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Toxic Cables Pure Silver OCC cable for Audez'e LCD-2/3

Posted

Pros: Increases treble clarity and overall definition.

Cons: Some LCD-2/3 users may prefer the warmer sound of a copper cable.

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Intro

 

I recently received a loaner Audez’e LCD-3 headphone, which is most probably the best-sounding headphone I’ve ever heard (you can see how it fared in a recent comparison I did here). However, with the stock cable elements of recordings sounded a bit unclear to me at times e.g. listening to a jazz recording which included the drummer playing brush patterns on the snare drum, the sound I was hearing was lacking treble detail and pointiness and instead sounded a bit muffled to me, which I thought was unacceptable coming from a headphone costing £1600.

 

Hearing more potential for the LCD-3 I wanted to try it with an aftermarket cable, as, in my experience, using an aftermarket headphone cable can make a clear difference (often subtle) to the sound of a headphone. It then occurred to me to post a request for a loaner cable in head-fi’s Audez’e LCD-3 thread so I did, and I was soon contacted by a man named Frank, the owner of the UK-based cable company Toxic Cables. When I emailed Frank asking about his cables, he offered to send me one for evaluation, which I thought was very kind of him. The Pure Silver OCC cable I received from Frank is making a wonderful contribution to what I’m hearing from the LCD-3 in such a way that I wouldn’t go back to the stock cable.

 

The equipment for this review is as follows: 320 kbps MP3s / Apple Lossless Audio Files -> iTunes / Amarra Hifi -> JPS Labs Ultraconductor Optical Digital Cable -> Lavry DA10 DAC/Amp -> Audez'e LCD-3

 

I know that the wire-with-gain-esque amp of the Lavry DA10 isn’t considered optimal for driving orthodynamic headphones such as the LCD-3 which can benefit from more amping power, but I currently don’t have a more powerful amp. However, I really enjoy the Lavry DA10 and think it certainly creates a clear enough sound (one of the clearest and most neutral sound signatures I’ve ever heard from a DAC/Amp) for me to discern what’s happening on a recording or with other components in the signal chain.

 

Design

 

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Frank’s Pure Silver OCC cable is made of hand braided nylon-coated silver/gold wire and the overall design is simple and refined. A brief read of the Toxic Cables website reveals just how much care and attention to detail has gone into the construction of this cable. Frank offers customizable options to his customers such as – in addition to different termination options i.e. single-ended or balanced connections – having a cable Cardas-soldered rather than the cable’s standard Mundorf soldering; he clearly aims to please his customers.

 

The Pure Silver cable is very fine and very light, noticeably more so than the LCD-3 stock cable, but despite the lightness of the cable it feels reassuringly robust. The cable gets out of the way when I am using it, except for the occasions where it rubs against the zip of my jumper and creates an audible vibration, but that happens with other cables too and when I don’t wear a jumper with a zip on it, it’s just me and the music.

 

Performance

 

As I said previously, my main concern with the stock-cabled LCD-3 on my rig was that the pointedness of what would be natural-sounding treble i.e. what my ears would hear if I was present listening to a live performance, was rounded off. Whilst this created a sound that was warm and never fatiguing, having been used to listening with the Sennheiser HD 800 for a few months, there were just so many treble details that, relatively, I wasn't hearing with the LCD-3. Franks’s cable resolved that right away, noticeably increasing the overall definition, and whilst with the LCD-3 I still wasn’t hearing the same amount of treble detail on recordings as I heard with the HD 800 (by a long way), the air and pointedness that sounded missing to me before had returned and to me my experience with the LCD-3 was much more enjoyable.

 

Here are some of the differences I heard between the stock LCD-3 cable and Franks Pure Silver cable when listening to some albums I enjoy:

 

Drumming.jpg

 

With the Pure Silver cable, the tuned percussion on Steve Reich’s 1987 album Drumming with was revealed with more audible subtleties and delicacy. It was as it the percussionists had changed to a harder mallets, and that seemed to draw me in to the music more than with the stock cable.

 

Organic Instrumentals.jpg

 

On the track Wooly Mammoth from L.A. guitarist Michael Landau’s recent release Organic Instrumentals, the recording heard via the stock cable sounded great and presented the music with a slightly warm sound overall. With the Pure Silver cable, the warmth was reduced and the sound was less boomy with more definition. It was like a veil had been lifted and that the stock copper cable had created the effect of covering a speaker with a thin piece of silk fabric.

 

Comfort Woman.jpg

 

With the opening track from Meshell Ndegeocello’s Comfort Woman album, the stock cable’s warmth was a very welcome compliment to the warmth of the bassline and Meshell’s lushly smooth vocal track. Switching to the silver cable, the reggae guitar on the left channel immediately stood out more making that element of the groove sound more engaging. The subtle nuances of Meshell’s vocal were more defined and I could hear more airiness in her vocal tonality; her ‘sss’ syllables had much more sparkle. Master drummer Chris Dave’s already high-pitched snare drum had more of a crackle and also stood out more than before.

 

Value

 

The Pure Silver OCC cable costs £160 for the 8ft length Frank sent me, which (not considering shipping) is over £60 cheaper than the cost of the Moon Audio Black Dragon cable I have for the Sennheiser HD 800. Since both of those cables created a similar level of ‘improvement’ with the respective headphones I tried them with, I’d say that the Pure Silver OCC cable is excellent value for money. Also, if you don't need a cable to be as long as 8ft, you can save some money as Frank also sells a 6ft version of the Pure Silver OCC starting from £142.

 

Overall

 

In general, with the LCD-3 I found that the Pure Silver OCC cable made the music come alive more than with the LCD-3's stock cable. Though some LCD-3 owners may be happy with the sound they’re hearing with the stock cable, I found myself wanting for more sparkle due to the treble clarity I was used to with the HD 800, so the ‘improvements’ I’ve pointed to are subjective and just my opinion, and though I’ve done my best to describe what I heard in honest, neutral language, there's no substitute for you hearing audio equipment - such as cables - with your own ears and knowing what sounds preferable to you.

 

If you’re looking for a clearer, more well-defined sound from your LCD-2 or 3 and want to try a silver cable then I highly recommend trying Toxic Cables' Pure Silver OCC cable. It really helped transform my experience with the LCD-3 in a very enjoyable way.

 

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Toxic Cables Pure Silver OCC cable for Audez'e LCD-2/3
Description:

Audez'e LCD2/3 8ft Pure OCC silver cable with 6.3mm high quality Viablue Jack plug, Fully shielded. The wire used for this cable is something very special and made only for me. Pure OCC Silver with Pure Gold injected into it to cover and microschopic gaps the silver might still have. This gives the signal an ultra smooth surface with no crystal boundaries. The gold also add a touch of extra punch in the low end frequency response that is often found a little wanting in silver cables. The total wire diameter is 24awg. This cable is a first to use two different diameter stranded wire within the cable. After a great deal of R&D this is a configuration I have found supplies a suppior sound when used with this OCC silver cable. The cable is fully shielded with a copper braid, if desired I can build this cable without shielding to make a super lightweight cable. This cable is one of the best sounding on the market today. The base metal is a unidirectional UPOCC being almost free from impurity at 99.99998% purity the pure gold is then injected to make the final cable have 1% gold content. This makes for surprisingly ideal electrical resistance properties and practically no crystal boundaries. This allows it to transmit signals faster and with less distortion than ordinary OFC and silver cables. These features make the pure OCC silver the state-of-the art conductor materials for the audiophile cable industry. This cable comes terminated with a 6.3mm high end Viablue jack. Please see below for other termination options. All our headphone cables are litz braided by hand and covered in a luxury nylon mulifilliment sleeving up to the Y split with a fabric logo at the termination. The pictured cable above have not been nylon sleeved beyond the Y split but I can offer this at no extra cost. Just mention your preference in the paypal notes. See picture below. I use Mundorf Supreme Silver/Gold solder for this cable as compared to the Cardas Quad Eutectic Silver solder in my other cable constructions. If you prefer Cardas solder used by all means request it. But I cannot recomend the Mundorf enough for this cable. I am keeping cables in stock for most of the standard terminations, if I recieve a order that isn't made up already my turn around is 3 days. No weeks or months of waiting for your custom cable. You will not find a better silver cable for your LCD-2/3 cans at any price. I pride myself on the quality craftsmanship of my cables and all of the cables are given the same attention to detail. Made in the UK. This price point was chosen as the right niche in the market to allow both audiophile and average consumer access to aftermarket cables. I started this buisness from a development of my personal audio interest. Having used the majority of the aftermarket cables available I have found my cables more than fit the bill. I am offering high quality custom cable and a quick turn around. With every confidence that the cables will sell themselves as the cable just sounds amazing. All cables come with a standard 1 Year warranty against manufacturing faults, please note the the warantee does not cover user wear and tear. I am offering this cable for all headpone types. Please see my other listings. If you do not see what you need drop me a e-mail and I will provide a quote for your custom cable. Well you must be thinking to yourself, "get on with it and tell us how this cable sounds" and all I can say is AMAZING, you need to hear and see this cable yourself to see just how good it really is. You will not be disappointed. Alternative terminations: Dual 3 Pin Gold Plated Viablue Balanced XLR: add £30 4 Pin balanced Neutrik Gold Plated XLR: FREE 3.5mm Gold Plated Viablue Jack Plug: FREE RSA Balanced Plug: FREE iBasso Balanced Plug: add £5 Oyaide Focus 1 Dual 3 Pin Balanced XLR: add £200

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