Best budget USB

Apologies, I know this has been asked before, and perhaps this question should be on the Cables forum.  However, I thought I'd refresh the question, as some of the previous instances are quite old, and it has struck me that the digital thread generally has a better insight into USB cables.

I've bought a 2nd-hand Innuos Phoenix USB to fit between my Zenith Mk3 and Hegel H390.  I also have an FTA Sinope, which I intend to fit between Phoenix and Hegel.

Unfortunately, the Phoenix didn't turn up with the original USB.  And assuming the USB before the Phoenix is hugely less significant than the USB after, and given I'm now WAYYY over budget I'm looking for something less extravagant than the Sinope.

In the UK, the go-to outlet for choice is Futureshop, and if I limit myself to approx £100 ($120),the selection is:

  • Audioquest Pearl, Forest & Cinnamon
  • Wireworld Chroma 8, Starlight 8
  • Supra
  • Furutech Formula 2
  • Atlas Element SC
  • Chord C-USB

Any preferences?




I would recommend the Supra. I use a 5m (16.4 feet) run from computer-->DAC without any problems.  I got mine off EBay from Seattle vendor.


Go with Supra if you can’t afford another FTA before Phoenix USB. Also, use a high quality PCOCC power cable with Phoenix USB. 

I'm using a Oyaide NEO d+ Class A USB cable for my PC music editing station.  It was the first USB cable that opened my mind (and ears) to how much of a difference a USB cable can make with digital audio.  Excellent for the money and worlds better than the Pangea Audio cable it replaced.

I bought a 1m LavriCable Ultimate Silver Dual USB cable because the data and power runs are separated physically as two separate cables and it uses 5N silver conductors — design features normally found in much pricier USB cables — but at US$124 it’s only just a hair over your max budget. I’ve got several LavriCables and they’re all well made and punch well above their price sonically IMHO. Best of luck.

I got a Supra from them and replaced it with the superb Atlas. The only LavriCable I own is a balanced headphone cable. Great but no experience with their USB.

I have a iFi Gemini for isolated on my RasPi pushing a D10s.

@soix , thanks very much for that recommendation.  Lavricables are new to me, and certainly seem to offer a lot of bang per buck.  Plus, also good to see it available in 0.5m

@lollipopguild Just fyi and so you know it’s not just me, a few others here have tried Lavri and all have been very happy with their performance and in all cases they bested the cables they replaced. I found them because I thought the Apple Camera Adapter was suboptimal for getting USB out of my iPad for my HeadFi rig and LavriCable was one of the only aftermarket products I could find so gave it a shot. It was a significant improvement and since then I’ve bought a pair of balanced interconnects and headphone cable in addition to the USB and all have been excellent. They’re out of Latvia and fly under the radar but maybe not for much longer. FWIW.

If you're really budget.  One of the biggest changes I've made to my system was filtering the power from the USB source with a simple power blocker adapter and then adding it back with a powered USB hub.  If you want to go whole hog you can use a inexpensive 5V linear power supply to the hub.  Topping makes one and there are even less expensive ones. 

So for about $25 plus the PS  (little over $150 with).  

YMMV but again it might not

I use the Wireworld Ultraviolet 3.0 USB A to Micro B on my outboard hard drive. It  uses silver plated copper conductors, the Chroma is a great budget cable with 100 % copper conductors. I have the Chroma as well and I believe the Ultraviolet 3.0 USB is better at frequency extremes. - Better bass and attack -

For my transport I use The Chord Company Signature Super ARAY Digital Coax Cable.  RCA to BNC. The cable is dynamic with excelent high frequency resolution. 

Get a silver dragon cable spend 300 bucks form moon audio. Spend a few bucks don’t be cheap.

Using DH Labs USB cable between NODE and Gustard X26 PRO. Reasonable at $105 for 1.5 meter, sounds excellent but cover sleeve could be better, pulling away from USB plug on one end. No biggie.

I've been using the Zavfino Majestic OCC and am enjoying it quite a bit. I use it between my MacBook Air and Schiit Bifrost 2

My understanding is that the shorter a USB cable is the better, correct?

As opposed to a digital coax which needs to be about 1.5 meters to prevent "echo" of the signal in the cable.

@soix  Thanks for posting, I'm going to give that cable a try.



“My understanding is that the shorter a USB cable is the better, correct?”


Apparently not, a shorter length cable can sound terrible compare to a longer length of same brand. There are few here who are convinced that cable length matters for USB and power cables, YMMV.


Post removed 

@barts Although at $174 the 1.5m Lavri Dual USB is $50 more than 1m if I was doing it over again I’d spring for it given the post @lalitk cites above, FWIW.  Also, this was my first USB cable so haven’t as yet compared it to any others so I’d be very interested if you get to compare it to something else to see what you find if you can share your thoughts?

my understanding is that 1.25-2 m length for usb cabling for audio purposes is ideal... similar to rca spdif

I have had great results with this USB cable

IN-AKUSTIK Reference High Speed USB 2.0 

It was hand picked by Small Green Computer that evaluated numerous other USB cables, some higher in cost and some lower

The results of their eval was this is the sweet spot on price performance

It's German, so at a minimum it has to be over engineered - haha

I decided to give the new Supra Excalibur a go. I already have their Ethernet cable and like it very much. Plus, it'll be here tomorrow, unlike the Lavris which would be quite a wait. 

I'll try it before and after the Phoenix. I would imagine the better cable (the FTA Sinope) should go after the Phoenix. Though one review (audiobacon?) claims the better should go before, which seems completely counterintuitive to me.


In a ideal world, you should be using same USB cable before and after Phoenix USB. But for Supra should do just fine! 

@soix  Yes, I will to post, the OP says "I decided to give the new Supra Excalibur a go. I already have their Ethernet cable and like it very much. Plus, it'll be here tomorrow, unlike the Lavris which would be quite a wait."  Was that your experience?

@lalitk I read the thread that you had mentioned and honestly thought it was bit "off the rails"!  Just my opinion and we know how that goes...LOL




Well, you read my post in that thread. Thought you should know before making a purchase…LOL!

@barts All my Lavris took about two weeks, and they were all bought in late 2021 so not sure if anything’s changed since then.  Looking back it was well worth the wait IME. 

Have both the Supra 2.0 and Supra Excalibur USB cables, both are excellent but the Excalibur is worth the extra money $140 for a 1 meter Excalibur on eBay (only buy from Zendada as they are the official importer in the US)....a steal of a cable

Thanks @vthokie83 .

I found a video review of them here

It’s quite lengthy so best to scan read the transcripts. He does however appear to rate the Excalibur alongside the Curious cables, and better than the best TelluriumQ and AQ offerings

Quite the bargain then




Correction. This is the review I was referring to:


Apologies though.  I hate watching video reviews.  They are staggeringly boring and long-winded.  One would almost thing they're earning per word...

The stock Innuos cable is actually pretty damn good, at least as good as the Audioquest coffee in my opinion.  Try contacting Innuos and see what they can do would be my advice

@markiew good to know, about the Innuos cable.

I've approached the dealer who sold me the used Phoenix, and despite them being an approved Innuos dealer they're refusing to make good the missing cable.  Needless to say I'm not happy with them.


The fact that a $140 Supra Excalibur can compete with a $600 Curious Evolved and an $800 Audioquest, tells me what I need to know.....and what I've heard, Supra makes great cables. After I've completed my system install, I'll start cable rolling for more comparisons (Wireworld, Cullen Cables, Oyaide, and more Supra).....but they will all be value for dollar cables.

The slight irony here, given the fact I kicked off this thread, is that the Phoenix arrived three days ago and to get it up and running I plugged in the only USB I had to hand:. an Amazon Basics. 

And it sounds fantastic!  Compared to the Zenith alone, it's a wonderfully sound. Just perfect almost. It has lost all the glare, and forceful forwardness. The icy shards have melted.

It might be that the Phoenix has made every digital component upstream of it redundant. Then again, maybe not. 



This thread caused me to try a, better than stock, USB cable. It hooks between the portable HDD and Oppo BD105. I hadn’t tried any aftermarket USB cables before for various reasons. 1. Afraid to invest too much because my next HDD might use a different connector. 2. Not sure which reasonably priced cable to try. 3. There was always something else to buy.

After reading all the Supra recommendations, I went with their entry level cable. The idea of separately shielded signal and power made sense. Amazingly, the US distributor got the cable here in 3 days. The 1m Supra is an amazing improvement over the ~8" cable supplied with the drive. Problems, I thought were speaker and room related, vanished. Anyone considering a 1st time high quality USB cable should try one.




So glad the Supra cable worked well for you. I'm certainly not a "cost no object" audiophile, and Supra cables have served me well

@vthokie83  I'm very happy with the entry level Supra. There's no glaring weakness on my personal sonic wish list. Cable changes often involve trade offs. The Supra are very even handed and sound natural. I may regret asking, how does the Excalibur compare? Might have to order one from Zendada.




My sound comparison is from my previous configuration (Node 130 to Denafrips Pontuss II DAC), and prior to adding a Denafrips Iris DDC in between the two units.....and as you know I think highly of the 2.0 USB

Slight improvements from Supra 2.0 USB to Excalibur USB:

(1) Darker background/quieter

(2) Improved vocal detail and quality especially on female vocals in general but more specifically when Auto-Tuned

(3) More and better detail in highs, most noticeable on cimbles, harmonica, acoustic guitar....greater clarity, without being sibilant

(4) Sounded just a touch "faster" if that's a correct term? Just sounded a little more purposeful in presentation

(5) Didnt' do a lot for sound stage, where I thought the standard USB was really good 

@vthokie83  thanks for the comparison. Haven't had the 2.0 a week, should probably enjoy it a while. Not even sure how long USB cables need to settle in. I'll probably weaken and order an Excalibur in a few months. 




Any competent USB cable from the likes of Audioquest or other should be good enough. However, a more important item in the chain would be something like the HoloAudio’s Titanis ’USB processor’ dongle instead (if you can find it anymore). I was lucky enough to grab one from aliexpress after it became harder to find.

It was reviewed on the Hans Beekhuyzen channel.