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How much of a difference will a cable really have on audio quality? It seems a bit like the expensive HDMI cable gimmick.
Almost no difference. The only change would come from the cable having higher or lower impedence which would only affect how loud the music is, which is rendered irrelevant by an amp. That's not to say that aftermarket cables are useless, however. You might be purchasing them as a replacement, because the length of the stock cable is too long or short, because you might want an L or J-shaped connector on the end, because you want something more durable, or because you like the aesthetics.
Close to none, basically if you need a second/replacement/shorter/more durable cable without a 1/4in jack then this is a way to go.