Onkyo E900m x DUW02 (8.5/10):-
The E900m is already an accurate and musical sounding earphone. The paring brings more accuracy and details to the table. The bass is tighter and notes are faster. The mid range is no more deep in the V. It has a bit more forwardness and clarity with a hair more accuracy and sharpness. Vocals have better transparency and doesn’t sound drowned any more. Treble is more even with better energy until the end. Layering and separation is better and takes the E900s to the top of the $500 IEM list. The stage is considerably bigger with very good density and instrumental distribution. On the down side the whole signature is slightly drier.
With Chord (8.8/10):-
The biggest difference is the stage size, it is even bigger delivering a more involving and immersive experience. The bass is a bit more tighter with slightly better sub-bass extension and rumble. The mid range is more leveled with better energy. Vocals are even more precise and accurate with better texture and definition. The instruments have fantastic attack. Notes have more even body emulating better sense of space. It is exactly same with the treble region, more energy, better extension, more precision and transparency. If the DUW02 missed out on any details the Chord will pick it up without any problem. Don’t pair it with something as dry and lean as the ER-4P and you are good to go.
Aedle ODS-1 x DUW02 (9/10):-
The ODS01 is not a bassy IEM anymore. The whole lower end gains a bit faster decay and notes feel tighter. The slam is there but is a bit less meaty. The mid range feels a bit more defined and the resolving details are a notch better. I love the way it makes the slightly thicker lower mid range notes a bit more sharp. The treble region which has a bit of roll off at higher frequencies gains a bit more energy and is more even now. Layering and separation improves and instruments have better space and air between them. The stage size opens up a bit more with better out of the head presence.
With Chord (9.5/10):-
The ODS-1 in general has very good stage height and the chord takes is to another level. It feels huge and vast, the cue placement is much better with very good density and space between instruments. The layering and separation now takes the ODS-1 in to the league of earphones twice more expensive. The level of details improves drastically. It makes the ODS-1 more mature, resolving even more details. The sub-bass feel more present with better rumble. The bass is more focused with accurate notes thickness and body while maintaining nice musicality. Mid range and treble region gain more energy and notes feel even more alive and agile. Layering and separation are vastly improved with superior instrument positioning.
This cable really opens up the ODS-1 and the paring is one of the best, delivering very good musicality while bringing out the more technical and detailed side of the IEM.
The Chord brings more details, even more sub-bass presence and the stage size is around 15% bigger than the cable out of the box which is the DUW02. The Pairing really opens up the 2001 with better decay speed and a bit more forward mid range. Notes have better accuracy and thanks to the bigger stage layering and separation are better.
VS ElectroAcousti Copper cable (special order) (2.5mm) ($60):-
The copper cable is one of the most beautiful looking cables in this price range, the aesthetics of it is intriguing. The build quality is equally impressive but the quick switch pins of the DUNU reigns supreme when it comes to functionality.
Sound quality wise it betters the single ended DUW02 by a small margin. It delivers bigger stage, slightly better bass body, better rumble and a bit more details across the spectrum. On the down side it makes the mid range a bit less forward and the treble is not as extended. When the pins are switched from SE to 2.5mm balanced the DUW02 get up to this cable. It has similar stage size but the treble feels more energetic with better extension.
Against the Chord SE on the other hand has equally big stage size with slightly better extension at both ends and more energy at upper treble region. It just doesn’t have anything better than the Chord, let it be details, notes accuracy and even layering and separation the Chord sounds superior and cleaner.
SGaudiohive Allegro (2.5mm) ($88):-
The Pure copper cable doesn’t really bring much more to the table except better balance and notes accuracy. The lower end is more voluminous with a bigger slam and better rumble compared to the DUW02. The mid range is less forward, the notes are slightly on the thicker side. Laying and separation is a hair less accurate. There is no gain in stage size.
It is marginally better than the SE DUW02 but is nowhere close to SE Chord or even Balanced DUW02.
Chord VS DUW02:-
The chord is a better IEM from the word go. It just brings out better details, has more accurate notes, layering and separation is better, micro details have better transparency and the stage size is bigger. The Chord has better technicality and sonicality too.
If you have a 2.5mm or 4.4mm balanced source just get a pin and you can use the earphone with both the 3.5mm and balanced source without removing the earpieces from the cable. The quick switch technology not only save money but also elongates the life of the socket.
If you have a good quality earphone or if you have an earphone which suits your taste better than anything else and you are looking to get more out of as you cannot find a satisfying upgrade to it, you should upgrade to the DUW02. If you have the same situation and your IEM is in the range of $300+ you should opt for Chord, it really brings out the best of the earphone. These cables have huge improvements over the IEMs stock cable in every aspect let it be sound, stage or functionality these cables are considerably better.
If you are in the market looking for a good quality cable for your IEM, you just cant wrong with these cables.
The biggest USP of these cables are the quick switch connectors. You can choose from 2.5mm or 4.4mm pins. The quick switch connector lets the jack to be swapped without buying a whole new cable. It saves a lot of money while providing plenty of flexibility. These are not the cheapest cables in the, in fact these cables are on the expensive side and they are totally worth it.