Firstly I would like to thank Curious cables for sending me this sample to review, the cable has been used in my main reference system for a few weeks now with plenty of hours of use.
*disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of writing a review, no incentive was given to write a favourable review. All opinions expressed are my own subjective findings.
Gear Used: HP Laptop > USB cable > JDS Labs OL DAC > Head “n” HiFi Desktop O2 amp > German Maestro GMP400 / Grado SR60e Wood / Noble Sage
Packaging and Build quality:
The Curious USB cable comes in a nice little black cardbox, with a bright yellow brand sticker on the top. Inside you will find the cable loosely coiled and held like this by a little Velcro strap, also included is a little thank you card stating the differences you may hear with the Curious cable. I like the simple packaging; it’s attractive and serves its purpose.
The cable is extremely well built, with tight connectors on each end and excellent strain relief. The cable is quite stiff so careful placement is key, the 5v power line is external and gently coils around the rest of the cable. It is a well built cable that should last a long time.
Do cables make a difference?
This debate is for the end reader to decide, I am a believer in small differences in cables, and that synergy is also important. USB cable differences I believe are smaller than analogue cable differences, but YMMV.
Now I am a little sceptical about digital cable differences, but having a reliable connection is important and I do understand that there are benefits to having the power and signal cables separated. Most people will say that all a USB cable does is send 1s and 0s and providing they arrive without many errors, all cables will sound the same.
This cable is not going to turn your terrible sounding system into a great sounding system. That is not what it is meant to do. It does however to my ears bring a slight enhancement over a standard monoprice cable. The most noticeable difference to me was the lows, they gained a little more body and depth to them sounding more accurate and articulate. The highs with the stock monoprice cable are a little sharper and the sound is a little more fatiguing, a little more artificial and strained.
Vocals came across smoother with the curious cable; everything seemed more natural and better balanced. Bass guitars sound fuller with more defined notes, the soundstage is deeper and more holographic, instruments sound more realistic. The highs extend more effortlessly with again better tone to them, no metallic tinge and never becoming splashy.
The Curious cable sounds more dynamic, and less 2D than the stock monoprice cable. It is more enjoyable and easier to listen to, the monoprice cable just sounds a bit flat and boring in comparison.
These differences are not night and day, but I tested with various tracks and it was more noticeable on some over others.
Conclusion: Take what you want from my review, believe me or not, I honestly believe there is a small difference in the sound. Separation is increased, the sound is more natural and notes are better defined with more body to them (monoprice sounds flat in comparison). The sound is more articulate and dynamic in my opinion, whether or not this is worth the price only you can answer this, but I will say it’s a great cable.
Sound Perfection Rating: 10/10 (well built and to me brings a degree of better sound)