Disclaimer: The cables have been graciously supplied free of charge by Labkable for this review. Labkable is not a site advertiser.
I know that cables are a very hot topic in audio, and many discussions have been held about it. I for one have first-hand experience with aftermarket cables and therefore am on the side of audioholics who believe in cable-sound. I think it is best to look with cables for good matching sparring-partners. It is likely that cable A goes well with IEM B but not with IEM C, I guess best is to try and see for yourself.
Labkable is a premium aftermarket cable manufacturer seated in Hong Kong. They have a vast selection of cables in each price category. In their offerings can be found cables with four and up to ten wires.
The following is what Edmond of Labkable sent me on their history:
Established since 2009, we are one of the most famous audio cables (DIY and factory terminated) and accessories shop located in the prosperous centre of Hong Kong. We are all-around cable specialist, On around 2011, we started to use audio grade conductors for Headphone cables and IEM cables as well.
Our philosophy is there is no perfect cable for a single system, cables are used for sound tuning and is a matter of mix and match. Different music lovers have his own preference and we offer as wide as possible variety of sound signatures, so every customer can find a sound that matches their own preference. Thus, apart from using premium material as conductors, we also know the sound tuning technique which can enhance the ultimate performance of the cable. For examples, the Quantum cable running treatment (HQT) and Far Infrared Radiation Technology (F.I.R.T) are commonly we used on our Master / Ultimate series cable.
This is the first time we cover a product by Labkable. The Hong Kong based cable manufacturers have been talked about quite a bit in the past and we’re happy to now see their debut on headfonia as well.
I haven’t had the chance to listen to any of their cables before we got in touch a while ago. Labkable was kind enough to send in two of their cables, the Samurai III and Silver Galaxy Mix II and their higher tier Samurai III. Apparently these are their best selling cables.
The Silver Galaxy Mix II goes for around 380$ and the Samurai III a little north of 860$. One thing labkable certainly could improve is the order handling. Up to now there is no way of configuring your desired cable on their website. You have to either call or write a mail to them when you want to order. Other manufacturers show that ordering an aftermarket cable can be easier and a lot more customer-oriented… They do however have a good selection of offline-retailers around Asia and Russia, so it might be worth checking out their dealer-list before you write labkable an e-mail.
Labkable has been running in both cables for two days with their own machines, though has suggested to use them for 30 hours on top with my own music, so they can fully uncover their potential.
Both my cables have been terminated with 2-pin connectors and a 2.5mm balanced plug and feature something they call WeaveTech Structure. My main source for this review was my reference DAP, the A&ultima SP1000.
Silver Galaxy Mix II (SGM)
The Silver Galaxy Mix II is an eight wire cable consisting of four copper and four silver plated copper conductors, it is part of labkable’s Pro Series cables. I was pretty surprised when I had it in hand the first time, because I have expected it to be thicker and less flexible. It still isn’t the most flexible cable around, but definitely does very well given its eight-wire nature.
The Silver Galaxy Mix II uses transparent coating, so you can see the copper and silver colours in full glory. The Y-split is a reasonably small aluminium barrel, as slider Labkable chose to use a piece of transparent plastic, which looks like a left-over from a plastic tube. At this pricepoint I think we can see past this one.
The 2-pin connectors on my sample are also made of aluminium and have the words „labkable“ on the outer sides and the markings for left and right on their respective piece. Labkable didn’t use a memory wire, and for that I am very thankful, instead they used what appears to be a clear heatshrink that’s been preformed. This way the cable is also more comfortable to wear.
Included with the cable is a lightweight yet stable silver aluminium case,a black velour pouch for transportation and a warranty card. The 2.5mm plug also had a protection cap on it, which I lost pretty fast though.
Soundwise the Silver Galaxy Mix II adds a good portion of body and depth to the lower part of the frequency curve. Bass is more powerfull and dynamic. SGM supplies a nice extra bit of warmth and transparency to the sound.
Mids saw some additional smoothness and weight in tone, which made them more meaty and thicker.
Upper frequencies have been taken down a notch overall, though upper treble does sometimes show some signs of extra brightness which can result in a harsher tone.
Soundstage is another part that did see some help by SGM as it got noticeably deeper and a hint wider.
The Silver Galaxy Mix II is a mid-fi priced cable, that does sport a nice signature that goes well with warmer monitors, with more reference tuned IEMs it might be a bit too bright at the top end though.
More on Samurai III and Conclusion on Page 2!