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Reviving my DIY USB cable and finding Wow! again

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It is too long, unwieldy and looks ugly. That's my DIY USB cable.

After Alex and John posted about the enhancements of their Regen Amber device, I wanted to try modifying my USB cable by adding some small resistance to the ground.

In the meantime, the cable was lying unused since the time I tested a USB 3.0 cable to connect the computer to the DAC (Mac to iFi iDSD Nano). The original idea came from a couple of commercial designs, namely the LightHarmonic USB cable with separated power and signal lines, as well as the similar offering by iFi, the Gemini.

Now, previously, my cable had a ferrite bead on each of the power lines, separately, i.e. one on the +5V line and one on the ground. I tried finding a post I had read saying that ferrite on the +5V kills dynamics but couldn't. Not a problem, since I could always investigate myself.

Now, the initial aural testing of this cable showed some wonderful performance as compared to generic USB cables, despite itself being based on a generic donor cable. Thus, I didn't build this from scratch.

So, out came the soldering iron and solder after I managed to ferret a suitable resistor from my resistor box (something I usually dread doing as it's a mess in there!).

I removed the ferrite from the power lead, unsoldered the ground lead, then added a turn of the ground lead to its ferrite bead, and then soldered in the resistor.

We listened to a few songs over the following minutes:

Tina Turner - Simply The Best - I Can't Stand The Rain

Wow! You may remember the original version of this song by a band from the Disco era called Eruption. Turner's version is more electro. Big bass and drums, all sounds are clear, detailed high range. That was our first wow.

Masters of Acoustic Guitar - Track 1

Wow! Just the starting dynamics from this one startled us. We have listened to this a few times with the USB 3 cable and it definitely didn't have the same effect on us.

Diana Krall - Love Scenes - All or Nothing at All

Wow! Diana is here in the room with us, and her musicians as well. I can hear the air through her teeth when she sings 'nothing'. Incredible. The clear top-end and great dynamics, together with the big bass makes for a large soundstage.

We just prefer the ugly DIY USB cable. This gives us a sound from equipment several thousand of dollars more expensive than our own. How do I know? By paying attention to the sound at Audio shows. If you have heard DSD128 playing through a Luxman DAC and Vivid Giyas in Philip O'Hanlon's rooms, you know what I mean.

Utterly happy with this simple DIY test, and looking forward to listening to music and movies in my rig with the USB cable in, and especially with surround tracks and movies.

Who would have thought that making your own USB cable could have such a tremendous effect?
Tags: diy, usb cable, wow!


  1. musicbuff's Avatar
    Do you have pics of this cable?
  2. YashN's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by musicbuff
    Do you have pics of this cable?
    It's hiding behind my iMac in the Lampise your DSD thread. It's the couple of thick black snakes - ugly as hell.