Archive for March, 2011

A Monster Cable That’s Worth the Price

March 5, 2011

I just paid $25 for a 7 foot USB cable and don’t regret it. Huh?

Generally I consider Monster brand cables to be overpriced and overhyped, no better than many other brands that are a fraction of the cost (from places like MonoPrice.com). I now believe there’s at least one exception.

I have a Digidesign/Avid original MBox USB audio interface (the light blue and grey one). Whenever Pro Tools was running, the MBox induced a loud high pitched whine (maybe in the 6 KHz range) in the stereo system it was hooked up to. It made the unit unusable for recording and mixing. (If I only connected headphones, the problem wasn’t there.)

I couldn’t make any changes to electrical plugs and grounding, or use balanced outputs from the MBox. Some research about the cause indicates that the MBox isn’t well shielded, and that computers can emit a lot of RF noise which travels down the USB cable, and the MBox passes it along to its audio connections. The solution that Avid suggests has worked for some users is to use a Monster USB Cable, which has extra shielding.

I found a 7′ Monster Digital USB Audio Cable on Amazon for $25, and since the alternative of replacing the MBox would be hundreds of dollars, I gave it a shot. Amazingly, it took care of the problem. I don’t know if there are any other premium USB cables that would work also, but this particular Monster cable is worth it for audio interfaces.

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