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Whiplash Audio TWAU Shure replacement upgrade cable for SE846, SE535, SE425, SE315, SE215, UE900

Rating:
4/5,
  1. moedawg140
    Whiplash Audio TWau Reference Gold Plated Silver - With Comparison
    Written by moedawg140
    Published Jan 13, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Gorgeous cable, can customize to your liking.
    Cons - Price. Other 3rd party cables may offer a more coherent sound at a fraction of the price.
    Whiplash Audio TWau Reference Gold Plated Silver - With Comparison
     
    IMG_0538.jpg
     
     
    A thank you is in order – to Head-Fi member, warrior1975 for loaning me his Whiplash Audio TWau Reference Gold Plated Silver Cable for review.  Ever since I purchased a universal IEM that allowed 3rd party earphone cables to be interchanged, I was interested in researching more about earphone cables, and what types of elemental materials would possibly alter the sound signatures compared to the respective IEM’s stock cables.  I am also a minimalist regarding wanting the smallest auditory footprint that I can muster.  This means no add-on DAC/Amps, or even luxury DAPs such as the AK240, since I would have to carry the AK240 with my smartphone.  I want one component for each link of the chain to be as competent as can be.  Precisely why I care so much about the cable portion of the chain, as this is one part of the chain that can be tested, demoed and replaced until I find the cable that suits my wants and needs for the particular IEM I choose to use it for.  Let’s take an in-depth look of the Whiplash Audio TWau Cable.
     
    Here are some quick specs regarding the TWau Cable:
     
    -Whiplash Audio’s Flagship Reference Level Cable
    -Gold Plated Silver UPOCC High Strand Count
    -60 inch Eclipse “Translucent Black” OM (overmold) with no Memory Wire
    -Viablue 3.5mm Plug
    -MMCX Connector (black denotes left, red denotes right)
    -Modular System: Base Section and Y Split to Earphone MMCX
    -Additional Option: 8 Conductor OM
     
     
    Prices
     
    Here are the prices of audio equipment used in the review:
    Whiplash Audio TWau Reference Gold Plated Silver Cable:  $1,025 ([$525] base price + [$400] 8 Conductor OM + [$100] 60 inch Eclipse)
    Headphone Lounge FBI Reference Silver Litz Cable:  $220 (or less/10% discount for repeat customers)
     
    Shure SE846:  $1,000 (or lower if you search online)
    Sensaphonics Custom Sleeves:  $150 (not including impression and upgraded color fees)
     
    iPhone 6 (Space Gray, 128GB):  $849.99 or $399.99 with a 2-Year Contract
     
     
    Software Applications Used
     
    Spotify Premium – Extreme Setting and Neutron Music Player - both for the iPhone
     
     
    A Sight to Behold
     
    The Whiplash TWau Cable may be called “translucent black”, but it looks like a dark gold or bronze color to me – and it is simply gorgeous.  I like the bronze color of my Shure SE530, the gold G-Shock series (my gold Gs are in my signature), and gold medals.  The gold/bronze color of the TWau Cable has a subtle look when first looking at it, but draws you in, almost hypnotically, persuading you to gaze into the twists and braids of the cable.  The TWau Cable looks great with any skin tone, as the 8 conductors truly look like they could be a part of your own body (at least as an added braided hair accessory).  The flat, circular wooden Y-connect is soft to the touch, and does not weigh much at all, a couple of grams at the most – which is great because it does not impede usage and is not microphonic.  Out of all of the custom cables I have laid my eyes on, the TWau Cable is one of the most handsome/pretty cables that I have seen.  I can wrap the TWau Cable around, and it will not have a mind of its own.  The Headphone Lounge Reference Silver Litz Cable in comparison can wrap around easily as well, but the TWau Cable has slight gaps between each conductor, which enables the cable to never retain a wrapped or folded shape when straightening the cable.
     
    Left - TWau Cable, Right - Silver Litz Cable:
    IMG_0542edited.jpg
     
     
    Weight
     
    The TWau Cable weighs a little more than the Silver Litz Cable, mainly because there are more conductors than the Silver Litz Cable (8 versus 4), which makes it thicker as well.  Even though the TWau weighs more (about twice as much as the Silver Litz), it still feels substantial and smooth to the touch.
     
     
    Comfort
     
    There is OM (overmolding) past the connectors, and no memory wire, and as a result comfort is truly epic.  The memory wire of the Silver Litz allows you to form the cable around your ears easier, but comfort is slightly less than the TWau’s memory wire-less cable.  
     
    TWau Cable, with SE846 + SCS:
    IMG_0493edited.jpg
     
    IMG_0505edited.jpg
     
     
    Modular Cable System
     
    One feature that may be overlooked from other cable companies is the offering and implementation of a modular cable system.  Whiplash Audio has a great modular cable system where both sections of the cable, in this case, the Base Section and Y Split to Earphone MMCX are divided by a modular system plug and jack.  The modular cable system allows the user to easily interchange the cable without purchasing a completely new cable.
     
    TWau Cable Modular Cable System - Base Section: 
    IMG_0526.jpg
     
    TWau Cable Modular Cable System - Y Split: 
    IMG_0528.jpg
     
    TWau Cable Modular Cable System - Connected: 
    IMG_0537.jpg
     
     
    Connectors and Plugs
     
    The TWau Cable’s black and red OM/sheaths/heat wrap over the MMCX connectors move slightly when I pull the connectors from the Shure SE846 housings.  I do not want to pull too hard and have the heat wrap come off of the MMCX connectors they are covering.  The Silver Litz does not have heat wrap at the MMCX connector, as the memory wire (which is very secure) starts at the base of the Tri-Metal MMCX connector and ends a few inches down the cable.  The TWau Cable’s MMCX connectors are smaller than the Silver Litz Tri-Metal MMCX connectors, and are not as tightly connected as the Silver Litz connectors.  I have not experienced sound dropouts or loose connections regarding either cable.  The Viablue plug of the TWau Cable disconnects when I attempt to put my iPhone 6 in the Verizon Holster. 
     
    TWau Cable - Viablue Plug Connected to iPhone 6:
    IMG_0486.jpg
     
    TWau Cable - Viablue Plug Disconnected from iPhone 6:
    IMG_0488.jpg
     
    IMG_0491.jpg
     
    The mini carbon fiber-wrapped plug of the Silver Litz does not have the disconnecting issue, as shown here:  
     
    Silver Litz Cable - Mini Carbon Fiber-Wrapped Plug Connected to iPhone 6: 
    IMG_0551.jpg
     
    IMG_0557.jpg
     
    IMG_0560.jpg
     
    Left - TWau Cable's Viablue Plug, Right - Silver Litz Mini Carbon Fiber-Wrapped Plug:
    IMG_0544.jpg
     
    Another connector plug can be used instead of the Viablue for the TWau Cable if you can foresee possible issues with connections.
     
     
    Impressions
     
    I have a theory of why I believe the sound of the TWau Cable is the way it is, especially when compared to the Silver Litz, but again, this is only a theory.  Since gold has a lower electrical conductivity than silver (and copper), the gold plated of the silver TWau Cable is what is causing the more warm sound signature and slightly veiled sound across the entire frequency response spectrum compared to the Silver Litz Cable.  My Silver Litz review for reference, is here.
     
     
    Is This Cable For You?
     
    The TWau Cable is very expensive, but so are diamonds.  If you prefer a warmer sound signature than the more open, spacious and coherent Silver Litz Cable and favor the gold/bronze color, then the TWau Cable may be for you.  Personally, I believe that over a thousand dollars is really pushing it for a 3rd party replacement cable, especially when I have come to the conclusion that the Silver Litz Cable sounds more coherent and resolving to me than the TWau, at quite literally a fraction of the price. 
     
     
    The finale:  If you desire a cable that has a non-fatiguing warm sound and has the looks to make you perform a double-take, the Whiplash Audio TWau Reference Gold Plated Silver Cable fits the bill – for a price.  Happy listening, everyone!
      Monty Burns, AmberOzL, RubenV and 2 others like this.
    1. M Coupe
      You could also get copper litz cable and achieve pretty much the same warmer signature.  Good news is that it is even less than silver litz.  1k for iem cable is out of bounds for me personally.
      M Coupe, Feb 7, 2015