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. The 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 Bali cable with its fat plug bumping off a neighboring slot in my PC 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. My 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. That had the USB cables jack directly into the Taiwanese DAC/headamp. The same audible shifts between them 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. Those still season to taste.

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, the Polish cable was 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 it "a very 'analogue sounding' USB cable. It plays extremely smooth, fluid and refined." I would add that with its particular values in the foreground, others like rhythmic tension, beat urgency and extreme layer specificity in the soundstage's moved 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.

My own tastes preferred the subjectively quicker more crisply 'timed' Vermöuth Reference over the Laboga; and its added dynamic impact—shove in Zu lingo—over my usual Curious on the desktop and the KingRex in the main system. Coarsely put, that wedded silver's speed and exactitude with copper's mass and weight. In both systems, the Vermöuth would be my new preference. Functionally, the girth of its designer barrel is simply wider than a PC's usual spacing of USB sockets. There it will block a neighboring slot so you'll need a spare.

How about the Vermöuth Reference speaker cables vs. our resident Allnic pure silver upstairs, our Allnic pure copper downstairs?