When I started to pay attention to music quality and purchased my first set of proper earphone, which is the UE TF10. But after a while, I started to question myself whether I should purchase a replacement for the standard cable, since the original cable is not convenient to use plus there is some serious problem with the quality of the cable.
And then I just couldn’t resist purchasing my first 3rd party cable, made by zephone. It claims to be an all-rounder upgrade. With the change of cable, I was really satiated when I start first using it, but i am still not satiated with the quality of cable of the zephone cable. And this is how I met the supernova cable.
I was very lucky to try out their first cable by ‘l a b k a b l e’, the super nova. And this cable simply re-define the definition of cable upgrade, it's quality and performance simply exceed my expectation, when i combine the super nova with my tf10, i experienced something which i would never expect from a tf10, beautiful vocal output with the performance of pop remains untouched. Which is a big surprise, since it is a known fact that TF10 doesn’t produce much vocal, and the cable change simple enhance the mid-range of the TF10 by a great degree. And this experience made me wonder what would happen will u combine the supernova with other earphones.
The following is a direct translation on the cable posted on the official page, since the official website only offer traditional Chinese at the moment. And I hope the information on the cable would make it easier for the reader to understand this cable in a greater degree.
(1) The use of real occ 7N OCC copper as a conductor, which offers low distortion and high efficiency
(2) The cable is constructed by 8 twist of 7N OCC crystal copper, which offers high degree of detail restoration along with a sense of abundant energy;
(3) LABKABLE special knotting method, with a specific angle so that the positive and negative currents would cancel each other out.
(4)5 major factory plugs available:
UE, CM, Shure, Westone, sennheiser, and others……
(5)Each cable will receive an independent certificate, a proof of real 7n OCC copper as conductor, and the cable is by hand-made by expert in Hong Kong.
(6) Each cable will go through an inspection check by LABKABLE before leaving the factory. Ensuring each cable has reached the highest standards required by LABKABLE.
The overall build quality is exceptional, the external quality is very tough, even though the body is surprisingly soft, and the joints are very well covered.
The attention to detail doesn't end, and they are also the first one to use plastic molding process on the plug cover, in order to improve the durability. It also comes with a very nice 1/8th inch plug from German manufacturer ViaBlue.
The package I received is really simple, a small metal box holding the cable. But there seems to have enough space to hold onto my earphone along with my cable. I might be able to add a bit of foam to make it a shock proves case to hold onto my pair of earphone for daily usage.
In this review, I’ll be using:
1. Apple ipod classic
2. Ue tf10 or shure 535 (red)
The test will be conducted by two earphone, tf10 and 535(R)
Comparison will be taken between stock cable and the super nova, along with various type of music to listen.
The most obvious change is the great enhancement on the vocal, the portion of the vocal has dramatically increased, but the overall style of tf10 remains untouched. The vocal becomes more emotional, thick and very sweet when it comes with female vocal.
The overall presentation has great improvement, especially the clarity of the music, I couldn’t have imagined that tf10 has such performance when I first tried this cable, there are a lot more small detail presented when compare to the stock cable.
And I have noticed that there is a higher output with the same volume, may be it is due to the low resistance from the 7n occ copper or I am just paranoid, who knows.
One of the known problem on tf10 is that the vocal is usually a bit far behind with stock cable (around 3 - 4 o’clock position), but the super nova fixes this problem and push the vocal back to around 1-2 o’clock position, I presume this problem is due to the design of the stock cable.
Despite all the improvement, there is one problem with this super nova, the overall sounding is really tight, not enough gap between each portion of the music, e.g. the gap between the background music and vocal. Which makes it sound they are mush together, instead a decent space of gap between them.
It’s harder to write a review for the supernova on the Shure 535 (R), mainly due to the less obvious improvement when compare to the experience of the tf10, the change is still obvious but not as obvious when compare to tf10. Back to the review, the main improvement is on the clarity of the music, when compare to the stock cable.
The vocal has become sweeter, warmer and more emotional, and similar effect occurs on the tf10 is well. But it seems to be less vocal improvement then the tf10, but this is an expected result, since the Shure 535 (R) is already an exceptional earphone with great vocal performance.
Same as tf10, there is some minor flaws with this combination, the vocal seems to be closer to the original cable, and I am not sure this is a good thing or not, perhaps the answer lies on each individual.
Personal view on cable change:
I do believe in cable change, the way it enhances the overall performance of the earphone, since the cable is still part of the earphone.
But there wouldn’t be an obvious or dramatic improvement or change as you would expected from an IEM change or upgrade.
I would only call the cable an enhancement, since it alters the overall or part of the music in a way which suits us in a greater degree, but It only change upon the setting it lies on.
This cable has a very high external quality, with the soft cable texture to the plastic molding, every bit is very well thought out, from top to bottom.
It’ll stand to standard wear and tear from daily portable usage (abuse use is excluded).
And the overall performance is splendid, it’s more keen on vocal improvement, especially on the sweetness, warmth and emotional of the vocal. Which makes it sound more like a real person (personal opinion), but I am not sure everyone would agree with me on this, since I have only tested it on two earphone, deviation from my final though might occur on other earphone.