2013 TAS Editors' Choice Awards: Digital Interconnects

Equipment report
Categories:
Digital cables
2013 TAS Editors' Choice Awards: Digital Interconnects

AudioQuest Diamond
0.75m, $549; 1.5m, $695
audioquest.com
This über-expensive USB cable is simply revelatory in its combination of ease and refinement on one hand, and resolution and transparency on the other. Although capable of resolving the finest detail, Diamond USB has a relaxed quality that fosters deep musical involvement.

Audioquest Eagle Eye
$750/1m
audioquest.com
Available terminated with RCA or BNC, Eagle Eye offers excellent construction quality and terrific sound. Even when used to carry nothing but the clock signal in the dCS Vivaldi, it improves image focus, increases coherence, and produces a smoother and more organic presentation.

Belkin Gold Series
$15/1m
belkin.com
Despite being ridiculously inexpensive, this cable was AT’s reference for nearly two years. Though no longer the best USB cable available, in sonic and musical terms it continues to outperform and embarrass the vast majority of alternatives, regardless of price. A perfect first (and even last) USB cable.

Straightwire USB-Link
$50/1m, $60/1.5m
straightwire.com
This well-made, great-sounding USB cable is a relative bargain, delivering outstanding dynamics, timbral fidelity, and transparency.

AudioQuest Carbon
0.75m, $119; 1.5m, $159
audioquest.com
One of the go-to USB cables for computer-audio fans and highly recommended by USB pioneer and guru Gordon Rankin of Wavelength Audio, the Carbon is neutral without sounding bleached, dynamic without sounding piercing, detailed without sounding analytical.

Wireworld Silver Starlight
$275/1m
wireworldcable.com
David Salz’s thoroughly researched assault on USB’s sonic handicaps delivers a relaxed, well-defined, dynamically evocative, and rhythmically taut performance. The Silver Starlight projects strings without screechiness, which cannot be said of most USB cables. For those seeking a mid-priced USB cable with obviously high build-quality and performance, the Silver Starlight is a solid choice.

Wireworld Platinum Starlight
$599/1m
wireworldcable.com
The seemingly minor differences between Wireworld’s Silver and Platinum Starlight models yield a major sonic impact. In AT’s experience, the Platinum Starlight has no peer in soundstage size, airiness, tempo tracking, dynamics, bass pitch, timbral realism, and lack of grain. In short, this cable takes USB audio to a new plane of fidelity. AT’s new reference.