ISN Earphones impression thread. New ISN NEO 3!
Dec 4, 2019 at 1:40 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 5,037


Headphoneus Supremus
Jun 20, 2011


Model: H40
Shell material: resin
Configuration: Balanced Armature & Dynamic Hybrid
Ergonomic wearing design
Dynamic driver : 9.2mm
3 Balanced Armature: Custom 1 BA for middle Frequency + composite 2BA for high frequency
Impedance : 22 Ω @1khz
Sensitivity : 105 ± 3dB @1khz
Frequency response : 20-20kHz
Connector: MMCX
Plug: 3.5mm
Cable length: 1.2M

So my long over due cables and how they have an effect on the H40 post. If you have never been a believer of cables and what they do the H40 will make you a believer. These scale to cables more than just about any other in ears I own. You can change a lot about how the H40 sounds with a cable tweak I like to call it. These cables were all used in single ended and not balanced so to keep parameters the same using Azla Senda fit tips.

First there is the cable that comes with the ISN D10. The ISN S4.

The S4 is a direct upgrade on the S8 that comes with your ISN H40. You can hear the expansion of the stage for one, gives a greater width and separation of sonics. Slight increase in detail, I also noticed the mids to come more forward in the mix. If the stage of the H40 is represented by a circle due to the full bodied nature of the sonics the S4 makes them more sideways oval. RP $58.90

Higher up in the scale of things is the new ISN SC4. I did a review on this cable you can read about here.
ISN SC4 is a crazy good iem cable that is a great all rounder due to it using both silver and crystal copper in the inlay of each cores. You get a very refined balanced cable in terms of sonics and what it does for the H40 is substantial. Better imaging, better precision, cleaner treble notes. More in the way of texture with that wider sense of stage. These make your H40 sound like you just spent $500 plus on a premium in ear. The H40 now rivals my IT04 easily using this cable. RP $109

ISN AG8. These are unique pure silver cable but it also happens to be the thickest 8 core pure silver cables on the planet. It has to be. All that silver makes what silver cables do but gives an expansive stage. You can read my review of them here.
For guys that love them some treble extension and the widest stage possible using a cable the AG8 provides this in spades. This cable does lean out the overall sonics a touch which now skews the balance to be a bit more treble forward. A bit more analytical take on the H40. This cable brings the details. Sound separation is substantial with this cable. RP of $199. I know the cable cost as much as the earphones but this is where if your a stage whore. Hey you pay to play.

Penon Orbit.
This is my newest cable I just got with the package of the D10 recently. So new I am giving an assessment of their sonic ability on the fly. First time I have heard it on the H40. So these are similar type cable as the S4 S8 but much thicker 4 cores. The thicker cores mean these will thicken the sonics on the H40. These not only throws out more detail on the sonics but that full body sound of the H40 now has better density. Bass has full impact. Treble has better extension vs the S4. Stage is similar to how the SC4 throws out stage. This cable I will be getting into a bit more but for now these also make your H40 sound substantial. Love vocals using this cable. RP $140-$150.

Lets not forget copper cables
New to the market ISN CU4. RP$149.
Absolutely superb pure 4 thick cores of Crystal copper. Copper cables are for guys that love them some smoothness, fullness, mid forwardness, bass presence with some natural treble. The CU4 adds to that spacious sound of the H40 with a warm layer of copper. timbre is mellower vs the silver and SPC cables I mentioned earlier. Gives a complete different sonic profile to the H40. Guys that are treble sensitive should look into these cables. Don't mistake this with treble dullness. These don't dull the treble. They don't highlight the treble end like the silver cables do. Treble retains its extension and detail but now has some bit of smoothness to it. Bass has some added texture and extension using this cable. Bass guys would love this cable. This is the cable I have discovered matches perfectly with my Zeus. I like this cable so much for neutral IEMS like my Zeus I bought a 2 pin version for it. If some added warmth, fullness of sonics, added density to the sonics and bass lushness is your jam. These are what to get. Natural sounds even more natural using this. Takes a bit of that edge off of BA timbre and digitalness if you know what I mean. Love love this cable.

Can't forget the more affordable ISN C4. At $58.90.
This is the copper equivalent to the ISN S4 cable that comes with the D10.
This is like the ISN CU4 but to a lesser degree. Lesser in the sense of stage and depth but still retains that copper smoothness and that bass rumble and impact. It is a good option for guys that like a bit more warmth to the H40. It is your standard 4 cores of copper but lacks that stage expansion of the higher end copper and silver cables I mentioned earlier.

Penon Fiery. At $129-$139.
These use crystal copper like the CU4 but thinner in core count. These gives better detail, better sound separation, better sense of stage vs the C4. Stage is not as expansive as silver cables or does it have the same depth as the CU4. These will give out that smooth copper tonality. It is a middle ground between the CU4 and the C4 copper cables. If you don't want the already full bodied H40 to have even more fullness these are the cables to go with vs the CU4 full sound expansion. These uses the exact same type of material that is on the ISN CU4 but thinner. So sonics don't have that fullness quality to it like the CU4. Otherwise they have similar sonic characteristics. Your into your vocal texture. A good copper cable is the way to go.

Lastly. My favorite cable above all these. The Penon Leo Plus. RP $300. I just wrote a review on these by the way here


These cables are extreme. I mean that in the best way possible. Why do these cost so much you ask? It is due to the material they are using. 8 strands gold-silver-palladium alloy wire. First time I have ever heard anything with Palladium or a bit of gold for that matter. You can read how I was gushing over this cable on that read. Ya and this one breaks my rule of never using a cable that cost as much as the phones. I suppose the AG8 would fit in that category. Really the best value out of all these I feel are the ISN SC4. But this Leo Plus.

Places the H40 into yet another leap in sonic quality due to this cable I mentioned that once you hear how good it gets with this cable you can't unhear it. The widest stage rivaling the AG8 but does one better in that these retain that full bass end now with the best texture possible for the sonics across the board. H40 sounds nothing like what your hearing when you get your H40 using this cable. It sounds like a complete different earphone altogether. Better blacker background. Increase in imagery and detail. Full luscious sound from top to bottom with the widest deepest stage and detail possible using a cable. I was skeptical I was gonna hear an improvement even over the ISN SC4 but my goodness does the sonics improve. It is just dumbfounding how good the H40 sounds with this cable.
DSC07087.JPG H40 with the DUNU DUW-02. Theses DUNU cables are the ones that come with the DK-2001.

The cable material is a neotech single crystal copper coated silver in litz structure. For folks that need to switch their terminations on the fly. DUNU cables are absolutely superb and is of the highest quality when it comes to cables. Structure and material of these cables are similar to ISNs S4 cables that come with the D10.

Out of all the cables I have used these are not only an upgrade to the stock S8 cable with improved imagery and stage but these retain the warm tonality of the original tuning. Balance is meticulous out of this cable and I am hearing more copper influence on the tuning more than the silver aspect like the ISN S4. Meaning bass and especially mids have better imaging with better spaciousness vs the stock cable. It is yet another upgraded take on the H40.


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Dec 4, 2019 at 1:43 PM Post #2 of 5,037

Recently got these. I felt these deserve its own thread. It will only be a matter of time before people start catching onto these. These my friends are special. Currently being sold on Penon audio web site. I will post links later but just know. These are substantial in the sub $200 price realm of earphonedom. Sound just don't get much better for the asking price. So let it start. I will post more impressions of them as I am getting to know the sound better.

So for early buyers for the H40. ISN will include their first edition of the ISN H40. Story goes they weren't happy with the final results of them so they re tuned the now retail version. The left over stock of the original H40 in limited supply will be given out for free when you purchase a H40. So that means you will get 2 of these. Don't knock the free bee. They are actually pretty good. The final H40 however. I feel is substantial.
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Dec 4, 2019 at 1:53 PM Post #3 of 5,037
Initial impressions. These have a high end tuning on them meaning they have the goods on all of it. The sound balancing is excellent. Wider stage for in ear monitors. Fantastic airy mids. Extended detailed sparkly treble. Deep reaching low end rumble with excellent impact. The all resin shell blocks out a good amount of ambient noise. Comes with a fantastic SPC ISN S8 cable.

They aren't gonna win any awards for packaging, the pic above is basically what you get. A zip up rectangular case with all the tips and H40 inside. You do get an extra earphone and a larger pouch which the "Retired" version comes in and that is it. No fancy box. No crazy graphic with marketing lofty language. But you know what, when they sound this good. Who cares. lol. So let it begin.
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Dec 4, 2019 at 2:06 PM Post #4 of 5,037
My set is on the way I will compare it with my other ~$200 IEMs like my DM6 and my IT01s. The fact that they come with the isn S8 cable already is great as it is my cable of choice for my DM6. They have an impedance of 22ohm so I can use it with my hiby R6. Excited!
Dec 4, 2019 at 2:11 PM Post #5 of 5,037
Ya I can hype these up all day long. Lol and not feel ashamed of my hyping. Just be ready. your gonna be surprised as I was. I was expecting a decent sound but nothing got me ready for just how good. I take it your getting the Retired version as well?

Gotta get em while they are available. Might be a collector item some day. Lol.
Dec 4, 2019 at 2:28 PM Post #6 of 5,037
So I found out. If you order from the Aliexpress shop and not the Penon site. There isnt an option for the "retired" version but you do get a $5 discount from aliexpress and you can choose balanced cables on the H40.
Dec 4, 2019 at 2:47 PM Post #8 of 5,037
Good point I will ask Penon rep. There might have been some residual marketing and specs from the previous H40 version. Looks like the ISN web site might be the official version. Will confirm from Penon.
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Dec 4, 2019 at 3:00 PM Post #9 of 5,037
So I found out. If you order from the Aliexpress shop and not the Penon site. There isnt an option for the "retired" version but you do get a $5 discount from aliexpress and you can choose balanced cables on the H40.
I have chosen balanced cable on the penon website... Aliexpress charges taxes for me in California, Penon doesn't...
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Dec 4, 2019 at 11:41 PM Post #11 of 5,037
Just received mine yesterday, and that fast has become my daily driver. First of all, most complaints about hybrids is the cohesion problems and this iem has no problems in this regard. Speaking of problems, this iem has none. Sub bass is good, mid bass is good with no bleed into mids, mids are great, not forward and not back, but just right for female and male singers, and finally the treble is excellent, with no sibalance or harshness. I find it very tip dependant though (YMMV), I ended up using the included very small double flange or my spinfits. I actually prefer the little double flange tips. I find the H40's fit to be moderately deep and very comfortable. The H40 is made of resin with a metal nozzle. I am not a professional reviewer, these are just my initial impressions. If anyone has any questions, just shoot me a message.

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