As mentioned, during the course of my auditions, I had opportunity to follow the evolution of this model. The manufacturer kept improving the isolation between power and signal legs. This didn't actually change the sonic character but each subsequent improvement made the background even quieter. Although it's about noise reduction which isn't audible per se, the improved versions did offer a blacker background. It may not seem much but once you compare two products that differ only on background noise, you quickly realize that timbres and textures pronounce with more intensity, that you can hear more tiny details. That enhances the richness and energy of playback for higher realism. And that bar the final Expression Emerald USB raised to an absolutely stunning level. The better the recording I played, the clearer and more impressive it became.

The next comparison track came from a Yo-Yo Ma/Bobby McFerrin album. The combination of master cello with McFerrin's remarkable vocals yielded spectacular results. Here again the Polish cable came out on top. When it came to the cello, I had no doubts that with the Expression Emerald it was deeper, fuller, more saturated and a bit better on microdynamics. However, I could not really find any advantage of any cables on just the vocals. They still weren't identical because the Japanese cable saturated the voice a bit more, the Polish defined each sound more precisely. These differences were tiny, however. To my ears, in terms of vocal presentation it was a tie between Emerald and FiData. It was more a matter of taste than actual advantages. To insure that this was true for vocals in general, next I listened to a song from Whitesnake's acoustic live recording where vocals are accompanied by guitar. Even though these are two completely different recordings, my conclusions were similar. I did not prefer one presentation of David Coverdale's voice over another but did hear a fuller, deeper more resonant guitar with the Expression Emerald. As a fan of Japanese audio components including cables that are usually fabulously musical, dense, saturated, natural and particularly impressive on vocals, I think that this draw was a great success for the Emerald or rather, its designer. In this particular respect, other products rarely even come close.

Listening to a Lee Ritenour album, I heard somewhat smaller differences. The Emerald was able to provide a bit more powerful bass slam and differentiate the lower end slightly better. The guitar with the Laboga was a bit more precise due to slightly better differentiation. Trying hard to find more differences, I could ultimately say that the dynamics seemed to be a bit better, too. Generally however, identifying clear differences between these cables listening to such electric music was more difficult and ambiguous. Subsequent albums with electric music confirmed this. The overall advantage of the Expression Emerald was clearer for vocals and acoustic instruments, provided I played at least decent recordings. That's why the Polish cable became my favorite for rock recordings, particularly those with vocals. David Gilmour, Peter Gabriel, Steven Tyler and Janis Joplin sounded stronger and more expressive, which made a big difference particularly for the latter two.

Last but not least, I took advantage of having two Emeralds to involve the Ideon Audio 3R Master Time. This comparison introduced two more variables – the reclocker and second cable. As mentioned before, my second domestic USB cable is the Tellurium Q. Now I wanted to find out whether it's worth to invest in a pair of Emeralds. Hello! Two Expression Emeralds fared even better. They did not introduce new features or advantages but further enhanced those already described.