PW Audio’s 1960 Cables

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Comparisons

PWaudio 1960 2-wire vs. Labkable Samurai III
The 2-wire has a warmer bass with more low end impact, while the Samurai’s bass is tighter and more controlled. As a result, the 2-wire has an overall warmer tone, as well as stage structure. The Samurai creates and airier stage due to an attenuated mid-bass, although its bass is lighter in comparison. The 2-wire on the other hand has a slightly wider stage as well as more precise imaging, resulting in an overall similar performance in separation, by different means. The Samurai’s midrange is relatively uncolored, and slightly warm, though not as warm as the 2-wire’s. Both are fairly even in overall body and size. While the 2-wire’s upper midrange is clear, the Samurai’s is slightly brighter. Similarly, the 2-wire’s treble is significantly warmer and more natural tone, compared to the lightly enhanced treble response of the Samurai. The 2-wire betters the Samurai in resolution, although the Samurai in turn has greater transparency relating to the 2-wire’s warmer stage.

PWaudio 1960 2-wire vs. plusSound Gold-Plated Copper 8-braid
The GPC has a relatively more midcentric signature, due to a more forward midrange. Accordingly, it adds more density to vocals. Even so, the 2-wire is overall warmer in tone due to its laidback upper treble, while it also appears darker due to its background blackness. Both share a warm and fairly natural bass, although the 2-wire is slightly darker in tone due to a more powerful sub-bass. In addition, it betters the GPC in overall impact. Similarly, both create a warmer stage structure, although the GPC’s is slightly airier due to its more linear treble response. Its treble is only slightly warm in tone, and closer to neutral. The 2-wire’s treble is relatively more laidback, tilting the general sound towards the warmer side of neutral. This results in an overall smoother sound, although the GPC is more accurate in tone. Both share a similar resolution.

PWaudio 1960 4-wire vs. Labkable Pandora
Labkable’s Pandora consists of a colorful 10-wire hybrid design with copper, gold-plated copper and silver wires. Both cables have a dynamic low end, resulting from an enhanced sub- and mid-bass response that creates a powerful impact. As a result their bass is north from neutral, and in both cases quite engaging. However, the 4-wire has a fuller bass presentation, richer and more natural in tone. The Pandora attenuates the upper bass, resulting in a less warm lower midrange, as well as a cleaner stage. Both cables have a highly  resolving midrange, with a neutral tone. While the 4-wire’s transparency is greater, overall the presentation of their midrange is fairly similar – clear and detailed. When moving on towards the treble, the 4-wire’s is more prominent. Accordingly, the 4-wire’s treble is brighter, resulting in greater articulation, as well as more sparkle. Without sounding overly bright, the Pandora’s is laidback and less detailed in comparison – the 4-wire’s treble energy seems to be fairer match for its similarly stimulating midrange.

PWaudio 1960 4-wire vs. SilverFi IEM-R4
Clash of the titans – two top tier cables that face off in a spectacular matchup. Both are highly performing cables, with very different signatures. The IEM-R4 has a neutral stage positioning, slightly laidback relative to the 4-wire. In addition, its stage is wider. Furthermore, its stage is airier due to the 4-wire’s enhanced bass response. The IEM-R4’s bass is similarly natural in tone, but more neutral in its quantity. The result is a more opened up, spacious stage, resulting in a more holographic presentation. Accordingly, the IEM-R4 has a natural advantage in separation based on the airiness of the stage and its dimensions.

However, the 4-wire’s clarity benefits from its lifted upper midrange and relatively more treble-oriented signature. Furthermore, it has a darker atmosphere, creating its unique contrast of light and dark. As a result, the 4-wire is more upfront in its detail presentation and note articulation despite their stage differences, although its tone is brighter than neutral when compared to IEM-R4. The IEM-R4’s signature is neutral – but in the natural sense of the word. Its midrange is slightly warm without being overly boosted, and its treble soft, but articulate. Importantly, its tone is very accurate – the treble tone specifically, as well as the signature in general. The 4-wire on the other hand offers more sparkle, resulting in a more energetic presentation. The resolution and transparency of both cables is exceptional, and worthy of their top tier status and price tag – in both cases, the cables have an extraordinary ability to uncover finer detail in an effortless way.

Practically, the IEM-R4 comes with an important caveat – it’s burdened by its intricate individually sleeved 12-wire design. This is very much a ‘desktop cable’, in the sense that it’s not suitable to be used on the go. While the 4-wire is heavier than a standard upgrade cable, it doesn’t have any issues with portability.

Concluding thoughts

Whether Peter Wong set out to create this particular sound, or simply found it by trial and error – it’s safe to say he achieved his goal. The sound created by his flagship cable does have the resemblance of a smooth nightclub club in the ‘60’s. A dim lit but classy, velvet room, in a time where everyone uninhibitedly smoked everywhere. The lights might be turned down, but the spotlight is on the stage – the podium for a few skilful musicians, bringing life to the sweetest, smoothest jazz. The 1960 2-wire creates that unique presentation – a candle light atmosphere with a beautiful tone.

I can understand possible skepticism that doubling the wires has such a significant effect on the 1960’s performance. I’ve heard 4 and 8 wire versions of more moderately priced cables in the past, and I’ll admit I had my doubts at the time whether I could confidently tell the difference.

But the 4-wire is simply in a different ballpark than its smaller sibling.

The 2-wire has a possible advantage of a more organic and non-fatiguing sound, which might be more appealing for sensitive listeners or pairing with brighter iems. Its performance is without a doubt good within its price tier – but the 4-wire’s superior technical performance trickles down on the whole presentation. It retains the warmer bass and background blackness, but turns up the resolution and especially transparency. The net effect is a more pure and vivid sound – flashes of light set against a black background, simulating a stroboscope in a discotheque.

Manufacturer website:
https://www.pw-audio.com/

Retail:
https://music-sanctuary.com/products/pwaudio-the-1960s-flagship-iem-cable

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About Author

Nic is currently in pursuit of a PhD degree in social neuropsychology, while trying not to get too distracted by this hobby. In pursuit of theoretical knowledge by day, and audiophile excellence at night. Luckily for him, both activities are not mutually exclusive which helps to lighten the workload. Always on the go, Nic's enthusiasm for hi-fi is focused on all chains of the portable system: iems, cables and daps.

4 Comments

  1. Brian on

    Great review, as always.

    Will you be doing a future review of Tralucent Audio’s Uber Too cable?

    Thanks in advance.

    • flinkenick on

      Hi Brian, thanks, much appreciated.

      No plans for now, but you never know.

  2. Mateusz on

    Great read! Especially concluding thoughts.

    One question: have you listened the Leonidas from Effect Audio?

    • flinkenick on

      Hi Mateusz, thanks for the nice words.

      I did a while back, although it was more than half a year ago. Leonidas has a very different signature. Compared to the 2-wire which is roughly in the same price tier, Leonidas has a more uncolored signature with an airier stage. It has a very nice punchy sub-bass, that gives it a dynamic sound. 1960 2-wire’s bass is warmer, and accordingly its overall tone is warmer, while its background is blacker. Its treble is slightly less prominent, so it creates a smoother sound. Leonidas does not create thicker or leaner notes, it is very neutral in this regard. I would guess that 2-wire creates marginally thicker notes, and that their resolution is roughly similar. But it was quite a while ago and I didn’t directly compare them, so take this with a grain of salt.

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