DITA Audio OSLO (USD 580)
The Monile and OSLO sport pretty similar, mostly uncoloured tonalities, but delivered in two different ways. The Monile’s a more direct, articulate-sounding cable, which propels notes with higher energy and punch, while the OSLO’s transients throughout the frequency range are a hair more relaxed; airy. Down low, for example, the OSLO has the warmer, bigger-sounding lows, but the Monile’s jab harder. Kick drums thwack with more force on the latter, and the same goes for bass plucks as well. Though the frequencies in question aren’t necessarily lifted on the Monile, they do hit harder. Now, where the Monile does inch a tad forward would be the high-mids and lower-treble. Trumpets and guitars, hi-hats and cymbals all come off slightly brighter, slightly crisper and slightly more vibrant too. This’ll fit your IEM more if you feel it’s lacking a bit of immediacy or bite. Conversely, the OSLO edges the Monile out in end-to-end extension. You’ll hear a more physical rumble and tighter spatial cues on this OSLO, as well as a slightly more stable, defined image. But, to me, those technical differences don’t outweigh the dynamic ones, so, as always, the choice would depend on what you’ll need for your in-ear.
Eletech Socrates (USD 699)
Eletech’s Socrates, like the Monile, is a conductor with energy, immediacy and punch packed within a compact, yet tidily-organised space. Where the two ultimately diverge is how they distribute that energy throughout their frequency charts. A lot of the Monile’s bigness lies further up the range, with a ton of body given to its high-mids and highs. On Nathan and Noah East’s rendition of Over the Rainbow, for example, the Monile will emphasise the rightmost keys of the piano, along with the higher registers of the string section. By comparison, the Socrates comes off more balanced. Those lower, more bass-y bellows and grunts of the piano have as much presence and weight as the higher notes, and the violas are as key in the orchestra as the violins. This Socrates’ upper registers are tighter than the Monile’s too; not as radiant or wet. This compactness grants more precise imaging, and it allows more air to flow throughout the image as well. But, PW’s Monile then delivers the more resonant, inviting profile as a result, so these will be the trade-offs you’ll have to decide between.
PW Audio 2-wire 1960s (USD 999)
Comparing this Monile to its spiritual sibling, let’s say, there’re immediately differences heard in presentation. The 2-wire 1960s has tighter, quicker-sounding notes cased within an airier, more defined stage, which hands it the more expansive and more precise sound of the two. Much of that has to do with its stronger upper-end extension, and it’s what gifts this cable a palpably deeper image as well. By comparison, the Monile is a more intimate-sounding cable, where instruments are not only positioned further upfront, but they’re looser as well; bigger in size with an aura of warmth around them. It’s especially true in the midrange, where the Monile’s guitars and snare drums come off more saturated. This 2-wire 1960s’ are far airier and more precise by comparison, but more distant-sounding as well. So, like the Socrates, I’d shout-out the Monile for intimacy and soul, while the 2-wire 1960s is great for precision, stereo separation and a more surround sound feel. Lastly, in terms of resolution and texture, you’d be able to hear the finer details on the 2-wire 1960s. The backdrop’s cleaner too. But, when highlighting individuals in simpler, more acoustic arrangements, I do prefer the Monile’s intimacy.
PW Audio’s Monile is an upgrade cable that delivers vibrance, musicality and size without ever becoming brash or loud. It imbues instruments with bigness and bite; breathing life into monitors you may’ve found nonchalant or lethargic. It adds airiness and resolution where it can. And, it provides a fairly neutral, well-balanced tonality that’ll suit the vast majority of in-ears, as long as you won’t mind a midrange with bite. Now, against pricier options, this Monile may not quite reach the same heights in stage expansion, stereo separation or top-end extension. But, within the price range, and with its strong ergonomics and feel to boot, I feel it remains a unique option for its exuberance and intimacy, yet executed with finesse.