Penon Obsidian


Headphoneus Supremus
Uniquely Different
Pros: Penon's very first modular cable
OCC +18K gold-plated OCC hybrid cable
Specific note weight, authority and depth in relation to regular silver/copper hybrids
Gorgeous modular plugs on one end, your choice of MMCX or 0.78 2pin on the other
A beautiful middle size and middle weight cable
Gold for enhanced richer tone and spacial depth
Copper for warmth
Made to accentuate the best parts of brighter IEMs and midrange IEMs
Adds contrast and blackness, in comparison to regular silver/copper hybrids
Adds bass separation and tone, plus deepens soundstage
Can (at times) through spacial properties, enhance clarity of midrange and treble elements
Can smooth-out treble and midrange brightness with other IEMs
Somehow enhances pace while adding authority to bass, thus separation
Never really dull or too dark
Cons: Not specifically made for truly dark IEMs, but never the less you could try it
Doesn't extend soundstage like a silver cable does
Doesn't extend soundstage like a copper/silver Hybrid does
Penon OBSIDIAN 4 Shares OCC & 18K gold-plated OCC Mixed HiFi Audiophile IEMs Cable wth 3-in-1 Detachable Plugs


4 shares, 100 cores per share, 400 cores in total
OCC+18K gold-plated OCC hybrid cable
Gold-plated copper + carbon fiber plug accessories
Length: 1.2m
Plug: gold-plated three-in-one plug (3.5mm/2.5mm/4.4mm)

3.5mm plug
4.4mm balanced plug
2.5mm balanced plug
Add $10.00 for express shipping.


Penon has just introduced a new style of cable. Not only does the Obsidian look like no cable you have seen before, the Obsidian has a special response character which goes with your DAP and IEM to generate an original tone. Truly I’m surprised I liked it so much, as this single review has jumped way ahead of the other reviews, finding itself an interesting product to investigate. This inquisitiveness came about the old fashioned way by simply listening and doing side-by-side tests. First off let's just say that I have a few IEMs which need taming. This reaction occurs due to finding the IEMs both resolving and bright. Not every IEM is this way, but a select few…….which could benefit from the addition of such "warmer" cable. Now the interesting part is the Obsidian doesn’t just dull-down the experience. What was surprising was how it was incredibly detailed too. Detailed in its own positioning of elements and character, it was bestowing upon the signal. The lower midrange got a warm boost with added authority and the bass was actually delineated and focused as well as being slightly enhanced. It was the back ground that the bass lived in…….seemingly of greater contrast and focus which gave a style of vividness to the bass frequencies. I never use the word “vivid” to go about describing bass frequencies, yet I have no other word for this phenomena? After about 45 minutes in listening time, the results were truly known and seen for what they were, becoming farther from the test group of 4 other cables used as a baseline in this study.

It started off with a general listening session with one of my favorites the 10 BA Noble Encore Universal. This Encore has been passed-up in the Noble line-up a few times, as it came out in 2017.........many years ago by Head-Fi standards. Some might say I’m making do. That is in reference to using a 5 year old 10 BA IEM and trying to up the musical involvement by bringing the right cable to use with the Encore. While in reality this is also the key to life. Taking deficits and making assets from them. I’m sure you have an aging flagship which may be in need of polishing or authority enhancement? The reason the Obsidian works is due to the blending of attributes which go ahead and emphasize the special characteristics of the Encore. And how I know the character traits of the Noble Audio Encore, after putting more than 3000 listening hours in, I know it better than any IEM I have.

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The Encore ends being the poster child for creative cable placement. Taking the treble and adding smoothness. Those 6.5 kHz and 8.5 kHz peaks are real, yet never heard in a form of compression, but more a spacial scattering of imaging and itemizations which end-up entertaining cymbal splashes and hi-hat tinkering. Seemingly far out to the sides and separated from their family inside the center. Next the Obsidian enhances the lower midrange adding girth and deeper tone which is truly something the Encore is starving for…….the midrange is neutral but the lower midrange is almost absent, which gives a window into fast bass transients below. This set-up is fine and there are no fires to put out here. Only enhancing the lower midrange and infusing a woody tone just makes the whole response more balanced and entertaining. What is left is the dramatic hidden bass. Such bass is BA in character, yet holds more definition than DDs could ever hope to achieve. Combine that with speedy transients of bass attacks and we are in our own sonic paradise, for what the Encore lacks in perfect timbre and natural bass decay.............we are gifted instead a technical bass with definition. Such a technical performance is enhanced by what the Obsidian does naturally.


Such a combo in construction creates an exact response which was Penon’s goal. Gold actually adds a rich tone and depth to the signal. But we are trying to balance the tone of gold and copper hence the 18K gold is only plated on a few of the copper stands. So the Obsidian cable is known as an OCC cable with 18K gold plated OCC. 4 shares at 100 cores a share equals 400 shares. And the cable comes out remarkably ergonomic. I don’t know if that was Penon’s goal, but they achieved the best of both worlds for your brighter and medium IEMs. One, the cable is the perfect size and moves around splendidly, and Two, the cable has an exact character which is more authoritative and has more depth than standard OCC. If you are like me, you may find once the Obsidian is in place, you never want to change a thing. Cables are funny that way, in that they add a temperament to the signal that’s irreplaceable. Finding the right combination is simply a game, and the results (while guessed) aren’t always exactly as you would expect.


The Penon Vortex:
This is a combo no one could have prepared me for. Maybe you wouldn’t guess the Obsidian would bring to the Vortex what’s needed? When in fact the Vortex is incredibly small, so having the Obsidian size and physical character be medium-size is a great fit. There is no chance of the Obsidian pulling the Vortex out of your ears. These results go against my understanding of cable combinations with the Vortex. If you read my Vortex review from October of this year, I expose the fact that the included cable (CS819) seems too smooth, so why would I like the smoother darker Obsidian cable instead. Much of the time these reactions are truly found only through experimentation. There is rhyme and reason, though the final test is in the trying. So you can realize that separation is a benefit of using the Obsidian right? Well such separation qualities seem to enhance the natural full-range DLC 10mm Dynamic Driver’s compactness. Meaning there are sound attributes which go beyond tone to kind-of unearth a different style of replay. The whole realization here, and the main concern, is if the replay is too relaxed or too dark…..and surprisingly it's not dark! In fact the tone is just right. The real test for this is prolonged listening……….. as if that’s true, if it’s too smooth, a realization of this will occur down-the-road in listening, where your brain starts to fully figure out the playback signature. But no issues here, in-fact part of my understanding of the Obsidian playback was the midrange delineation and treble construction which added just that extra ounce of detail and brightness to make the Vortex be all it could be!


The TSMR Sands:
Back in 1975 I did my very first back to back headphone comparison. It was done listening to Iron Man by Black Sabbath with both a new Sennheiser headphone and a pair of bass heavy Koss headphones. Right then I knew, and my friends knew, I gravitated towards the Koss. I simply wanted to experience the emotional connection between Tony Iommi and his guitar. Those warm fuzzy chords only rang true when heard with bass emphasis. This was a whole new language to me, and I wanted to understand, all of it. It just seemed the airy-fast-new Sennheiser technology was technically better, but left out the deep-end, thus the message wasn’t complete. As I listen and listen more I’m starting to find attraction to brighter and faster signatures, which maybe even pass-up what Sennheiser was doing in the mid-seventies? Such is the Sands. We need a warmer cable to truly gain playback balance with the Sands. We need the bass to be brought up, and the treble to be interwoven into the musical tapestry……to congeal the experience. Now while the Obsidian parlays a fun and detailed playback, I still needed to go back from wide-bore tips to the included (TSMR) medium bore tips to tailor the exact sound wanted. So absolutely, this cable parlays the midrange and treble energy too! Still we must come to terms that this Sands tune (and the Land tune) is the only one in the world to offer such a treble display!


The Fan 2:
Coming out from Penon Audio at nearly the exact same time and the Obsidian was maybe no accident? Both products showcasing Penon’s penchant for change and exploration, while still holding the values that made Penon successful close to the heart. And in fact that’s just what we have, a fairly neutral playback in the Fan 2, embellishing the detail which occurs when every frequency is allowed to shine through. Such unobstructed technicalities are further brought into focus by the Obsidian's careful and warm replay. When in fact the Totem is the only other cable which beats the wonderful synergy found between the Fan 2 and the Obsidian.



And…….finally the Noble Audio Encore Universal once more:
Just for fun we will rotate in another competitor for your precious cable dollar. That’s right the ISN H2. Another way to look at the Obsidian is it’s a hybrid cable…….yep, it’s a hybrid of OCC and gold…….yet it isn’t totally marketed that way to avoid confusion. The H2 is great with the Noble Audio Encore…….seemingly adding both the deepness of copper and the slight shine of silver to create musical involvement. I still had the freedom to use my wide-bore tips and achieve the maximum bass speed and soundstage display. So now the question is does the Obsidian beat it? Here is the deal, with the Obsidian and 10 BA Encore you get more thickness, more note weight and a slight tinge of warmth. With IEMs that lean on the brighter side of the fence such adds are wanted and maybe even needed. But there is more to the Obsidian Magic…….the final gift is that of depth…….everything is broader and deeper. More room for playback. This may be from the blacker background, less busy in playback compared to the ISN H2, truly I more or less look at this as a subtle rearrangement of musical elements, that and the added note weight.


Made as a first modular plug from Penon, you can basically leave it on your IEM and change plugs to join the Obsidian with any amp. Bestowing a style of authority and warmth..........such gifts will come in handy if you're trying to adapt a playback signature (as integration) into possible found synergy. So look at bright or medium playback temperaments as being the best union with the Obsidian. Yet at times the profound authority can overcome even the tonal balance, making the Obsidian truly the best cable with something like the Vortex IEM. It’s this wild-card aspect to Obsidian playback that can’t always be predetermined or guessed. At 149.00 as far as a wire goes…’s pricy. Yet even if you don’t hear cable changes, but wanted to make sure you had done the due diligence (for insurance) you have done all you can do to guarantee great playback!

Plus the Obsidian looks nice.

It looks the part 100%. It’s well built and sturdy and functional. Penon has figured out a way to make the modular plug joint invisible. They knew the best looking modular plug would be the same size as a regular plug and one that looks like a regular plug. Plus if you never change from 4.4mm to 3.5mm to 2.5mm............then whatever plug you have added is what stays. You want the Obsidian to become like a fixed plug cable…….and that is what it does.

I don’t know how many cables I’ve got anymore, but the Penon Obsidian is unique. It’s unique in sound and unique in looks. And……if we can talk about looks for a moment, they are more important than many realize. It’s form, function and sound which delineate why you wound ever even be interested in a new cable. The form is one of style and beauty, the way the cables feels in you hand, the sparkles of 18K gold additives, the feel of the plugs as you join the cable to your DAP. The function that the Obsidian does exactly what I was intended to do, if you change modular tips or not it works the same. During my testing I never once wished for a standard “fixed” permanent connection, yet I always had the freedom to change modular plugs if desired. The modular plug comes in MMCX or 0.78 2pin so really the Obsidian goes with any amp or IEM you have. If your IEM comes with a qdc 2 pin connection most of the time you can still use regular 0.78 2pin, and as long as polarity matches, you will be fine. These cable tests have been fun and I must admit that at this point I’m almost more into cables than IEMs or DAPs. It’s just that when I’m listening..............the cable makes the union of the DAP and IEM complete, it is another dimension in this game, another form of creative artistic expression for these engineers to dream-up. And while $149.00 is a lot of cash, the Obsidian doesn’t look or sound like any cable I have yet met-up-with. The sound is special and takes a few of my IEMs to a place they have never been to.


I want to thank Penon Audio for the love and for the Obsidian review sample.

These are one persons ideas and concepts, your results may vary.

Equipment Used:
Sony WM1Z Walkman DAP MrWalkman Firmware 4.4mm and 3.5m
Sony WM1A Walkman DAP MrWalkman Firmware 4.4mm and 3.5mm
Sony TA-ZH1ES DAC/AMP Firmware 1.03
Electra Glide Audio Reference Glide-Reference Standard "Fatboy" Power Cord
Sony Walkman Cradle BCR-NWH10
AudioQuest Carbon USB
UA3 Dongle DAC/Amplifier 4.4mm and 3.5mm
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Given the name and the dark aesthetic, I wonder how this would go on the IKKO OH10?:ksc75smile:
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I don't have the OH10, but it's called Obsidian and has a black glossy shell that resembles it's name. Shell is also copper I think. Pretty well regarded as V tuned IEM with good bass. Sound samples I've heard seem similar to CCA CRA tuning, so a warmer cable would push it towards HBB style tuning with slight roll off to treble and more note weight. :L3000:


Headphoneus Supremus
Modular OCC 4 cored copper cables + gold plated OCC cores.
Pros: Each cable hand built to Penon specs.
Higher end OCC copper cores.
First modular cables from Penon Audio.
Easy to pull out and plug in terminations.
Comes with every type of plug you need for any type of source
Only a few cores are gold plated so not 100% gold plating.
Shows more versatility than 100% gold plated copper cables
Adds musicality and dynamism to neutral, bright, well-balanced IEMs.
Gold plated copper connectors and terminations adding to the cable sound enhancing design.
Excellent for enhancing bass to mids with a smoother richer treble
Adds note weight to host IEMs sound properties.
Very competitive for such cables in the market place despite the price point.
No annoying ear guides.
Comfortable to use.
Cons: Not the most soft or pliable but not bad.
Does not enhance stage like pure silver type cables but that is to be expected.
wish there was a way to change the mmcx to 2 pin, like EAs conX modules.
Penon Obsidian
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Everyone knows by now Penon produces higher end IEM cables among other audio goods they sell on their site. It was their cables that initially drew me to the company. I bought several of their cables in the past and that led me to hear their IEMs. Much of what Penon produces is very methodical and well thought out. They are certainly not a company that randomly makes items for the masses and hopes it sells well. That does not seem to be the Penon philosophy.
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The Obsidian is their newest Penon branded IEM cable and at its core is roughly 400 cores of Ohno Continuous Cast, higher grade of copper cable but then they added something in the mix to throw in a hint of coloration via gold plating and what you end up getting is something like a super copper cable. I know 2 cores does not seem much in the mix here but I feel it was done intentionally as a design more than just throwing in some random different cores. The connectors and terminations also happen to be gold plated copper as well adding to how the cables influence the sound of your IEMS. .
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With that, the Obsidian was provided for review purposes by Penon audio. If you feel the need to grab yourself a higher end copper cable you can look up their page here. The Obsidian has been used with a variety of IEMs and sources. This report here are the end results of what these cables do.

Cables for IEMs are for the hard-core enthusiasts that want to squeeze out that last bit of synergistic aspects to their favorite in ears and in my review, I will relay what I feel these cables are good for and what type of coloration they lean toward. Coloration is best described as making a tonal or sound change to the base sound of an IEM. I know there are plenty of non-believers in cables that think your random $20 cable will be the same as something like the $150 Obsidian I am writing about here. But there must be a reason why the Obsidian cost the way they do right? If you're the type that thinks cables do nothing for a sound signature. Then you best be reading another review. This review is about Obsidian and why they cost $150.
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Tendencies Obsidian.
Of pure copper cables is one of musicality, warmth, fullness, dynamism and naturalness. I don't mean to say your IEMs will get all these aspects from a cable and will suddenly change to these aspects but more the cable enhances these areas of sound or influences the sound with these aspects. Then there is the added gold plating on a few cores. What does that do?

It adds a touch of coloration for the copper and is the anti-pure silver effect to cables. Pure silver brings out the best detail and technical aspects of earphone tunings. Gold plating for cables darken a sound adding a richer tonal quality. However, it can come out as being a bit too much for the host IEM as this might color the tonal qualities in the wrong direction. Last thing you want is for your warm sounding IEMs to sound even darker. For a gold-plated cable to be truly versatile, it can’t be 100% cores being gold plating. I noticed cables that partially uses gold platings end up being much more versatile in the long run. I have done reviews of gold-plated cables in the past and unless you have a gold plating on pure silver which yields an interesting mix of richer tonal character over a highly technical presentation. Not to mention the sheer cost of such cables. Look here about the Penon golden Armour, gold plating on copper is more common but yields something that becomes a niche type of cable for example the Penon GD849 cable is an 8 core OCC cable plated in 18k gold you can read about here. It certainly looks more premium with all that gold plating; however, it turns out that the cheaper gold-plated cable in the GS849 with only 1/2 of its 8 cores plated in gold is the more versatile cable than the GD849 with all of its cores plated in that glorious 18k gold here.
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You figure more is better, right? Well, when it comes to gold plating, not really. All that gold plating on pure copper adds a bit too much a darker tonal quality to an IEM changing the tonality a bit too much. Take an IEM with a lot of bass emphasis that has a warm tuning. Something like the Shozy SCB2. That IEM with something like the GD849 is a no no.

This is what I mean by niche cable. Only good for certain types of sound profiles. Of course, the idea with such synergistic aspects with cable match ups is that once you do match up with the right cable for your IEMs that is when the sound will become optimum.
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Back to the Obsidian. Which only has a few cores of the mentioned gold plating. This in return only gives a slight hint of that darker tonal effect to its host IEM. That is a good thing my friends. The Obsidian is mostly pure OCC copper in what it does. It does add more weight to notes, it does influence a fuller bass line. It does not enhance treble notes. Them added few cores of gold plating and you get a more natural more textured tonal effect for vocals and instruments alike. A slightly richer take on your sound profile with an increase of fullness and dynamism, What not to like about that?
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Music becomes fuller, thicker, more dimensional, more body with better texture is what the Obsian does. Oh I forgot the Obsidian also happens to be Penons first set of modular cables. I think all their cables will eventually get the modular treatment from this point forward. One set of cables to rule them all. You just have to pull out the bottom 2/3rds of the plug and replace them with another that you need. It is easier than most modular set ups as there are no twisting caps involved. It is a 4 pin plug n play set up and will only fit with a notch on one side so no way of messing up the plug in and out process. Since it is using 4 holes there is no way these will accidentally fall out of place either. So the setup is tight and works as intended. Works out to be very good for people like me who use a variety of DAPs or sources. Excellent ease of use for its modularity there.
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The Obsidian is certainly an exotic looking cable with its darker sheathing finish with some of the gold plated cores that you can see from the outer PVC finish on them. Not the best as far as flexibility or pliability but not bad here as they are a 4 cored cable composed of 100 shares each core. I also appreciate that Penon does not use unnecessary ear guides for most of their cables. Cables just feel more comfortable being draped around my ears with no ear guides for me. Each Obsidian cable is hand made to Penon specs and you will most certainly get a high quality cable in the process. Continuing on the gold plated theme. Yes, even the connectors and terminations have an influence on your sound. These are all gold plated copper material further adding to the musicality of the Obsidian cable.

Testing the Obsidian cable, the best matchups for the Obsidian cable are neutral, bright, treble first and overall balanced IEMs. The Obsidian will work extremely well with BA or hybrid type of IEMs. The idea of matching up a musical enhancing cable like the Obsidian is for analytical, bright or detailed IEMs that seems a bit rigid in its presentations.
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Matching the Obsidian to one of the more brighter tuned IEMs I have done a review for, the Tansio Mirai Sands. This match up is ideal in that the Obsidian enhances its mids to bass presence while bringing a smother richer treble response. This is in comparison to its stock cable that enhances brightness a bit too much for my liking.

Another well matching IEM for the Obsidian is the new Penon Fan 2. Absolutely superb match up as it increases body of notes, enhancing a richer tonal quality for its mids. Fan 2 is more of a neutrally tuned IEM and as so the Obsidian enhances note weight and presence from bass to mids and once again with a smoother treble quality adding a slight darkening of the trebles. Fan2 as a result sounds more natural and dynamic using the Obsidian.
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Absolutely superb on the ISN H50. I seen some posts of former owners of the ISN H50 that was complaining about how the H50 is not as organic sounding as some of the Penon counterparts. Well the Obsidian is the answer to that. It brings the H50 sound quality to a completely different level adding a very similar effect to how it did for the Fan2. The synergy with the H50 is clearly there. H50 now has a body of note that was missing from the base cable. Bass impact has increased. Sound more emotive and its tonal qualities sees an improvement across the board.

The Obsidian works with warmer tuned IEMs if you prefer that warmth but generally with warm tuned IEMs, technical enhancing cables like pure silver- or silver-plated copper type cables are what I personally prefer.

You want to go the opposite of how your IEM sounds for a better matching synergistic aspects for your IEMs.
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In the end
The Obsidian is yet another well-made cable from the sound guys at Penon. The Obsidian is only partially gold plated which brings out a slightly richer tonal character to the host IEMs with the base cores being a higher end of pure copper cable. This in turn makes the Obsidian a more versatile cable vs the 100% gold plated cables. One thing I discovered about Penon is that they do things on purpose, so these were deliberately made to bring a slightly richer musical enhancing abilities for copper cables. The Obsidian is a great new cable from Penon and if you have an IEM that you feel might need some added musicality, slight warmth, a richer tone and enhancing the dynamic qualities of an IEM you have to consider the Obsidian. Now with modular plugs. Thanks for taking the time to read.
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Dunus modular system is tops but Penon here made a real practical modular system that works well. very sturdy when connected. You can see more photos of recent ISN cables I posted here. Which uses the same type of modular system.

The plug ends up being about 4mm longer vs a non modular regular plug so it don't stick out too much longer than a regular plug. Some might worry about this being longer but its usability and sturdiness when used is practically the same. I am very certain, new cables from penon will all have this modularity from this point forward.
Love this cable! I have it attached to my baby, an MMCX-modified Fostex TH-X00. I kind of wish I could get a longer version, though. That's all I would change about it.
It would be nice to see a comparison between this item (esp. the termination(s) ) & sturdiness and the new Linsoul XC01 [ LINK ] which appears to have (the same/similar) termination mechanism & plug offerings.