Choice Extras: Blue USB digital audio cable
Using a poor-quality USB cable to connect a computer to a DAC can result in effects that will interfere with the quality of the audio signal that’s transmitted. These unwanted effects manifest themselves as errors in the digital data stream, which the DAC has to correct and can introduce jitter and other issues that can degrade the audio signal.
What’s in a name?
The Blue USB cable is the baby brother of TQ’s Black USB cable, which employs a special blend of materials for both the conductors and insulators and aims to minimise phase distortion. We reviewed the original back in 2014 (HFC 383), but the construction has been “tweaked” despite the name staying the same.
The cable is of the AB configuration, which means it has a red-sheathed, flat section USB-A plug at one end for connecting to a PC and a red-sheathed, square USB-B plug at the other for hooking up to the audio equipment. I use it to connect my Windows 10 PC to Alpha Design Labs GT40a DAC (HFC 399) to play music files from my PC through my system.
A 16/44.1 WMA file of The Black Cat Neighbourhood by Fallulah enjoys pounding rhythmic drums and heavily processed female vocals that sound clearly identifiable while the bass is energetic and exciting. A 24/192 WAV file of the Rondo from Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik demonstrates superb instrument placement within the soundstage, while a 24/192 FLAC file of Yo-Yo Ma playing the Prelude from Suite No.1 for Unaccompanied Cello by J S Bach shows off the smooth-sounding cello and an overall effortless rounded performance. Whatever properties are wrapped inside the Blue USB’s black sheathing, it works very well indeed in my setup. NR
Price: £186 for 1m
Telephone: 01458 251997
Read the full review in August issue 439
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