~::This review was first published on The Headphone List. Now I share it with my Head-Fi fellows::~
plusSound provided the X6 free of charge for the purpose of this review, for good or ill.
The X6 T-Metal sells for $674.99 (standard 4ft length)
This cable first came to me as an IEM cable. There was a lot I liked about it, some things I didn’t, but overall I simply found it strange. Which is not a bad thing! Ergonomics really hurt it, and this crazy high-end wire saw little use because of that. You can see my original review here.
A few months went by and I was asking around the custom cable-makers for an upgrade cable for my Audeze LCD-2 v2 Fazor. plusSound jumped at the opportunity, but with a bizarre twist. Christian of plusSound suggested I send back that X6 T-Metal, knowing I probably didn’t use it much, based on my review. He explained how they’d lay their fat voodoo upon it, transforming the X6 into something new.
Pinky’s interest was piqued. Indeed I told Christian, for a full-size headphone, cable ergonomics is far less important than it is for IEMs. I said, “Go wild.” And they did. I could hardly wait to see the bold and terrible fruit of their dread ambition.
Behold! The Monstrosity!
It’s ****ing gorgeous, ain’t it? Absolutely dazzling! The IEM cable was only 3ft long. I needed at least 6ft to work properly with my desktop setup. So plusSound made a 3ft extension to go along. Talk about accommodating! Jesus! They took off the 2-pin IEM connectors, and the 2.5mm TRRS plug, and added Audeze-compatible mini XLRs and a full-size 4-pin XLR for the balanced output on my Audio-GD NFB-28. No Frankenstein demon here. This is the height of craftsmanship and ingenuity; a proud, handsome work to bring out the full charms of the LCD-2.
So how does it sound?
Well, first let me explain why I even wanted a new cable. I had built a really nice one from Toxic Cable’s DiY store. I used Frank’s Silver Poison conductor, which is silver plus around 1% gold. This made the LCD-2 rather dry and lean-sounding. Practically analytical in presentation. A lot of that I feel is the conductor size, being rather small at 26AWG. Not ideal for full-size headphones known for big bass. As a result, I often EQ’ed these headphones, raising the low-end by no small amount. Even then, I could sense (maybe just in my mind) a lack of body.
Pinky-Made Toxic Cables Silver Poison
Pinky’s EQ setting for LCD-2 with Silver Poison Cable
X6 T-Metal on Left, Silver Poison on Right
So I sought the opposite. I wanted a cable that would give the LCD-2 more weight and warmth than they’ve ever had. Based on what the X6 did to my IEMs, I had a feeling this would serve my needs perfectly.
plusSound’s T-Metal is an update on their old Tri-Metal. T-Metal contains six strands within each conductor. Three are Gold-Plated Copper Litz, and three are Silver Plus Gold Litz. And of course, the X6 is a build using six of those clever wires.
Right away I could hear a crap-ton more energy and heft from these Planar drivers. Also, a lot more bass! EQ is in permanent disuse. Gone is the dryness and analytical feel. The LCD-2 is wet again, practically dripping with virility. The sound is bigger and fuller.
Treble is nice and extended, with lovely twinkle, but it’s softer and less harsh. With the Silver Poison, it could get a little grating. Raising the bass helped mask that. Now, the X6 does all that for me. There remains solid air and light up top, along with that precise treble definition.
The vocals have becoming artfully lush, without sacrificing clarity and transparency. There is a tangible weight to the notes, and wondrous vibrancy. Mids are richer and more liquid than they were with the Silver Poison.
I remember when I reviewed the X6 for IEMs, the soundstage became taller by a significant leap. It’s difficult to say if that’s happening here, because these huge-ass Planar Drivers always sound so tall. It’s part of that characteristic “wall of sound” effect. What I can say is everything has become bigger, and more “alive”. The LCD-2 sounds barely contained, like’s it’s trying to break free of its leash and jump all over you.
The Silver Poison was a drastic change from the stock cable, or the balanced OCC copper I built before it. The X6 T-Metal is like a brilliant mix of the two, with added lushness, WAY more dynamics, and a flat-out bigger, more impressive sound.
And the ergonomics? **** me if I don’t love it. The weight and flexibility is just perfect for a headphone like the Audeze LCD-2.2f. There’s no real microphonics, and the X6 feels very nice draped over me. The X6 T-Metal is a king-hell awesome pairing for Audeze, and has caused me to love these headphones anew.