PLUSSOUND Exo Palladium-Plated Hybrid: The Palate Cleanse – An In-Ear Monitor Cable Review

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DISCLAIMER: My colleague Ryan Soo loaned me his PPH review unit for the purposes of this review. I am not personally affiliated with PLUSSOUND in any way, nor do I receive any monetary rewards for a positive evaluation. I’d like to thank PLUSSOUND and Ryan for their kindness and support. The review is as follows.

PLUSSOUND is an aftermarket-cable manufacturer based in the United States. Among the myriad of cable brands in the industry now, they were one of the first to really feature customisation in their products; alterable all the way from wire counts, to cable lengths, braiding styles, hardware colours, shielding, etc. Those options became even further varied as they grew their material repertoire too. Some of their greatest hits include three- or four-metal hybrids. This cable we’re looking at today has such a make-up: The Palladium-Plated Hybrid; a richer take on the clean sound with a dose of glow.

PLUSSOUND Palladium-Plated Hybrid

  • Wire composition: 26 AWG Type-6 Litz Palladium-Plated Hybrid
  • Default configuration: 4-wire
  • Key feature(s) (if any): PS insulation
  • Price: $999
  • Website: www.plussoundaudio.com

Packaging and Accessories

Since my last review of a PLUSSOUND cable years ago, they’ve altered and classed-up their packaging considerably. This PPH comes in a black, semi-gloss box topped with a gold, metallic print of the PLUSSOUND logo. Sandwiched between its top and bottom is a matching gold, metallic strip, which is a cool aesthetic touch. Lifting its lid off, you’ll see an engraved acrylic insert, which I feel is a very clever inclusion that echoes the design language of premium fragrances, for example.

Below that is the cable itself tucked inside an included leather pouch. Of the plethora of leather cases I’ve received with audio products, this one is probably up there with Eletech as one of the top dogs. It has that drier feel to it, which really highlights and accentuates the texture of the leather. Its wrinkles look ashy or aged, and that PLUSSOUND logo engraved on top just finishes the look perfectly. If they ever decide to sell it as a separate accessory, I can see it selling out rapidly.

Finally, underneath that case is a cardboard divider, which houses this PPH’s remaining extras. First up is a leather cable tie. Unfortunately, the quality of the leather doesn’t match that of the pouch. There isn’t any branding on it either, which feels like a missed opportunity. Still, though, I’m incredibly happy that PLUSSOUND has at least included one; more than I can say for a lot of cable brands out there. You also get a microfibre cloth with the company logo; again, an extra more brands should include. And, last is a warranty card you can send in if you need to return the cable because of any issues.

All in all, I feel PLUSSOUND have done a great job with their packaging. Although I’m partial towards matte textures, I do not mind the semi-gloss exterior. Besides, everything they’ve included within – from the classy acrylic insert, to the top-quality leather pouch, to all those accessories – easily make up for it. It is a great effort, and a revamp made worthwhile.

Aesthetics, Ergonomics and Everyday Use

Aesthetically, the PPH is a stunning-looking cable. The hybrid design immediately shows with alternating veins of copper and silver peering through; both metals shiny, lustrous and crisp. PLUSSOUND’s proprietary PS insulation does a superb job showing them off too; very transparent without any reflective gloss. Speaking of its outer jacket, it is probably one of the smoothest and silkiest ones I’ve experienced yet. It’s a tad heavier, I believe, than Effect Audio’s UltraFlexi or Eletech’s FlexiMax. But, what that bit of heft does is prevent the wires from ever feeling bouncy or springy. The cable simply drops when you hold it on one end, which indicates fantastic suppleness. And, this shows on the 2-wire sections as well, which, while twisted, hold their shape as if they were braided. Finally, there are zero signs of them loosening or unravelling too.

Moving onto the hardware, you can actually customise them quite extensively when you’re ordering the cable from their website. That includes the colour of each component, as well as the left and right indicators. This PPH came with a black 3.5mm TRS connector, a chrome Y-split, a chrome slider and mismatched 2-pin connectors; chrome on the left side, and rose-gold on the right. All in all, I think they all have a very sleek, clean look. I personally enjoy a bit of texture or contrast, and there isn’t too much of it here; just the hits of chrome and the gold logos scattered throughout. But, those who want a more minimalist look should find these stylings quite appealing. My one real complaint here is the positioning of the PS logos on the 2-pin plugs. They’re on the inside of the plug, rather than the outside. I think it’s odd visually, and I’ve seen it lead to confusion online as to which side was which as well. So, hopefully, PLUSSOUND can alter or clarify it in the future.

Ergonomically, again, I have zero complaints. It’s a very flexible, supple-feeling cable, and its hardware weighs nothing at all. And, this PPH has no microphonics as well, so you won’t hear any noises should it rub against your clothing or bump into you as you move. It’s worth noting that this cable doesn’t come with any pre-shaped heat shrink or memory wire by default. So, those who do want it should mention it on the Notes section when you’re ordering on PLUSSOUND’s website.

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About Author

Church-boy by day and audio-obsessee by night, Daniel Lesmana’s world revolves around the rhythms and melodies we lovingly call: Music. When he’s not behind a console mixing live for a congregation of thousands, engineering records in a studio environment, or making noise behind a drum set, you’ll find him on his laptop analysing audio gear with fervor and glee. Now a specialist in custom IEMs, cables and full-sized headphones, he’s looking to bring his unique sensibilities - as both an enthusiast and a professional - into the reviewer’s space; a place where no man has gone before.

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