HiFiHear 16 Core Silver-Plated Upgrade Cable: So flexible O_O
Today we’re checking out a replacement cable option from HiFiHear over on Amazon.
Replacement cables are helpful to have around when your stock cable breaks, but are also a way to personalize your headphones should you choose to do so. Some will argue that they can improve or hinder sound quality. I don’t feel either way so don’t expect an in-depth section covering sound changes, or any mention at all for that matter. Instead, we’re going to look over aspects that are important to me when choosing a third party cable, namely items like build quality, comfort, and aesthetics.
This cable was sent over free of charge by the Better store on Amazon and does not need to be returned. The thoughts within this review are based on my experiences pairing this cable with a number of MMCX equipped earphones and do not represent Better, HiFiHear, or any other entity. At the time of writing, it retailed for 48.99 USD and could be picked up here; https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GRTR6K7?ie=UTF8&m=AF1C7ZDW9EPD8
Packaging and Accessories:
The cable arrived in a durable ziplock bag with a warranty card. It doesn’t say it anywhere on the card, but on the store page linked above you get 12 months of coverage. That’s longer than the warranty’s provided with a lot of earphones (Sony…I’m looking at you) and shows HiFiHear’s confidence in their product.
The cable is the accessory and comes with zero extras. I think it would have been nice if they included a fabric carrying baggy or one of those cheapo clamshell cases you can pick up for less than a buck on AliExpress. But, including accessories with an accessory is not the norm, so I’m not docking them anything for it.
This cable is crafted from 16 cores of oxygen-free, copper-plated silver wire, professionally weaved by hand into something that certainly looks premium. Some other upgrade cables I have, like that for the OurART Ti7, are nicely braided too but lack the consistency you see in HiFiHear’s option. It is really quite impressive just how neat and tidy they strung it together. The sheath is outstanding giving the cable some very positive qualities. First of all is flexibility. This is the most flexible cable I’ve used, behaving more like a piece of lace than a cable. It doesn’t tangle, it doesn’t kink, there is no memory. Microphonics, or cable noise, is essentially non-existent too. AND, even in the cold weather we’re experiencing locally, these qualities remain quite resilient. This sort of behaviour is what every cable maker should strive to achieve in my opinion.
It makes for something that is wonderful to wear since you don’t have to fight to get it to stay slung around the ear when worn cable up. It’s also not so heavy that it tugs at the earphones, a qualm I have with the similarly designed but much heavier cable found on the Penon BS1 earbuds. I’ll admit that the copper-brown color of my sample doesn’t really do it for me aesthetically because the majority of my gear is black or silver. To my eyes that color combination just doesn’t line up all that well. Now, keep in mind that I am red/green color blind and as such the way I interpret the interaction between this cable and earphones will very likely differ from how you see them.
The cable’s hardware is some quality stuff too. The aluminum jack is painted black and has been adorned with HiFiHear branding. Out the top protrudes a rubber strain relief. It’s not the most flexible relief I’ve seen, but there is enough give which when combined with the cable density gives me confidence it will be more than satisfactory. While the jack is a bit on the long and thick side, there is a 3mm extension just above the plug which should ensure fairly widespread compatibility with a number of device cases. Another subtle touch is the mild curvature towards the middle of the jack, giving your fingers a concave surface to grip when plugging and unplugging your earphones. Some might prefer a 90 degree angled jack, but the straight jack is a winner to me. I find that with your device in your pocket, 90 degree angled jacks usually force the cable to bend awkwardly wearing them out prematurely.
The y-split is a compact piece of aluminum sharing that same subtle concave curvature as the jack and is also branded with the HiFiHear name. It lacks strain relief and is really only in place to hide where the 16 cores branch of into two strands of 8, heading up to each ear piece. While I wish they added some relief there, the thickness of the cable eases most of my concerns. Above the y-split sits a welcome addition to any cable, a chin cinch. It is very similar to the one on the Penon BS1 earbuds in that it is a fairly large bead. Here, it is made of plastic and quite light. It works perfectly and doesn’t slide down and out of place unexpectedly when in use.
Lastly, the plugs containing the male MMCX connectors are also made of aluminum. There are two recessed bands near the top where the cable enters that helps give your fingers some extra grip. Where the cable enters is a short section of shrink wrap acting as relief. It’s a bit too short to be of any use though. I was pleased to see that these two plugs have color coded plastic rings at the base, clear for left and red for right, helping ensure you do not plug them in backwards by accident. These plugs are also quite compact and I found they fit everything I tossed their way. In fact, they fit the Astrotec Delphinus5 even better than the stock cables where the plug rubs against the angled housing.
Overall I found this cable near flawless. Nitpicking reveals that the chin cinch bead has a small imperfection in the mold which does not affect function at all. That’s a purely aesthetic issue. It would also be nice if the relief at the MMCX plugs was a bit longer, but given the multitude of cores to this cable, there is plenty of strength already in-built so this isn’t a critical concern.
While I personally would have a hard time justifying dropping up to 50 USD on a third party cable, what they are asking does seem like a very fair price. It is a much more premium feeling option than the vast majority of stock cables and upgraded cables I have in the 20-30 USD range. It comes across quite comparable to premium cables like those found on the Astrotec Lyra Collection lineup, the Penon BS1, and Kinera IDUN, however, it is more lush and flexible than any of those. It’s fairly light despite the core density and is extremely flexible and comfortable to wear.
If you’re in the market for a cable in the “around 50 USD” bracket, I can’t think of any reason to avoid this one. Save for an aesthetic design that might not line up with your personal preferences, it’s a darn good cable and has a very premium feel in hand.
Thanks for reading!