My review of the new Whiplash reference Gold Plated Silver cable:
Why update the cable that runs to your headphones. Most keep their headphones because they already sound pretty good or totally satisfy you so why make any changes? What I find interesting is that some manufactures go to extreme measures to get the transducers of their headphones to do a great job of changing the electrical signal into sound but often all the research goes into that, the transducer. The cable, I don’t think an afterthought but not in many cases, the same conscious design effort as the transducer. There are a number of good OEM cable manufactures to choose from but does that mean it is the best cable, that it is as good as their transducer? Often this is not the case. Due to cost restraints and maybe the belief they have accomplished their goal, what you get with your headphones is what they believe will do the job. And often the sound is great, but as we know, there are always exceptions and greater possibilities.
Now take someone specializing in the manufacture of a wire, like a transducer manufacture specializes in what they do. Combine the two and very often, you get an even finer product. You have combined two truly researched products for the highest auditory outcome. To this end, I have found this to be absolutely true of the latest wire from Whiplash Audio, the TWau Reference Gold Plated Silver.
I have read that the very fine cable supplied with the Fostex TH900 could little be improved on. Ok but why not try? I had the TH900 recabled balanced to the Reference Gold Plated Silver, which I am going to refer to as gold from now on, and will state, there are changes in what I am hearing, which is totally positive in all parameters.
The new cable as far as I can detect has no microphonics picked up when the cable rubs against clothes etc. It is very pliable and weighs no more than the original cable, most likely less as it doesn’t have all the bulky needless mesh and cover that hides an anemic small gauge cable in two of the phones I had rewired and improved the gauge in all three. Oh, how does it sound, or not sound?
I cannot describe any sound attributed to this cable. That is right, I can’t say it is bright, dull, bass soft, mid forward, mid recessed, this is for all intents and purposes, to my ear, the most neutral cable I have ever heard. So how does the music come through, voice, acoustics? Well more than what I heard before the recabling. The TH900 frequency response sounds more balanced, which I attribute to better wire. Now why don’t I assign to a different sound imparted by the wire? I do not attribute this to the wire sound but an improvement of what the transducers in the headphones are receiving in signal because the same thing happened to my ESW10 JPN that I swore I would never have recabled. You know what, I loved the sound of my very broken in ESW10 limited edition but now, they are even better and in the same way as the Fostex TH900, oh and the LCD-2, the same improvement. Improved bass texture with each phone and a cleaner overall presentation with live performances taking on the eerie realism that you get lost in.
Now what this also does is make even more enjoyable everything that is quality upstream. I am listening to Greg Brown, “Down in There” (a studio recording). To be honest, I often do not listen to a lot of studio-recorded music because I enjoy the acoustics of live performances, well recorded that is. The ambiance just brings to life the performance but I am finding more and more studio recordings that I shunned, because I am now hearing the almost sublime layer of acoustics that now creeps through. This brings to life and gives great space and out of head experience than previously experienced.
From resonating bass foundations to beautifully sculpted vocals and ripping guitar riffs and clean pure highs, transparency and layering, I find that all three of my headphones that are rewired with gold give me what I wanted all along but didn’t always realize I was missing.
Oh, and some of that bass heaviness that has been talked about regarding the TH900? Well I think it was the cable because the evenness of sound and the solid beautiful bass, is there in resounding truthfulness to the credit of the music.
There is a tremble to some of the sound, the very slight change in a note but transcending into the musical line, something I had not heard before and something I have heard live but seldom recorded. It is like no part of the note color gets away, nothing is masked.
What this wire does, is it seems to allow what is at one end get through to the headphones unmolested. The sound doesn’t get lost along the way or messed up in the frequency somewhere. Now I ask, what more could you want?
Audeze LCD-2 ver 2
HiFiman 901 balanced and as a source.
DX100 as a single ended DAP and as a source.
DX50 as a single ended DAP and as a source
fi.Q amplifier, special design and modified with tantalum NOS resistors and Black Gate non polar capacitors, dual buf634 per channel, opa637 or opa627 op amps (the really good ones).
RSA Intruder balanced amplifier
RSA The Lightning
Music used: Hires (24/192) FLAC files and standard. WAV standard and hires 24/192.
All headphones used are balanced and an adapter using Reference Gold Plated Silver for the IC is used to go from balanced to single ended, and various balanced plugs, i.e., TRRS, to the Hirose. All the headphones are terminated with the Hirose.
Edited by jamato8 - 2/2/14 at 1:39pm