plusSound provided the Tri-Copper cable free of charge for the purpose of my honest review, for good or ill.
The Tri-Copper EXO sells for $549.99
I heard through the proverbial grapevine plusSound just finished development on new insulation for all their cables. This excited me, since I quite like their cables, but always felt the ergonomics needed a little work. They weren’t terrible, but in the question of comfort, I would choose Effect Audio every time.
So I contacted Christian over at plusSound, and he hit me with the good word on their new insulation and the improvements in flexibility and longevity. It all sounded very nice. Christian then asked what sort of conductor I’d like this time around. Seeing as I already have a few supremely clear and transparent cables, I told him I desired something warm and robust. Lo and behold, plusSound had a new product in development which Christian thought would fit my needs perfectly.
He sent the new Tri-Copper in Exo form.
plusSound ever creates such lovely works, and this one belongs among the very best. An array of gold, copper, and silver weaves together to dazzle and delight the eye. The braid handsomely gathers it all into form and function, capped with quality plugs and connectors, by the diligence of careful hands.
The new PS insulation is wonderfully supple, making for a soft, flexible wire which drapes comfortably and transmits practically no microphonics. It is no small improvement over their last iteration. plusSound now stands among the best in ergonomics.
Tri-Copper is so named due to the use of three different copper-based philosophies. Alternating strands of simple naked copper, silver-plated copper, and gold-plated copper make up this unique cable. And of course, it wouldn’t be plusSound if it weren’t also Litz wire.
It turns out Christian had the right of it. He thoroughly understood the character of this cable.
It is warm, smooth, and rich, delivering well-bodied notes and inoffensive highs. plusSound has introduced a liquidity I’ve not heard in their earlier offerings. It’s not quite on Effect Audio levels, but it’s there, and I enthusiastically welcome it.
Tri-Copper’s warmth is achieved on two fronts: Treble, and mid-bass. Higher frequencies are tamed with the strictest of discipline, subduing any peaks, and hammering down the lower treble to ensure no IEM will ever sound harsh up top. Then there’s elevation, where the bass blends into the mids. Vocals get extra weight, attaining a mild lushness, and the lows bloom nicely. All this must, by the laws of nature, reduce clarity, but can benefit some monitors which lack organicity.
There is impressive extension at both ends. You’ll hear just how deep the bass of your in-ears can go, and the highs are capable of ushering in superb air, for they can reach the furthest registers. Soundstage is expansive, though not the greatest of all-time. Separation is excellent, while resolution stands as a real strength. Indeed, the technical qualities are no joke. In spite of all its warmth, Tri-Copper can be such a transparent cable, when paired correctly.
As you can no doubt tell from the photos, I’ve fallen in love with the Noble Audio Kaiser Encore pairing. In my other cable reviews, I’m constantly trying to find an option that helps Encore with what I perceive as its weaknesses: Lack of bass, thin mids, bright/cold treble. The plusSound Gold-Plated Copper X-Series was good. The Effect Audio Thor II was even better. This Tri-Copper is the best yet. About 85% of the coldness is gone, and practically all of the harshness from high-hats and cymbals. The mid-bass is fattened enough to bring satisfying body to vocals. Meanwhile, clarity remains top-notch, and Encore’s soundstage is still one of the best in the business. There’s added warmth and harmonics, and an overall more musical and smooth presentation. Though clarity does lessen a bit, transparency is actually increased due to a more natural sound. I consider it a net gain, and have never enjoyed these IEMs more.
My 64Audio tia Fourté did not mesh as well. This came as a surprise, as the tuning for Fourté and Encore are terribly similar. Shit! I’ve often called them Encore Ultra, so you can imagine my confusion. The problem, I believe, lies in the lower treble. 64Audio’s flagship is much more linear as it moves from mids to highs. It doesn’t have the same peaks. So Tri-Copper’s natural tendency to quell that region causes too much of a dip, and the music loses a significant portion of its clarity and vibrancy. This has an effect on many things, including separation and transparency. Where Encore just gets warmer and fuller, Fourté gets dull and veiled. Sort of. That’s an exaggeration, but it gives you an idea of the result. Ultimately, these IEM’s are sticking with the Leonidas cable, for now. That’s a match made in heaven.
So how does Tri-Copper compare to some of my other cables? Here’s a quick breakdown:
plusSound X-Series GPC: warm and full. Very natural. Highly transparent. Grounded. Tri-Copper is more aggressive in its warmth. Meatier. Liquid. And has quite an effect on the treble.
Effect Audio Thor Silver II: Cleaner. More linear across the spectrum. Treble has a kind of warmth to it, but Thor doesn’t tinker with any one area, so it doesn’t have as much of an effect. Nice full-bass. Holographic soundstage. Greater liquidity. Tri-Copper is fuller, especially in mid-bass. And its warmth is felt everywhere. Soundstage is not as three-dimensional, nor is separation as potent.
Effect Audio Leonidas: Cleaner, clearer, airier. Even better separation. Transparency through the roof. Strong bass, with some extra heft in mid-bass. Crystalline vocals, and treble extends forever. Insanely holographic. Liquidity taken to a new level. Tri-Copper is warmer and fuller. More mid-bass. Less airy. Much less holographic. High frequencies not as free and extended.
As always, it’s important to remember, it’s not about which cable is the best. It’s about which pairs best with which monitor. Out of all the choices I have, plusSound’s Tri-Copper is the best I’ve heard for a monitor like Kaiser Encore. It adds what I wish to be added, and smoothes out those less friendly areas. It’s the greatest companion to a thin, cold, or bright IEM, and could give new life to many other signatures, if that’s where your tastes lay.