go to the test site to run the CE test on the big systems, I know how things can be bandaded to hide emission problem to pass the test. So many power supplies that have the UL and CE stamps, throw so much noise out it's not funny.
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post #161 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
Thanks. That's the concern. I ordered 1.5m good cable, actually same cable in 1.5m length, and will try it with long interconnects. I will find someone to help me blind, level match, AB to see if there's anything. I'll never be satisfied until I prove it to myself one way or the other.
Daisy chaining multiple cables is a poor idea, as you introduce possible data losses through poor connections. Not likely, but whenever possible use a single, contiguous run of good quality cable.

Here's a little reference to give you the hard limits: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_hardware#Cabling

I agree with Don, the DAC should be self-powered, not relying on the 500mA (or less) from the USB (2) sending device. Yours probably is, but just in case....

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post #162 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChromeJob View Post
Daisy chaining multiple cables is a poor idea, as you introduce possible data losses through poor connections. Not likely, but whenever possible use a single, contiguous run of good quality cable.

Here's a little reference to give you the hard limits: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_hardware#Cabling

I agree with Don, the DAC should be self-powered, not relying on the 500mA (or less) from the USB (2) sending device. Yours probably is, but just in case....

I wasn't about to do that. What I thought I said is that instead of using a long USB from laptop to DAC and short RCA interconnects, I would try it the reverse.
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post #163 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Out-Of-Phase View Post
When comparing DSD and PCM, what is your listening test methodology?
First I prepare a cocktail. My go to lately has been Patron margaritas. Make sure you’re warming up your electronics and speakers during this part of the test.

1.5 parts Patron Silver
1 part Patron Citronge Orange
1 part freshly squeezed lime juice
.25 part simple sugar

Shake vigorously. Garnish rocks glass with a lime wedge and margarita salt.

Next I usually change into my comfy clothes. Sweatpants are a must. During summer I recommend cut off sweatpants for maximum comfort.

If my wife and kids are in bed I’ll break out my Juul (mint flavor) and have a few puffs while I listen.

I then listen to music, even whole albums. With both speakers on. No test signals or YouTube videos. No rapid A/B switching.

At the end, or sometimes after several days of this, I decide which one sounds better to me and brings the most pleasure to my listening experience.
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post #164 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
I have the Schiit modi3. Was going to get the multibit until that Amir review.

I didn't know there was such a think as a gen card for the USB. How can I tell? If you're asking about the laptop, It's a Anus i7 16gb ram that I bought about a year ago so it should be pretty current.
Well... I've always had a thing for multibits (back when people just called them R2R), but Amir's a different topic all together.

You USB card should show up under the "sound setting" where you select output and input. However with modi3, you're definitely on the latest one (GEN5).
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post #165 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Well... I've always had a thing for multibits (back when people just called them R2R), but Amir's a different topic all together.

You USB card should show up under the "sound setting" where you select output and input. However with modi3, you're definitely on the latest one (GEN5).
"but Amir's a different topic all together."

What is the deal here? I've read what you just said several times. I also see that he's been banned from here. Schiit also said chit about him in an indirect way. What's up with him. His measurements looked credible as much as I see measurements as being credible.

"You USB card should show up under the "sound setting" where you select output and input."

Are you talking about something in the DAC or in my laptop? Or both? Given that it's USB, it shouldn't show up in sound settings, should it?
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Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
"but Amir's a different topic all together."

What is the deal here? I've read what you just said several times. I also see that he's been banned from here. Schiit also said chit about him in an indirect way. What's up with him. His measurements looked credible as much as I see measurements as being credible.

"You USB card should show up under the "sound setting" where you select output and input."

Are you talking about something in the DAC or in my laptop? Or both?
Amir just tends to be a dividing figure so I wanted to just keep away from the topic.


That should show up in your Windows 10 settings as a "Schiit audio device" and say which gen. GEN5 is the latest and it came out a few years before the Modi3.
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post #167 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 11:17 AM
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Unfortunately, mine is the internal fan in the laptop.
I recently bought one with a SSD instead of HDD simply because I wanted it to be quicker and fast to boot. It is impressively quiet in use although there is still a faint processor cooling fan.
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post #168 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emcdade View Post
First I prepare a cocktail. My go to lately has been Patron margaritas. Make sure you’re warming up your electronics and speakers during this part of the test.

1.5 parts Patron Silver
1 part Patron Citronge Orange
1 part freshly squeezed lime juice
.25 part simple sugar

Shake vigorously. Garnish rocks glass with a lime wedge and margarita salt.

Next I usually change into my comfy clothes. Sweatpants are a must. During summer I recommend cut off sweatpants for maximum comfort.

If my wife and kids are in bed I’ll break out my Juul (mint flavor) and have a few puffs while I listen.

I then listen to music, even whole albums. With both speakers on. No test signals or YouTube videos. No rapid A/B switching.

At the end, or sometimes after several days of this, I decide which one sounds better to me and brings the most pleasure to my listening experience.
And DSD 512 always comes up the winner by a subjective nose!

In the audiophile world, ignorance truly is bliss. Save your money.
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post #169 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 11:27 AM
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And DSD 512 always comes up the winner by a subjective nose!
With my current DAC definitely. My last DAC (Fostex) was better with PCM.
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post #170 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by elwappo99 View Post
Amir just tends to be a dividing figure so I wanted to just keep away from the topic.

Must be really polarizing. No one wants to go near it.

That should show up in your Windows 10 settings as a "Schiit audio device" and say which gen. GEN5 is the latest and it came out a few years before the Modi3.
Ok, Ok, that makes sense. I was trying to find the setting at my desk and the little chit wasn't connected. I'll try it again next time I'm downstairs listening. I've seen it before so I know it comes up.
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post #171 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I recently bought one with a SSD instead of HDD simply because I wanted it to be quicker and fast to boot. It is impressively quiet in use although there is still a faint processor cooling fan.

I bought my last desktop with a fairly large SSD and I do like the boot speed. The laptop came around a few months earlier and I didn't think of it. And yeah, the processor cooling fan is what I hear.
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post #172 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 11:57 AM
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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:

A) 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]

B) 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.
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post #173 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 12:09 PM
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With my current DAC definitely. My last DAC (Fostex) was better with PCM.
Really? Wow. My DACs don't know which format is better, they just convert the signal so I can hear it.

In the audiophile world, ignorance truly is bliss. Save your money.
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post #174 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 12:26 PM
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Let me ask a stupid question as I am old school, never even use digital streaming all that. Don't they have wireless digital link like Blue Tooth? We have wireless printer and all that that we transfer data through USB link. Do they have anything like USB to wireless and back to USB? This will isolate everything as good as TOSLINK.

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I'm converting most of my cables to digital after I got my Supra USB 2.0.
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post #176 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
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 either are:

A) 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]

B) 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 needs less error correction 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.
"A) 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]"

I tried. I said "let's do this right now" and he knew I could. This is what caused the meltdown. He's the one who said one cable sounded much better than the other. I then told him they sounded the same to me. I said since he heard the 'big difference', then he should be able to identify the 'big difference' even if he didn't know which cable was being used. I had everything plugged in and ready to go and he was running out of excuses (the tap dance) so then followed the meltdown.
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post #177 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 01:43 PM
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The problem I have seen that leads to "intermediate" states is when the DAC does not adequately (if at all) buffer the data stream so when a CRC error is received there is no resend request back to the host. (Also happens with isochronous links.) That is when you get noise and dropouts (depending upon how the DAC handles the errors). In practice when I have heard that the link is on the edge of failure, typically a (too) long cable or overloaded PC (unrelated to the cable). Nothing to do with EMI/RFI/whatever. The issue is well-documented in the trade rags but not something I track. Look at EDN, ED, or various articles in the IEEE. I have no desire to go dig them up. Or I could just be imagining it all, along with all the other engineers writing this stuff... It may be more modern designs do a better job and don't have that problem; it was two or three years ago when I was helping a friend hook up his DAC that I had the problem and did the research. In that case we rearranged things so a shorter USB cable was used and the problems were gone.

If you have hum and noise, a ground isolator or ferrite may help.

If you have dropouts that cause silence or little bursts/ticking/popping sounds (not quite the same as the static on a radio) then check the workload on your PC and ensure you have decent USB cables that are not too long.

@alan0354 -- Again not something I have looked for, but they do make a number of "wireless USB" devices. Most of the ones I have seen are essentially USB-to-Ethernet converters that then build in a wireless (WiFi) adapter. One catch is that most WiFi links do not have the bandwidth of a USB 3 link; barely USB 2 in most cases. I have a friend who looked for and tried several but ultimately used a USB-to-Ethernet adapter and hard-wired it. Not sure if the speed, reliability, or both (or something else) led to him running the cable.


In any event, I don't think I have more to add to this thread, and my ego can only take being called ignorant and incompetent (or lying) so many times... Like Ripley, Believe it or Not.

YMMV - Don
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"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley

Last edited by DonH50; 04-28-2019 at 01:47 PM.
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post #178 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
The problem I have seen that leads to "intermediate" states is when the DAC does not adequately (if at all) buffer the data stream so when a CRC error is received there is no resend request back to the host. (Also happens with isochronous links.) That is when you get noise and dropouts (depending upon how the DAC handles the errors). In practice when I have heard that the link is on the edge of failure, typically a (too) long cable or overloaded PC (unrelated to the cable). Nothing to do with EMI/RFI/whatever. The issue is well-documented in the trade rags but not something I track. Look at EDN, ED, or various articles in the IEEE. I have no desire to go dig them up. Or I could just be imagining it all, along with all the other engineers writing this stuff... It may be more modern designs do a better job and don't have that problem; it was two or three years ago when I was helping a friend hook up his DAC that I had the problem and did the research. In that case we rearranged things so a shorter USB cable was used and the problems were gone.

If you have hum and noise, a ground isolator or ferrite may help.

If you have dropouts that cause silence or little bursts/ticking/popping sounds (not quite the same as the static on a radio) then check the workload on your PC and ensure you have decent USB cables that are not too long.

@alan0354 -- Again not something I have looked for, but they do make a number of "wireless USB" devices. Most of the ones I have seen are essentially USB-to-Ethernet converters that then build in a wireless (WiFi) adapter. One catch is that most WiFi links do not have the bandwidth of a USB 3 link; barely USB 2 in most cases. I have a friend who looked for and tried several but ultimately used a USB-to-Ethernet adapter and hard-wired it. Not sure if the speed, reliability, or both (or something else) led to him running the cable.


In any event, I don't think I have more to add to this thread, and my ego can only take being called ignorant and incompetent (or lying) so many times... Like Ripley, Believe it or Not.

YMMV - Don

I have no idea what is the speed of the wireless ethernet, Music should be very slow compare to streaming video, I have been watching some tv shows on laptop wirelessly connected to upstair. Never have problem. That got to be faster than just audio.


Talk about ignorance, I don't know the first thing about streaming video, audio and all, mine is stone age, DVD player--->integrated amp-----> speaker in stereo. RCA to amp to speaker. Never think about USB noise until this thread. Never even equate USB and audio.


My interest is only power amps, I design and built power amps as hobby for my retirement. Hell, I don't even listen to music, mainly use the system to watch tv......on air tv programs......in stereo. I don't even like surround sound, had it and disconnected it and back to stereo. I just like stereo better for tv and movie. But the sound is very important to me, even just watching tv. That's why I don't know anything you guys said.

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.

Last edited by alan0354; 04-28-2019 at 02:46 PM.
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post #179 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Out-Of-Phase View Post
Really? Wow. My DACs don't know which format is better, they just convert the signal so I can hear it.
That’s the goal here at AVS Forum, just make the sound come out because after that it’s all the same.
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post #180 of 242 Old 04-28-2019, 03:05 PM
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Scott's topic is if USB cords at or below distance spec make an audible difference to the sound quality of the uninterrupted music he and his friend are successfully hearing, so bringing up red herrings like "overloaded PC" doesn't help our discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
The issue is well-documented in the trade rags but not something I track. . . .I have no desire to go dig them up.
So it is "well-documented" some USB cords within spec cause audible degradation to the perceived sound quality of the continuous, signal locked, uninterrupted music playback [no pauses, bursts of static/chirps, nor other glitches such as stutter/flashing of the unit's signal lock indicator] under blind conditions in the "trade magazines", but you just can't be bothered to track any of them down with a link. How convenient.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
In practice when I have heard that the link is on the edge of failure, typically a (too) long cable or overloaded PC (unrelated to the cable). Nothing to do with EMI/RFI/whatever. The issue is well-documented in the trade rags but not something I track. . . . .I have no desire to go dig them up. Or I could just be imagining it all, along with all the other engineers writing this stuff.
Oh, my mistake, I see now you freely admit you are discussing sighted music and/or test signal listening studies because in a double blind listening test we eliminate the concern you brought up of "I could just be imagining it all, along with all the other engineers": that simply can't happen if the listeners weren't aware of what they were listening to in the first place (as would be true in a blind test).
---

Sighted tests of functioning, under spec USB cables' "sound quality" are worthless, IMO, and it doesn't matter, whatsoever, what profession or degrees the listeners have. It boggles my mind and saddens me greatly that here in 2019 in a forum with the word "science" in the title we even need to discuss this.

Problem is, there's no money to be made telling consumers "If it works, it works" but tons of money to be had by claiming "USB cords change the sound".

Last edited by m. zillch; 04-28-2019 at 04:09 PM.
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