The ISN Audio CS02 Audiophile IEM Cable

General Information

ISN AUDIO CSO2
2 Shares Copper Silver Alloy & OFC Audiophile IEM Cable


Description

  • Copper silver alloy + OFC IEM cable
  • 2 shares, single share is 20 cores, a total of 2 × 20
  • Single core copper silver alloy diameter is 0.08mm
  • Single core oxygen free copper diameter is 0.06mm
  • PVC skin, antioxidant shield
  • Brass material plug and splitter
  • MMCX/2Pin 0.78mm connector
  • 3.5mm audio/2.5mm/4.4mm balanced Rhodium-plated plug
  • Cable length: 1.2M
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Latest reviews

Redcarmoose

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Added treble stage and presence
Added low-end warmth and boost
Rhodium plug in your choice of 2.5mm, 4.4mm or 3.5mm
Increased treble separation and imaging, while smooth
Expanded width (side-to-side) and depth (front-to-back) (up-and-down)
Combination of 2 new copper types and new silver alloy
No lessening of bass aspects
Vocal boost and forwardness
Strangely exquisite ergonomics, way better than a lot of thinner cables
Treble is somehow both smoothed out and expanded adding a style of unique character
Low-weight drilled-out brass hardware
Comes in 2Pin or MMCX
Nonstop musicality
Cons: Possible added darkness for darker IEMs, yet thickness and robustness in comparison to included cable
The ISN CS02 Cable
Redcarmoose August 13th, 2023
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Don’t know if you have heard of ISN company? They are an off-shoot of Penon Audio and make a range of cables and IEMs. Typically up until this year their signature sound was slightly more bass focused IEMs than the known Penon midrange IEM products. And while I have specifically reviewed a number of ISN cables, they are always introducing new products. And I have to say, it has been a little of an adventure trying out these different audio products. Depending on the metallurgy and construction techniques, each product can sound similar, or hold wildly different sounding traits. Recently I just reviewed the ISN GC4 cable. And while listing for slightly over $100 more than our CSO2 cable here today, the ISN GC4 is truly a specialized beast that really does different things to bring-out character in your listening experiences. And just by looking at the two cables, they would appear opposite. The GC4 cable being super thin and of a blend of gold and copper 4 strands, and a single strand of 16 cores. Where our CS02 flamboyantly shows off a new silver alloy plating on-top of copper, mixed with oxygen free copper into 20 shares and two cores. That's right two styles of copper here today! One of the main differences here is the GC4 has zero silver in it, except for a little added to the solder. Where of course the CS02 has silver, though coincidentally both share a Rhodium plated plug........more on the plug later.

Actually the build of the CS02 showcases new hardware for ISN! As such.........the wild brass splitter and cable plug...................with (low-weight) holes drilled into them. The included style of holes also in the 2Pins. The whole affair comes together as actually way lower weight than you would imagine. Add to this..........a new PVC Antioxidant shield coating, provides way more maneuverability and ergonomics!

Strangely the CS02 Stethoscope Effect (cable noise) has been reduced to zero. This in itself makes the CS02 the direct opposite to the Penon Space Cable, whose cable noise is big-time along with the size. And while the stage is big yet isn’t quite as big as the Space provides, the ISN CS02 cable has a slight color to it. Where for most practical purposes the Space has very little color to change your signal.


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Cable Color:
Yep, the CSO2 offers a beautiful skew to enhance both the trebles and bass. But more than that there is a smoothness which goes ahead to give a style of character to many an IEM's treble shelf. This in fact was the truth that I was looking for while rummaging around here at Redcarmoose Labs. You see many times a cable will be a one or two test-subject IEM cable. That means it takes one to two IEMs to discover the sonic properties of the cable. But here it actually took five IEMs to discover what was up. Yep, nothing wrong with that. In fact you don’t have to go through the confusion of testing IEMs, unless you want to of course! In the end there was a beautiful character to the CS02, one that actually allowed many slightly brighter IEMs to (in-fact) showcase. Like placing a splash of whisky into your Coke-a-Cola, the effect was quite intoxicating?


So let’s get started here!

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The Kiwi ears Quintet (1PZT, 1Planar, 2BAs 1 DD):
This was a fun union and one of the very best combos with the CS02. Yep, 1 PZT driver, 1 Planar (and we are still in the treble region) LOL………2 BAs and 1 DD make this IEM up. Such an animal showcases wonderful treble itemizations. Yet once in a while it borders on too much. Many different cables could end-up too bright. Yet the CS02 does two exquisite things to add to our listening experience. Yep, Spreading out the treble into the stage, but adding the CS02 smoothness on-top too. Then going and adding bass enhancement to round this whole display off. Really it’s the bomb, and I wholeheartedly recommend this combo to anyone! Seriously! There is a blend of the two personalities, the personality of the CS02 and the personality of the Quintet, awesome!

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The Noble Kaiser 10 Encore Universal IEM (10BA):
Amber displacement of treble shelf energies…..into a form of digestibility. All 10 BAs firing at once. Now I’m not saying this will be everyone's cup of tea, but there is a form of true true romance here. Showcasing the added bass enhancement, the vocal stance, as well as a beautiful stage. Probably what first got me was the separation into how the treble was perceived, where there were nice adds of itemization out into the stage, appearing ever-so-slightly warmer than I remember them to be. The fact that we are hearing both silver and the character of the copper is what is of interest here, and there are two copper types in use. Such adds enhance the already big treble airiness to make it even bigger and more detailed? So this sounds like conflicting properties...........where there is a size expansion, but also a subtle warmth inside of that imaging?

I have to add, there is something special going-on down below too. The thing is if you don't take care of the Encore's bass, then trouble is a brewing. But no worries here, in-fact the added bass warmth is just another additive that makes this ISN CS02 cable the perfect match for the Encore. Yet it really is this style of treble personality that has me going back for more, over and over again.

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The SIMGOT (1DD x 4BA) EM6L:
Here we are finally gifted with a smoother Harman 2019 technique. Yep, after all these fireworks and pushed trebles, this shows the CS02 can do another style of playback well too. The Pinna Gain here peaking at 3kHz to 4kHz and bestowing a kind of completely adequate boost, leaving the treble heat to not exist. Also welcome is the bass additives which round-out this very accessible sound profile. While prior SIMGOT (EA500) played with their own house tune and combined that with a 2016 Harman. Now we view the start of a new era for SIMGOT............diving-in to smoother (more warm and friendly) accessible territory. Yet with our adds from the CS02 we can still go there too. Showing that while this cable has slightly its own sound, that sound is also wildly flexible. This specific tune actually took a while to test, as just like forward trebles can (in time) become too hot, this more relaxed way, can start to show boredom after a while. But no, there was no such case of too smooth or too uneventful here.

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The Penon 10th Anniversary (2 EST, 2BA, 2DD):
Simply offering more weighty ideas as to playback than the included CS819 cable, we are gifted with a boost in the lower midrange and lows. Seriously the perplexing part is I also hear this smoothing personality in trebles, where it’s more of a tone, a total tone character? There is this slight separation that was found before? I mean at this point it’s hard to tell if it’s real, or a style of pre-expectation bias from hearing it in other IEMs. Whatever the outcome, this is truly a great cable match with the 10th. While offering a nice separation and still a believed slight tone color, all is well, and while not the darkest or the brightest I have heard the 10th (in comparison to other cable adds) it’s totally musical and could stay as a join with no fears of missing a thing in 10th playback. Here we are gifted with a wider realization of midrange and treble attributes than the included CS819, yet still with a nice smooth additive (if you can believe it) inside the treble imaging, compared to brighter cables. This slight darkness is seemingly attracted to the top of the guitar harmonics showing a smooth bounce and musicality, while slightly subdued into a wicked guitar texture. 🤩

Added to that once again is super bass quality. The 2X 6mm down lows produce an enhanced yet firm and playful rendition of the bass support. It’s no secret the bass is one of the single greatest assets to our overall 10th’s sound, and the CS02 cable addition delivers in spades.

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The Sony IER-Z1R (2DD, 1BA):
I put this to follow the 10th for a reason. While not exactly sounding like the 10th, there are more similarities than differences. And for anyone wanting a pair of IER-Z1Rs, but you can't swing the fit or the funds, I wholeheartedly suggest getting the 10th Anniversary and the CS02 cable pair, as they produce many of the same exact vibes. The treble shows nice imaging and separation, while still bringing the world-class technicalities the IER-Z1R is known for. To tell you the truth, it’s been a while since I used the included IER-Z1R cable and difficult to keep switching back as to wear out the MMCX mechanisms. I use a permanent 2Pin adapter for the IER-Z1R now. But in comparison to stuff like the Penon OSG, we are gifted with a smoother style of treble and midrange boost. Though remember there is still a prominent bass and treble tilt. Such identity shows again a great style of separation into how treble imaging is perceived. Yet I still can’t help but keep hearing a warmth, a warmness that should not be at all confused with lack of detail, but more of that slight amber light (not beer) shining on all the playback as far as midrange and treble. It’s this golden light that still holds all the pace and only slightly polishes the steel, making it almost look more like aluminum? Still there is an on-going representation of cohesiveness that is somehow some of the strongest I’ve heard the IER-Z1R as having? Like while still totally itself, there is an additive of smoothness that goes to join the 3 drivers, making them perfect in the end? And finally once again.........these guitar harmonics, which prevail to showcase what the IER-Z1R/CS02 is in the end.

Rhodium:
Adding normally creates an addition of transparency and detail. I can’t help but wonder if this treble separation and warmth is from the Rhodium. But since I don’t have a CS02 with a regular plug for comparison...........I will always have to believe it’s one of the differences, same as the character of the ISN GC4 cable.

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Conclusion:
Once again Penon/ISN have added a spectacular cable to their line-up. And strangely enough the CS02 is not like anything I have ever heard before exactly. Strangely too physically the CS02 is thicker, but somehow more nimble than the
S2, C2 and H2 cables......ISN's latest trio. While roughly the same price ($10.00 cheaper) the CS02 has a way about it that distinguishes itself from the set. It offers a bigger soundstage, and a friendly quirky personality that (once you understand it) makes it lovable and irreplaceable? Don’t know if this shows up in the photographs here, but the outside of the PVC material is not perfectly smooth either. There are little divets which go about to make the actual cable sheath itself have a texture to the touch, and a texture to the eye. But beyond all that, just the fact that the CS02 provides zero microphones is nothing short of a miracle. While not a top-top-end cable in price, the ISN CS02 provides a charm and personality regardless of cost. A very special warm yet detailed musicality in the end. It doesn’t offer the forwardness of midrange and treble itemizations like the Penon OSG cable does, but then again the OSG doesn’t actually go with certain IEMs either? There is a down-home splendor the CS02 adds to both the Penon 10th Anniversary and the Sony IER-Z1R that makes them both high performance. There is a smoothness of treble that is an extra gift with the Kiwi ears Quintet..............that makes it the very best cable I have ever used with the Quintet. And when you combine that smoothness with soundstage expansion and deep lows……..well you know where I’m going with this. From here on out the Quintet has a cable match-up. Can you guess which one? 🤩

Now I have gone over a few IEMs and listened and tested………….probably the one that first showed me the personality of the CS02 was the Noble Audio Kaiser 10 Encore. Why? Because there was an amber light shining from that treble stance that outlined the full-on cable character……..and that character worked, it worked with the CS02, in a tune arena that can often be too bright with other cables. So that’s the point I wanted to get across, that the two kinds of copper cable material, the Rhodium and the silver all go hand in hand to make a subtle yet distinctive sounding cable, one that becomes a first here at Redcarmoose Labs. If you think by reading this that it may work to enhance a few IEMs you have on hand……or add smoothness in places where you could use it, the ISN SC02 cable may be for you?


$69.90
https://penonaudio.com/ISN-Audio-CSO2.html


Currently Penon/ISN manufactures and sells.

ISN Audio Cable Products:
AG8 Cable
C16 Cable
C2 Cable
C4 Cable
CU4 Cable
CS02 Cable
G4 Cable
GC4 Cable
GD4 Cable
GS4 Cable
H16 Cable
H2 Cable
H8 Cable
H8Plus Cable
8 Core Cable
S16 Cable
S2 Cable
S4 Cable
S8 Cable
SC4 Cable
Solar Cable
Type C Audio Adapter

ISN Audio IEM Products/Earbud products
D02 IEM
D10 IEM
EST50 IEM
H30 IEM
H40 IEM
H50 IEM
Neo 5 IEM
Rambo Earbuds
Rambo II Earbuds

Penon Audio Cable Products
Bass Cable
CS819 Cable
Fiery Cable
Flow Cable
GD848 Cable
HiFi Balanced Adapter
Penon Impact Cable
Leo Cable
Leo Plus Cable
Mix Cable
Neo Cable
Obsidian Cable
Orbit Cable
OS133 Cable
OS133 Adapter
OS849 Cable
OSG Cable
Space Cable
Storm Cable
Totem Cable
Totem Adapter Cable
Totem Adapter Type-C DAC
Vocal Cable
Penon Audio IEM Products
Penon IEM
Impact IEM
Legend IEM
Globe IEM
Serial IEM
Sphere IEM
Volt IEM
Vortex IEM
Turbo IEM

Penon Tail Dongle

64 individual personal audio products


Disclaimer:

I want to thank Penon/ISN Audio for the love and for the CS02 cable review sample.

Disclaimer:
These are one person's ideas and concepts, your results may vary.

Equipment Used:
Sony WM1Z Walkman DAP MrWalkman Firmware 4.4mm
Sony WM1A Walkman DAP MrWalkman Firmware 4.4mm
Sony TA-ZH1ES DAC/AMP Firmware 1.03
Electra Glide Audio Reference Glide-Reference Standard "Fatboy" Power Cord
Sony Walkman Cradle BCR-NWH10
AudioQuest Carbon USB

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