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plusSound Exo Series Cable

Posted

Pros: Great cable build, cleans up SQ slightly

Cons: need an ear guide for IEM cable

The exo cable is a great cable to go with, especially with the CIEM, which in my case is the UM Miracle. It cleaned up the slight bluriness of the sound in comparison with stock cable, which is great. The cable is quite stiff, but that is understandable.

 

the sockets and plugs are very well built, and I am thoroughly impressed by the aesthetics too. The only thing i wished for is an ear guide for IEM cables, cause my cable consistently fall off over my ear, which is quite annoying. Once this is done, there is no reason not to love this cable anymore

Posted

A while ago, I bought some DIY cabling from Los Angeles-based plusSound Audio and loved the immediacy of their customer service. Being a native Angelino, I also wanted to support SoCal businesses as well, so I decided to check out their Exo series cable.

 

plusSound Audio specializes as a bespoke, handmade, full-service boutique cable service, and the Exo is one of six different cable series offered by plusSound, along with the Dionysian, the Apollonian, the Echo, the Poetic, and the X8 (as well as an upcoming X6 that I know little to nothing about) — each of which are available for IEM cables, headphone cables, interconnects, and more. The Exo is the “bare” cable, with no nylon sheathing, while the other cable series have varying degrees of sheathing on them, save for the X8 and X6, which are cables that use specialty braids over the usual round or flat braid (plusSound lets you choose during the ordering process), with an additional plethora of other options as well.

 

CABLE MATERIAL, ERGONOMICS, BUILD QUALITY & AESTHETICS

 

The Exo cable is a four-conductor, round (Milloit) braid 7N (well, technically 6N+, since measurement machines have trouble assessing metallurgic purity over 99.99998%) UP-OCC stranded copper cable. While I thought the strand count (10-ct) was slightly low, it didn’t seem to affect sound negatively in any way, so, whatever. Those that are concerned with the strand count can take solace in the fact that copper is not the only material offered; there are numerous other (more exotic) options. Of course, these other cable materials will come at a price, but it’s nice to see that they offer so many variants. I personally like either just pure copper or pure silver (without gold); hopefully, they’ll replace the current copper cable with one that’s higher in strand count, if only for durability and redundancy’s sake, rather than for any sonic benefits.

 

While the cable gauge is 28 AWG, the LLD-PE (linear low-density polyethylene) sleeving is quite thick — the OD feels more like a 24, 25AWG cable; I imagine that they ordered it in this thickness because the dielectric properties of LLD-PE aren’t quite as good as PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene, a.k.a. Teflon) in the same thickness. Why not PTFE sleeving then? Well, PTFE insulation is much more microphonic than polyethylene (linear or cross-linked).

 

Despite the OD being thicker than that of a typical wire at 28AWG, it didn’t feel unwieldy at all. In fact, it was quite flexible, and had a minimal amount of memory, less than my BTG-Audio Sunrise cable. I would not hesitate to use this cable indoors or out.

 

Build quality is really quite impressive; whether it’s the termination, the Y-split, or the pins, plusSound builds the Exo cable like a tank. Everything is secured down and doesn’t seem like anything would break unless someone lets loose on it with a hammer.

 

plusSound equips IEM cable terminations with the excellent Viablue T6s (small) 3.5mm plugs by default; customers can choose between Oyaide plugs, 6.3mm plugs, balanced Kobiconn (RSA/ALO), balanced Hirose 6-pin (iBasso), and others as well.

 

The pins are nice and tight; some aftermarket pins, while not loose, don’t quite have the same tension. They seem to use the full-width 0.78mm pins, with an additional round-barreled shroud for reinforcement.

 

As rock solid as the build quality is, however, the liberal use of black heat shrink does detract from the overall aesthetics just a bit. The neck slider wasn’t a looker and was a bit loose; I’d recommend people putting in the extra $3 for a wooden bead instead. The heat shrink constituting the strain relief at the 3.5mm termination had plusSound‘s logo imprinted, but was lacking a bit of resolution compared to what I’ve seen from other companies. The pins, with their round barrel and additional heat shrink reinforcement, may possibly never break, but they look a bit obtrusive and get long in the tooth pretty quickly. In its defense, I just personally prefer less use of heat shrink in my stuff; there was absolutely nothing about the worksmanship of the cable that detracted from the aesthetics (i.e. excess glue, jagged edges, etc.).

 

SOUND

 

I don’t like to comment too much on sound, since I believe it’s a matter of personal preference; however, I will say that the “sound” of the Exo copper cable is what it “should” be, meaning that it’s a clean, honest sound that doesn’t suffer from EM interference or self-inductance. Nothing sounds muddy, and the ends are well-extended — indicators that plusSound did a great job with the braiding and soldering, to go along with a cable made from high-quality materials.

 

Is plusSound‘s OCC copper necessarily better than the Mogami OFC of my BTG Sunrise? Theory says yes, perception says “I don’t know.” If I had to make a statement, I’d say that the BTG Sunrise has more of a “solid” sound, while the plusSound Exo sounds a teeny bit more transparent, but it could also be my mind playing tricks on me. There are so many minute factors to cables, from the insulation material, to the braid consistency, and the type of solder used that may possibly alter sound in a cable. I don’t try to tease all those things apart. At $99, it doesn’t really matter, either (since a BTG Sunrise cable configured with a Viablue plug and no sleeving is at $93, making the two very similar in price).

 

CONCLUSION

 

I found the Exo copper cable from plusSound Audio to be great in terms of build quality, ergonomics, and price. I’m a bit of a stickler for aesthetics, so I did feel that the Exo had a little bit to work on in the heat shrink department, but I’m sure plusSound has been making improvements. The paramount advantage to plusSound is that it is truly a one-stop shop for anyone’s cabling needs. plusSound headquarters may be a ways off from Melrose Avenue and Rodeo Drive, but it makes them no less of a made-to-order, specialty shop when it comes to audio.

 

[Original Review is posted from: http://cymbacavum.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/plussound-audio-exo-cable-hollywood-boutique/]

Posted

Pros: Great Looking, Clear Sound

Cons: None

I recently purchased an Exo Series cable from Plussound for my HD650s. I chose the silver/gold 26/50 wire and a Rhodium straight 1/8" plug. Now that the cable has burned in, I can hear a definite increase in detail and clarity compared to the stock cable. It matches up very well with the Sennheiser's and helps bring them a bit more alive. No more Sennheiser veil, at least to my ears. I like the sound of my HD650s with this cable better than the sound of the much more expensive Beyerdynamic T1s I am trying out. So this aftermarket cable will actually end up saving me a lot of money!

 

In addition, I found Christian at Plussound to be incredibly patient, helpful and flexible before and after the sale. It is a treat to find a company that offers such great customer service.

Posted

Pros: Value, performance

Cons: None


plusSound Exo Series Custom IEM Cable Review

DISCLAIMER
I would like to thank plusSoundAudio for providing me a loaner of the cable for this review. I would also like to thank you, the readers, for taking the time to read this review. 

PACKAGING
I received the cables in a fairly secured package, sealed in a zip-lock bag, wrapped with the invoice, another wrap of brown paper, and, finally, the USPS box.

BUILD & ERGONOMICS
The Exo Series line is the “budget” line of plusSound, aggressively priced at $84.99. However, do not let the low price fool you – the build and sound is really good, and I suppose that plusSound treats all of their cable lines equally.
The Exo Series cable is made up of 4-wire braids insulated with a polyethylene material. plusSound offers multiple choices in their wires – copper, silver-plated copper, and silver + 1% gold as stranded wires, and copper, silver, silver-plated copper, and gold-plated copper as solid (single-core) wires. plusSound also offers a wide range of options for connector styles – UE, Shure, Westone/Aurisonics, Sennheiser, and many more.
The cable is surprisingly well-built for the price. A little stiffer than stock cables, but that is expected, due to the thickness of the cable. The cable has a reassuring solid look and feel. Comfort is good, but it makes its presence felt. However, it’s not really intruding.

SOUND
Cable debunkers may say that aftermarket cables make no difference in sound at all, and cable fans may say that aftermarket cables improve the sound dramatically. These two conflicting sides makes it all more confusing, especially for beginners. However, the reality lies somewhere in between. Cables make a difference in sound. Not too large to call it a “necessity”, but just enough to improve what is there, and small enough to be considered as a luxury.
My setup consists of an iPhone 4, with a Matrix Mini-Portable headphone amplifier connected through a FiiO L9 LOD, and the Aurisonics ASG-1 revision 2 with the Silver+1% Gold plusSound Exo Series Cable. My commonly played genres is Classical, Math Rock, Pop Rock, Soul, and Electronic. I did not do a blind A-B test, since that was somewhat impossible in theory, due to the differences in comfort by both cables.
The sound improvements brought by the cables overall made the ASG-1.2 smoother and more enjoyable. The treble is smoother and more present. The mids are less congested, and are clearer. The bass is tighter. The soundstage slightly improves. Music flows through with less effort.

OVERALL
For those who want to try aftermarket cables on a lower budget, plusSound is the way to go. The small improvements are worth it, for me. Aside from the good sound, the build quality is good as well, and the customer service is great. Should something go wrong, never hesitate to contact them!
All plusSound Cables come with a 1-year warranty.

Website: http://plussoundaudio.com/home.html
plusSound Exo Series Cable
Description:

plusSound Exo Series Custom Cable Exo series displays the beauty behind the rich sound. This cable consists of high quality custom UP-OCC stranded wires with durable and flexible PE insulation which are braided to provide better quality sound while reducing low range and interference noises. You can choose how you want your cable to physically look based on braid preference, as well as the visible color of wire/sound choice from inside the natural insulation. This is the perfect solution for use on the go, at home, and/or use on stage. Constructed with Mundorf Silver/Gold Supreme solder and terminated with default Viablue T6s or any one of our high quality plugs make this one of the best interchangeable cables on the market today.

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