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Do I need an active USB cable to connect my PC to the DAC? (15 meters)

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by DoF, Jan 14, 2022.

  1. DoF

    DoF Less is more... Thread Starter

    Location:
    Poland
    Hi, I want to connect my PC to the DAC using USB cable. I need 15 meters of this cable. Should I use an active USB cable? (almost all cables of this length sold are active) Thank you.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Brad2021hk

    Brad2021hk Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Yes. Maximum USB2 cable length is 5 meters.
     
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  3. DoF

    DoF Less is more... Thread Starter

    Location:
    Poland
    won't that active chip in the USB cable affect the sound?
     
  4. Brad2021hk

    Brad2021hk Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    I'm not a believer that spec compliant digital cables impact sound quality unless the DAC is doing really screwy things or just implemented wrong. If you don't buy into that world view, you may want to ignore the rest of the opinion. Digital cables just need to meet spec and not be broken. That's not a very high bar and can be reached with modestly priced, non-audiophile products. That will apply to an active cable too. If you really need to go 15m, you're going to get a better result with an active cable than trying to string together a 15m passive cable. It's really your only choice unless you want to move equipment around and reduce your cable need to 5m.

    It's possible for USB cables to impact sound quality if they are being used for power as well. Then the USB cable is also a power cable. I'm willing to buy into poor power delivery impacting analog circuits. The DAC you posted has a separate power supply, which removes a lot of that concern. It's possible that noise injected on USB GND or 5V on an active cable could have some negative impact. This would be dependent on the active cable and the implementation of the DAC. If the DAC has poor isolation of the USB implementation from the analog output stage, then you might have an issue. You're probably going to get more noise from the USB GND and 5V from the PC than from the active cable. Depending on how the active cable works, it might even filter some of the noise from the PC! It probably won't matter though.

    It's also possible that bit errors are introduced if the active cable is really badly done. That wouldn't show up as EQ issues, but would be dropped audio frames and would sound really bad. Think clicks and drop outs, not punchier bass or better decay on cymbals.
     
  5. Archimago

    Archimago Forum Resident

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  6. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    IMO bits are bits, as long as the cable repeats and doesn’t change data, it doesn’t change the sound.
    Plenty audiophiles claim to hear differences between digital cables… just placebo if you’d ask me.
    But yeah… people are free to believe w/e they want of course.
     
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  7. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
    Have you considered streaming to the DAC instead of connecting directly with a long USB cable?

    For example, you could connect a Raspberry Pi to the DAC and then stream to the Raspberry Pi. Or if you have a spare laptop or small form factor PC you could connect the DAC to that PC and then using something like JRiver Media Center running on that computer as a server and stream to it using your laptop or phone. There's lots of different ways to do this without using a long USB cable.
     
  8. vwestlife

    vwestlife Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Audio Science Review did a test and teardown of a USB filter that claims to isolate the data and power lines. It's a very simple circuit with just a few cents' worth of components, which even the cheapest DAC would include built-in if it really did make a difference -- but it doesn't:

     
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  9. Brad2021hk

    Brad2021hk Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    I agree. Even later in the post, I was more negative on it making a difference. I believe it is possible but exceedingly unlikely. If someone did somehow create this scenario where active USB cables caused noise on GND/5V that translated to audio, it is probably with some really janky equipment. That D50s will be totally fine. I had a D50 in my main stereo and really liked it. The only reason I moved away from it was my example didn't support DOP for some reason. I wanted to use DOP along with a D.BOB for SACD playback.

    I guess we should be a little careful about turning this into a typical cable thread.
     
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  10. DoF

    DoF Less is more... Thread Starter

    Location:
    Poland
    Guys you're great, that's the help I was looking for.
     
  11. Mike-48

    Mike-48 A shadow of my former self

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    You also can run USB over long distances using an inexpensive Ethernet converter like this one.
     
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  12. Tajo1960

    Tajo1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Croatia
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  13. DoF

    DoF Less is more... Thread Starter

    Location:
    Poland
    Topping has bt option, but the sound is not as good as from the cable
     
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  14. Tajo1960

    Tajo1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Croatia
    Yes, it is visible on the back panel of the device that it has BT. That's why I suggested it.
    OK, it's not bad to try BT, although I know that a cable is the best way to conduct a signal. And I personally have everything connected with wires, nothing by air :)

    And maybe with BT the meaning of your logo in the signature will come true - "Less is more" ... (it's a joke, sorry).
     
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  15. DoF

    DoF Less is more... Thread Starter

    Location:
    Poland
    :D
     
  16. Tim 2

    Tim 2 MORE MUSIC PLEASE

    Location:
    Alberta Canada
    Yes but you might not hear it.
     
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  17. Tajo1960

    Tajo1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Croatia
    Another OT post, but, not bad to know.
    I had 2-3 "audio" friends who had fantastic hearing and an extraordinary ability to recognize differences in the sound of audio components and systems.
    They unmistakably recognized by ear and hearing which audio cd was the original and which was the cd copy (directly from the original). So - blind test.
    Furthermore, they unmistakably recognized which audio cd (cd copy) was recorded at 4x speed, and which 24x ... We performed all this testing several times in several years. The results have always been stunning.
    I am writing this for the reason "but you might not hear it" ...
    A good and quality ear is able to recognize much more than we think is possible.
    It is possible that a colleague DoF will not hear the impact of USB assets in the sound, but it is possible that he will hear. This is never known in advance.
     
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