The Importance of the Digital Cable

Good Sunday evening dear friends,

This point of discussion has been on my mind of late, as I have listened carefully to the results. This is a bold statement and discussed ad nauseam here I am sure, though I feel others may be encouraged to explore this more deeply as we share our experiences here.

I’ve had several digital cables, ranging from several coax, to toslink. I have not yet tried a dedicated AES/EBU XLR.

Listening to the Denafrips Pontus, a ladder DAC, fed from an Oppo UDP-205 as transport, I was compelled to try a few different cables, because the results were not as good as expected. I played a few albums; XTC ‘Nonesuch’ - a rather hot recording from the 90’s but very interesting and politically out front. Then an Everett Harp CD that highlights his wonderful sax playing. Then Robben Ford and The Blue Line, the album being ‘handful of Blues’.After that some Arjit Singh, and Tarkan (Turkish music).
The cables running from the DAC to the Pre/amp are Transparent Ultra XL (original). I like these cables because they have a very natural organic sound. They do lack some of the detail up top of some of the best in class and perhaps are a less exciting that some, but over all I love the naturalness, slight warmth in mid-bass, scale and soundstage of their sound.
But things didn’t sound quite right. I can always tell when something isn’t quite right, because it’s harder for me to get involved in the music. Some of the quieter words were too vague, and there was just a general fuzziness and vagueness overall. The soundstage was flatter and resolution of detail was lacking. The Pontus as you know, is a very good DAC, so I knew something was off.

I had the Canare digital cable in place, and decided to switch it out for my Black Cat Veloce. Wow! The sound transformed. Now the DAC truly shined. All the detail returned. The sound was certain and clear. The soundstage was very wide and the vagueness replaced with clarity. The music was now exciting and involving.

This begs the question, how can a digital cable make such a difference? After all, it is transporting a digital binary signal?
Please share your experiences.
I don't know how they make such a difference, but I have had the same experience.
Reduction of EMI & RFI.

Some reading on the topic:

Bob Stuart, Meridian Audio "Of course digital bits-are-bits and with due care, each of the three interfaces (USB, Toslink, coaxial) can deliver the same data at approximately the same time. But the audio we hear is analog and real-world devices are subject to a variety of interferences including data-induced jitter, other process-induced jitter, (and) common- and differential-mode electromagnetic noise. In the ideal world, the data are clocked in by and buffered in the DAC (asynchronous mode) and then de-jittered before conversion. In my experience this can never be perfect, just made closer and closer to irrelevance."

Gordon Rankin (introduced the digital audio world to asynchronous USB transfer)when I transfer a file over USB to an external hard drive it doesn’t make transfer errors – the file at the destination is the same as the source – so why should sending digital audio over USB be any different?

The fact that EMI and RFI can induce digital jitter may be an explanation why some cables (interconnect & power cables) can sound better than other on digital gear if they are able to better reject or even reduce EMI and RFI. Sharing an IEEE journal article on the topic.A simple model of EMI-induced timing jitter in digital circuits, its statistical distribution and its effect on circuit performance, IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ELECTROMAGNETIC COMPATIBILITY, VOL. 45, NO. 3, AUGUST 2003:
All Digital signals are still electrical in nature. The metal, construction gauge, shielding, or lack there of makes a difference in sound. Copper foil USB cables are detail monsters, and in my experience heads and shoulders better than anything I have tried so far.
I make all my cables, and have tried every combination possible...Pretty much.

I prefer cotton as the shielding, sounds the most natural to my ears. Foil>Solid>Litz>stranded. 
Stranded has the lowest resolution, and has noise problems. 
I'm totally ignorant as to why they make a difference and am not going to pretend otherwise, but I do know they make a difference as I have heard it with my own ears.

And it's not restricted to Coax and Toslink. I have heard differences in USB cables. 

I can't tell you why either but I've found the digital cable to make perhaps the most difference of all cable types. I consider myself very lucky to have stumbled upon a used Jorma Digital cable some years back it's truly fantastic.
You write: "After all, it is transporting a digital binary signal?"

Actually that's incorrect.  Like all wires, it is transporting an analog signal consisting of imperfect square waves.  Imperfect because it doesn't have unlimited bandwidth.  How imperfect?  That will depend on how the cable was manufactured.

Beyond that it's a complicated story.  There's loads of information about this on the 'net.  Start using Google on the subject.
Probably the most unexpected and profound difference I have ever heard was between a CD transport and DAC about thirty years ago. While I had already given up trying to explain why different wires sounded different, I was absolutely positive a digital connection would not depend on the wire, as analog did. When I swapped anyway just to prove it to myself, my jaw dropped… it sounded as if someone had switched components to much high grade ones.

Any inclination left before this incident to “logic out” what I was going to hear was gone after this. I read sonic reviews and listen. Although in all honesty, I put off upgrading to a high quality component streamer (its just a stream of bits, right?) by this stubborn reluctance to think it should matter with digital. Added a good streamer… jaw dropped again.
How can a power cord make any difference? After all it's only AC. How can 5 feet make any difference? After a thousand miles the last 5 feet is so critical? How can a speaker cable make any difference? As long as the wire is thick enough....  How can an interconnect make any difference? After all it is only a volt or two? How can I ask these questions? After all I'm not an engineer. Why does it matter? After all I'm not going to build anything. Why do I care? After all it doesn't help me choose components. Why don't I just buy whatever sounds the best?   

Good question.  
Thanks for the responses all. Calvin&Hobbes, Thanks for the great links and superbly detailed reply. 
So EMI / RFI comes to the fore again. Just as with streaming, this is a key culprit in sonic degradation.

Thanks GHDprentice, thats a great story on the transport to DAC. its exciting when one discovers how something considered less significant ends up making a profound difference. By the way, if you can remember what brand/kind of cable was it?

Of the two cables I mentioned, the Canare looks to be the better shielded of the two. The Veloce is beautifully constructed and ‘soft’ the way Chris does things (wonderfully), but the Canare is very well constructed too, with significant outer shielding and heavy duty connectors - although I prefer the Black Cat connectors and the general ‘feel’ of the cable. So If outer shielding has been addressed so well on the Canare, then it must be internal? I believe the metal / wire itself must influence the signal transfer integrity.

Hi Yuviarora, the Veloce I believe might use cotton as Chris utilizes Japanese cotton in his cables. You seemed to have delved pretty deeply here, trying different topology types.

Hello Melm, I thought the forum was open to discuss the subject we love. I have ‘googled’ but there is no substitute for talking with the audiophiles here with many years of practical experience. So are you saying that the digital stream/signal from computer to DAC is not a binary signal with packets etc., but rather a square wave, which is then converted to analogue by the DAC?

Jond, thanks, i will check out the Jorma digital cable.

thanks Roxy and Pauly for the response too
Yes, cable delivers digital information to D/A converter to produce analog (audio) signal. When this information is delivered in exactly same intervals then everything is always the same - perfect reproduction, but the problem is, that exact moment of D/A conversion can be affected by many factors and intervals become uneven (jittery). When this happens extra information is added to original signal. To understand this let’s imagine that you transfer constant 1kHz sinewave, but because of 60Hz noise moment of conversion (D/A clock) moves slightly back and forth in time 60 times a second. Now instead of pure 1kHz sinewave you will hear additional signals (sidebands) at 940Hz and 1060Hz at very small level. There will be many more, spaced by 60Hz, but because of smaller amplitude only first two (940Hz, 1060Hz) count. Amplitude of these sidebands will be proportional to amount of shifting in time (jitter).
These sidebands are extremely small, but still audible because they are not harmonically related to root (in this case 1kHz) signal. With many frequencies (music) there will be a lot of sidebands - practically added noise. This noise is proportional to signal level and without signal you cannot even hear it, but it is responsible for loss of transparency, loss of imaging, harshness etc.

So, now we know what happens, but why it happens? What can affect D/A conversion clock. To start with, this clock itself doesn’t have perfectly square edges and any noise in the system may add to edge (make it jagged) changing slightly moment of threshold crossing. What else? D/A clock has to be synchronized somehow with incoming S/Pdif signal, otherwise samples might get lost. It is done by taking average of S/Pdif signal word rate and using it to clock D/A converter. In spite of using average (no filter is perfect) timing variation in S/Pdif affect D/A clock. Where they come from? Electrical noise is obvious culprit. It adds to edges (making it jugged) changing moment of level recognition (threshold). Shielding, grounding, isolating etc. might help. It might be even worse for Toslink that being not sensitive to noise pickup is affected by system noise at both ends (Toslink transitions are slower).
Another culprit is reflection in the cable that adds to the edge (makes it jagged). This reflection happens when cable’s characteristic impedance is not matched to DAC input or Transport output. Beginning of the transition starts reflection from impedance boundary (usually cable’s end), that comes back and adds to rest of transition modifying its shape.

Characteristic impedance is very difficult to measure, so it is trial and error and expensive coax is not necessarily best match to impedances in your system. Shielding, of course is very important.

Hope it helps.

Hi Kijanki,

Thanks for that really superb answer. Very informative indeed. So you are reinforcing the notion that electrical noise i.e. EMI / RFI are the primary contributors to that very slight but audible change In sinewave i/ conversion clocked signal? So, aside from the clock itself, which as you indicate is never perfect, the cable transferring the digital signal is differentiated in performance primarily by ability to shield from EMI / RFI?

Hi MillerCarbon,

Thanks much for the input. I do believe powercords will be a positive upgrade for me, but I have yet to venture down that road though will in the near future. I am in the same boat as you regarding some of Synergistic Research’s products ( I have the Foundation speaker cables and set of four cable risers - which dramatically change the sound). As you’ve probably experimented with different types, can you state your preference for powercords and cables that are not priced into the stratosphere (I know some of your system is very expensive).
Yes, electrical noise will be very important contributor affecting not only transmission (creating time jitter), but also polluting everything else. Reflection created jitter in cable plays separate role. Reflections will produce time jitter of the signal hence added noise on analog out.  Two cables that have exactly same shielding may sound quite different because of impedance mismatch (one is a better match to DAC's input impedance).
+1 @kijanki  for mentioning timing, the influence of reflections in the cable and
how distortion affects the shape of the square wave. It's rarely mentioned how important it is to retain the integrity of the square wave from source to destination (DAC).

OP. Not only can I not remember the cable brand. I don’t remember the two box CD brand… I never had a great memory and it is not getting better. Brands I spent a lot of time with back then were: Straight Wire, Cardas, Nirvana, Harmonix, DH Labs, and Audioquest. I never had a very positive experience with the last. I use Transparent now.
Digital cables can make a  noticeable difference ,the latest                           Wire-world Platinum 8 is a excellent example  excellent detail 
and a verygood balance ,not as cool as the older 7 series,
also is possible buying a dac on upper tier with A Streamer module built in is better in several ways such as the Bricasti -M3
Dac-Streamer  excellent detail and musicality ,Roon ready .Ethernet is noticeably lower noise,then spdif,band,or usb, and by having the streamer in the same chassis in a premium dac 1 less power cord,and cable 
and much better isolation ,all digital signals are totally isolated 
from noise and digital single is not unpacked and converted until 
it arrives to streamer, this too applies from server,or computer 
do to several Linear power supplies,filtering,and pre and post voltage regulation dual AD 1955 Multibit dacs ,and R2R and filters in upper models , and many other 
more complex duties,a true bargain IMO that’s why switched from just a very good dac , and the future of things to Come ,Bricasti has been in professional mastering studios for years directly because of their implementations in correct digital playback .Their upper M1,and Flagship M21 are noticeably better still.
PM and I will send you the next model up in the black cat line up the Silverstar 75 Mkii model and it’s quite a bit better than the model you have…it’s on the house.  
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Make sure that you’re not using “analog” xlr cables for a “digital” signal. They look the same and have same XLR type connectors (although digital cable usually called AES) but different design internally.

same goes for unbalanced… spdif and analog interconnects both have RCA connectors but very different design internally.
GHD LoL! You are not alone on the memory front. I do like the ‘Transparent’ sound. Having heard the newer range I can say with certainty that the newer version of Ultra is much more capable that the old pair I have. I do have a pair of Audioquest Type 4 speaker cables and they sound quite good especially considering the price. I took home on trial from Bestbuy a pair of ‘Oak’ I believe it was, and was not impressed. Thought the soundstage was strangely forced and un-natural.
Hi Andrew,

the Veloce surprised me, its sound was so much better than the Canare. So much better. Yes I would agree on Black Cat’s cable. I would love to get into the Coppertone ICs and SCs. By all account they are marvellous performers. The construction is slightly outside the norm, and they are beautifully made. I would say the Black Cat is slightly more delicate than some cables so has to be treated with at least moderate respect and care. 
Thanks for the heads up Redwoodaudio! LoL you must have read my mind as i was thinking to try an regular IC XLR cable as AES/EBU digital which I most certainly won’t now.
Digital is not really Digital. The cable does not carry zero and ones. They are a concept!
The cable does carry a faint electrical signal that represents zeros and ones.
If the cable is not optimal, errors can happen. Out of a crazy amount of zeros and ones that passes, some can flip status. This can be heard.
its different from using a cable to copy files from one hard desk to another where there is a protocol to measure error and request the wrong data again. In audio, as far as i know, its a one way flow.
Thanks for clarifying Saleh. Yes, I believe I get it -  that the zero / one is an expression of on off for electrical signal, where certain amplitude is represented as a binary, which is in actuality an electrical signal. So, say ten zeros and five ones in a specific on/off configuration represents a certain analogue signal. Thats a gross simplification but is that what is correct?
5 volts

what a nice thing to upgrade that cable for you - class act ! 

I think the bnc connection should be the standard for SP-DIF….

I use both Audioquest and Nordost - they are night and day different, both w strengths. Tastes vary, thank God not everybody likes Talisker

Reflected trash is very real. Dealing with it is one reason why your gps satellite…works..

Sounds like the OP is on a wonderful voyage..
I'm no expert myself but as a simplification, yes )
Digital cables do have an great impact. Even ethernet if you were streaming, which is even more strange and I can't explain it to myself yet. Those network data packets are supposed to check for errors. But with a revealing system, you could clearly do what a proper ethernet cable like AQ diamond does. Even if upgrading from another lower level AQ ethernet cable. I was a skeptic till i heard myself!

I am considering audioquest and nordost for a 2 channel setup I’m looking into. Are you talking about just digital cables of the two or do you have them as speaker and power cords as well? Could you tell me the differences between them you have found? 
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the wire and construction make a difference no doubt.  I have tried too many cables to even mention.  One may sound good in your system but not in another system.  Depends on what you are looking for.  I have not found a cable to transform my system as I build my own components.

Funny thing is a few years back we won best of show with an Adcom interconnect that we ripped in two - all copper - as the digital cable.  Go figure.

Happy Listening.

A digital coaxial cable's signal runs in one direction but a digital optical cable has no arrows on it?
Hey OP,

A British Audiophile recently published a video related to your topic--on the space between the streamer and DAC--and he also runs a Pontius. So you may want to check it out:

I'm in the process of upgrading my streamer. My new streamer has USB and coax out, while my old streamer has only optical out. My DAC accepts all three connections. One interesting takeaway for me from the video above was to make sure to audition the USB connection. Although most audiophiles here seem to prefer a coax connection over USB, it's possible that my combination of streamer and DAC may be best over USB. We'll see. I'm still in the process of listening critically. 
Hi Bigkidz. I understand why you might not see such a major impact from cables, because you build your components tailored to your overall system requirements and probably taking into account measures around noise elimination. That’s so cool that you build your own components. I’m guessing you are a manufacturer, but won’t put you on the spot and ask ; )
The dedicated all-in-one streamer is definitely the future in my modest opinion . A top notch streamer with everything integrated also includes cabling throughout the signal path, so such a solution is beneficial. But its nice to have the flexibility of changing the DAC as we know that DACs sound so very different in the way they present music and i feel are such a key component with audio. I can usually tell the difference between a ladder DAC and Sigma Delta type DAC. The R2R DAC has a certain ease to the sound - very un-forced. Its a big open soundstage and the sound extends and is focused a bit farther back, so perhaps a bit more laidback sound. However the detail is still all there, just a little less thrust forward.
Thanks Classdstreamer, I will review that video. 

I find it so surprising that these digital cables can have such a major impact on the sound. It goes to show that some of these frontiers we are bridging here as audiophiles can not be easily explained, although the noise factor, cable refections, and metallurgy / topology are key. Audio is a complex pursuit, but I guess that is part of the joy. I am now understanding that, as you note above,  components interact in different ways with seemingly inconsequential changes to configuration, especially with cables. Makes one ponder on some of the other future-think ‘tweeks’ pursued by folks such as Miller Carbon. So easy to guffaw at these ‘out there’ quantum physics type of things because we don’t understand it. But the changes can be profound when we get everything in synergy. My guess is Miller Carbon’s system sounds pretty incredible.

Thanks for that great comment;

‘what a nice thing to upgrade that cable for you - class act ! ‘

Yes CFarrow is exceptionally generous and I am very grateful. I will report on my findings when I get it installed. 
You are right, it is a wonderful voyage and I am getting ever closer to the objective of ‘high-end’ sound. 
Will get it sent out by the end of the week, the SilverStar is a nice upgrade over the Veloce and BlackCat cables are a lot of bang for the buck!  I have a Esoteric N-05 all in one Streamer Dac but like my system better with my Ypsilon Dac in the chain via a Shunyata Sigma digital cable.  
I use a variety of AQ, Nordost, Cardas and Kimber cables across 3 systems and a mobile recording rack. All manner of cables; Ethernet, SP/DIF, Optical, etc….to exotic 128v dbs speaker wire.

My journey is my own. i make no assertion i am Einstein.

For brevity  on just Sp/dif. I agree BNC both ends IF your gear supports it, learn to solder if it does not. I don’t care for bnc to rca adapters, others may disagree. My DAC is very intolerant of them.

In a nutshell AQ Eagle Eye vs Nordost Silver Shadow has AQ being much more neutral but ultimately a touch less resolving. The Shadow is punchy and more “ Hi-Fi “. Bit of etched treble as might be characterized as the Nordost house sound. Ultimately i have both w different DACs for system synergy ; AQ w Aesthetix and Nordost w Lampizator.

Enjoy the music.

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USB if done right, is a great  way to connect your PC to your DAC. 
However, outside of a quality USB cable, another thing to look at is a dedicated USB Card  with a linear of battery power supply. You do not  want to use system power, it causes all sorts of issues. 
I have a Matrix USB 3.0 card, connected to a deep cycle 12V battery, using Neotech Legenburg 20 gauge OCC Copper cables. Even the quality of the metal of the DC plug used changes the sound coming out of your speakers, use pure copper ones if you can. 

Everything in the Audio Chain affects sound, every connecter, piece of  wire, capacitors, inductors, Fuses, cables, shielding.... you name it :)
It's pretty fascinating really :)

Those of you who use fibre for digital should be aware that older transducers use LED's which are slow and not very accurate - the electronics are pretty poor too.  I guess most toslink falls into this category. Unfortunately, this pretty much negates the advantage one would expect from the abscence of rfi/emi interference that fibre promises.

Newer ones use lasers and high quality electronics and combine this with good glass (instead of plastic) cable.  The improvement, in my opinion, is about like going from the lower models in a copper range to very near the top.    Doesn't break the bank.  Top quality for a set of transceivers and glass cable is around USD 200- 300/- not thousands!

Of course you have to have sfp ports in your equipment for best results. 

If no sfp ports, there is a workaround - one can use video converters also (v cheap) at either end of the path.  This helps, but it is more complex in terms of cabling and components, and the result is not quite as spectacular. 

Hope this is useful
Best wishes 

I am a multiple disciplinary engineer, I manufacture and I make my own cables.  All my personal speaker, interconnects and digital cables are silver. The value of my cable loom exceeds the value of the components in my system.

My USB cable has no solder joints in it at all. Solder joints increase the possibility of signal degradation.  Speaking of signal degradation, just transmitting a signal through a conductor changes the signal. The question is, how much, can you hear the difference, and what can you do to change it. Then there is the question of the environment and how much it is influencing the conduction of the signal through the conductor. Shielding can be a good thing or a bad thing and it all depends on how it is implemented.

The concepts of what is "better" and "quality" when making a choice, which starts with the senses and the brain ending up including psychoacoustics and just how good is your hearing, in this case, drives purchase decisions and appreciation of a product in a system.

I chose a custom made biaxial cable with premium connectors for the connection between CD transport and DAC using SPDIF ports. I chose a custom USB between my custom built computer and my DAC. I made these choices because they are what works best IMO in my system based on testing.
Best "simple" answer ever.  I would just add that sometimes noise and such could make the arriving "bit" look like it's somewhere halfway between the "on" level and the "off" level.  Trigger the DAC "interpolation
Cannot offer any explanation as to why but this has been the cable in my system that blew me away.  I have tried expensive speaker and interconnects over the years and have not been able to appreciate much, if anything.

I had a 30yo Audioquest CinemaQuest cable that I used when I got my Bluesound Node 2i and Schiit Gungnir Multibit.  I called Audioquest and asked what they suggested.  

They said their current entry models would be a lateral move to at least jump to the Carbon.  I found one on Amazon half price and was so shocked.  It was an immediate improvement in every aspect of the sound.  It has made me want to try yet another jump in level or brand but I have no idea where to go next so just enjoying it for now.
When I first picked up a SPDIF converter (Musical Fidelity V-Link 96), I suddenly had the option of running either optical or coax cable from it to the DAC. I started with a glass optical cable and thought it sounded better than USB straight into the DAC (that's why years later, I'm still using SPDIF converters).

Then I read that digital coaxial cables might sound better than optical. So I picked up a 1.5M inexpensive Billy Jeans coax cable. And damned if they weren't right--it did sound better. So it was coax from then on.

Then I read that coax cables have a "sound" just like any other component. Easy to believe this--everything seems to have a sound. Read a few rave comments & reviews about Oyaide coax cables, particularly the silver DR-510 (1.3M). It's not cheap, but I figured what the hell, and bought one direct from Oyaide (many cables marked as Oyaide on eBay are copies). 

The DR-510 immediately sounded significantly better than anything I'd heard before. Here it is ~6 years later and that cable has never left my system. I'm about to install a DDC (Matrix X SPDIF 2) and that Oyaide cable is staying right where it is...

"  Make sure that you’re not using “analog” xlr cables for a “digital” signal. They look the same and have same XLR type connectors (although digital cable usually called AES) but different design internally.

same goes for unbalanced… spdif and analog interconnects both have RCA connectors but very different design internally."

This is not true. As mentioned by several here; the "digital" signal is actually electric and any ic might do a ok job, just try. Don`t let the salesman fool you
Black Cat makes a hell of a digital cable…

Yes, that Black Cat digital cable is out of this world. 

Made my previous one sound broken.
This is not true. As mentioned by several here; the "digital" signal is actually electric and any ic might do a ok job, just try. Don`t let the salesman fool you
This is not true.  As mentioned many times here digital signal is affected by time jitter (doesn't come in even intervals) producing added noise after D/A conversion.  One of the causes of the jitter are reflections of the signal inside of the cable on characteristic impedance boundaries.   Expensive digital cable might be (other than better shielding) not better than the cheap one.  It is all system dependent and better cable will be the one that has characteristic impedance matching better (especially to DACs input impedance).  Analog cables are likely to cause jitter since they are not designed for any specific characteristic impedance (not important for analog signals in audio band).  Some DACs might have strong jitter suppression but other DACs will be affected.  Jitter is the main cause why digital often sounds bright and harsh in comparison to analog.

I think that it's worth doing to the conversation that DACs are effected differently by jitter. My old school Monarchy DAC handles it poorly, to the point that I got a jitter box (that's old guy speak for a component that just reclocks the data stream). My Benchmark, on the other hand, doesn't care about what source I use, or what cable.
Hello all,

An update and a bit of a review…

Fellow audiophile CFarrow, has very kindly sent me the Black Cat SilverStar 75 and which I received on Wednesday evening.

I couldn’t wait to try it and at my son’s behest, headed over to his house that very evening so we could both listen. To think that only 6 months or so ago i never considered that the digital cable could impact the sound to such a degree. In highly resolving systems, even small changes can have a profound impact in the sound overall.

The Veloce has proven to me how a carefully designed and engineered digital cable will bring out the music to much better effect. Better organization of the soundstage with more space between instruments (less homogenized). Clearer lines defining images. Better dynamic shading leading to improved dynamics and musical presence. Better definition throughout the frequency range.

The latest upgrade thanks to CFarrow, re-affirms to me that digital cables are not created equal and can sound different. The SilverStar sounds even better than the Veloce. How can that be? The adage goes that one can’t imagine it sounding much better until one hears it for oneself. The same kind of improvements noted above going from the Canare to the Veloce describe what I observe, only those improvements are greater; i.e greater clarity and musical energy overall.

I played several CDs that evening, all demonstrating to my son and I how great the Black Cat SilverStar is.
The Corrs, an excellent album by the Irish family band honouring their mother by playing a collection of the Irish music she best loved.  Not an audiophile grade album of highest quality in terms of sonic quality but superb nonetheless. Andrea Corr’s voice was dominant. It was palpable and human, even moreso than the Veloce. The energy of the band was fully realized. Drums had real force and energy. Cymbals vibrated and sizzled. The soundstage widened and deepened even more. Instrument tones and textures were rich.
But when i put on The Fixx, an album I have had since the early 90’s, I approached that audio nirvana. I know this album well and have listened many times over the decades. It is well recorded. In fact now i know it is very well recorded. The energy and clarity was breathtaking. Sounds were jumping way outside from the speakers I hadn’t ever experienced in listening to this album. Perhaps it was a culmination of the system as a whole. This is the first time playing this album on my son’s system; a Devialet Expert Pro 220 connected using the Black Cat Silverstar and fed by a Parasound Halo D3 as transport driving Magico S3s, so it was likely a combination of everything together that contributed to such a stellar result.

We ended the session listening to the inimitable Jagjit Singh, and Mehdi Hassan. The SilverStar conveyed all the nuances even more effectively than the Veloce. At that point we wound up the session as we both had to turn in and get up for work early in the morning.

in concluding I will say that the SilverStar may not be for every system. It is an amazing cable that delivers so much detail and information. If a system is inherently bright, this might be a bit too much of a good thing. Such systems require tuning down upper frequency detail a wee bit. For me though, the SilverStar is superb. It works perfectly with neutral sounding systems and adds much. My audio journey continues.

Thanks so much CFarrow.
OP Thanks for your report. Amazing isn’t it. You can do all the thinking about how much something shouldn’t mater, or how could things sound better… but when they do it is obvious and amazing.