C3 – Charleston Cable Company: The Universal Cable


Sound

As Christopher didn’t want to tell me what material the cable was made of I had no idea what sound signature I could expect. Most of the time at home I use Forza Audioworks & Effect audio cables for my Audeze’s and Linum and Effect audio cables for my CIEMs. My Sennheisers most of the time use a Forza cable or even the stock cables. I’m still waiting for Beyerdynamic to start making replaceable cables on their higher end units.

Anyway, most of these cables have a specific impact on the sound of the headphone: more bass, clearer mids, more extended treble, less bass, etc. Everything is possible with cables. With this cable however there’s none of that and I mean that in the best way possible. It doesn’t add anything to the sound, it just makes it better. It’s amazingly clear, open, detailed and transparent without putting a focus on anything. When I mailed my findings to Christopher, he said: “Your description is exactly what I set out to design, a cable that remains neutral but enhances the detail, imaging, and sound stage of a pair of headphones.” He then finally revealed what material this cable was made of:

“Regarding materials, I worked really hard to find a dialectric that I like and decided that cross linked polyethylene gave the best sound presentation.  It’s standard cryogenically treated UP-OCC wire, but to my knowledge it is the only high end headphone wire currently insulated with cross linked polyethylene.  I also did a lot of experimentation with sleeving.  I arrived at the conclusion that insulating the entire cable instead of each conductor cut down on microphonics quite a bit. My main design philosophy is to give people something sleek and impressive, but not gaudy or ostentatious.  I only use Cardas solder.  All cables are braided by hand.  Each cable comes with a lifetime warranty.  Obviously if a kid cuts the cable in half with scissors I can’t do anything, But if a connector or solder joint breaks, I’ll repair it for free”.

Availability & Pricing

If I understood Christopher correctly, the price for the middle 5′ cable like mine is $310 and each (headphone) adapter costs $140. A standard 6′ UP-OCC headphone cable costs $300, so you can save quite a lot in the long run if you own multiple headphones with different connector types like I do. The pricing can be a bit complicated because there are so many options but I’ll give you some examples.  According to Charleston, the most basic system would be this: “2′ Hifiman adapter, 3′ Universal cable terminate with 4 pin XLR = $310. This system would come with an adapter for HiFiMAN headphones and a 3 foot cable terminated with standard 4 pin mini XLR.  If a customer bought another pair of headphones they would simply buy the adapter for that pair of headphones at $140, and they’ve saved $170 compared to the initial purchase”.

You can of course find a whole lot more information on the Charleston Website. Christopher always replies very fast whenever I shoot him an email and he loves making custom cables for those who have special wishes. I actually just sent him another email to order a Kobiconn adapter, something special I hope I can show you soon. It might be a first.

If you’re in to after market cables, I would certainly look at Charleston too. Sure there are a lot of others on the market but just compare prices and delivery times and you might end up owning a Charleston cable sooner than you think. * As I got to keep the cable in the end, I was thinking of sending the cable on a European demo tour, but I still have to check that with Christopher. And then there’s the matter of the shipping costs. Stay tuned though. Those interested can always leave a comment already.

 

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

11 Comments

  • Reply March 10, 2015

    nullified

    I’m still looking for a IEM cable for C6iem and I cant decide on any specific tunings yet, except a slighter bright treble sometimes

    • Reply March 10, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      I would suggest a silver cable then, Effect Audio has some great silver cables and I’m sure Charleston would be able to make you one too

      • Reply March 14, 2015

        nullified

        seen their site but the cable are almost the same price as the IEM, which isnt exactly ideal, so which one among them should i pick up?

        • Reply March 14, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          I guess that depends on your budget and your IEM. I would never spend the same amount on a cable.

          My best advise is to email Charleston

  • Reply March 10, 2015

    dalethorn

    They’re about one mile from me, but I never met them. If they could recable my T51p that would be awesome.

  • Reply November 18, 2015

    Kevin P

    You mentioned that some cables lift the bass a bit. That is what I am looking for. Any suggestions?

    • Reply November 18, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Anything with Copper! Just shoot them an email, tell them I sent you and they’ll help you personally to find a cable

      • Reply November 19, 2015

        Kevin P

        Thank you for confirming that copper is the best way to go for what I am trying to get. I have been looking at Moon Audio’s Black Dragon as an option. Any thoughts or do you have other recommendations?

        • Reply November 19, 2015

          Dave Ulrich

          Well, Charleston Cable company is a good place to look http://www.c3audio.com. Any questions, just shoot them an email.

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