AES/EBU cable sweet spot (or diminishing returns)?

Streamer is a Raspberry Pi into a Pi2AES HAT.

DAC is a Denafrips Pontus II.

Everything goes into a Luxman L509X out to either Harbeth 30.2XD or KLH Model 5’s (depending on whim…)

The Pi2AES allows for either AES/EBU or i2S. I’ve tried i2S with a few different cables (including a decent-but-not-crazy Audioquest Mocha), and I just don’t like the sound. Seems harsh, and I get the occasional click/pop. It’s weird. The Pontus allows for several different i2s pin configurations, but I can’t find an i2s setting/cable combo that’s as smooth AND detailed as the AES/EBU connection.

AES/EBU cable I’m using is a very modest Mogami 3080. Like $40 or something. As modest as it gets.

I want to try a higher-end AES cable, just to see if it makes any kind of difference, and wondering if anyone has opinions on what the sweet spot might be.

Is there an AES/EBU cable you’ve found that’s all that? Would you say there’s a price point for these that gives the best bang for the buck? Would you say that, with that particular streamer, the AES/EBU cable i have is as good as it will get?

I’ll buy used, for what it’s worth. Let’s keep the budget under $1000 as much as possible. :slightly_smiling_face:

PS: I have a slight hankering to get a Lumin U2 Mini, which would employ the same AES/EBU connection.

Now do the same question, only under $50…

1 Like

I know this one is a bit above budget:

But it does come with “free” burn-in :smile::

But seriously, those Mogami cables are well respected in the pro-audio market. Maybe you would consider spending a little more on hand-made pro-audio cables before going all-in on audiophile brands. Maybe something like Van Damme?

1 Like

I’ve used Pi2AES I2S with Holo DACs with a run-of-the-mill HDMI cable, and AES to Holo and Schiit DACs with Blue Jeans cables. Never any problem, excellent sound quality, no glitches. I doubt you have cable issues, more likely something with either the software on the Pi or with the DAC.

oh, yeah, on the i2s i don’t think it’s the cable(s).

But I’m happy with the AES connection, so I thought i’d try to experiment down that path with different cables. Because the Pi2AES doesn’t go over 192/24, AES is plenty good.

Yeah, $1000 budget is crazy, but there are a few on the USAM around $500, and I didn’t freak totally out about possibly trying them. I sold a few other pieces of gear, so i feel like i have a little mad money in the cable kitty.

Go for it as long as the supplier offers a money back guarantee. Do report back on your findings.