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Nordost Tyr 2 Review (USB Cable)

Rate this product:

  • 1. Waste of money (piggy bank panther)

    Votes: 489 96.6%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 4 0.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 3 0.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 10 2.0%

  • Total voters
    506

voodooless

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You mean I waxed the AP USB cable for hours for nothing? I thought for sure it would speed up the transmission of electrons within it....
m75l0ylcr3u71.gif
 

H-713

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How are the false claims made by the manufacturer not illegal? This industry is an embarrassment and needs to be cleaned up. Thanks for what you do, @amirm.
It's probably a grey area on false advertising, but the tricky thing is that their marketing doesn't really have any meaning. It says it makes it "sound better" or "improve imaging". You may be able to prove that there is no electrical difference (though in reality, there is some electrical difference, just not that matters), but what with respect to what? None of the marketing goes into detail about what it improves upon. It's like all the cheap power tools that say "200% MORE POWER than the competition!!!" on the box. They never specify what they're comparing to, and as far as I know, there's no law against dumb, meaningless marketing statements.

The reality is that a lot of industries (at least on the consumer side) have misleading crap, some of which is much worse than an overpriced USB cable. Let's go over a few:
-Grow your ***** 10 inches with _____
-Supplements for _____
-Lose 10 pounds in one month with _____
-Plenty of boutique car parts fall under this category
-Ditto for the sailboat racing industry
-You ever opened up some of the "surge protectors" on the market that claim to protect your stuff from a lightning strike?
-High-performance skateboard bearings that claim to have greater precision than those in a surface grinder spindle
-Protect yourself from 'Dangerous' EM waves with _____
-Dyson vacuum advertising
-The list goes on. And on. And on.

I'm sort of beyond caring when it comes to boutique cables. Getting rid of them isn't really possible (it's like trying to get rid of mosquitos at a camp site), about the best thing that can be done is to make sure that the information about their uselessness is out there so that people don't fall for it (the equivalent of applying bug spray).
 

respice finem

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Nordost Tyr 2 USB cable. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $1,400 (no typo).
View attachment 192553
As you see, the cable doesn't look all that fancy but still has a premium feel to it. It highly resists rotating so when you try to align the USB cable, you may have to work hard at it. I think this is due to use of solid conductors.

I thought I start by quoting top line advertising from one of their resellers:

View attachment 192554

It would be wroth it if it did all of that....

Nordost Tyr 2 USB Cable Measurements
We don't listen to USB cables but rather, the analog output of our audio devices, in this case, a DAC. I usually use my Schiit Modi 2 DAC for USB cable testing because its USB implementation is poor and highly dependent on the computer activity and to a minor degree, USB cable. Alas, today it would not produce a stable output with its SINAD jumping between 85 and 90 dB. It did the same with every USB cable so I put it aside and instead chose the Topping DX3 Pro+ that I had pulled out recently for other testing. This is a $200 DAC and headphone combo with superb performance.

For comparison, I chose to use my usual 6 foot Amazon Basics USB cable. I really like this cable due to its flexibility and durability having been plugged in and unplugged probably 1000 times in my system as I test various USB device. It costs all of $6.83 including Prime shipping!

Let's start with our usual dashboard, first with Amazon Basics:
View attachment 192555

Exceptional performance with distortion near -130 dB (15 dB better than threshold of hearing). SINAD is therefore determined by noise level which is around -115 dB (at threshold of hearing). Now let's swap the Amazon Basics USB cable for Nordost Tyr 2:
View attachment 192556

All we see are incredibly small run to run variations. Output voltage is the same to three decimal places. Frequency is the same to 5 decimal places. Noise floor is the same. SINAD is the same. We could stop here but let's keep going, testing with 32 tones at much higher sampling rate of 192 kHz (hence more traffic on USB cable):

View attachment 192557

Again we see both measurements being the same. We are digging deep down to -150 dB and can't find a difference. Notice how the top of the tones is the same indicating identical frequency response as well.

Maybe noise floor has changed. Let's measure that difference:
View attachment 192558

Just random run to run variation. Notice the super wide bandwidth of this test going 25X than maximum hearing range! And we still can't find a difference.

Let's widen our analysis of noise and distortion for 1 kHz tone:
View attachment 192559

Worst case noise and distortion is only -120 dB at around 50 kHz. The instrumentation has no problem digging so deep but is not finding a difference between these USB cables.

Ah, what about "timing?" OK, let's run a square wave through the system. We up the sample rate to 768 kHz to allow the edges to resolve well:
View attachment 192563

No difference at all even if we highly zoom on the edge:
View attachment 192564

I did some testing for mains hum immunity by holding a transformer next to the USB cable. Neither cable caused any rise in mains hum into the DAC output. Doing the same by the way near its unbalanced RCA output did so proving that the test is valid. It is just that the DAC doesn't care about mains hum on USB or none was induced into either.

Nordost Tyr 2 USB Cable Listening Tests
I plugged in my Dan Clark Stealth headphone ($4,000) into the output of the Topping DX3 Pro+ to perform my listening tests. Stealth has one of the lowest distortions of any headphone I have measured and being closed back, nicely isolates outside noise allowing me to hear lower level detail better.

I started with Amazon Basics cable and my reference test tracks. Sounded great as usual. I then switched in the Nordost Tyr 2. The quick impression was that the sound became more compressed and congested. To confirm, I went back to Amazon Basics. It indeed sounded better. A bit later I switched back to Nordost. Now the Nordost sounded more clear and detailed! Listened for a bit more and switched back to Amazon. Now the Amazon sounded more detailed and clear! Continue to listen and these differences faded within a few seconds. Needless to say, none of this is real. The cables are not making a difference. It is me that is varying my perception as I go through plugging and unplugging stuff and music keeps playing.

Here was the kicker. I was listening to the Nordost and my wife comes up from the kitchen and asks, "what did you do to your system? It sounds so much better!" I told her not this time. And that I was wearing headphones so no way she could have observed that! Disappointed that she didn't score a point with me and hence couldn't cash it for something else, she went back down letting met to this review....

Conclusions
We could have concluded a priori that such a cable can't and won't change anything in the output of an audio device. Still, it is always good to put solid facts behind an opinion. And those facts are strong. There is not even a remote hint that the Nordost cable is impacting the performance of our DAC. We all know that it can't change the binary values going over the wire. All it could do was change the nature of noise it lets through and we measured that: it did nothing in that regard.

I know someone will say, "but you tested one device." Yes but given the sensitive nature of our instrumentation, if this cable had made any difference we would have seen it. If it can't possibly make a difference on some DACs, then it better say so. Statements of benefit are unconditional. From Nordost advertising for this cable: "The Tyr 2 USB 2.0 Cable is guaranteed to take your computer audio system to the next level. "

Well, the guarantee failed. I measured no difference let alone taking my system to the next level. Listening tests showed the same past the vagaries of such tests.

Needless to say, I can't recommend the Nordost Tyr 2 USB cable. Save your money and buy more music with it.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Just as one might expect...
If I were Amazon, I would do some advertising for the Basic cable "buy the ASR tested Amazon basic version and save 1393,17$" :cool:
 

YSC

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I voted great! Reason:

1) expected result of improvement
2) didn’t make thing worse
3) but… you get the pride, and privilege of owning such artistic and luxury cable to compliment your system!
4) it cost less than a new Toyota Corolla…

Ok, I can’t think of more to troll around
 

Dzhaughn

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No offense, but one of us bought this cable. What does that say about who we are?

Or perhaps someone stole it from somene else, replacing it with another cable. That's ok. Harmless. I will sleep better now.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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No offense, but one of us bought this cable. What does that say about who we are?
There people who are now discovering what we do here. And learning along the way and changing their mind. Great that they are around so we can test items like this.
 

Blumlein 88

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Was going to look at the Nordost website to see if they offered USB 3 cables or Thunderbolt cables. It is so slow it timed out several times before it would load a page. I wonder if they are using their own cables to connect everything???? Or is it GoDaddy's fault?
 

ZolaIII

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I found my ideal USB cables long ago and will stick with them. Sony old one's and especially newer ones as UCB30 are great for me and they cost couple bucks a piece.
 

FrantzM

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Hi

I didn't exeect it to do anything.. Well ... actually ... I expected it to underperform :)

The Tyr-2 is not the most expensive USB cable Nordost makes...
Nordost Valhalla 2 USB 2.0 at the price of $3500.oo NO TYPO.

1647329088558.jpeg


To paraphrase a fellow ASRer: It looks Audibly superior to the the Tyr-2 :D

At one point, I believed in cables ...:facepalm::facepalm:
 

danielbaen

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From what I understand and my professional experience, "good" cables in almost all areas only make sense if they must travel long distances if it is not throwing money away. Anyway it is too juicy an industry not to invest and / or "bribe" specialized stores to advertise it as the holy grail of acoustic perfection and essential piece in our audio chain
 

Metronomy

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Really? How would they respond do you think? Do you sell this crap?
Obviously, even if the other company cables are less than fantastic (I don't own them and I am not the right person to evaluate them) the image damage is also on the other cables that will not be bad. A great damage for marketing
 

Metronomy

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Maybe like homeopathic dilutions these cables make a difference no one can see. (Pun intended)
1200
Aren't they on amazon? :D
However, sometimes I'll look at a window of any store, maybe with horrible objects, and I wonder: how does it sell? And yet then I say to myself: if they do it is because someone is buying it.
 

bidn

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It is not false claims. You only cannot measure sound quality.

Can you understand that a cable does not produce any SOUND, unlike a transducer (headphone, etc.). There is no such thing as the sound of cable, when used as an electrical conductor, it is all about electricity and can be entirely measured, these electric properties belong to 19th century science.

Or do you use your cable to whip the air?
Depending on the motion of your hand, the stiffness and length of the cable, this will produce some sound. Is it what you mean?
 
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