I purchased this amazing cable while I was seeking for an upgrade to my ATH IM04. This cable of mine is specifically made for Balanced 3.5mm plug to ATH IM04.
Ranko acoustic is a company founded by the Taiwanese, Japanese, Chinese experts with the goal to aim for higher quality cable at more affordable pricing. They even research and sell part so you can do it yourself.
This cable version is the DIY version made by an ebay seller.
He uses the quality parts from Ranko Acoustic and specially made it to order as I wanted it. I requested him to made it for Sony NW-ZX2, and here we go.
Look: I think it look amazing, and not cheap. Simply quality clear plastic to cover that deep dark red copper color ? Sure
Technology: 7N-OFC or 99.99998% pure copper and oxygen free. Then jacketed with Teflon, this material is known for it electric negativity, high heat resistance, and hence can provide shielding of electrical interferences as well.
The cable is 4 wires with 2 splits to each channel L, R.
Fit: it has clear plastic which was curved, and molded as a hook shape. This helps the wires stay around your ears, and doesn't bother as much as memory wires. I think it is awesome.
Comfort ability: it is stiff, strong, Microphonic is carried upto the earphones especially when you put it in the canals. The strong body and stiff shells will kinda make you struggle a little bit to find the comfort zone.....but as the saying "compromise one, to gain another" the stiff wire will never get tangled, neither does it really self coiling itself. I found it is edging at the line between comfortable and durable together.
Sound improvements: when pairing with ZX2, and the fact that it utilize the ZX2 hybrid balanced out, the sound quality does improve exactly the same way of pure and quality copper would sound like.....balanced with good highs, lows, and warmer.
When used it on Im04 and ZX2, the sound really came out as balanced lows, and highs was toned down a little bit mean while mid and vocals were pushed forward. It resulted in mind staggering details revealing level. I can clearly hear the most subtle effects, extensions of notes and instruments. It had improved the transient details....I said that in the mean of something that can only be observed with quality gears. This is the Lower-low, Higher-lows, Lower-mids, higher-mids, lower-highs, and Higher-highs.
I see more than often people would reviews and categorize only three spectrums of lows, mids, highs, and vocals. Some people will call lower-mids as Mids extensions, and higher-mids as decay. I view it as lower-mids and higher mids, while it only exist and last for a super short time, it does effect the sounds, and this is the part most lossy codec will cut off to compress the tracks. I call it the transient spectrums. When the Transient spectrums reveal itself, smooth, and airy, then you know that you have had in your hand good gears.
I know for the fact that ZX2 is an excellent DAP at an affordable price, also IM04 is the top dog of a long branded Japanese headphone, after seeing the transient spectrums become more revealing with the upgraded cable , I have to admit that I have in hand a good quality of gear....the cable.
Price: this is amazing, I got it for less than $100... Where as it could easily cost me 200-300$ if I was to order it elsewhere or even more than that.
The seller was English fluently over the mail, messages, with good knowledges of acoustic and audio cables, probably an enthusiast as well. He shipped it super fast as it only take one day to make, and one week from HK all the way to my hand in the US. He also make silver cables, with different plugs as you order.
I hope you enjoyed my reviews and find it helpful. If you happen to order his stuff, and appreciate my reviews, please tell him that, (e-matrix) my EBay name, refer you.