For someone who said a year or so ago that he didn’t review cables I seem to have relaxed that conviction in recent months. What’s been catching my attention of late is creative thinking in dealing with the elecro-magnetic interference (EMI) that can add small amounts of distortion to the sound of hi-fi components: Louis Motek’s LessLoss DFPC power cords (reviewed here) tackle the problem by utilising the naturally occurring ‘skin effect’ to filter out high frequency nasties.
If you’re using a standard commercial PC or Mac, its USB ports are gonna be noisy. Furthermore, finding a suitable figure-8 power cable for a post-2009 MacMini might serve to eradicate only some of its electrical noise. And if you don’t have the coin to step up to something like an Aurender or Antipodes music server (reviewed here), you’ll likely be open to cheaper ways to keep said noise from reaching the internals of your DAC over its USB line.
You might have already looked at the iFi iUSBPower (reviewed here) and iFi iPurifier as well as the considerably cheaper Teradak slipstreaming option and the Schiit Wyrd USB ‘decrapifier’.
Now France’s TotalDAC step forward with another possibility. Their D1 USB cable deploys an inline filter intended to strip out the EMI emanating from your computer’s USB port. Both power and data lines are filtered.
Comparisons to Light Harmonic’s LightSpeed USB cable (meta-reviewed here) would be pivotal to any review. I didn’t think the D1 USB cable would get close to the LightSpeed – itself as dramatic an improvement as the entry-level USB converters – but it impresses just as much but with a different set of sonic traits. Starting at €360 (~US$500) it’s half the price of the Light Harmonic! That’s two USB cables now that have emphatically trumped the $2 wire that ships with most DACs to get you up and running. Consider my eyes, ears and mind now firmly prised open.
You can read my full review of the TotalDAC D1 filtering USB cable over at 6Moons.
Further information: TotalDAC