The SilverFi IEM-R4 – Cable Royalty

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Comparisons

SilverFi IEM-R4 vs. SilverFi IEM-R2
The 10-wire IEM-R2 shares the recognizable SilverFi house sound, with a warm and natural tone, combined with a high resolution due to proper extension. Both share a warm but well-controlled mid-bass, natural in tone. However, the R2 has a more prominent center and especially lower midrange, which gives midrange notes extra body and forwardness compared to the relatively more laidback R4. The R2 is warmer and denser, creating a more powerful vocal presentation, especially for male vocals. It’s a different flavor; arguably more emotional and romantic, although its warmer sound leans towards a more midcentric signature, making it less versatile.

The R4 is more neutral by comparison, both in its stage positioning as well as note size. The R2’s stage might be wide; the R4’s stage opens up in all directions. Mostly, it’s wider, although it creates more depth. Accordingly, the R4 creates a more 3D presentation, although its notes are not as full-bodied as R2’s. In addition, R4’s tone is only slightly warm, and more linear throughout the midrange, resulting in greater balance between the center and upper midrange – the R2 tends to favor the lower portion of the midrange. Finally, while the R2’s midrange technical performance is already excellent, the R4 improves in transparency. Combined with its 3D stage, the R4 is not only more spacious; it’s significantly more upfront in its detail retrieval.


SilverFi IEM-R4 vs. PW Audio 1960 4-wire
The R4 and 1960 4-Wire are two cables that perform in a league of their own. Both have a warm, natural-sounding bass. The 1960 4-wire has a bit more low end impact, while it counters its low-end warmth with a brighter top end. The relative prominence of the upper treble provides more sparkle, and a more energetic presentation. R4 in turn pairs its neutral bass response with a softer treble, resulting in a truer tone, and overall more natural presentation.

There isn’t much difference between them when it comes to resolution and transparency, the two pillars of technical performance. As the 1960 4-Wire is a bit brighter in tone due to its more prominent upper treble, it’s a bit more upfront with its microdetail. It tends to show off its extraordinary ability to uncover fine detail, where R4 is a bit more relaxed. Which isn’t to say the 1960 4-Wire is more detailed, their actual performance is similar – R4 just relies on different measures.

For starters, its stage. The 1960 4-Wire creates a realistic stage, with good width and depth in fairly even proportions. While R4 has similar depth, its stage is significantly wider. In addition, its background is blacker, even though the 1960 4-Wire has a darker atmosphere. Its dark atmosphere and brighter treble creates a unique environment; a stark contrast between light and dark. R4 in turn is a bit smoother and warmer in tone.


Concluding thoughts

While cables can play a role in the stage dimensions, it’s pretty much my last priority. Overall, the differences are usually too small to play a serious role in a decision. But the R4’s stage sets it apart. And that’s not even mentioning its beautiful tone, or outstanding technical performance. For when it comes to resolution and transparency, only the 1960 4-wire is its equal; at least from the cables I’ve heard.

Of course, it also comes with a similar restraint in its mobility. But if that’s acceptable for a headphone, why not for an iem system, if you’re getting an added benefit in the sound? The combined package of its tone, transparency and stage lifts an iem to a next level, and makes the questionable ergonomics more than bearable – at least for me.

I understand 2K for a cable is quite insane. Even the lion’s share of the cable enthusiasts will probably side with the skeptics on this one, and call to revolt. If I didn’t have any experience with such high-end cables, I’d probably pick up my pitchfork as well. But truth is, as much as I love iems, I love a top tier cable like this even more. I’ve come to consider R4 as one of my most prized possessions, trailing only my AK380cu. Of course, that’s also for a great deal due to their rarity – I don’t have nearly as much quality cables as I do iems.

 

SilverFi IEM-R4
Material:          Pure silver wires
Conductors:    12 wires in a flat braid
Shielding:         Individual cotton shielding
MRSP:               $1999

Manufacturer website:
silverfi.blogspot.com

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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.

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