Whiplash TWau Reference Gold CIEM aftermarket replacement cable

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Manufacturer: Whiplash
Model: TWau Reference Gold
Price: $525

The TWau Reference GOLD plated silver is a relatively new cable from Whiplash that uses four quad-braided 26 gauge UPOCC wire made from gold plated silver strands.  Above the Y-split, which is secured by clear heat-shrink, the two wires per channel are tightly twisted and there is a wooden cable cinch.  The cable looks amazing in the translucent black jacket, but the initial run with a clear jacket really stood out to me with a gold tone.  Both OM (over mold) and non-OM versions are available.  The OM version doesn’t use memory wire, but the cable still stays put when wrapped around the ear in an over-the-ear configuration while the non-OM version has a pre-formed shape and for a much beefier and larger size that is rock-solid.

In use the cable is very flexible due to the soft wire which doesn’t exhibit any memory effect and is quite tangle-resistant, similar to other recent 4-wire Whiplash cables.  There are no microphonics, and despite a cable thickness of around 4 times that of a stock twisted CIEM cable, the TWau cable has similar overall ergonomics and more tangle resistance.   Build quality is up to the usual Whiplash standard, which is top-notch.  Overall, this cable is an exceptional replacement cable from a looks and use standpoint.  Many source connector options are available including numerous 3.5mm and balanced connectors.

Fit and sonic testing was performed on a variety of custom in-ear monitors and one universal fit IEM.  Pin polarity matched that of the stock cable.  The score is my Order of Magnitude score, which rates the amount of change the cable provides, with a higher score representing a more significant change.  The text details the sonic changes.

PAIRING

Hidition NT-6 Pro: The TWau fits the NT-6 Pro very securely.  Sonically, the TWau accentuates the bass and treble while pulling the presentation slightly closer than the Hidition upgrade cable.  Sonically, the TWau improves the imaging, clarity, as well as smoothing up and taming the treble region. Spatially, the presentation is slightly larger than that of the stock cable. While the differences aren’t large, the slight smoothing and taming of the treble can be a benefit for those that think the NT-6 Pro is a bit too bright. 4/10

Hidition NT-6: The TWau fits the NT-6 as securely as the stock cable, but the OM version’s lower profile works better with the protruding sockets.  Sonically the TWau cable adds space to the presentation while filling in the midrange, smoothing the treble, and making the bass more prominent.  This results in a clearer and more concise presentation that has more life and improves the sense of ambiance within the presentation.  While the differences aren’t to the level of the Whiplash Hybrid V3 cable, they are still good. 8/10

Spiral Ear SE 5-way Reference: The TWau fits the SE5, but not quite as securely as the longer pins of the stock cable. Sonically the TWau pushes the presentation forward and improves the dynamics.  The stock cable has more warmth which can make the overall presentation sound a bit darker, giving a clarity advantage to the TWau with better instrument separation and a cleaner treble. 8/10

Fit Ear PS-5: The PS-5 uses a faceplate mounted cable, and while the TWau fits fine, the OM cable may have an issue when applying repeated pressure on the cable to help remove the CIEMs leading to a recommendation for the Non-OM cable.  Sonically the TWau cable provides a much cleaner and clearer presentation that is spatially much larger.  The overall presentation is a bit warmer with the TWau, which isn’t ideal for the already warm sound signature with warm songs, but the bass is tightened up for better overall clarity.  8/10

Ultimate Ears Personal Reference Monitors:  Ultimate Ears uses a protruding socket, so the pins of the TWau are out further from the shell, but the connection is secure.  Sonically, the TWau adds brightness and a significant amount of clarity to the presentation along with tighter bass and more punch.  Imaging is improved as is instrument separation and the sense of black space and ambiance within the presentation while the size of the presentation remains pretty much unchanged.  The TWau pushes the performance of the PRM to a higher level and is recommended. 9/10

Ultimate Ears In-Ear Reference Monitors: Ultimate Ears uses a protruding socket, so the pins of the TWau are out further from the shell, but the connection is secure.  Sonically the TWau increases the focus on the treble which I find problematic with the IERM pairing.  The overall presentation is more punchy, but the notes become more aggressive.  Spatially, the soundstage is larger with better precision within resulting in improved clarity.  If you don’t mind the more analytical note and brighter sound, the cable will work for you, but I don’t think the pairing is a great one. 5/10

M-Fidelity SA-43: Both the OM and non-OM versions of the TWau cable fit the SA-43 securely.  Sonically the TWau brightens up the presentation with a boost from the upper midrange while pulling the whole presentation a bit closer.  The overall presentation is not quite as air sounding, but in exchange more detail is rendered and the overall presentation is cleaner and more precise.  When switching from the TWau to the stock cable, the presentation sounds dull and uninvolving in comparison.  The changes are mostly positive, with a more balanced sound and better performance. 7/10

EarSonics S-EM6: Both the OM and non-OM versions of the TWau cable fit the SA-43 securely.  Sonically, the changes are very significant as the tonal balance changes with a brighter, more dynamic sound that is more precise and clear.  Bass is still plentiful, but tamed and controlled a bit with much better deep bass response.  The TWau brings details that can be missed and even not reproduced into view while retaining the EarSonics presentation characteristics.  The changes are significant and well worth the investment if you want to improve clarity, dynamics, and deep bass while giving the upper end a bit morefocus. 9/10

Rhines Custom Monitors Stage 3:  Both the OM and non-OM versions of the Whiplash TWau cable fit securely in place of the stock cable.  Sonically, the TWau cable pushes the midrange more forward which reduces the treble emphasis in relation to the rest of the spectrum.  With the TWau cable, the Stage 3 is cleaner and clearer with better articulation of detail, especially in acoustic music.  6/10

Thousand Sound TS842: Both the OM and non-OM versions of the TWau cable fit the TS842 securely. Sonically, my thought was WOW.  The TS842 becomes much more coherent with a much smoother overall sound while not losing out in detail.  The spatial presentation is expanded in both depth and width, and clarity, imaging, and instrument separation are all significantly better.  If you have a TS842, the TWau cable is worth the upgrade!  10/10

Lear LCM BD4.2: Both the OM and non-OM versions of the TWau cable fit the BD4.2 securely.  Sonically, the bass is tightened up significantly for a closer to BA bass performance while the upper end is a bit more prominent and details are more articulated.  Overall clarity is improved and the sound is livelier.  7/10

Hidition Viento-R: Both the OM and non-OM versions of the Whiplash TWau cable fit the Viento-R, but the pins are a bit smaller than the sockets, so they don’t offer the most secure fit.  Expanding the pins is recommended for this pairing.  Sonically, the TWau cable pushes the midrange a bit forward and clears up the spectrum from top to bottom.  Instrument separation is better, and the release of notes is cleaned up, both making for subtle changes that improve the overall presentation quality.  Spatially, there is little change and the more forward presentation can sometimes mask the depth of presentation and sense of space.  3/10

SUMMARY

The Whiplash TWau Reference Gold cable is a dream to use from an ergonomic standpoint and has great build quality to match.  Sonically, it typically pulls the presentation a bit forward, adds brightness, and increases instrument separation for a cleaner, clearer, and more precise sound.  In addition, deep bass becomes more prominent and the entire bass spectrum gets tightened up while the treble is smoothed, yet with more detail.  Performance depends on the pairing, but Whiplash has done an excellent job and the TWau Reference GOLD pairs well with many CIEMs.

Ergonomics: 9.5
Tangle Resistance: 9.5
Memory Effect: 10
Microphonics: 10
Build Quality: 10
Works with recessed sockets: Yes

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About Author

Having a life-long love of high-quality audio and gadgets, average_joe got back in touch with his audiophile side after a hiatus caused by life. His focus became headphones and related gear as the size and price fit his life better than home audio. He believes the entire audio chain is important, and likes to continue to think past the headphone and on into the head, as he believes understanding the details of how we hear will lead to a better audio experience.

2 Comments

  1. Shoghi on

    Could you compare the TWag Gold V2 and TWau Gold Reference? The way you describe them in your separate reviews makes them sound quite similar, meaning smoother treble, warmer closer mids and nice rounded bass.

  2. Bryce Morgan on

    I got the TWau Reference Gold cable to go with my S-EM6. The sound is marvelous, but I can’t get the S-EM6 to stay in my ears with this cable – none of the tips I tried would stay sealed. Right now, I’m listening to the S-EM6 with a Linum BaX cable and while it might be missing that last few percent of sound quality, the S-EM6 stays sealed in my ears with JVC Spiral Dot Tips. I’m going try the TWau Reference Gold cable on my 1964 Ears Quad. I figure the customs will probably stay in my ears..

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