I've probably reviewed over half a dozen cables in the last month or so here on Audio Excursions, and while I've had a blast doing these reviews, they become a bit tiresome, and I've decided that this week was going to be the last week for reviews. With that being said however, I wasn't going to let this last week of hopefully stellar cable reviews be a mediocre review set, and thankfully, Brian over at BTG-Audio hooked me up with an affordable, and very well designed HD650 cable that not only sounds excellent, but looks the part too. The "Appalachian" headphone cable is made of pure copper, and comes in a variety of different options, as Brian's cables are all completely customizable.
While I haven't had the best experience with copper when it comes to sonic capabilities, there are a ton of people who love the rich and enveloping sound of copper. The reason I'm not a big fan of copper is mainly due to the headphones that I'm experienced with, like the Sennheiser HD650, which I use as my main headphones the majority of the time. While copper seems to synergies well with a lot of brighter and more edgy headphones like the HD800 and the Beyerdynamic T1, the HD650 usually has more of a warmer and syrupy sound with a tad bit of bass bleed into the rest of the spectrum, and a copper cable usually adds way top much warmth and smoothness to the overall sound signature. However, I've noticed that with the right system in hand, a copper cable can be quite useful, and strike a clean neutrality between both the headphone and the system. The Appalachian cable, when paired with the HD650, does sound quite good on an overly bright amp and source.
The Appalachian sounds just like any other copper cable out there, it's warm, smooth, has a good amount of bass presence, and a very non offensive treble. A good soundstage presence, not quite as wide and deep as that of a pure silver cable or hybrid type cable, like the Toxic Cables Viper, but just as enjoyable and as impressive. If there is one major thing that I can say that copper has over silver is the intoxicating midrange that copper seems to pose, and that's on any headphone, bright or not. The midrange on the Appalachian (and this statement can be tailored to any other pure copper cable) is to die for. It’s not overly bright, nor overly shadowed. It features a lush overall tonality, with very pronounced, liquid and velvety like vocals that sound impressive on any type of headphone. Copper is pretty much universally tuned when it comes to the sound signature, and that’s the same with the Appalachian. But, it really comes down to the materials when determining the value of the Appalachian, and thankfully, it’s a very well built cable.
The Design & Build
The Appalachian, being a completely hand made cable (and evolving into a bigger business everyday) by Brian, has some of the better build quality features that I look for in a cable. It’s almost on par with that of ALO Audio and Whiplash Audio, being as those two companies have been in the headphone cable industry for years on end. The HD650 pin interconnects seem to be the standard set, and are very nicely terminated and held in place nicely with clear sheathing, very much like that of the copper itself. Moving down the line, we see a cable splitter with BTG Audio’s logo on it, which I always think is a nice touch, making it more official and professional in nature. The end portion of the cable is terminated in an eighth inch plug (which can be customized) made by SwitchCraft. While I tend to generally like the look of SwitchCraft plugs, they don’t always capture the attention of people, and I think a ViaBlue or Furutech termination would look much better alongside copper.
The Appalachian Cable is a very good copper cable that sounds like all other copper cables, and while it doesn’t quite match the build quality of other cable companies, the Appalachian is still a very well built cable and I praise it highly for that. Now, beyond all other things, the price is probably the most attractive point of the cable, and at $99, it’s an absolute steal. I have yet to see a cable as nice as the Appalachian with a double digit price point, and is probably the best bang for the buck copper cable I have yet to use.
Edited by Austin Morrow - 8/5/12 at 3:25pm