Crystal Cable DUET Headphone cables

Cables make no difference to the fidelity of sonics whatsoever.

Cables make a big difference to the sonic signature of the electronics they are used with.

Those seem to be the former and latter camps in high fidelity – when it comes to cables of all kinds, AC Mains, RCA, XLR, speaker, headphone… etc. – that like to throw rocks at each other while covering their ears from the safety of their barricaded enclaves.

I fall somewhere in the middle. I definitely think a quality cable will make a positive difference to the sound of a system, but having experimented with enough of them over the years I also know they can screw with sonics just as much as they can aid it while transferring delicate electro-acoustical/digital signals to your transducers.

So, what is one to do? Modern DSP takes away a lot of what experimenting with cables does, but that’s more a two-channel situation than a headphone one, where many swear by using aftermarket cables to get the most out of their cans, amps, turntables and DACs.

One company that has been aiding and abetting audiophiles in the two-channel latter camp is Crystal Cable who are embedded in the headphone-cable theatre of combat with their $1,600 USD DUET headphone cable. That’s more money than most headphones I’d consider so good that I’d be happy with them for life. So who are these targeted at? I’m guessing those souls who are able to invest in the highest-quality headphones currently on the market (think +$3,000 USD) who want an aftermarket cable to get that last five-to-10 per cent of further resolution, frequency response, transient speed and timbral and tonal shading out of their cans.

I currently have on hand three headphones I’d probably be able to justify these cables for; the Sonoma Headphone System, the Audeze LCD-4z and the HIFIMAN HE1000 V2, so if I can wrangle a pair of the DUET, I plan on trying them out. In the meantime, specifications are limited with the Crystal Cable website not listing much information other than the fact that the “DUET is the first portable cable in the Crystal Cable product range … combining super high-purity gold and silver conductors for deep bass and extremely detailed sound … high-tech technology with eco-friendly materials … extreme durability with ultra flexibility and high-end Oyaide connectors [for] all kind of headphone and IEM termination.”

From their website:

“The superb conductivity, shielding and high-tech insulation materials used by Crystal Cable are perfect for the low-signal level and low-power applications which are typical in portable hifi audio systems; flexible and thin but also very strong and extremely musical. Its high-end Oyaide connectors can be combined with all kind of headphone and IEM termination making sure Crystal Cable’s trademark qualities are aligned with the same philosophy; to bring live music to the listener, be it through an audio system at home or one that you take with you.”

North American distributor: Wynn Audio Corp. Unit 31, 20 Wertheim Crt. Richmond Hill, ON, L4B3A8 Canada

1 (866) 995-2995

Wynn Audio

Crystal Cable
Nieuwe Stationsstraat 6811 KS Arnhem The Netherlands
(+31) 481 374 783

SonicSavourIF's picture

I recommend the discussion around Winer's null tester. In case somebody wants to test their cables, I'm sure he is still open to people sending him cables for measurement. Especially expensive ones. Don't fool yourselves, people!

barfle's picture

To be sure, a bad cable, such as one that is shorted, is highly reactive, or open, can have a harmful effect on your electronic experience. But I’m still skeptical of just how much improvement one can expect from any upgrade over a plain old decent cable.

MRC01's picture

Cables can affect the sound if they have high reactance, insufficient gauge for the signal they carry, bad connectors or other flaws. But any properly engineered cable is transparent. Fortunately, proper engineering doesn't cost much. You might have to spend as much as $100 for a top quality cable and connectors that is transparent in every measurable way -- certainly not $1,600!

Please tell me I missed the joke.

badhack's picture

imho once you have a cable with four good low impedance wires (vs cheap ones with three thin wires) the only reason to spend money on a headphone cable is for one that will last longer or mic less.