Audioquest Forest USB VS Wireworld Starlight 8 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 570 Old 07-10-2019, 05:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Audioquest Forest USB VS Wireworld Starlight 8

I am posting this for those curious how these cables react to a combination of a Bryston BDP2 to Benchmark DAC 3 - two highly regarded components. When researching this myself I found very little info about how cables matched individual components. This refers to music through loudspeakers (Revel F206s) and not headphones.

The music was streamed from Tidal at their highest level (other than MQA).



I have had the (not Forest/Amazon) for around 18 months as it was recommended as a affordable good quality cable by publications like The Ultimate Sound.
It is a great cable and after comparing to two other more expensive cables is still my reference. These are its strengths-
Wide Sound stage
Precise instrument placement
Great tone, timbre for instruments
Great at revealing details.


When I tried the 4x pricier offering also from Audioquest, the Carbon, all the above changed for the worse. I bought from an authorized dealer through Amazon but wonder if it was somehow defective or even counterfeit. It sounded that poorly in my system.


The WW Starlight 8, also more expensive than the Forest but less than the Carbon, was much more competitive.


Sound stage sounded the same so that was good.
Instrument placement was similar.
Tone or timbre was not quite as good - the brass solos in I'm Coming Out-Diana Ross ,did not display the same blare, brass bite.

Details - definitely not as good as the (not Forest-Amazon). In Everyday With You Girl-Dennis Yost and the Classics 4, there is a guitar playing beautiful bar chords in the right channel, these just chime with the Forest. But with the WW 8, the sound is pushed into the background. You cannot always even make out the individual chords. This is also the case with the female singer supporting the main vocalist in A Girl Like You - the Smithereens. Her voice is distinct with the (not Forest-Amazon cable) but hard to hear with the WW.
On the other hand, the WW Starlight 8 had more punch to the transients, and a more pronounced deep bass. I actually felt more kick drum in my stomach than I ever had with the (not Forest/Amazon Basic USB) and thoroughly enjoyed those 2 aspects of the WW.



If you prefer to hear details you may not have noticed before I would recommend the (Forest N/A) . If you want a kick ass, more in your face sound, the WW 8 is the way to go.
(Because of my mistake please only regard this as an argument for differences in USB cables.. I do believe that to give a new USB cable a chance, you need to stream at least 100 hours or so through it. And keep in mind many manufacturers do not recommend doing this while listening which means they are not trying to train your brain into liking their particular sound. And I think that is the right way to do it. Wait until after that time then listen seriously. Apologies for the screw up and thanks for reading!)
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Last edited by hhawk; 07-30-2019 at 01:15 PM. Reason: amend cable name-my mistake
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post #2 of 570 Old 07-10-2019, 07:01 AM
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Since you have the cables,

I always pondered doing an actual data test benchmark through the cables. Get free benchmarking software for hard drives and storage--connect the USB cables to either a flash drive or USB hard drive and run the benchmark testing on the computer. You can get the data rate and error rate of the cables by running the benchmarks on the computer. No worries about blind testing, proper system setup and all the other factors that make cable testing a pain in the butt. If you like you can run the benchmarks ten times each and give us the difference in performance between cablles.

It is USB so using standard USB testing done for computers adds additional information to your review--it actually makes it a test, not just an opinion. Just throwing that one out there, it is computer equipment and the benchmark testing is available so an interesting wrinkle to the typical review. If you want a "standard" to compare against, just use a typical USB cable found on most computers or pick one up. Run the benches between the three and the numbers will show what gain you have across the three cables.

Looking forward to some acutal test results--should be interesting to see what the differences are and why the results are what they are.

Just a thought....
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post #3 of 570 Old 07-10-2019, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
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I urge you to find a nice stereo store in your town who will let you compare a basic computer USB cable to one that is a little more expensive and has received good reviews. You may even like the basic cord better. ( I liked the balance on an Amazon Basics USB-as good as anything I have tried thus far.) If you listen for specifics such as the sheen of cymbals, the timbre of instruments or other details you know exist in that recording, I can almost guarantee you will hear some differences.



I cannot find a link but there are articles about how chasing specs during the 60s and 70s, actually made receiver sound quality go down. Magazines like High Fidelity where Julian Hirsch worshiped low distortion of any type influenced mfrs to chase the elusive 0 distortion until they realized the sound was not getting better. Manufacturers eventually realized that electronics tests are only one predictor of how a product will sound.
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post #4 of 570 Old 07-10-2019, 09:34 AM
 
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Thanks for the comparison, I’ll check out a Forest some time!
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post #5 of 570 Old 07-10-2019, 09:37 AM
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We just had a long discussion and I wrote about this already. https://www.avsforum.com/forum/173-2...-2014-a-3.html

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post #6 of 570 Old 07-10-2019, 12:41 PM
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In my opinion, it is a distinction without a difference.

USB Cables do not transmit audio, they transmit data, as long as the data gets through, and as long as your rise above a minimum standard of quality (~$10 to $15), and as long as the cable length is within the specified working range of the USB standard you are using (16ft for USB 2.0) then you are good.

If you want to spend that much on either of those cables, then quite worrying about, it just pick one and be done with it.

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post #7 of 570 Old 07-10-2019, 12:55 PM
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I have been liking this oyaide usb cable alot. I use it from laptop to jds labs atom amp and topping d10dac. its their cheapext model. https://www.amazon.com/Oyaide-Neo-Cl...CBE8PFSZA6MK6J

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post #8 of 570 Old 07-10-2019, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torii View Post
I have been liking this oyaide usb cable a lot.
Does it provide:


Wide Sound stage
Precise instrument placement
Great tone, timbre for instruments
Great at revealing details?





If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough – Albert Einstein
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post #9 of 570 Old 07-10-2019, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Does it provide:


Wide Sound stage
Precise instrument placement
Great tone, timbre for instruments
Great at revealing details?



it doesnt have alot of noise transferred from laptop to dac like some previous cables have.

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post #10 of 570 Old 07-10-2019, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torii View Post
it doesnt have alot of noise transferred from laptop to dac like some previous cables have.
Perhaps all would agree. But... (see my previous post).



If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough – Albert Einstein
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post #11 of 570 Old 07-10-2019, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torii View Post
it doesnt have alot of noise transferred from laptop to dac like some previous cables have.
In my experience, USB can be a touchy thing with some DACs (inexpensive and expensive alike) by way of intermittent noise, dropouts, garbled audio, etc. Other DACs are rock solid no matter the computer source or cabling. The ideal solution is to find one of those DACs with an ultra reliable USB interface.
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post #12 of 570 Old 07-10-2019, 03:50 PM
 
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The cables meantioned sounds great.

But have you tried Supra USB? Cheap, but well speced and loved by rewievers

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post #13 of 570 Old 07-10-2019, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewAger View Post
In my experience, USB can be a touchy thing with some DACs (inexpensive and expensive alike) by way of intermittent noise, dropouts, garbled audio, etc. Other DACs are rock solid no matter the computer source or cabling. The ideal solution is to find one of those DACs with an ultra reliable USB interface.
That's exactly what I have been talking. The fault is not the USB cable, it's the receiver ( be it DAC or others). It's all engineering that design and layout the pcb to prevent noise coupling into the analog circuit. This has nothing to do with whether the cable can transfer data fast enough. USB is plenty plenty fast for audio.

Some USB cable have better shielding, some don't, but the guilty party is whether the receiver being to immure to the noise and not allowing the noise to get into the analog circuit. This kind of engineering is called Signal Integrity engineer.


A good receiver ( DAC) should not be picky on what USB cable used.
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post #14 of 570 Old 07-10-2019, 05:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by IIDexII View Post
The cables meantioned sounds great.

But have you tried Supra USB? Cheap, but well speced and loved by rewievers

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Yes, at a minimum (or maximum depending on your view) people should be promoting cables that meet the actual USB spec, which would likely make the $1 Chinese generic a very poor choice. In tests I’ve seen, (BJC website perhaps?) these cables have performed poorly with shoddy construction.
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post #15 of 570 Old 07-10-2019, 05:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
That's exactly what I have been talking. The fault is not the USB cable, it's the receiver ( be it DAC or others). It's all engineering that design and layout the pcb to prevent noise coupling into the analog circuit. This has nothing to do with whether the cable can transfer data fast enough. USB is plenty plenty fast for audio.

Some USB cable have better shielding, some don't, but the guilty party is whether the receiver being to immure to the noise and not allowing the noise to get into the analog circuit. This kind of engineering is called Signal Integrity engineer.


A good receiver ( DAC) should not be picky on what USB cable used.
At a minimum if your DAC is having to work hard with error checking and asking data to be re-sent, you’re raising the internal electrical noise of the DAC by default. It’s still optimal to try and send the cleanest waveform and most noise free signal to the DAC as possible.
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post #16 of 570 Old 07-10-2019, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by emcdade View Post
At a minimum if your DAC is having to work hard with error checking and asking data to be re-sent, you’re raising the internal electrical noise of the DAC by default. It’s still optimal to try and send the cleanest waveform and most noise free signal to the DAC as possible.

No no. This has nothing to do with data check and resend. Those are in digital domain. I am talking about digital noise induced into the analog circuit of the receiver ( DAC). You can have perfect data transfer and you still have noise problem. I worked on Signal Integrity for a few years, it's a totally different animal. It's all about the pcb layout to make sure the noise current is nowhere close to the analog circuit.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
No no. This has nothing to do with data check and resend. Those are in digital domain. I am talking about digital noise induced into the analog circuit of the receiver ( DAC). You can have perfect data transfer and you still have noise problem. I worked on Signal Integrity for a few years, it's a totally different animal. It's all about the pcb layout to make sure the noise current is nowhere close to the analog circuit.
I understand what you’re saying. I’m saying that having a noise free and unmolested waveform coming across the cable is optimal and matters for the reason stated above.
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post #18 of 570 Old 07-10-2019, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhawk View Post
I am posting this for those curious how these cables react to a combination of a Bryston BDP2 to Benchmark DAC 3 - two highly regarded components. When researching this myself I found very little info about how cables matched individual components. This refers to music through loudspeakers (Revel F206s) and not headphones.

The music was streamed from Tidal at their highest level (other than MQA).



I have had the Forest for around 18 months as it was recommended as a affordable good quality cable by publications like The Ultimate Sound.
It is a great cable and after comparing to two other more expensive cables is still my reference. These are its strengths-
Wide Sound stage
Precise instrument placement
Great tone, timbre for instruments
Great at revealing details.


When I tried the 4x pricier offering also from Audioquest, the Carbon, all the above changed for the worse. I bought from an authorized dealer through Amazon but wonder if it was somehow defective or even counterfeit. It sounded that poorly in my system.


The WW Starlight 8, also more expensive than the Forest but less than the Carbon, was much more competitive.


Sound stage sounded the same so that was good.
Instrument placement was similar.
Tone or timbre was not quite as good - the brass solos in I'm Coming Out-Diana Ross ,did not display the same blare, brass bite.

Details - definitely not as good as the Forest. In Everyday With You Girl-Dennis Yost and the Classics 4, there is a guitar playing beautiful bar chords in the right channel, these just chime with the Forest. But with the WW 8, the sound is pushed into the background. You cannot always even make out the individual chords. This is also the case with the female singer supporting the main vocalist in A Girl Like You - the Smithereens. Her voice is distinct with the Forest but hard to hear with the WW.
On the other hand, the WW Starlight 8 had more punch to the transients, and a more pronounced deep bass. I actually felt more kick drum in my stomach than I ever had with the Forest and thoroughly enjoyed those 2 aspects of the WW.



If you prefer to hear details you may not have noticed before I would recommend the Forest. If you want a kick ass, more in your face sound, the WW 8 is the way to go.
+1000 on The Smithereens!

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.
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post #19 of 570 Old 07-11-2019, 01:33 PM
 
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I would say USB cable is very important.

Doesn't need to be expensive... Forest or Supra for example..

It's just as important as using original cell phone chargers...

People that have done the terrible sin of buying 5-10$ China copy of iPhone chargers know what I mean.

Seriously don't buy crap, buy something that works..

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buy something that works..
$10 USB cables from Amazon work.
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$10 USB cables from Amazon work.
Just as USB phone chargers from Amazon works... Maybe one or two weeks if you're lucky..

And this is without mentioning the noise, buggy connection and poor quality... On USB soundvise.

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post #22 of 570 Old 07-11-2019, 06:14 PM
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$10 USB cables from Amazon work.
As do the sub-$5 USB cables sold by BlueJeansCable, though I think I may have heard a collapsing of soundstage on my DSD512 Coltrane files. Oh, wait, the recording is mono.
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Just as USB phone chargers from Amazon works... Maybe one or two weeks if you're lucky..
Are you using USB cables as tie down straps or something? I don't believe for one second that $10 USB cables from Amazon work "for one or two weeks if you're lucky".

This sounds like a fake justification for spending money on fancy cables. The phone charger comparison doesn't work either. Chargers receive mains voltage and are pack full of electronics components that can go up in smoke. A USB cable is just a cable. You may as well be trying to compare a fork's reliability to that of a Cuisinart.
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post #24 of 570 Old 07-11-2019, 11:07 PM
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I just received today some amazon cat6 cables and boy are they cheap feeling/flimsy. they work just fine, but even the cat 5 cable that came in box of new modem feels better. I needed new cables tho and like you said, they work.
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post #25 of 570 Old 07-12-2019, 07:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2WheelsWillTravel View Post
Are you using USB cables as tie down straps or something? I don't believe for one second that $10 USB cables from Amazon work "for one or two weeks if you're lucky".



This sounds like a fake justification for spending money on fancy cables. The phone charger comparison doesn't work either. Chargers receive mains voltage and are pack full of electronics components that can go up in smoke. A USB cable is just a cable. You may as well be trying to compare a fork's reliability to that of a Cuisinart.
No, i bet People who change cables alot. And this is related to both chargers and USB.

Will have to struggle and run into internet and order new cheapo USB 3-4 times a year.


Instead you could by forest and Supra cheap and save your problems and cost of mail and money.

And I'm not talking about buggy sound quality, because I know you don't care....

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post #26 of 570 Old 07-12-2019, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
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I just received today some amazon cat6 cables and boy are they cheap feeling/flimsy. they work just fine, but even the cat 5 cable that came in box of new modem feels better. I needed new cables tho and like you said, they work.
They are certainly not the right cables if you want to display them as a conversation piece. Otherwise, they do their job well if performance is all you seek. Amazon HDMI cables also do their job well; I've had a long run cable send out a 4K/60 signal from my PC for years with complete reliability.
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post #27 of 570 Old 07-12-2019, 08:05 AM
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No, i bet People who change cables alot. And this is related to both chargers and USB.

Will have to struggle and run into internet and order new cheapo USB 3-4 times a year.


Instead you could by forest and Supra cheap and save your problems and cost of mail and money.
I've used numerous devices over the years since USB was introduced, workstations, printers, cameras, hard drives, chargers etc. Always used the included cables, unless something called for a length extension for example. Not once have I ever had to replace a cable unless it was physically damaged. Like it got caught in a pinch point and cut. I've never had cables just randomly fail, and I've never needed to buy premium ones named after spices and trees.

Audio data doesn't cause extra wear and tear vs other data. Not that data causes wear and tear to begin with..
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post #28 of 570 Old 07-12-2019, 08:18 AM
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What are you doing with your USB cables to break them 4 times a year?


Quote:
Originally Posted by NewAger View Post
In my experience, USB can be a touchy thing with some DACs (inexpensive and expensive alike) by way of intermittent noise, dropouts, garbled audio, etc. Other DACs are rock solid no matter the computer source or cabling. The ideal solution is to find one of those DACs with an ultra reliable USB interface.
RME

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post #29 of 570 Old 07-12-2019, 08:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 2WheelsWillTravel View Post
Are you using USB cables as tie down straps or something? I don't believe for one second that $10 USB cables from Amazon work "for one or two weeks if you're lucky".

This sounds like a fake justification for spending money on fancy cables. The phone charger comparison doesn't work either. Chargers receive mains voltage and are pack full of electronics components that can go up in smoke. A USB cable is just a cable. You may as well be trying to compare a fork's reliability to that of a Cuisinart.
The "Amazon Basic" USB to Lightning cables are terrible. They break from bending near the connectors in a big hurry thanks to their shoddy construction.

The Audioquest Forest USB isn't fancy, and isn't expensive. So I really don't know what you're on about.
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post #30 of 570 Old 07-12-2019, 09:29 AM
 
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Exactly my point. Well spoken...

I believe infact the ones who come together with equipment is better than the garbage from web coming from Vietnam, Malaysia etc

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