FIBBR ALPHA USB AUDIO CABLE REVIEW
The Alpha USB Audio Cable is the second product I've received from FIBBR for review
I was highly impressed with the Pure 2 HDMI cable they sent me a few weeks ago. My first impressions of the Alpha USB sample I have are that it’s 10 meters long, requires power at one end and has a unique white finish on the connectors. I see FIBBR doesn’t want to leave out the PC audio guys with this USB cable. Let’s jump right into the review!
Here is a quick recap of the brand FIBBR, in case you missed my last review on FIBBR cables. “FIBBR is a joint venture between the world’s largest fiber optic cable factory, Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable Joint Stock Limited Company (also known as ‘YOFC’), and Asia’s most powerful chip company, VIA Technologies. FIBBR has dedicated its time to active optical cable (AOC) R&D and production. With copper reaching its physical limits in terms of distance and bandwidth, FIBBR cable is the smart choice for integrators. AOCs by FIBBR offer reliably high bandwidth, extremely low signal attenuation, and high resistance to external electromagnetic interference; all necessary features that assure the best signal-to-noise ratio. FIBBR’s proprietary BendRobust™ technology is an industry first, that allows the cable to be bent 180° for easy management of difficult placements.” (Note that grammar was corrected in this quote by the writer)
FIBBR ALPHA USB AUDIO CABLE SPECIFICATIONS
When the Alpha USB arrived, I was surprised to see how thin it was. On the USB-B end, the cable is regular copper for about 8 inches. I’m not a huge fan of this look, but I understand why it’s needed. FIBBR claims 5Gbps bandwidth over USB 3.0, which is about ten times that of USB 2.0. Just like the Pure 2, FIBBR claims to use the highest-quality glass fiber, sourced from YOFC and it features “BendRobust” technology that allows the cable to bend up to 180°. While the cable itself is thin, FIBBR is claiming a tensile performance of 60N (Newtons). One unusual thing I found while hooking up this cable is that it requires a micro USB power connection on the USB-B end with a 5V/2A power requirement but it did not include a USB cable or power brick. You have to provide your own, not a huge deal to me, but something to be aware of in case you’re somewhere where these may not be easily accessible. I was also not given pricing for this cable at the time of writing.
Testing and Sound
Hooking up this cable is simple, you plug the USB-A end into your PC or digital source. Then you plug the USB-B end into your DAC. I’ve noticed that longer runs of copper USB cables produced a weaker, compressed sound or even signal loss. Switching over to a fiber optic cable like the Alpha fixes all of that. I found the audio to be crisp and full, with nothing lacking in the sound quality. I even got a chance to compare it against an AudioQuest Cinnamon 2M ($80 for a 0.75-meter cable), and I could not tell the difference between it and the Alpha. So, I can have my PC on the other side of the room from my DAC and still have amazing audio. FIBBR makes it possible.
The Alpha is a well built and solidly thin cable, I just wish the power cable and brick were included. I really liked the matte white finish on the connectors, it’s very unique and looks modern. Just like the Pure2, this cable is clean and features a smooth jacket, with the first word I could think of would be “quality” when I felt the solid matte metal connectors. Like the Pure 2, the Alpha also has the “BendRobust” technology and I can’t believe how effortlessly this cable can bend up to 180 degrees. Being able to run USB this far is quite useful and I really like this cable, the attention to detail is fantastic. Keep your eyes on FIBBR, they are making leaps and bounds in the cable world.
FIBBR Technologies Ultra Pro HDMI 2.0 15-Meter Cable Review
Manufacturer & Model:FIBBR Technologies Ultra Pro HDMI 2.0 15-Meter Cable Review
Highlights:Full HDMI 2.0x functionality over 50-feet, quality construction, thin and light as compared to traditional long-run passive HDMI cables, smart LED lights indicate connection status, fiber optic design.
Summary:The FIBBR Ultra Pro is a highly competent, well made, fiber optic HDMI 2.0 cable that provides 4K UHD HDR functionality over 15-meteres (nearly 50-feet) of distance. The cable's omnidirectional connection requirements are confirmed by a series of LED indicator lights on the source end of the cable, in addition to clearly identifiable markings. Our tests demonstrated the cable's ability to reliably pass-through
4K HDR (including Dolby Vision) video and multi-channel audio.
Let’s jump into some hot water and talk cables, specifically: HDMI 2.0. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 15 years, then you’re undoubtedly familiar with HDMI (High Definition Multi-Media Interface) cables. After all, they’re your gateway to sending both HD and 4K UHD HDR video signals (along with multi-channel audio) between components and displays using a simple single connection.
4K HDR And HDMI 2.0
The introduction of 4K HDR video quickly ushered the industry into its current HDMI 2.0a specification, which allows for up to 18Gbps of data transfer. For the most part, any High Speed HDMI cable is compatible with 4K UHD HDR content. A cable’s length, however, can be problematic when 4K HDR signals are sent over relatively long distances (roughly 20-feet or greater). Once a lengthy distance is met or exceeded, signal failure can occur. Of course, I’m choosing generalities because equipment and environmental circumstances all come into play.
Speaking from experience, my theater’s room conversion from 1080p to 4K UHD led to a momentary cable crisis. My previous 35-foot long HDMI cable couldn’t reliably pass a 4K signal. After evaluating all available options, including a new beefier passive cable paired with a signal booster, I ultimately purchased a 40-foot fiber optic cable. That cable has performed flawlessly. In fact, fiber optic HDMI cables can be used in runs up to 1,000 feet. Impressive, right?
FIBBR Ultra Pro
Recently, FIBBR Technologies (China) sent me a 15 meter (roughly 50-feet) Ultra Pro HDMI 2.0 Cable for review. This particular fiber optic cable isn’t cheap, currently on Amazon for $279, but has a few interesting features that make installation practically dummy-proof.
The Ultra Pro is 4-core fiber optic cable that’s specified to competently pass 4K 60Hz 4:4:4 video (including 3D) and up to 32 audio channels, which is to say everything required to enjoy the best of current 4K HDR video with a full 7.2.4 Atmos speaker array. Much like all other HDMI cables, it's compatible with any current HD or UHD HDMI device (including projectors, televisions, digital cable boxes, AV receivers, gaming systems and the like). And because its fiber optic, it has a high resistance to external electromagnetic interference.
Like other fiber optic HDMI cables, the Ultra Pro is unidirectional. And to help prevent frustrations from installing the cable backwards, FIBBR has instituted several visual aids including simple graphics that clearly mark the display end of the cable. The company has also endowed the component end with a “smart status” LED indicator that blinks green when correctly plugged into a source, blinks red when mistakenly inserted into a display, and glows blue when a data connection is established.
The Ultra Pro does not support either ARC (Audio Return Channel) or Ethernet capabilities.
Out Of The Box
The Ultra Pro is boxed in shelf-quality packaging, internally coiled to fit neatly in a plastic molded container. FIBBR ships the cable secured by three Velcro ties (which can be used for quick bundling during installation) with its connector ends protected by plastic caps. Simple installation instructions are included on the box’s inside lid.
The cable, itself, boasts rather robust construction with a rugged braided PET sheath covering a pliable LSZH jacket. Overall build quality is noticeably competent. Unlike many passive HDMI cables, the Ultra Pro is extremely thin and flexible (not to mention lightweight).
Installation and Performance
A blue indicator light signifies a functional connection on the source end of the cable.
I was initially concerned about the Ultra Pro’s ability to lay straight and flat, largely due to its rugged sheath. That concern was unfounded, however, as the cable was relatively easy to work with and conformed along the edge of a baseboard on a carpeted surface. Once plugged into a device, the cable’s plug to cable bend length accounts for roughly 2.5-inches, meaning you need 2.5-inches of space between a component/display and a wall (assuming the HDMI port isn’t angled or positioned on the side of a device).
Despite its rugged exterior, the Ultra Pro lays relatively flat and straight without issue.
Once installed, the Ultra Pro cable needs roughly 2.5-inches of space to fit properly.
The cable’s three component-end lights (as described above) all worked as intended and are clearly visible.
In terms of playback, the cable worked perfectly, successfully passing a 4K UHD HDR signal (Planet Earth II, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray) from an OPPO UDP-205 Ultra HD Blu-ray player directly to a JVC RS520 projector (and, alternatively through a Marantz RS7012 AVR). The projector’s internal menu system confirmed it was receiving a 4K (3840p) signal with 12-Bit color. To the eye, the picture was exquisite, devoid of any visible issues; audio was pristine. Alternatively, the cable also successfully passed a 4K UHD Dolby Vision signal (Fate of the Furious, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray) from an OPPO UDP-203 to an LG OLED B6 4K television. Again, picture perfect.
The Ultra Pro delivered a full 4K UHD HDR signal to a JVC RS520 projector.
An LG OLED B6 displaying 4K Dolby Vision received via the Ultra Pro.
The cable was used in excess of one week without failure.
While expensive, FIBBR Technologies' Ultra Pro HDMI 2.0 Cable is an excellent choice for 4K UHD HDR duty over long runs. While it’s impossible to ignore that forthcoming HDMI 2.1 standards will require a far more capable (HDMI 2.1 certified) cable, those cables have yet to hit the market. Therefore, cables such as the FIBBR Ultra Pro are perfect for servicing current 4K systems that owners are likely use for years to come. Buy with confidence.
FIBBR Ultra Pro HDMI 2.0 Specifications
Product model: FIBBR UltraPro HDMI 2.0
Product specification:4:4:4 4K@60Hz
HDMI cable length: 49.2ft (15 meters)
HDMI cord core material: 4-core optical fiber
Bandwidth: 18 Gbps
Housing: PC material
Cable diameter: 4.6 mm
Braided coating: PET
Supports: 3D Content, resolutions up to Ultra HD 4K 4096×2160 60Hz, Dolby True HD, DTS-HD Master Audio up to 32 audio channels, Transfer Rates of Up to 18 Gbps, HDCP
Compatibility: projector,3D player, Digital Set-Up box, DVR, A/V receiver, Blu-Ray player, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3/4 , HD Cable Box, Personal Computer or any other device with a standard HDMI output interface.
Does Not Support: ARC and Ethernet
Retail Package Contents: FIBBR Ultra Pro HDMI 2.0 Cable 15 meter *1
CE Pro First Look: FIBBR HDMI Cables
CE Pro First Look: FIBBR HDMI Cables
CE Pro recently got a chance to check out a 10-meter FIBBR fiber-optic cable ahead of CEDIA 2017. We hooked it up to an Epson Pro Cinema 6040 projector, Stewart Filmscreen Phantom HALR screen and Onkyo TX-RZ810 A/V receiver.
Replacing an existing eight-meter HDMI 2.0 cable with the FIBBR product took a matter of minutes. The company's approach to packaging and instructions is vaguely reminiscent of Apple's. Using a nice package that neatly holds the contents in place, the sleeve of the package outlines the steps necessary to install the cable.
Once the old cable was removed and the bullet-point instructions read, the cable's send (transmit end), which is labeled, was inserted into the HDMI output of the Onkyo A/V receiver. Making sure the cable was straight with no kinks took a minute, but with the cable straight the receive end was inserted into HDMI input number one of the Epson Pro Cinema projector.
Per the instructions, the indicator light on the transmit end communicated a solid blue LED, which meant the connection was valid and ready for operation. Thus ended the installation process.
Watching an HBO broadcast of The Dark Knight was eye opening. It was surprising to see the amount of color detail, resolution and contrast the cable seemed to capture or maintain. It beckons the question, how much image quality would be lost with traditional copper HDMI cables?
Moving on to Blu-ray, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 highlighted the vast color palette of the Marvel sequel to the 2014 hit movie, as well as its color depth of solid co colors, including reds, blues and greens. Color reproduction through the combination of the Epson projector, Stewart Filmscreen Phantom HALR screen and FIBBR cable looked stunning, and provided an excellent home theater solution for a reasonable price.
Checking out the dense, dark detail of the season seven finale of Game of Thrones, "The Dragon and the Wolf," was just as spectular as The Dark Knight and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Our initial impression? The products maintain the image quality people pay for with today's generation of HD and Ultra HD content, and (at least appear to) provide enough headroom from what's coming next.
Check out FIBBR's line of products, including its new 50-meter 56Gbps 8K-HDR HDMI cable, at CEDIA 2017 in booth #843 as well as Stark Sound's booth #18SR.