I’m not one for long introductions, but SilverFi is a unique brand that warrants a few words. Ever since the first time I came in contact with a SilverFi cable, their entry-level model at the time, I’ve been hooked on their special sound. Warm, but not too warm, and clear, without being bright: my experience with SilverFi cables has helped mold what I’ve come to consider truly natural sound. It’s a term that’s easily thrown around, but naturalness is a rare commodity in the world of hi-fi. SilverFi’s unique house sound isn’t by chance; Sezai is a master of the trade, a man that’s been experimenting with materials and design for the better part of the last 40 years. His search for perfection resulted in one of the rare companies making their own raw material, creating wire from the ground up – and most likely, the only boutique company. All SilverFi cables are made of pure silver, while each wire is always individually shielded with a special cotton fabric.
As a result, the SilverFi brand has a strong house sound throughout the lineup. The different models share a characteristic warm, smooth and extremely natural sound. But they vary in the number of conductors used, as well as their gauge sizes. This results in different accents in their signature, as well as their performance. I understand it’s hard to imagine cables can improve the higher up you go, even after you’ve passed the 1K mark. And that’s not even for the skeptics – it’s difficult to fathom for cable enthusiasts alike. After the IEM-R2, I figured I’d pretty much heard it all. So even for me, the IEM-R4’s performance came as a surprise. And it still does every time I listen to it, for the IEM-R4 never fails to impress me.
Due to its individually sleeved 12 wires, the IEM-R4 is a cable that doesn’t particularly lend itself for mobile use. Yet despite its challenging ergonomics, I’m going to try to explain how a cable can still be worth its exorbitant price tag. It’s because of that one aspect that’s even more important – its sound. Still, this is pretty much a cable that will only appeal to the most hardcore breed of cable enthusiasts. Which when you come to think of it, isn’t really as drastic as it sounds. Because with a price tag of 2K, anybody willing to pay that much for a cable pretty much automatically qualifies for that label.
Build & Ergonomics
The R4 consists of 12 individually cotton-sleeved silver wires, woven together in a flat braid. The result is a flat, but rather broad cable. Each one of the wires roughly equals the size of one of those thin black OFC 3-wire cables you get with many ciems, or about the half of the size of something like Campfire’s 4-wire SPC cable. As they’re woven together, the end result is a width of roughly 1.5 to 2 cm – the equivalent of something like 8-9 OFC cables next to each other. Accordingly, it’s also not as flexible as a regular stock cable.
The cable is finished with a Neutrik jack, and special top end connectors needed to fit the sleeved wires. Due to the thicker connector, it doesn’t work with deeply recessed sockets. It’s become the reason I always ask for non-recessed sockets for iems, although it’s worth checking with Sezai to see if there’s an alternative solution for the connectors.
Practically speaking, the cable is similar to a desktop system in its use. You can easily walk around the house with it, but it’s not really meant to be taken outside. Besides, with its thick silky wires, it would make quite the sight. It’s best listened to sitting at a desk, or my preferred use – listening in bed to relax.