I and a friend, have amassed a few cheap usb cables to check out the differences and see if we could find some really good stuff. The result are quite interesting because we did isolate a couple of very good products, and add some insight.
Our test system has been composed of
AMR DP-777 -> Electrocompaniet -> Mordaunt Short Performance 6
Interconnects: Kimber Kable Hero XLR
Speaker cables: Kimber 8TC
The following pokemons have fought for us in a sex-deprived night:
These are our findings:
Most natural, smooth, excessively mellow, especially with the Electrocompaniet integrated (which is also quite thick sounding). Analogue sounding.
Most tuneful among the Lindy’s, most coherent sounding.
Lacks resolution severely compared to the JCAT, which also adds caffeine.
This is our favourite among cheap cables. This guy comes also as the bundled cable with Antelope Zodiac Gold.
It’s not worthy, in my opinion, to get an iFi Gemini as an improvement. It’s definitely worthy to get a JCAT as an improvement.
There is an excess centered at 45 Hz. Comparable to a cartoon-like woman with a fat, inertial butt. There is an excess at the lower treble, meaning you get more energy with charlestons; poor resolution, the highs lose linearity. The combined traits of this cable reduce the midrange perception, because of the defects constantly standing out.
Worst of the lot, and funnily the most expensive among Lindy cables.
Definitely better cable than the horrible Blue Gold.
Compared to the Black/Red, this has slightly thinner, more recessed midrange. It’s still among the good cables, but not as tuneful in the mids as the Black/Red. It has stronger midbass than the Black/Red, but not nearly as out of place as the Blue/Gold. The Black/Red reaches slightly deeper than the Chrome (moves more air), but the difference is minimal.
The treble is about the same as the Black/Red.
Tuneful, musical; a bit more bassy than the Lindy Black/Red, but still very integrated. Midrange is slightly more open than the Lindy Black/Red. More thumpy (fun?) than the our favourite Lindy, albeit slightly less profile (calls more for attention). Pretty much a tie, depending on taste.
Also bundled with AMR DP-777.
We agreed (to agree) that it sucks. The midrange is hollow. Sound becomes skeletal, boring. Thin, yawny vocals. The music doesn’t reach the listener. It doesn’t really convey any emotions. The bass or treble are there. Why does the AMR sound so boring with this cable? Must sound like castration.
This thing costs a whooping 90 Euros or so.
Smaller bro of the Starlight. Kind of similar sound. Imagine a Lindy Black/Red but rip its vocals. Detached sound. Recessed vocals. Half dead.
I like its bass a bit, slightly more textured than the Belkin Gold or Lindy Black/Red. But that’s it.
If we were paranoid (we are just pretending we are not), we’d say Wireworld made these two cables to make more insanely priced cables shine.
Slightly less clear vocals than Lindy Black/Red, a bit less musical overall.
Update: QED Grapyte: a Russian fellow adviced me about this one. We bought it and tested it against the Belkin Gold and the Lindy Black/Red. The QED Graphyte is very similar to the two, but has slightly drier presentation and noticeably worse spatial instrument placement. It’s, overall, slightly worse than both the Lindy Black/Red and the Belkin Gold.
Total Technologies LTD, part number E193793 2725, 1m long. Another friend, Russian/American, spotted this cable (which came with a printer) which he found very analogue sounding to use with his Sonicweld Diverter HR, although not as detailed as the high end priced ones. I will try to stumble upon one.