by Kevin OBrien on November 7, 2021


USB cables aren't something we think about very often. We tend not to think about something when we don't need to. We are lucky enough to have multiple USB cable types just lying around. Split cables, data-only cables, and standard 4-conductor cables, all with different conductor materials at our disposal.

After trying so many different conductors and configurations, we landed on one cable type that's our go-to: Pure Copper Litz. There's something about the sound of Litz copper that just can't be beat. If you're not a diehard fan of pure silver, THEN THIS IS THE USB CABLE FOR YOU.

Detail, air, space, huge soundstage, BASS, etc. It's all there and presented better than we've ever heard previously. We didn't think our 'Custom Ref' USB could get any better. We've pretty much beat a dead horse when it comes to USB cables. Yet here we are again with another reference  USB offering for our customers. It never hurts to have options.

If you're able to get your length down to less than a meter, you will be rewarded. We can build our 'Split' variety for you, or just a standard 4-conductor version (which we recommend). We say this because most DACs are using their internal power supplies to power their USB inputs these days. We know this is the case for EMM Labs, Meitner, Schiit, PS Audio, as well as almost all other DACs currently available.

The exceptions to this rule (that we know of) are the Sonnet Digital DACs, the Mola Mola DACs, and the Mutec gear. Almost everyone else seems to be using the converter's internal power supply for the USB input's power. That's a good thing as it leads to the best possible sound with little to no user intervention.

The +5V power lead of the standard 4-conductor USB cable is now only used to enumerate both the source and device in your chain. Basically, the power lead in your USB cable is used for 'handshaking' between components and that's it. If you don't have it (think data-only USB here), your DAC won't 'see' your source. The power lead doesn't degrade your audio signal as it's not used while streaming your music, just at start-up.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. Reach out for availability and pricing as we're here to help.

Remember: The shorter your USB cable is, the better it sounds!

Thank you for reading. Until next time...

 - YFS Design Team