Likeimthere

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Great resolution, transparency, layering the further back in “time” you go.

Fun listening experience

Sturdy, quality construction
Cons: Expensive for a lot of people.

Synergy might change based on pair up.

Ergonomics could be better for a cable this pricey
A Trip Back In Time...


Cable Review for PW AUDIO 1950, 1960, 1980 cables...


I would like to open up this review by giving honor to whom honor is due. These cables were provided as part of a tour kit organized by @Barra and @PWAUDIO. Without that, I don’t think I would ever have an opportunity to listen to, let alone write a review on these upper echelon products. For that I say a big THANK YOU!



Cables are a hot topic for endless rantings and scientific jargon as to the legitimacy of their purpose in the musical listening experience. Some swear cables make no difference in the chain, others consider it to be audibly distinct in character. From my limited experience in the HiFi world of greatness my vote goes for the latter...


The great sensei @twister6 once told me some time ago:


“Icing can only be added after a cake has been baked... but great icing placed on a bad cake... is still a bad cake...”


Okay so maybe he didn’t say those words exactly....


What he did say was cables are the last leg in a much bigger picture of synergy between musical parts... cables are the icing that is added only after you have put together a great sounding “cake”...


So before I set out on adding icing, I first learned about baking and putting together a great musical “cake”


A Little Bit About Me. . .

There are three things in this world that make me happy... sexy cars, soccer, and music...


I remember my first experience listening to Michael Jackson on some Sennheiser HD280 headphones on a FIIO X3... version 1...my mouth dropped... I never heard music like that before... and the question I asked myself is,


Can music sound any better than this?!”


Such began my hifi journey to answer that one singular question. . . And it is still on going. I measure the music experience akin to “being there” (thus my review stage name)... if it’s a live performance, imagining being in the stadium or concert hall, and being able to pick up on the nuances of that live experience. If it’s a movie soundtrack, capturing the emotion of the character in the struggle or the celebration...and how that plays out in the song... a synergy of parts that can capture this realness and do it with emotion in my ears... that’s a synergy I constantly seek to push to higher levels....but the key word there... “my ears”... I’m just a church boy who enjoys music...


My review is based on my opinions through my 64 Audio A18t and Chord Hugo 2... a pairing that has taken me years to save up for and through gradual relationships with other items that have gradually increased my love for the music listening experience...songs were eclectic in selection, with a mixture of Tidal/Tidal MQA and personally owned DSD selections, played using Audirvana. Each piece of hardware is considered a TOTL in its own respective categories, but they operate together as quite a tasty “cake” giving music delivery a level of excellence hard to beat in a portable setting. Now for the icing...


On to the cables...


I can’t comment on the packaging, because they were a part of a cable tour, and so they were a part of a big selection of cables .


Ergonomics

I travel a lot for work, and take my music with me everywhere I go, listening as I walk to my gate, board a plane, or hop on a bus, or just to go out for a walk. As such the ergonomics of a cable are a big part of my listening experience. Microphonics and cable stiffness can make or break a cable for me in my everyday usage... As of now, the king of ergonomic excellence has been Effect Audio, and I use that as a base standard when comparing other cables. For each of the cables, I simulated what it would feel like when using it for my day to day activities. . . by taking it along on my day to day activities. All three cables have the same termination connections, the same 4-wire to 2-wire braiding, and the same heat shrink around their termination points. If I were a “looks” junkie, I’d expect cables that cost this much to have a bit of a luxurious look and feel to them, but these cables look sturdy, but not really expensive. Honestly if placed next to the Xerxes 8w or the Eros II 8 wire, those cables “look” much more luxurious and “expensive” . . . But the performance outshines the looks.


1980

Of the three cables, this cable is the stiffest and thickest in feel ... actually out of the entire PW Audio lineup this is probably the stiffest. Naturally when you consider its construction, it makes sense. According to PW, its constructions consists of black PVC (polyvinyl chloride) which serves as an insulator, but also makes the cable thicker and less supple. It made the most noise while running errands around town. Although it is considered a 4 wire cable, it did have a thickness very similar to my Eros II 8 wire cable.


1960

The cable is significantly more supple than the 1980 cable, and that has a lot to do with the sleeving that it comes in. It is OCC copper in material but has different gauge sizes in its positive and negative conductors. The positive conductor is FEP wrapped 26 AWG wires while the negative conductor is PVC 24 AWG. You can’t tell either because they are both sleeved in a carbon fiber, cloth-esque material, which helps in its pliability.


1950

This cable seems to fall between the other two in ergonomics. It is not quite as stiff as the 1980 cable, but feels stiffer in the hand than the 1960 cable. I did run into some memory wire when using the cable on my errands, and had to untangle it on more than one occasion. But microphonic were at a minimum throughout my usage. It is constructed of a gray PE (polyethylene) insulated high level copper.


Sound Impressions


I have a particular affinity for “clean” sound. . . I’m a church boy, and I cringe at music that is loud for the sake of being loud, and trying to give a perception that all the parts of a song are hitting your sonic acoustics. I enjoy appreciating the nuances and dynamics of a song, and get excited when I discover minute details in songs that I have listened to. . . I understand that there are signatures to certain musical listening devices, and in some cases these devices raise one aspect in comparison to another. . . but a synergy that drowns out one spectrum significantly is one that I will graciously pass on. The trip to the 19th century is a trip that I would take anytime, as all three cables have very different signatures, but still give excellent presentation to the music listened to. I have a set playlist that I use to test different aspects of the listening experience, and I will most likely reference several of them in my sound impressions with the cables.


My first stop on the time travel expedition brings me to 1980s . . . as I take a seat in my chair and disappear into the abyss of musical time travel, I am greeted with a black background. Lion King on Broadway’s (yes Lion King) opening song, “Circle of Life” pierces my ears. The first thing I notice is the vocal sweetness. Each harmony of the singers have a warmness to them and operate in their respective spheres with unison. As the instrumentation begins to come into play, the resolution is elevated, but the instrumentation is laid back and the treble is smooth in delivery, while the vocals still seem to be a bit more forward. Listening to other live songs solidifies this experience. . . Staging is wide and holographic in nature and the airiness around the singers gives the perception that I am sitting somewhere in the fifth row of the auditorium. Bass is the highest of the three cables and has some boominess to it, but is still textured and deep in presentation and gives the most body of the spectrum. In Hillsong’s Prince of Peace I feel the kick drums and the weight they bring to the song. Micro-detail in voices, instrumentation, and layering is more present, and overall a step up in musicality from lower tier cables.


As I travel further back in time, I am greeted by the 1960s cable. Its background is just as black as the 1980 cable. In its delivery, the cable balances out the music presentation more than the 1980 cable. Norah Jones sings “Don’t Know Why” to my ears with a natural suppleness that can convince me of her whatever she desires. With the 1960 cable, the micro details come out more and I can pick up on what I call the “vocal breathing” between her moments of pouring out her love in her voice. There is better transparency and resolution between instruments and voices without one sacrificing the other. The cable brings more sparkle to musics treble region, but rolls it off, and so it never comes out as harsh or bright. Bass is tight, with a focus centered more on mid-bass, and the overall delivery is cleaner than the bass in the 1980 cable. The stage is wider, and adds more depth to the singers, the instrumentation, and the spacing. It gives the better “likeimthere” performance, and puts me a little closer to the stage while still keeping things transparent and fun. Thats the word. . . fun. . . it is a more fun cable to listen to than the 1980. I would say this fun presentation stems from the mid bass and the vocal clarity and the rolled off treble.


The final stop at 1950s takes all that is good in the 1960s cable, balances it out more, and then raises the bar a level or two. The 1950 cables is the most neutral of the cable, and reminds me the most of my Eros II 8 wire cable in that is just disappears into the background. . .but it takes the listening dynamics, the micro-details, the transparency, the separation, and just every aspect of the music to an even higher level than any of the other cables I listened to. It has a linear presentation, and so every piece has its placement, and has the space and airiness around it to operate with naturalness and excitement. Bass reaches deep, is heavy, but operates in excellence without drowning out the treble. You hear and feel it just as clear as the treble and the vocals. Muddy Waters and Michael Jackson both attack musical instrumentation differently, and have some songs that have a lot of pieces operating at once, but the 1950 cable brings out their unique characteristics with clarity and finesse that makes you hit replay to try and pick out even more with each listen. Micro details, such as an extra tang in a guitar pluck or reverb in a cymbal clash come through with such an excellent level of layering and musicality that you feel like you are the only one in the audience with the ability to locate every instrument against the other. Ah but even the audience singing in Hillsong’s “Beautiful Name” comes through with clarity and poise against the lead singers voice and her back up singers’ voices. Every part can be heard with their own layer of delivery and work together to give you the most natural airiness and holographic presentation heard to date. Stage width is about the same as the 1960, but the depth goes further into the stage. Timbre is top notch, and the treble is sparkly with no hint of brightness. Music has more body, more emotion, more punch. The cable just seems to present everything right, and it is my clear favorite out of the entire bunch, and I can understand see why there is a price difference between it and the 1960. It is, in my opinion, on another level sonically. Its only downside is that it is not as supple in ergonomics. My Eros II, even in its 8 wire configuration, is preferred in the arena of ergonomics. But the performance (and price) is a clear step up from the Eros II.


As I return to the 21st century, I have a new found appreciation for what a cable can do in putting in the finishing touch on a listening experience. The cables were excellent performers in their respective characteristics. Each cable brought more to the table the farther back in time you went, with the pinnacle being a clear choice in the 1950 cable. But again this excellency pushes me back to my road of discovery and the question:


“Can music sound any better than this?”


The journey continues. . . but in the mean time. . . I’m graciously accepting donations for the 1950s cable. Or any cable that can dethrone it. . . :dt880smile:


Happy Listening!


“LikeImThere”

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