IKKO CTU01 Upgrade cable - Reviews
Pros: Price/performance ratio
Bass punch and impact
Fuller and smoother midrange
Well defined yet fatiguing free treble
Wider soundstage
Better resolution and layering
Build
Aesthetic
Cons: Not the most flexible cable
Slightly on the heavy side
Introduction
The IKKO audio are relatively young Chinese company, they developed wide range of audio products, the OH1 & 10 hybrid IEMs are especially well known. After that, they start to release some audio products, like the DAC/AMP, USB DAC, cable and Bluetooth cable. Today I am checking out their new upgrade cable, the ARC CTU01, the price of it is $59USD.

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Disclaimer
I would like to thanks Watson from IKKO audio for given this opportunity, and the review will be based on my honest opinion through the music I listen to.


Package & accessories
The CTU01 come with the small and compact box, there are the typical IKKO style illustration at the front cover with the brand name, model name and other information, whereas the specifications at the rear side of it. After remove the cover, the cable and additional ear tips are sited in the foam orderly.

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Accessories list
1 pcs x CTU01 IEM Cable
1 pair x Double Layer Tips
3 pairs x Short silicone Tips
3 pairs x Balance Tips

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The IKKO CTU01 cable has include different options of ear tips, the tips is finished in high standard, the short silicone ear tips has softer inner core compare to balanced ear tips. Three of them provide the good level of fits, and can be use on typical size IEMs nozzle.

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Design & Build
The cable is made of the 127um SPCOCC ( single crystal copper silver-plated core) material, which claimed for provide better resolution.

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The cable has 4.4mm (There are the 2.5/3.5mm options as well) straight connector mirror finish in metal shell with brand name and logo on it.

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It has MMCX(There are 0.78 2 pin version as well) connector with red and transparent indicators to show right & left.

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The Y-splitter are mirror finish metal shell as well as the MMCX male connector. The cable slider are finish in metal mirror finish shell.

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The cable has the heat pre-form ear guides for better wearing experience. Overall the cable look pretty handsome and is definitely finish in really high standard for its price range

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Paring
Oriveti OH500
(Compare to Final audio C106 cable)

The OH500 are mildly U shape IEM, it has deep and well controlled bass, with warm and full bodies midrange, and mildly and detail treble.

The sub bass has slightly more extension, and the bass has better impact and slam to it. The midrange sound slightly warmer and fuller. The lower mids has more depth in comparison. The upper midrange has better positioning and sound fuller. The treble has fatiguing free listening, and maintaining the good level of brightness and airiness. The sound stage feel slightly less wider compare to Final C106 cable.

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Final audio B1 (compare to stock cable)

The B1 are great V shape sounding IEM, it has powerful and full bodies bass, with lush and warm midrange, and slightly smooth yet detail treble.

The sub bass has slightly more quantity, and the bass has better control and speed to it. The midrange sound not that recessed. The lower mids has more depth. The upper midrange offer fuller timbre, and remaining the good transparency level. The treble are more defined presented in slightly more open manner. The sound stage are slightly less wider compare to stock cable.

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Oriveti OH300 (compare to stock cable)

The OH300 are well tuned U shape IEM, it has linear and clean bass, with good amount of bodies yet fairly neutral midrange, the treble extended well without fatiguing.

The sub bass has slightly better extension, the bass has more impact and punch to it. The midrange sound fuller, the lower midrange has more bodies, without effect the clarity. The upper mids has more rounded presentation, and sound even more natural, the midrange has better level of transparency. The treble are slightly less bright, and it sound tad warmer and fuller, without losing the detail and airiness in treble region. There are more depth compare to stock cable.

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Westone W40 2019 (compare to stock cable)

The W40 are U shape sounding IEM with fairly neutral timbre, it has tight and well controlled bass, with well balanced and slightly warm midrange, and fatiguing free treble.

The sub bass has slightly more extension, with good amount of rumble and impact. The midrange sound noticeably fuller and warmer. The lower midrange has more bodies compare to stock cable, while the upper midrange has slightly better transparency level and sound more lively in pretty natural manner. The CTU01 also provide better layering to it. The treble has fairly natural timbre, sound especially smoother and fuller compare in comparison. The soundstage are fairly similar in comparison.

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BGVP VG4 (compare to stock cable)

The VG4 is fairly neutral slightly U shape sounding IEM, it has not far to neutral bass to lower midrange, slightly forward upper mids and bright yet well extended treble

It has better bass dynamic and amount, sound warmer and fuller compare to stock cable. The midrange sound fuller with warm tonality with out effect the good clarity on VG4. The lower mids has clean and smooth presentation but more depth in comparison, while the upper mids has good transparency levels, and sound noticeably fuller and warmer. The treble are less fatiguing and attacked, and owning the fuller instrument notes, and less brighter presentation. The soundstage feel less open, but more wider.

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Final audio E5000 (compare to stock cable)

The E5000 is the mildly U shape sounding IEM, it has full bodies bass, lush and warm midrange, with slightly dark but fairly natural treble.

It has better sub bass extension, the bass control and speed are better as well as the punch to it. The midrange sound more defined, the lower mids has same amount of bodies to it, whereas the upper mids sound more lively but still remaining the natural presentation, it has bit better transparency levels and clarity in the mids overall. The treble are pretty similar, but it extended further, and sound significantly smoother but more detail in comparison. The soundstage are slightly deeper compare to stock cable.

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IKKO OH10 (compare to stock cable)

The OH10 is V Shape sounding IEM and it has deep and well controlled bass, slightly thin midrange, and noticeably emphasis on upper midrange and treble.

It has better sub bass extension and control, the bass dynamic and punch are better on CTU01. The midrange sound less recessed compare to stock cable, the lower mids has slightly more depth and bodies, while the upper mids sound more natural but still lively and vividly as the stock cable, the CTU01 does not effect the overall clarity and detail in the midrange, but it has less transparency but more natural timbre. The cable also offer the better layering to OH10. The treble has more smoother and less harshness presentation in comparison, without losing the detail and clarity. The soundstage feel slightly deeper compare to stock cable.

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BQEYZ Spring1 (Compare to stock cable)

The Spring 1 is mildly U shape IEM, it has good amount of bass, lush and smooth midrange, and detail and well extended treble.

It has better sub bass extension, the bass feel more controlled and airy. The midrange sound has more clarity but less lusher. The lower mids has more bodies in comparison, while the upper midrange sound slightly backward, with better transparency level. The treble has less harshness and brightness feeling, but it maintaining its good speed and detail.

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Conclusion
The IKKO CTU01 is overall well build cable with decent internal wire craftsmanship. The CTU01 is the great cable for V shape sounding IEMs or the IEMs owing the thin timbre in midrange, it can fuller the midrange noticeably. The CTU01 is also the great deal for IEMs that have the harshness or bright in upper mid/treble region, it can smoother the upper midrange and treble in the natural manner. The CTU01 also promote the soundstage and resolution, the sound stage is significantly wider and slightly deeper. The price of CTU01 is $59 USD, for this price range it is amazing cable, hopefully IKKO can come out with more option for the cable with different sound signature. Thank you for reading! Enjoy the music as always :relaxed:

IKKO audio official website: https://ikkoaudio.com/?ref=1
IKKO CTU01 upgrade cable product page: https://ikkoaudio.com/product/ikko-ctu01-upgraded-cable/?ref=1

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