Long USB cable recommendation

Hi all.

I'm looking for recommendations on a long (~6 meter) USB cable (a to b) to go from my iMac to an ifi Zen signature DAC. Would like to keep it reasonable (~$100.00) if possible. For context, I like to stream Qobuz from my Mac and while the ifi has bluetooth, the delivery of high-resolution audio exceeds the compressed size of Bluetooth audio. I also use the ifi from my CD changer. 

From what I understand 5m is typically the limit of USB and the longer the cable the more prone it is to RF interference. For additional context, I also have a Bluesound streamer that I run ethernet from my router to the device, but I'm constrained with using BluOS, which I'm not a fan of. I guess Qobuz is still working on a connect feature to stream directly from their app but not sure on the timeline.

Thanks very much in advance !


You can get an active USB cable that can go that long, no problemo. The biggest issues are ground loops at that length which are sometimes introduced, depending on whether or not your DAC has galvanic isolation built into the USB port or not.  USB isolators are cheap though.

That’s a bit too long for usb. Check out this article…


If you don’t like BluOS, give Roon free trial a go. Yeah it’s a subscription service but the UI/IX is insanely good. 

No use spending a lot of money on a cable coming from a laptop.  any of the audioquest that have silver coated conductors would be my choice.  I think the least expensive is the Forest. 

A long usb is much better than wireless.  


This is a lose-lose proposition IMHO. Streaming from a computer is bad, and using a long USB cable is also suboptimal for both performance and cost reasons. You’re better off selling the Node and use the proceeds and the $$$ you would’ve spent on a long USB cable to put toward buying an Innuos Pulse Mini that comes with their excellent Sense app that gets top marks for both sound and usability — some even choose it over Roon it’s so good. Plus it’s a better streamer than the Node, and you can add a LPS later for another nice performance boost.

Another possible workaround might be to get the mConnect+ app and use that to run Qobuz through the Node. It worked with my iFi Zen Stream so could be worth looking into if it’ll work with the Node. FWIW.

Here, they are around $20 and work just fine, except you may also need an isolator at the DAC end.   Sometimes ground loops form between the USB cable and AC wiring, and since your PC is so far away it is more likely to form.  IMHO a DAC's USB input should always be galvanically isolated, but sadly they are not.



I would be concerned with streaming audio over such a long distance, even with an active cable that has a repeater in it. Maybe just audiophilia nervosa but that seems like something that long might give you dropouts or exacerbate jitter, or just having the computer not recognize the DAC except by replugging it. Keep in mind that the USB audio signal is more of a stream and not in packets like ethernet.

If no other solution works (there must be other options?) then I would suggest moving the DAC close to the computer and then using balanced/XLR analog audio connection to run the 6 meters. I’m not sure of what those balanced outputs are on the DAC, so that may require single-ended to balanced conversion (get a used Henry Engineering matchbox) or a replacement of the DAC with one that has true balanced outputs.

Another solution would be to get a streamer and place it near the DAC, then use ethernet for the 6 meters. That’s probably the best investment in terms of not being jury rigged and also maxing sound quality.

Ordinarily I am not one who believes in digital cable voodoo, but 6 meters for a USB run is long. Even with an active cable/repeater - I have issues just running a USB cable for a touchscreen at that distance. Recipe for frustration...

@jji666 We leave a lot up to the buffering and jitter rejection in the DAC these days.  I think so long as it's in asynchronous mode the DAC will be fine. 

Buffering and jitter rejection can't solve really bad upstream signals, but I think this should be OK.  Of course, I do think a local streamer with an Android/iPhone connected controller is the way to go for convenience.

For that level of system and at that length and at that price the cheapest cable will work. That’s about as much as can be said.

I run a 5 meter AudioQuest Cinnamon USB from my laptop to my DDC. I have no issues with drop out or ground loops. I’ve not noticed any qualitative difference between the, admittedly, ridiculously long USB and a much shorter one, 1 meter I think. It’s not optimal but it works for what I have setup at the moment.  I believe 5 meters is about the limit of USB before issues are supposed to present themselves.