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The Headphone Extension Cable Thread...

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 
OK, I'd like to start a thread that is (I hope) the "definitive" headphone extension cable thread. Without intending to, I have had the "opportunity" to sample a very wide selection of headphone extension cables on the market today. I will summarize my experience with each one, and ask you for your comments on the headphone extensions that you've tried so this thread can be a resource for others.

I will list the cables I've owned in chronological order:

1. Kimber PBJ headphone extension from Headroom ($89). At the risk of slandering Kimber cable, I found this cable to be completely worthless. It was a poor extension in terms of sound quality and due to its design, is a very weak and non-durable cable yet it's stiff and un-bendable. I have a cat that likes to chew on my cables, and because of the nature of the PBJ cable, he went through this one in no time flat. It was no big loss (disregarding cost) as the sound quality was nothing to write home about. Stay away!

2. DiMarzio Silver extension (from Headroom) $60. Now we're talking! Decent sound quality plus pretty good build quality. Much more flexible jacket than the Sonic Horizons cables (Daybreak and Hurricane) or Kimber PBJ. This one should satisfy the majority of Head-Fi'ers with average systems. Not as much on top or bottom as the Sonic Horizons cables, though.

3.Sonic Horizons Daybreak extension ($65) www.hcmaudio.com. More on bottom and top than the DiMarzio Silver but not as supple and flexible. A very good value.

4. DiMarzio Big Red extension $125 from Headroom. Holy cow, what build quality!!!!! This is a beautiful cable and the best built of any I've tried. The cable itself is flexible and supple and the connections are really beefy and well-made. Yet, for some unknown reason, this cable would not plug into my Melos Maestro. Nevertheless, it plugged in fine to my CDP and HT receiver, so the fault is my Melos, not the Big Red. Broken-hearted, I had to send it back without listening to it.

5. Sonic Horizons Hurricane extension ($150) from www.hcmaudio.com. This cable at 3M was $150 and is by FAR the best sounding of the cables I was actually able to hear. Actually, it's not even close. I highly reco this cable if you've got a decent system, and especially if you've invested in a replacement cable for your Senn HD600. The SH Hurricane will easily keep up if you have a Clou cable or Cardas cable. Not especially flexible, but excellent sound quality.

markl
post #2 of 80
Markl,

Have you actually heard the Cardas HD600 cable?

I don't think cabels are necessarily an issue of "keeping up." It's not as if there's some big bottleneck and a thicker hose will let all the water through. I haven't heard most of the cables you listed so I don't mean to disagree with them being good--but I do wonder if there is a sonic "match" between different cables.

For me, I've decided on the Cardas HD600 cable--which I'm still waiting to take delivery on. I am hopeful that the Cardas extension cable will be very similar to the HD600 cable. At that point, I think I will have a good "match" that probably could not be beaten even with a different/better cable in front of the HD600 cable.
post #3 of 80
Thanks for the info Mark
I have tried the Kimber and DiMarzio Silver (which is actually copper conductor but silver cable jacket) and using the MOHR with two outputs it is easy to connect both extension cables and quickly switch between headphone. I really could hear no real difference between the two, so the Silver wins by the fact it is much easier to use, better quality appearance and cheaper price. Kimber tends to coil and twist and never lay flat.

The Sonic Horizon cables I am aware of but never tried one. When you say they are stiff can you quantify that, how stiff compared to Clou cable? Might try one some day.

Do you get them cheaper from HCM audio vs buying direct from Sonic Horizon website? Sonic site does offer trail peroid.

Unfortunately some of these cable/extension combo's cost as much as headphone they connect, the Senn 600 Cardas cable $150 plus cardas extension $100 (my guess) cost as much as Senn 600 headphone set! Might be better off with 6 meter headphone cable (if you could find one)
post #4 of 80
I've had the DiMarzio Silver Audio extension ($60) for over a year now and it definitely is excellent . Solid build quality and great connectors which I beleive are Neutrik.
post #5 of 80
Thread Starter 
"Have you actually heard the Cardas HD600 cable?"

Nope, only the blue clou.

"The Sonic Horizon cables I am aware of but never tried one. When you say they are stiff can you quantify that, how stiff compared to Clou cable? Might try one some day."

The SH cables aren't built like the clou which is sort of like thick, heavy copper with a rubbery melded-on covering as I recall. The SH have a thick outer jacket and "air dialectic" which I believe is fancy way of saying it's an air-filled tube. This construction decreases their flexibility and makes them thicker than the Clou. That said it's no more stiff than the clou but much stiffer than your headphones standard cable.

"Do you get them cheaper from HCM audio vs buying direct from Sonic Horizon website? Sonic site does offer trail peroid. "

HCM is Sonic Horizons so you're really buying from the same place.

The SH can be ordererd to any length you want and you pay in .5m increments. This is good and bad; you get the exactly right length but they're all build-to-order. It took over two weeks to get my Hurricane. Service is "adequate", but you'll have to call numerous times to get through to a human.

markl
post #6 of 80
Hmmm...

The only headphone extension cable I've used is the Grado. It seems to work pretty well, but I don't have any basis for comparison. I rarely use it, in any event.
post #7 of 80
Add me to the DiMarzio Silver Audio happy camper list. It is hard for me to believe upgrading to a cable that costs 3 times as much could result in a 300% improvement over these cables.
post #8 of 80
I've been pleased with the headphone extension cable that I got from Ted's Excellant Cable.
post #9 of 80
markl,

Its too bad you didn't get a chance to compare the sound of the DiMarzio Big Red to the Sonic Horizon Hurricane. I'm in the market for a new extension cable and have narrowed it down to those two.

I'm basically looking for the cable that is the most neutral and has no/minimal loss of detail. Would you say the Hurricane fits the bill?

Thanks
post #10 of 80
Thread Starter 
"I'm basically looking for the cable that is the most neutral and has no/minimal loss of detail. Would you say the Hurricane fits the bill?"

I found the SH Daybreak/Hurricane to have a more pronounced top-end and perhaps a "crisper" and "clearer" sound than the DiMarzio silver which was quite mellow and smooth. Does that mean "more" info is getting through the SH cables, or that they are "tipped up" relative to the DiMarzio? That's a judgement call but IMO, the SH is better, giving you more info than the DiMarzio and is therefore less a "bottleneck" on the sound.

I can't speak to how the Big Red sounds vs. the Silver, though.

markl
post #11 of 80
I've tried the Grado Reference ext cord and a basic Rat Shack one. I couldn't really tell a difference. I use the Grado most of the time.
post #12 of 80
Mark
Just ordered Sonic Horizon Hurricane 3m extension, they had one ready to ship in a couple days so will report more when Hurricane arrives.

I now realize that HCM Audio actually makes all Sonic Horizon cables there to fill orders as they come in, no inventory. Normally Hurricanes would take 2 weeks to ship, but they had order cancel
on one almost complete so I grabbed it
post #13 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by Hirsch
Hmmm...

The only headphone extension cable I've used is the Grado. It seems to work pretty well, but I don't have any basis for comparison. I rarely use it, in any event.
i concur. suits my needs in the odd situations where i actually want an extension.. but i always need it for the ety/sugden duo..
post #14 of 80
Seems most people here at Head-Fi have seperate headphone system & CDP therefore can sit close enough to headphone amp to eliminate need for extension.

I have huge amount of money invested im my main stereo therefore run my headphone amp from preamp in main system.
Since seating position is always at least 10ft back from audio rack
(unless you have sidewall position audio rack with amp only between speakers) a headphone extension unfortunately is mandatory.

I'm surprised more members don't have need for extensions.
post #15 of 80
DA

My HT rack and audio system are somewhat lumped together right now so I'm in the same boat. I need an extension cable, I've just been trying to wait for the Cardas one.
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