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REVIEW: APureSound V3 Silver Cable with Copper Core for Sennheiser vs stock HD600 & HD650 cables

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Review of APureSound V3 Silver Cable with Copper Core for HD580/600/650 cable vs stock HD600 and stock HD650 cable:

CABLES: This was done using my HD600 with over 600 hours on them and (1) a 250 hour stock HD600 cable, (2) a 50 hour stock HD650 cable with about 50 hours, and (3) a 200 hour APS V3 three foot cable with 1/8" gold Neutrik plug. This does not equal 600 hours because 100 hours were put on the Moon Audio Black Dragon that I sold after I bought the APS and compared them.

ADAPTERS: If a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter was needed, I used a 4 foot APS V3 extension with 1/8" jack that terminates in a 1/4" Neutrik plug, and also tried gold plated short adapter (which sounded the same).

HEADPHONES: Sennheiser HD600 with approximately 600 hours of use with music (no intentional burn in, no pink noise).

SOURCES: I used a Marantz CD5001 with silver plated OFC copper interconnects from this seller eBay My World - heels-6 from this auction Silver Plated Interconnect Cables - RCA - One meter.

AMPLIFIERS: I used a well burned-in DarkVoice 336i tube amp with Jelly type power connector, an RCA grey glass VT-231 preamp front tube and a Tung Sol 5998 rear power tube (one of the best tube combinations available for this amp).

PROGRAM MATERIAL: Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio "Midnight Sugar" and "Autumn in Seattle" in HDCD, also the FIM sampler "This is K2 HD Sound" in K2HD, plus "Jazz at the Pawnshop", Jack Johnson "On and On" and Diana Krall "Girl in the Other Room" which were non HDCD red book discs.

TEST: I probably plugged and unplugged cables into my HD600 about 150 times, maybe more, comparing 5 different cables. Sometimes I had to listen to 10-15 seconds of a song for a certain sound, and then quickly swap cables and listen again right away. Other times I'd listen for 1-2 minutes on a cable, or for a full song, to see how absorbed into the listening experience I would become. I had no problems with the connectors becoming loose with use, despite all the swaps.

1ST PLACE - APS V3 silver cable with copper core: This cable demonstrated the highest degree of transparency, with the music sounding the most effortless and the least forced, giving the illusion that the headphone was not adding or taking away anything from the music. This is the closest my HD600 have come to sounding like my STAX SR-Lambda electrostatics in terms of effortless transparency. This transparency aided in bringing out the best ambience of the venue that I have heard with HD600. I'll call it "effortless transparency" for the music just flowing naturally and unhindered, like it is coming from beyond the headphone's driver.

The bass was both detailed and more impactful, without being muddy or indistinct. The highs were sparkling and crisp, with a sense of presence like the cymbals were really there, but not any hint of brightness or sibilance. The mids were warm and forward, intimate. Guitar strings were sweet and smooth, with plenty of harmonics that sounded like guitar strings and not synthesized tones. The leading edge to the guitar notes was crisp and immediate, and not blunted. Violins did not sound synthesized and were composed of multiple frequency tones, without any blending of the sound into a blur of a single tone. With very rapid violin notes in succession, each individual stroke of the bow was distinct and did not run into the next. The APS v3 demonstrated excellent layering in complex music - when the saxophone was up front and center during a jazz piece, it was possible to listen to the vibraphone in the background and follow it through the entire piece without losing track of it. The same was true when going back and listening to just the piano to the end, or the drums, etc. I had forgotten the HD600 could be this good, while I focused more on my STAX and high-end Grados lately. We'll call this cable a 9.5/10 just for the fact that there might be something out there that is better and deserves a 10.

2ND PLACE: The stock HD650 cable was surprisingly good for a $25 eBay purchase. It presents more of the highs that are missing from the stock HD600 cable, allowing more sparkle in the highs. It also bumps up the bass audibly just like with the treble, adding some extra impact although the stock bass isn't bad. I'm guessing about 2-3db over the stock HD600 treble and 1-2db more in the bass. The HD650 cable doesn't seem to resolve the blurred layering of the stock HD600 cable. Nevertheless, the HD650 cable was a welcome upgrade to the HD600. The jump in performance going from the HD600 cable to the HD650 cable was bigger than the jump from HD650 cable to APS cable. The biggest difference going from the HD650 cable to the APS cable was in the separation of layers in the music due to more detail, and the "effortless transparency" that the costlier cables offer. For HD600 owners looking for a cheap fix, the HD650 cable is a no brainer. If HD650 cable is a 8.5/10, the HD600 cable is a 7.0/10 that should be replaced with something better.

LAST - STOCK HD600 CABLE: This was the worst of the cables. When considered by itself it is not terribly bad, but when compared to the others it suffers, demonstrating several flaws. There was a high-end roll off, and a lack of sparkle in the highs. The whole headphone screamed of dull neutrality, being too mellow and laid back unless cranked up to higher than normal volumes. The ability to appreciate the music in layers was hurt - with the saxophone in the foreground, the vibraphone in the background was blurred into the piano and string bass. I was squinting up a headache trying to follow the background instruments. Applause sounded more like rain on a window pane than individual hands clapping. Bass had less detail and was more muddy than it needed to be. After hearing what a good cable could do for the HD600, switching back to the stock HD600 cable gave me more of a sense that the music was coming from a small high quality speaker next to the ear, and not so much a sense of the instruments themselves. It's no surprise that I have been using an aftermarket cable since the first month I had HD600 (used) - even my ultrasone HFI700 sounded better until I got my first upgraded HD600 cable.

SUMMARY: The APS V3 cable is an excellent upgrade over the HD600 and HD650 cables: With trained ears (mine) even differences in similar cables can be dissected with careful listening, but even to untrained ears the differences between a high quality cable like the APS V3 and a stock HD600 cable can be heard.

This experience was also proof to me that one does not need to spend several thousands of dollars on a good system to get exemplary sound, if one chooses the right combination. I believe the weakest link in my entire setup was the stock HD600 cable. It is sad that Sennheiser would ship their former flagship headphone with such a poor stock cable. The HD600 is a nice neutral and detailed headphone - but with an upgraded cable such as the APS V3 along with a modest CD player and amplifier, the HD600 can really shine and become an outstanding headphone.

I suspect that to hear any further improvement that I would either need to spend twice as much on headphone cables or interconnects, and to hear that I would probably need to upgrade my Amp/DAC/CDP first. You know how the saying goes, "Welcome to head-fi and sorry about your wallet..."

ADDENDUM: The HD25-1 can be a bright headphone, and before I sold mine, I had found the HD600 cable was an upgrade from the stock STEEL cable, as was the HD650 cable. Overall, I found the APS V3 cable was much smoother with HD600 and HD25-1 than my Black Dragon was, while I still owned them (sold Black Dragon and HD25-1).

THAT IS ALL FOLKS!

Larry
post #2 of 28
Thanks for the review. I've been looking into cables for the hd600 myself. Managed to get a cardas cable from the FS forums. I'll put some thought into trying the APS v3 if the cardas don't sit with me.
post #3 of 28
Quote:
This does not equal 600 hours because 100 hours were put on the Moon Audio Black Dragon that I sold after I bought the APS and compared them.
Thanks for the review, but man I think you buried the lead here.

Am I reading this right, and you had a Black Dragon HD600 cable that you sold in favor of the APS? Can we please have as detailed a comparison between the Moon Audio HD600 cable and the ApureSound? I think most people would be more interested in that comparison than how the APS compares to the stock cables.

I've got a Blue Dragon re-cabled Denon AH-D5000 and am waiting on a APS recabled D5000. So, I'm anxious to hear how these compare.
post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by markl View Post
Am I reading this right, and you had a Black Dragon HD600 cable that you sold in favor of the APS?
I'm guessing you haven't heard Alex's cables? I've yet to hear anything better.
post #5 of 28
swt61, as I said, I have a APS re-cabled D5000 coming shortly so I can compare against my re-cabled D5000 with Blue Dragon (which sounds great).

The Blue Dragon has simply outstanding tonality, and I'm normally very phobic of silver cables. But since Alex's new cable has some copper in it, I bit. But I'm still worried the usual brittle, thin silver sound will break through, but we'll see...
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
There was a reason I sold the cryotreated Black Dragon and kept the APureSound v3 cable - the APS v3 sounded better.

The Black Dragon was slightly grainier and certainly brighter, maybe even a tad sibilant - while the APS was smoother and more extended, yet retaining the warm mids and rich bass of the Black Dragon. The difference was subtle but there.

The only cable I've heard that has a chance of beating the APS is the Cryo'd Jenna Labs 18G cable, but I don't have one to test side by side right now. If memory serves me right, the 18G Jenna Labs was quite a bit smoother and more transparent than the Black Dragon. If it weren't for size and price I'd have one of those too, but in an 8 footer with 1/4" plug for the home rig. But this 3 foot APS with 1/8" plug is thinner and coils up nice and small so it's more portable, and I use it with a 4 foot extension when listening my home rig instead of laptop.
post #7 of 28
Larry: Thank you for a nicely written review.

markl: Your D5000's have been shipped off to you and you should have them soon.

-Alex-
post #8 of 28
So question about the 650 replacement cable. does it improve anything else more than adding bass and highs?
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by donunus View Post
So question about the 650 replacement cable. does it improve anything else more than adding bass and highs?
From one reviewer, Well, I've come to a definitive conclusion:
"...
........
increased smoothness and clarity
higher brilliance.
accuracy and transparency
higher definition and texturing
drier, less liquid and less brilliant
detail and accuracy
higher brilliance
coarseness or graininess
smoother presentation
superior spatial presentation
air
treble roll-off, a lack of treble sparkle
lackluster
matte and soft
accurate reproduction
mellow sheen
liquidity
finer grain
finer detail
refinement
higher detail
finer detail
liquidity and brilliance
overtexturing
musical
coolish and artificial
degree of coherence
rounder
focussed
definition and expression
noncommittal
transparent
textured

...."
post #10 of 28
Very nice review indeed!
Seeing how I just acquired an APureSound V3 headphone adapter cable, and are looking further into his cable-lineup.

Thanks!
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by donunus View Post
So question about the 650 replacement cable. does it improve anything else more than adding bass and highs?
Layering and detail were the big improvements between HD650 and APS cable, although the APS cable did add highs and bass over the lousy HD600 cable in addition to the layering and detail.

Remember, in this review I was comparing the HD650 cable and the APS cable both as upgrades over the stock HD600 cable on my HD600.
post #12 of 28
So comparing the stock 600 cables to the 650 cable for mids and layering, you would say there is practically no improvement then?
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Moving from the HD600 cable (on my HD600) to the HD650 cable, there was a little improvement in layering and detail but not much - it didn't fix the problem with smearing of layers like the APS V3 cable did.

I have heard other cables at different times that also fix the smearing, such as the ALO Jenna Labs cryo cable (which I find no faults with), and the Moon Audio Silver Dragon (which did not give all the bass gains of the other two cables).
post #14 of 28
I just did a very brief a/b with the stock and 650 cable upon reading this review, and I do hear a bit more smearing in the HD600 cable, and symbols seem more controlled on the 650 cable, and theres more low end, but the differences are pretty small. Last time I A/B'ed the cables I recall the 650 cable being darker than the HD600 cable though, I couldn't quite sense it this time. I'll have to recheck that later today.
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caution View Post
I just did a very brief a/b with the stock and 650 cable upon reading this review, and I do hear a bit more smearing in the HD600 cable, and symbols seem more controlled on the 650 cable, and theres more low end, but the differences are pretty small. Last time I A/B'ed the cables I recall the 650 cable being darker than the HD600 cable though, I couldn't quite sense it this time. I'll have to recheck that later today.
Cool, keep us posted.
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