1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

    Dismiss Notice

Han Sound Audio Agni MK2

Rating:
5/5,
  1. crabdog
    Han Sound Audio Agni MK2 - Pure Silver
    Written by crabdog
    Published Jun 26, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Extremely good handling and comfort
    Versatile matchability
    Can be worn over-ear or down (no memory wire or pre-shaped hooks)
    Cons - No strain relief on plug
    DSC_1706_result.jpg

    Han Sound Audio is a Taiwan-based company that manufactures high-quality upgrade cables for headphones and in-ear monitors (IEMs). They started selling the first model, “Magic” in 2011 under the HiSound moniker and then the popular Muse in 2012.

    But it was in 2017 at CanJam Singapore when I first became familiar with the brand, which had since changed their name to Han Sound Audio. Since that time they’ve become a popular and respected source of IEM cables. Moving forward and today we’re reviewing the Han Sound Audio Agni MK2, the 2nd generation of this high-purity OCC silver upgrade cable.

    Han Sound Audio website: http://www.hansoundaudio.com/default.aspx

    Agni is considered the mouth of the gods and goddesses

    Wikipedia
    This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own, based on my experience with the product.

    Prior to testing, the Agni MK2 unit used for this review was run-in for 72 hours using the Telos QBT machine, courtesy of BKK Audio.

    Package and Accessories

    DSC_1864_result.jpg

    The Agni MK2 comes in Han Sound Audio’s classic black box. On the top is the brand logo in silver and on one side of the box, there is a white sticker displaying the model name, connector and plug type. Inside the box, the cable is nestled in a circular, black foam insert with a thin layer of foam on top of the cable itself for extra protection. Apart from the cable, the only other thing in the box is a leather cable wrap, embossed with the brand name.

    Build Quality and Design
    The Agni MK2 is an extremely classy looking cable with a premium feel. It’s a 4 core braided design, from the source termination to the Y-split, after which it transforms into 2 dual twisted cores. Each core is sheathed in a clear UV-PVC jacket.

    DSC_1708_result.jpg

    The gauge is 26 AWG for each wire and interestingly, the cores are made by twisting 2 different sizes of high-purity OCC silver (4-wire/8-wire) in concentric circles around a DuPont Kevlar 200d element to increase the strength of the structure.

    Unlike the original Agni which had a Furutech plug, the MK2 uses HanSound’s own plug, which is available in 2.5mm/3.5mm/4.4mm sizes. The 2.5mm balanced plug is made with phosphor bronze material and the 3.5mm and 4.4mm balanced plugs are tellurium copper material.

    DSC_1717_result.jpg

    Components
    I chose a 2.5mm source termination along with 2-pin IEM/CIEM connectors. So, what you’re seeing here is the gold-plated phosphor bronze 2.5mm plug with branding in white print on one side. The plug also has a lightly-textured honeycomb pattern that is smooth but aids when gripping the plug while plugging in or disconnecting. There is no visible strain relief here which I find a bit strange for a premium cable and hope it does not cause any durability concerns later on.

    The Y-split is the iconic Han Sound Audio one, with a tapered lower end and chiselled top end with the brand logo in the middle. Unlike the earlier version which was all silver-coloured, this one has a black band in the middle with a white logo. There’s also a matching rectangular metal chin slider with rounded sides.

    There are no memory wires or pre-formed ear guides, meaning the Agni MK2 can be worn either down or over-ear. At the top, the metal connectors appear to be unchanged from the older version with their polished finish and white and red coloured ring on the left and right sides respectively.

    DSC_1715_result.jpg

    Handling and Aesthetics
    Apart from its fantastic audio qualities (more on that later), the Agni MK2 has some of the best ergonomics I’ve seen in an upgrade cable. As I mentioned earlier, it feels premium in the hand; the UV-PVC jacket has a nice thickness to it making it not only feel hardy but the extra girth just makes it look even better.

    At the same time, it is exceptionally supple and drapes really nicely. There are no kinks, nor is there any springiness or awkward twisting. Additionally, the MK2 is resistant to tangling, it’s lightweight and has no microphonics. Simply put, the Agni MK2 is a joy to use in terms of handling.

    DSC_1599_result.jpg

    Sound Impressions
    If there ever was a perfect cable for my many warmer IEMs, the Agni MK2 fits the bill. I love a warmer tonality plus the extra weight, body and musicality it brings with it. But apart from a pleasing tonality, my other must haves are transparency and resolution. The MK2 brings all the right characteristics to the party and it’s a party that I hope never ends.

    What pure silver cables are universally expected to do is to increase resolution and the MK2 checks that box with a flourish. Silver is also often considered to be more analytical and it’s here where the Agni MK2 contradicts itself because while it does improve resolution remarkably well, it’s also absurdly smooth, even when paired with brighter IEMs.

    Perhaps this oxymoron of “smoothly resolving” is partly a result of the MK2’s increased bass extension. By that, I don’t mean an increase in the quantity of bass. In fact, if anything, the bass is tighter with better control. But the improved extension inadvertently adds a touch of extra body while maintaining the same definition and control.

    DSC_1558_result.jpg

    In the midrange, the Agni MK2 increases transparency and resolution, making everything sound a bit cleaner and purer. The background becomes blacker but the transients and decay feel unchanged, so there’s no loss in musicality. The MK2 does a sweet number on vocals too, granting improved clarity and uncompromised richness. In Riverside’s “Under The Pillow”, the articulation of the softer style vocals is improved and the guitars have added texture.

    On the subject of texture, the treble gets more of it too, along with more definition and control. The effect this has on staging is very positive and with a capable monitor, results in a more holographic and engaging stage.

    Select Pairings
    For testing, I used both the Soundaware M2Pro and Sony NW-ZX300. With the Sony DAP, I also needed a 2.5mm-4.4mm adapter. As noted at the top of this article, the cable was run-in for 72 hours using the Telos QBT machine prior to testing.

    Empire Ears Bravado

    The Bravado is a monitor that continues to surprise me when tested with different cables. Compared to the stock EA Ares II cable, the Agni MK2 sounds more refined with better bass control and a more balanced overall tonality. The extra treble texture gives the stage extra stability and a holographic feel. Midrange is rich and smooth with great resolution and transparency.

    LX-Ear Pluto

    The Pluto is a very warm and mid-bass centric 4BA IEM. The Agni MK2’s tighter bass goes a long way in reining in this boisterous monitor’s low end. Guitars in the midrange are crunchier and the mids, in general, have increased transparency. Better treble texture helps the high frequencies to better contrast with the aggressive bass and also improves imaging and stage stability.

    Custom Art FIBAE Black

    The FIBAE Black is another inherently warm IEM that gets a really tasty boost with the Agni MK2. The mid-bass notes become less rounded and more precise, while the midrange sees an increase in resolution and a cleaner presentation. The Black’s treble sounds a little better extended and airier too, slightly expanding the dimensions of the soundstage in the process.

    M-Fidelity SA-50

    With the SA-50 I hear more mid-bass definition like I can hear the skin on the kick drum better with the MK2. Sub-bass is more textured with better extension. The SA-50 already has a very resolving midrange on its own but paired with the MK2 it goes to a whole other level. Treble is more defined and for some reason, the SA-50 is the only monitor I tested that sounds brighter than usual with the Agni MK2. Instrument separation and 3D staging are off the charts with this combination.


    DSC_1860_result.jpg
    CIEMS: Top left: Empire Ears Bravado, Top right: M-Fidelity SA-50, Bottom left: LX-Ear Pluto, Bottom right: Custom Art FIBAE Black.
    Conclusion
    The Han Sound Audio Agni MK2 is a visually striking cable that also handles extremely well. I love the fact that its extra girth makes it look and feel (and sound) so substantial but it remains very supple and comfortable to use.

    What really surprises me is how well it works with all types of sound signatures, from warm and thick to neutral or even bright. Without a doubt, the Agni MK2 is a sterling (pun intended) pure silver upgrade cable and one that I highly recommend.

    *This review was originally posted on my blog.
    1. MadDane
      Great review, thanks.
      MadDane, Jun 26, 2019
      crabdog likes this.