Initial Impressions

  • August 31, 2016 at 10:10 pm #19109
    covermyearscovermyears
    Participant

    Received my 20G cable today.  I won’t go too much into esthetics or appearance, basically it’s a 10G split cable that passes through a Revive (with Femto clock).  One end is terminated with a USB B and the other with a USB A.  It also came with a 1G micro USB cable that acts a charging cable for the Revive portion (ideally drawing power from a LHLabs LPS).

    My listening setup is a HP i5 desktop, Windows 10, Foobar 2000, Geek Pulse Infinity, a LPS1, Sennheiser HD800 with Vero Reference balanced XLR cable.

    On initial playback I heard no negative effects due to a lack of break in.  Although I could detect the sound improving as I got further into my listening session.  Compared to my previous 2G split cable the sound is more refined, bigger sound stage, greater separation, treble and midrange less harsh, less grain in the treble.

    The music is reproduced with a sense of ease and could even be described as laid back compared with the 2G cable although not lacking in dynamics or punch.  Bass is better defined and punchier.

    One thing that I’ve been looking for and finding as the fidelity of my listening setup improves with each upgrade in the signal chain is that the music is richer with more detailed tonality and greater tonal spectrum.  So when a string is struck or when a drum is struck there is more information on the initial attack and subsequent decay.  Part of it comes in the form of air or ambience, the surrounding air is filled with a subtle tonal details that tells your brain this is real instrument being played.  When the drum skin is struck there is an actual tone to the drum rather than just the monotone of a thud. With a electric guitars previously a power chord may have had just a loud crunch I could now hear that several strings were struck and each contributed its own frequency to the strum.  So rather than just a crunch there was a tonal warmth to the guitar, providing a greater appreciation for the player’s skill and also to the specific quality of the instrument.   String bends in particular have a richer tonality.

    Or in vocals, complex harmonies, layered or dubbed you can hear the subtle differences in the various voices that are layered into a recording.  For example on one recording I could easily hear that the singer’s voice being doubled that the over dub was sung in a slightly higher key and I hadn’t really noticed that before.

    So with even just a few hours of playing time the benefits of the 20G cable are obvious and hopefully more will be revealed once I get to 150 hours and beyond.

    As a side note at this level of fidelity a seemingly minor change can reap noticeable benefits.  The first was when I upgraded my desktop to Windows 10 from 8.1, the USB audio layer has been improved.  Another small tweak I have been using is to adjust the priority of the playback program (in my case Foobar 2000) using the Windows task manager to assign a higher system priority so that it gets first crack at the CPU.  Again a noticeable improvement in transparency, soundstage, depth and separation.

     

  • September 15, 2016 at 12:59 am #19179
    tooldk
    Participant

    Thank you so much for your report. I am waiting for my 20G first experience order to arrive and can’t wait to see (or rather hear) the difference in my system.

  • September 30, 2016 at 2:08 am #19271
    tooldk
    Participant

    I now received my 20G cable. I use it with a MacBook Pro retina, Pulse Infinity, LPS4, and several different audiophile headphones. Because I use my laptop as the music source, the cable will be plugged in and out quite a bit. So I attached an AudioQuest JitterBug to the 20G cable. This way the wear of plugging and unplugging the cable wears the contacts on the easily replaceable JitterBug. Previously, I used a 2G split cable with the JitterBug. So the only change in the system is the 20G cable.

    I had some doubts if this would be a worthwhile investment. Spoiler alert: It is. Big Time. More blackness, substantially more spacious, more relaxed, and most importantly … more free and musical. It reminds me of when I got my firsts NAIM amplifier, which I still have and love. Ever since I plugged the 20G cable in, I have been tapping my toes, kicking back, smiling.

    Thank you, Light Harmonic.

  • October 11, 2016 at 2:27 am #19320
    oneguyoneguy
    Participant

    Any impressions going from 10G to 20G?

  • October 11, 2016 at 2:50 am #19321
    covermyearscovermyears
    Participant

    Any impressions going from 10G to 20G?

    Can’t say directly but based on the description of the 20G cable it is essentially a 10G cable with USB regen.  The addition of the USB regen is significant and I suspect one could experience a similar upgrade by introducing a Lightspeed Revive between your USB source and your 10G cable.

  • October 11, 2016 at 5:43 am #19322
    oneguyoneguy
    Participant

    I didn’t like the Regen and my Revive pooped the bed about 2 weeks into the trial. I bought a 20G to give it a shot but unless I hear an improvement worthy of the price tag over my 10G it will be returned.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by oneguy. Reason: Be more specific
  • October 12, 2016 at 7:28 am #19324
    s1chen
    Participant

    10G vs 20G is very easy to hear the difference. the 20G preserve all the nice thing about the 10G like it grainless mid and extended high. And the 20G tighten the bass and make it more definition and it also goes deeper. The background is much quieter and this improve the layering and 3D feel. If you like the 10G, there is no negative on the 20G at all and it give you a lot  more information from the 10G.

  • October 12, 2016 at 8:03 am #19325
    covermyearscovermyears
    Participant

    I have put several hundreds of use on my 20G.  Before I provide my final impressions, I will try to answer the question as to whether the 20G is a worthwhile upgrade.  Audiophiles often spend thousands of dollars on cables especially speaker cables.  The 20G cable is certainly not cheap especially at its regular price but relative to other high end cables it is not out of reason.

    So is it worth the upgrade?  If one already has high quality components in their signal chain I would give it an unqualified YES.   The improvement in audio quality is like having a veil removed between your ears and the source material.  Yes, the background is darker, there is greater separation, the bass has increased weight and definition.

    But for me it is the improvement in the tonal richness and smoothness that I find really satisfying.  The notes now have such definition and micro detail that it creates a very palpable sense of reality.  In the best recordings the nuances of the human voice and instruments is revealed.  When a singer draws out a note you can hear the rise and fall in the projection of the note, the minute changes in vibrato and tremolo.  There is also a sweetness and refinement to the tones.

    I would assume that if you have already purchased the LHLabs Source the 20G cable might not be an absolute necessity if you already have a 10G cable since the Source will have a high quality USB output.  It will also be curious to see whether the AES output from the Source will sound better than the USB.

    Finally to reiterate some of the points from my initial post, little tweaks on your computer will be needed to achieve the full benefit of the 20G cable.  Upgrade to Windows 10 if you haven’t already, set the task priority of your playback software to HIGH, and in the LHLabs driver buffer settings I use MINIMUM latency and use the maximum buffer size of 32k.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by covermyears.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by covermyears.
  • October 12, 2016 at 10:48 am #19328
    oneguyoneguy
    Participant

    I am using a Mac running Audirvana so some of those tweaks don’t directly apply to me ;). It’s interesting that source tweaks still had a profound effect of the output of the 20G. I realize garbage in, garbage out still applies but you would think the reclocking inside the box would standardize most of the variances upstream.

  • October 12, 2016 at 11:09 am #19329
    covermyearscovermyears
    Participant

    I am using a Mac running Audirvana so some of those tweaks don’t directly apply to me ;). It’s interesting that source tweaks still had a profound effect of the output of the 20G. I realize garbage in, garbage out still applies but you would think the reclocking inside the box would standardize most of the variances upstream.

    Yes, luckily you are running UNIX so you don’t have to worry about drivers and ASIO is built into the operating system.

    I don’t use Macs but since OSX is basically UNIX you can adjust the priority of the Audirvana process by opening up a terminal window and using the “nice” or “renice” command (just in case you didn’t already know).

     

     

     

  • October 12, 2016 at 11:37 am #19330
    oneguyoneguy
    Participant

    Nope, I didn’t. Thanks for the tip!

  • October 12, 2016 at 12:32 pm #19332
    covermyearscovermyears
    Participant

    Nope, I didn’t. Thanks for the tip!

    The nice/renice should have a range of values from -10 to +10 and I would try setting it to +9 at first and decrease it if it causes your system to hang to become sluggish.

  • October 25, 2016 at 2:54 am #19390
    oneguyoneguy
    Participant

    Did you guys have your acrylic bridges installed when it came like to descriptions says should be? I am hesitant to install them myself since they charge so much to replace broken ones.

    I’ve had my 20G for a little more than 24 hours now and from what I can tell it has had a positive impact. I want to wait until it has 200 hours before I do back-to-back comparisons with the standard 10G cable that it would directly be replacing. So I guess I have about 7 more days until that can happen.

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