The Moon Audio Blue Dragon, conveniently enough falls right in the middle of the Apuresound and the Equinox. This is a good choice if you can’t decide if you want forward or laid-back. Since the Blue Dragon in our review was a DIY one, its total cost is under $100, and it probably is the best bang-for-the-buck cable here.
If I said that the Equinox is forward by 2 steps, the Headphile cable is forward by 4 steps. The Headphile cable, however, sounds slightly less refined compared to the Equinox, the Blue Dragon, or the Apuresound. Its construction is also less professional. Looking at the cable, we are surprised to see so many joints in its construction. It utilizes what seemingly to be a salvaged connector from the HD650, and from the headphone connector to the termination, there are an additional 4 joints.
The Kimber AGSS/Jena combination is what I would nominate as the most technically capable cable of the bunch (and to some that means the best cable). The Presentation is very much like the Equinox. If you take the Equinox, add better instrument separation, better impact at the bottom end, you end up with the Kimber AGSS/Jena cable. Truly a good cable indeed. And it better be, for almost $400 and being DIY too.
The Double Helix cable is an interesting alternative. It is the only cable in this test that offers increased body at the bottom end. This is a new cable on the market (www.doublehelixcables.com), and not many people have heard of it, but its build quality is actually very good, very professional, and it has a fancy aluminum housing for its Y-split. It is also being offered at a lower price than the Equinox/Apuresound.
I am not going to put the cables in a ranking system, since that would put my subjective preference into the review. Each cables has their own sound signature that can be good to some system and not-so-good to others. What’s clear is that the replacement cables do offer significant improvements over the stock cable. However, the sound variations between the cables are actually very minimal and as I have said, the different sound signature is more for fine tuning and not for changing your headphone’s sound signature. If you don’t like the sound of your current headphone, the answer is to try another headphone, as a recable won’t dramatically change your headphone’s character. Now if you know that the sound variations are actually very small, price and service becomes a big factor in purchasing decision.
For the budget minded, I would recommend going DIY. The CAT6 is actually very good for the price, but you still have to buy the Cardas Sennheiser plugs, the TRS headphone jack, and heatshrinks and cable sleeves. Being a solid core wire, it is also very inflexible, and I would still recommend spending a little more and getting the Blue Dragon instead. If you don’t want to do DIY, you can go for the lower priced cables like the Headphile and the Double Helix. For the money-is-no-object buyer, you can be very specific about the sound that you want, choosing maybe between the Equinox and the APureSound. Finally, the DIY Kimber AGSS/Jena is superb even compared to the Equinox, but it’s almost $400 and it is a DIY cable.
System for auditioning:
Headphones: Sennheiser HD25-1, HD650
Source: CEC CD5300 CD Player
Amplifier: Beta22 3-Channel
Thanks to Dayak, Wildkatze, Martinz, and Harlin for making this review possible.