USB Data & Power Noise Filter
The Problem: All computing devices—laptops, smartphones, Network Attached Storage devices (NAS drives), media servers, etc.—inherently generate a significant amount of noise and parasitic resonances. Additionally, computers contribute a considerable amount of RFI and EMI pollution onto the signal paths—all of which can easily find its way onto your USB cables and into your audio system. This noise and interference has many negative effects. Noise-compromised digital circuitry increases jitter and packet errors, resulting in distortion that causes a comparatively flat and irritating sound. Noise-compromised analog circuitry also damages the sound’s depth,
warmth and resolution.
The Solution: JitterBug’s dual-circuitry measurably reduces unwanted noise currents and parasitic resonances. It also reduces jitter and packet errors (in some cases, packet errors are completely eliminated).
The Result: Clearer and more compelling sound, music, dialog, etc. A better audio experience.
DUAL DISCRETE NOISE-DISSIPATION CIRCUITS
Reduces the noise and ringing that plague both the data and power lines of USB ports. Measurably reduces jitter, unwanted noise currents, and parasitic resonances. Packet errors are sometimes eliminated completely. Improves dynamic contrast, warmth, and resolution.
AudioQuest JitterBug review
This clever little USB critter helps to take your music to another level
By What Hi-Fi?
It might not look like much, but this affordable USB upgrade is well worth investigating
- Improves clarity, insight, dynamics
- Encourages a weightier, more solid and precise sound
- Level of improvement can be product-dependent
Audioquest JitterBug deals
Upgrading your hi-fi system needn’t always involve a hefty blow to your wallet. There’s always an affordable little tweak here and there, which can make a world of difference.
With a traditional hi-fi set-up, it could be something as simple as upgrading your speaker cable or interconnects. With a desktop audio system, it could be introducing a little critter like the AudioQuest JitterBug.
Slightly larger than your average USB memory stick, JitterBug is a little bit shorter and chunkier than the company’s excellent DragonFly USB DAC.
It plugs into your computer’s USB socket, acting as a link in the chain between your computer and DAC, whether it’s a standalone converter or housed in a headphone amp or traditional stereo amp.
The thinking goes there’s a lot of noise and interference coursing through the circuitry of your average desktop computer or laptop, including its USB connections. The main source of this interference is your computer’s own power supply.
AudioQuest claims this noise and interference can pass into your DAC through both the power line and data lines of a USB port. Jitterbug’s job is to act as a passive filter and dissipate any noise before the signal enters your DAC.
So does it work? Well, we tested Jitterbug with a number of different products and varying qualities of source material.
We kick off with AudioQuest's own DragonFly USB DAC hooked up to a MacBook Pro. Fed a CD rip of Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ Don’t Forget Me, there’s more meat on the bones of the opening guitar riff, there’s more solidity to each note and you can hear the subtle differences as different levels of force are applied to the strings.
Drum thwacks hit with even more conviction, punctuating the track in all the right places without disrupting its rhythm. There’s also more detail and insight to the echo and reverb that halos around Anthony Kiedis’s vocal.
Each piece of the sonic jigsaw is there and you’re presented with a rich, detailed picture, even if you swap to a 320kbps Spotify stream of the same track.
Take JitterBug out of the chain and you’re back to square one. The song sounds vague in comparison. Those punctuation marks and leading edges are all less pronounced. The clarity is replaced by a murky fog and as a result, rhythms are harder to follow. It’s like the difference between having a hangover and a clear head.
We step up a level to the Award-winning Chord Mojo and a similar pattern emerges. This time we switch tracks to The Border, taken from the soundtrack to gangster flick Sicario.
The track sounds dramatic enough without using the JitterBug, but slot it into the system and all the tension and drama goes up a notch. There’s immense power and solidity, to the pulsing drumbeat, which is topped off by string instruments piercing the soundstage.
There’s a level of dynamism and attack on display that goes missing when JitterBug bugs out. The whole track oozes tension, you don’t need to know the corresponding scene from the movie to realise the seriousness of the situation.
Even with more laid-back tracks such as The 1975’s So Far (It’s Alright), you can hear the Jitterbug have an impact. The dynamic shifts between bass notes sounds much clearer and lucid. Percussion has more of a cutting edge and sparkle.
The next step on our journey is the Mojo’s bigger brother, Hugo. And it’s here where the story takes a tiny twist. The general improvements in sound quality are there. The increased robustness, the upsurge in dynamics and the clarity are all present and correct.
We just find music doesn’t flow quite as effortlessly.
It’s as if the extra weight and solidity stunt music’s natural flow. We’d recommend experimenting to see how it works with your particular ensemble.
It’s a strange one, especially when we swap the Hugo for the DAC input of Cambridge Audio’s Azur 851N streamer. Any previous questions we had about timing evaporate and once again, the positive status quo is resumed.
The XX’s Heart Skipped A Beat doesn’t miss a beat. The track sounds punchier and more precise than ever. Clarity goes up a notch soundstage opens up and the his ‘n’ hers vocals hang beautifully. Shifts between high and low dynamics are more explicit and the track displays a new-found sparkle.
AudioQuest even claims that using two JitterBugs in parallel can make a difference, but in our experience we found using just one to have much more of a significant impact.
Nine times out of ten we’d rather have a Jitterbug in our system than leave it out.
If it fits your current set-up, we’d certainly recommend taking one for a spin – it’s a clever, audio-improving critter.
若果當下你手上有几百蚊，你可選擇去食餐較為平民的自助餐、買兩件靚衫、請埋朋友去睇場 IMAX 戲，或者買兩隻 Blu-ray 歸家欣賞，不過艾域早前就用了這筆錢，「搶得」一件影音小補品 — AudioQuest JitterBug。點解用「搶」這個字，因為這支 USB 數據及電源雜訊過濾器，首批到貨已經被發燒友全城熱搶，究竟它有何魅力？就讓我在此為各位 Wire 民詳細拆解吧。
不是空談 , 原理很「科技」
好多 Hifi 補品都說得自己很神奇，但其實「吹水」成份多過實際功效。這支「USB 手指」就不一樣，其實早在 6 月底 AudioQuest 發布旗下首款耳筒 NightHawk 時，艾域已經搶先體驗過 JitterBug 的實際效果，當時已經決定正式推出時必定入手。究竟這隻 JitterBug 甚麼葫蘆賣什麼藥呢？據廠方表示，所有電腦、智能手機、NAS、多媒體伺服器，天生都會產生大量雜訊及寄生共振（Parasitic Resonance），當中電腦更會產生相當數量的 RFI（無線電干擾）及 EMI（電磁干擾），然後通過 USB 接線干擾你的音響系統，令聲音變得扁平、失真較大。為解決這些雜訊及干擾問題，JitterBug 內部就設有兩組分立式降噪線路，能夠分別降低 USB 介面內數據傳輸及電源兩方面的雜訊，從而降低影響聲音細節及動態的「時基誤差」（Jitter），以及做成失真的「數據封包錯誤」（packet errors）。
雖然不算貴價補品，但 JitterBug 仍然是於美國原廠生產。
大細同一般 USB 手指相差無幾。
一邊是 USB 公頭。
另一邊就是 USB Type A 母頭，係咁多啦。
連 Macbook Air 輸出都靚左
說了這麼多背後技術概念，但作為影音愛好者總會有一句嚴守的格言：「耳聽為實」。艾域夠膽大聲講一句，不論用於家中音響還是便攜裝置，JitterBug 的改善效果同樣立竿見影！艾域首先嘗試使用 MacBook Air 作為訊源，再將 JitterBug 配合 QED Performance USB A-B Graphite 接線，連接至設有 USB DAC 功能的 Oppo BDP-105D 播放器，最後以 Canare XLR 線接駁到 Audiolab M-PWR，驅動 Q Acoustics Concept 20 書架喇叭。
廠方共為 JitterBug 提供 5 種建議玩法，除了可用於連接 USB DAC 或耳擴，連接硬碟、打印機、相機，亦可降低這些裝置引起的雜訊。另外，你還可以一口氣用足兩支，以平行方式同時連接去改善重播表現。
由於自己不太愛聽發燒音樂，因此揀選了陳奕迅《深燒》16bit/44.1kHz ALAC 音樂檔來作試聽歌曲。比較使用及不使用 JitterBug，個人覺得在不使用時，歌曲中 Eason 的人聲明顯變得較薄而鬆散，聲音細節亦不及使用時豐富，樂器線條也會變得較為模糊不清。當在電腦接駁 JitterBug 之後，聲音的背景明顯變得更為寧靜，而音樂感亦會更濃，改善效果十分明顯。
除了在家使用之外，若果閣下擁有便攜耳擴，JitterBug 亦一樣用得著。艾域試過在 iPad mini 平板電腦及 Teac HA-P50 便攜耳擴之間加入 JitterBug，再以 v-moda xs 耳筒試聽 Tidal 串流平台的無損歌曲。與未連接時比較，加入 JitterBug 時的聲音包括人聲、樂器聲都明顯變得圓滑，雜訊帶來的毛燥感亦有所減少，整體動態加強不少，聽感與在家中試聽時一樣有顯著提升。
正如開首所言，JitterBug 這件小補品著實是甫推出就已被熱搶，而艾域在實測之後也認為它的實際改善效果確實明顯，再加上價錢並不昂貴，若你有使用 USB DAC、座檯或便攜耳擴、串流音樂播放器，甚至設有外置硬碟擴充的 NAS 裝置，當在店舖見到 JitterBug 有貨時，建議真是買定一支傍傍身了。