USB Cables for K50 / Oladra

This thread is an intriguing read, though articulating one’s USB cable experience effectively in writing is challenging, and this holds true for any type of cable. Additionally, the consideration of price adds another layer to the discussion.

I came across a write-up on WBF, that includes the OP’s @terrycym final choice, that not only aids in assessing the inherent sound quality parameters but also provides a comparison with two other USB cables and their respective merits. In the chart below, the MUON evidently appears superior in nearly every characteristic, however, I leave that decision to you, as it may not necessarily align with what you are seeking in a USB cable. Just envision the convenience an audiophile could experience with charts like these packaged alongside each cable.

Kudos to luca.pelliccioli for dedicating time to share his valuable experience.

(…) Here below a simple chart, as my usual, to better describe “with numbers” the different characteristics I noticed playing with these 3 different toys. Needless to say that it works in my system, in my room and with my ears. Others might have different opinions, of course!

CABLE PINK FAUN CAD II-R MUON2
White noise/Hum 8 8 8
Background 8 9 8
Naturalness 9 7 9
Image precision 8 8 8
Soundstage depth 8 7 8
Soundstage width 8 7 8
Separation 8 7 8
Voice 8 7 9
Hights 8 7 8
Bass 8 9 9
Presence 8 7 9
Transient 7 9 9
Clarity 8 7 8
Airy 8 7 8
Detail 8 8 8
Unveil 7 6 8
Realism 9 7 9
Calm 7 8 8
Control 7 8 8
Engagement 8 7 9
7,9 7,5 8,4

(…)

As a bonus, this also includes some of the recommended cables mentioned in this thread. Enjoy :wink:

I purchased my K30 from Elite Audio, and later on Mark recommended SOtM Filtered USB cable : dCBL-UF -Silver. It took a long time to settle in. It has stopped me wanting a new a DAC. I also had a SOtM iSO-CAT filter block and a 30cm dCBL-CAT7u cable. These 2 purchases really have filtered out unwanted noise and the last remaining digital glare. Great highs and lows. Nick

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Now I own an Oladra G2 plus Ideon Absolute Epsilon DAC and connected both with a Shunyata Omega USB cable. For me the best I ever had. Better than AES/EBU because of Ideons high performance clock and drastic improve of Oladra USB technology.

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Big fan of the FTA Callisto. A very organic and natural presentation.

I agree about this cable (I have one) but also I would recommend people to try the Sablon EVO (which I also have). Both are fine cables.

On the other hand I much prefer the BNC outputs from the K50 and Oladra but then I guess I would say that as I manufacture RF filtering BNC cables! :rofl:

I have a snakeriver bnc for mine and love it. i know many use the usb AND spdif from the k50 and believe both to be near equal quality.

Lile a lot of things it depends on listener prefs and the chain. For me USB to my lampi as it is a hair better, but only spdif for the mojo as its usb lacks behind.

I ordered and received yesterday a Triode Wire Labs “Passion” USB cable, “Passion” USB Cable | Triode Wire Labs . I have owned an earlier version USB cable from TWL for about 7 years, a uRendu-link. My system has gone through multiple changes over these years, including but not limited to servers, players, and DACs. I have had a total of 3 USB “audiophile” USB cables over this time–the uRendu-link, a Paul Pang Red, and a Wireworld Platinum Starlight. I still have the Paul Peng in storage–very lush mid-range but not as well balanced in highs and tight bass as I now prefer for my system. I have sold the WW one. It was in and out of my system. It was more detailed but as my system evolved, I preferred the TWL cable.

As of last few years, I have preferred AES/EBU over USB. I did evaluate another USB cable early in 2023–a new and soon to be released cable from Mad Scientist now known as the Ultra Gold. I very, very rarely return audio gear during evaluation period, but I just wasn’t perceiving an improvement over the
TWL cable I had. Bob at MS and I communicated on my perceptions as I was running in the cable. He suggested I evaluate after 120 hours. I was probably close to 140 hours on final run, but still did not perceive noticeable upgrade, and the Ultra Gold was many multiples more expensive than the TWL cable I owned. Though Bob at Mad Scientist was disappointed, he was very good about my return, which I really appreciate.

I then had become aware of the hardware upgrade changes coming with Antipodes and thought it best to hold off on USB cable till after the upgrade. One of my reasons for the G4 upgrade to my original K50 was the hope USB would improve with the hardware upgrades, including USB re-clocker. I do believe my upgraded K50 is providing better USB results for me, but the itch for better has still been in my head. I had been considering several options, including Sablon ( I have Sablon 2020 Ethernet and Bocchino palladium AES/EBU cables), Triode Wire Labs (I have XLR and several TWL power cords, Audio Sensibility (I have Steve’s top of the line Signature ethernet, XLR, and two of his Signature power cords plus a DC power cord for my Lumin X1), and Network Acoustics MUON. Sablon and NA have forum discussion on several forums regarding users liking their USB cables. TWL had for a time stopped offering the “Passion” cable due to supply chain part issue. That no longer is the case, but that could have affected the paucity of forum discussions on this cable. However, I did find a review starting at post 740, High End Cables Thread (digital, analog, power) | Page 50 | Headphone Reviews and Discussion - Head-Fi.org that I found quite interesting. The poster rated 13 USB cables, including Sablon and Mad Scientist, with TWL “Passion” coming in at second place behind the MUON2, but the TWL is much less expensive–MUON2 approximately 3.5x more expensive. Both have a 30-day trial period. I reached out to Pete at TWL regarding differences I might perceive with “Passion” vs the TWL cable I have had. Pete at TWL indicated I would experience a huge improvement with “much better internal wire and has a superb proprietary power filter, with twice the inductance and 2.5X the filtering capacitance of the older “Discrete USB” cable as well as an innovative method of winding the coils.” The version I have had is similar to the “Dongle” cable and did not have filtering.

I have had very good dealings with Pete in the past and have found his recommendations very honest and effective. He once steered me away from purchasing an upgraded power cable from him, telling me an existing TWL I had on hand was good for the specific use I had in mind.

Interestingly, I have experienced improvement from the beginning with the “Passion”. Pete does recommend 100 hours break-in. He does employ a cable cooker as well before shipping. My initial impressions are much less “mechanical” presentation, increased non-edgy detail, and enhanced imagery and wider staging. It will be interesting to hear what evolves with this cable at the 100 and 200 hour marks.

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As a follow-up, I have approximately 120+ hours on the “Passion” USB. I have been using Squeeze and Roon with Squeeze Player during this time. For about 4 of the days I had constant signal with the cable to my DAC. The remainder of the time I have played music 8-10 hours per day. My impressions are that the presentation went through a period early in the midst of the first 100 hours where I felt the mids and vocals became less defined and recessed, but that no longer is my perception, resolving for me before the 100 hour mark. I am quite pleased with my results with this cable.

No 5v will not work with all dac, including my Terminator Plus DE. Cheers.

Hi, I am using shunyata sigma after gotten weak and would not do it again for arguably “some improvement” in my not too shabby setup imho … oyaide continental 5S used last before the shunyata sigma sounds mighty fine for little money. Cheers.

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Hi there,
Just invested in a Network Server/ Streamer as despite listening to my
music via the Internet it was via an Amazon Fire Tablet or my Android phone!
Now I have gone to the Top with a Antipodes K50…wholly moses Batman … you’re probably saying?
Anyways, I don’t have the Option of using a USB cable as not a feature on my Perpetual Technologies P1&P3.
So I use SPDIF phono - the brilliant Acoustic Zen 120ohm cable.
The Sound is absolutely sublime…try it you won’t regret it.
I use these from my CD and Blu-ray player etc. 22years and still flawless. Can you ask for more.
Cables like Any piece of Hi-fi are very subjective and If you can’t hear the differences Go for the Best Value and Save your £’s
Extremely impressed with my K50
:grin::+1:
Just enjoy your Hi-fi

I owned that combo at one time. My source was a Pioneer CD recorder that I occasionally used to record from vinyl. Not a very good source, in other words. It sure would be fascinating to hear how it sounds driven by a K50. I’ve become a believer in the “source first” approach so I am sure you are hearing great things.

Hello Kennyb123

That’s good to know.
Yes, Source 1st get the best and progress from there.
One doesn’t have to spend a Fortune to get a good sounding system…just get the balance right ?
The Quality of Sound throughout my System is really great. Everything so separated, precise, crystal clear etc. You just know after a few of one’s favourite music tracks.
My system comprises of many components 20 years old but, they have " stood the test of time " and serve me well🤩
I don’t need to Upgrade anything because I have reached my zenith and to get that bit much better (?) one would have to pay out the equivalent of a few body parts. Been very fortunate to listen to a Friend’s Tech Das , Whest Audio , BAT, ATC 300 etc.
Blows your brains out !! Unbelievable… honestly, Wow!
I do love listening :headphones: to Hi-fi but, I don’t get to shows anymore. Too far away…
There are or should be 20 years on better Components but, I can’t comment on them nor heard them either.
All I can say : Using the Antipodes K50 is fantastic…and should be for the £££££’s I have just spent :hot_face::hot_face::hot_face::hot_face::hot_face:

I am new to all these forums but, they are So helpful, informative and full of guys and gals that are true enthusiasts whatever Forum they’re on.
I had already read a fair bit on just this one as I get to gain more knowledge on my K50 etc.
Thanks to you and All others blogging with great advices and information.:+1::+1:

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On my K50 gen 2 I started out with a Nordost Valhalla 1 S/PDIF and a No Name Brand USB cable. The latter was more of a backup when playing the occasional files that exceeded the capacity of the S/PDIF.
After a while curiosity took over and I decided to evaluate a handful of USB cables side by side. Ranging from “affordable to crazy money” I hade the Supra Excalibur USB 2.0, Nordost Tyr 2 USB, Nordost Valhalla 2 USB, Shunyata Omega USB and Sablon Audio EVO 2 USB.

Going from the No Name to the Supra was a great step, well worth the investment. Tyr was not worth the upgrade in my opinion. Then came the battle of the titans with Nordost and Shunyata. The former was (in my system) perceived as quicker and more playful but maybe a tad lean, where as the Shunyata was richer and more organic. But a bit “slower”. The Sablon sat right in the middle between these and thats the one I ended up with.

Some news from my side. In the mean time I changed to the Ideon Absolute Epsilon DAC and connected the Oladra with the Ideon with a Stealth simple USB cable. Result: No recognition of the DAC. I tried another Stealth simple USB cable, result: no problems. Then I got a twin tune Stealth USB cable, result: No recognition of the DAC. I connected the same USB cable with my iPhone to the DAC, result: no problem. Now I wait for another Stealth Twin USB cable to repeat my experiences with the old USB from Stealth. Btw, all other simple USB cables, Audioquest Cinnamon and a 5$ printer USB cable work with the Oladra/Ideon combo. So I cannot understand what kind of problems the system has with Stealth USB cables, even when I have two same cables. One works - the other doesn’t. But all work well with the iPhone or a PC as streamer.