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Paul Candy
Financial Interests: click here
Digital source: CEC TL51X transport,Asus laptop, Win 8, J. River Media Center 19, JPLAY 5.2,John Kenny JKSPDIF Mk3 USB-SPDIF interface, Audiomat Tempo 2.6 DAC
Analog source: Well-Tempered Lab Amadeus with DPS power supply, Pro-Ject Tube Box SE phono stage, Ortofon Rondo Blue MC cartridge
Amps: Audiomat Opéra Référence integrated
Speakers: Jean-Marie Reynaud Evolution 3, REL Q108 Mk II subwoofers (2)
Cables: MIT Magnum M1.3, Sablon Audio Panatela,Light Harmonic LightSpeed USB cable
AC cables: MIT, Sablon Audio, Wireworld
Stands: IKEA, Grand Prix Audio APEX footers w/ silicon nitride bearings, Skylan damping boards, homebrew birch plywood boards, Gingko Cloud 10
Powerline conditioning: BPT Pure Power Center with Wattgate, Bybee Quantum Purifier and ERS cloth options, Blue Circle BC86 MK5, Bybee Stealth Power Purifier [in for review]
Sundry accessories: Acoustic Revive RR-77, Audio Magic/Quantum Physics Noise Disruptors, Caig Pro Gold, Echo Busters acoustic room treatments, Isoclean fuses, HiFi Tuning Disc Demagnetizer, Nitty Gritty record cleaning machine, Soundcare Superspikes (on speakers), dedicated AC line with CruzeFIRST Audio Maestro outlets.
Room size: 11x18x8’, long wall setup, suspended hardwood floors with large area sisal rug, walls are standard drywall over Fiberglas insulation
Review component retail: JCAT USB €349/1m (€299/1m for JPLAY customers); JCAT LAN €349/1m (€299/1m for JPLAY customers).

When I wrote about Light Harmonic’s LightSpeed USB cable
some time ago I was shocked. I had no idea to what degree USB cables could impact sound quality. At first the LightSpeed’s kilo buck asking price seemed laughable. After inserting it into my system I didn’t laugh. Neither did a number of readers who shared similar ear-opening experiences with the LightSpeed. But I certainly understand the skepticism especially for the prices some of these cables retail for. Any two properly designed USB cables meeting the appropriate technical specifications should not exhibit any differences in music playback quality. All they are doing is transmit packets of data from one device to another. Or so it would seem. Indeed there are measurements for USB cables such as the so-called eye pattern which might explain perceived sonic differences. It’s pure guess work on my part but I suspect that the better-sounding USB cables are superior at rejecting common-mode and EM noise, not to mention accumulated jitter which can find its way into the playback chain.