"It seems the cable manufacturers, finding that you, dear readers, are too smart to buy their mumbo-jumbo about HDMI cables, have moved on to fleecing audiophiles on USB cables. Yep, USB cables. There are even reviews about how, after upgrading to a $1,000-plus USB cable, the sound on their USB Digital Audio Converter (DAC) "came alive" or something. Ahhh, expectation bias
I'm also including Lightning because they're effectively just USB cables, with a fancy proprietary Apple nubbin at the end.
As far as the data going across it, USB is also a dumb tube. It won't improve video or audio quality.
The exception is with USB cables used to charge devices. Not all USB cables can charge devices at the same rate. I've actually found this, anecdotally, and Wirecutter did some extensive testing and found the same thing.
Among different USB cables, some will allow more current to make it from the charger to the device. Better-made cables can pass more amps (a measure of electric current) than poorly made cables. So if you want to charge your devices as fast as your charger and device allow, make sure you get a decent USB cable. What's decent? That Wirecutter test liked a $1.23 Monoprice cable best.
Over time, power throughput can wane. If you crumple up your cables, the minuscule wires inside can get damaged, reducing current flow. I've had some cheap one that lasted, and I've had some expensive ones that didn't. Keep in mind, I'm a digital nomad, so my cables probably get more abuse than most.
If there's something wrong with your USB cable, or you're trying to pass more data than that cable can handle, you can get dropouts or pops in the audio when using a USB DAC. A different, working, cheap cable is all you need.
But, to repeat: an expensive USB cable isn't going to make your audio sound better, your pictures look better, or your printouts look sharper.
[bold text emphasis mine]