- Jan 25, 2010
Synopsis: Toxic Cables’ Silver Poison are top-tier, pure silver upgrade cables for custom in-ear monitors. They sound beautiful, combining smoothness and presence with the superior detail silver cables are known for. An attractive, classy look and high-quality build complement the sound. For a very competitive price of £155 and Toxic Cables’ responsive customer service the Silver Poison is perfect for those wishing to get the most from their custom in-ear monitors.
Introduction: The first step for anyone wanting to step into high-end portable audio is to choose the right earphones for you. After that, there’s more you can do to help your earphones reach their full potential. These include having the right digital-audio player and possibly a portable amp. What lies between your earphones and your music player is the cable. I can’t answer for anyone else, but for me, the differences between cables can be clear. I don’t want to exaggerate the effect of an upgrade cable, but I can say that I certainly hear an audible difference. It won’t make one earphone sound like a different one, but it can certainly give that little extra improvement which can make all the difference to an audiophile. And they can look phenomenal.
History: I started looking at upgrade cables when I bought my first custom in-ear monitor. From the beginning, I was interested both in getting the best sound, but also in working with people I could trust. Frank at Toxic Cables has been making a splash in portable audio with his very nice cables and (importantly for me) very responsive customer service. He and I started talking and he offered me a pre-production sample of his flagship ciem cable, the Silver Poison, for review. I’m mentioning this because I like to talk about how I received the products I review. I think it adds to the validity of my reviews to be totally upfront. That way you know you’re getting an honest review.
The Silver Poison: The Silver Poison is a cyro-treated, pure stranded AWG 26 OCC silver cable with a small percentage of gold. The gold is a bit interesting. Frank tells me that it varies in the tests he does on every batch between 0.6% and .09%. It’s just a small amount and I can’t say what difference it makes in the sound, but it is worth noting.
Options: There are quite a number of options for terminations on the Silver Poison. Here are a few, but if you have any questions or want something special, just email Frank personally: Info.toxic.cables at gmail.com
Cables will come as standard with mini Viablue 3.5mm jacks, following option/upgrades available,
Viablue 3.5mm (large) + FREE
Oyaide gold plated + £8
Oyaide gold plated R/A + £8
Oyaide rhodium + £12
Oyaide rhodium R/A +£12
Neutrik R/A + FREE
Valab Carbon Fibre 3.5mm + FREE
RSA + FREE
Basso + £10 (Gold plated contacts)
TRRS + FREE
My Silver Poison has the standard mini Viablue 3.5mm jack and it’s quite nice.
Appearance and Usability :
The new clear connector overmolds look great.
This is a beautiful cable. Pictures don’t fully do this cable justice. It looks better than my other silver cables and it’s very classy and really draws appreciative looks. Importantly, it manages to be a bit slimmer, lighter, and more flexible than some other upgrade cables I’ve seen. This is key in making the Silver Poison a very usable cable for real portable audio, travelling, commuting, or staying in home or office. While not as flexible and with a bit more spring than a stock cable, it is quite nice and it lies comfortably over the ear. All in all, it’s a step up in usability from most high-end upgrade cables.
Durabilty: As I like to remind people: The cable is one of the most likely parts of a portable audio set-up to fail: Try to treat your cable well. Having said that, I subjected the Silver Poison to a no-holds-barred NYC subway commuting schedule and it has held up perfectly. Frank takes pride in his work and it really shows. This is a very well crafted cable, from top to bottom.
Gear: Before I mention the sound, I should describe the other parts of my portable set-up. I have the Futuresonics MG6Pro, which uses a 13mm dynamic driver with a variable vent system for low-frequency response. I ran it out of a TTVJ Slim amp and a 5.5 gen ipod classic.
Sound: I let my cable burn-in for about 125 hours to cover my bases before giving it a thorough listen, so keep that in mind.
While further comparisons with other cables may be coming in the future, for now I wanted to compare the Silver Poison with the standard stock cable. I was recently speaking with the head of a custom iem company and he said that a single company supplies stock cables for all major custom iem manufacturers. There are some options for appearance and terminations, etc., but they are all the same basic cable. So, let’s see how the Silver Poison does against it. Let me say that the differences are most obvious when I allowed my ears to be accustomed to the stock cable for a day and then went back to the Silver Poison.
Overall, the big differences are in detail, presence and balance. I’ll explain what I mean for each.
For detail, I hear a step up in detail resolution across the whole frequency spectrum for the Silver Poison. It’s a nice effect and this is a big part of why someone would choose a silver cable like the Silver Poison. As a side note, the Silver Poison is a little more detailed than the original Fortis pure silver cable I've reviewed a while back as well.
Presence was an unexpected improvement for me. What I mean is that when I carefully compared the stock and Silver Poison, the stock cable sounded recessed somewhere in the upper mids/lower treble vocal sweet spot range. The Silver Poison sounds more present and more alive in that range. It’s interesting and it’s very nice.
The Silver Poison sounds more smooth and balanced as well. Smoothness with detail might be the nicest part of the Silver Poison’s sound. The stock cable tended to sound a bit rougher and peakier. A big part of the balance is a reduction of the slight mid-bass swell that the stock cable seems to have. This helps to give the Silver Poison a better sense of bass extension.
The sum effect of these differences in detail, presence and balance is that music sounds more real—that’s the detail—and alive—that’s the balance and presence.
Conclusion: The Toxic Cables’ Silver Poison makes a great upgrade from a custom iem’s stock cable. With added detail and living presence to the music, plus better balance and smoothness, it’s audibly a better sounding cable. It also looks beautiful and it’s very well made. I’m very happy with this cable. The Silver Poison is going to be the audiophile’s go-to choice for top performance and a very competitive price.