The company name “JIB” stands for JÜRGEN ISAAK BAUER, making cables in Berlin since 1990 and who produces a range of audio cables spanning both analogue and digital products.

Here under review here is their 600 Euro USB digital cable with the epithet of “Silver Arsenic” from their range topping “BoaAcoustic” line-up.  jib-silver-arsenic-boaacoustic-line

CONSTRUCTION

This is a fairly substantial cable measuring some 14mm external diameter in the main body of the cable, tapering down to approximately 8mm near the connectors.  The outer sheath is an expandable mesh weave in a black a black and white “tartan” style pattern which looks rather handsome.  Connectors are custom made male type A and type B USB connectors which have gold plated contacts.  Conductor material is said to be ‘S-OCC’ which is Silver Ohno Continuous Cast with a claimed 99.9999% purity.  This has not been verified by Hifi Pig.

Shielding is said to be three layers of aluminium foil and conductor insulation is by Teflon PTFE. 

SOUND QUALITY

I compared the JIB Silver Arsenic during the listening sessions with two other USB cables of reputable pedigree and similar pricing, and a generic USB cable used to connect my printer no less, not to actually conduct a head-to-head shoot out to see which won or lost, but to satisfy my own curiosity as to how a cable relaying signals in a USB digital stream COULD actually affect the final analogue sound, not that I would then go off on a tangent looking for an objective explanation why.  Plenty of experience with TOSLINK, CO-AX and balanced AES/EBU cables which I know all demonstrate audible differences , but not via USB.  It simply had to manifest itself, as my current system makes no provision for digital streaming via USB and my experience with the medium is not quite as complete as others obviously are.  Not that I am a Luddite of course, it’s because a recent computer system upgrade has resulted in some of my old programs not working any more, that I would hate to think my entire music collection was similarly inaccessible after another “upgrade” has managed to trash it all.  “Compatibility” is the four letter word in the world of computing I have discovered.

First impressions of the JIB Silver Arsenic USB were very favourable, with a clean coherent sound that seemed to have great musicality.   Subtleties and textures within the music were clearly evident at first hearing, but having nothing else to compare it against, was that the norm or the exception I was hearing?

Time to find out, so in went another USB cable to compare, with the sceptic within me making some distant grumbling noises as I was doing so.  Switch the system back on again and press play on the CD player.   Yes, there was a difference and decidedly so, that Cable “B” as I shall call it came across as certainly on the bright side of neutral, with treble having a razor sharp leading edge that had a sort of ‘ringing’ artefact to the sound too which seemed to swamp the midrange because it was domineering the sound completely, so out it went – smartish.

Cable “C” was a different animal altogether, with a smooth overall presentation that simply failed to engage in quite the same way the JIB cable did, so bye bye to Cable “C” too.

Cable “D” the printer cable, sounded just lifeless and dull, yet it would print an A4 page of complex graphics with no bother at all.  I know what you are thinking, did I try any of the other bespoke USB cables for printing an A4 page of complex graphics to compare?  Nope, I have better things to do with my time thank you very much, but maybe one day I might just do that . . . . . . . .

Having carried out that brief exercise it enabled me to concentrate on what the JIB cable was doing, now I that had a handle on what level of performance to expect.  Back to the JIB then and to put it through it’s paces.

As I said earlier, the sound was very clear and coherent, so I had no difficulty at all in discerning the subtle cues from any CD I was playing.  Bass was firm and solid with no boom or overhang, dynamics were lithe and taut and in complete control, vocals in particular having a delicate airiness with female vocals and male vocals too had the sonorous undertones they should have.  Certainly had my feet tapping which is unusual when I am doing serious evaluation listening.

CONCLUSION

Given that this review was my first foray into USB streaming directly from a computer and given too my scepticism about digital data maybe sounding “different” or “better” than an analogue signal, I am pleased that I have carried out this review and reached the summary that I have.  What is missing from that is comparing these expensive cables to other less expensive ones, but Cable “D” may have partially answered that question for me.  Out of the three cables I tried, the JIB outshone the other two by a fair margin with it’s natural and organic presentation, free from any flaws that might intrude into the musical enjoyment I was experiencing.  It managed to get my feet tapping which is notoriously difficult to do when I have my reviewer’s hat on.

 

Build quality:              8.4/10RECOMMENDED LOGO NEW

Sound quality:             8.6/10

Value for money:         7.5/10

Overall:                        8.2/10

 

Recommended for:  Top class USB digital streaming

Dominic Marsh

 

 

Price at testing:  €847.00 including VAT

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