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Review and Measurements of Wireworld Starlight 7 USB Cable

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of Wireworld Starlight 7 flat USB cable. It is on kind loan from a member. The cost is USD $100 including Prime shipping for the 1 meter/40 inch length I am testing. For this review, I compared it to my current favorite, the 6 foot/1.5m version of Amazon Basics USB cable which costs USD $5 with Prime shipping included. Yes, quite a price difference!

The Wireworld Starlight 7 comes in bright red color with nice indicating its UL rating and such:

Wireworld Starlight 7 Flat USB Cable Review.jpg

It has the usual buzzwords of OFC, Silverclad, "Symmetricon design," etc. And of course some fantastical claims such as this one:

"For a 5 STAR enhanced performance experience from gaming to videos, music to movies, rendering to data, downloads and publishing… better cables = broader bandwidth and faster data transmission speeds."​

Faster transmission speeds? I don't think so. In this short length any non-broken USB cable will provide the maximum link speed. Or else I would like to see some measurements of this from Wireworld.

The flat profiel cable is nice if you are going up or down from the jack. In my case, I had to go 90 degrees to the left, resulting in an uncomfortable twist in the cable. Would not want to use it that way long term. Seems to me a round cable works better mechanically.

From performance point of view, the flat configuration allows the power lines to be separate from data lines:

1549423013131.png


The cable has 16 reviews on Amazon with average of 5 stars!

This is second from bottom of the Wireworld cables:

1549423207491.png


Prices go way up as you go up the range. In that regard and as high-end cables go, $100 is very much a "bargain."

Let's see if we can tease out any differences between our ultra budget cable and the Wireworld.

Measurements
I tested these cables with three DACs starting with Topping D50. The test is a simple 1 kHz tone but FFT points maxed out to 1.2 million (I usually use 256K) and averaging set to 16 times allowing us to substantially reduce DAC's noise floor to find any spikes visible. This is what it looks likes when we compare the two cables:

Wireworld Starlight 7 Flat USB Cable Schiit Topping D50 Measurements.png


Now I didn't expect this! The D50 is externally powered through a Samsung switching wall-wart. Somehow though switching to Wireworld Starlight 7 reduced the mains spikes by some 20 dB! Mind you, the spikes were not remotely audible at -130 dB before (threshold of hearing is probably -70 dB in these frequencies). It is possible the ground/shields are thicker in Wireworld resulting in lower differential voltage drop between the computer and DAC chassis.

I thought this difference may be due to longer Amazon Basics cable but a much shorter generic cable showed the same performance/advantage for Wireworld.

On the negative side we do have some extra grunge around 8 to 20 kHz so perhaps what makes it good for ground/power, also allows it to better transmit such noise?

I figured I go up market on DACs and test the RME ADI-2 Pro which also is externally powered on its own:
Wireworld Starlight 7 Flat USB Cable Schiit RME ADI-2 Pro Measurements.png


This is with balanced output from RME which nicely shields us from the same mains harmonics. We are talking whopping -150 dB or more for the Amazon Basics cable. But Wireworld cable shows that it can even reduce those tiny spikes to almost nothing. Something seems to be there.

Going back down the scale to a poor performing DAC, namely Schiit Modi 2, we get this:
Wireworld Starlight 7 Flat USB Cable Schiit Modi 2 Measurements.png


Now the DAC is so bad on its own that both cables perform the same.

Conclusions
There is some goodness in this wireworld cable that reduces mains hum and buzz. I can't explain that without some electrical analysis which I am too lazy to perform at the moment. :) So technically we paid more, and we got more.

Now before subjectivists start to celebrate, as I clearly noted, none of those mains components are remotely audible (or you would hear them with generic cables and we don't). And at any rate, no improvements were made whatsoever in actual distortion products. In the case of D50, we actually made things worse a bit.

I guess it is good to find things that we think are totally waste of money, actually produce some measurable improvement. For $100, I wouldn't make fun of anyone buying one of these unless they started to say it made things sound better. :)

Open to discussions on what we are seeing and where, if anywhere, to go from here.

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

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confucius_zero

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#4
Does that mean the ADI-2 Pro will get revised measurements and appear on the SINAD Chart anytime soon? :O
 

RayDunzl

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#5
Prices go way up as you go up the range. In that regard and as high-end cables go, $100 is very much a "bargain."
You aren't kidding...

1549427088047.png
 

Blumlein 88

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#6
Hey, I think a thorough blind test is in order. Using the RME of course and seeing if you can hear a difference in the USB cables.I guess Foobar won't work for that however. You'll have to figure out something.
 

amirm

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#9
Does this mean you will be using one of these cables to feed your D/As in future for tests?
I must say, I am a bit tempted given the mains hum which is a pain in the neck in reviews. Then again I am too cheap to spend so much money on a USB cable. :)
 

Blumlein 88

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#10
I must say, I am a bit tempted given the mains hum which is a pain in the neck in reviews. Then again I am too cheap to spend so much money on a USB cable. :)
What!!!!!

You are testing all this gear and using a $28,000 AP unit to do it, and $100 is too much for a better USB test cable?

Maybe you should ask for them to supply one of their top quality USB cables for test. Maybe it is even better. This $100 cable couldn't help the Schiit. But maybe the top dawg cable in their line up can fix schiit. Their top in stock cable is only $700/meter. Plus it it exceeds 10.2 Gbps transmission rates. Pretty good rates for a USB 2.0 cable.
https://store.wireworldcable.com/co...ight-7-usb-2-0-audio-cables?variant=950367839


If it fixed schiit you could go back and amend your prior reviews to, "I can only recommend this Schiit when paired with a $700 USB cable". ;)
 

restorer-john

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#11
I must say, I am a bit tempted given the mains hum which is a pain in the neck in reviews.
Are the XLRs for balanced inputs/outputs you use on the AP that super Canare Star Quad or just ordinary stuff?
 

restorer-john

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#12
You are testing all this gear and using a $28,000 AP unit to do it, and $100 is too much for a better USB test cable?
That was my thought too. Maybe we need to pitch in for some decent cables for poor Amir as he blew all his money on the AP.
 

amirm

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#13

amirm

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#14
You are testing all this gear and using a $28,000 AP unit to do it, and $100 is too much for a better USB test cable?
I wouldn't buy that AP either if there were one for $280 that almost did what it did. :)
 

xxie

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#15
USB standard suppose has 4 wires: D+/D- in twisted pair, 5v and ground. The reviewed cable seems has 5 wires, I suspect the extra wire is 5v power wire, but I dont see why it has the shield layer as shown. Anyone know?
 

Veri

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#18
I didn't expect the wireworld stuff to do anything at all to be frank :D
 

Snafu

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#19
Thanks for the review.

Just for giggles, try this better USB-with that Darkvoice tube amp you just reviewed.
It picked some interference from LED-lamp, maybe it gives better/visible (even audible) response here ?
 
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