< $400 USB Cable Contenders Late 2021


Having reconfigured my digital stuff on my rack, I need to change my little USB jumper to a 0.7m-1m USB cable. Would love to buy used or demo to get more value, but open to new. Listening beforehand is an unlikely option. Some I'm considering are:
IN-AKUSTIK Reference USB
Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7 
Cardas Clear HS
Curious (original not Evolved)

If I luck out on a good used deal, might be interested in:
Stealth USB
Final Touch Callisto
Curious Evolved

The cable will connect my Sonore opticalRendu to Denafrips Pontus. My priorities are full-bodied representation of instruments, transparency and natural tonality. Hyper amounts of edgy detail are not my cup of tea. FWIW I'm an electrostatic, analog guy for the most part. Cheers,

Spencer

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To the OP @sbank Spencer: I no longer use USB cables, but when I did, my favorites were these two:

1) Synergistic Atmosphere X Reference (about $1,000 retail): https://www.thecableco.com/cables/usb-cable/atmosphere-x-reference-usb-cable-8099.html

2) Sonore USB cable made to order by Cardas: https://sonore.us/USB.html
This is sleeper. Right below $1,000, but it sounds amazing. Not many in circulation, so it would be hard to find used.


Highly recommended: Intona Reference + Isolator
@thyname Actually a good friend of mine who also has Sonore components like I do has the Sonore USB. It's gathering dust because he prefers one of the contenders on my list at ~1/3 the cost.

...and did you fail to notice from the title of the thread that the top end of my budget is ~$400? Cheers,
Spencer
@antigrunge2, thanks for the suggestion. What have you compared it to? Any on my list? How would you characterize the Intona? Cheers,
Spencer
I did not fail to read your original post. I read posts that are longer than TikTok posts. I am just sharing my experiences since you mentioned buying used. Feel free to ignore my post. Best of luck to you. Hopefully someone, just one, will confirm one of your choices, and off you go, happy. Enjoy your life
Here is a link to a thread comparing two of the cables on your list.
I have had good luck with this one, which is in your price range.

@sbank

Give Supra USB 2.0 a try, you may be pleasantly surprised how well this cable meet or exceeds your expectations.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/154605897251?hash=item23ff3ac623:g:-uEAAMXQTghRM9qL
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@sbank,

I have been able to directly compare only two of the USB cables on your list. I use mostly Shunyata power cables and Cardas analog signal cables. I am now using two USB cables: Shunyata Alpha (going from Innuos Zen server to Innuos Phoenix USB reclocker) and Network Acoustics USB III (from Phoenix to PS Audio DirectStream DAC).

When I compared several USB cables 8 months ago, I thought that the Cardas Clear HS sounded rich and smooth, but this was at the cost of some transients seeming smoothed over and a loss of detail compared to the other cables in my comparison. I also heard the Stealth USB (which is on your list of possible "used" options), which was very open and transparent, but sounded a bit "edgy" at times.

My favorite cables in the comparison I did were the Shunyata Alpha and the Audience AU24 SE+. If you can find either one of those cables used, it may get you closer to your preferred cost cut-off.

If you are willing to sacrifice some detail to achieve a rich full-bodied sound that emphasizes smoothness without edginess, then the Cardas Clear HS may meet your needs.  
Bump it up a bit and pick up a used Audience AU24SE+. You won’t regret it. 
Direct comparison with Supra, Acoustic Revive, Oyaide Continental 5S silver and Artisansilvercables, both single and double 5V. Immediacy, leading edge, reverb and soundstage all outstanding. Intona selects individual cables on maximum conformity with USB specs in terms of impedance and resistance. Galvanic isolation through Isolator leads to significant blacking of background as well as reduction of sibilance. The Intona cable outclassed the others, not by a small margin. I am a happy customer, no other association
@thyname I apologize and did not intent to offend you. My experience hasn't allowed me to typically find used deals at 40% of MSRP. So I mistakenly jumped to the wrong conclusion and regret my post. I value your input and am here to make friends and learn; not the other stuff.  Cheers,

Spencer
@sdl4 @antigrunge2. Thanks, this is exactly the type of insights that help me. Appreciate it! Cheers,
Spencer
Spencer, we have the same speakers. I use this https://www.bestbuy.com/site/audioquest-2-5-usb-a-to-usb-b-cable-black-coffee/4022249.p?skuId=402224...
Between a Mac Mini and a Berkley Audio Alpha USB. No problems, sounds great. I have tried more expensive cables and I can not hear a difference.
Spencer @sbank : no problem at all. Sometimes used deals on cables can be found below 50%, depending on how long the cable has been around. I appreciate your post. Very nice gesture.

I also have found from the experience over the years that I'd rather stretch the budget and get something that I like best, and keep for a long time, rather than keep getting in the rabbit hole of swapping cables over and over. Guilty as charged on this.
Here is another recommendation if you’re open to audition cables outside your preferred list, 

https://zavfinousa.com/collections/audio-interconnects/products/majestic-usb
@lalitk thanks, any insights or comparison of it vs. others? Cheers,
Spencer
Network Acoustics III, Shunyata Alpha. Best value - Acoustic BBQ.
@erastof, thanks. Please tell me more. How would you describe the strengths/weaknesses of those two? Have you compared either of them to any of the others on my original post? Cheers,
Spencer