Now is does cost much more than mine unfortunately.
23 responses Add your response
The Network Acoustics ENO cables look very good, but unfortunately they do not specificy of the conductors are solid-core or what awg size they are. Most of all the USB cables I have seen are 28awg stranded wire. At least ENO uses OCC copper, which is good.
I do not have direct experience with USB cables (I only made one for myself, but don't have good USB transport). However, all other testing for both digital cables (S/PDIF and AES/EBU) as well as analog cables all show that high grade solid-core conductors are superior. In the case of digital cables, silver does actually improve things.
The two/three cables I would probably consider are:
Nordost Tyr 2 USB ($1600 for 2 meter) 20awg conductors.
Nordost Valhalla 2 (probably $4.5k for 2 meter) 20awg conductors.
Oyaide Continential 5S ($495 for 1.8 meter) 24awg conductors
The Nordost cables get seriously expensive. My experience with Nordost Heimdall 2 Digital COAX is that it has a lot of depth in the sound, but it's somewhat laid back in the upper mids/highs.
The Oyaide is solid-core pure silver 24awg conductor, which could be very good.
If anyone has direct experience with these, please post.
I am currently using an Audioquest Diamond to connect a Chord 2Go/2Yu to my Weiss DAC. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it sounds. Improved clarity but difficult to describe beyond that it in that it seems to have no discernable coloration on my sound.
I just compared this to a Kimber Select AG I had in on trade and thought they were similar in terms of quality. Again, very clear with great detail but not coloration.
I also had a customer just buy a Shunyata Omega and he said it was like he bought a whole new component it had such a big positive impact on his system. I have not heard this personally though.
I am also on the search for that magical sounding digital USB cable. Whats most important to me is its ability to reproduce the harmonics richness and tone of instruments. Musicality is essential, then resolving power. If it cant do that first I'm not interested. I think the next one i will try is the Cardas USB clear. Im currently using the Aural Symhonics xxv USB ( big fan of Aural Symhonics cables, but haven't been a fan of their digital cables in the past ) and my impression is they are a bit lean across the whole spectrum and resolving power is just decent. My search continues.
I have the Oyaide cable. While good,it gets very substantially bettered by the Intona Reference USB cable from Germany. Very much more leading and trailing edge, bigger and deeper soundstage and more flow.
Can’t get my head around spending $500+ for a USB cable, or at least not yet anyway. I went for a LavriCable Ultimate Silver Dual USB that was $134 for a 1m cable. I haven’t compared it to any other USB cables, so all I can say is my headphone rig sounds very neutral and detailed but still musical so seems like the USB cable is at least not doing much damage to the signal. Just another option FWIW.
A couple of years ago I was feeling a little randy and bought myself an over the top (price, that is) USB - Shunyata Sigma.
Lucky for me, it was like verdant's acquaintance spoke about, it transformed my system performance. I'm not happy about spending that much and am sure a higher value could be found. I just haven't been motivated enough to experiment since possession is 9/10ths of the law. ha
Still have some guilt for outlaying that kind of cash...
Forgot to mention I had a Totaldac usb and a Curious USB cable prior.
I recently put an Audioquest Diamond USB 3.0 cable between a Seagate external drive (housing 24 and 16 bit FLAC and ALAC files) and a Cambridge Audio 851N streamer and was amazed by the results. There is no other way to put it other than that the sound came alive in a way that I had never heard from my system before.
The Cambridge streamer is connected with Kimber Hero XLRs to my Mac pre-amp, which in turn is connected to a MAC solid state amp with more Kimbler Hero XLRs. The final connection are Audioquest Rocket 88s speaker cables to a pair of B&W 702 Signatures.
I thought the system sounded great until I swapped in the Audioquest Diamond USB 3.0 and all of a sudden I had a brand new stereo system. The experience made me realize how much difference one weak link in a system can make.