I would recommend the Supra. I use a 5m (16.4 feet) run from computer-->DAC without any problems. I got mine off EBay from Seattle vendor.
I bought a 1m LavriCable Ultimate Silver Dual USB cable because the data and power runs are separated physically as two separate cables and it uses 5N silver conductors — design features normally found in much pricier USB cables — but at US$124 it’s only just a hair over your max budget. I’ve got several LavriCables and they’re all well made and punch well above their price sonically IMHO. Best of luck.
@lollipopguild Just fyi and so you know it’s not just me, a few others here have tried Lavri and all have been very happy with their performance and in all cases they bested the cables they replaced. I found them because I thought the Apple Camera Adapter was suboptimal for getting USB out of my iPad for my HeadFi rig and LavriCable was one of the only aftermarket products I could find so gave it a shot. It was a significant improvement and since then I’ve bought a pair of balanced interconnects and headphone cable in addition to the USB and all have been excellent. They’re out of Latvia and fly under the radar but maybe not for much longer. FWIW.
If you're really budget. One of the biggest changes I've made to my system was filtering the power from the USB source with a simple power blocker adapter and then adding it back with a powered USB hub. If you want to go whole hog you can use a inexpensive 5V linear power supply to the hub. Topping makes one and there are even less expensive ones.
So for about $25 plus the PS (little over $150 with).
YMMV but again it might not
I use the Wireworld Ultraviolet 3.0 USB A to Micro B on my outboard hard drive. It uses silver plated copper conductors, the Chroma is a great budget cable with 100 % copper conductors. I have the Chroma as well and I believe the Ultraviolet 3.0 USB is better at frequency extremes. - Better bass and attack -
For my transport I use The Chord Company Signature Super ARAY Digital Coax Cable. RCA to BNC. The cable is dynamic with excelent high frequency resolution.
My understanding is that the shorter a USB cable is the better, correct?
As opposed to a digital coax which needs to be about 1.5 meters to prevent "echo" of the signal in the cable.
@soix Thanks for posting, I'm going to give that cable a try.
“My understanding is that the shorter a USB cable is the better, correct?”
Apparently not, a shorter length cable can sound terrible compare to a longer length of same brand. There are few here who are convinced that cable length matters for USB and power cables, YMMV.
@barts Although at $174 the 1.5m Lavri Dual USB is $50 more than 1m if I was doing it over again I’d spring for it given the post @lalitk cites above, FWIW. Also, this was my first USB cable so haven’t as yet compared it to any others so I’d be very interested if you get to compare it to something else to see what you find if you can share your thoughts?
I have had great results with this USB cable
IN-AKUSTIK Reference High Speed USB 2.0
It was hand picked by Small Green Computer that evaluated numerous other USB cables, some higher in cost and some lower
The results of their eval was this is the sweet spot on price performance
It's German, so at a minimum it has to be over engineered - haha
I decided to give the new Supra Excalibur a go. I already have their Ethernet cable and like it very much. Plus, it'll be here tomorrow, unlike the Lavris which would be quite a wait.
I'll try it before and after the Phoenix. I would imagine the better cable (the FTA Sinope) should go after the Phoenix. Though one review (audiobacon?) claims the better should go before, which seems completely counterintuitive to me.
@soix Yes, I will to post, the OP says "I decided to give the new Supra Excalibur a go. I already have their Ethernet cable and like it very much. Plus, it'll be here tomorrow, unlike the Lavris which would be quite a wait." Was that your experience?
@lalitk I read the thread that you had mentioned and honestly thought it was bit "off the rails"! Just my opinion and we know how that goes...LOL
Thanks @vthokie83 .
I found a video review of them here
It’s quite lengthy so best to scan read the transcripts. He does however appear to rate the Excalibur alongside the Curious cables, and better than the best TelluriumQ and AQ offerings
Quite the bargain then
@markiew good to know, about the Innuos cable.
I've approached the dealer who sold me the used Phoenix, and despite them being an approved Innuos dealer they're refusing to make good the missing cable. Needless to say I'm not happy with them.
The fact that a $140 Supra Excalibur can compete with a $600 Curious Evolved and an $800 Audioquest, tells me what I need to know.....and what I've heard, Supra makes great cables. After I've completed my system install, I'll start cable rolling for more comparisons (Wireworld, Cullen Cables, Oyaide, and more Supra).....but they will all be value for dollar cables.
The slight irony here, given the fact I kicked off this thread, is that the Phoenix arrived three days ago and to get it up and running I plugged in the only USB I had to hand:. an Amazon Basics.
And it sounds fantastic! Compared to the Zenith alone, it's a wonderfully sound. Just perfect almost. It has lost all the glare, and forceful forwardness. The icy shards have melted.
It might be that the Phoenix has made every digital component upstream of it redundant. Then again, maybe not.
This thread caused me to try a, better than stock, USB cable. It hooks between the portable HDD and Oppo BD105. I hadn’t tried any aftermarket USB cables before for various reasons. 1. Afraid to invest too much because my next HDD might use a different connector. 2. Not sure which reasonably priced cable to try. 3. There was always something else to buy.
After reading all the Supra recommendations, I went with their entry level cable. The idea of separately shielded signal and power made sense. Amazingly, the US distributor got the cable here in 3 days. The 1m Supra is an amazing improvement over the ~8" cable supplied with the drive. Problems, I thought were speaker and room related, vanished. Anyone considering a 1st time high quality USB cable should try one.
@vthokie83 I'm very happy with the entry level Supra. There's no glaring weakness on my personal sonic wish list. Cable changes often involve trade offs. The Supra are very even handed and sound natural. I may regret asking, how does the Excalibur compare? Might have to order one from Zendada.
My sound comparison is from my previous configuration (Node 130 to Denafrips Pontuss II DAC), and prior to adding a Denafrips Iris DDC in between the two units.....and as you know I think highly of the 2.0 USB
Slight improvements from Supra 2.0 USB to Excalibur USB:
(1) Darker background/quieter
(2) Improved vocal detail and quality especially on female vocals in general but more specifically when Auto-Tuned
(3) More and better detail in highs, most noticeable on cimbles, harmonica, acoustic guitar....greater clarity, without being sibilant
(4) Sounded just a touch "faster" if that's a correct term? Just sounded a little more purposeful in presentation
(5) Didnt' do a lot for sound stage, where I thought the standard USB was really good
@vthokie83 thanks for the comparison. Haven't had the 2.0 a week, should probably enjoy it a while. Not even sure how long USB cables need to settle in. I'll probably weaken and order an Excalibur in a few months.
Any competent USB cable from the likes of Audioquest or other should be good enough. However, a more important item in the chain would be something like the HoloAudio’s Titanis ’USB processor’ dongle instead (if you can find it anymore). I was lucky enough to grab one from aliexpress after it became harder to find.
It was reviewed on the Hans Beekhuyzen channel.