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 ?
You'll get the range of (heated) opinions one always gets when the cable dragon is tickled. Plenty of folks on both sides. I think it makes a difference, as does at least one manufacturer of high end digital, Steve of Empirical Audio. But if you're a "1s and 0s are 1s and 0s" person, you'll disagree.

Buying an "entry level" audiophile cord is a pretty cheap experiment.

There's been so much discussion about 'it being only 1s and 0s' here and on other sites. It's true if all you're doing is faxing a document or printing a photo but music is much more complicated, not to mention the many and varied platforms that it's played from, the implementation, etc. On a highly resolving system, I propose that anyone can hear the difference. If one keeps to one's beliefs and limits their exposure to what's possible, then they are entitled to what they believe. They just shouldn't be so dogmatic about it when dealing with others. Sorry to hear about your experience at that other site.

All the best,
Mt10425 - Kable Koolaid myths keep most of the cable vendors in business. Trying to speak the truth, or at least educate people how to properly do listening tests, at a forum called Cable Asylum makes it no surprise that they censored you. With the myths busted, there's really no need for Cable Asylum, or more importantly, their sponsors.

Also, the OP was asking about the USB cable between computer and external disk drive. Even if he wasn't, the answer is still the same.

Don't you think that is somebody actually could identify the difference between two USB cables during a double blind listening test that was repeatable it would posted on all audio forums to show that there really is a difference.
The one way in which I can envision a USB cable connecting an external hard drive to a computer could make an audible difference is by affecting the amount of RFI that may be radiated from the cable into the audio system. Like most digital signals, USB signals contain significant energy at RF frequencies, as well as carrying some amount of random noise that is at RF frequencies. In Ozzy's case, though, the distance between the cable and the audio system would seem to make that effect very unlikely to be significant.

If we were discussing a USB cable connecting the computer to a DAC, though, the story would be different IMO. In addition to RFI radiation there would be the possibility of effects on jitter, as a result of noise being conducted into the DAC by the cable; ground loop effects between the computer and DAC; and effects of the cable on waveform integrity. All of those factors could conceivably differ depending on the particular cable that is being used. Their significance would be dependent on the design of the DAC, including its jitter rejection capability, and the extent to which any noise might be able to bypass the jitter rejection circuitry.

If in fact those differences were to exist in a particular system, however, IMO that would absolutely NOT mean that a more expensive cable will necessarily outperform a less expensive cable. Assuming reasonably decent cable quality, performance would depend on the happenstance of the interaction between the characteristics of the cable and those of the system and the physical setup. Which I would expect, in turn, to be essentially unpredictable.

-- Al
I do believe in cable differences to a point. However, I find value more in analog or speaker cable quality. Digital cables, not so much. Really, quality metal and connectors and decent construction will do the job. I hear everyone, but we convince ourselves about differences (real or not), I'm no different.