In the world of analogue audio, there’s little doubt that a system’s sonic performance can be markedly constrained or improved by the quality of its various cables. But when it comes to digital audio, could there be even more to play for? Computer Audio Design’s (CAD) Scott Berry believes so, and has been putting his ideas to the test for some time before bringing two exceptional new USB interconnects to market.
Let’s face it, from CD players to computers and from servers to streamers, digital audio source components can be noisy creatures. Compared to purely analogue devices, they produce considerably more high frequency ‘noise’, which is generated by CPUs, chipsets, switch mode power supplies, regulators and the like. Given that most audiophiles now have a system that includes some digital components, how do you prevent this unwanted noise from interfering with your system’s overall performance? The answer: tackle it before it reaches the analogue stage. In other words, prevent it from entering the digital to analogue converter (DAC).
CAD’s new CAD USB Cable I & II are specifically engineered to filter out noise from any and all digital music sources before it reaches the DAC. They build on the patented filtering technology that was previously developed by CAD when the company’s first USB cable was launched four years ago. That technology was unique and made the CAD cable notably different from any other on the market at the time. But designer Scott Berry is not one to sit on his laurels and has since remained head-down in USB technology, determined to take its performance further still.
A USB cable is made up of four conductors: two for power (+5V and ground), and two for high speed differential data signals (data+ and data-). Unwanted high frequency noise is present on all of them and so CAD’s patented filtering system is carefully designed to tackle all four. However, since the +5V conductor carries particularly large amounts of high frequency noise, CAD uses a separate, highly-shielded cable for the +5V conductor, giving added protection and isolation to the ground and data signals.
But CAD’s USB designs go considerably further than simply reducing unwanted noise. “Conductors used for high speed signals employ quite different materials and construction techniques to those that only operate at lower frequencies,” explains Berry, “and what’s more there’s considerable variation among them.” CAD therefore spent many years comparing materials and construction techniques and noting the resulting differences in sound quality. An intense period of research and experimentation then followed, working with different conductive and insulating materials to develop prototypes for evaluation, until Berry was satisfied that he had achieved the very best sound quality. “The conductors used to transmit music in our USB cables are manufactured only for CAD, to our individual specifications,” he proudly confirms.
The new CAD USB Cable I is an enhanced version of the company’s first cable, now featuring improvements to its patented filtering technology. The USB Cable II, meanwhile, takes noise reduction considerably further. It includes the same patented filtering as Cable I but partners this with a whole different construction and insulation, again using proprietary materials (the details of which remain a closely guarded secret) along with three independent CAD absorbers designed to further reduce unwanted high frequency electrical noise and mechanical vibration.
So confident is Berry in the performance of CAD’s new USB Cables I & II that he’s happy to offer a 30-day money back guarantee. “We believe that we’ve been working on USB cable filter design longer than anyone in the market and the results of this experience can be heard by comparing our CAD USB cables to any others on the market at any price.”
Hear the new CAD USB Cable I & II in action and meet Scott Berry and the Computer Audio Design team at The Indulgence Show on 29th September to 1st October in London’s Hammersmith International Centre.