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The Toxic Cables "Scorpion" OCC copper IEM cable (Review)

  1. Staal
    I've been spending quite a lot of time with the "Scorpion" IEM cable by Toxic Cables lately and this is my review [​IMG]
    Toxic Cables
    While Toxic Cables appears to have been in business for quite some time producing cables for various high-end full-size headphones it was only recently they got into the IEM cable market. Toxic Cables is run by Frank (who is a real nice guy by the way) and the cables are nothing short of gorgeous.
    You can check out their website over at http://toxic-cables.co.uk/
    While the pictures below aren't relevant to my review per se I felt I'd show off some of the beautiful IEM cables made by this company.
    948cc5a6_IMG_18231.jpg f249c460_IMG_18262.jpg 6401bb27_IMG_18291.jpg 5ab04208_IMG_18381.jpg
    The Current Lineup (& pricing)
    Toxic Cables offer various IEM cables ranging from copper to silver with a small percentage of gold. Below is a quote from Frank explaining the different cables and mentioning the current promotional pricing.
    They also offer a variety of terminations such as TRRS, iBasso, Oyaide rhodium (RA and straight), Oyaide gold (RA and straight) and many more.
    The Cable
    I've been using a 24AWG version of the "Scorpion", which is the copper version. Do note that the pictures below of my cable to do not represent the final version fully as future cables will come with clear overmolded connectors rather than the black ones.
    Ergonomics are well above average with my only concern being that the cable is a bit large which might very well be due to the fact that I've been using the 24AWG version. It's not huge by any means, merely larger than your average stock cable.
    Rather than using memory wire the cable utilizes a "pre-bent" part of the cable that keeps the cable in place snuggly around the ear. It works rather well and reminds me of the solution used by Beat Audio on the Thor cable.
    The build quality seems very high and the cable comes with overmolded connectors which fit the recessed sockets offered by Unique Melody and others. Of course the cable works with non-recessed sockets such as the one found on my JH16 as well.
    There's a generous length down to the y-split which I find quite comfortable and the wooden ball slider looks quite cool.
    Also, the length seems to be quite generous as well. I haven't had the change to measure, but it's definitely longer than both my stock cables and my TWag V2 (48"). This is lovely and while I'm not giant (a mere 185cm / a bit more than 6 ft) I often find myself wishing for other cables to be just a little longer.
    The Sound
    Listening for differences when A/B'ing between two cables has it's obvious elements of pointlessness. I know there are quite a few cable skeptics out there and proving that cables make a noticeable difference would be quite tricky if not impossible. Despite the fact that I have been A/B'ing with other cables I always know which one I am using which might obviously cause a placebo effect to some extent. Therefore, take my thoughts on the sound with the JH16 with a grain of salt - I find differences to be present and I'm sure others will too - despite the fact that they may indeed be psychological for the most part. Either way, as long as it sounds better to my ears I usually find various stuff to be worth paying for.
    I've been doing my listening with my JH16 using the following setups:
    FLAC --> Yulong D100 (fed via optical) --> JH16 with the Scorpion cable
    FLAC --> iPhone 4 --> JH 16 with the Scorpion cable
    FLAC --> RoCoo-BA --> JH 16 with the Scorpion cable
    Sonically it seemed the overall musical presentation became a bit more full and thick while also adding a bit of smoothness to the otherwise quite ruthless JH16. To my ears a bit of warmth was added which is definitely a plus when dealing with the JH16 that many find a bit too analytic and clinical in the mid and top notes. What I'm hearing when I use the Scorpion is also a bit more depth to the soundstage which is where the JH16 really lacks compared to it's (now many) competitors in this price range. I wouldn't say the change is huge or obvious but I if I listen closely I find it to be present and actually worthy of the upgrade.
    I've said this many times before and I feel like I need to do it again: "expensive" IEM-cables should not be your first upgrade when dealing with custom in-ear monitors. If I had $200 to upgrade for, I would pick up a good portable amp or even a cheap DAC rather than a cable. But once you've got a DAC & amp you're satisfied with I feel a cable might be the natural upgrade - and this appears to be a good one as that. The "Scorpion" is certainly able to hold it's own against other cables such as the Beat Audio Thor (which reminded me a lot of this one) and a Twisted Cables SPC-one I have lying here (although it's quite different)
    While I would definitely recommend this cable to fellow JH16 owners, I can't help but wonder if the JH16 would benefit more from either the SPC or the pure silver w/ gold cables. I guess I'll need to pick some up to find out! [​IMG]
    Lookin' great!
    The connectors fit perfectly with my JH16.
    I'm actually a bit sad that they're phasing out the black connectors as they go so well with my solid black CIEMs.
    Scorpion left, TWag V2 middle, UE stock CIEM cable right
    Scorpion bottom/middle, TWag V2 middle/bottom, UE stock CIEM cable top
    TWag V2 left, Scorpion middle, UE stock cable middle/bottom
    IEM cables from Toxic Cables now ship with 2 bands. They're pretty neat! [​IMG]
    Currawong likes this.
  2. Staal
  3. iamdacow
    Great review there staal just wondering on a scale of 1-100%, how big would you say the change in sound quality is and how much does this cable make the soundstage more 3d? And lastly would you buy this cable? Thanks
  4. Toxic Cables
    Thanks for the review Staal.
  5. Staal
    First of all sound is - as you probably already know - very subjective. I can't really tell you what you'll be hearing or even pinpoint the exact differences that I'm hearing. We're talking minor improvements, not a radical change. If a cable costing less than $200 could radically change or even improve my $1000+ JH16s, that'd be quite crazy. As I've already stated in my review, a cable change shouldn't be the first upgrade you do. A good set of IEMs, a good source and an amplifier would usually be much more essential to achieve the sound you desire. But if you've got all that and have cash to spare an upgrade cable might very well be an interesting option.
    Regarding the somewhat expanded soundstage - again, we're not talking a complete "wow"-effect here, but it seems improved when I do some serious listening. Even if it's not a gamechanger, I'll take anything I can get as I always found the soundstage of the JH16 to be lacking to say the least.
    I'd definitely buy this cable if I were in the market for one and after having this review unit I immediately placed a pre-order for the top model (Silver Poison) from Toxic Cables. If I were to purchase just one cable without trying any of them first, I would probably go for the SPC or the pure silver one. I can't say that they will be better (I haven't heard them), but I have led myself to believe that I usually prefer silver cables for IEMs. I look forward to receiving the Silver Poison so that I can compare it to the Scorpion. [​IMG]
    You're very welcome. [​IMG]
  6. kenman345
    Review added to the link in my sig with the Aftermarket IEM Cables list. Thanks for the review man, should be interesting when they are on sale.
  7. Staal
    Thank you! Am I the only one who is unable to click the links in your spreadsheet?
  8. kenman345
    Since it can't be in a thread anymore, you may have to copy and paste the link in your browser, doesn't fully work for me either. It's the best I can do though right now. I do have some plans to continue it's life and make it much better very soon
  9. Currawong Contributor
    Good work on on what I reckon is a well-balanced and reasonable-sounding review. [​IMG]
  10. Staal
    Can't be in a thread? What happened to the old one? It seemed very promising and informative for people trying to get a feel of the current range of aftermarket IEM cables. 


    Thank you very much!
  11. kenman345
    I actually managed to compile a list of every brand that makes one. I took out one retailer who was an ebay shop but they apparently are using pins that are smaller than the TF10 pins for each of their cables. The thread was shut down due to MOT's breaking rules too easily by posting to advertise their cables. It's in a google document now so the information is out there, and I plan on integrating it into a section of a friends blog I may start helping him out with. The link will always be in my signature though.
    I find these reviews to be very informative. Can't wait to see more when it gets to the full-fledged version with the full product release and on Toxic Cables website.
  12. iamdacow
    Just took a leap of faith ordering the silver poison ciem cables from him and with all the reviews out there i dont think i will be dissappointed. Cant wait [​IMG]
  13. khoi14021993
    I find your list very helpful. Thank you very much, and don't give up!!!
  14. kenman345
    Don't worry, I am still keeping up with it and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I'm glad it was helpful
  15. Staal
    I ordered the Silver Poison IEM cable as well after having auditioned the Scorpion. I cannot wait for it to get here! 
    By the way, Kunlun posted a review of the Silver Poison which can be found here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/616712/review-the-silver-poison-pure-cyro-treated-silver-cable-for-in-ear-monitors-from-toxic-cables

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