The Tri-Silver provides a clean and concise sound focusing on an agile and focused note presentation. It has a neutral tonality and a technical nature, in turn, this grants it the ability to enhance definition, separation and create a more holographic presentation overall. However, as the Tri-Silver doesn’t enhance high-frequency presence, it cannot be characterised explicitly as a bright cable. This is surely a neutral-leaning sound both in terms of tonality and overall balance. Considering the minimal tonal colouration, it is impressive how profound the sound changes can be pairing by pairing. Given its neutral nature, I found this cable best pairs with coherent, warm or full-bodied headphones where it serves to enhance cleanliness and separation.
The Tri-Silver’s low-end sets the precedent for its overall character, focusing on cleanliness and tactility. It impresses with a deep extension and tight sub-bass presentation. Above is a cleaner, more linear mid and upper-bass that makes the cable a great complement to warmer or tubbier headphones. In turn, you do lose some punch and fullness, however, the strong extension and increase in note definition is a good trade-off, retaining an engaging low-end response. I hear a natural note timbre here on behalf of the increase in linearity. The agile note presentation in tandem with the cleaner, more linear signature works much to the benefit of timing, in particular, whilst a slightly greater focus on the sub-bass relative to the slightly diminished mid-bass aids a dynamic image. The Tri-Silver doesn’t focus on huge impact or rumble nor thick, textured notes as some cables do. Instead, it flaunts great technical prowess with huge tactility and a clean, accurate timbre.
By extension from the low-end, the midrange too assumes a more neutral character with less warmth stemming from below. Accordingly, both separation and definition are enhanced. Positioning appears just slightly forward relative to most OFC cables, likely as bass now occupies a touch less volume in the presentation. Vocal size is retained if not slightly enhanced. The tone isn’t cool nor is the vocal presentation dry or thin so given the increase in size, the cable maintains fair coherence. The Tri-Silver provides a slightly more open presentation with ear-pleasing extension and clarity. Indeed, coherence and smoothness are not this cable’s focus, and though ample not to impede an enjoyable listening experience, the Tri-Silver is mostly defined by its more neutral and resolving nature.
I am a fan of the presentation here, which showcases great restraint and control. For the high-frequencies are the least affected signature-wise relative to the rest of the sound. I hear no emphasis here, permitting wider synergy than your usual vanilla silver cable. In the same vein, the Tri-Silver achieves minimal fatigue and avoids over-forwardness. Once again, an uptick of linearity translates to a slightly more detail dense foreground presentation. The cable has a highly clean transient response which contributes further, in addition to adding just a hint of bite and clarity here. The background is slightly cleaner than stock with an exceptional, linear extension into the top-octave. Resolution is a very strong performer without being brash in its presentation of micro-detail. The net result is a resolving sound with a focused foreground detail presentation alongside especially well-defined layering.
The cable’s strong extension and layering lay the foundation for an enveloping soundstage presentation and that’s exactly what the Tri-Silver delivers. The soundstage width is noticeably improved across all pairings while depth remains similar given the slight increase in midrange intimacy. Imaging is sharper, both directional cues and projection of distance are enhanced in addition to layering. The cable is even quite holographic, bringing out a nice sparkle in the upper-treble, or rather enhancing the micro and background details already present, in addition to enhancing the speed of note attack and decay. The increase in separation also works hand-in-hand with these qualities to provide a more effortless detail presentation. I found the cable to permit a more composed and organised rendition of complex tracks that makes small details easier to perceive.
HEDD Audio HEDDphone: The HEDDphone is a technically outstanding headphone and a truly one-of-a-kind listen. However, one area where I felt it could improve, apart from the size and weight, was definitely the stock cable. The HEDDphone’s stock cable actually has inverted phase relative to most competitors, however, I was informed by the company that this shouldn’t overly affect the sound due to the properties of its AMT driver. Do note that this can cause larger sound changes beyond geometry and impedance of the conductors here – though I subjectively didn’t experience huge changes here as promised.
Starting with bass, I noticed a more robust presentation on the stock cable with a fuller note body and greater mid-bass impact. The common denominator with the Tri-Silver is its cleanliness and that’s just what it delivers here too. Switching cables revealed a cleaner, slightly more linear sound that was more even-weighted between sub and mid-bass. It was noticeably tighter in the sub-bass, retaining similar extension and pressure but a quicker, harder-hitting slam was evident. The Tri-Silver carried a more articulate and separated mid-bass with higher definition at the cost of some punch and texture. The HEDDphone is already a more aggressive, agile performer and the Tri-Silver only elevates the tactility of its bass. You do miss some fullness but this is not something the HEDDphone lacks from factory at all.
This then feeds into a slightly more separated midrange that is, to my ears, in good taste given that the lower-midrange does have a mild bump on the stock setup – a chief complaint. With the Tri-Silver, vocals became a touch more forward, with higher contrast between bass and mids enabling similarly higher separation. The tone remains clean and neutral, never cool and not metallic in the slightest. On the contrary, the full-bodied and powerful representation of the stock HEDDphone is traded off to some degree in favour of a cleaner and more contrasty expression. This does introduce a touch of dryness into the lower-midrange, male vocals especially, but also higher definition and noticeably less roominess. The voicing is subjectively slightly more natural and the Tri-Silver does nicely clean up the lower-midrange without over-stepping into brightness, thinness or fatigue, only a little dryness on some tracks.
I’m finding the custom cable here not to elicit quite as much change in the top-end. Both cables sounded fairly similar overall, however, there was noticeably more fine detail retrieval in the foreground and a bit more headroom on the Plussound cable. On the flipside, like the midrange, the stock cable provided slightly more body and a slightly more organic voicing, where the Tri-Silver is more open with a cleaner transient response and more defined instruments. To clarify, it isn’t an explicitly bright or forward cable, retaining a clean background, but the note presentation is distinctly different. Of course, the Tri Silver upholds the HEDDphone’s excellent extension with gobs of resolution, top-octave sparkle and air. The changes are most apparent when the track escalates in complexity, and an admirable boost to composure and separation delivering a more effortless portrayal is apparent. Of course, this was never anything the HEDDphone struggled with prior, but further refinement is very welcome and serves to elevate the listening experience.
Audeze LCD-X: Switching between the cables revealed a surprisingly profound difference between the two and that the Tri-Silver is essentially an ideal complement to the LCD-X. The stock cable was a warmer and fuller sounding cable while the Tri-Silver is a cleaner, more separated and generally more resolving one with greater range. For the LCD-X this is a fine upgrade as it errs heavily on the coherent side and could do with a little more energy for my tastes – of which, the Tri-Silver delivers.
Bass intriguingly comes across as slightly more laid-back overall, but also loses the mild tubbiness I experienced on the stock cable as it shaves off some of the mid/upper-bass hump for a cleaner and more linear presentation. The Tri-Silver sounds delivers a noticeably more natural note timbre and the increase in linearity draws a bit more focus to the sub-bass too. There’s a slight increase in physicality and a harder-hitting slam at the very bottom. Though still not specialising in dynamics, they were appreciably improved here and the cable takes full advantage of the driver’s speed whilst serving to enhance note attack and separation on top. Mid-bass definition receives a healthy boost making this headphone an articulate detail monster here.
The midrange occupies a similar position, sitting just a touch forward relative to the stock cable. It also retains a mostly similar voicing given its density and coherence from factory. I personally found the slight loss of bass warmth not to heavily affect the timbre, contributing to a slightly more open and defined presentation instead. The tone is not cool but around neutral, though the headphone does take a small hit to body in return. There’s slightly more openness and clarity around the upper-midrange creating a more extended image. This comes at a small sacrifice to coherence, the stock cable offering absolute smoothness, the Tri-silver offering more separation, clarity and definition but also a hint of rasp.
Up top is where the differences were least notable to me, with both the stock and Plussound cable delivering a detailed and refined sound. The LCD-X has a smooth tuning with an upper-treble lift that gives it strong fine-detail retrieval yet without a hint of fatigue. The Tri-Silver added a little more bite and evenness here. There was slightly less grain in the background, delivering a more refined sound. The Tri-Silver provided slightly strong fine detail retrieval with a noticeably more complex and detail dense foreground. Amidst its cleaner background, the presentation was more focused with more defined layers. Extension wasn’t improved but a step up in resolution was apparent to my ears. Albeit, the smoother tuning here can make it difficult to appreciate.
With regards to soundstage, there wasn’t an excessive difference in expansion either. The Tri-Silver offered a slight width advantage but also slightly less depth due to the more forward vocal image. Where this cable really delivers is with regards to imaging. As aforementioned, the Tri-Silver is able to craft a more focused foreground with greater contrast to the background. Layers were far more defined and nuanced on the custom cable and imaging was more immersive with sharper transients and directional cues. Separation is much improved as well, subjectively, a slight loss of coherence is not to this headphone’s detriment given that it intrinsically has such a strong emphasis on it.
Custom cables, especially in the headphone world, can be polarising as your experience will depend heavily on your expectations. To contextualise, unlike most modern IEM designs, I haven’t found headphone manufacturers to place nearly as much value on the cable design – likely due to the cable impacting the ergonomic experience less given the more stable nature of the form factor. However, this is not to say there is no room for improvement here, in fact, often there is even more so. The HEDDphone is a prime example, a brilliant design with a very stiff and microphonic cable. Beyond sound changes, the ergonomics alone transform the user experience. In addition, connectivity is enhanced and where the stock HEDD balanced cable comes in at $189, the vastly more substantial and ergonomic Poetic starts at just $60 more. For that meagre sum, you receive a hand-crafted, perfectly supple cable with zero microphonic noise and custom metal connectors. Beyond this, the flexible choice of conductors lets the user tailor the listening experience to their preference. And it is here where the Tri-Silver flaunts its prowess. The sound is clean, linear and highly resolving throughout. Given its technical nature, it is best paired with warmer, fuller and more coherent headphone models as above. From start to finish, Plussound deliver a flagship-level user experience.
The Tri-Silver in Poetic configuration is available from Plussound (International) for $875 USD at the time of writing. I am not affiliated with Plussound and receive no earnings from purchases through this link.