Only half an ass? Even over the Final headphones driven balanced and with the Audiobyte reclocker in the chain, there were differences between the three USB cables. They were simply mild. On the assumption scale, think one not two cheeks. Our green cable from Poland felt the most stately and soft. Its minor emphasis was on tone and the bloom/decay portion. In some quarters that balance represents 'analog' or 'tube' sound. The white cable from Bali with its fat plug majored on dynamics, crispness and subjective timing. That prioritized transient focus and perceived speed. In my book that often represents wide-bandwidth DC-coupled transistors. The skinny Aussie leash called Curious by its designer fell between the others so split their difference.

Splitting my thinking's difference—that reclockers might eliminate USB cable flavors once we upgrade beyond Computer Avenue throwaways—was bypassing the reclocker. Now the USB cables jacked directly into the Taiwanese DAC/headamp. The same audible shifts between cables now magnified their respective traits. Clearly the reclocker had minimized them. My thinking hadn't been entirely wrong. The reclocker just hadn't erased all cable differences. That's where I was off. Without the reclocker, the overall sound quality lost some of its directness and smoothness. That reconfirmed how more tweaked systems benefit from this category of USB cleaner. But even with them in the still digital signal path, USB cables continue to matter. Observant listeners clear about their personal preferences will continue to pay attention to their digital wires.

The main system confirmed that—wait for it—assessment on the Susvara headphones via Kinki Studio's lateral Exicon Mosfets adding current drive to the Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with Elrog ER50; and over LinnenberG's monos doing the same for Alain Pratali's Aurai Audio M1 Classic two-way speakers. What obviously changed with the latter were soundstage coordinates. Much expanded, I now had far greater depth to pay more attention to layering. The Laboga cable remained firmly voiced for extra tone density and a certain textural softness. To rope in more of the usual suspects, that's often how thick copper cables differentiate against very thin silver equivalents. The copper will sound softer, fatter/weightier and slower, the silver more accelerated, crisp, lit up and lean.

Without doubt, David Laboga's cable is tuned for the copper aesthetic. There it plays the role of bigger copper so more Pie in the sky Henry Crabbe than Tim Roth's Jim Worth in Tin Star. That mostly tracks with Marek Dyba's earlier review calling this "a very 'analogue sounding' USB cable. It plays extremely smooth, fluid and refined." I would merely add that with those particular values in the foreground, others like rhythmic tension, beat urgency and extreme layer specificity in the soundstage's move a bit into the background. That's like dim sum on a lazy Susan. As your favorite dish turns to face you, others turn away to face whoever sits across. Those remain perfectly visible, just farther away. Know your taste, shop accordingly. That remains true for USB cables even if those don't connect to a DAC but instead external reclocker which then forwards jitter/noise-stripped digital data via I²S, AES/EBU or BNC/coax. Our choice of USB cable still influences those results. That I didn't quite expect.

So now I'm one cable smarter than I was a day ago. In this game, all small victories count!