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DH Labs Mirage USB Cable Review  Print E-mail
Home Theater Accessories AV Cables
Written by Andre Marc   
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Article Index
DH Labs Mirage USB Cable Review 
Set Up
Listening
Conclusion

DH Labs -- run by Darren Hovsepian, hence the initials -- makes excellent analog cables, including interconnects, speaker wire, and power cords. They also make top-notch digital cables. I know this because I own and use every flavor of their digital wire, AES/EBU, TosLink, Coaxial, BNC, and USB as references. I consider them to be tremendous values and stellar performers. I often recommend them to friends looking for digital cables who don’t want to spend a fortune.

One admission, though: the cable I use the least is the USB cable. That is because my digital sources, a Simaudio MiND 180D streamer, outputs AES/EBU, and the Simaudio Neo 380D DAC includes the MiND module, which precludes use of a digital cable.

USB has not been a big part of my digital landscape.

But that has changed a bit. I have a desktop set up now for mastering old recordings, and to listen to music while working. I use my Mac Mini, Audirvana playback software, Audioengine A2+ powered speakers, and a variety of USB DACs, including the iFI Nano, a Musical Fidelity V-90 and, for a while, the SOtM sHP-100.

Recently I reviewed a SOtM SHM-100 Mini Server in my reference system, which streams 192 Khz PCM and DSD. It is, however, limited to a USB digital output, so USB entered into the landscape. I was using a DH Labs USB cable when I got wind of a new cable the company had designed called the Mirage.

The Mirage was developed as a state of the art cable, with no compromise, according to what Hovsepian told me. It was designed to tackle some of the inherent problems with USB, and to make sure the integrity of the data signals are intact and unadulterated. Darren said they really called upon their long time experience when engineering the Mirage USB interface. The Mirage pricing starts at $200 for a half meter. I received a 1 Meter sample.

There are certainly challenges when designing USB capable components and cables. USB is usually a higher noise interface, especially in computers with low-grade power supplies, and it can be extremely sensitive to its environment. Couple that with the fact that the USB standard allows for a .5 Volt power line to be carried along with the data signal, which can’t possibly be good for audio.




 

 
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