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FiiO's New PCOCC-A Cables - Impressions, Reviews, Discussion

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

FiiO is planning to release a new line of cables made of PCOCC-A. Two of such cables are made specifically for certain headphone models, and the other one is just a 3.5 mm extension cable.

 

As stated by FiiO:

Quote:

Originally Posted by FiiO View Post

 

As you may know, Japan Furukawa Electric has announced the end of production for PCOCC-A cable due to the low market demand. With the assistance of our business partner OYAIDE, we were fortunate enough to catch the last bus to get a considerable amount of PCOCC-A cable. Now we have received some of this cable, and the first batch of assembled PCOCC-A LO and headphone cables have gone to market already.

 

Model

RC-HD1

RC-MH1

RC-UX1

Compatible Models

Sennheiser HD598

PHILIPS X1,

SONY 1R,

V-MODA M80/M100

Extension Cable

Universal

Plug(mm) / F or M

2.5/M to 3.5/M

3.5/M to 3.5/M

3.5/F to 3.5/M

Length(cm)

120

120

100

 

 

 

Q: What exactly is PCOCC-A?

A: PCOCC stands for Pure Copper Ohno Continuous Cast, while the A stands for Anneal

Source: http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/interconnects/interconnects_3.html

Quote:
Twenty years ago, a Japanese engineer invented the Ohno wire extrusion method to produce PCOCC or pure copper Ohno continuous cast wire. Instead of forcing molten copper billets through a cold-mold extrusion machine, they are processed in heated molds and subsequently slow-cooled to room temperature. This results in far fewer molecular boundaries than regularly processed copper extrusions. It should come as no surprise that raw PCOCC wire is much more expensive than LF-OFC or TPC.

 

Cross-sectional diagram of the PCOCC-A cable from FiiO's RC-UX1 product webpage:

 

 

 

Q: Where can I learn more about these cables?

A: FiiO's official product webpages:

 

 


I received two of these cables, the RC-MH1 and RC-UX1, as free review units provided by FiiO as a result of this product review opportunity:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/688100/the-ultimate-feast-review-qualification-recruitment-for-newest-pcocc-a-headphone-cables

 

I want to thank FiiO for offering such an opportunity to Head-Fiers, and a big thank you for allowing me to participate in this review.

 

 

Silent Unboxing Video

I created an unboxing video for these products, but unfortunately I forgot to select the correct microphone input on my recording device. Thus I re-did the video and it ended up being somewhat of an unboxing video. XD

 

 

 

Package
It's just a cable in a sealed bag; nothing fancy. Make sure to use the scratch query on the top label and submit the code to fiio.net to ensure your product is legitimately from FiiO.

 

 


Build Quality and Usability
Upon opening these cables, I was actually disappointed with how the cables looked and felt.

 

General Overview

  • Dual-core/two-stranded cable construction (like two cables glued together) [Figure 1]
  • 3.5 mm jack is sheathed in a straight (read: not angled) metal sleeve, although it is quite thick and heavy [Figure 1]
  • Cable insulation feels somewhat cheap, having the texture of a stiff plastic cable with a matte-like finish
  • Kinks and bends are retained if the cable is bent, but easy to straighten out too [Figures 2 and 3]
  • Strain reliefs don't seem effective since they are very stiff and hardly move [Figures 4 and 5]
  • Cable may fail at the stiff strain relief, and especially at the end with the metal jack enclosure (the left channel of the RC-MH1 cuts off at certain angles depending on how the cable is bent at this connection)
  • Fairly low resistance value (see Sound Quality section below)

 

Figure 1: The 3.5 mm jack with a USB flash drive for a size comparison

 

Figure 2: The cable retains kinks and bends quite easily (I let the cable sit there for about a minute)

 

Figure 3: The cable can also be straightened out fairly easily (I ran the cable between my hand about 5 times to straighten it)

 

Figure 4: If the cables are bent near the jacks, the strain relief doesn't provide much leeway for the cables

 

Figure 5: In stark contrast to the V-MODA SharePlay cable, the RC-UX1's strain relief hardly bends at all

 

 

RC-MH1

  • Narrow jack insert is quite long and it protrudes out from the V-MODA Crossfade M-100 about 3.3 cm (1.3 inches) [Figure 6]
  • Narrow jack insert can bend and retain its shape [Figure 7]
  • Heavy compared to the stock V-MODA Crossfade M-100 cable
  • Fairly short cable at 100 cm (~40 inches)
  • Slightly improves the sound quality (see Sound Quality section below)

 

Figure 6: Cable protrusion difference between the V-MODA SharePlay cable (2.3 cm) and the RC-MH1 cable (3.3 cm)

 

Figure 7: The RC-MH1's narrow jack insert can bend and retain its shape (I let the cable sit there for about a minute)

 

 


Sound Quality
Be careful when assessing the sound quality of cables. The RC-MH1 has a lower impedance compared to the V-MODA SharePlay cable (~0.16 Ω vs ~1.42 Ω respectively), so proper volume matching has to be done for each cable separately in order to ensure a fair comparison [Figures 8-11]. It was immediately apparent that the cables have different impedance values because music played louder through the RC-MH1 than through the V-MODA SharePlay cable using the same source at the same source volume.

 

However, after trying and failing to accurately volume-match between the two cables, I decided to do a different way of evaluating the sound quality of the cables. Over the past month, I have been using the RC-MH1 with the V-MODA Crossfade M-100 pretty much every weekday while commuting to and from school, in addition to walking between classes. After getting used to how the two sound together, I recently switched back to the stock V-MODA SharePlay cable. My theory is that if you can hear a difference from what you're used to, then there is a difference in sound quality (it may not the most scientific reasoning, but it makes sense for us humans :)). Likewise, if you can hear that difference in a noisy public bus, then there is a difference in sound quality. I tried to compensate for the RC-MH1's lower resistance value by turning up the volume level (6 volume steps when using the JDS Labs C5D) when using the stock V-MODA SharePlay cable; yes, the volume levels were different and the audio being played through the SharePlay cable was louder than through the RC-MH1. Benefit of the doubt, the SharePlay cable should theoretically sound better because louder is better, right? Well actually I didn't find that to be the case, and I was pleasantly surprised.

 

Throughout my listening tests, I found that the RC-MH1 has a slightly more defined and deeper bass response. Switching to the SharePlay cable, I noticed that bass notes didn't hit as deep and they sounded a bit more blurred/muffled/not-as-well-defined. At the opposite end of the spectrum, I also found the RC-MH1 to have a slightly better-defined treble response. Fine details stand out a little more and are more well-defined with the RC-MH1; this is especially notable with Daft Punk's "Motherboard" song in the second half when the "bubble sounds" are played. The differences are pretty subtle, but after listening and getting used to the RC-MH1's sound over the past month, I do miss the deeper lows and more well-defined highs when switching over to the SharePlay cable.

 

Figure 8: Impedance (1.420 Ω) of the V-MODA SharePlay cable

 

Figure 9: Impedance (1.476 Ω) of the V-MODA SharePlay cable connected to the RC-UX1 extension cable

 

Figure 10: Impedance (0.163 Ω) of RC-MH1 cable

 

Figure 11: Impedance (0.219 Ω) of RC-MH1 cable connected to the RC-UX1 extension cable

 

 

 

Conclusion

Apart from the cable breaking at the strain relief, I really think the RC-MH1 is a great replacement cable for standard cables that use a 3.5 mm connector. The cable length is just about right for portable use; it's not too long, nor is it too short (at least for me). Although the cable itself feels kind of cheap with the matte-finished rubber-like material, and it retains kinks and bends, it's actually really easy to manage and I wasn't bothered at all when handling it with portable use.

 

Going by FiiO's pricing for their products, I think the RC-MH1 will be a great purchase for a replacement cable, or for just improving the sound experience for the user. As they say, upgrading the cable should be be the very last upgrade in an audio system and I feel that I squeezed the last 2% (an arbitrary number) out of the V-MODA Crossfade M-100.

 

If I had any advice for FiiO to improve this product, it would be to make the strain relief at the end of the cable with the metal jacket more robust (more flexible, longer strain relief section), and to make the other narrow-end of the RC-MH1 shorter and/or more flexible as well. After a month's worth of portable use, I'm kind of disappointed that the cable is already losing connection.

 

 

Other than that, thank you FiiO again for allowing me to participate in this product review! I really enjoyed writing this review and I hope to see a better strain relief implemented in future products.

 

 


Other people's reviews


Edited by miceblue - 2/4/14 at 9:45am
post #2 of 21

great review!

post #3 of 21

Good review:) ...well, what of it, anyways. :)

 

Look forward to when it is finalized, and I'll have mine out soon enough.

post #4 of 21
Cool thanks for that. Look forward to final thoughts. Thinking of getting one to pair with my m100+Fiio x3. IMO the stock m100 cable is too long for portable use in my pocket (1.5m), and the share play seems even longer but could just be my imagination or the dangly share bit. Way too long and have to scrunch and jam it in my pocket or tie a bow first..messy.
Its a bit annoying that this mh1 jack protrudes 3.3cm but I like the fact it is 1.2m and high quality low impedance copper. You stated it was 100cm but fiio site says 120cm, which is it?

I get an issue with the share play cable where the angled end that goes into my x3 is a bit loose and when I'm moving around a bit the x3 can think its been disconnected and music playback stops -VERY annoying. I guess this an x3 problem but it'd also weird that the share play cable wiggles around so much..like maybe its actually a tiny bit less than 3.5mm dia?? Do you get this issue with the rc-mh1 with Any DAP input jacks?
Edited by designbykai - 11/23/13 at 12:34am
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by designbykai View Post

Cool thanks for that. Look forward to final thoughts. Thinking of getting one to pair with my m100+Fiio x3. IMO the stock m100 cable is too long for portable use in my pocket (1.5m), and the share play seems even longer but could just be my imagination or the dangly share bit. Way too long and have to scrunch and jam it in my pocket or tie a bow first..messy.
Its a bit annoying that this mh1 jack protrudes 3.3cm but I like the fact it is 1.2m and high quality low impedance copper. You stated it was 100cm but fiio site says 120cm, which is it?

I get an issue with the share play cable where the angled end that goes into my x3 is a bit loose and when I'm moving around a bit the x3 can think its been disconnected and music playback stops -VERY annoying. I guess this an x3 problem but it'd also weird that the share play cable wiggles around so much..like maybe its actually a tiny bit less than 3.5mm dia?? Do you get this issue with the rc-mh1 with Any DAP input jacks?

Ah, good catch. The RC-MH1 cable is indeed 120 cm instead of the 100 cm that I stated. The RC-UX1 (extension cable) is 100 cm.

 

I definitely agree that the SharePlay cable is way too long for portable use. I only use it because it was more flexible and seemed more robust than the other cable that came with the M-100, the SpeakEasy cable.


SharePlay cable bundle:

 

RC-MH1:

 

That's quite the difference, hahaha.

 

Unfortunately the narrow jack insert of the RC-MH1 does tend to get caught on my jacket collar more often than the SharePlay cable, and it prevents me from turning my head sometimes since the stiff jack hits my collar and consequently moves the M-100's earcup.

 

Regarding the X3 connection, I haven't touched the X3 before so I can't give you an accurate answer on that particular portable media player. I went through various 3.5 mm headphone ports on the devices I have at hand and I think it might have to do with how the headphone port's contacts are arranged. Sometimes the RC-MH1 seems to have a tighter fit than the 4-ring TRRS connection of the SharePlay cable (45˚ end), and sometimes the SharePlay cable seems to have a tighter fit.

 

E.g. With the Sansa Clip Zip, the fit of the SharePlay cable's TRRS connection is much tighter than with the RC-MH1. However, the opposite seems to be true for the iPod Video's 3.5 mm headphone jack.

post #6 of 21
Thanks for that, interesting stuff. Its funny how little details like this can be so important especially with portability.

Hmm the 3.3cm jack insert issue sounds a bit annoying.. I wonder if this cable would be any better that people have also been suggesting in m100 thread.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00AZ7XVZO/ref=pd_aw_sbs_4?pi=SL500_SS115
Its longer though so not ideal and its not stealthy black, has silver ends. Also no doubt bit as good copper quality but much cheaper as a result and I wonder how much that matters or actually impacts SQ if at all..?
post #7 of 21

Thanks to FiiO for providing evaluation cable RC-MH1 and extension cable RC-UX1 to pair with my V-Moda M-100.  Initially I wasn't sure what there was to say about cables, but the M-100 stock cable is less than ideal due to fraying and some tangling.  As a former E11 owner, I am familiar with the quality for the price and overall value FiiO offers.  Also, as anyone who owns the M-100 knows, stuffing the headphones and cable back into the case can be like a yoga master fitting inside a cube- slow and tricky.  Sometimes the case is stuffed so tightly, it feels like the tension will rip the zipper.  Having a second cable readily available for home use is a nice added convenience.  While I don't know the exact retail price of these, I expect them to be affordable.

 

The cable wire itself is fairly ordinary with left and right cables attached together, appearing like inexpensive RCA cables.  What struck me in a good way about the cables was the apparent quality of the connectors- molded aluminum?  There is a satisfying snap when inserted into my Iphone or portable amp.  There is a similar quality connection with the extension cable.  The cable seems somewhat tangle resistant.

 

Regarding sound, I could hear no difference with the stock cable vs. FiiO; nor did I expect to hear a difference.  I still need my stock smartphone cable for portable use, but for home use these would meet my needs.  Perhaps FiiO will have a smartphone cable in the future?

post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by designbykai View Post

Thanks for that, interesting stuff. Its funny how little details like this can be so important especially with portability.

Hmm the 3.3cm jack insert issue sounds a bit annoying.. I wonder if this cable would be any better that people have also been suggesting in m100 thread.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00AZ7XVZO/ref=pd_aw_sbs_4?pi=SL500_SS115
Its longer though so not ideal and its not stealthy black, has silver ends. Also no doubt bit as good copper quality but much cheaper as a result and I wonder how much that matters or actually impacts SQ if at all..?

Yeah, I've seen people talk about the NuForce cable as well. It seems to be another good alternative cable to use.

 

It's going to be tricky evaluating the sound quality differences, if any, between the stock V-MODA cable and the RC-MH1 since I don't own two of the same amp to apply separate volume matching, but I might be able to use a friend's slightly modified amp that's based off of the Objective 2, which I do have. I'm not expecting a huge difference since I still believe a cable is just a cable, but it might be interesting to try out since a good number of people claim hear differences in sound quality between cables.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craigster75 View Post
 

Thanks to FiiO for providing evaluation cable RC-MH1 and extension cable RC-UX1 to pair with my V-Moda M-100.  Initially I wasn't sure what there was to say about cables, but the M-100 stock cable is less than ideal due to fraying and some tangling.  As a former E11 owner, I am familiar with the quality for the price and overall value FiiO offers.  Also, as anyone who owns the M-100 knows, stuffing the headphones and cable back into the case can be like a yoga master fitting inside a cube- slow and tricky.  Sometimes the case is stuffed so tightly, it feels like the tension will rip the zipper.  Having a second cable readily available for home use is a nice added convenience.  While I don't know the exact retail price of these, I expect them to be affordable.

 

The cable wire itself is fairly ordinary with left and right cables attached together, appearing like inexpensive RCA cables.  What struck me in a good way about the cables was the apparent quality of the connectors- molded aluminum?  There is a satisfying snap when inserted into my Iphone or portable amp.  There is a similar quality connection with the extension cable.  The cable seems somewhat tangle resistant.

 

Regarding sound, I could hear no difference with the stock cable vs. FiiO; nor did I expect to hear a difference.  I still need my stock smartphone cable for portable use, but for home use these would meet my needs.  Perhaps FiiO will have a smartphone cable in the future?

Nice review Craigster75! I haven't tried it since the zipper on my M-100 carrying case ripped open, but does the RC-MH1 fit inside the M-100's case. I remember the case being jam-packed even with just the headphone and 1 cable.

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by miceblue View Post
Nice review Craigster75! I haven't tried it since the zipper on my M-100 carrying case ripped open, but does the RC-MH1 fit inside the M-100's case. I remember the case being jam-packed even with just the headphone and 1 cable.


I would not even attempt both.  It is an either/or scenario. :biggrin: 

post #10 of 21
I think I'm going to get one of these very soon.. The shareplay knotted bunch that also keeps coming loose and stopping playback on my x3 is doing my head in...
Fiio are going to keep supporting and updating the x3 firmware though so hope they sort this out if its a software thing pausing the playback.

Not many retailers that have rc-mh1 yet and no one here in Australia, cheapest I saw it for online was about $35. I think I saw it on another site for like $85, talk about variance wtf ..
Edited by designbykai - 11/24/13 at 11:21pm
post #11 of 21
Before anyone thinks I'm doing a runner; I'm not.

I've been relatively busy lately with work, school work and family commitments, so I haven't had the time to review the cables as of yet.

I will have it done shortly in a few days, but right now, I only really have time to pop in and out of Head-Fi for simple posts. smily_headphones1.gif
post #12 of 21

Its a bit annoying that this mh1 jack protrudes 3.3cm but I like the fact it is 1.2m and high quality low impedance copper.

3NnmYM

post #13 of 21

I am terribly sorry to inform that my review will have to wait for a while.

I have my ears to worry about and can't let my ears be exposed to sound for a long time. I had some tinnitus for a few months which resolved 3 months back or something, but it recently got back since I got a new bottlehead crack and these cables to test. Unfortunately I also live in a quitte noisy environment.

 

I hope you will understand and I will wear ear protection as much as possible so I can get to some real testing as fast as possible too!

 

So far it's actually promising! That's coming from someone who's very sceptic of cables. :)

 

 

Edit: it seems there is some fluid behind my eardrum. Which means it's fixable. :)


Edited by HolyCheese - 12/1/13 at 5:29pm
post #14 of 21

Here we go!

 

Finally got that review done:)

 

http://www.head-fi.org/products/fiio-rc-mh1-headphone-upgrade-cable/reviews/10046

 

Adios.

post #15 of 21

Hey guys...I was just wondering something...Since the PCOCC-A cable uses only a visible two strand; how exactly are they connected to the L/R/Ground?

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