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  1. #1

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    Default Usb shoot out v2.

    Ok ,
    I got 2 USB cables sent to me ( Thanks Thsmith) and they are a DIY design. They do not have any power leads so there is only 3 conductors. These cables are pretty raw , no jacket or any kind of protection. And from the look of them , no strain relief . So I had to be extremely careful when handling them. They are not mine so that also goes without saying.

    I have a Audioquest Forest USB cable that I wanted to vs with these interesting cables. The Audioquest is a full version , I didn't build it , it's 1.5m in length and has the internal wiring for voltage.

    I believe the idea behind building your own USB cables is you can delete the voltage conductors so there is no possible internal interference. At first I questioned the reason to remove these conductors but IF your DAC doesn't need power from the USB , why have it there? OK I'm cool with that.

    So I decided to use only 1 song that has unbelievable resolution , Jen Chaplin "You haven't done Nothin" cut from HD Tracks in 24/192.
    First up I listened all the way through the song using the Forest cable , everything is clear , detailed and warm. Nothing seems out of place , no smearing nothing. Natural as it gets and I'm completely happy with what I'm hearing.
    Next was the one with the Blue single conductor and 2 clear conductors. I have to restart Channel D every time I switch cables , nothing like this , actually it sucks as it takes about20 seconds or so to get back to listening. Shooting out USB cables actually sucks to do , no quick A-B so what I decided to do is listen to the entire song over and over with each cable change. This cable honestly sounds exactly like the Audioquest. I don't hear anymore or any less. Everything is where it is supposed to be. All the resolution is there and doesn't have anything I can tell that could possibly be different.
    So I removed that cable and hooked up the last cable which is a 3 conductor all clear cable. Again full song later and now I hear something slightly different. In this song , the stand up bass which is what I think it is is over favoring in the right channel strong. It hints in the middle but really doesn't have much at all out of the left channel. Every noter I noticed some smearing in the extension. The bass sounded like dude moved his microphone back just a bit and had some back ground noise being picked up.

    I switched back and forth for over an hour listening to each cable to see if I could hear what I heard on the all clear DIY USB cable. It's the only one out of the 3 that sounds slightly different. Now my question at this time is this cable the best one out of the 3 or is it the worse. Over the years I never had this question with any cables . I knew right away which cable sounded more real or believable in my system and I knew when it wasn't. As a musician I listen to a great many things. I'm also a sound man which I carefully mic and level live bands( Well just one my friends band) and I'm super picky about how things sound. I know I do a very good job as every time I run sound for them , I get many complements from there hard core fans saying "They sounded amazing tonight especially the singer , I really could hear everything" and many other comments like that.

    So back to this damn cable thing , another thing I have done over the years is try by best to hear differences when using high quality digital cables. This is an area I have failed to do. Honestly even between Digital coax and optical , I never heard anything that lead me to believe that one was better or worse then the other. Optical to optical shootouts I have done , Coax to coax and nothing. I gave up on that long ago and chalked up my findings is this , once you get it right , nothing more can be done. Proof was in the pudding for me 100x over.
    So this cable , it smears the bass just a tad and maybe smear is a hard word as it just sounds like the mic was moved back a bit. The other 2 cables this doesn't sound like that. Whats even weirder is nothing else sounds different , nothing. It's exactly the exact same sound everything.

    So how do I sum up this experience? I gotta chalk up maybe the all clear DIY cable had a joint not done to perfection , or the ground is not exactly properly grounded or something else I have no idea I didn't build the cable , what is does tell me is the other 2 cables perform exactly the same and I'm starting to believe that once again once you get the signal correct , there is nothing a better quality cable could do to help make anything sound any better. I do believe that USB cables when not properly built or don't meet spec , then yeah something might not go right.

    I also don't have any winner here other then a learning experience. Thank you Thsmith for allowing me to experience your cables. I do however have one last comment , I don't think the power conductors are causing any interference as the Audioquest cables have them and the DIY ones do not. The single Blue and 2 clear conductor cable if I didn't tell you which cable I was playing , you would have no idea. I still like the idea of eliminating any factors that in theory could possibly cause harm but in this case in my system , no harm as found. If there was I should of heard some kind of difference between the Audioquest and the Blue DIY USB cable.

    I have a Carbon from Audioquest on order and I'm wondering if it will be worth even owning. It's 5% Silver vs copper in the Forest so we shall see. The Clear from Cardas is also on it's way and who knows what that cable will bring to the table. I didn't bother with the Kimber but if we get some in , for the sheer hell of it , I'll give it a test drive.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  2. #2

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    Default

    LOL I didn't post the pic's ,






    Dan
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  3. #3

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    You are welcome Dan. I have found it very tough to tell the difference with USB cables but easy with digital coax. Have not played with optical much.

    The carbon is a well respected cable and am interested to hear your thoughts. It is one of the few USB cables that seem to generate reactions that people can tell the difference but that may be because of its price and placebo. If you dont mind keep the DYI cables to compare with carbon, specifically the one with blue and white leads.

    I do agree the DIY cables are raw. I wanted to see if I could even do it and what gains I may experience.

    AGainest the Wireworld starlight I could not tell a difference but I only seriously compared it with the blue/white cable.

    The all silver cable was the first attempt and I got the wires in wrong position requiring to unsolder and resolder. Thay may be the difference.
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    , Jen Chaplin "You haven't done Nothin"

    Jen Chapin
    "Everything I ever did in my life worthwhile I caught hell for"

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by thsmith View Post
    You are welcome Dan. I have found it very tough to tell the difference with USB cables but easy with digital coax. Have not played with optical much.

    The carbon is a well respected cable and am interested to hear your thoughts. It is one of the few USB cables that seem to generate reactions that people can tell the difference but that may be because of its price and placebo. If you dont mind keep the DYI cables to compare with carbon, specifically the one with blue and white leads.

    I do agree the DIY cables are raw. I wanted to see if I could even do it and what gains I may experience.

    AGainest the Wireworld starlight I could not tell a difference but I only seriously compared it with the blue/white cable.

    The all silver cable was the first attempt and I got the wires in wrong position requiring to unsolder and resolder. Thay may be the difference.
    will do.I knew there was something different with that cable
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  6. #6

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    Maybe its harder to tell the diff with usb cables because the mac does not have as much noise as the operating system like windows does ?

  7. #7

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    Speaking of which some people say the best sound comes out of USB number 2 of the Mac mini. That is the port I use and have been to lazy to try different USB ports.
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  8. #8
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    The problem with those DIY usb cables is, there is NO design.
    Meaning if you had at least twisted the pos and neg, at least the conductors would have been equally spaced.
    As is, they are further apart in some spots and closer together in others.
    Each wire affects the other according to how close they are to each other (including ground).


    That said, that blue wire (ground on the white/blue cable) is some VERY GOOD WIRE (about $10/ft).
    Pure silver Neotech solid core/teflon.
    That is what you should have used for a DIY USB cable Tracy.
    I bet with that blue wire, and a good design (VH Style with the ground wrapped "counter" to the other two twisted pair) , and some shielding, there may have been a different outcome.
    At least the conductors would be spaced evenly, and some cancellation would have been in attendance.

    Not that I care, but I am from the camp "everything matters" when it comes to cables and design.
    I doubt there would have been a large difference, as I too believe there are not going to be large differences in usb cables, but I think that would have gave the AQ a better run for the money, and the outcome may have been different.

    If I were using usb, you can bet I would be trying different cables, so I think it is cool you guys are at least trying different ones to find out!
    Last edited by pepster; 01-20-2013 at 05:31 PM.

  9. #9

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    I did twist the data leads on both cables.

    I have an extra set of connectors if you or anyone else would like to give it a try.

    Dan, I have some more of the blue wire and could send to you along with connectors and you could reterminate the silver wires using blue wire. I will even send along some Cardes silver solder. Let me know.
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  10. #10
    pepster
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    See the gaps?
    They need to be A LITTLE tighter.


    Its all good Tracy, just busting your balls a little.
    You know those AQ's, and Cardas cables are going to have some shielding, and equal spacing between conductors, and I think that is important when running from a noisy laptop.

    In fact you could actually use the shielding (if braided copper) as a drain wire also (soldered to the ground on one side), and it would be that much better at noise reduction, combined with the mentioned "cancellation design".
    Having no idea if it would be "better", but saying instead, it would be the "least comprised" design, combined with the Neotech wire (which I doubt AQ or even Cardas, is using such pure wire).

    More of a level playing field compared to the better designed AQ cable.
    Last edited by pepster; 01-20-2013 at 05:51 PM.

  11. #11

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    No worries, I have thicker skin than that. I would like to see a better DIY cable compared to big boys. May save someone alot of money.

    QUestion is can a $100+ cable and a DIY that has no shield and raw hold its on. It cost me less than $60 to make that cable.
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  12. #12
    pepster
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    Quote Originally Posted by thsmith View Post
    No worries, I have thicker skin than that. I would like to see a better DIY cable compared to big boys. May save someone alot of money.

    QUestion is can a $100+ cable and a DIY that has no shield and raw hold its on. It cost me less than $60 to make that cable.
    Not sure you can exclude the shield and compete.
    That said, your not going to beat the "Big Boys" alot of the times, but for the most part, yes, I think you could easily compete for cheaper with proper design research and using excellent components in your cable.
    No brainer, I might suggest that MOST times you would prefer your DIY cable to MOST aftermarket cables.
    Building from scratch has many advantages, the perfect length for your application, better components than most use, and designs (meaning you can try more than a single design).

    Not to mention different insulations (silk, cotton, teflon, ect).

    The sky is the limit with DIY.
    Your stuck with a single cable with "aftermarket" cables.

    It is all about experimentation.
    You would not want to eat the same cake everyday.
    Alter the ingredients and cooking times, and recipe, you are going to find a cake that you like better than the ones you can buy at Wally World.

    So, I would say YES, you could compete with alittle experimentation and research in design types.

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    Dan, is the Carbon covered in techflex only after the .5m lenghts? I liked the Carbon over the Cinnamon or Forest mostly for the color of the techflex (and given my length its not too much more overall). I technically dont need more than .5m for my USB cable but was going to get a 1m one so that I got the techflex covering on it.

    Also is this the same for their HDMI cables? I am hoping to save up to get 3 Cinnamon 1m HDMI cables for my source gear (blu-ray player, Xbox 360, Uverse DVR box) and then I need 1 2 or 2.5m Cinnamon cable for my TV.

    Sorry to take things a bit off topic, but I was just curious.
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  14. #14
    pepster
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    Quote Originally Posted by thsmith View Post
    No worries, I have thicker skin than that. I would like to see a better DIY cable compared to big boys. May save someone alot of money.

    QUestion is can a $100+ cable and a DIY that has no shield and raw hold its on. It cost me less than $60 to make that cable.
    Knowing that I have 35 foot of that Neotech silver solid core, and what I paid for it, you must know that it would cost me ALOT less to build a premium usb that would more than likely compete with most anything you can buy under a buck fifty.
    Just saying, you know what I would have in it, and it is MUCH better than most aftermarket cables can afford to use.
    I have used ALOT of silver wire in my time, but I have NEVER seen pure silver wire that is "polished" like the Neotech.
    It is like a mirror, where as most of the "excellent" silver solid core is dull in color.
    They put some effort in that wire the likes of which I have never seen in any other wire.

    So that may or may not go towards answering your question.
    Last edited by pepster; 01-20-2013 at 06:59 PM.

  15. #15
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    Sorry I should have mentioned the signal travels on the "outside" of the wire (not through the center of the wire).
    Thus, being "mirror polished" like the Neotech, I would think there is a greater potential for better sound with the Neotech, being "mirror polished".
    IMHO.
    Last edited by pepster; 01-20-2013 at 08:38 PM.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by polkfarmboy View Post
    Maybe its harder to tell the diff with usb cables because the mac does not have as much noise as the operating system like windows does ?
    LMAO!!! You almost made me spit out my coffee with that . That rules dude.
    Dan
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    Quote Originally Posted by thsmith View Post
    Speaking of which some people say the best sound comes out of USB number 2 of the Mac mini. That is the port I use and have been to lazy to try different USB ports.
    I thought of that and didn't hear any differences between ports. It's the very first anal thing I did when I first got into this. They sound exactly the same unless you got juice or beer in one of them.
    Dan
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    Quote Originally Posted by pepster View Post
    The problem with those DIY usb cables is, there is NO design.
    Meaning if you had at least twisted the pos and neg, at least the conductors would have been equally spaced.
    As is, they are further apart in some spots and closer together in others.
    Each wire affects the other according to how close they are to each other (including ground).


    That said, that blue wire (ground on the white/blue cable) is some VERY GOOD WIRE (about $10/ft).
    Pure silver Neotech solid core/teflon.
    That is what you should have used for a DIY USB cable Tracy.
    I bet with that blue wire, and a good design (VH Style with the ground wrapped "counter" to the other two twisted pair) , and some shielding, there may have been a different outcome.
    At least the conductors would be spaced evenly, and some cancellation would have been in attendance.

    Not that I care, but I am from the camp "everything matters" when it comes to cables and design.
    I doubt there would have been a large difference, as I too believe there are not going to be large differences in usb cables, but I think that would have gave the AQ a better run for the money, and the outcome may have been different.

    If I were using usb, you can bet I would be trying different cables, so I think it is cool you guys are at least trying different ones to find out!
    I completely agree with everything you said here. Thsmith from what I understand is the first attempt at this. The one with the blue conductor sounded just as good as the Audioquest Forest so that says something. The one with the all clear jackets did which I found out the ends got soldered twice and maybe screwed the cable up just enough to change the way it sounds. That does at least explain why it sounded different from the other 2.
    The Audioquest Forest I have is a entry level cable. The Carbon I got coming should show IF USB can be improved upon by better design and materials.
    Dan
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by thsmith View Post
    No worries, I have thicker skin than that. I would like to see a better DIY cable compared to big boys. May save someone alot of money.

    QUestion is can a $100+ cable and a DIY that has no shield and raw hold its on. It cost me less than $60 to make that cable.
    The Audioquest Forest at 1.5m only retails for 34.99.
    Dan
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    Dan, is the Carbon covered in techflex only after the .5m lenghts? I liked the Carbon over the Cinnamon or Forest mostly for the color of the techflex (and given my length its not too much more overall). I technically dont need more than .5m for my USB cable but was going to get a 1m one so that I got the techflex covering on it.

    Also is this the same for their HDMI cables? I am hoping to save up to get 3 Cinnamon 1m HDMI cables for my source gear (blu-ray player, Xbox 360, Uverse DVR box) and then I need 1 2 or 2.5m Cinnamon cable for my TV.

    Sorry to take things a bit off topic, but I was just curious.
    I'm not sure about the Carbon as I didn't get it yet and we don't have a stock pile at the store to see. As far as the Cinnamon cables , I have a.6 HDMI and it's bare , the Techflex is Installed after 1m in length. I don't know why but thats how my HDMI cables are. The covering is removed on the longer cables for in wall use.
    I don't buy cables based on looks , they gotta perform , if they are ugly so be it , but you know I like a sexy cable as much as the next guy. Looks and performance is very hard to beat my friend.
    I will post about it when we get in all the USB cables.
    Dan
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    Quote Originally Posted by mantis View Post
    I'm not sure about the Carbon as I didn't get it yet and we don't have a stock pile at the store to see. As far as the Cinnamon cables , I have a.6 HDMI and it's bare , the Techflex is Installed after 1m in length. I don't know why but thats how my HDMI cables are. The covering is removed on the longer cables for in wall use.
    I don't buy cables based on looks , they gotta perform , if they are ugly so be it , but you know I like a sexy cable as much as the next guy. Looks and performance is very hard to beat my friend.
    I will post about it when we get in all the USB cables.
    I agree looks dont matter to me, but the more expensive and nice they look the more the wife might be willing to go along with it . Plus either way I need a 1m length min for my HDMI's to ensure I have enough give to route em right.

    That and the price difference doesnt start to become too large until you get to 1.5 to 2m and up anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    I agree looks dont matter to me, but the more expensive and nice they look the more the wife might be willing to go along with it . Plus either way I need a 1m length min for my HDMI's to ensure I have enough give to route em right.

    That and the price difference doesnt start to become too large until you get to 1.5 to 2m and up anyway.
    OK OK looks do matter for many things including cables. I'm a sucker for a good looking cable even if it sucks LOL. The performance of the Cinnamon HDMI cables I was so happy with I didn't bother to go up the ladder. We have Chocolates just waiting for me to take home and I don't. Carbons would be a better jump if I decide to upgrade HDMI.
    Dan
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    I've never seen or heard a difference between hdmi cables. Not going to catch me spending tons of money on them

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    Quote Originally Posted by leroyjr1 View Post
    I've never seen or heard a difference between hdmi cables. Not going to catch me spending tons of money on them
    Have you tested many? I have done a tone of HDMI shootouts and what you claim you found is pretty true unless you use a cable thats not built well or doesn't meet spec. The Audioquest Cinnamon series is a very affordable high quality cable. Even the forest and pearl are worthy of any HDMI rig. All come in a t very affordable prices anyone that owns a system can afford.
    Dan
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    Just gonna throw this out there , the SC-68 is amazing , I can't be any happier with it. Yeah I found a few things I don't care for but the good so outweighs the bad it's not even funny.
    I love this thing.
    Dan
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    Quote Originally Posted by mantis View Post
    Have you tested many? I have done a tone of HDMI shootouts and what you claim you found is pretty true unless you use a cable thats not built well or doesn't meet spec. The Audioquest Cinnamon series is a very affordable high quality cable. Even the forest and pearl are worthy of any HDMI rig. All come in a t very affordable prices anyone that owns a system can afford.
    Probably 10-15 different kinds. Nothing over $50 though. Mostly your typical Belkin or monoprice cables and the free ones you get with the oppo or other HDMI devices. How much do those audio quest HDMI cables run? Sorry for the thread derailment.


    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by leroyjr1 View Post
    Probably 10-15 different kinds. Nothing over $50 though. Mostly your typical Belkin or monoprice cables and the free ones you get with the oppo or other HDMI devices. How much do those audio quest HDMI cables run? Sorry for the thread derailment.


    Thanks
    My threads are always open for thinking and commenting my friend especially when it comes to all things cables. The Cinnamon start around 50 to 60 bucks I think? I believe you should at least give a little higher end cable a test drive.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leroyjr1 View Post
    Probably 10-15 different kinds. Nothing over $50 though. Mostly your typical Belkin or monoprice cables and the free ones you get with the oppo or other HDMI devices. How much do those audio quest HDMI cables run? Sorry for the thread derailment.


    Thanks
    My local hi-fi store has the Cinnamon 1m for 63 and 1.5m for 65 bucks.... thats pretty decently cheap....
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    I can't comment on the differences in USB cables as I never use them. But from my own experiences Dan, you need to step up to better quality cables to hear anything. Much like digital coax cables, at a certain price point they all pretty much sound the same until you hit the next price bracket. Now, those subtle differences in cables may or maynot be worth the coin to some and no, I'm not talking about 1000 buck cables either. When trying to squeeze every last drop of SQ out, cables do matter. Look to Shunyata, maybe they have a decent usb. Their cables always seem to gather happy customers.

    Have fun on your testing, it's always cool to see what works and what doesn't. Kinda clears the path going forward.
    Last edited by tonyb; 01-21-2013 at 06:55 AM.

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    Dan, have the new cables arrived and had a chance to evaluate ?
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
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    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

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