ifi Audio 4.4 to 4.4 cable


500+ Head-Fier
ifi Audio 4.4 to 4.4 cable
Pros: Very well made
Sounds better than the standard cable
Not expensive in comparison to the devices it can be used with
Cons: Plugs are a bit bulky
ifi audio 1.jpg

Yes, yes, I know, it doesn’t seem worth it to listen for changes with a tiny little interconnect cable, but bear with me. I mean it is not unusual to discuss or review these in a main system, so…

Towards the end of last year, I changed my home office system from a desktop based one to a portable/transportable one. Now it contains a Cayin N6ii DAP with A01, A02 and R01 motherboard modules and now most recently a Cayin C9 headphone amplifier. Currently I am pairing it with a set of Audio Technica ATH AP2000Ti closed back headphones, but I will also be using my Sennheiser HD800S once I get a shorter balanced cable with 4.4mm plug.

This system is significantly better than my old desktop based one, but as always there is that voice inside which says why not upgrade this or that to improve things even more.

Well in reality other than new headphone cables there is not much that is upgradeable but one item that I could see might be an option is the interconnect between the N6ii and C9. There appear to be only a few 4.4 to 4.4 short balanced interconnect cables out there and look to be either unexpectedly cheap or unbelievably expensive. The one that did appear most often in Google searches was the one from ifi Audio.

All of this brings me to tell you that ifi Audio very kindly send me a demo cable free of charge in return for my honest feedback and I have no financial or other connections to the company.

The ifi cable looks around twice the thickness than the supplied Cayin interconnect (code CS44C44) and almost twice the length at 300 vs 185mm. The one other tech point I can see if that while the Cayin cable is 6N OFC the ifi Audio cable is 4NOFC with 5N Platinum Pure Silver strands (not coating). I have had headphone cables with a similar “hybrid” format and they changed the sound quite noticeably over straight copper so I was interested to see what the result was.

After a good listen to a few albums using the standard Cayin cable in place and in order for the C9 to warm up (in Class A and valve settings) I swapped over to the ifi Audio cable and played the same albums again.

The sound balance did not seem to alter very much at all. In fact, I tried several repeat sessions with the 2 cables and I could not reliably say there was much difference. This was surprising as I expected a little more treble presence as I had found with headphones cables that contained silver strands in their cable.

On the other hand, the soundstage had a depth that was not there with the Cayin cable and the individual vocals and instruments had more focus and better-defined location. Do bear in mind this is with closed back headphones so I would anticipate this change may be improved upon even further with good open backed headphones (e.g HD800S).

In terms of cost, the Cayin cable seems to be available for around £35-40 GBP depending on source and delivery. The ifi cable is more widely available (here in the UK at least) and is around £60-70 GBP. I think if you are a fan of soundstage and stereo imaging then it is certainly worth considering. In fact if you are using it with a Cayin C9 it is a very small extra cost in return for getting the best out of that amplifier

The ifi Audio cable appears very well constructed and built to last in the hurly burly of a portable or transportable set up. At the end of the day I am not telling you how to spend your money but at least try these cables out for yourself and then decide.

Here are some of the tech details

ifi audio 2.jpg
There's just a touch more transparency and depth/width to the soundstage. The impression is a little brighter with the treble, and a tad more forward compared to the Cayin interconnect that comes with the C9. I'm listening to the SP2K/C9 with the Trailii.