Review of ASEN high density Silver-plated Premium Cables (mmcx, 3.5mm, 2.5mm)
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twister6

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As some of you might know, I am an audio cable believer.  After testing and comparing a number of replacement headphone cables, I can certainly hear a difference between a typical OFC, silver plated, pure silver, and pure copper wires.  There is no magic behind it, just a difference in the material property affecting analog signal quality.  The level of this difference will vary from very subtle to more noticeable.  I don't expect everyone to share the same opinion since we hear things differently, use different headphones and different sources, and in general our hearing health changes as we age.  But one thing I found to be consistent, and that is pure silver cables usually have more impact on a sound quality, though I haven't tested any Au/Gold cables yet.  Also you can expect to pay more for a silver cable, anywhere from $300-$600.  The price is usually driven by a thickness (weight) of the wires, connector brand name and material type, and level of workmanship art.  But no matter how you stretch it - I haven't come across yet a quality silver cable under $300.
 

 
 
I discovered ASEN only recently, a Taiwanese company specializing in Performance audio and digital cables.  I don’t know much about their history since their website (http://www.asen.com.tw/) has hardly any info in English, but it looks like they do have a rather impressive catalog of products with great looking and affordable cables, including plated high density silver one (not a pure silver).  When it comes to headphone cables, a lot of people value performance as much as looks to personalize their pairs of high end IEMs/CIEMs or full size.  Being curious to find out how they look “in person” and how they perform with a number of my headphones, I requested a review sample and here is what I found after spending a week of testing with a few types of ASEN premium cables.  Let me first start by talking about their Plated high density Silver cable with mmcx connector, and then move on to 3.5mm audio Silver-plated cable.
 
Though I was originally looking into their budget silver-plated version of mmcx cable, ASEN informed me about their upcoming high density silver plated version which comes in two variants with a regular 3.5mm TRS connector (CS3M-MCX-1.3M model, available for $219 on Amazon) and 2.5mm TRRS balanced wired connector for A&K (CS25-MCX-1.3M, available for $219 on Amazon).
 
Each arrived in a compact glossy packaging box and included a nice IEM storage case.  That was really an unexpected bonus to receive with a cable.  Though I have a number of cases already, and they are not that expensive to buy off eBay, hard shell IEMs zipper cases usually come in small round or bigger and bulkier rectangular shapes.  This particular ASEN case was just perfect: square and not too big or too small, with a perfect amount of room for your IEM/CIEM and thicker after-market cable.  These cases will definitely going to get a lot of mileage from me.
 
Unboxing and accessories.
 

 

 

 
 
With an exception of headphone jack connector, cables were identical.  Starting with a connector, you get either 3.5mm TRS or 2.5mm TRRS balanced, both are gold plated with a carbon fiber body and ASEN logo on it.  Connectors are nearly identical to the one used in DITA headphones, have a nice sturdy balanced weight to it, and a comfortable non-slippery grip.  You can also see a clear shrink-tube strain relief surrounding braided cable design.  The braiding looks very nice with a tight spacing which makes cable a bit stiff, but not much since it still bends easily, and gives a little bit of springy memory effect.  It also contributes to a slight microphonics effect when cable rubs against your cloth.  You can easily see through a clear cable shielding to view a high density silver plated conductor with its ultra-thin multi-core structure.  The look of silver through a clear shielding is very impressive.  It’s hard to tell if color of the shielding will fade or discolor with time, but one thing that ASEN did mention – they used halogen free (meaning non-toxic) material.
 
Moving up to y-splitter, it’s a molded rubbery piece with a decent strain relief on all 3 ends.  It’s not exotic looking or clear tube shrink-wrapped like in some other cables, but it works well, not too bulky, and seems to be durable.  It doesn’t have a premium look, but it does look rather unique in comparison to my other cables.  There is also a chin-slider (choker piece) made out of the same rubbery material.  Again, nothing exotic and actually a bit cheap looking for “silver” design, but it matches y-splitter and does its job.  The cable after y-slitter is twisted and stays intact.  Going up to mmcx connector housing, those are color-coded with left being Black and right being Red for a quick visual ID.  Connector housing is not huge and has a good grip which is important when you disconnect cables.  There is a clear tubing with a memory wire, which is soft and easy to adjust.  I’m not a fan of memory wires, and thankfully it looks like it will be very easy to remove with a pair of tweezers or needle-nose pliers after either striping that clear tubing off or making a little cut to get to that memory wire.  Whatever you do, be carefully not to cut the cable if you decide to remove it.
 
Design.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
As much as looks are important, and one of the reasons people do get replacement cables to personalize their headphones, sound change is another important piece of the puzzle.  In order to describe a sound change, the only way to do that is by a/b comparison to other cables.  For that task, I was using W60, UM Pro 50, and A83 with stock cables, Whiplash Silver modular cables, and ASEN high density Silver plated cables.
 

 

 

 

 
 
W60 w/ASEN vs Epic - Sound with ASEN cable is brighter, a little more detailed, tighter, with a slightly more open soundstage, a little louder, and more upfront.
 
W60 w/ASEN vs Whiplash - Sound with ASEN cable is a touch warmer and has a bit less sparkle in comparison to Whiplash silver.  Also, with Whiplash you get more low-end punch.
 
UM Pro 50 w/ASEN vs Epic - Sound with ASEN cable is brighter, louder, more clarity and details, tighter low end punch, upper mids a little more upfront.
 
UM Pro 50 w/ASEN vs Whiplash - Whiplash adds a slight level of refinement, a little more sub-bass rumble and a touch stronger mid-bass punch.
 
A83 w/ASEN vs Whiplash - very similar, though with Whiplash upper mids/treble seems to be a little smoother and bass is a little bit tighter.
 
A83 w/ASEN vs Stock silver-plated - ASEN has a little more low-end punch, and a touch smoother at the top.
 
Bottom line, while comparing it to a more expensive Whiplash TWag V3 modular cable I had realistic expectations and didn’t find ASEN matching its performance exactly.  It comes close, but Whiplash still has an edge over it, especially in a more detailed sound refinement.  But in comparison to stock cables, ASEN outshined in every single case.  Basically, if you are on a budget and want to squeeze out every bit of performance improvement from your IEMs, you have a very good alternative that will cost you only $219 for a decent high density Silver plated cable that sounds good, looks good, has a nice design, and comes with a bonus case.
 
ASEN braided next to Whiplash, for reference comparison.
 

 
 
The next cable I’m going to look into is ASEN model CB35-PP-1.3M, available on Amazon for $69.  This is silver plated headphone cable, 1.3m in length, with 3.5mm connectors on each side.
 
Arrived in a larger box, cable itself was packaged inside of the neat clear zip-lock storage bag.
 
Unboxing.
 

 

 
 
Cable was not too thick or too thin, just a perfect thickness for full size headphones without adding extra weight or being too flimsy.  It had a braided sheath black/gray cable jacket, typical of paracord cable sleeve, and was flexible and easy to bend.  The cable jacket did contribute to a bit of microphonics, but it was quite tolerable.  3.5mm connectors were gold-plated and had carbon fiber design.  Both connectors had a nice non-slip grip, labeled with company name, and one of them had a trimmed extension piece to use with headphones that require a slim connector housing.  That was a very clever design since 3.5mm cable is symmetrical and you can use either connector sides to work with your headphone port or maybe a smartphone inside of a protective case.
 
The wire inside of the cable isn’t pure silver like in ASEN IEM cables, but rather Silver plated.  Based on the spec, the wire has 5N purity, meaning 99.999% Silver Plated Oxygen Free Copper conductor.
 
Design.
 

 

 

 
 
I don’t have as many full size headphones as I have IEMs, and among full size headphones a lot of them use custom cables.  For a test with a regular 3.5mm connector, I decided to use my Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 and Master & Dynamic MH40.  Both are a good example of having 3.5mm port that requires a slimmer connector where ASEN cable went in without a problem!
 

 

 
 
Here are the test comparison results when using ASEN vs stock cables.
 
MSR7 w/ASEN vs stock - with ASEN sound is crispier, airy, bass has a little more punch and sounds faster, soundstage expands a little bit.  MSR7 sound is bright to begin with, so it might not be everyone's cup of tea pairing it up with ASEN cable unless you don’t mind a more vivid analytical sound.
 
M40 w/ASEN vs stock – with ASEN sound becomes more detailed, with a little more clarity, especially noticeable in upper mids.  The change is not that drastic but more refined, and the cable looks great with headphones.
 
Bottom line, I didn't compare this ASEN silver-plated cable to my other higher quality Whiplash 3.5mm pure silver cable (Modular variation) because it's not a fair comparison.  But when comparing it to stock cables you will hear a noticeable and consistent improvement.  One thing you do need to keep in mind, silver-plated cable brightens a sound so if you are dealing with bright/analytical headphones to begin with - this might not be a good match.  If you have a warm or neutral pair of headphones - ASEN silver-plated cable will add more details, improve clarity, and even expand the perception of soundstage width as an artifact of brighter sound.
 
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Hi twister, will this give improvement over linum bax cables specifically when using the A83? 
 
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By memory, linum bax made sound a little more aggressive which contributed to more harshness in the upper mids/lower treble and made low end a little heavier.  With some IEMs, BaX can have an effect of Eq boost button :)  On contrary, ASEN cable made top end a little smoother, while sound still remained clear, detailed, and airy.
 
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I followed the links on the cables mentioned above and it seems the price has jumped to $249 - and the descriptions state the conductors are SILVER plated - not all silver - so what started out as quite the value proposition has become par for the course - and based on actual wire size, perhaps sub-par. The Whiplash SPC cable is $240 - and it is a V3 version, so 24.5 AWG - is it possible to determine whether the links direct us to an item that is mis-labeled? 
 
Sometimes it is difficult to notice for people just jumping in to this part of mobile audio - when they see silver in ALL CAPS, they tend to see only SILVER - I imagine someone new might be disappointed after the fact if they misread the description and bought it only to find out later it was SPC. The model numbers you have as all silver (CS3M-MCX-1.3M & CS25-MCX-1.3M) are listed on Amazon as SPC @ $249.00. - It's a conundrum.
 
Maybe a call to ASEN's rep.... 

 
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twister6

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  I followed the links on the cables mentioned above and it seems the price has jumped to $249 - and the descriptions state the conductors are SILVER plated - not all silver - so what started out as quite the value proposition has become par for the course - and based on actual wire size, perhaps sub-par. The Whiplash SPC cable is $240 - and it is a V3 version, so 24.5 AWG - is it possible to determine whether the links direct us to an item that is mis-labeled? 
 
Sometimes it is difficult to notice for people just jumping in to this part of mobile audio - when they see silver in ALL CAPS, they tend to see only SILVER - I imagine someone new might be disappointed after the fact if they misread the description and bought it only to find out later it was SPC. The model numbers you have as all silver (CS3M-MCX-1.3M & CS25-MCX-1.3M) are listed on Amazon as SPC @ $249.00. - It's a conundrum.
 
Maybe a call to ASEN's rep.... 
 
This was bothering me as well, and I made sure I got all the facts straight before posting the review, don't want to mislead anybody.  It's very confusing how they word the listing, but they re-assured me it was pure silver rather than silver plated.  Based on performance it definitely sounded more like silver than silver plated (I have a dozen of different cables for comparison).  Also, the price suggests silver as well, but cheaper (in comparison to Whiplash) due to a thinner higher gauge wire, less silver material cheaper price, I guess?  I'm tempted to give them a benefit of a doubt that something got lost in translation, but I'm curious what their rep going to reply back to you.
 
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  I followed the links on the cables mentioned above and it seems the price has jumped to $249 - and the descriptions state the conductors are SILVER plated - not all silver - so what started out as quite the value proposition has become par for the course - and based on actual wire size, perhaps sub-par. The Whiplash SPC cable is $240 - and it is a V3 version, so 24.5 AWG - is it possible to determine whether the links direct us to an item that is mis-labeled? 
 
Sometimes it is difficult to notice for people just jumping in to this part of mobile audio - when they see silver in ALL CAPS, they tend to see only SILVER - I imagine someone new might be disappointed after the fact if they misread the description and bought it only to find out later it was SPC. The model numbers you have as all silver (CS3M-MCX-1.3M & CS25-MCX-1.3M) are listed on Amazon as SPC @ $249.00. - It's a conundrum.
 
Maybe a call to ASEN's rep.... 
 
Got 100% clarification on this one: it's high density silver plated, not pure silver.  So it's somewhere in-between of traditional silver plated and pure silver.
 
Just updated my review with all the corrections.  Sorry for the confusion, as I said, things got lost in translation :frowning2:
 
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As some of you might know, I am an audio cable believer. After testing and comparing a number of replacement headphone cables, I can certainly hear a difference between a typical OFC, silver plated, pure silver, and pure copper wires. There is no magic behind it, just a difference in the material property affecting analog signal quality. The level of this difference will vary from very subtle to more noticeable. I don't expect everyone to share the same opinion since we hear things differently, use different headphones and different sources, and in general our hearing health changes as we age. But one thing I found to be consistent, and that is pure silver cables usually have more impact on a sound quality, though I haven't tested any Au/Gold cables yet. Also you can expect to pay more for a silver cable, anywhere from $300-$600. The price is usually driven by a thickness (weight) of the wires, connector brand name and material type, and level of workmanship art. But no matter how you stretch it - I haven't come across yet a quality silver cable under $300.




I discovered ASEN only recently, a Taiwanese company specializing in Performance audio and digital cables. I don’t know much about their history since their website (http://www.asen.com.tw/) has hardly any info in English, but it looks like they do have a rather impressive catalog of products with great looking and affordable cables, including plated high density silver one (not a pure silver). When it comes to headphone cables, a lot of people value performance as much as looks to personalize their pairs of high end IEMs/CIEMs or full size. Being curious to find out how they look “in person” and how they perform with a number of my headphones, I requested a review sample and here is what I found after spending a week of testing with a few types of ASEN premium cables. Let me first start by talking about their Plated high density Silver cable with mmcx connector, and then move on to 3.5mm audio Silver-plated cable.

Though I was originally looking into their budget silver-plated version of mmcx cable, ASEN informed me about their upcoming high density silver plated version which comes in two variants with a regular 3.5mm TRS connector (CS3M-MCX-1.3M model, available for $219 on Amazon) and 2.5mm TRRS balanced wired connector for A&K (CS25-MCX-1.3M, available for $219 on Amazon).

Each arrived in a compact glossy packaging box and included a nice IEM storage case. That was really an unexpected bonus to receive with a cable. Though I have a number of cases already, and they are not that expensive to buy off eBay, hard shell IEMs zipper cases usually come in small round or bigger and bulkier rectangular shapes. This particular ASEN case was just perfect: square and not too big or too small, with a perfect amount of room for your IEM/CIEM and thicker after-market cable. These cases will definitely going to get a lot of mileage from me.

Unboxing and accessories.








With an exception of headphone jack connector, cables were identical. Starting with a connector, you get either 3.5mm TRS or 2.5mm TRRS balanced, both are gold plated with a carbon fiber body and ASEN logo on it. Connectors are nearly identical to the one used in DITA headphones, have a nice sturdy balanced weight to it, and a comfortable non-slippery grip. You can also see a clear shrink-tube strain relief surrounding braided cable design. The braiding looks very nice with a tight spacing which makes cable a bit stiff, but not much since it still bends easily, and gives a little bit of springy memory effect. It also contributes to a slight microphonics effect when cable rubs against your cloth. You can easily see through a clear cable shielding to view a high density silver plated conductor with its ultra-thin multi-core structure. The look of silver through a clear shielding is very impressive. It’s hard to tell if color of the shielding will fade or discolor with time, but one thing that ASEN did mention – they used halogen free (meaning non-toxic) material.

Moving up to y-splitter, it’s a molded rubbery piece with a decent strain relief on all 3 ends. It’s not exotic looking or clear tube shrink-wrapped like in some other cables, but it works well, not too bulky, and seems to be durable. It doesn’t have a premium look, but it does look rather unique in comparison to my other cables. There is also a chin-slider (choker piece) made out of the same rubbery material. Again, nothing exotic and actually a bit cheap looking for “silver” design, but it matches y-splitter and does its job. The cable after y-slitter is twisted and stays intact. Going up to mmcx connector housing, those are color-coded with left being Black and right being Red for a quick visual ID. Connector housing is not huge and has a good grip which is important when you disconnect cables. There is a clear tubing with a memory wire, which is soft and easy to adjust. I’m not a fan of memory wires, and thankfully it looks like it will be very easy to remove with a pair of tweezers or needle-nose pliers after either striping that clear tubing off or making a little cut to get to that memory wire. Whatever you do, be carefully not to cut the cable if you decide to remove it.

Design.


















As much as looks are important, and one of the reasons people do get replacement cables to personalize their headphones, sound change is another important piece of the puzzle. In order to describe a sound change, the only way to do that is by a/b comparison to other cables. For that task, I was using W60, UM Pro 50, and A83 with stock cables, Whiplash Silver modular cables, and ASEN high density Silver plated cables.










W60 w/ASEN vs Epic - Sound with ASEN cable is brighter, a little more detailed, tighter, with a slightly more open soundstage, a little louder, and more upfront.

W60 w/ASEN vs Whiplash - Sound with ASEN cable is a touch warmer and has a bit less sparkle in comparison to Whiplash silver. Also, with Whiplash you get more low-end punch.

UM Pro 50 w/ASEN vs Epic - Sound with ASEN cable is brighter, louder, more clarity and details, tighter low end punch, upper mids a little more upfront.

UM Pro 50 w/ASEN vs Whiplash - Whiplash adds a slight level of refinement, a little more sub-bass rumble and a touch stronger mid-bass punch.

A83 w/ASEN vs Whiplash - very similar, though with Whiplash upper mids/treble seems to be a little smoother and bass is a little bit tighter.

A83 w/ASEN vs Stock silver-plated - ASEN has a little more low-end punch, and a touch smoother at the top.

Bottom line, while comparing it to a more expensive Whiplash TWag V3 modular cable I had realistic expectations and didn’t find ASEN matching its performance exactly. It comes close, but Whiplash still has an edge over it, especially in a more detailed sound refinement. But in comparison to stock cables, ASEN outshined in every single case. Basically, if you are on a budget and want to squeeze out every bit of performance improvement from your IEMs, you have a very good alternative that will cost you only $219 for a decent high density Silver plated cable that sounds good, looks good, has a nice design, and comes with a bonus case.

ASEN braided next to Whiplash, for reference comparison.




The next cable I’m going to look into is ASEN model CB35-PP-1.3M, available on Amazon for $69. This is silver plated headphone cable, 1.3m in length, with 3.5mm connectors on each side.

Arrived in a larger box, cable itself was packaged inside of the neat clear zip-lock storage bag.

Unboxing.






Cable was not too thick or too thin, just a perfect thickness for full size headphones without adding extra weight or being too flimsy. It had a braided sheath black/gray cable jacket, typical of paracord cable sleeve, and was flexible and easy to bend. The cable jacket did contribute to a bit of microphonics, but it was quite tolerable. 3.5mm connectors were gold-plated and had carbon fiber design. Both connectors had a nice non-slip grip, labeled with company name, and one of them had a trimmed extension piece to use with headphones that require a slim connector housing. That was a very clever design since 3.5mm cable is symmetrical and you can use either connector sides to work with your headphone port or maybe a smartphone inside of a protective case.

The wire inside of the cable isn’t pure silver like in ASEN IEM cables, but rather Silver plated. Based on the spec, the wire has 5N purity, meaning 99.999% Silver Plated Oxygen Free Copper conductor.

Design.








I don’t have as many full size headphones as I have IEMs, and among full size headphones a lot of them use custom cables. For a test with a regular 3.5mm connector, I decided to use my Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 and Master & Dynamic MH40. Both are a good example of having 3.5mm port that requires a slimmer connector where ASEN cable went in without a problem!






Here are the test comparison results when using ASEN vs stock cables.

MSR7 w/ASEN vs stock - with ASEN sound is crispier, airy, bass has a little more punch and sounds faster, soundstage expands a little bit. MSR7 sound is bright to begin with, so it might not be everyone's cup of tea pairing it up with ASEN cable unless you don’t mind a more vivid analytical sound.

M40 w/ASEN vs stock – with ASEN sound becomes more detailed, with a little more clarity, especially noticeable in upper mids. The change is not that drastic but more refined, and the cable looks great with headphones.

Bottom line, I didn't compare this ASEN silver-plated cable to my other higher quality Whiplash 3.5mm pure silver cable (Modular variation) because it's not a fair comparison. But when comparing it to stock cables you will hear a noticeable and consistent improvement. One thing you do need to keep in mind, silver-plated cable brightens a sound so if you are dealing with bright/analytical headphones to begin with - this might not be a good match. If you have a warm or neutral pair of headphones - ASEN silver-plated cable will add more details, improve clarity, and even expand the perception of soundstage width as an artifact of brighter sound.
Thank you bro for this review, I just ordered this for a pair of ATH-MSR7: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00RTL477K/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
The difference compared to the stock cable is immense!
 
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