|Wireworld Ultraviolet & AudioQuest Forest USB Cable Reviews|
|Home Theater Accessories AV Cables|
|Written by Andre Marc|
|Friday, 29 June 2012|
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USB audio has been either all the rage, or a passing fad, depending on your perspective for the past few years in high end audio. Outputting audio from a computer via one of its USB ports to either an S/PDIF converter like the Musical Fidelity V-Link 192, or to a DAC with a buzzword friendly “asynchronous” USB input has become an officially approved audiophile connection. Many argued USB took a long time to come to the forefront as a high quality audio connection since it was designed for computer to peripheral (hard drives, printers, etc.) rather than for audio. But things have changed. Heaven forbid a manufacturer releases a source component, AV receiver, or DAC without USB connectivity. Can you say DOA?
Audioquest is one of the bigger players in specialty audio cables, having produced for a number of years a full suite of products for every conceivable application. They have also been known for excellent digital cables in the past, so their delving into the USB cable market is no surprise. In the current lineup, which gets revamped rather often, there are five USB cables. The Forest, is the entry level cable, and is priced at $28 for a .75 meter length. It is followed by the Cinnamon, Carbon, Coffee, and the Diamond, the latter being the flagship cable made with solid silver conductors.
The Forest has solid copper conductors, gold-plated connectors, and is insulated with polyethylene. It is well made, and is finished in forest green. Audioquest believes strongly in solid core wire, and says it eliminates distortions and other artifacts. Audioquest says they use ultra high quality solder for terminations as well. The cable is rather flexible and easy to maneuver.
Using my Mac Mini and my Squeezebox Touch (with the Enhanced Digital Output Applet installed), I compared a generic USB cable to the Forest. USB DAC units included the Musical Fidelity V-DAC II and the Lindemann USB-DAC 192. While the generic no name USB cable sounded decent, the Audioquest Forest was cleaner sounding, with heavier bass and more midrange information. The difference was not night and day, but easy to hear.
There seemed to be more space around instruments, and there was a more relaxed and flowing sound. The results were repeatable, and were consistent regardless of what DAC or source was in use. At $28 for the shortest length, it is hardly a wallet breaker. While it is a good $20 more than a generic Staples brand USB cable, the improvement makes it fairly priced.