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X6 IEM Cable

PlusSound X6 IEM Cable

Rating:
4.5/5,

Recent Reviews

  1. Wyville
    PlusSound X6 Tri-Copper - Bundles of Fun
    Written by Wyville
    Published Dec 20, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Warm-natural tonality, textured bass, clear mids, sparkly yet smooth highs, detail, air, resolution, looks to pair well with many IEMs, great build quality with excellent comfort and many customisation options
    Cons - Price
    PlusSound X6 Tri-Copper

    Disclaimer
    I would like to thank Christian from PlusSound for providing me with the X6 Tri-Copper in exchange for my honest opinion. No incentive was given for a favourable review.

    X6 Tri-Copper
    • Gauge: 26 AWG
    • Geometry: 7 cores
    • Materials: Tri-Copper (copper, silver-plated copper, gold-plated copper) Type 6 Litz
    • Insulation: PS Insulation
    • Connector type: 2-pin/CIEM
    • Termination type: 2.5mm TRRS (balanced)
    • Price: US$ 824.99

    Links:
    http://www.plussoundaudio.com
    https://www.facebook.com/plussound/

    Preamble
    PlusSound is a small, yet highly versatile company based in Los Angeles, California. They offer a wide range of products such as their small form factor 3D printed IEMs, Cloud Nine amplifier, earplugs, various accessories and DIY components, and of course a very wide range of cables, interconnects and adapters. I think that perhaps in terms of cables, interconnects and adapters, PlusSound offers one of the widest ranges available and has some of the most extensive customisation options. Just in terms of IEM cables there are 10 different series to choose from, with regular cable options in the X-Series (2-wire), Exo (4-wire), X6 (6-wire) and X8 (8-wire), as well as more sturdy cable series such as the Poetic that has sleeving to add to the durability of the cable. Just that sleeving alone has 13 different colour options.

    To take the X6 series as an example: There are 8 different wire materials available, ranging from the common Copper, SPC and Silver, to the exotics such as T-metal and the Tri-Copper of the cable under review here. There are 14 connector options including Ultimate Ears' new IPX, 7 terminations, 2 types of braiding for the main cable (semi-round and flat), 2 types for the left and right side cables above the Y-split (flat or twist), 7 colour options for the logo on the termination, 5 for the logo on the connectors (left and right can be chosen individually), 12 different y-splitters and 7 slider options (including none). I am not even going to try and do the math to work out how many combinations are possible here, but it makes for a great experience shopping for a new cable.

    Not only does PlusSound offer truly custom cables that are of a very high quality and is matched by an equally great customer service, Christian Oliver (the big boss-type person) himself is a great guy to talk to and he really thinks along with the customer. One of the things I still remember quite fondly and something that as a reviewer I greatly appreciate is that he takes criticism on the chin like few others. I remember reading one reviewer cursing the ergonomics of the X6 cable he was sent. Christian clearly took that as a challenge and sent him an X-Series to prove just how ergonomic his cables could be. To this day that reviewer (a friend, in case you are wondering) still uses that X-Series as one of his favourite cables. Moreover, Christian went down deep into the PlusSound Skunk Works to come up with a new insulation, the PS insulation, that would prove an ergonomic dream. I compared old and new in my review of the Exo Silver + Gold and can now say that it has held up very well since that review.

    As it happens the cable under review here is another X6, this time with the new insulation, so a good opportunity to put the X6 through another rigorous ergonomics test (ie. Me listening to my favourite music all day long. I know, it is a tough job, but somebody has to do it.)

    Unboxing and accessories
    I generally don't spend too much time thinking about the box something came in, but it does seem like an increasing number of companies are putting a lot of thought into their packaging and accessories. Indeed, I actually still use the box from my previous PlusSound review because it is so nice, sturdy and convenient in use. This time the box contained a small mysterious second box and I just had to take a closer look.

    The box is a classy satin black with a similarly satin black sleeve around it that contains glossy black artwork and information on the back about the cable, instructions on how to use and care for it and warranty information. The box itself is very sturdy with a magnetically closing lid. Inside is a foam pad with to the side a small second box marked "accessories", and of course the cable itself that was sealed in a clear plastic bag.

    The accessories box is a small cardboard box that again is constructed very sturdily so it can be used on the go. I am not sure if many people will do that, but I think it is a good indication of how much thought PlusSound have put into this. The box contains the amplifier band that PlusSound included already, something I think makes sense considering they offer their own Cloud Nine amp, and newly added were a microfiber cloth, a cleaning tool and a leather strap to help organise the cable. That last one I suspect will be the most popular accessory, as I always have trouble with my cables getting in a tangled mess, especially if I have a few stored in the same box. The cloth and cleaning tool are of course always useful, although I suspect that people who own a lot of gear will have several of those already. I have a few, but I also always keep losing them, so I am keeping these in the box to make sure I know where at least one set of them is. See, the box is working already!

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    Build quality and fit
    The X6 under review here has the relatively new 'Tri-Copper' wires that are made up of groups of copper, silver-plated copper and gold-plated copper wires that are bundled together and coated in enamel. Hence the name "tri" copper. It is a bigger cable that consists of 6, 26 AWG, wires that feature the recently developed PS Insulation. The way the wires are braided is relatively loose, adding a little to the overall diameter of the cable, but also greatly to its suppleness. There are also no pre-bent heat shrinks or memory wires to go around the ears, which reduces the diameter there a little and again improves the suppleness of the cable. Where the previous X6 might have been a bit stiff and bulky, this X6 is actually very comfortable to wear, even for long periods of time. The durability of it seems very good, as my previously reviewed PlusSound cable has held up very well and I have so far not noticed any stiffening of the insulation material. The only thing I have noticed is that the twist-type braiding on the left and right side can 'untwist' with intensive use because there is no material around it (like a pre-bent heat shrink) to secure the twist. It just requires a little care when storing the cable, which I admit I am not all that good at. Even so, I have had no issues with the cable because of it.

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    The parts used by PlusSound are of a great quality. Both the termination and connectors have a branded heat shrink around them and I personally really like this. It makes the termination and connectors a little more bulky, but it also feels incredibly solid. With some of my other cables I have had issues with caps of the connectors coming loose and the termination unscrewing, but not with these. These feel rock solid and are a joy to use when switching cables. It not just feels more solid, but I feel there is more control and less chance of bending connector pins. The only downside is that due to the larger diameter of the connectors, they can cause fit issues if the IEMs sit a little too flush in the ears. In those cases the connector can push the IEMs out a little breaking the seal. In most cases though I suspect it will not be a problem.

    The logo on the termination is copper with the logos on the connectors copper for right and silver for left, while the Y-splitter is Silver Aluminium and the slider Rose Gold Aluminium. Now there is an eye for detail! Copper, Silver, Gold... Just like the Tri-Copper material. A great example of how it is possible to play with the various customisation options.

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    Source
    All listening was done with my AK70 from its balanced out using the primarily Empire Ears Phantom and Legend X, but also the Rhapsodio Saturn, Custom Art Ei.3 and Rhapsodio Galaxy V2

    IMAGE_8.png

    Presentation
    On paper the Tri-Copper reminded me a lot of the Effect Audio Lionheart with a similar way in which a copper-based cable is blended with silver and gold (plating in this case). On paper I might have had some expectations. Luckily I know not to trust "on paper" and instead rely on my own two ears because the X6 Tri-Copper clearly had ideas of its own. Now that is not to say that it is a wildly different cable from what I expected. It is a warm cable. Check! It is a natural sounding cable. Check! And then everything else went out the window because PlusSound pulled a trick or two to make sure that the sound would be full of character and thoroughly exciting. I had not expected sparkly, certainly not with my Phantom. I had not expected detailed, certainly not with my Phantom. And yet, listening with my Phantom, there it is... Sparkle! Detail! Air! Bass, oh glorious bass!

    The X6 Tri-Copper diverges from my expectations because unlike Lionheart it is not a mid-centric cable, the Tri-Copper instead opts for more focus on the bass and treble. As a consequence the presentation has something of a hint of V-shape to it, adding excitement to IEMs like my Phantom. The stage is extended and very airy, yet maintains a feeling of intimacy by the way it wraps the music around the head. Especially with the Phantom music surrounds my head in a way that gives a very holographic experience. The music feels all around me and combined with the high level of detail gives a really immersive feeling. This works great for classical music. Rather than sitting in the audience, somebody put the seat smack bang in the middle of the orchestra and it is a lovely place to be. Alternatively, play EDM music such as Carbon Based Lifeforms or Melokind and the physical sense of space is tangible, only aided further by the level of detail and the articulation of the notes. Melokind's 'Frühlingsgefühle' becomes a sensation that tickles me in all the right places. Even with the Galaxy V2, which have a flatter, wider stage than the Phantom, the result is that the music feels like it is flying around my head. Like the Phantom the Galaxy V2 pair very well, as the X6 Tri-Copper seems to perfectly compliment the detail-oriented V2 that have an outstanding bass and exciting treble. Two very different IEMs, still great synergy and together with the other IEMs I used for this review it looks very much like the X6 Tri-Copper is highly versatile and will pair well with a wide variety of IEMs.

    Still, I like searching for the best synergy and found that with the Empire Ears Legend X. Oh my... *drools* This is an outstandingly good pairing as the X6 Tri-Copper takes the already impressive Legend X to new heights. Do note that Legend X already come stock with the Effect Audio Ares II (4-wire) cable that I consider excellent in its own right. The X6 Tri-Copper felt like a clear step up and seemed to work tremendously well with Legend X's inherent strengths.

    Bass
    Switching to the X6 Tri-Copper I consistently felt that the bass extended deeper, that there was more texture and detail to it, and that it became more weighty, more physical. With no pairing more so than Legend X. Legend X are of course among the very best in terms of the sheer physicality of their bass response, yet with the X6 Tri-Copper that physicality was pushed even further. It was remarkable how much of the bass guitar in Aerosmith's 'Love in an Elevator' was coming through; I had never picked up playing techniques quite so clearly. Same with the Rolling Stone's 'Commit a Crime', or the double bass in Caro Emerald's 'I Know That He's Mine'. There was depth to the individual instruments I had never before picked up. I listened to Muse's album 'Black Holes and Revelations', which has tons of bass in it and it was utterly delicious. So impactful, so thick, yet so detailed and textured. In fact, at times the pairing with Legend X seemed to defy physics. I started to feel the bass in my stomach, like standing next to a speaker. I have definitely never had that with IEMs before. This is why I always find synergy so important, because it can really push the experience of listing to my favourite music to new heights, making it even more engaging, and that is after all what it is all about.

    One thing I did notice and that was that the effect of the X6 Tri-Copper on the bass was less noticeable with electronic music. Sure the bass response would extend deeper and become thicker, but much of the texture and detail I think is inherent to instruments such as the bass guitar and double bass. So I would say that the X6 Tri-Copper can offer more advantages in the case of acoustic music or band-based music. It also has that warm naturalness that I am particularly fond of and that, for instance, gives the cello a wonderful weighty and natural resonance.

    Mids
    As indicated before, I feel that the X6 Tri-Copper puts more emphasis on the bass and treble, therefore by default one could conclude that the mids are not that special, but you'd be wrong. The mids are actually impressively clean considering just how full and impactful the bass sounds. Vocals sound a bit cleaner, like a thin veil is lifted compared to the stock Ares II (which already has good vocal clarity compared to the usual stock cables). Vocals are not pushed forward more, but become easier to pick out and a little bit of warmth is added, which can give male vocals a bit more 'throatiness', which I had no idea was actually an English word. I really liked that when listening to Disturbed with Legend X, where David Draiman's voice sounded properly... well, 'Draimenesque'... which is not an English word, but if you have heard his voice you will know what I mean.

    The X6 Tri-Copper also adds a hint of warmth to the mids to give them a warm-natural tonality, which perfectly complimented the Phantom and resulted in wonderfully full sounding instruments when listening to classical music. Lovely lush woodwinds just how I like them. In fact, the extra warmth gave me a surprising experience with Legend X, in that the mids started to sound an awful lot like the mids of my Phantom. It gave a wonderful familiarity when listening to classical music, although the illusion was quickly shattered whenever the bass kicked in. So while the mids are not the most prominent strength of the X6 Tri-Copper, the gains are not to be sniffed at either; added air, clarity and a natural warmth.

    Treble
    Ooh... Sparkly! The X6 Tri-Copper adds a lovely and very natural sounding bit of extra sparkle. With Legend X I even felt that while cymbals came through more clearly, they had a hint of sweetness to them that was particularly nice and avoided any sharpness. Listening to the previously mentioned tracks by Disturbed, Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones, I noticed how cymbals would come up more clearly, with a more natural resonance to them and yet without being unduly emphasised. Just the right amount to add liveliness to the tracks and that complimented the gains in the bass section. That is also what I meant earlier with "a hint of V-shape". It is not really going to change IEMs to a V-shape, but it will add a dose of fun and character.

    I also noticed that the X6 Tri-Copper can at times take a little bit off the edge of some highs. The recording I have of Madeleine Peyroux's 'Dance Me to the End of Love' can at times sound a little harsh when the higher notes on the piano are played. With the X6 Tri-Copper that becomes a little easier to deal with. It is just the bit of sweetness that is added to the treble that makes my IEMs a little more forgiving.

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    Comparisons
    -Effect Audio Lionheart (4-wire)-
    Lionheart was the first cable I thought about when I heard about the new Tri-Copper material from PlusSound, as both cables appear to be a search to gain maximum benefits from materials that are quite common in aftermarket cables; copper, silver and gold. The results are indeed very similar in terms of technical performance, but it seem to me that each company has given their material a character in line with their own "house sound". Lionheart is a very smooth cable with a great sense of liquidity in the way the notes flow. It is a warm cable, but both the bass and treble are a bit less prominent than with the X6. This makes the X6 a more exciting cable with a stronger bass impact and more sparkle on top. The extra treble helps give strings and brass instruments a little extra bite and notes seem a little more articulate. However, in terms of technical performance these two cables are very close to each other. Lionheart has a similarly lovely texture and detail to the bass and the resolution seems to me to be about the same. The X6 comes across as more detailed, but separation feels about the same to me as well. The main thing that I think separates these cables will be down to synergy and personal preferences. For example, while I love Lionheart, I prefer to pair the X6 with my Phantom because the synergy works a bit better in combination with the balanced out of my AK70.

    -Effect Audio Ares II 8-wire-
    This is a very interesting comparison because I think that the Ares II 8-wire and the X6 Tri-Copper have a lot of similarities. Both cables have a warm and exciting sound that is quite bold in its presentation. I for instance love listening to Beethoven's 5th with my Phantom paired with these cables, as they both add a touch of drama to the presentation. Ares II extends the stage a little wider than the X6 and is a hint more linear, giving Ares II a bit more mid-focus, something that is quite noticeable with more forward vocals that at times sound like the words are being whispered in my ears. Ares II also has a much smoother presentation, where the X6 is more detailed adding to the sense of speed, as instruments are a little more articulate. The bass of the X6 is more impactful and textured, the treble is more sparkly and gives string and copper instruments a really clear presence. I feel separation on the X6 is better, it has a higher resolution and the layering comes through more clearly. Overall I would say that the X6 is a clear step up in technical performance, but it does come at a price, where the Ares II is a more wallet-friendly option that still offers excellent performance.

    The Ares II 8-wire and the X6 are about the same size due to the thicker insulation and looser braiding on the X6. The X6 is however more comfortable due to the overall suppleness.

    -Effect Audio Eros II 8-wire-
    This is a comparison I made earlier in my review of the Eros II 8-wire itself. Two higher end cables with very different characters, yet each in their own way highly versatile. The strength of Eros II is that it gets out of the way and does not make significant changes to the sound, whereas the X6 adds a healthy dose of fun and character. The stage of Eros II is larger and more airy, throwing out the music in front of you. The X6 contrasts this by remaining a little more intimate (relatively speaking) through the way in which it surrounds the listener with sound and heaps of detail that Eros II simply cannot match. I also consider the Eros II more linear in its sound, where the X6 has that hint of V-shape. This is why Eros II can come across as more refined and the X6 as more bold and exciting, and is the reason why I suspected that the X6 would pair so incredibly well with Legend X. It unleashes the beast and I absolutely adore that pairing.

    Like with the Ares II 8-wire, which is essentially the same cable as Eros II in terms of ergonomics, the X6 is about the same size due to the thicker insulation and looser braiding on the X6. Again, the X6 is more comfortable due to its suppleness.

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    Conclusions
    There is no denying that X6 Tri-Copper is a very expensive cable, although equally it is nowhere near the top end price range for cables these days. It is still a big investment and I personally feel that in these cases it is about getting the right synergy to get optimal benefits, and that this synergy has to result in something that has a unique character to it and a quality that cannot be found with other cables. It depends of course on personal preferences as well, but I feel that the X6 Tri-Copper certainly achieves something special with IEMs such as Legend X, Phantom and the Galaxy V2. The sound is characterful and adds a combination of changes that is quite challenging. Both warmth and clarity, naturalness and detail, sparkle and smoothness. It is what I would expect from a cable in this price range, that feeling it is defying the laws of physics just a little bit.

    Overall the X6 Tri-Copper is a very interesting option for those looking for a warm and natural sounding cable that still offers improvements in clarity, air and detail at a very high level. This is complimented by a high build quality, great comfort and a large number of customisation options.
  2. MikePortnoy
    plusSound X6 IEM Cable Review
    Written by MikePortnoy
    Published Jun 20, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Customer service, Natural sound, Bolder Midrange
    Cons - Some may look for a wider stage.
    Introduction:
     
    plusSound is an American cable maker located in California, US. They have a good reputation among audiophiles. They offer many different cables such as headphone and IEM upgrade cables, and interconnects. They also offer the high-class amplifier Cloud Nine, Audeze headphones as well as a wide variety of DIY parts in their store.
     
    The plusSound IEM cable selection is very rich; providing the option of both sleeving/insulation type and different cable materials in almost all models. For example, the Dionysian series can be made with both copper and silver conductors as well as many other wiring combinations. Like the conductor selection, there are many options to customize the cable.  
     
    Christian, the representative of plusSound is a very nice person and superbly responsive. He always replies to my mails within the hour. I have to say that he is one of the most responsive representatives in the industry.
     
    I have reviewed the plusSound Apollonian+ and Exo series cables a while ago, which are two of my favorite cables in my inventory. This review consists of X6 series made by 6 silver plated copper conductors.
     
    For those interested in the Apollonian+ pure copper cable, please check the review link below:  
     
    http://www.head-fi.org/products/plussound-apollonian-iem-cable/reviews/13433
     
    For anyone interested in the Exo series silver/gold cable, please check the review link below:  
     
    http://www.head-fi.org/products/plussound-exo-series-cable/reviews/14640
     
    FullSizeRender.jpg
     
    Build Quality:
     
    X6 utilizes 6 silver plated copper (Type 6 Litz) conductors that are cryo-treated. Considering its 6 braided build, it can be seen as a heavyweight cable, but the overall build is not very stiff. Indeed, the X6 is flexible enough for 6-braided cable.
     
    The most beautiful point of X6 is its pins. The pins are in a green and purple color with the PS logo on them. The quality of the pins is quite good. Additionally, there is no memory wire here. In fact there’s no need for it, since it has a very good shape and is built to stay firm. The reviewed X6 has a gold-plated straight plug and the braid craftsmanship of the cable is very nice and good looking. 
     
    As can be seen on the plusSound website, there are rich customization options as well as one button in-line microphone option to be used with smartphones.
     
     
    Sound:
     
    X6 silver-plated copper cable sounds a bit warm and it has a very slightly forward and bolder midrange than the stock cable. In comparison, X6 is significantly more natural and has a little bit darker note reproduction. 
     
    The review and comparisons have been determined using the Lear LCM-BD4.2 custom in ear monitor and its stock cable.
     
    plus1.jpg
     
    Low Frequency:
     
    X6 has more authority in bass room and it is more resolving and textured than the stock cable. X6 sounds more emotional with slightly deeper and more three- dimensional hits, while Lear’s stock has less power in sub-bass region.
     
    Also, the X6 has a weightier presentation due to the difference in mid-bass body. Both cables don't tighten the stage. Even if the X6 has more quantity in the mid-bass region, it doesn't create a possible thump depending on tracks. 
     
    Mid Frequency:
     
    The X6 has slightly forward mids with thicker note reproduction. The Lear sounds a bit metallic, while the X6 has a more natural presentation with a higher amount of resolution. In addition, the X6 is more dynamic with bolder attacks in accordance with quantitative difference in the low frequency presentation, while Lear’s stock sounds brighter and leaner overall. The X6 provides a deeper and vertically bigger midrange picture.
     
    In the upper midrange, Lear’s stock cable is still brighter, while the X6 releases slightly smoother notes. Also, the X6 has a bit weightier and more resolved vocals. By using a bolder presentation advantage, the X6 recreates a more three-dimensional midrange with deeper note locating.
     
    High Frequency:
     
    Both cables have similar treble quantity, but the X6 is smoother and has a more forgiving presentation here. Also, the X6 is more controlled and refined, while Lear’s stock sounds somehow messy. The X6 has slightly weightier and more natural notes, while the Lear sounds metallic and slightly brighter in comparison. 
     
    Soundstage and Separation:
     
    X6 doesn't have an overly wide stage, but it is effectively wider and deeper than Lear’s stage; it provides a bigger and more refined picture. The X6 uses a slightly larger area and bolder instruments. That aids the X6 to provide better imaging and more three-dimensional instruments. Also, the X6’ background is located a bit more distantly, while also being blacker with a more stable background compared to Lear’s stock cable. Focusing and coherence is similar on both cables.
     
    IMG_1552.jpg
     
    Final Words:
     
    The plusSound X6 cable provides a full-bodied sound with refined and three-dimensional instruments. It has good synergy with monitors that already have a bright and lean presentation. As always, the X6 has really good craftsmanship and plusSound’s customer service is one of the best in the industry. The reviewed cable is priced at 330 USD; and different wires such as tri-metal, silver/gold, or gold-plated copper can be selected at an extra cost.  
      twister6 likes this.
    1. Majid Mute
      hi exo gold silver vs x6 silver palted copper which one better sound??
      Majid Mute, Jul 20, 2016

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