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This review first appeared in the April 2011 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read this review of the Acoustic Revive USB cables in its original Polish version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity or Acoustic Revive- Ed.

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacuła
CD player
: Ancient Audio Lektor Air
Phono preamplifier: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC
Cartridges: Air Tight Supreme, Miyajima Laboratory Waza
Preamplifier: Ayon Audio Polaris III with Regenerator power supply version II
Power amplifier: Tenor Audio 175S, Soulution 710
Integrated amplifier/headphone amplifier: Leben CS300 XS Custom version
Loudspeakers: Harpia Acoustics Dobermann
Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro
Interconnects: CD-preamp Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, preamp-power amp Wireworld Platinum Eclipse
Speaker cable: Tara Labs Omega Onyx
Power cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300
Power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2
Audio stand: Base
Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD player, Pro Audio Bono platform under CD player
Review component retails: In Poland USB-1.0sp 2000zł/1m,;USB-1.0pl 1.290zł/1m

In audio USB
cables are still somewhat of a novelty even though we’ve used throwaway strips for years to connect peripherals like a printer, camera, mouse, keyboard and such to our computers or portable players. Thus the USB cable became part of the computer landscape where we never gave it much thought.

A USB cable is composed of two runs of shielded wires, four conductors in total for the same number of contacts in the USB plugs. One of these runs transmits signal, the other 5VDC power. This implies that one electromagnetic field disrupts the other. It also implies substantial vibrations of the joint structure particularly at the max power draw which the USB standard allows, namely 500mA or 0.5A. Additionally a computer generates much high frequency noise. This will ride out on the USB power conductor. This noise of course influences the closely spaced parallel signal cable and induces a reflection which shielding attempts to fight against.

But Acoustic Revive would call this a half measure. They have a better solution and it’s strange that nobody before them thought of it. Why not physically separate power and signal runs? One cannot separate them entirely as on the receiver end—usually a USB DAC or USB-to-S/PDIF converter—we only have one input, usually a type B square socket. If we split the cable into two discrete runs they must converge agains at the receive end. On the send/transmitter end meanwhile it can be different. Most PCs and lap tops have multiple USB ports. On that side a USB cable could terminate in two plugs as shown next.

Yoshi Hontai who represents Acoustic Revive outside Japan sent us both types of their cables – the USB-1.0SP with two plugs on the transmitter side; and the USB-5.0PL with a single plug. Both otherwise follow the same concept of discrete power and signal legs. The digits in the model names simply represent cable length.

Sound – recordings used during the review: Audio Accessory - T-TOC Records High Quality Data Master Comparison, TDVD-0002, DVD-R, ripped to 16/44.1, 24/96, 24/192 WAV; Barb Jungr, Love Me Tender, Linn Records, AKD 255, FLAC 24/88.2; Brian Eno, Craft On A Milk Sea, Warp Records, WAV 24/44.1; Cassandra Wilson, Silver Pony, Blue Note, 29752, CD; Charlie Haden & Antonio Forcione, Heartplay, Naim Label, 24/96 FLAC; Chris Connor, Witchcraft, Atlantic/Warner Music Japan, WPCR-25166, CD; Depeche Mode, Ultra, Mute, DMCDX9, Collectors Edition, CD+DVD; Freddie Hubbard, Open Sesame, Blue Note/Audio Wave, AWMXR-0012, XRCD24; G. F. Händel, Messiah (Dublin Version, 1742), Dunedin Consort & Players, Linn Records, CKH 312, FLAC 24/88.2; Harry Belafonte, Belafonte at Carnegie Hall, RCA/Sony Music, 7783322, LPCD-M2 Mastering, No. 0953, HQCD; Helge Lien Trio Hello Troll, Ozella Music, OZ021CD, FLAC 24/96; Jim Hall, Live!, Horizon/A&M Records/Universal Music Japan, UCCM-9225, CD; John Coltrane, Blue Train, Blue Note/Classic Records, HDAD 2010, DVD-V 24/96 + DVD-A 24/192 + FLAC; Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto, Getz/Gilberto, Verve, 24/96 FLAC; Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto, Getz/Gilberto, Verve/Lasting Impression Music, LIM K2HD 036, K2HD CD; Suzanne Vega, Close-Up, Vol 1. Love Songs, Amanuensis Productions/Cooking Vinyl, COOKCD521, CD; Zbigniew Namysłowski, Open, Polish Jazz, vol. 74, SX2539, 16/44.1, 24/96 WAV.

I used the Acoustic Revive cables in the reviews of all DACs with USB input I conducted over the last five months. As it turned out the 5m long USB-5.0PL became a problem for some machines whenthe computer would signal an issue with installing drivers and hardware faults. This was a problem of the receiver not cable but eliminated the use of long cables without USB hubs on such machines. About 25% of the DACs refused 5 meters but I never had any issue with the USB-1.0SP.