Penon Totem

General Information

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PENON Totem – Flagship Gold Silver Copper Palladium Coaxial IEM Cable

Material:


Single crystal copper silver-plated Litz 6

Palladium-plated pure silver

Single crystal copper plated with pure gold

Core:2 shares, 334 cores per share

Outer diameter:2.8mm

Carbon fiber metal splitter and CNC integrated slider

Plug: 2.5mm balanced gold-plated Carbon fiber

Length: 1.2m

Package

Penon totem

2.5mm balanced female to 3.5mm audio male adapter

2.5mm balanced female to 4.4mm balanced male adapter

Latest reviews

Flagship IEM cable from Penon Audio
Pros: A Frankenstein of a cable that incorporates the best of the best materials in the industry. Very versatile cable that will enhance every type of sound tuning from every phone you attach it to. Expands stage and enhances space in all 3 directions like no other cable, utilizing sound enhancing properties of silver, gold, palladium and crystal copper all in one. Comes with 2 sound enhancing adapters that use the same material. Superb imaging, richness and texture, more dimensional, more spacious, more articulate, better separation. A cable that sounds like you just plugged your earphones into a high end amp. Guaranteed to make a cable believer out of anyone that don't believe in cable enhancements.
Cons: A lot of metals means it will not be as soft and pliable as it could be. Teal Blue is unique but some will not like the color choice. All the R n D to make the Totem means it cost a lot to obtain.
Penon TOTEM
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It was only a matter of time before Penon threw down the gauntlet. The TOTEMs are here and these are my thoughts and a report of the new flagship IEM cables from Penon. Appropriately called the TOTEMs. I always thought naming schemes for their cables made a lot of logical sense. So how does the name TOTEM fit for these cables?

It is quite simple. These cables are a conglomeration of a lot of know-how and tech behind the design. They are stacked with the best of the best materials known to have any real effects on an earphone. Masterfully weaved together and you get the TOTEM.
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This graphic here shows the layers of cable we are talking about.

So in theory these should have some outstanding properties for sound enhancement. In reality it ends up being something substantial and for the price it better be. You don’t spend this much on a cable for it to be your garden variety silver plated copper cable. It has to be substantial as it is a flagship and better yet a statement product from Penon.
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I would like to thank Penon audio for providing a sample of their TOTEM cable for review purposes. The TOTEM cable can be purchased here. I test cables based on what it does for my IEMs. Testing a minimum of 5 earphones listening for the constants in sound quality enhancement and the effects compared to the cable they came with. Here was my results.
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The Build of the TOTEMS seems very well put together and the main body of the TOTEMS are made of 2 thick cores each core consisting of all the materials that was listed or 334 shares per core. The materials are as follows. Litz 6 silver plated single crystal copper, palladium plated pure silver, pure gold plated crystal copper. Each element that makes up the shares of the cable could be a cable unto its own. In fact if you combined the materials on Penons own OS849 SPC cable, the Penon Leo Plus and the Penon GD849 cable and somehow was able to magically make one cable from the materials of these cables. You get a Totem.
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I can understand the thought process for the materials used. Silver for its highest transparency and stage enhancing ability, copper for its body and warmth, gold for that rich tone and depth, palladium for that remarkable imaging and detail. Like a mad chemist in a chemistry lab. The Totem comes to life due to some mad out of the box thinking.
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Frankenstein has nothing on the madness that is the Totem. You guys are looking at a cable that makes a lot of logical sense but to put all them elements together must have taken a lot of time and effort to create. I mean who puts a gold cable in the center of a palladium cable which are centered again on a SPC cable and exactly how can that happen to create one seamless cable?
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Some side effects of this monstrous cable is that it does not have the most softness or is the best pliable in material form. The cable is a bit on the stiffer side of things but is not terrible in this aspect and that is the reason why they decided to put ear guides. As you all know Penon does not put ear guides on their cables but this was the exception. All that can be forgiven if the sound that these help produce is what it should be right?
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The sheer amount of cores and sleeving involved which separates each type of cable from each other makes the Totem unique and substantial. The connectors, y split, chin slider and 2.5mm termination are all of very best quality CNC machined, utilizing carbon fiber and gold plating. The TOTEMs come in 2.5mm balanced with the addition of 2 pigtail adapters. One in 2.5mm female to 3.5mm single ended. And another in 2.5mm female to 4.4mm balanced male.
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I have seen some grumblings already on these adapters but I will tell you why both these are a true gem of a bonus here in the read later. You don’t want to miss out on what just the adapters do for your other cables. Lets just say Penon is now considering just making these adapters due to how good these adapters are. Again more later on in the read.

I have to admit the color is a bit out there if not unique in the presentation. The cable in hand though will stand out among your other cables clearly for better or for worse depending on how you see it. In choosing this teal blue colored sleeving they are about as unique coloring and styling as your gonna get in cable land. Looks aside I suppose Penon wanted a cable design to truly stand out. And these definitely do.
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Cables that I have done reviews for all have subtle effects on the sonic production of the earphones they are attached to. Not so with the Totems. There is nothing subtle about the sonics that you're going to hear when you attach your favorite earphone to these cables.
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It is very clear to me, Penon is out to make a statement with these cables. The very first earphone I connected them to was the Mofasest Trio. If any of you folks own the Mofasest Trio and wondered to yourself what a more refined and higher end Trio would sound like. That is exactly what you're gonna get using the Totems on the Trio. It is quite astounding just how much the sonics enhance and change. First thing I noticed was the stage enhancing ability. Trio had a larger, grander, wider, deeper taller stage. Then the other aspect that jumped out at me was the clearly defined instrument separation and the blacker background on the sound. Note distinction and that amazing separation. Better definition. Better articulation, more dimensional, more resolving and this was from connecting the cables fresh out of the box they came in.

To say I was a bit floored with the results was an understatement. I have never heard the Mofasest Trio sound this good. In fact with this cable it sounds complete and utter TOTL level and I mean that in every sense of the word. Ok now this was getting very interesting.
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Going back to the stock cable was a lesson in just how much cable tech has come along. Going back to the stock cables was such a let down. And I always thought the stock cables of the Mofasest Trio was decent. To be fair the stock cable does not limit the sonics of the Mofasest Trio but it isn't exactly the same sound I was hearing from using the Totems. The Mofasest Trio becomes another much more higher end earphone altogether. Nothing subtle about it. The same earphone sounds like 2 completely different earphones. The sheer authority and refinement the cable brings to the sound was incredible. So you would expect that out of a flagship level cable. Admittedly I have plenty of well made cables and write and post about them all the time on the 2 cable threads. Low end and mid fi cable threads. As much as I thought I knew a thing or two about cables and what they do for your IEMs. I had no idea just how much a well designed cable can supercharge your IEMS. I mean I use all the cables I write about and buy but none have come even remotely close to the level of sonic enhancing ability of the Totems.

There wasn’t an earphone I have attached to it yet that doesn't sound leagues better. It is very much groundbreaking in how this cable manipulates the stock sound to become something entirely different. Something much more higher end than what the host IEM usually sounds like.
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I had to try it on my Solaris. With the Solaris which already has a high level of detail and immersive nature to the tuning. With the Totem It becomes my own personal concert hall. Just astounded by how more spacious it sounds using this cable. Music notes be it drums to guitars to vocal performances sound even more refined with better distinction than what the stock tuning had in mind. Sounding even more higher end and the sound now has a sophistication that I never knew the Solaris could do. What was dimensional before now surrounds. What was articulate now with even a higher degree of immersiveness than what the Solaris was initially known for. More rich in tone, more spacious, with supreme clarity for the treble, full bodied mids with better instrument separation. Bass has even more authority. Solaris has become another beast altogether.
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On the Dunu Luna. The sound becomes more dimensional like what happened to the Solaris. But now the sound goes beyond what I thought was possible on the Luna. Each region of sound has its own playground for sound. Better distinction and space between instruments. Vocals have better texture. It sounds like a revamped version of the Dunu Luna. The cable I had on the Luna was the Penon Leo Plus and while it still is the best cable I have used on the Luna till now, the Totem here clearly shows its superior articulation and sound separating ability.
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Supremely cleaner black background that is only perceivable on the Totems and a level of refinement that was now taken to another level. Bass I noticed now has a deep rumble and authority that is now awake. The bass end of the Luna I never knew existed comes alive with the Totems. Everything about the Luna now is enhanced. The Luna sounds richer, more defined, more distinct in all regions of the sound tuning. Treble sounds cleaner and there is not a treble note that doesn’t sound just fantastic, detailed with supreme clarity using the Totems.

So while previous cables I did reviews for, I usually had one or two earphones that the given cable would synergize well with and I would clearly mention it. For the Totems. It doesn't matter what earphone it is attached to. It will show you the absolute best version of that earphone you will ever hear. If that is what this flagship level cable does. I am sold on what is happening here with the Totems. The best part of the Totem effect is that. These cables don’t do just one or two things to enhance the sonics. They do all of it. It is literally the best of each material here and it clearly shows when it is connected to any earphone.
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UM MEST is the newest earphone I recently got. Again with the MEST which already has an outstanding stage. Even farther reaching than the stock cable. The MEST now becomes full surround mode and has a level of instrument separation that I haven't quite heard from the stock cable or any other cable I tried it with. The Totem effect on the MEST yields the best of what the MEST does best. Bass performance is just simply awe struck. Mids layering even better defined. Treble clarity and dimensional expansion through all of it. I only wish I can replace all the cables I have for a TOTEM for each and every one of the earphones I have mentioned here. It just don't get any better than the Totem effect for these earphones.

Finally I recently got the new LZ A7 and while finishing up this review I decided to give it a go. Ya it is a bit asinine to attach a $800 cable on a $320 earphone. But hey why not.
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First thing again that I noticed is the expansion of the stage on all fronts. Width, depth, height. It sounds like I attached the A7 to an amplifier. Sound separation once again is even better than the stock cable by a mile. Treble more pristine with treble notes that seem to be from the very far left or the very far right that goes way out of the earphones. Increased imaging. Increased richness in tone for vocals. Better articulation again. A7 all of a sudden don’t sound anything close to what the price would indicate. They are hanging with the big boys now.

So I am seeing a common theme for all the earphones I have tried using the Totems. The totems expand stage like no other cable I have ever used. Supreme blacker background, giving much better definition and distinction to notes, Treble gets much better depth and dimensional, Mids sound richer with better texture, Bass has the best ability for any given earphone. And here is the bonus.
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Them pigtail adapters that come with the Totems? Since they are made with the exact same high end materials as the Totems themselves. These have an effect on other cables you attach them to. In an effort to make the Totem a one cable that will fit all sources. They include in the package a 2.5mm female to 4.4mm male balanced adapter and another in 2.5mm female to a 3.5mm single ended adapter.

My use case scenario is that I mostly use cables in balanced for my various players and I have a few that only use 4.4mm or 3.5mm I use for my amplifiers. So I am familiar in using pigtail adapters. I tried using some of my other IEMs with the Totem adapters.
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It is the first time I can recollect that a small adapter actually enhances the sound of the earphones and cables I attach it to and I am not talking about the Totem cable itself but we are talking about any cable that is attached to it. The Totem materials make such an impact on sound it seems it doesn’t take a lot of the materials to notice the effect.
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In doing some rigorous testing I have concluded these adapters actually gives a slight Totem effect to anything attached to them. Meaning you get that more spacious sound, more richer tone, better bass impact, better instrument separation. Not to the extent of the Totem cable itself but the difference is clearly there. Going back to connecting just whatever cable you want to use without the adapter simply does not sound as good. Penon might have accidentally created a new item for enthusiasts.

Hows about a pigtail adapter that makes everything sound better. That is what you're getting here. And it so happens to come with the Totems. Penon knows its effects and are now considering just making the adapters for enthusiasts willing to give them a try.
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In the end these are expensive. I am gonna say it right now. These aren’t for folks that obviously think cables are placebo or have any real effects on sound. Listen using your packed in noodle cable and be happy. Ignorance is bliss. You shouldn’t be reading this review anyway. Lol.
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These aren’t for your average enthusiasts that dabble in cables either. These are for the hard core. You know the type I am talking about here. You want the very best of what audio can do and make a good living and don’t mind spending the coin to get your earphone sonics to infinity and beyond. It is clearly a luxury item but for folks that are willing to sacrifice that hard earned cash or inheritance. These are flagship cables that make use of every bit of that material they are using on them. It is by far the best sound enhancing cable I have ever used in my stint in reviewing and analyzing cables. Puts every other cable I have ever used to shame. They make a good sounding earphone sound stupendous and isn’t that what a flagship cable should do?

You need to take a photo of yourself the first time you hear your favorite earphone attached to the Totems as it will be one for the books. It will be something very similar to when you finally hit the jackpot after pulling slots in your favorite gambling establishment all day long. As always thanks for reading and happy listening.
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MuhVNYP
If u found the stock cable doesnt up to the totem levels, the it just mean that the stock cable limiting the IEM, it means bottlenecking the IEM performance, just like how bad source did.
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EdgarBear
I actually got my totem today and it's so good. It makes the whole sound amazing, every iem I try

I also ordered the Golden armour, it should also be very good I guess

So something interesting. I had all my Iems with 2 pin and then bought the Solaris and all of a sudden all my cables don't work cause all 2pin so I made a gamble and bought from Penon the adapter from 2 pin to mmcx, and today when I listened to the totem with adapter to solaris 2020 it sound amazing. I think I lose about 5%-7% quality due to adapter
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dharmasteve
dharmasteve
Great review. A/Bing the same IEM, one with a pure copper cable, one with a pure silver clearly shows how different the cables sound. So to see such a great cable, that I will never hear, gives me joy for others. In Buddhism, 'Muditā' (Sanskrit), 'Joy for others', is one of the meanings of life. Most 'Quantities' can be measured, most 'Qualities' cannot.
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