Some of you have probably noticed that I’ve been using a lot of Whiplash Audio cables in my rigs, including the HD800 (both balanced and single ended cables), the JHAudio customs (both balanced and single ended), as well as LODs and interconnects. Additionally, Whiplash Audio has joined the ranks of becoming a Headfonia Sponsor. Yes, we do need sponsors to keep this site going, yet I don’t want to let the status of sponsorship to ruin the credibility of our site.
I don’t normally write articles on single brand cables, and the last time I wrote an article on cables was when I wrote the Sennheiser Aftermarket Cable comparison, which was a direct comparison between different brand name cables within the same headphone, amplifier, and source set up. However, recently people asked me why the TWAgs are so special, and when I was replying to his post, I found myself writing quite an extensive answer (albeit informative), and I decided to make it into a blog post.
One of the first thing that I want to say is that it’s easy to get a good quality AUDIO cable provided that it doesn’t need to be flexible. Some cheap non branded cables with stiff single core construction, can give most of the brand name cables a run for the money. If you notice, on the Sennheiser Cable review, I had included a CAT6 cable that turns out to have one of the biggest soundstage compared to the brand name cables. Of course I was using a solid core CAT6 cable, which was also very stiff and very impractical to use for headphone use.
One of the best cable that you can buy is amplifier hook up wires, which is the cable people use to do the internal wiring on an amplifier. Regardless of how much money you spend on an interconnect, there is little point if the signal will travel on cheap conductors inside the amplifiers. For this reason, amp builders have to use good high quality signal wires for the amplifier internals. Companies like WooAudio also offer an upgrade to use silver wires on their amplifiers. However, some of us have tried using different types of high quality hook up cables including top brands like Mundorf and Siltech, and yet they are impractical to use for headphones, because they don’t bend well, and solid cores lose the internal structure if you bend it too often.
So the challenge, is to make a cable that is both soft and flexible, yet retaining very good performance. Most of the branded cables that I’ve tried are quite soft and flexible, and that includes APS (that I had used for a long time for the HD800, balanced terminated with supernylon sleeve) and also the Equinox cable. However, they are still too stiff for IEM purposes. In terms of flexibility TWAg is leagues ahead of all the branded cables I’ve come across and that includes the APS, the Equinox, Cardas, and the Moon Audio cables. For this reason, you only see the TWAg cable being used for the custom IEMs, while the other brands are limited for headphone applications.
The TWAg cable for JH customs is almost as soft and as flexible as the stock Westone ES style cable, which is the softest IEM cable in the market. The TWAg cable for the HD800 is the same cable, and I actually feel that it’s going to be too soft for desktop use (which’ll lead to tangling, etc) if not for the sleeves that Craig used to protect the cable. Softness and flexibility is a very important factor in cables, and I would choose the TWAg just based on that criteria.