I can't believe there's not more talk about these incredible cables on the forum. I've seen a bit here and there with regards to the Utopia, but little from HE1000 owners like myself. It's time for owners and inquirers to unite and discuss this amazing TOTL cable! To kick it off I did a review... (This is my first substantial review attempt so please bare with me) I've now spent more money on a cable than I ever thought i would... and I'm totally OK with it! I'm a proud new owner of the Lazuli Reference cable for my HE1000 v2. I've been auditioning the Lazuli Reference (and others) for a few weeks and each time I considered sending it back due to the price being way more than I wanted to spend I just couldn't do it. This thing is so special I couldn't let it go. I also auditioned the WyWires Platinum, Moon Audio Black and Silver Dragon, and a really nice custom cable a friend made me. I am firmly at the place in my headphone adventure where I am searching for that allusive last 5% that's going to be the finishing touch on my end game sound. This is a really fun place to be because I am really fine-tuning the sound to my preferences. I feel so strongly about these cables I that I was inspired to share my findings in case others may enjoy them as much as I do. I will also add, I know there are many who think cables make no difference at all and it’s insane to spend this kind of money on a cable. You are totally entitled to your opinion, but please don’t hate on those of us who do hear a difference and choose to spend our money on what pleases us. I strongly believe (with my own two ears) in the difference a cable can make. This is not even a debate for me. Another note is that I’m not going to get into the specs and science behind the cable build (see their website). I don’t know enough about those things to even try to speak to them. This review is based solely on what pleases my ears, not graphs and specs. For the record, I was not paid to do this review, nor did I receive anything for free, this is purely my honest opinion. My Chain is: Roon (Mac Mini)->AQ Carbon mini-toslink->Schiit Bitfrost Multibit->AQ Golden Gate RCA->Wells Audio Milo->Danacable Lazuli Reference->HE1000 v2 I listen to the following genres: Jazz, blues, classic rock, female vocals, classical, 90’s rock, world music and a bit of hip-hip and pop at times. So the cable... The build quality is INSANELY good. I completely admit to having expensive taste and usually paying a bit more than I originally intended to get something that will last me a lifetime. I do a ton of research before buying something and am crazy about details, aesthetics, durability and usability, and the build quality of this cable scores the highest marks on each of these criteria. It's clear that great attention was paid to every detail and its look is just eye catching. I also appreciate how it keeps its form so well when coiled, but it's not overly stiff in use. I think this is due to the fact that the cable is not completely round, but rather an oval shape (hard to see in the photos) and has flexible sheathing. This also seems to help the cable keep it’s shape during use and not get twisted up over time, which is a pet peeve of mine. The sound… I appreciate a fairly neutral and fluid sound, maybe with a slight lower mids emphasis. I have quickly gotten to a place in my headphone journey where I am almost always listening critically and absolutely love hearing the details like fingers on the strings of a guitar, turning a page of sheet music, a subtle cough in the background, the breath of a singer, etc. These to me are the things that make the music come to life and makes me feel like I’m in the room with the musicians. Completely and utterly neutral lacks just a touch of life in my assessment, and I do enjoy a little “fun” or energy to the music, so it has to have some body to it. I have found that for me this is usually accomplished in the lower mids or upper bass region. But I really don’t want anything overly emphasized, which is why I would say I tend to enjoy a sound that leans towards neutral overall. Hopefully that makes sense. Here’s the problem I’ve come across as I’ve auditioned all these cables recently… Whether they are interconnects or headphone cables, it seems like I’ve found cables that mainly fall into three categories, each having strengths, but also weaknesses. In an effort to expose how well rounded the Lazuli Reference cable is, I will attempt to describe what I like and dislike about the alternatives. The first kind of cables are treble monsters that really pull out all the details, offer some nice treble sparkle and have an airiness to them that gives an element of spaciousness and a vast soundstage, but these cables either tend to end up being a touch bright or offer somewhat thin or overly airy representation of the music that saps some of the energy and thus (for me) emotion. These cables sound very refined when they handle the treble with finesse, but far too polite and they don’t pull at my gut like I need at times. Because of the lack of low-end and energy, they aren’t dynamic to me. Another kind of cable I’ve come across are the bass monsters that offer a strong low-end and full mids that give me the body and energy I’m looking for. The downside is they tend to be overly warm, with a narrow soundstage that’s inside your head (not personally what I’m after), they tend to lack the treble sparkle and not to pull out those all important subtle details in the music. While the treble monsters can sound a bit bright and fatiguing at times, these are quite the opposite as they smooth off the treble too much, kind of muffling any attempt at sparkle and the syrupy representation of music blends the instruments and notes together rather than letting them stand distinctly apart. They sound a bit to warm and at times dark to me. Because of the lack of treble sparkle and details these are not dynamic to me either. There is a third kind of cable, which in my case was represented by the stock HE1000 cable. This cable was actually fairly dynamic to me and surprisingly pleasing until I heard the Lazuli Reference. It offered some nice sparkle at times, good low-end at others, and was fairly full enough through the mids giving me that energy I’m looking for. In fact, when comparing the HE1000 stock cable to some other high-end custom offerings, I kept thinking maybe I’m crazy here, but these other cables just aren’t as well rounded across the spectrum as the hifiman cable and aren’t as fun to listen to. So why on earth would I look for an alternative if this cable was actually pretty good? Here’s why: 1) The notes sound unrefined and lack finesse, kind of gritty and unnatural. They’ve got some edge to them, which at first is intriguing, but after a while comes off as a bit ragged. 2) The treble offers sparkle, but it can get bright very easily, like it’s overreaching for that sparkle. 3) The low-end is very present, but not particularly controlled. 4) While the sound is somewhat dynamic, somehow it also manages to be kind of sterile and lacks a bit of depth and emotion… not organic at all. 4) I HATE the material used for the sheathing. It’s rubbery and not pleasant to the touch, it’s almost sticky and binds to itself, and because of the rubber it’s bouncy, meaning it doesn’t want to stay coiled and it's hard to control. 5) The microphonics aren’t that bad within the cables themselves, but the 2.5mm connectors are really shoddy where the cable meets the connector and it makes an unpleasant kind of clicking noise if you move your head while listening. Maybe I got bad pair, but this was very distracting and yanks me out of the music. It also doesn't give me that high-end feel I demand when listening to $3k headphones. So finally we get to the sound of the Lazuli Reference cable. Part of the reason I took the time to describe the previous three cable types was that the Lazuli Reference quite literally has all of the strengths of these other cables, and somehow avoids all of the weaknesses. I’m not kidding. It accomplishes providing sparkly treble with finesse that is never bright and manages pulls out every detail possible. It provides a vast (but not unnatural) soundstage. It offers energetic and detailed mids and a full and tight low-end that in conjunction with one another provides such a nice full-bodied sound, but without muffling any detail and becoming overly warm. The cable makes the sound incredibly dynamic from top to bottom, and gives you the beginning and end of every note in such beautiful way. It offers an organic sound where every instrument and both male and female vocals so sound true to life. The background is black and provides for great instrument separation and imaging. The analogy of looking through a hazy and dirty window then cleaning it and it being fully transparent best describes the transparency of this cable versus some others. I know this sounds like a ton of hyperbole, but to my ear this is exactly what this cable accomplishes. I can honestly say that the only potentially negative thing I can imagine someone else thinking about this cable is that is might be a little heavy. This does not bother me one bit, but it does have more weight than some of the other contenders. I would deal with a few extra ounces any day if it means the sound quality meets my high demands (especially with the HE1000 which is a light headphone anyways). I don’t know what they’ve done here that other cable manufacturers have not been able to figure out, but to my ears they have made the perfect cable. There’s not a single thing about the sound characteristics I would change… I really mean that, and honestly I’ve become quite an overly critical sound snob. I want to finish by saying I am lucky to have the most understanding fiancé in the whole world, who has been hearing the same 15 test tracks for weeks straight through my open-back headphones as I was rigorously testing all these cables. I’m a lucky man. I look forward to hearing everyone else's impressions!