loud intermittent pops from DAC, possibly related to long USB cable from computer

when I bought my benchmark DAC 3 years ago, it made loud intermittent pops. people suggested it was due to the long USB run, so I got a 'USB active extender' 15 ft. cable which connects to a regular 15 ft. USB that goes to the DAC. the problem stopped - until now: I recently disassembled my system (changed the cabinets). when I turned it back on, the pops were back (fwiw: they only happen during the music, not when it's idle). I tried turning off the DAC, disconnecting and connecting the cables, but so far no luck. any ideas?


You could try upgrading your USB cable to something that works good with longer runs.  I use this one:

Supra USB

You could also try increasing the length of your buffer if you use computer audio.

@carlsbad you were right: the active extender must've gotten damaged when I reconfigured the stereo. on the advice of the guy at Benchmark, I got a 25' USB cable instead of replacing the extender cable; he said spec for USB is 15', but they'd used 25' at trade shows without issues. it's only been a few hours, but I haven't heard a single pop. I'd used duct tape to hold the extender cable down at one spot, pulled it up when I did the changes - that might've been the culprit.

I second the Supra USB cable. I use a 15 foot one. I’ve never had connections issues from a basic PCIE USB card direct to the DAC.

Be sure to disable/turn off any power management your computer may have on your USB ports.