Cables - 3rd Party/Upgrades & Recommendations

Since it comes up a fair bit, I figured we’d collect all the recommendations for 3rd party, upgrade and alternative cables into a single thread, rather than repeating the same things in every discrete headphone thread whenever someone wants a recommendation for a cable.

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Hello everyone!
Do you have a recommendation for replacement cables for the Elegia? I am getting tired of the iron bars they use. Short and stiff. I wonder if you have experience with something not $$$$ besides the British wires mentioned above.

Thanks,
Carlos

Talk to Trevor at Norne Audio.

They do beautiful, quality work, with first-rate materials and sane prices.

And remember that the Elegia cable with work for every headphone in Focal’s line-up except the Utopia, in case you’re borderline on the cost but are considering a future upgrade within the Focal family.

(It’s worth noting that I make, and occasionally sell, very high-end cables myself … so I don’t recommend Trevor’s work lightly. The only real downside there is sometimes a long wait).

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:slight_smile:

$250 for the cables? That’s almost the price of Sony WX1000-III!!!
And those are the cheaper model!!!

:frowning:

And I am sorry to state, but the reviews are nonsense! You can say it is prettier, stiffer, whatever physical characteristics, but claiming big sound differences is beyond believability.

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You can buy Focal compatible cables on Ebay for $15 to $300+. I have a Dyson Audio balanced cable (mine was <$100, others are $50) that serves my needs.

I hear small differences between cables sometimes, but I get lost in the music and don’t care 95% of the time. So I redirect my spending elsewhere.

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I’m only commenting on their appearance and build quality.

You can certainly get much cheaper, but I refuse to refer to builders that use what are clearly knock-off/counterfeit parts.

If you want something with the same parts quality that Focal use (even acknowledging they’re too stiff etc.), it’s probably going to cost more than you’d like because cables are a time consuming pain in the arse to build and the raw non-fake parts that everyone wants aren’t cheap.

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First, I’m NOT picking a fight with @Torq, but there are several things going on here.

“Knock-off” is a tricky word in technology, as the competition is constrained by function. Nikon and Seiko got started with models derived from the European originals, and then moved into new markets and new products. It’s also why there are 1,000 companies selling guitars derived from Martin, Fender, and Gibson.

Second, from a functional/electrical performance standpoint there’s often a point of diminishing or un-measurable returns. I’m not confident that any benefits will be realized when high-end cables are used for Elegia drivers (and other signal chain bottlenecks).

Finally, some derived designs perform far better than the originals. It requires case by case evaluation.

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And I’m not seeing any fight nor an intention to be argumentative … :slight_smile:

I certainly wouldn’t argue that there’s not necessarily any performance benefit to “real” vs. “knock-off” parts. In some cases they might just be the OEM factory (illegally) making more of the very same part, without the explicit branding, and selling it for less.

What I object to is two-fold …

First, people/companies selling something that isn’t what it seems - especially where they use weasel-word copy to imply that they’re using premium connectors (be it Eidolic, Furutech, whatever) when they’re just using look-alike. I won’t name-names, but there are plenty doing just this …

Second, in EVERY case I’ve seen one of these cables/parts - which usually results from either one of them breaking and me being asked to fix it (locals/friends) or from having someone else source the parts they want the cable built from (invariably AliExpress et. al.) the parts have been absolutely terrible.

And by terrible I mean platings that flake and crack, dielectrics that claim to be teflon but that are clearly not (and melt instantly), locks that jam and can’t be removed (very common with off-brand mini-XLRs), tolerances that are so far off they don’t engage properly (Amazon is RIFE with 4.4mm to-whatever adapters that are stupidly fussy and have to be partially inserted, or half-rotated to work at all) and that are a total pain in the arse to work with.

The practical upshots of which are:

  • I will not, for any reason, recommend any builder that isn’t upfront about their parts.

  • I will only use premium connectors (which is mostly about proper dielectrics and frames that don’t melt at the first hint of a soldering iron) from known-good sources, that I’m already familiar with, in any cable I build.

  • I no longer will even contemplate repairing any cable I didn’t build (I’ve had one cable fail in 10 years).

  • I won’t entertain building or designing a cable and having someone else source the parts.

You can build a cable for the Elegia using perfectly solid Neutrik, Rean (sub-brand) and Canare/Mogami/3M/PCP components for ~$25 in parts (though you’ll likely pay that much again to get them shipped to you, unless you can find them from one vendor or you deal with the suppliers regularly).

If your overheads are low, your volume reasonable, your designs simple, and you don’t mind making minimum wage, then a US-built cable can be sold at $75 or so.

Significantly less if it’s built elsewhere.

The whole “what this cable will do sound-wise” I’m not even going to touch (I don’t sell my cables on that basis, so it’s not much of my concern).

Plenty of cables on Amazon and eBay that illustrate that.

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Periapt cables are good and can be had for under $100 as I recall

I use a set of purple ones for my Elegia, I’ve posted lots of pictures of them… but here is another one…

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The purple again! But damn it looks good.

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Also as far as price for cables go…

I have tried my hand at making them and can say that it is a real PITA!! I will probably make some more eventually, but time is short and I like having skin on my fingers :wink:

… and I have personally held and heard majority of @Torq made cables from his collection… Periapt and pretty much any cable under a couple $100 can’t touch the quality or functionality of Torqs cables (just my opinion, and my appreciation of the work and craftmanship).

My next favorite cable is my ZMF Verite Silver cable and as beautiful and excellently made as that is…it also does not come close to the quality of Torqs cables.

Now that being said cables in my opinion are more neck candy and functionality over sound quality (with exceptions of course, I have also found sound differences in cables, but like @generic it usually is an extremely small percentage of difference and usually forgotten once music is going).

So to sum it up…go with a company like Periapt for “cheap” functionally excellent cables that work. But, like jewelry, good cables are as worth as much as you are willing to spend on them :wink:

I have a mild vain streak in me and I enjoy me some “treat yo self” cables on occasion…but usually I would spend that money on a new headphone, camera lens, videogames, toys for my daughter, vacations, Whiskey/Rum, etc :wink:

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I made cables for myself but man, it’s a long of work threading cable through paracord. Not worth my time. I actually have a cable that is already fully wrapped, braided and has XLR connectors attached and just needs to attach to headphone -side connectors, but I’m too lazy to finish it – and it’s not as nice looking as having someone else doing it :slight_smile:

I think cost of parts for my self-made Focal/Audeze cable was like: $40 an that was budget copper wire (or in some cases, using old AV cables and repurposing it), paracord, neutrik connector, and cheap aliexpress connectors.

Anyway, I really liked the quality and look of the Sky Audio Cable I bought on eBay (from UK). It’s not the best connectors like the Eidolic stuff (I have a Norne adapter and it’s absolutely stunning), but it works and still looks well made.

I am thinking of getting a new cable for the Verite and I probably will get something nicer, and that’s just for aesthetics purposes.

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I am in the same boat. I’m considering the Skyaudio cables from Ebay and also the Oidio cables. But there are many options to choose from for all kinds of budgets.

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have a look at the new kid in town: https://hartaudiocables.com/
his multi-kit is at 75 and quality seems very good, what I read from lot of users
the cables start at 30 or so
if you get the mulit-kit+ hf cable, you can save 30 bucks or so - have a look at he homepage

he even has mmcx connecors and some use his thick iem cables :slight_smile:

ask him for other colours - no problem

he has his standards with mini xlr source end to connect with one of the interconnects of the multikit - really clever system
even zeos(hahaaa) uses his cables - a bit late on the party…
I know him for a bit longer from elsewhere - friendly guy
orders go out after 2 days - but after zeos showed of his set, of course the standard orders seem to need a day or two more, before shipping

if you don´t want the mini xlr end and the multikit, you can get in the custom shop - simply send him a mail and ask for the cable of your dreams

if you simply want something less stiff, get a “Denon AH-D600, AH-D7200, AH-D7100, AH-D9200, AH-D5200, Meze 99 Classics, Focal Elear” third party cable for 20 bucks - it has to have Dual 3.5 mm
got this before ordered my custom one. https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B07QYXYJNT/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
it is soft and ok made + can´t tell any difference in sound

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I ordered a set of Oidio cables for my Elegias. May be a few weeks before I get them, but I’ll post some impressions when I do.

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Sometimes you have to pay for quality. Quality is never cheap.

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Check with this guy on ETSY, he has goods reviews. I’m probably ordering a 5 feet for my HD800 . He is a very helpful guy.

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Interesting to see someone else offering a partially-modular cable setup (and doing so on a formal basis). When I say “partially-modular” I mean that the amplifier-end is modular, but the rest of the cable is headphone (or at least connection-type) specific.

I see they’re using 4-pin mini-XLRs for the modular connection. That was something I tried with my first iteration design. And they work pretty well for simpler cable designs, where you only have modularity at the amplifier end and don’t need complex wire geometries or larger conductors.

Having a male/female 4-pin mini-XLR at the headphone end gets pretty ungainly, so it’s easy to see why they are not doing that. And where the prices are low, and one is not trying to maximize how many amp/headphone combinations you can share a longer run made of expensive wire, in time-consuming-to-assemble geometries, that makes sense.

I wound up going with a very different, still-locking, connector, that’s smaller (the two connectors combined are shorter than 1 4-pin mini-XLR, lighter, permits much fatter wire assemblies, more conductors and has greater contact-surface-area. Which was necessary for the cable geometry I settled on.

Headphone%20Modules

Amp%20Modules

You wind up with four such connectors per cable here - two on the “core” cable that connects the “amp” and “headphone” ends. Which at ~$100 for four, in bulk, only makes sense when you want to share the longer runs of expensive wire/cable and/or have more than one length available (the raw wire I use now is $10 per conductor-foot, with the standard cable having 8 conductors).

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Cannot even get the site to load

Still I’ve known about @Torq modular system for a while, the choice of (12)pin Hirose is a better option over just 4pin XLR’s I think

I’ve had some 4pin mini’s wear out over time tho I don’t think I’ve ever had an issue with the hiRose

ofc @Torq does a better job explaining the advantages of that connector than I do but I don’t think I’d want to purchase something from a vendor that isn’t able to at least run https or has a web address my anti virus flags and blocks :confused:

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