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Review: Bellatone Reference Cable for the HD800

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

INTRODUCTION

 

This is my first after market cable for a full size phone, and while I have had some experience with after market cables for IEM’s, this is kind of a new world for me. Actually the full size headphone world is kind of new to me since I got the HD650 a year ago. But from there I have been going with the upgraditis pretty quick, and I have seen myself getting the W3000 Anv, the HD800 and a desktop rig which includes the Yulong D18 DAC, Violectric V200 and the Mjolnir amps.

 

So bear in mind the only cables I am familiar with are the stock cables of the W300, the HD650, and my beloved HD800. So it was a matter of time for me to start looking for a good aftermarket cable for my HD800. I consider myself as someone neutral regarding after market cable benefits. But to my ears they could make a difference to the sound, but not such a difference as to completely upgrade or change the sound profile of a headphone.

 

I would like to add that I’m not an expert on writing reviews…I don’t have a lot of experience with audio equipment and I don’t have the knowledge and skills of some of the more experienced Head Fiers. I write this as a fan of headphones and music.

 

BUYING PROCESS

 

So as son as I decided I want it to try an aftermarket cable I started reading the forums in search of good alternatives. My first priority was to find a cable that could help me tame the sometimes harsh treble of the HD800 and the easy listening fatigue I was getting with them. But since I really love the sound profile of the HD800, and I’m addicted to how clear and detailed it is with a 3D soundstage.

 

I was ready to pull the trigger with the Zana 22 gauge OCC cable after Reading some users feedback…they seemed to be the perfect alternative in order to get rid of the shrillness of the phones while adding some push to the bottom end which I thought sometimes was lacking (even though I tend to dislike bassy phones). I was willing to sacrifice some detail in order to have a warmer sound.

 

After reading some impressions in this forum I also got interested on the Bellatone Reference Balanced Cable so I contacted Phil from Bellatone, who was very responsive to all my queries and explained in depth the concept behind his cables.

 

After giving it some thought and backed with a gut feeling I was making the right decision (I was lucky to got a promotional price) I pull the trigger and got the top of the line cable from the newly developed Bellatone cables.

 

I had a very good experience on communicating with Phil, and he was very proactive on keeping me on the loop with the status of my cable.

 

 

CABLE AESTHETIC

 

I have to say one of the things I really like about this cable i show gorgeous it looks. It feels exclusive, well build and it really matches perfectly with the HD800. The package presentation was very nice and I felt I had a very luxurious product in my hands when I received.

 

The cable has a silver nylon sleeve, which looks very classy and completely outclasses the HD800 stock cable in terms of looks. There is not a single flaw on the cable construction and it uses a Neutrik plug (I went with the 4 pin plug and a TRS adaptor in order to be able to use the cable with the V200 or any other SE amp).

 

The cable is very light and flexible, which for me is an important factor Since I hate bulky cables.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOUND

 

The same day I received the cable I also got the D18 Dac so I decided to not use the DAC in order to be able to determine the difference vs. the stock cable without any other new component, which could bias my perception.

 

As soon as I changed the cable it was immediately clear to me that there was a difference in sound. I spent the whole night listening to different genres from jazz to pop, rock, classical, etc.

 

This cable really refines the HD800 highs, and it allows me to hear details I didn’t hear before without any hint of coloration. The harshness that bothered me before is almost gone without changing the sound profile of the HD800. The cable does not make the HD800 warm at all. It preserves its sound characteristics but you are able to get a better sense of the music from top to bottom. The bass also is more detailed while giving the sound a strong coherence while having a large and natural soundstage. 

 

Everytime I changed to the stock cable I start to get the bothersome peaks of the highs and the whole sound feels more congested and less detailed.

 

Finally I would like to thank Phil for giving me this awesome cable along with a top-notch package and customer service. If you are looking to upgrade your HD800 cable I strongly encourage you to include the Reference cable into your options.

post #2 of 10
You're welcome Bolardito and I'm glad you're really enjoying it. Thanks for the kind words.

- Phil
post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by IPodPJ View Post

You're welcome Bolardito and I'm glad you're really enjoying it. Thanks for the kind words.

- Phil


I wish I could be saying I was enjoying my Bellatone cables. I have been waiting for half a year and there's six before me. I really wish Phil would get his life in order. Refunding my money would rectify the situation as well.


Edited by RubyTiger - 7/5/14 at 7:58am
post #4 of 10
It is indeed very frustrating that his initial promise of delivering the cable in 6 to 10 weeks has become 6 to 10 months, if we ever get our cable.
post #5 of 10
Firstly, John, please don't post lies. There were never six people before you, there were 3, and you very well know that because of my responding to all customers emails. I don't know where you came up with that lie. Maybe instead of asking me advice on headphones and soldering stations where I stay up emailing you for 3 hours late at night each time (free of charge) you should focus on the truth and everything I've told you since day 1. Secondly, because you had complained more than anyone I told you I would move you to the top spot and all cables will be completed within the next 4 weeks. So there are not six people before you. You are ahead of 3 people. Not 4, not 5, and not 6. Do I need to display my PayPal screenshot here as proof? Or are you conveniently making up stories to make me look worse?

All 4 customers waiting for cables (the first being the most sympathetic and understanding and who's adapter cable has been done for a year now and who's portable amp I also have in my possession for testing which has been in its box while I'm away; the second also quite kind; the third understanding mainly because he experienced a similar family problem, and then there's you John aka Ruby Tiger, the one who sends me nasty emails even when I've been nice in return. And why don't you also tell people how you donated a generous gift of $50 to me to buy flowers for my grandfather which I did and told them they were a gift from you which he didn't really understand since he's been thinking I'm a Washington D.C. Politician or Washington doctor for politicians for some time now, although it's now apparent it was not a gesture of the heart since you asked for it back in a refund. It was more of a "Will this speed up my order gift?" If that isn't a low blow, I don't know what is. I want people to know the whole story, not just your made up portion.

You are all very well aware of what I have been going through with my grandfather over the past 15 months which has only gotten worse. Much worse. He had to be forced from his home which he will never see again due to the onset of dementia (and a reverse mortgage that took the house back) and placed into a board and care home where I have been spending most of my time. He has been in and out of the hospital as well for having pneumonia three times, a blood clot was found in his lungs, and now he at 84 yrs old is physically restrained to his bed for punching his 90 year old roommate in the face, and they don't take the restraints off for long because he starts to get violent again; I've even intercepted a blow and his skin is so thin from his medicine it tears easily and tore on me and while he was being tied down. His own son wants nothing to do with him (nor his mother who died right after 9/11, and my mother helps and visits when she can but because I own all my businesses and have partners I am the one with 90% of the responsibility of looking after him, or they will throw him out and make him a ward of the state and put him in a crappy state run home compared to the fairly nice place he is in now. I have always been very close to my grandfather because he was a father to me when I was younger and my real father wasn't. I've never dealt with someone with Dementia or Alzheimer's so it has been extremely hard and stressful on me, as I know waiting for your cable has been stressful on you. I sympathize with you because when a fellow Head-Fier (and since MOT) agreed to build my custom amp in a month or two and it wound up taking 18 months (of which he later admitted 9 months he didn't do anything on it), I was extremely stressed for those 18 months so in that regard I can empathize, the only difference being he had about $15,000 of my parts in his possession, but ultimately he finished it and I was overjoyed when I received it because not only was nothing stolen from me, my design (partial internal/majority external) was a work of sonic and aesthetic art.... which your cables will be. As I've apologized before I do so again now and hope to alleviate any of your concerns, and apologize my grandfather's collapse has interfered with my businesses; something I never foresaw going on this long; frankly, I thought he would have passed away 8 or 9 months ago but he seems to mysteriously outlive the other elders in our family, this being the worst way to outlive someone though.

My printing business has suffered tremendously which makes up 98% of my income because I've been away so much. I only come back rarely but I put the rest of my family on notice that I can no longer neglect my 4 cable customers and need to finish your cables ASAP.

After Johns order when I saw that it was getting too much to handle I suspended all orders and turned down the next 12 people that contacted me for cables because I wasn't in a position to take on more work at 40+ hours per cable. I make about $5 an hour on these cables and thus have notified future customers that my retail price has doubled because I don't care to build these for no money. The parts and wire was already cut to length for all 4 of your orders and anywhere from 1/3 to 2/3 to 4/5 built.

If I had time to spend on here talking to you I would have had time to finish them earlier but you obviously don't see me posting on here until now.

I resent the fact that John had called me a thief because as all the local headfiers who know me would vouch I would never ever do such a thing and have even hosted meets.
If I wanted to steal money I would have taken those 12 customers and never responded to any of your emails but there has not been a single time I have failed to respond to any of your emails.

John, please retract that there are six customers before you because that is a blatant lie which I won't stand for and I did you a favor by moving you to spot 1 at the expense of a wonderfully understanding customer who practices elder law. If not, I will move you back to your original position at 4. I told everyone from their order date that there are no refunds due to expensive materials being custom cut to length and parts ordered specifically for you. Just because you had a bad experience with someone stealing $2,800 from you does not mean I would ever do the same (just as you knowing many who have died should have no impact on my feelings), nor have I ever done that to anyone. I have had money stolen from me, too, but I'm not blaming you for that, am I? And for you to say I'm likely not a real business did you ever bother to scan the meet forums and see the pictures of my booth with 30-40 cables on it? Or even look up my DBA?

It really surprises me that some, not all, but some people value a cable as worth more than someone's life, and due to that I will be hesitant of selling more headphone cables in the future to people who I don't get a good impression of from the start, and place more emphasis on all my other cables.

You three or four will all have your cables within 1-4 weeks. The first customer would prefer I take care of my own health first because of what I've gone through but he deserves his quicker than anyone, tbh.
Edited by IPodPJ - 7/8/14 at 1:54am
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by IPodPJ View Post

Firstly, John, please don't post lies. There were never six people before you, there were 3, and you very well know that because of my responding to all customers emails. I don't know where you came up with that lie. Maybe instead of asking me advice on headphones and soldering stations where I stay up emailing you for 3 hours late at night each time (free of charge) you should focus on the truth and everything I've told you since day 1. Secondly, because you had complained more than anyone I told you I would move you to the top spot and all cables will be completed within the next 4 weeks. So there are not six people before you. You are ahead of 3 people. Not 4, not 5, and not 6. Do I need to display my PayPal screenshot here as proof? Or are you conveniently making up stories to make me look worse?

All 4 customers waiting for cables (the first being the most sympathetic and understanding and who's adapter cable has been done for a year now and who's portable amp I also have in my possession for testing which has been in its box while I'm away; the second also quite kind; the third understanding mainly because he experienced a similar family problem, and then there's you John aka Ruby Tiger, the one who sends me nasty emails even when I've been nice in return. And why don't you also tell people how you donated a generous gift of $50 to me to buy flowers for my grandfather which I did and told them they were a gift from you which he didn't really understand since he's been thinking I'm a Washington D.C. Politician or Washington doctor for politicians for some time now, although it's now apparent it was not a gesture of the heart since you asked for it back in a refund. It was more of a "Will this speed up my order gift?" If that isn't a low blow, I don't know what is. I want people to know the whole story, not just your made up portion.

You are all very well aware of what I have been going through with my grandfather over the past 15 months which has only gotten worse. Much worse. He had to be forced from his home which he will never see again due to the onset of dementia (and a reverse mortgage that took the house back) and placed into a board and care home where I have been spending most of my time. He has been in and out of the hospital as well for having pneumonia three times, a blood clot was found in his lungs, and now he at 84 yrs old is physically restrained to his bed for punching his 90 year old roommate in the face, and they don't take the restraints off for long because he starts to get violent again; I've even intercepted a blow and his skin is so thin from his medicine it tears easily and tore on me and while he was being tied down. His own son wants nothing to do with him (nor his mother who died right after 9/11, and my mother helps and visits when she can but because I own all my businesses and have partners I am the one with 90% of the responsibility of looking after him, or they will throw him out and make him a ward of the state and put him in a crappy state run home compared to the fairly nice place he is in now. I have always been very close to my grandfather because he was a father to me when I was younger and my real father wasn't. I've never dealt with someone with Dementia or Alzheimer's so it has been extremely hard and stressful on me, as I know waiting for your cable has been stressful on you. I sympathize with you because when a fellow Head-Fier (and since MOT) agreed to build my custom amp in a month or two and it wound up taking 18 months (of which he later admitted 9 months he didn't do anything on it), I was extremely stressed for those 18 months so in that regard I can empathize, the only difference being he had about $15,000 of my parts in his possession, but ultimately he finished it and I was overjoyed when I received it because not only was nothing stolen from me, my design (partial internal/majority external) was a work of sonic and aesthetic art.... which your cables will be. As I've apologized before I do so again now and hope to alleviate any of your concerns, and apologize my grandfather's collapse has interfered with my businesses; something I never foresaw going on this long; frankly, I thought he would have passed away 8 or 9 months ago but he seems to mysteriously outlive the other elders in our family, this being the worst way to outlive someone though.

My printing business has suffered tremendously which makes up 98% of my income because I've been away so much. I only come back rarely but I put the rest of my family on notice that I can no longer neglect my 4 cable customers and need to finish your cables ASAP.

After Johns order when I saw that it was getting too much to handle I suspended all orders and turned down the next 12 people that contacted me for cables because I wasn't in a position to take on more work at 40+ hours per cable. I make about $5 an hour on these cables and thus have notified future customers that my retail price has doubled because I don't care to build these for no money. The parts and wire was already cut to length for all 4 of your orders and anywhere from 1/3 to 2/3 to 4/5 built.

If I had time to spend on here talking to you I would have had time to finish them earlier but you obviously don't see me posting on here until now.

I resent the fact that John had called me a thief because as all the local headfiers who know me would vouch I would never ever do such a thing and have even hosted meets.
If I wanted to steal money I would have taken those 12 customers and never responded to any of your emails but there has not been a single time I have failed to respond to any of your emails.

John, please retract that there are six customers before you because that is a blatant lie which I won't stand for and I did you a favor by moving you to spot 1 at the expense of a wonderfully understanding customer who practices elder law. If not, I will move you back to your original position at 4. I told everyone from their order date that there are no refunds due to expensive materials being custom cut to length and parts ordered specifically for you. Just because you had a bad experience with someone stealing $2,800 from you does not mean I would ever do the same (just as you knowing many who have died should have no impact on my feelings), nor have I ever done that to anyone. I have had money stolen from me, too, but I'm not blaming you for that, am I? And for you to say I'm likely not a real business did you ever bother to scan the meet forums and see the pictures of my booth with 30-40 cables on it? Or even look up my DBA?

It really surprises me that some, not all, but some people value a cable as worth more than someone's life, and due to that I will be hesitant of selling more headphone cables in the future to people who I don't get a good impression of from the start, and place more emphasis on all my other cables.

You three or four will all have your cables within 1-4 weeks. The first customer would prefer I take care of my own health first because of what I've gone through but he deserves his quicker than anyone, tbh.

 


Ok, Phil

 

Your really going to make me work here so I have went back to the begining of my emails for what I think are relevant
excerpts pertaining to the matter at hand.For times sake I will only address the things you specifically
mentioned.

 

1st. The number of customers before me. An excerpt of an email you sent; Mon, Jan 6, 2014 11:26 am.

 

(Phil) -

 

 Thanks John, your now on the list. There are 4 (not 3) cables ahead of you so you are number 5 now.

 

 Obviously I must recant my number of 6. But in turn, Phil needs to recant his number of "4 customers".

 

Honestly, I think what's at the heart of the matter here is not; how many customers below the number 6 you

have.

 

2nd. Phil, you did indeed say you moved me to the no 1. spot. Ahead of the rest of your customers. You say it's because

I complained more than anyone else?

 

It's a nasty thing to me to look at emails like this. I could take excerpts from where you said you were working on the cables.

Near finsihing them, soon to go out,  and such as that. And I'm sad when I say some of those emails came with apology's

for the delays and spoke of family problems. I don't want to go into all that. I do have a heart.

 

But to be honest I soon started to lose faith that I would ever see my cables. So, I asked for a 'date of completion'. I didn't

ask for you to move me up in the line. You did that. I never even looked at it that way.

 

Something I learned a long time ago was to ask for a date of completion. It kept everything business wise from becoming

to personal and causing misunderstandings. Which could lead to hurtful feelings. And if said date of completion is not met

then a persons money is refunded. But it sounds like your way is in direct opposition giving you forever if you choose so.

And no one gets a refund of their money or cables if you so choose.

 

So, Phil you gave me a date of completion. You said by mid April I would have my cables. I gave you a couple of extra

weeks and at the end of April you said they were finished. All you had to do was mail them to me.Did I miss something?

It's July 7th. Something doesn't feel right. I think I have showed an abundance of compassion for your personal issues.

The way I see it you owe me my cables and an apology. Did I not send an extra $50 for you to spend for your grandfather.

Did I not give you extra time on the cables and took you at your word in every thing up to now?

 

Folks, I think Phil is a straight up guy and he's going thru a lot. I think the weight on his shoulders is tremendous and

for those that pray I hope you will join me in keeping him and his family in our heartfelt prayers.


I hate calling him out this way. I love all things audio,  perhaps a little to much. Maybe I ran out of patience to soon so I'm
going to ask Phil to get those cables to all of us as soon as he can. Put me back at number 4 if you want but get this all

resolved soon. Or we'll be back here again.

post #7 of 10
John,

Well I appreciate the kind words and I don't ever know how that number of customers was in there. Maybe it was an order that was pending and got cancelled. I honestly don't know. But there are only 4 people including you, that I promise. You might have been thinking before Bolardito's cable was done or someone else's, but I had let you know several times that there were only 4 left, and that's the number. I guarantee you won't see a 5th person show up asking where his cables are.

Anyway, onward and upward.
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by IPodPJ View Post


You three or four will all have your cables within 1-4 weeks. The first customer would prefer I take care of my own health first because of what I've gone through but he deserves his quicker than anyone, tbh.

Nothing heard from Phil 4 weeks since... I guess the wait continues....
post #9 of 10

I shouldn't even be in this thread but I was thinking about placing an order for an adapter. I did some searching and came across this ongoing issue. I had never heard of "Bellatone Audio" up until this past weekend when for some reason I got an email alert about some cables for sale... I decided to buy them on a whim and just got them today in the mail... I have to say these things are definitely worth the wait... These cables make my Norse & Q-audio Balanced cables sound like OEM cables... I feel for you Ruby - If you lived near me I would let you borrow mine... over six months is a bit much though... 1 cable a month seems reasonable to me business is business - over six months and I would have to pay someone a visit....

 

 

 

 

 

I sincerely hope everyone gets their cables - they are in a class by themselves...

 

 

Peace...:L3000:

post #10 of 10

They look great Herueyes. I'm glad you like them so much. Phil has often said his cables are worth so much more.  Thanks for sharing.

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