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I conducted two comparison rounds. For a bus-power example my April Music Eximus DP1 took the honors. For a non-busy sort my Esoteric UX1 universal player rebuilt as APL Hifi NWO-M with 20 x AKM 4399 DACs per channel and Lundahl transformer-coupled class A E182CC output stage stood in. Preamp was Sasa Cokic's Trafomatic Audio single-stage DHT 101D linestage. Power amps were Nelson Pass' FirstWatt SIT1 monos, speakers my usual Aries Cerat Gladius, all cabling Zu Event. With the NWO-M the power lead sat in the iMac. With the DP1 the uPower supply featured to maximize the Y concept.

Did I expect revelations? Nope. Of course our communal chase for differences is endless. It's what powers our rickety perpetuum mobile. Once these difference fall below a threshold of relevance however, I lose professional interest. Such persnicketism is fine for an individual to sort out. It's how you polish out a system to its final lustre. Wooden or Titanium footers?

But to paint barely perceptible differences larger just to have something to talk about? That misleads expectations. It also wastes everyone's time. The uArt already had passed that test. From the uCraft I expected mostly a rerun. Same recipe, same excellence. Same size, minor differences at best. So?

Seeing red wasn't hearing nothing. Audibility was subtle but in fact very repeatable. On a subjective response level things were quite undeniable. Seeing red simply meant that I preferred the cheaper red uArt—on both machines—but had a far tougher time figuring out why I wasn't feeling (the) blue to explain the mechanism of my preference in proper hifi lingo.

Here my leaner more lit-up 'rez focused' Eximus converter helped shed some decisive light. One thing that differed between the cables was their harmonic distribution or overtone weighting. The uArt's center of gravity seemed lower. Its musical flow did more meandering than rushing. Performers felt more incarnate, their presence factor heightened. The midband had a more luscious full quality. The blue uCraft was lighter, its center upshifted. It felt cooler, leaner, perhaps more articulated and separated but also more cerebral and less physical. See how these descriptions already cross lines between technicalia—harmonic shifts—and personal reaction? The latter was quick and solid. When I asked what caused it, things got slippery. I tried to specifically fault the blue cable yet it didn't do anything wrong per se! Why then did it fail to click as successfully with my ancillaries?

The lynch pin for me really was midrange quality. The uArt's was richer, deeper, heavier. In terms of colorization, the red uArt mixed black into the palette, the blue uCraft white... not much, just enough to tip the scale and cause a shift which sounded larger than that which prompted it. Using an audiophile shopping list, I could tell that depth perspective wasn't as pronounced as with the uCraft, that string actions of plucks and scrapes weren't as teased out and little percussive noises not as sharply peeled yet lead instruments and voices had greater expressivity. As always, the question with cable reviews is, would one user's results translate to others? It's why many on our team have become reluctant about such assignments.

This brief writeup was only meant as adjunct to the earlier linked USB cable review. The uArt had already distinguished itself in ways described there. The uCraft is built with the same parts except for the conductors and their precise geometry. To my ears, the costlier blue cable is tuned more for resolution, the uArt more for tone. For a final experiment I bolted the Audiophilleo 2 to the NWO-M's BNC input to exploit Alex Peychev's superior D/A converter and make use of KingRex's uPower option.

On the red uArt the addition of the uPower supply created greater color intensity and immediacy - the ubiquitous veil removed. On the blue uCraft, it enhanced clarity and definition. DC power thus seemed to enhance the core quality of each USB cable like a minor 'who are you really' truth serum. It locked in the signature, then magnified it. If it were my money, I'd go after the uArt + uPower rather than uCraft solo. What the battery did to the NWO-M/Audiophilleo combo wasn't of hairsplitting but very obvious caliber. It really made hay from the KingRex 'Y' concept. As such it should be considered part of the picture. What it did for me was create the type of—not SPL induced—intensity that forces you to either pay proper attention to the music or shut the system off. When there's no middle ground, something is very right. To keep seeing red, the KingRex uArt with uPower shall remain in my system as the new reference USB link. The uCraft will make tracks to its next destination where someone else might feel about it as I feel about its red sibling...
KingRex replies: In your review you noticed that a self-powered USB transceiver couldn't use the Y cable with the uPower battery supply. To improve this we are redesigning the cable's inside wiring to establish a proper ground reference even in such scenarios. Then there will still be a correct exchange between PC and DAC and DAC back to PC even though the power line connects with uPower instead of the computer.

KingRex website