Review: Linum Cables

Disclaimer: all cables mentioned in this post were provided directly from Linum, at no cost to me. Linum is a site advertiser.

web: Linum Cables

twitter: @linumdk

For years I was cable-agnostic. But after some soul searching (not to mention Linum’s amazing Fujiya Avic demonstration), I am now a believer. Within reason, of course: I believe that after-market cables can and do affect sound. More importantly, they affect the comfort, and joy, of the earphone experience.

Why Linum?

Linum’s Allan Sorrig, also a believer, even has a pin that outs him as a believer. But he’s got more than just sound quality in his bag of reasons.

The most important of which is comfort. IEM cables, more than any other after market audio cable, hug the ear, cling to the temples, and touch more skin than is decent and meet. Add discomfort to intimacy and they become largely pointless.

And bar none, Linum cables are most comfy cables around.

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They are parsimoniously wired, unassuming, and practically scraggy in comparison to most of the competition. You won’t a Linum with memory wire or massive plugs. You won’t find a Linum pre-moulded into a shape determined at the factory. You won’t find a cable out there that is as comfy for either the glasses wearer or the lucky. And, depending on how thin you really want to go, and how much impedance you’re willing to sacrifice, or to chia, Linum’s cables can sound as different as a salami tastes next to a cheesecake.

To a former agnostic like me, Linum’s straightforward, engineering-oriented product marketing is refreshing. Rather than try to convince you of magic, Linum market each of their cables by its resistance. Voice, for instance, is rated at 4,5Ω; Music is rated at 2,0Ω; and BAX is rated at 1,5Ω. Super-BAX, which I got to try at Fujiya’s Festival, and which is still a WIP, halves that to 0,75Ω.

And while even 4,5Ω may seem a teeny weeny number to get hung up about, for certain earphones, it is as powerful as what Etymotic did with their 75Ω ER4 P to S adapter. Most earphone makers purposely design earphones for specific cable resistances, and around certain cables. If your cable was designed to operate best when attached to low resistance, either BAX, or Super-BAX is your best bet. But another earphone might be designed for a higher resistance, leaving either Voice, or Music, a good choice.

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Again, I’ve written down my thoughts on what each cable is capable of when attached to my favourite cable-swappable Ultrasone IQ. Linum’s genius AB black compare box made it all possible.

To date, my favourite Linum Cable is BAX. Linum terminate it in just two plugs: balanced 2,5mm TRRS, or single-ended 3,5mm TRS. But they have, or are working on, connections for the most popular earphones. At Fujiya Avic booth I even saw one fitted up for something from Suyama-san. A glance at their website shows that currently, they offer UE/Westone-style dual-prongs, MMCX, and mini T2. More is to come.

Linum’s marketing copy is comparatively transparent. Their cables are incomparably tiny. And, thanks in large part to their size, they present a few hurdles.

But before we get to provisos, let’s chat about the venues, schedules, and activity levels to which Linum’s cables are best suited.

More on Page 2

Review: Linum Cables
3.4 (68.8%) 50 votes

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

8 Comments

  • Reply July 2, 2015

    George Lai

    I love my Linums too, the only concern being that if they get caught on something with no give, they’re going to slice off my ears. Just kidding of course. Some users’ feedback is that they tangle easily but to me, no more or less than others. If you wrap them around say two fingers and use a short Velcro strap to secure them, then they don’t tangle. One added benefit then is that when you use them, they have a slight coiled effect.

  • Reply July 9, 2015

    digitldlnkwnt

    I would like to know more about how they influence sound. Maybe an A/B comparison between Linum and some more conventional copper-braided based cables?

    • Reply July 9, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      I find the BaX to have the most copperlike sound but more refined and with a little less body (as compared to the Effect Audio thor Copper in example)

      • Reply July 9, 2015

        digitldlnkwnt

        OK that makes sense – I’m not sure i’m cool with losing any body in my music, especially around the low end, but it looks a lot nicer especially when your running around NYC – or Tokyo, Munich etc..
        My current 4-braid is like walking around wearing a garden hose.

        • Reply July 9, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          yes, my Thor and Applonian+ from PlusSound are so cool and good, but a 4 braid is just so uncomfortable when on the go

  • Reply December 3, 2018

    Banchongsan Charoensook

    Hi, Nathan. I am using Ultrasone IQ too (my favorite actually. I love its extreme tuning). Which model of Linum do you think would be suitable for IQ? I have in mind either SuperBax (the most expensive version) or G2Music. While G2 Music is much cheaper, it might be more suitable for IQ since IQ itself has very high resolution to begin with, so adding more resolution through SuperBax cable may not be necessary (and indeed make IQ more unforgiving when it comes to file quality). On the other hand G2Music is design for easy listening and tighter bass, so the G2Music might have a good synergy with IQ, making easy to listen to for a long period experience.

  • Reply April 8, 2019

    dennis

    Between linum superbax or bax balanced should I get for my shure se535

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