Robert Hartley, in The Complete Guide to High End Audio talks about Specialty Headphone Cables. He goes over the usual discussion of conductors, dialectric, terminations, and geometry. He asserts that you can’t get the best sound from good headphones with stock (or at least cheap stock) cables.
I have some different criteria than the esteemed Mr. Hartley.
- I want cables that don’t break
- I prefer cables that don’t transmit physical noise, like rubbing when I move to the headphone
- I’m not fond of tangles
- He’s right about connectors - but intermittent, wire fatigued cables are not usable.
We also have another big difference. I’m a cheapskate
and Mr. Hartley gets lots of cables to play with for free.
SO, I’m happy with the cables that came with my Hifiman HE-560s, and I even ordered a second set from them with a different terminator. When I need a cable for headphones, I’ve been going to Amplifier Surgery and having them make me a custom cable. I find their solidly made, twisted, silver plated high quality cables to be quite good enough for me. (they also have Facebook and ETSY pages)
I find it difficult to describe a wire’s sound, unless it’s creating a sound, and that’s bad. To me, good cables disappear in my listening experience. What I have NOT done is any A-B comparison of stock vs Amplifier Surgery vs Nano Eclipse, Black Dragon, Nordost, Kimber Kable Axios or Crystal Cable with my on headphones. Has anyone?