Budget USB Cables

Ok so I know this is a very contentious topic, but I recently picked up a fairly affordable USB A - B cable for £24 designed for transferring lossless audio from my Laptop to my Topping D70s DAC and quite frankly I’m a bit puzzled by the results.

The sound is noticeably more smoother and less fatiguing but at a cost of some fullness. I guess most people would describe the sound as being “tinny”.

Now initially I thought maybe that’s just the character of the cable (if that’s possible) so I ordered a slightly more expensive cable for around £40 from a different brand and again the same issue of fullness arose.

My questions are therefore:

why does the issue seem to be present in my system? I’m using Mogami XLR interconnects between my DAC and Amp just for reference.

Is this a common problem others have faced?

if you believe cables can make a difference what USB cables do you recommend under £50?

Any kind of advice would be very much appreciated, also would like to hear others opinions on cables in general.

I’m aware many don’t believe they can make a difference but I don’t think I could ever go back to the cheap printer cable I was using before, it’s just too harsh.

When I had a d70s, I got some pretty big gains with the i2s input using a Douk U2 pro. Definitely worth the money, imo. That nice USB cable wouldn’t go to waste either as it would be the input to the U2 pro from your PC. Definitely give it some thought.

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cheaper cable probably had poor shielding which lead to any noise possible being transmitted
apparently these are very good budget options
I personally don’t have any experience with expensive USB cables but I’ve heard people say that they couldn’t tell a difference between cheap cables and AudioQuest cables so ymmv

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I think it’s just one of those things where you have to try for yourself and see, how you listen has an impact on whether you might hear the differences as well.

If you’re multi tasking and not paying full attention to the music then it might be harder to tell the difference, one thing is for certain though if you do hear the difference I don’t think it’s possible to go back to what you were using before, at least in my experience.


Hearing the difference in cables is not necessarily going to be an instant “A-Ha” moment, and will always be situational dependent.

I believe that to be true and that a large part of it falls on the listener and also their tolerance for what is considered acceptable.

Ahh again I agree, there was a point where cables were cables to me - interconnects, headphone or otherwise and the ignorance was bliss and my wallet was happier. But then I heard a difference and then could not stop hearing it. I wish at times that I did not hear a difference… because yes, once you do hear the difference and are able to manipulate what you hear with a cable swap you can’t really un hear it, or rule it out as something you could do to effect a change in your system.

There are varying levels of extremes to this rabbit hole and it is not necessarily something that “Needs” to be done on the automatic however, it is something to be aware of especially as your gear advances and your system becomes more resolving.