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Expression Emerald USB revisited

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz, Tidal, Denafrips Terminator+ clock-synced to Gaia reclocker, Avatar CD transport; Preamp: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with Elrog ER50; Power amps: LinnenberG Liszt monos; Headamp: Kinki Studio THR-1; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: Aurai Audio M1 [on loan]; Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room so no wall behind the listening chairs
2nd system: Source: Soundaware D300Ref SD transport; DAC: Denafrips Terminator; Preamplifier: Passive Preamp icOn 4Pro Model 3 SE; 
Amplifier: Crayon CFA-1.2; Loudspeakers: sound|kaos Vox 3awf, Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan];  Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~4x6m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win7/64; USB bridge: Audiobyte Hydra X+; Headamp: COS Engineering H1; Phones: Final D800; Powered speakers: Fram Audio Midi 150
Upstairs mini system: Source: Soundaware A280 SD transport; Integrated amplifiers: Schiit Jotunheim R, Bakoon AMP-13R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a, Speakers: Acelec Model One on Ardán Audio desktop stands
2-channel video system: 
Source: Oppo BDP-105; DAC: Kinki Studio; Preamp: Wyred4Sound STP-SE II; Power amp: Pass Labs XA-30.8; Loudspeakers: German Physiks HRS-120; Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: €529/639 for 1m/2m respectively

In December 2020, I syndicated Marek Dyba's review of the David Laboga Emerald USB cable. It contains everything you need to know on the company and product. The designer subsequently sent me a 1.5m sample. Would I hear anything versus my usual Curious Cable on the desk top, versus my usual red KingRex double-header USB cable in the main system?

Of course I would hear something as long as the cable worked properly. But would I hear any difference? On the desk top, a battery-power Romanian reclocker processes USB digits from my work station like Count Dracul sucking virgin jitter…

…while in the main system, a Denafrips Gaia slaved to the master clocks of a Denafrips Terminator Plus does the same job for three sources.

Which lands us—head or feet first?—on my assumption. Such reclockers probably render USB cable differences beyond an already quality cable moot. 'Probably' is very much why I've not looked into designer USB cables for years. Was my assumption talking out of its f-hole or a realistic expectation? I reckoned that today's gig would sort me out. I just wasn't sure how. Following the ol' slapstick adage that it takes three to tango, I also had a $400/m Vermöuth Reference USB cable in for review to really get mixed up.