Does the Quality of the USB cable matter?

I have a Squeezebox Touch connected to my Laptop via a 50 ethernet cable.
Also connected to my laptop is an external 1TB hardrive that my music is stored on via a 5 meter USB cable.

With this set up, does the quality of the USB Cable matter ?
Honestly and sincerely, I am quite surprised that the question of whether USB cables matter between a computer, say the MacMini, and a DAC is still a question of fact.

Even on my least res system, an Alethias USB cable makes a huge difference over other USB cables I've owned and/or tested.

Theory is theory; practice is practice. I suggest that if you are wondering, put some USB cables into practice in your system. Of course, if you don't have a system that will reveal the difference, it isn't the USB cable's problem.

jmo & jme,

:) listening,

Ed, Even if I am only using the USB Cable from my laptop to my external hardrive?
I know when I upgraded my firewire cable from the MacMini to the peripheral HD from the stock cable it made a difference that I preferred. That is true on all of my systems.

:) listening,

Ed, what kind of interface do you have between the MacMini and your DAC (USB, ethernet, S/PDIF, etc.)? And how much distance is there between the firewire cable and the DAC (and its cabling), as well as between the firewire cable and the rest of the audio system?

My suspicion is that your findings may have little if any applicability to Ozzy's situation. In his case the external drive is 50 feet away from anything that may directly impact sound quality, since an ethernet interface is used to cover that 50 foot distance, and jitter that may be induced by digital noise is essentially irrelevant for an ethernet interface, due to the packetized and buffered nature of data transmission and reception over that kind of interface.

-- Al