Digital Cables

Discussion in 'Modifications and Tweaks' started by starence, Sep 22, 2018.

  1. starence

    starence Facebook Friend

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    There are posts in various threads about digital cables, but it seemed like a good idea to have a dedicated thread. What digital cables are you all using, and what do you like about them?
     
  2. k4rstar

    k4rstar Sad on the inside

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    For cheaper stuff I like Dyson Audio. The single-ended S/PDIF cable he made me used Audioquest VSD-1 wire and WBT connectors. Cost $36 or something and was a worthwhile improvement over a computer store cable. His USB cable is nice as well. Unfortunately Jeffrey has periods where he is unresponsive or hard to reach so I have been wary of ordering from him as of late.

    A bit more pricey S/PDIF transmission, I really like Empirical Design. Karl used to work for Goldmund in the 90s and has evolved ideas from their well-known coaxial cables into his current designs. His ED120 single-ended cable is terminated with BNC but RCA adapters are only $5 extra. I currently have his ED224 AES cable which isn't listed on his site yet but costs the same. What I love about Karl is he will take the time to write you detailed explanations of any design element in his cables and why he chose them. Great for people like me who love to learn how the parts add up to the whole.

    https://www.empiricaldesign.net/digital-cables.html

    For i2s over HDMI, I have no direct experience but have read good things about Wireworld. TOSLINK I feel should be avoided due to its inherent jitter but if you have to use it go for Lifatec Glass.
     
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  3. Brad Tombaugh

    Brad Tombaugh Almost "Made"

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    You’re going to have to more specific... Technically, USB and S/PDIF (TOSLink) are digital, but I doubt that’s what you are asking about.

    If you are referring to a 75 ohm digital coaxial cable, I’m still pretty cheap with cables, and buy what seem to be the higher grade cables from Monoprice.com.

    To connect my Sony BluRay player to my Schiit Gungnir Multibit, I’m using one of these:

    https://www.monoprice.com/product?c_id=102&cp_id=10236&cs_id=1023603&p_id=21679&seq=1&format=2

    It seems to be well made, has decent connectors, and a braided jacket.

    I also picked up a “premium” S/PDIF (TOSLink) optical “cable” https://www.monoprice.com/product?c_id=102&cp_id=10229&cs_id=1022904&p_id=2764&seq=1&format=2

    to connect from the TV to the Gungnir.

    It only cost about $15 for both cables, and both have worked well for a year.

    If you are looking for either a BNC or AES digital cable, I don’t have any experience with those, but I’m sure that others here do...
     
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  4. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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  5. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
  6. starence

    starence Facebook Friend

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    I was really talking about any cable that carries a digital signal. USB, S/PDIF, AES, Ethernet, what have you. I'm not looking for advice, just wanted to have a dedicated thread for people to talk about these things.
     
  7. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Blue Jeans gave me an education, so I thought I'd better buy some cables from them. But they were analogue, so off-topic here, except that I love the company and its zero-bullshit-marketing. Yep: it has been pointed out to me, maybe just another sort of marketing. Could be true, but I know who I would buy from.

    Given that fast-charging mobiles taught us that, whatever they do or don't do with bits, USB cables are not at all equal at the simple matter of carrying current, I wish Bluejeans had a larger range, certified to be to-spec, like their network cables. I have more USB cables plugged into charging devices than I have plugged into either audio or data devices. For that reason, I take care what I buy. But I detest audio USBullshit, and same for other cables. And the entire industry it has spawned. Hello Audioquest.

    I have seen/heard wonderful speaker systems cabled (cobbled?) together with bits of scrap wire. Probably not such a good idea for digital part of the system.
     
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  8. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    I know what you mean, and yet their forest stuff is the best solution when you want usb cables that are to spec and atomicbob certified to not be the electrical equivalent of garden hose so thin it collapses under its own weight, and available worldwide easily.

    Which, i have to be honest, amuses me to no end.
     
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  9. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    I thought Belkin Gold filled that role? Aside from being atomicbob certified of course (at least that I remember reading).
     
  10. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    I haven't even thought about cables for quite a while. Better that way: I only get upset!

    Speaking of cable education, I'd like to put out a good word for Belden. There is good stuff in their blogs, although it might take a bit of digging to find it.

    Like, if a person really wants to know about cable, who to ask? Someone who has random, fictional reasons for stuffing silver wire into pieces of hosepipe, or a huge investor, researcher, manufacturer of... cables. I know which the audiophools prefer. And that's when I start getting hot under the collar.

    Of course, many reasonable audiophile buyers of sensible cables know that the wire between their connectors did come from Belden.

    By the way, I usually buy Aukey USB stuff.
     
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  11. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    Iirc they don't make them anymore, so you need to find old stock of them.
     
  12. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Where do I find the Atomicbob certified list?
     
  13. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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  14. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Goodness, what treasures there are here, and how easy it is to miss them. Now I have to go see if I understand that stuff. Thanks for the pointer!

    Edit: Oh, I did go there before. I should say: What treasures fall through the big holes between my brain cells!
     
  15. Forza AudioWorks

    Forza AudioWorks MOT: Forza AudioWorks

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    Toslink is at the very end of digital I'd use. Yes, for the reason you wrote.
     
  16. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Did someone say Belkin Gold? I have a 6 ft USB 2.0, if anyone was considering buying one, PM me. Sold on the bay
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  17. Gruss Gott

    Gruss Gott Almost "Made"

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    For power i use Anker powerline+ stuff, and for USB-C / PD power I use Anker's lifetime guaranteed USB-C 3.1 cable - it basically will mimic just about any fast charging power (quickcharge, turbopower, etc), and like Thad, I learned long ago that USB cables are far from equal.

    As for other cables, digital or no, i'm an audioquest guy - i live in silicon valley and have been in enough labs and seen enough cables (incl AQ) hooked up to enough bing-bong devices, and heard enough science from PhDs to be firmly intellectually comfortable that USB cables (and SPDIF) make an audio difference ..... IF. And there are too many ifs to cover and overall it doesn't matter because there are those willing to try anything for better sound, and those who must be convinced of the science, and those who are firm that X is true or Y can't be true (and usually start posts with "i'm an engineer ") ... that any type of general discussion is futile - and I'm a so-do-what-makes-you-smile type. < - required disclaimer for any cable thread

    Specific to digital I have tried (and tested) mediaquest, monoprice, bluejeans, homemade versions, generics, Anker, Pangea, and others I can't remember. Ultimately I settled on AQ Carbon digital cables as they were the best mix of price / performance for my system in my environment. I did try more expensive versions (e.g., coffee, diamond) but for my system and environment they weren't necessary, so I use the carbons.

    But most importantly, everyone in this thread is a daredevil, because cable threads on audio forums are the X-Games of the internet.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  18. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    So I stumbled across a really good deal on a used Audioquest Coffee USB cable last week and decided to give it a try. Was using the AQ Carbon previously, which I liked better than any of the other USBs I had tried before.

    In summary, if you’re running a fairly resolving system and looking for a somewhat costly “tweak” that provides a fairly clear improvement, you could do worse than the AQ Coffee USB. It sounds really, really good.

    I was surprised how much better it is than the Carbon, in my system at least...I sort of assumed they would sound pretty much the same at this price range, but unfortunately they don’t. It sounds clearer, smoother and has better dynamics (esp macro) and more density/body through the mids and cleaner highs.

    Unless someone wills me the AQ Diamond however, this is where I stop.

    Yes I realize many folks are non cable believers and that’s cool. But if you’re interested in this type of thing, just thought I’d pass it on.

    Edit: Also I would never pay full retail for a cable over $30 - used all the way with this stuff. If you don’t find it makes a difference, flip it to someone else who might.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  19. beemerphile

    beemerphile Friend

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    Sometimes I see a cable presented and I think that no-one could ever ring the BS meter harder, then something like this power cable comes along. ..

    http://www.highfidelitycables.com/products/power/ct1urh/

    "...This phenomenon helps to greatly reduce the distortions that arise from electron scattering. Electrons scatter for various reasons. Typically electrons prefer to remain on the outside of the conductor. Helix technology forces these electrons into the center of the conductor. High Fidelity Cables designs fundamentally change the direction of the electron itself. Electrons are forced to the middle, instead of the outside of the conductor, unlike what is seen in a traditional conductor. By utilizing these high-tech magnetic spheres, Helix technology is able to even further lower distortion."

    For only $13,000 I guess it's worth giving it a shot. My house is about 40 miles from the power plant. I am sure if I changed the last three feet of wire going to my amp great things would happen.

    I know it's not digital, but they have that covered as well with something that works by a completely different electrical model...

    http://www.highfidelitycables.com/products/digital/reveal/

    "The Reveal is the newest addition to our family of the cables. It was created with one particular goal in mind: to re-define the limits of magnetic conduction, a common-sense yet controversial technology. Magnetic Conduction by nature is so unique that these cables really shouldn’t even be called "cables" as they work from a completely different electrical model."
     
  20. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    It's like South Park and the Inception parody episode Insheeption. "So complex and cool!"
     
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