FiiO RC-MH1 Headphone Upgrade Cable


Previously known as 2Curiosity9
Pros: Good Conductivity, Strong Rubberized Build, Sturdy Jack, Flexible
Cons: Long 3.5mm Jack (On side to headphones), Not Soft, Straight Jack

Review on the FiiO RC-MH1 PCOCC-A Upgrade Headphone Cable

Greetings, I am here to present to you guys with a review on the FiiO PCOCC-A 3.5mm to 3.5mm headphone cable that FiiO had sent out to a selected few to review - free of charge. (Thanks heaps to FiiO for doing this:)
I had initially planned to have this review out sooner than this date, but things had popped up, and I hadn't really found the time to do so, until now, so apologies for that!


It was very nice of FiiO to do this review giveaway, because it just happened to occur that I was in the hunt for a new upgrade cable for my V-Moda M100's, seeing that cables made for these headphones are rather hard to find. Lucky for me, I didn't have to look any longer.
Anyways, there's actually not much for me to talk about here under this little intro, so I'll just carry on with the mini pictorial unboxing below..


So, this was what I had woken up to after a few days of being notified that FiiO had shipped my cables:)
The Parcel ^
The two cables found inside:) ^
Oyaide labelling ^
Un-packaged! ^
Simple packaging, and very elegant. Not much to it, and not much was really necessary for the cables after all.
Review time!


(DISCLAIMER: My FiiO RC-MH1 cables have been burnt-in for around 15-20 hours.)


I couldn't find a specification sheet, so this image will do for the time being.

Build Quality & Design/Function Factor

Build Quality

In one simple sentence, I can say this cable, the RC-MH1, is very well built. Although being a bit solid, you'd expect it not to be all that flexible, but in fact, it's somewhat flexible to some extent. Being a dual-stranded cable that are bonded together in between, pretty much makes it a flat cable, and that is what would prevent this cable from being at it's optimal flexibility point. 
Aside from flexibility, this cable is also very well constructed, and hence shows durability. I may have not put it under any stress tests, nor have I used it under any hardcore conditions, I can say it will probably last through any forms of crazy activity. I guess in a way, you could say the cable is sturdy as the M100's itself, but maybe not to a military-grade standard. 
Overall, the build is made to high quality levels, and it certainly would not disappoint for the price that would be paid. 

Design/Function Factor

The metal jack^
Well...this cable sure functions as should, and its design is very nice. Even its design shows durability. It just looks relatively thick and the metal jack on one end of the cable looks of top quality. 
The design flaws I'd state that I don't like so much about this cable is the fact that it's a dual-stranded cable, and the fact that it has a super long (3.3cm) 3.5mm jack that protrudes out of my M100's, which limits my movement when turning my head, due to it clashing with my shoulder. With the cables being dual-stranded, this gives it the flat-effect, which restricts the cable from being more bendable and may appear as though a lot of stress is applied to some areas when bending as opposed to if it were just a single-stranded cable. 
The Cable^
Besides that opinionated flaw, the feel of the cable is very nice, as the rubberized effect makes the cable feel of better quality than cheap, plastic coated cables. At least with that feel, it allows the cable to bend better. 
I don't feel there's much else to say about the design factors here, so I shall commence onto Sound Quality!

Sound Quality


How does this cable sound? Well..I asked myself that question, and to be honest, I couldn't notice much besides the fact that @miceblue had already stated in his review - the FiiO RC-MH1 cable sounds louder than the stock V-Moda cable. 
Along with that, I had also noticed a slight increase in bass where it hits a touch harder (due to the copper) and it giving the overall sound a warmer presentation. I, myself, am not really a fan of warm sound, so this cable wasn't really made for my taste, as I am one who prefers the brighter side of things. In saying so, this should not stop anyone who doesn't like warm sound to stay away from this cable, because the audible differences are so minute, one might not even take notice. Aside from that, I honestly could not spot anything else that could be majorly noticeable, or worth listening for.

Comparison to the V-Moda M100 Stock Cables

V-Moda (Grey) 1-Button SpeakEasy Cable (Total: 132cm) Vs. FiiO RC-MH1 (Total: 120cm)
V-Moda (Black) Audio Cable Only (Total: 175cm) Vs. FiiO RC-MH1 + FiiO RC-UX1 (Total: 220cm)

Build Quality

I preferred the build quality of the M100 stock cables, because they are much more flexible and feel much nicer in the hands, compared to the FiiO RC-MH1. Although the one thing I'd give to the FiiO cable for build quality would be the jack. As I had mentioned earlier, the jack is made wonderfully and looks stunning. It's nothing really that special, but it sure does look better than any regular rubber coated jack, such as that of the stock V-Moda cables.
3.5mm Male Jacks (Goes into the M100 headphones) ^
3.5mm Male Jacks (Goes into the source) ^

Sound Quality

As stated in my Sound Quality section of this review, all that was said was pretty much in comparison to the stock V-Moda M100 cables. The FiiO cables being the warmer, bassier type, whilst the stock cables sounded more neutral, and not so warm. 


All in all, it was a pleasure of mine to have the opportunity to review FiiO's newly released, RC-MH1 PCOCC-A Headphone Cable, and it was very nice of FiiO. 
To sum things up, the cables that FiiO now have for sale, are of high quality, that perform as should, if not better, and are very affordable. Would I recommend these? Sure I would! For a relatively cheap price, you'll get a nice durable cable that will replace your stock cables; no sweat. And if you're a basshead/lover of warmth, by all means, this would then be considered an "upgrade" to your stock V-Moda cables for your M100's. One Basshead can never have too much bass, right? Haha..
Either way, this leads to the conclusion of my review, and as per usual - to those who read from top to bottom, thank you for reading!
It's getting rather late now in Australia, so I am going to go catch some Z's. 
Over & Out,

Oh, sorry guys. I hadn't seen these comments until now.
@Nihl Hi. I personally would take the V-Moda cable over this cable for your X1. I find the FiiO cables to have a slightly, and I mean slightly, warmer sound, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your preference. So in short, V-Moda cable for durability and flexibility, and FiiO cable for a bit of warmth, and a metal jack. 

@miceblue I didn't analyse and give the cable as much as you did, so my opinion is rather just a rough, first-impressions, haha. (@Nihl It's probably better you take miceblue's opinion over mine:)
i wonder if it will fit the q460 [@SkyBleu ]
@noobandroid Sorry, I didn't see this til now.
By the looks of it, the Q460 only takes 2.5mm into the headphone, so this shouldn't fit it as it is 3.5mm. Maybe the RC-HD1 might, as it was made for the 2.5mm terminated HD598? 


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Cable build quality
Cons: Microphonic, prone to memory
I would like to greatly thank Fiio for giving me the chance to try out their new cables.
Personally, I found it quite interesting when I heard Fiio, who I had always thought of as an amp and DAC company, was making cables. I received both the RC-MH1 for the Phillips X1, Sony 1R series, and V-Moda headphones and the RC-UX1, a 3.5mm extension cable.
While I don’t any of the abovementioned headphones that the RC-MH1 was made for, I do own multiple V-Moda cables for my modified Fostex T50RP headphone and I was curious to see how the RC-UX1 worked with my T50RP, and how it compared to the V-Moda cables I own.
Both the RC-MH1 and RC-UX1 both share the same Furutech cable and aluminum connector on the end that connects to your music player or amp. The cable material itself is soft and flexible, but highly prone to memory, as I demonstrate in the picture below:

(This is what happened after I wound the cable around my hand and placed it on my bed.)
The connectors are a nice brushed aluminum though, and the textured portion makes it easy to unplug from devices. The strain relief is good without being excessive. While it doesn’t bend very much when the cable is pulled at an angle, it seems like it will do a good job keeping the cable from being pulled out of the connector.

The female end of the RC-UX1 is plastic, but it’s a durable feeling plastic. Unlike some of the cheaper 3.5mm extension cables I’ve had before. Although you can see the molding where the two pieces of the connector were fused, it is much less noticeable than some of the other female 3.5mm connectors I’ve seen in the past.

If I had one complaint about the connectors, it would be the headphone connector for the RC-MH1 and how excessively long it seems. I’ve used the V-Moda M-100 before, and seen @miceblue's set using the RC-MH1 cable; the connector seems excessively long even for that. So much so that you could bump it with your shoulder while wearing them without much effort.

Comparing the RC-MH1 to the V-Moda audio only cable, the V-Moda is softer and more flexible, but to be honest, I’ve never liked 45-degree angled connectors that much, which is what one end of the V-Moda cable is. To me, it’s just a compromise between a straight connector and a 90-degree connector that feels awkward no matter how you use it. I much prefer the Fiio’s straight connector over the V-Moda. The V-Moda cable is also much less prone to microphonics, but that is because the cable is covered in a material I can only closely describe as shoelace material, which some people may find annoying.
I will go into sonic impressions later when I have all of my reference gear available. While I haven’t heard a night and day difference with my T50RPs, and I don’t think I will when I do compare them, any headphones that sound better with a lower output impedance may improve with the RC-MH1. When I measured the RC-MH1’s impedance in comparison to the V-Moda audio only cable, the impedance was about half (~4 ohms for the V-Moda, ~2 for the MC1). Don’t quote me though, because I don’t have my multimeter with me to verify.
In closing, I think Fiio did a nice job with the cables overall, despite the microphonics and wire memory. If the stock cable on your headphones break, or you need a nice extension cable, these fit the bill. I also think Fiio may want to consider making a version of this cable with a right angle connector that could be used with the Fostex T50RP, since most people dislike the stock cable, and the closest replacement available is the V-Moda audio cable, which is not idea since it has a 45 degree connector, as mentioned above.


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Cable length, sound quality, low resistance, tangle-resistant, narrow-jack insert
Cons: Flexibility, long narrow-jack insert, stiff strain reliefs, feels cheap
First of all, I want to thank FiiO for allowing me to participate in this review opportunity; I received this cable as a free review unit from them:
Since many people may not know:
Originally Posted by FiiO /img/forum/go_quote.gif
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.
Compatible Models
Sennheiser HD598
V-MODA M80/M100
Extension Cable
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

Q: What exactly is PCOCC-A?
A: PCOCC stands for Pure Copper Ohno Continuous Cast, while the A stands for Anneal
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:

Anyway, onwards to the review itself. Since Head-Fi no longer lists an individual's detailed ratings in a given review, here's a screenshot of what my ratings are.
Value: 4/5
Performance: 5/5
Quality: 3/5
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

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 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
  1. Dual-core/two-stranded cable construction (like two cables glued together) [Figure 1]
  2. 3.5 mm jack is sheathed in a straight (read: not angled) metal sleeve, although it is quite thick and heavy [Figure 1]
  3. Cable insulation feels somewhat cheap, having the texture of a stiff plastic cable with a matte-like finish
  4. Kinks and bends are retained if the cable is bent, but easy to straighten out too [Figures 2 and 3]
  5. Strain reliefs don't seem effective since they are very stiff and hardly move [Figures 4 and 5]
  6. 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)
  7. 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
  1. 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]
  2. Narrow jack insert can bend and retain its shape [Figure 7]
  3. Heavy compared to the stock V-MODA Crossfade M-100 cable
  4. Fairly short cable at 100 cm (~40 inches)
  5. 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 8-9]. 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 (0.163 Ω) of RC-MH1 cable
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.