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Mini-REVIEW | BTG-Audio Sunrise Cable (for CIEMs)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

You can read about others' opinions of the BTG-Audio Sunrise cable here, here, and here, but truth be told, when I first heard of BTG-Audio some months ago, I wasn't super impressed. While the fact that the Sunrise was one of the few CIEM cables to have over-molded connectors made me take notice, its overall aesthetic was a little underwhelming, as I didn't like the big heavy Neutrik plugs, nor did I like nylon sleeving. I also did not want transparent cables, as I was afraid the wires would oxidize into the murky green that everyone fears. Thus, I'd never seriously considered the Sunrise CIEM cable as an option.

 

It wasn't until I began corresponding with Brian about his upcoming FitEar cables when the stock CIEM cable that came with my 4.A broke and I began searching for a replacement that I began to seriously look at the Sunrise cable as an option. By then, the cable was out of stock, but what was normally an unfortunate circumstance turned out to be a godsend, since Brain was just about to send new cables to the factory for over-molding and could take on custom orders such as putting in black cables in to over-mold. I immediately put in an order for a black cable without sleeving. I must say, throughout the entire process, Brian was extremely responsive, flexible, and accommodating --- definitely amongst the best of people I've dealt with on here. Within a week of finishing my order, I received my custom-spec Sunrise CIEM cable. Enthusiastically, I posted my initial impressions here, before I had even terminated the cable with a 3.5mm plug. Even then, I knew that this cable was going to be a winner.

 

My Sunrise cable is different from the standard fare. It lacks the nylon sleeve and is in black.

 

Now that I have the cable completely finished, I'm able to present a more complete assessment. At the bottom, I have the 3.5mm plug, the REP-100 from Ranko Acoustics. It's a relatively new plug that has only come to market in the past couple of months, but it's well-crafted and durable, and feels like the functional and aesthetic hybrid between the Oyaide P-3.5G and the Viablue T6s. BTG does not have this plug available (and that's why I decided to get the Sunrise cable unterminated; normally this is not the case, but I believe BTG will accommodate most of all special requests and he has all manner of Oyaide and Viablue heads in stock for those who prefer to go the conventional route), but Brian was very helpful by cinching the cables together with Teflon tape and marking ground with tin, and stripping the left side leads. Since I've been swamped with work recently, I actually didn't have time to terminate the cable myself, and instead enlisted the help of a local cable builder to finish off the work. In a nice touch, the guy added a little flexible clear plastic cap that fit my black & clear theme very well.

 

The Ranko REP-100 Gold-plated 3.5mm plug, compared to the Oyaide P-3.5 SR Rhodium-plated 3.5mm plug.

The outer diameter profiles are similar in size, but the Ranko gives the illusion of being thinner.

 

The cable itself is a round-braid (Milloit), 26 AWG 30-strand OFC cable (from the same Japanese source as Mogami) sleeved in black, cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulation. I found the cable to be thin, yet tough feeling, and very flexible. Compared to my DIY cable from PlusSound (which is 28 AWG silver-plated OCC copper in 19-strands, sleeved in thick LLD-PE insulation), the external diameter of the Sunrise conductor is quite a bit smaller, and the external texture feels less smooth with more of a matte look, while being quite a bit more flexible. It doesn't feel at all unlike the Whiplash Audio TWag V2, losing only a tiny bit of flexibility (the TWag V2 is probably the most flexible cable I've thus far encountered) at a similar outer diameter. The braid is also similar in tightness to the TWag V2, slightly loose, but tight enough to keep everything together. Braid consistency is good and equals the consistency of the TWag V2.

 

26 AWG BTG-Audio black OFC cable (right), compared to the 28AWG PlusSound transparent silver-plated OCC cable (left).

 

The Y-split is also solidly constructed with heavy duty heat shrink (trademarked with the BTG-Audio logo) and additional reinforcement underneath. If I wanted to nitpick at any possible flaws, it would be the neck cinch, which was just a tad bit too tight to use. My assumption is that it will loosen up with use.

 

The Y-split is robust and should not come apart under any circumstance.

 

Up at the top, the over-molding and memory wire section are flawless. The clear over-mold looks beautiful, and the cable is additionally secured with a (brass?) retention clamp within the plastic mold. I've never personally been a big fan of memory wire, but it works as it should, and isn't overly long like it is on some of the stock CIEM cables that I've seen. I'm crossing my fingers in hopes that Brian will offer a version without memory wire in the future.

 

Quality over-molded connectors fit standard and recessed sockets alike, just like other stock cables.

 

Without the sleeve and with the black cable, my personal belief is that the Sunrise cable is now as aesthetically pleasing as any custom cable on the market at the moment, right up there with Whiplash Audio and the others. With this BTG-Audio Sunrise cable, I now have a full-on, black & clear motif going on, from my iPod Touch all the way to my semi-universal remolded IEMs!

 

From sunrise to sunset...

 

I think people who are looking for cable exotica can still consider the Sunrise CIEM cable as a great option. Honestly, I find that cables such as silver-plated OCC copper, while attractive and buzz-worthy, tint the frequency response of my earphones in a manner that I couldn't really live with everyday. My own DIY cable that I built with SPC cable from PlusSound Audio is exactly such an example. It's fun to use it from time to time, and the thought of having mono-crystal annealed wire is a nice thing to geek out about, but I could never listen to it comfortably as my everyday cable. I've even used the higher-end pure silver cables before, such as the TWag V2 and other OCC silver/gold cables, and while they're great, I never found them to be more than exclusive novelties. If I need something that I can use reliably, I always go back to copper, whether it's high-purity OFC or OCC copper.

 

When it comes to a cable that I'll be using everyday, I am confident that the Sunrise cable will be my workhorse cable for years to come!

post #2 of 7

Great review, Tom!

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks, FlySweep! The prose is a bit rushed, and the pictures aren't really at the standard that I like them to be, but I wanted to get the word out that this cable is great! It's easily the best purchase I made in cables --- well worth the $70 that I paid.

post #4 of 7
Very informative review. I think you've sold me on going sleeveless and with copper for my future FitEar cable...
post #5 of 7

Geez, some "mini" review..... Hahahaha. Thanks Tom!

post #6 of 7
Nice review, Tom. I too have come to the conclusion that I enjoy a good OCC copper cable. I had trouble wrapping my head around the idea that if it wasn't silver it "sucked" but I finally came around...
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pingupenguins View Post  Geez, some "mini" review..... Hahahaha. Thanks Tom!

 

Yep! Mini! I consider anything <6000 words and that takes me <3 weeks to write 'short'... wink.gif

 

Anyways, I had been waiting to compile other cables I was getting together for a comparison review, but this cable really was just so impressive that I thought it warranted its own showcase.

 

On a related note, addressed to everyone else: I have to emphasize that Brian is an assiduous, enterprising young individual who has his priorities set the right way, and has deftly balanced quality, practicality, and novelty to fill much-needed niches in our hobby --- definitely someone deserving of our recognition and support!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunshane View Post  Very informative review. I think you've sold me on going sleeveless and with copper for my future FitEar cable...
Quote:
Originally Posted by KimChee View Post

Nice review, Tom. I too have come to the conclusion that I enjoy a good OCC copper cable. I had trouble wrapping my head around the idea that if it wasn't silver it "sucked" but I finally came around...

 

Yeah, me too. I used to think "Silver-Or-Bust!" as well, but after being around the block, I find that copper is just infinitely more practical. No one else who actually builds headphones is using pure silver on their stuff; they're tuning their products with copper in mind. At the end of the day, if people are looking for that extra whatever dB bump in the highs, etc. they're welcome to change to an SPC cable or whatever, but I just prefer to hear the original response of my headphones. At the same time, though, choosing copper over others doesn't preclude me from occasionally trying out rare cable unobtainium --- I've joked on numerous occasions to recable my FI-BA-SS with Crystal Piccollino (something that's not all that much a joke, heh) --- but that pursuit is more for achieving the ridiculous that for just using cables to listen to and enjoy music with.

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