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Beat Audio Silversonic MKVI Review – Robust

Pros – 

Professional craftsmanship, Supple insulation that doesn’t harden over time, Very sharp imaging, Tonally transparent

Cons – 

Can reduce bass separation on some pairings

Verdict –

The Silversonic sports a tonally transparent, full-bodied and vocal-forward presentation that cleans up warm, laid-back earphones without breaking their smooth character.


Introduction –

Beat Audio was formed by the passion of a handful of dedicated audiophiles over a decade ago with the intention of developing premium cables with emotive sounds. They build cables through a painstaking listening process ensuring that their cables sound great both in person and on paper. Their extensive experience shows; I recall hearing splendid thoughts about their cables when perusing forums online and these positive impressions were reaffirmed through my own listening last year in Japan where I had the privilege of hearing their latest designs. Stephen was kind enough to offer the SIlversonic MKVI for review made to my specification. This is their most affordable model but still carries the same ultra-soft insulation as their flagship models, silver-plated OFC conductors and Beat Audio’s signature build quality. It is available for $199 USD or $299 USD for the 8-wire variant being reviewed. More details, customizer and purchase available on Beat Audio’s website here.

 

Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Beat Audio very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the Silversonic MKVI for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the cable free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

 

The Pitch –

Material Choice

Perusing their website, I could see that Beat Audio isn’t quite as transparent about their conductor choice as some manufactures, it is simply “silver-plated OFC”. However, this isn’t to beguile the buyer, rather, it is to avoid focussing on specification over implementation, which often bears more impact on the listening experience. The company looks at cable design systematically and holistically seeing the conductor as just one element in a chain of componentry. From the sleeve to the thread count, treatment and connectors, each element has been considered to increase quality and parity between individual units.

In-house Fabrication

Beat Audio also custom fabricate their connectors to ensure durability and strict quality control. They use low-pressure liquid casting that enables high precision manufacturing at a reasonable cost while reducing human error, guaranteeing performance for each cable. Beat Audio are also using a custom solder formula to uphold high conductivity through each join. The result is a practical, ergonomic and aesthetic cable that can still be made to buyer specification.

 

Customization –

Beat Audio’s configurator is intuitive and provides a straightforward experience. As they make all of their connectors in-house, other brands are not offered which, to me, streamlines the ordering process and takes any confusion out of the equation. I’m sure particular parts can be implemented at the buyer’s cost as these are custom-made cables. For their full range of supported connectors and plugs in addition to the particular setup of my review unit, see the configurator below:

Configurator

 

Design –

The Silversonic MKVI lacks the lustre of its competitors instead, providing a beautiful and understated design. Though the conductors are visible, the highlight is its gorgeous blue colour inspired by sci-fi space travel. It is constructed to such a high level of finish that one would second guess whether it is a handmade product. Though my cable employs an 8-wire configuration, it is impressively compact and lightweight, in turn, making it suitable for small IEMs where it isn’t cumbersome in the slightest. The 8-wire square braid itself is perfectly even and consistent, feeling incredibly solid and well-constructed.

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Terminations are streamlined with metal construction, chrome on the case-friendly plug and sandblasted aluminium on the 2-pin connectors and y-split. Up top are pre-moulded ear guides that enhance fit stability and hug the ear without causing discomfort. The cable switches from a round to twisted braid beneath the ear guide heat shrink to permit uniform diameter so the edge of the guide doesn’t wear on the ear. The ear guides also curve inwards to prevent them from slipping over the outer ear. Small touches like this demonstrate this is a highly refined and thoughtful 6th generation product.

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As showcased on their website, the sleeve/insulation is also incredibly soft and supple with zero memory. Furthermore, I’ve had this cable on hand for months and it hasn’t hardened at all. There also isn’t a hint of tackiness to its surface, being smooth so as to avoid catching when routing through clothing. Microphonic noise is minimized despite a tighter braid and the cable resists tangles exceptionally well. In summation, Beat Audio’s cables are ergonomically outstanding, gorgeous and simply easy to live with, creating a very professional impression.

 

Sound –

Testing methodology: Subjective AB with Craft Ears Four. This earphone has strong end to end extension and employs a standard OFC plastic cable which serves as a sound benchmark for most listeners. It does not feature a flat impedance design so will be more subject to cable changes than some. I listened from my JDS Atom + Khadas Tone board which measures very linearly, features a low output impedance and plenty of driving power. Select pairings will also be explored to asses synergy alongside comparisons to cables of varying conductor material. Being a cable, my comments do not refer to the same extent of change as that experienced between IEMs.

 

Tonality –

The Silversonic MKVI in 8-core provides a balanced, full-bodied sound with a very clean transient response. I don’t sense any additional warmth, instead, note body is bolstered through the bass and midrange generating a powerful sound while working simultaneously to the benefit of clarity via a forward vocal range. The high-end is crisp with a slightly more aggressive note attack and it is well-extended without any brightness at the very top, providing enhanced detail retrieval alongside a cleaner background. These qualities work to the benefit of coherence, resolution and the spatial characteristics of its presentation.

 

Bass –

Great dynamic range and sub-bass power immediately strike the listener; achieved chiefly via excellent sub-bass extension and lightly enhanced quantity. The mid and upper-bass are linear and neutral with warmth being reined in by increased control before a linear transition into a midrange of similar qualities. The Silversonic MKVI, therefore, provides a dynamic image with bold, well-weighted notes and defined, slightly lingering rumble. However, it is also clean and tonally transparent. Accordingly, the low-end never veers into excessive warmth and muddiness even on bassier IEMs. As note size is increased overall, separation is slightly hampered though this is partially mitigated by their enhanced control. As such, this cable best suits quicker decaying BA earphones where it effectively introduces volume, depth and slam without sacrificing cleanliness of tone.

 

Mids –

DSC08132

 

The midrange sees a boost to vocal clarity, size and forwardness as a result of a bolstered centre midrange. This is well counterbalanced by a dense, laid-back upper-midrange and slightly full-bodied note structure. Cleaner transients alongside its full and well-resolved notes contribute to high midrange definition and resolution while, like the low-end, the tone is very transparent; as though it does carry its own qualities, this is neither a warm nor bright cable. As vocals are larger and more intimate, clarity is never remiss and conversely, as they become smoother and fuller, vocals maintain a natural timbre and body. As such, the Silversonic is an excellent choice for vocal lovers, increasing resolution and contributing to a more accurate tone and timbre while maintaining a hint of colour in terms of its smooth, full-bodied presentation to engage and enthral.

 

Highs –

Within the high-end we don’t observe nearly the same degree of colour as the bass and midrange with the primary differences being due to note presentation. It is here that the cleaner transients of the Silversonic are showcased. The lower-treble is surely a touch crisper, producing a more focussed foreground detail presentation. However, increases to detail retrieval are achieved more via slightly more aggressive note attack that produces more defined notes, especially noticeable to me with percussion and strings. Meanwhile, the background is dark with linear extension into the upper-treble. As such, both shimmer and decay are natural and well-controlled with abundant texture. The cable’s dark, clean yet extended upper octaves permit a grand sense of distance and space while maintaining enough resolution to precisely position each element with additional crispness aiding directional cues. This isn’t a cable with huge sparkle or energy but one with a densely detailed image alongside strong spatial qualities.

 

Soundstage –

The soundstage is a strong point of this cable. There is a moderate increase in width, depth and especially height contributing to a more involving and multi-dimensional image. However, this is not the highlight of this cable. Rather, the imaging is most affected. Vocals are slightly more intimate but hold a strong centre image. Transients are a lot sharper and clearer than the stock cable making directional cues more pinpoint precise and panning more accurate. Exact direction and position are more palpable with the Silversonic where the stock cable is softer and hazier in its presentation. A cleaner background contributes to greater contrast and layering while separation is generally similar as, though clean in tone and high in note definition, the cable is quite full-bodied. This cable prioritises coherence over hyper-separation, energy and scale.

 

Pairings –

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Craft Ears Four: Employs the standard OFC plastic CIEM cable that many will be familiar with. The Silversonic provided greater end to end extension with more sub-bass depth and rumble. Cleaner mid-bass but, due to enhanced note size, slightly reduced mid-bass definition. Slightly more vocal-forward and full-bodied midrange, denser upper-midrange. Cleaner tone and high note resolution. Lower-treble is slightly crisper with more note attack and sharper transients. Darker background with better resolution and detail retrieval. Taller soundstage with more precise imaging.

Hidition NT-8: The NT-8 comes with the Hidition KH3 8-wire cable with 6N OCC SPC conductors, so quite similar on paper yet producing quite a different listening experience. Both share a similar transient response with the KH3 being sharper, the Silversonic slightly cleaner and more controlled. Bass has similar depth, the Silversonic has a grander low-end with more slam and rumble while the KH3 is harder-hitting and more neutral. Vocals are larger on the Silversonic, also fuller and smoother which I find a more natural pairing with the NT-8 which doesn’t carry a lot of warmth and body intrinsically. The high-end is the main differentiator, the KH3 is sharper with a brighter background and a bit of grain while the Silversonic is considerably cleaner with a darker background and slightly better extension. The Silversonic, therefore, has a larger soundstage and both have very sharp imaging.

Hyla CE-5: Unassuming in design, the stock cable houses 6N OFC conductors. Bass has excellent depth on both, but is harder hitting on the Silversonic with more visceral rumble. Bass control is slightly higher and notes are bolder and larger. Mids see the largest difference to me, with more vocal presence and body representing great synergy with the thinner and more laid-back Hyla, the timbre is better lacking some of the dryness of the stock Hyla too. The high-end is similar with the ceramic driver already providing a great transient response. The Silversonic is a touch more aggressive in attack. The background is clean on both, there’s a touch more background detail and extension on the Silversonic producing a larger soundstage. Imaging is sharp on both.

 

Comparisons –

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PWAudio No.5 ($199): A personal favourite cable with OCC Litz copper internals, it has a nice linear and natural sound. The No.5 provides similar extension in the low-end and slightly greater linearity with just a touch of bias towards mid-bass. It is warmer and smoother while the Silversonic is harder-hitting in the sub-bass with a slightly cleaner mid-bass tone. Both have slightly enlarged vocals, the Silversonic slightly more so. The No.5 has a slightly more linear presentation with better vocal extension and clarity while the SIlversonic is slightly more forward but also denser and more laid-back in the upper-midrange.

Up top, the Silversonic has a slightly more aggressive note attack and sharper transients while the No.5 is smoother with a warmer treble tone and more instrument body. Both sport similar detail retrieval and a clean background, the No.5 is slightly more linear towards the highest octaves with more air while the Silversonic is a touch darker with more extension and scale. In terms of soundstage, this grants the Silversonic a slightly larger and more holographic presentation while the No.5 is more coherent with more stable vocals and instruments if lacking the swift transients of the Silversonic.

Effect Audio EROS II ($279): The EROS II is not an SPC cable but combines separate strands of UPOCC copper and silver conductors. The low-end presentation is very similar, being sub-bass focussed with enhanced depth and slam with slight bolstering of note body. The Silversonic is a touch more controlled here with greater definition through the mid-bass and it’s cleaner too despite both having a similarly neutral tone. The midrange is also surprisingly similar here, both are forward and full-bodied, the Silversonic is slightly fuller and denser while the EROS II has a touch more brightness alongside slightly greater upper-midrange extension.

Both are high in definition and resolution, the EROS II has greater separation and more defined layers while the Silversonic is more coherent and wholly resolved in the foreground. Up top, the Silversonic has a more focussed foreground with sharper transients and more concise note attack before a darker background. Meanwhile, the EROS II has more pristine clarity alongside a brighter background with more air and shimmer. The EROS II has thinner instrument body but also greater sparkle and energy at the very top. Its microdetail retrieval is slightly better at the cost of timbre. The EROS II provides a wider soundstage while the Silversonic has a more three-dimensional presentation with more accurate positioning.

 

Verdict –

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Beat Audio has been in the cable industry for quite some time and that is reflected in the refinement of their designs. As their cheapest and likely most popular cable, the Silversonic amends many faults of its predecessors to bring superb ergonomics and attention to detail alongside a highly competitive sound. Imaging is where this cable excels and I think many listeners will be shocked how very sharp imaging can contribute to an involving listen more than huge soundstage dimensions, especially on earphones that already do well in this regard. I do wish for tighter sub-bass and perhaps chrome y-split and connectors for a more congruent aesthetic, however, these are nit-picks for such a reasonably priced 8-core cable. The Silversonic sports a tonally transparent, full-bodied and vocal-forward presentation that cleans up warm, laid-back earphones without breaking their smooth character. It is an easy recommendation if ergonomics and build quality are of prime concern while also representing a versatile sonic upgrade.

The Silversonic MKVI is available from on Beat Audio for $199 USD and $299 USD for the 4-wire and 8-wire configurations respectively. I am not affiliated with Beat Audio and receive no earnings from purchases through this link.

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