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YY pro audio cables/jumpers & meji cool 4 amp review

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
YY pro audio is a company which is unknown to most audiophile, which includes me until a while ago. After some research and a short tour to YY pro audio, here is what I got so far. it’s a newly form Hong Kong base company which offers quite a large field of product, some of them are even unique to the market, modification on high end portable player in the market from the popular dx100 to the new filo x3, portable amp which are very unique in design and tuning, cables/jumpers and CIEM, from single driver to hybrid design, D.I.Y kits and components available for sale, which comes in handy for some of us.

Its headquarters also located in Mong Kok, as well some other well-known Hong Kong brand like rhapsodio and Lear. The shop was pretty much a candy shop in a kid’s eye, full of demo and products to try out, cables/jumpers, CM, amp etc…… I got sucked in right away, and had a great time trying some of them out, so that’s how I got those cables/jumpers and amp for this review. And they seem to offer various options and customization on their products according to the individual need, such flexibility is what makes this place unique to the market. YY pro audio is definitely a place worth checking out for those dropping nearby in Hong Kong.

In this review, I will be focus on what I purchased during that trip to YY pro audio, which includes various type of cable/jumper along the uniquely tune cool 4, an amp which is unique in terms of external and internal design. And the two earphone cable is this review are converted into a 4 pin balance plug design, which the meji cool 4 and my colorfly c4 (mod)/DX100 (mod) uses, therefore there might be a slight deviation from the standard ver. (3.5 mm plug) in terms of sound, where the ground are separate rather mix together on the 3.5 mm plug.

Two earphone cables (mmcx plug), two jumpers (3.5-3.5) and meji cool 4 will be review, and this review will be split into two sections, one for the cables/jumpers and one for the meji cool 4. During the review, I will concern on the functionality of the review, an area where these cables wins my respect and trust.

The specs for the cables/jumpers are as follow:

Name: Energy cable (mmcx plug)
No. of twist: (8-wired) (2-wired for each Signal and Ground)
Material: Pure Copper

Name: Aspire cable (mmcx plug)
No. of twist: (8-wired) (2-wired for each Signal and Ground)
Material: Silver-plated

Name: Sparkle jumper (3.5mm-3.5mm)
No. of twist: (6-wired) (2-wired for Ground and 1-wired for Signal)
Material: OCC copper

Name: HST jumper (3.5mm-3.5mm)
No. of twist: (6-wired) (2-wired for Ground and 1-wired for Signal)
Material: PCOCC silver

Each cable/jumper received around 20 hours run in before serious testing and these allows them run in into its optimum performance and avoid any deviation from my judgment in the overall result.

Each cable/jumper received a small paper box with the company’s logo on top, although it doesn’t look as fancy as what other company has to offer, but it is simple yet practical little box that does its job.

Build quality/design
Each cable/jumper are braided with various twist with near to perfect finish, each one is all handmade and braided differently along different technique with ergonomics in mind. Here are my comments on each cable/jumper, in terms of build quality/finish.

Energy cable (mmcx plug)
Around 1.2m in length, Shrink tube is applied to the surface, ductile surface and tough texture. The cable is soft and flexible with no micro phonic effect, which makes it my day to day run portable use earphone cable. The earpiece is covered by multiple layers of shrink tube, which enforce the joint and enhance durability. But there is a problem on the earpiece, mainly due to the stiffness , which cause pain on the ear after a period of usage, but it is an easy fix after some adjustment with the lighter, although I would hope they can use more flexible/soft shrink tube for the earpiece, which itself improves the comfort level to user.

Aspire cable (mmcx plug)
Around 1.2m in length, It is slightly stiffer then the copper base energy cable , but Very unique braiding method is something different to what most of the cable the market has to offer, and it is braided all the way from the balance plug to the mmcx plug, even after the y split point. Very tidy and clean build with perfect braiding technique. But one drawback is the micro phonic effect on the cable, and it’s clear yet distinctive, not too pleasant when moving about with this cable, sounds like two hard surfaces rubbing on top each other.

Sparkle jumper (3.5mm-3.5mm)
Around 10cm in length, the braided copper cable is stiff itself, and its pre-made curve body enable it connect from the player to amp without any problem. It is equipment with two standard size viablue 3.5 mm plug, which is a bit too large, recommended on using the mini viablue.

HST jumper (3.5mm-3.5mm)
Around 10cm in length, the stiffest cable/jumper out of the lot, with Teflon tube covering each string of the jumper. Each string of this jumper is made out of solid material, which is different to the multi- core material on the sparkle jumper and most other jumper out on the market. But the u shape bending is pre-made and fit between the player and amp with ease, no problem found while connecting or using this jumper.

As many audiophiles understand, cable has always been a weak spot and one of the main causes of a non-functional portable set up. I have tried a lot of cables in the market, and most of them are poor in terms of durability, they tend to have problem after a short period of usage. Earphone cable tends to have a lot more problem then jumper, since earphone cable always endorse abuse from the day to day usage, way more serious then jumper. But after a bit of durability experiments, e.g. sharp pulls, twisting, connection test on the mmcx plug…. They seems to function perfectly up til now, which is impressive itself. And after some careful examination, those cables/jumpers are very well thought out in terms of design and durability, step aside the sound quality itself.

Set up
I have this CM for a while now and tried them with all the gears which I possess in my current arsenal, but the choice of gear I would use for this review:
Player: colorfly c4 (BTL balance mod)
Amp: meji cool4
All the music which I listen is 16/44.1 which are rip from cd by the use of jet audio.

Personal impression may vary from different person or equipment used, after all this is a subjective experience, due to the possible variation of listening atmosphere, equipment and personal preference. And aftermarket cable might cause subjective argument, especially when it comes to difference it makes on the portable system. Therefore answer will not be standardized for everyone and shall serve only as a reference.

Audio quality
Energy cable (mmcx plug)
The audio quality is what makes it special, plenty of detail along with a very control bass along with the rhapsodio v3, the bass hit and dissipate in a control manner, very energetic and extremely fun to listen. Its smooth body and warmth along with the tendency of a slow roll off, which makes a perfect choice for vocal base music, the emotion from the singer are expressed in full.

Aspire cable (mmcx plug)
It possesses a very clean body, vivid with good layering. And the bass is shaper and more distinctive then the energy cable on the rhapsodio v3, a very dynamic bass which expends throughout the sound stage. The vocal is more stepped forward, along with a fast roll off rate, something very different then the energy cable offers, a much faster pace than the energy cable. And the most special feature on this cable is the extra bit of clarity it added, which makes it extremely confortable to the user’s ear. But minor detail is loss along the benefit of a clean sound, mainly due to the expansive soundstage, the detail are spread out among in good layers.

Sparkle jumper
A dynamic body with a well project bass is what makes this jumper interesting, a refine bass, not punchy but detail. Which makes it extremely joyful to listen to, especially when playing songs with a rather fast pace. There is also an enhancement in detail, the detail are concentrate into the center, which makes the music seems more compact all together. However, the possible downside of this cable is that the overdose of detail cause fatigue in the ear after some listening time on it, although it’s not a serious problem in my opinion.

HST jumper
A smooth, clean and refine detail is the unique signature of this cable, the detail is not as rich as the sparkle jumper, but the amount of detail is more than satisfying, along with its clean and smooth sound signature. The detail spread among the soundstage evenly, which is the other extreme to my experience on the sparkle jumper. But it possess quite a fast roll off in terms of vocal, which make it not as satisfying when listening to vocal base music, where the vocal is the heart and soul of the music. And it’s near to fatigue free experience makes it a lot more comfortable to listen, even after a good period of time.

As you can see from my previous review, the labkable supernova, I personally don’t regard cable is an enhancement to the audio quality in a portable set up, but a tuning to the individual ears, which some people might regards as an enhancement. However, these cables/jumpers have exceeded my expectation, in terms of craftsmanship, durability and its sound characteristic. A near to flawless/design along with durability in mind makes it worth the money on investing them onto my portable set up, although it is still early to conclude, but it is doing well in terms of durability, such problem has always been troubling me when choosing cable for my earphones, since earphone cable has a high tendency to fail in my portable set up, and repair can be quite troublesome, especially for user where repair is not a convenience option. After all, it doesn’t matter how good the sound of the cable if it fails on the user at a frequent basis, therefore i am glad to see these cables/jumpers are reliable in my portable set up and ready to endure long term usage. But most important element about this collection is that each cable/jumper is unique in terms of sound and it will be love with the right individual ears.

Edited by terry1109 - 9/17/13 at 1:26pm
post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 
Short review on the cool 4

the overall size is compact, and light in weight. It is measured around 95mm x 60mm x 12mm, although it is not a ground breaking size, but it is small and extremely portable. The frame is made from steel and carbon fiber plate to cover the top and bottom. The volume knob also served as a switch, it is off when the mark on the volume knob is set to the 7 o’clock position. It has a 3.5mm input & output and a 4 pin balance output, although I am a frequent user of the balance plug, but the 3.5mm comes in handy when trying out new earphone or sharing this amp with people who uses the 3.5mm plug.

Sound signature
after spending some time trying various types of music, the cool 4 is indeed an amp with an unique sound signature, although this amp doesn’t pack a punch in terms of soundstage and a dynamic body, even with the aid of the BTL circuit (balance output), but somewhat neutral and very relax. But what I amaze is how each sound re-creates, a fast roll out and a slower roll off, which enables the sound to dissipate slowly, such unique tuning makes it extremely joyful to listen. It’s relaxing sound enables me to listen to it for hours without feeling fatigue in any way.

most of the listening will be done with the following gear:
colorfly dx100/ colorfly c4/iPod touch 5 + cool4 + heir audio 4a / rhapsodio v3

to be honest, I believe the most interesting part of this amp is the bass, the bass produce by the cool 4 is unique out of all the amp I tried, the portion of the bass is not huge in quantity, but a quality bass. It’s nice and crisp along with great detail, but what’s interesting is how the bass dissipates. It dissipates slowly, feeling like ripples on a flat pond of water, expanding in my mind.

It’s full, rich & emotional vocal which attracts my attention, the character of the singer are express in a unique manner no matter the gender of the singer. And the whole spectrum is connected with great harmony, which enables gap free experience over the whole spectrum.
The laying is well projected, vocal position depends on the music source, it varies a bit from time to time, but the position is usually just right, not too extreme by any means.
And the element of the slow roll off enables the voice/instruments of each note to dissipate slowly, feels like a high quality wine flowing in the month, which enables the vocal to be very smooth, especially at the end of each note and re-produce a more realistic note to the user’s ear.

The treble is not as exciting as expected, it doesn’t extend into great height, and something which I consider as the lack of extension, and it tends to roll off before it reaches the peak note, especially the vocal.

Sound stage and imaging
The sound stage is somehow a bit too small for my taste, but this is because I am used to the large sound stage from the dx100 (BTL mod), although this set up includes the dx100 (BTL mod), but it is connected through the lineout, by passing the internal amp. But the imaging is fantastic, the instrument is accurate, it improves the poor imaging from the iPod touch 5. The layering is accurate and tidy, and the separation is just right.

the overall performance of the cool 4 is simply over my expectation, the tuning is very interesting, and I love how each sound comes and goes, the bass is full of texture and behaves more like a dynamic driver. But there are places which I would complain about, the soundstage is a bit small in my opinion, it’ll be better if it is just a touch bigger.

Edited by terry1109 - 9/17/13 at 1:33pm
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