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Low end. Cheap. Generic. Otherwise bang for buck cable thread!

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  1. BadReligionPunk
    Anybody mess around with the NiceHCK or YY 4 core cables? Under the latest findings it seems 16 core HCK cables are fake and the 8 core cable with carbon plug are better, but doubtful that they are wired correctly. Got me wondering if the 4 cores, which would be wired correctly are exactly the same as the 8 core just thinner. They cost the exact same.
  2. Slater
    I plan on testing a 16-core NiceHCK cable. There’s a sale in few days; I’ll order one then.
    fokta and Zerohour88 like this.
  3. hakuzen
    i don't know why you deduct that 16 cores hck cables are fake..
    the last findings have only proved that TRN 8 and 6 cores cables have important solder issues, which was probable after seeing the uneven resistance measurements.
    most of rest of cables show even measurements, so it's a bit early to claim they are fake. in fact, i doubt they are fake
    CoFire likes this.
  4. BadReligionPunk
    So you think a $17 cable has all the cores soldered? Seems very unlikely.

    I also have a $60 hck 8 core cable that is likely fake as well as the thing is glued shut and it impossible to get too to even check.

    Its a personal opinion based on what slater has posted that most of these cables are not what they are advertised.
  5. BadReligionPunk
    Is it something you can test, fix and send back? Does the entire thing need to be destroyed in the process?
  6. hakuzen
    based on my resistance measurements, i'd say yes, it's very probable (95% to say something) that all the cores are soldered.
    the only cables which showed very strange uneven measurements are the only ones found having solder issues now. trn ones.
    it's easy to start blaming on all chinese cables, but it's not fair, we haven't proved they are fake (and they won't, probably), so please, everybody calm down
  7. Slater
    It's destructive, unfortunately. Here's an example of why...

    This is a NiceHCK I just finished dissecting. It’s cable 053 from @hakuzen's list (an 8-core NiceHCK cable). Anyways, this particular cable has all cores soldered to all jacks.


    So as far as the question of "can cables be tested and then returned", as you can see from the above photos it is not a realistic proposition. To be thorough I have to verify what's going on at BOTH ends of the cable, so we can get a clear understanding of the construction of the whole cable. Because, for example, a cable may have all cores connected at the 3.5mm plug but not at the mmcx plug due to space limitations.

    It's not a total loss, however. The braided wire is still good, and cables that I dissect can be rebuilt with all new ends. Unfortunately, by the time I buy new plugs (male mmcx, 2-pin, 3.5mm, balanced) it easily exceeds the cost of the cable itself. But all in the name of science, right? I've already rebuilt one of the KZ flat braided cables to use with some 1More H1707 headphones.

    As far as fake vs real cables, I can only speak to cables I have actually physically torn down so far:
    • (038) KZ 8-core flat braided, 3.5mm SE, 2-pin
    • (038) KZ 8-core flat braided, 3.5mm SE, mmcx
    • TRN 6 core, 3.5mm SE, mmcx
    • TRN 6 core, 3.5mm SE, 2-pin
    • (056) TRN 8-core, 3.5mm SE, mmcx
    • (056) TRN 8-core, 3.5mm SE, 2-pin
    • (053) NiceHCK 8-core, 2.5mm balanced, mmcx
    I have yet to receive/test any more cables (including some 16-core cables), but I plan to in the coming weeks. Based on hakuzen's list, I already know which 16-core cables I'm suspicious of, so those are the ones I'm going to tear down first.

    As hakuzen said though, we need to remain fair and also resist a panic. There are many LEGIT cables. But just like anything, there's some FAKES mixed in. My hope is to expose as many fakes as possible, but also to show manufacturers that there are people out there actually verifying their products. And so maybe it will help convince all of the manufacturers to be more honest.

    Finally, I'll leave you with this photo. In it you can see just how little room there is on each individual terminal. There's BARELY enough room for 2 cores to be soldered per terminal. As I've said before, imagine how incredibly difficult it would be to solder TWICE as many wires onto the same dinky terminals for 16-core cables. I'm not saying it's impossible, but I have to ask myself if manufacturers selling a mass produced $15 cable can pull it off...
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
    danniao, CoiL, courierdriver and 7 others like this.
  8. hakuzen
    that's cable 053.
    i've opened a cable 052, 8 cores, soldered as expected. ok as well.
    so trn cables remain the unique cables with solder issues till now
    archdawg and Slater like this.
  9. hakuzen
    nice macro pics, thank you @Slater!

    remember that total amount of copper in 16 cores cables is similar than in 8 cores cables, because conductor is thinner. the rest is insulation, which isn't soldered. so they don't need extra space
    fokta and Slater like this.
  10. BadReligionPunk
    So in your opinion @Slater what would be the reason to glue the crap out of a jack and make it impossible to change/ replace.

    Is it too hide something or is it to secure crappy welds inside the jack? Or both?

    Kind of perturbed at how easily the 2.5mm jack on that LZ A6 cable bent. It needs replaced but I can't just take the jack off. I have to cut and resolder everything with a new jack. Anyone know of a good 4.4 balanced jack that is quality?
  11. Slater
    Well, it’s important to note that not all of these jacks are threaded.

    Some are basically metal ‘sleeves’ that they slide down over the wires and then fill in with a liquid polymer or hot glue of some sort. This makes for a slightly more compact plug design, and the wires being encased in glue helps to stabilize them and act as an additional strain relief. So in my mind that’s actually a desirable design feature. The downside being the fact that the plug is unserviceable.

    On the other hand, the plugs that ARE threaded, but then glued shut serves no purpose in my mind other than to keep people out. It isn’t to keep the plugs from coming apart. Because have tight is all that’s needed with these plugs (and a small drop of loctite red if one wanted extra insurance).
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
    hakuzen and BadReligionPunk like this.
  12. RikudouGoku
    Do those cable i linked have memory hook? Is there any difference in sound in different colors?

    Edit: is it likely that all new kz iems use the same type c as the zsn/zsn10pro? If that is the case then I might just buy all of the cables
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
  13. BadReligionPunk
    Thank you. That all makes sense. I will have to track down a good 4.4 balanced jack now and hope I can solder it. Been soldering guitar pickups and pots for years, but that's not really super delicate stuff.
    Slater likes this.
  14. Slater
    Ok, I just got done testing 2 more cables.
    • (060) NiceHCK 8-core brown wire w/carbon fiber plug, 3.5mm SE, 2-pin
    • Kinboofi 8-core copper & silver bi-color, 3.5mm SE, 2-pin
    NiceHCK cable has all cores connected. 2 to L+, 2 to R+, and 4 to gnd. Even though there’s 4 connected to gnd (causing a lopsided reading for resistance), if this was a balanced cable I’m sure it would have 2 to L+, 2 to R+, 2 to L-, and 2 to R-.

    I also have the mmcx version of this cable, but I decided not to tear it down. I have no reason to believe that it’s built any different from the 2-pin version I did tear down.


    Kinboofi cable has all cores connected. 2 silver to L+, 2 silver to R+, and 4 copper to gnd. I would have preferred to have 1 silver and 1 copper to each terminal, but oh well. I seem to remember hakuzen saying that KZ does their bi-colored cables this way (with all 1 wire type to + and the other wire type to gnd). Anyways, even though there’s 4 cores connected to gnd (causing a lopsided reading for resistance), if this was a balanced cable I’m sure it would have 2 to L+, 2 to R+, 2 to L-, and 2 to R-.


    A few more interesting notes about both of these cables:
    1. Both of these cables were constructed with the exact same (and odd) heat shrink configuration inside of the 3.5mm jack. I’m willing to bet that both of these cables are made by the same OEM factory (and just printed with the NiceHCK/Kinboofi logo). I have NOT seen this same heat shrink configuration on any of the other cables I’ve tested.
    2. While both cables had glued on 3.5mm plugs (meaning they couldn't simply be unscrewed and had to be cut apart), NEITHER cable were filled with the clear plastic polymer/glue that's been in all of the other cables. It's unfortunate that I had to destructively tear these down. If there was some way the 3.5mm plugs could be unscrewed, all of the wires could be accessed (for physical examination, repair, etc). Oh well.
    3. I was impressed by the high quality solder joints and very good strain reliefs inside the jack of both cables.
    4. Due to the particular internal construction of these cables that I have yet to see on any other cables (the unique heat shrink, lack of clear goo, etc), I’m willing to bet that both of these cables are made by the same OEM factory (and just printed with the NiceHCK/Kinboofi logo).
    I would buy either of these budget cables in a heart beat.

    A special thanks to @Midgetguy for donating the Kinboofi cable for dissection!! Someone buy this guy a beer!
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
  15. fokta
    THE SIDEGrade
    Morning, as promised, was trying to make an impression regarding 165, compare to 130.
    I want to include Abnormal, but when I tried it on, the Warm Sig already makes me reach 165... (I not to keen to warm Sig)

    the gear I (only) used is my Solaris, with DX228.
    flac songs :
    Billie Eilish - Bad Boy
    Billie Eilish - ilomilo
    The Postal Service - Such Great Heights
    Santana - se a cabo
    Slime - Steppin' Razor
    20190615_071114.jpg 20190615_070405.jpg 20190615_065842.jpg

    The looks...
    20190615_063113.jpg 20190615_063054.jpg 20190615_063001.jpg 20190615_062912.jpg 20190615_063216.jpg

    Overall, quite same Sound Signature between the two...
    165 better (small marginal ) then 130 in term :
    - Darker background, the reason is because the Bass, Mid and High is thighter, that's what I exp (Song, Santana - Se a Cabo)
    - due to thighter Bass character, it felt like the rumble even have layer detail (Song, Postal Service).
    - Pint pointing excel, edit,this prob because darker background and thighter in each freq. (Santana - Se a cabo).
    - lighter, edit. What to myself, the purpose of having 165 is lighter weight...
    - seems better material for the mmcx connector.

    130 > 165, in term :
    - Dynamic acknowledged in low Volume... ( Volume 8 - 12). While 165 will start around 10 - 14
    - more punchy bass in some songs (Billie elish and Slime)
    - Mid felt more layer, but less detail and felt backward then 165.
    - Soundstage a bit wider

    My point, like the title said, is a sidegrade. a bit overlap may be...
    Darker background (clarity) -> 165
    better dynamic in low volume -> 130.
    Which one I prefer to use... I let my ear and time judge.... each have some piece that I want...

    Thanks to @hakuzen to inform me about 165. edit : it looks like EA Janus iBasso... hehehe I like...

    additional :
    165 all good...

    @Slater Ur the man, keep inform us about your action. The truth sometime terrifying, but its necessary, and hope gents here can be mature enough to handle the info. Thank you...

    edit, I can only dare open the jack case, no more than that, since I still want to enjoy the cable more
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
    danniao, Dani157, perfecious and 3 others like this.
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