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HiFi USB Audio Cables Explained
Many will argue the case that binary data, or 0's and 1's if transfered from one place to another will remain as the same 0's and 1's and will not alter in any way. Unfortunately this is not always the case. There is a fundamental difference between the transfer of computer data such as sending a document to a printer and digital audio signals currently used in hifi audio systems. Computers are able to transfer digital data without loss at exceptionally high speeds, because the data moves in the robust form of handshake, token and data blocks, which do not depend on specific timing between the sending and receiving devices and they also contain CRC which is Cyclic Redundancy Check, effectively making sure the data has been sent correctly. If there are problems then the receiving device can ask for the data to be resent or can work out the errors itself so at to effectively fill in the gaps with specific CRC codes. However, digital audio signals are continuous streams of data, devoid of CRC codes and therfore asking for the data to be resent is not an option for the receiving device. These packets in turn are quite fragile, since the digital processor must remain perfectly locked onto the timing of the signal to avoid data losses and to prevent the inherent addition of digital noise.
The limitations of digital audio processors and cables create timing errors known as jitter, which remove portions of the audio signal and replace them with noise and distortion, making it harder for the receiving device to tell the difference between a 0 or a 1. Cables can round off the square waveforms of the signal sent along the USB cable, making them less clear to the processor, thus increasing jitter. This rounding effect varies greatly among cables and a truly superior digital audio cable can make great improvements in decreasing the amount of jitter created whilst transfering the data.
Higher quality digital audio cables utilise unique designs specifically developed to minimize jitter by providing sharper, more accurate leading edges on the digital waveform. At each price level, they provide the lowest jitter available, producing distinct improvements in clarity, image focus, smoothness and dynamic range.