Need help understanding USB cables

Looking to connect a streamer to a DAC via USB (A to B). I am reading that some cables separate the power from the signal portions of the cable but the DAC is powered, so what should I be looking for in a cable?

Ag insider logo xs@2xitball

+1 @thyname 

Going deeper down the rabbithole, a few manufacturers have two versions of a particular model, one with/without the power line. Those whose DAC doesn't need the power line sometimes report not having it lowers noise. Other cables have "dual heads", i.e. two separate USB connectors one has power and one has signal. Users who don't need power, just don't connect that lead to the DAC.

So a couple of cautions:

1) If you buy a "dual headed" cable and need the power line, may sure your gear can accommodate

2) If your DAC needs the power line be sure to get a cable that includes it. For example, my Denafrips DAC doesn't use the power line for playing music, but still needs it to complete the "handshake" which gets the DAC to lock on the incoming signal. A cable lacking power line won't work with it.



You can test easily to see if your DAC requires the 5V power from the USB cable. You can block the 5V line (pin one) of the USB A plug with a small piece of card stock. The system will either work or not. If it works then the construction of the cable (regarding the power line) doesn’t really matter.

The required handshaking is done by the ground line, pin 4. That must always be connected, at least for a moment upon turn-on.

You mostly benefit from pushing power to a DDC etc. If you don't draw any power don't bother.