“Beyond optimising for characteristic impedance, there would seem to be little point in making fancy USB cables… so how can a 1.1m USB cable costing £600 possibly offer any improvement?” wonders Andrew Harrison in the latest issue of Hi-Fi Critic as he makes a start on reviewing Computer Audio Design’s (CAD) USB Cables I & II. Some serious listening and a few hundred words later, Harrison is firmly convinced. “The improvements were clear as day.”
“Differences between CAD’s USB Cable I and a PC-grade USB cable are not subtle – nor indeed against more conventional USB cables I tried from specialists,” Harrison quickly concedes.
What’s particularly impressive, he adds, is that such differences are “not in the manner of mains conditioning filters that slow timing and smooth sharp edges.” Here, you get to throw out the bathwater (unwanted noise) while keeping the baby (all of your cherished sonic dynamics and depth) fully intact. “It’s more like the sound loses its trace electronic signature, erasing the synthetic, etched quality that still dogs high-end digital.”
Then there’s Cable II, which comes in at £990. Again, Harrison finds himself wondering. “Given the clear improvement found with Cable I, I was sceptical of the need for any further tuning.” Wrong again! “Where the Cable I was clarifying with silvery precision, majoring on taut timing, Cable II had a more organic, golden burnish that further separated each instrument from the other, peeling back more layers of timbre.”
Read Andrew Harrison’s full review here – including details of how CAD achieves such marked levels of improvement.
Discover more at www.computeraudiodesign.com
For a copy of the April-June 2018 issue of Hi-Fi Critic visit www.hificritic.com