Penon OS849 - Reviews
Pros: Balanced sound, adds better air, bigger stage and sharpness to blunt sounding earphones. Plenty of accessories. Fantastic build quality.
Cons: None for the price.
Intro:-

When one buys an earphone, one always tries to enhance that by changing various things. One always looks for different things to get the best out of the earphone. We burn the earphones for hours to get some enhancements and trying various tips is the most basic of the things.

What we forget most of the time is the cable. Nearly 99.9% earphones don't come with balanced cables. And most of those single ended cables are just run of the mill type basic cable. Those cables are just there for the sake of it. Even some premium brands like Custom Art, Lime Ears and Inear ship with just okay type cables.

If you have a good earphone, not having a good cable will restrict the earphone from performing at its best. But one might think, there are a lot of cables, plenty of brands to choose from, what is the best cable for my earphone? Many type of cables with variety of materials available in the market, which is the one I need what material I should get to suit my earphone the best.

I am not a huge cable guy, I don't have expensive cables, I look for cables which are best value for money. Spending a lot on cable doesn't really make sense to me. One just can't have a $500 earphone and buy a $300 cables for it, it barely makes any sense.

What I will be looking into in this article is the Penon OS849 earphone cable. It is a Single Crystal Copper Silver-plated cable (basically a SPC cable) priced at $119 for 3.5mm singe ended version and $129 for 2.5mm balanced version. It is available in both 2pin and MMCX connectors.

I am comparing the OS849 with Nocturnal Acrux-4 which is priced at $119 (but one has to pay extra for 2.5mm termination and choice of 2pin) and $80 Electro Acousti pure copper cable.

Here are the specs of it:-

  • 6n single crystal copper silver-plated cable
  • Contained 8% silver, the thickness is 10μm,
  • 8 Cores, single core is 49 strands, a total of 8 × 49.
  • The plug contains 68% copper
  • The solder joints is silver –contained tin
  • Carbon fiber metal splitter and CNC integrated slider
  • Sound field is very big and very natural
  • Cable length: 1.2M
20191014_125153-01.jpeg


20191014_125205-01.jpeg


20191014_125214-01.jpeg


Accessories and Packaging:-


Unlike most of cables which barely come in a standard box type packaging, the Penon cable comes in a tidy looking retail box.

There are a lot of accessories out of the box. One can find three velvet pads, one velvet pouch, a cable clip, one cleaning tool and a Velcro cable tie. Most of these accessories are stuffed in the classy looking wooden case. OS849 has plenty of accessories and I don't think one can ask for more.

IMG_20190827_165639.jpg


IMG_20190827_165630.jpg


IMG_20190827_165749.jpg


IMG_20191010_163626.jpg
IMG_20190827_165713.jpg


Build quality and comfort:-

Build quality of the OS849 is very good. The strands have a transparent layer of soft plastic on them which protects it from scratches. It feels very solid to the hand and can take more than a hit. The 2pin connector looks and feels very strong, it uses metal to give better protection than plastic and chrome plated plastic connectors used by most of the brands The Y splitter looks very good with some carbon fiber accent to it. The 2.5mm Jack feels very solid to the hand. Thankfully it does not come out if rotated by mistake (which is a big problem with some cables). The jack has a stress reliever to withstand bends. The cable slider too looks classic and is better than what others have.

The build quality is fantastic but like any other cable it cannot withstand brute force.

I have experience with a lot of decent cables. Of them all Effect audio Ares and the Acrux-4 cables have horrible memory and are rigid. They just cannot be wounded to ones liking. The OS849 doesn't have that problem. It does have some memory but it obeys better much like the Symphonym cables that ship with Shozy and AAW earphones.

The braiding is neither too tight nor much loose, maintaining good composure.

The OS849 has no cable guides. You can give it shape as per your liking, the cable is not heavy and is fairly comfortable over the ear.

All in all Penon has given plenty of attention to the build quality of the OS849.

How does it sounds:-

The OS849 is basically a Silver plated copper cable. It has silver plated layers on copper cores.

It is not a secret that silver is the best conductor of electricity closely followed by copper. Most of are aware of the rule that silver is good for mid range and copper deliver good lows, Combining both the metals in a cable means it has the best of the both worlds.

Thanks to the SPC nature of the cable it doesn't get much leaner or thicker when it comes to notes and delivers better transparency compared to copper cables. It produces accurate notes thickness and depth.

How does it pair:-

Fibae 3:-

Everything is fantastic about the Fibae 3 but it lacks a bit of bite. Notes lack some depth to them. The OS849 delivers more accurate notes thickness and pairs fantastically with the slightly blunt sounding Fibae 3. The stage which sounds conical with the stock cable sounds more rounded with the OS849. It is a big improvement over the stock single ended cable.

Fibae Black:-

Exactly same scene with the Fibae black, the smoothness is good but it does lack a bit of bite off the notes and the treble extension feels a bit lacking. With the OS849 it gains better sharpness and instruments have better transparency. Treble gains some extension and energy with the stage getting bigger. The OS849 pairs very well with the Fibae Black.
20191013_141953-01.jpeg


Inear SD5:-

The SD5 has very similar cable compared to the Fibae 3. The material is exactly same. With the stock cable SD5 sounds very good, mostly because it itself is a very potent earphone but still one might like a bit more bite which can be gained with the OS849. With it the SD5 sound cleaner with better definition and transparency. Instrument separation improves, so does the stage size too. The SD5 pairs fantastically with the OS849.
IMG_20190827_170549.jpg


Nocturnal Eden:-

Noc Eden already comes with a very good cable and sounds exceptionally balance. Notes have good bite and transparency to them. But, still slightly better bite and separation is needed, OS849 with its balanced and agile nature can deliver it. It improves stage size too and unleashes a detail monster. The pairing can be slightly uncomfortable if one is not exactly comfortable with sharp notes.

TFZ Secret Garden 3:-

One of the best mid ranger the Secret Garden 3 delivers very good details and clarity with its above par cable. It is good with the stock cable but with the OS849 balanced cable it gains better details across the spectrum and has better instrument separation too. The stage size too gets bigger and the treble gains better extension.

How does it compare with others balanced cables:-

When compared to the Nocturnal Acrux-4 the OS849 sounds sharper and leaner. It brings more transparency with separation while compromising some smoothness. Things can get unnaturally sharper if you don't choose a more musical or smoother sound source. Pairing the Acrux-4 with my Plenue R does bring unnaturally sharper upper mid range.

Compared to Electro Acousti copper cable, the OS849 sound more transparent and clearer with better instrument separation. Copper cable has slower decay and sounds more laidback and is suiting for more aggressive sounding earphones like NCM Bella V2 and EM-5H. Pairing this cable with my Shanling M5s smoothens things even more and things start to sound a bit dull. But paring it with my Plenue R balances things nicely.

IMG_20191010_161451.jpg


Conclusion:-

In short, OS849 pairs better with earphones which have smoother notes. Pairing it with something that already has very accurate notes depth and sharpness might get a bit uncomfortable.

Earphone with gentle tonality gain good amount of bite and transparency. If you think your earphone lack a bit of treble extension, the OS849 will definitely help. Pairing it with something like the EM-5H or Audiofly AF1120 might not be a wise idea as things can get sharper than desired, unless you like lean and sharp notes.

All in all the OS849 brings more agility to dull sounding earphone. It helps with decay speed, tightens things up, has bigger stage and delivers better treble extension too. Compared to stock cables, the OS849 is miles ahead. It brings better technicality and separation to the table.

If you have the budget and want a bit sharper notes with improvements in every department, the OS849 will not disappoint.

Attachments

  • Like
Reactions: iBo0m
iBo0m
iBo0m
Great review! Thanks :) However, I'm surprised it's not heavy because it looks kinda thick while all the wires are plastic covered.
Pros: Overall build quality,
Lots of beautiful accessories (wooden case, pouch etc.),
Noticeable changes and improvements of the sound,
Increase in detail and musicality
Cons: None
Penon OS849 Upgrade Cable Review


About Penon Co.:

Penon Co. is a Hong Kong based Company specialized in production of IEM’s, earbuds and cables for the audiophile community.





Disclaimer:

This OS849 was provided to me by Penon Co. for the purpose of an honest review. I am not affiliated with Penon Co. or any third person beyond this review and all these words reflect my true and unaltered, opinions about the product.





The Price:

The price for the Penon OS849 with standard 3.5mm TRS headphone jack is $119 USD, while the 2.5mm Balanced (TRRS) variant costs $129 USD.

The purchase link for the OS849 upgrade cable is bellow;

https://penon-official.com/product/penon-cs819/






Package and Accessories:

The Penon OS849 upgrade cable is coming in a cardboard box in Blue (top) / Bordeaux (sides) color and sports the company’s logo and brand name on the top.



This box is containing the following items;

  • 1 pcs x Penon OS849 Upgrade Cable
  • 1 pcs x Wood Case
  • 1 pcs x Velevt Pouch
  • 1 pcs x Shirt Clip
  • 1 pcs x Cable wrap
  • 3 pairs x Velvet Fabrics



The wooden box which is included to the standard package is very useful and has a very stylish appearance.





There is a velvet pouch with Penon barding which is a nice addition.



The cable is extra protected from scratches with velvet fabrics, which can be found inside the wooden case.



There is also a metal shirt clip and a cable wrapper with Penon logo, which are a nice addition.







Design and Build Quality:

The Penon OS849 is made of high purity 6N single crystal cooper silver plated (contains 8% silver) wire material, which has 8 cores with 49 strands per core that is explaining the model number (8 core and 49 strands = OS849).



The Penon OS849 has two connector options, which are the 0.78mm 2 Pin and the MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial) variants.

The braided cable wire is protected with a transparent plastic coating, feels nice in your hand and is showing a very low amount of microphonic effect.



The MMCX / 2-Pin connectors have a metal housing in black color with Left & Right (blue for left and red for right) indicators.



The cable sports a circular metal chin slider and a Y-Splitter in black color with carbon fiber patterns and OS849 model printing.



The 3.5mm headphone jack (also available in 2.5mm TRSS variant) is containing 68% copper and has a straight profiled metal housing with carbon fiber patterns and Penon branding which looks pretty nice.




Technical Specifications:

  • 6n single crystal copper silver-plated cable
  • Contained 8% silver, the thickness is 10μm,
  • 8 Cores, single core is 49 strands, a total of 8 × 49.
  • The plug contains 68% copper
  • The solder joints is silver –contained tin
  • Carbon fiber metal splitter and CNC integrated slider
  • Sound field is very big and very natural
  • Cable length: 1.2M



Equipments used for this review:

Cable : Penon OS849, iBasso IT04 Stock Cable, iBasso IT01S Stock Cable, iBasso IT01 Stock cable

IEM’s : iBasso IT04, iBasso IT01s, iBasso IT01




The Sound:

The PENON OS849 upgrade cable is adding the source in general a touch more warmth, while it is increasing the depth and quantity of the bass, making the midrange softer and musical and adding control to the highs without to decrease its sparkle.

PS: I have tested the PENON OS849 in general with IEM’s such like the iBasso IT04, IT01S and the IT01 that are quite sensitive to cable rolling. This review is written after a burn-in period of approx. 100 hours.



Penon OS849 versus iBasso IT01 Stock Cable

The bass of the IT01 with the stock cable is showing an average speed, good depth and intensity, while the OS849 is adding a bit more speed and tightness to the bass. The bass sounds also cleaner and shows a slightly brighter totality, with a small amount of increase in the bass quantity.

The midrange on the other hand is sounding noticeable more transparent and airy compared to the stock cable of the IT01.

When it comes to the treble range the first noticeable difference is the additional sparkle that was added by the Penon OS849. The treble extension has been increased by a margin.







Penon OS849 versus iBasso IT01s Stock Cable

The bass of the iBasso IT01s with its stock cable has a fairly linear bass character (maybe a tad more) that shows good speed with average depth and intensity.

The bass of the iBasso IT01s with the Penon OS849 cable shows better depth and an increase of quantity and intensity, while they’re no noticeable chances in terms of the speed.

The midrange sounds warmer and more emotional with the OS849. The level of airiness with female vocals still nearly identical, while male vocals showing a slightly increase in fullness and have now better depth.

The instruments have a noticeably better separation and clarity than the stock cable.

When it comes to the upper midrange and treble, I can say that the IT01s with OS849 cable sounds slightly more controlled, while the small amount of sharpness in the upper midrange is gone was gone. The upper midrange sounds now softer, while the OS489 has added additional fullness/volume to the treble region.





Penon OS849 versus iBasso IT04 Stock Cable

The stock cable of the iBasso IT04 has a linear bass character with an average depth. The subbass and midbass intensity is on a moderate level.

The Penon OS849 caused radical changes to the linear bass structure of the IT04 with its stock cable. The intensity, depth and quantity have been increased in a very noticeably.

The bass sounds warmer, has more volume and softness compared to the stock cable, while the speed is nearly identical.

The midrange of the iBasso IT04 is slightly recessed due to the V shaped sound signature, while it shows a neutral and transparent tonality. The Penon OS849 have been added additional body, warmth and musicality, especially female vocals are now more emotional in presentation.

The upper midrange and treble range sounds more controlled and shows fuller notes compared to the stock cable, while the treble quantity has been decreased by a small margin. All this changes have made the iBasso IT04 to a more balanced and controlled IEM compared with the stock cable.




Conclusion:

If you are looking for a cable with great build quality, nice appearance, lots of beautiful accessories and noticeable improvements in the sound quality, the PENON OS849 will fulfill all this tags for a pretty reasonable price.


Pros and Cons:

  • + Overall build quality
  • + Lots of beautiful accessories (wooden case, pouch etc.)
  • + Noticeable changes and improvements of the sound
  • + Increase in detail and musicality
  • - None
Pros: price, build quality, accessories set, packaging
Cons: can't think of any
When it comes to the cables, I'm always holding skeptical positions. I do believe that cable can change a sound, but I don't believe in "universal changes," especially those based on the material. You know, all that stories about "silver improves treble" or "copper adds more lows." Of course, it's quite possible that copper wire will add base, but often it won't. Also, pretty logical, that some cable can change the sound of different IEMs similarly, but also pretty expectable that changes will be different. The portable audio rig is a system with 3 components: source, cable and IEMs, and cable rolling can depend on different aspects, to name a few:
  • your DAP can have high output impedance, and its impact will "mask" cable's impact
  • single dynamic driver models are much less likely to change sound depending on cable
  • changes in sound will depend on cable you're replacing, if some IEMs have a bad cable, improvement will be drastic, if a stock cable is excellent, well, even degradation is possible
So, after describing my position, I'm ready to share my experience with Penon's OS849 silver plated copper cable.
1-Main Pic.jpg
Before I proceed, I want to thank Penon Audio for providing me a review sample in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.

I will probably skip non-sound related stuff, or at least I'll try to make it as short as possible. OS489 comes in the perfect cardboard box, inside you'll get stylish wooden storage case with cable. Also, you'll get a small velvet pouch and shirt clip. Package shows excellent attention to details, much better than for many over-expensive cables.
2-Box.jpg
The cable itself is 6n single crystal copper silver-plated cable, having 8 cores, each containing 49 strands (now, you see, where does model's name come from). It's built nicely, from high-quality MMCX connectors to stylish carbon inserts. Cable is pretty thick, but it's soft, so I got zero issues with comfort, microphonic is also absent.

As for sound, I've merely done a series of blind A/B testing (thanks to my lovely wife for helping with that), and I'll limit my sound impressions to some feedback with particular models. I've used A&Ultima as a reference DAP, and all sound changes are described relative to stock cables of corresponding IEMs. Also, I must admit, that all changes, described below aren't big, but anyway, they are still audible.
3-Accessories.jpg
Probably the most noticeable change with this cable I've got with Magaosi K5, pretty good 5-BA model from China. While K5 is excellent on mids and merely good on lows, treble is it's the weakest part. Highs here are lacking layering and have non-natural, somewhat artificial sound. It's pretty OK for the price, and I can stand with it, but OS849 improves that. With this cable, treble layering improves as well as naturalness. Also, cable make lows a bit dryer, making overall sound of IEMs more "rich" and closet to expensive IEMs, unveiling full potential of that 5 drivers.
4-Overview.jpg
Another pretty noticeable change I've got with Rose Br5 Mk2. One of the most distinguishing features in Rose's sound is a smoothed mids, and cable changes this drastically. Mids became sharper and got more microdynamics, causing small, but noticeable improvement in resolution. Treble layering also improves here, but this change is less noticeable compared to the change in mids.

I've tried OS849 with iBasso's hybrid models. With IT04 I've got zero audible changes, probably because their stock CB12s cable is already superb. With IT03 I've got a bit more lows and noticeable improvement in treble extension.
5-With Magaosi.jpg
With Campfire Audio Comet I also got the noticeable improvement in treble extension, and small, barely noticeable bass decrease.

So, to summarize, OS849 is a great cable, it's stylish, it's comfortable, and it improves sound when it can be improved. Moreover, the most important, it's affordable, compared with other TOTL cable makers.

Pros: Premium accessories, Very solid build, Extended and dynamic
Cons: Can be overly warm with certain IEMs, Quite a large cable
Introduction –

Penon Audio are known as a wonderful portal for the wider world to access Chifi goodies of the East. However, they have since launched their own independent store with its own line of value-orientated products. At present, Penon only offer their BS1 earbud and the OS849 cable being reviewed today, though they have had plenty of prior experience as with cables as an OEM.

That said, the OS849 is their highest end design to date and one that is impressively constructed considering Penon’s asking price. The cable comprises of 8 cores each with 49 individual conductors. It’s a silver plated design using 6N OCC copper as a base. Penon are also keen to mention the quality of their terminations utilising 68% copper plugs and silver solder. With such promise, let’s see how the cable performs.

The OS849 can be purchased at Penon’s official store here for $99 USD. I am not affiliated with Penon and receive no affiliate earnings.


Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Chi Kong from Penon Audio very much for his quick communication and for providing me with the OS849 for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the cable free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.



Accessories –



The OS849 is wonderfully packaged within a hinged wooden box and soft pouch that keep the cable safe during transit. The woodwork is actually done in-house by Jackson, the owner of Penon Audio. It’s a charming gesture that represents the thought and passion that goes into each cable.



The pouch can also be used to protect in-ears and Penon provide a practical and well-presenting experience overall.



Design –

Despite undercutting the vast competition in price, Penon have utilised their wide experience to provide a cable that is incredibly solid and very manageable during daily use. The cable itself is very much on the larger side with a similar diameter to Effect Audio’s 22 gauge plus cables. That said, it isn’t overly heavy for its size and was perfectly manageable during portable use. At present, Penon offer the cable with either a 3.5 or 2.5mm balanced connector with the option of MMCX or 0.78mm 2-pin.



The construction of the cable also contributes to this impression of solidity. All terminations are of quality gold plated components with heat shrink strain relief. The Effect style y-split and 3.5mm plug possess absolute rigidity and the plug itself is perfectly centred. Tasteful carbon fibre accents and concentric knurling of the chin slider complete the package to form a rather premium experience.



The wire itself is also of pleasing quality though it does not demonstrate the same level of aesthetic and ergonomic achievement as higher priced cables from ALO, Effect Audio and Plussound to name a few. Still, the cable is pliable and supple considering its size and despite a lack of earguides, promotes a stable fit. Some memory is present and the sheathing feels slightly plasticky, but the cable isn’t tacky and easily avoids tangles; in fact, the memory actually aids stable wear by helping the cable to conform to the outer ear. During my 2 months of use, I also haven’t noticed any discolouration or hardening of the insulation nor oxidation of the conductors.



The lack of earguides also makes the cable a good match for cable down earphones such as the JVC in-ears. I would also postulate that it would pair well with earbuds but unfortunately, I didn’t have any MMCX sporting models on hand at the time of testing. From impression, the OS849’s tone would also provide a very nice match towards their more open form factor.


Sound –

Interestingly, the cable reflects more typical copper than silver qualities with a warm tone permeating throughout its presentation. That said, the cable can be considered u-shaped overall, with a tinge of silvery brightness within the upper midrange and lower-treble. And where some cables pride themselves on transparency and balance, the OS849’s image is formed from lush body and entrancing bass; lower frequencies thrive on rumble and body with enhanced extension servicing impact and slam.

This tone mainly stems from Lifted middle and especially upper bass frequencies that create fuller bass notes and a slight sense of tubbiness within their bass/lower midrange transition. With dynamic driver in-ears, sub-bass forms more of a driving force through outstanding extension and notably increased slam while remaining tight with great control. Due to this weighting, bass is full and impactful but separation between notes isn’t absolute. That said, bass definition, detail and texturing is surprisingly strong; this isn’t an ultra-clean presentation but one with great weight and dynamics.



Mids are smooth, slightly bright and possess greater than neutral body due to the cable’s lifted low-end presentation. Male vocals are full-bodied and instruments such as acoustic guitar sound organic. Upper mids are slightly elevated granting greater clarity to vocals that counteracts their added low-end warmth. This presentation especially benefits thinner earphones like the Meeaudio Pinnacle P1/P2 but does compromise transparency when compared to more neutral cables. The OS849 also isn’t the most revealing cable; though background detail retrieval is superb, the cable lacks some resolution so these details aren’t delivered with the immediacy and clarity that more expensive cables manage. Still, Penon’s cable redeems itself through its smooth delivery and natural timbre and vocals.

The cable’s upper midrange rise continues into its treble. Lower treble, in particular, is emphasized enhancing detail presentation, and larger bodied notes prevent a thin, raspy portrayal of treble elements. As such, cymbals are very nicely textured and strings sound slightly forward but also defined, contributing to the cable’s layered presentation. Middle treble has some nice shimmer before a small decline into the upper treble that grants high-frequencies with a more velvety presentation and a darker background. That said, extension is excellent, immediately improved over stock cables, if lacking that last iota of air and separation offered by higher end cables such as the EROS II. The OS849 isn’t the most open and delineated cable but background details are accurately portrayed and its tasteful tone heightens engagement without compromising detail.



These elements converge to create a very coherent stage. Imaging is a step up over OEM cables and space is further improved yet thanks to great end to end extension and an even tone that does well to redeems micro-details and directional cues. Separation is also enhanced, perhaps not to the same extent as a result of the OS849’s thicker sound and more restrained upper treble. Brighter cables ultimately convey a greater sense of scale and openness though the OS849 well balances its foreground warmth with background cleanliness and nuance.



Pairings –



Rose BR5 MKII: The BR5 is a nicely revealing earphone yet one with some issues with bass depth and extension. The OS849 provides more dynamic bass while retaining speed though bass depth appears to be limited by the iem itself. Lower mids are natural and more neutrally bodied, the warm OS849 counteracting the brighter tone of the earphone itself. Upper mids lose a bit of transparency and clarity with a tinge of warming from the cable. However, this body really enhances treble, with superior detailing and noticeably better extension than the stock unit. The BR5 MKII sounds slightly wider as a result with similar depth and separation remains similar to stock as this added extension merely offsets the midrange warming. So though the BR5 MKII includes a nice silver plated unit from factory, the Penon OS849 provides a noticeable upgrade with pleasing but not perfect synergy.

Dunu DK-3001: Dunu include two capable cables from factory though the OS849 found numerous advantages even over the balanced unit. Immediately, bass extension improves, heightening impact and rumble. Bass remains defined and despite the added deep-bass, separation is improved over stock through greater bass control. Mids find almost perfect synergy, the OS849 complimenting the Dunu’s slightly thinner, clearer and brighter tone to create a more natural and balanced sound. Treble is similar, the Penon cable is noticeably more detailed through greater treble body and its smoother nature lacked the crunch of the stock cable. Extension is also improved, granting the earphones with greater resolving power and air. The OS849 expands the Dunu’s stage and heightens immersion through greater separation and resolution. The Penon/Dunu combo was noticeably more dynamic throughout, offering just the right amount of tonal correction within the mids and highs but it may be slightly too bass heavy for some.

Campfire Jupiter: The Jupiter is an exceptionally resolving earphone with terrific treble extension. Some of that can be contributed to ALO’s excellent stock SPC Litz cable that actually costs more than the OS849 upgrade cable. This actually isn’t the best pairing as the Jupiter is already a warmer earphone. While bass depth is noticeably improved, the OS849 slightly over-emphasizes upper bass on the Jupiter, creating quite a tubby presentation and overly thick lower mids. The already full-bodied Jupiter sounds downright thick with the Penon cable which saps transparency from its midrange as well as some clarity. Treble remains very detailed but the OS849 doesn’t sound quite as open as the Litz nor as separated. This is definitely the worst case scenario for the OS849, but it does highlight the importance of synergy.



Comparisons –



Meeaudio Modular SPC ($100): The Meeaudio cable is much slimmer and lighter, it also comes with a range of adapters that enable use with a variety of balanced sources. The Penon cable is noticeably warmer and more coherent while the Meeaudio cable is more reserved and a little less defined within the bass but also clearer within its midrange. Treble is more extended and detailed on the Penon cable but the Meeaudio cable has greater shimmer and sparkle. Staging is similar, the air advantage of the Meeaudio cable offset by its weaker bass presentation.

ALO SPC Litz ($150): ALO’s SPC Litz cable is ergonomically excellent, super supple, light and with zero memory. The Penon cable is magnitudes larger and considerably more cumbersome. Sonically, both are well matched with different presentations. The ALO cable is brighter but with an engaging bass response. Bass is cleaner on the ALO but less visceral and extended than that of the OS849. Mids are clearer and more transparent on the ALO partly due to that cleaner bass response and treble has greater clarity and extension but thinner body. The OS849 is warmer and more bodied but also lacks some transparency and high-frequency resolution by comparison.

Plussound EXO Copper ($150): Interestingly, the EXO Copper shares the most similarities with the OS849. The EXO is the more subtle, balanced cable, it shares a warm, similarly well extended low-end, but has more restraint and a little less definition. Mids aren’t as full-bodied though the EXO holds no clarity advantage as it has a darker tone. As a result, the EXO is even smoother with a very liquid presentation, vocals are natural and treble is very clean yet detailed if slightly less so than the OS849. Extension is similarly strong but its darker, smoother presentation sacrifices some air, resolution and engagement in favour of a darker background greater cohesion.



Verdict –

The OS849 is a fine cable that offers a very unique yet engaging tonality and very noticable technical upgrades over conventional manufacturer provided units and some similarly priced upgrade cables too. Penon also provide excellent build quality, not only of the cable itself but also the terminations that can play a large role in sound quality as part of the conducting path. Furthermore, the geometry of the cable is vastly impressive considering Penon’s asking price as is the very charming unboxing.



The cable is quite thick and leans towards the heavier side making it a poor choice for active use, though pliable wires enable a stable fit during commute and stationary listening. And though the cable doesn’t find perfect synergy with every earphone, it provides a tone that well compensates for some very common weaknesses among iems; thin mids, unrealistic timbre and lethargic bass. Most silver plated cables gun for ethereal clarity but the OS849 stands tall as a creature of dynamics and terrestrial impact.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed my review, please see my website for more just like it:

https://everydaylistening.net/2017/11/23/penon-os849-review/
Pros: Price, Well Built, Details Retrieval
Cons: None
Introduction

I would like to thank Penon Audio for providing me the Penon OS849 cable for a review. The cable material is made of 6N single crystal copper silver-plated with 8% silver purity. Its thickness is 10 μm and its length is 1.2m. There are 8 cores to this cable with 49 strands per core which result in its name, 849. The solder used is a combination of silver and tin. The jack contains 68% copper. The Penon OS849 I received comes with MMCX connectors and 3.5mm single ended jack. At the moment, you can buy this cable from https://penon-official.com .



Unboxing

The cable is wrapped up nicely and sit in a soft carrying pouch customised by Penon. The pouch has a nice silky feel to it and is light grey in colour. On the case, the “Penon” logo is printed on it. I find the case to be well built and the size is great for portable use.



Cable Design & Build

The MMCX connectors on the cable has a black housing. There is indication of left and right through the blue and red stripe on the surface of the housing respectively. On the connector, there is a grip so you can pull out the connector from your iem. This is a good design as most connectors these days do not have grip on the housing and detaching the cable can be a difficulty. There is no memory wire section. Moving down to the chin slider, it is black and circular in shape. The y-splitter has carbon fibre design and it looks classy. Lastly, the jack has a carbon fibre on it too with strain relief. The overall cable design gives a premium feel and I find it aesthetically pleasing. The cable is quite soft and supple for a 8 core.



Sound Analysis (Compared to Stock Cable)

Lows

The sub-bass is slighted extended with an increase in quantity. The rumble is kept at the same pace and the depth is improved. The mid-bass has similar slam but there is more weight to it. The overall bass operates more authoritatively. Decay is quicker and bass is as clean. Bass note takes on a heavier approach and this makes the sound more impactful. Transition from the lows to mids is improved. The bass texture rendered is similar.

Mids

The midrange still maintains its transparency. The lowers mids have slightly more body and the upper mids are controlled smoothly with a high level of control. The cable is good for iems with shouty upper mids as it helps to tame it down. The midrange operates in a smoother manner. The details retrieval slightly improves together with the resolution.

Highs

The treble extension is maintained and smoothened out. Air and sparkle is retained but the cable adds more body to the treble. I find it very textured. There is no sibilance and harshness. The amount of air is around the same. Treble articulation and definition is being kept and overall, treble sounds more matured with a very tight control.

Soundstage

There is slightly more width in the stage and the depth is maintained. The increase in width helps to improve the positioning of vocals and instruments to avoid congestion. Imaging increases a little bit.



Pairings

Campfire Audio Andromeda

The sub-bass is extended with more body and there is noticeable change in its depth. The mid-bass is quite similar. Bass texture is being rendered more smoothly. The lower mids on the Andromeda is boosted by the cable as there is more body, thus providing a more full performance. The upper mids become more controlled and it is slightly less forward. The treble becomes smooth and there is less sparkle at the top end. The mastery on the top end is well done with the cable. There is slight increase in the width and depth is maintained. Resolution improves slightly.

Dunu DK3001

The sub-bass is slightly more extended and there is more punch. This results in more impact which improves the dynamics significantly. There is a good mid-bass slam. The lower mids is maintained nicely and the upper mids take a step back yet still retaining the intimacy of vocals. The smoothness helps to give a relaxed feeling when listening to the music and it showcases the control. The treble is less aggressive and sparkle is still retained. There is definition with a high level of details retrieval. The width expands nicely and depth is being kept the same. Resolution is slightly better.

Fidue A91

The sub-bass has more quantity and this helps to add more weight to the overall sound. The bass note takes on a heavier approach and this leads to a slower decay. There is still punch but the pace is slower. Mid-bass slam is very impactful. The lower mids has a good amount of body to it and it is very full. The thickness helps male vocals to excel. There is mastery on the upper mids as it is being kept in control. A91 has a smooth treble already and the cable takes the smooth nature of it to another level. The details are still there. In terms of stage, there is a noticeable improvement in the width but depth is maintained. Resolution is quite similar.

Conclusion

The Penon OS849 is a flagship cable from Penon and it is able to deliver with a smooth and organic performance. The lows is particularly boosted and the top end is being controlled with finesse. This cable suits brighter sounding iems as it is able to add smoothness to the highs. The suppleness of the cable provides good usability to the user. Coupled with the craftsmanship, the OS849 is easily one of the recommended cables below 100 USD.



For more reviews, visit https://audio123blog.wordpress.com/ .
  • Like
Reactions: ehjie and pr0b3r
Top