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Wireworld USB cables.
Because my Luxman D-05 lacks USB (grrrh), I resurrected Benchmark’s DAC1 to check out Wireworld’s USB leashes. The laptop ran JRiver, the iPad the slick JRemote and off I went. Wireworld’s Starlight 7 didn’t need dispatch since this relatively affordable €119/m red USB cable already was in fairaudio HQ’s frequently used hardware collection. But I’d also gotten the more upscale Silver Starlight at €299/m and the Platinum Starlight for €600/m. Again the two latter share the DNA Helix geometry and mirror their S/PDIF siblings in conductor material – silver-plated copper for the Silver, pure silver for the Platinum. The cheaper Starlight 7 also gets silver-plated copper but in a simpler geometry dubbed Symmetricon. Boy, Wireworld has names for everything.


And? Relevant differences, again? Quite. First a proviso. It depends on what you strap to such cables whether the changes will be small or more meaningful. With the now aged if still okay but not awesomely resolving Benchmark, I’d play it modest on cables. For that reason I also visited colleague Jörg Dames whose Phonosophie DAC dug more deeply into these differences.


The most affordable Starlight played it slightly warm. There simply was a tick less HF energy at work both over against the stable mates and the €155/m Aqvox USB competition. A very close-mic’d female voice like Françoiz Breut’s doing "Il n'y a pas d'hommes dans les coulisses" from her Vingt à trente mille jours album got declawed and more weighty which can be a win. To avoid boredom one still remains in the front row. I’d say that of the three Wireworlds the red leash has the least pronounced presence region but simultaneously erects its stage closest to the listener. That was a surprise since one would expect the opposite. ‘Frontal’ and more present upper mids usually appear together. Be that as it may, my colleague and I thought the middle Silver Starlight the tonally most neutral. The ‘lower’ Starlight played it milder and warmer, the ‘upper’ Platinum with a dose more energy upward of the higher mids. None of this was drastic but as perceivable nuance a thing to consider.


But tonality wasn’t all of it. Swapping to the Wireworld Silver Starlight showed noticeably more contoured bass runs for better intelligibility and thus firmer rhythms to trigger foot tapping. I simply found it more involving. Magnification power increased too. I had more information on piano hammer falls, even more so on their sustains. The trailing edges lasted longer. By contrast the red cable was the coarser and spatially less sorted and accurate. It also was the more compact. Climbing Jacob’s shekel ladder into the sky, it’s always the same. Especially the subdued quiet seemingly marginal signal bits gain in clarity. Reverb clarifies to light up recorded space. Textures refine and individual sounds feel less damped. If you wish to call it more analog, I’d let you. With the Silver Starlight these upwardly mobile trends were clear when ancillaries were up to snuff. Yet the Platinum went even farther. Better resolution, even more spatial recovery. If you chase the absolute, this gets interesting as long as tonal balance suits. For me the vital step was from Starlight to Silver Starlight. To pay double again just to milk a few more drops from the connection… that becomes a very personal decision. Even ambitious high-enders should go far on Wireworld’s Silver USB leash.

If your system requires digital cables—with computer fi and network fi those chances have skyrocketed—Wireworld has plenty of options. The Americans have something for nearly every wallet and format. Today’s cables belong into the audiophile’s gild-the-lily drawer to matter once the basic homework of room treatments, speaker and amplifier choices and their proper setup has been put away. Only then it’s time to polish things. Which now can become decisive on whether playback feels real, involving and embodied or tastes a bit like stale beer.

Pay more with Wireworld and play harder. The question is merely one of return on investment. With one eye on the wallet and the other on performance, I was particularly taken by their entry-level Toslink (Nova, €49/m) and the one-or-two down-from-the-top Silver Starlight USB (€299/m) and Gold Starlight 7 coax (€499/m). It’s really impressive what those can do. Last but not least, the Americans also deal in 50cm lengths. If you don’t need more, you needn’t pay for excess. And shorter cables tend to be a win also sonically.
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