PW Audio No. 10: Value in Vigor – An In-Ear Monitor Cable Review

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DISCLAIMER: Music Sanctuary and PW Audio provided me with the No. 10 in-ear headphone cable in return for my honest opinion. I am not personally affiliated with the companies in any way, nor do I receive any monetary rewards for a positive evaluation. I’d like to thank Music Sanctuary and PW Audio for their kindness and support. The review is as follows.

PW Audio is a cable maker located in Hong Kong, and one of the region’s most well-revered veterans. While perhaps not as commercialised as your PlusSound’s or Effect Audio’s, Peter Wong (the PW behind it all) has nevertheless amassed an incredible following through quality, and quality alone. His top-of-the-line 1960’s and 1950’s cables are often ranked best in the world by reviewers and enthusiasts alike, and his No. 5 remains an entry-tier mainstay. Now, speaking of the No. 5, the product we’re looking at today can be seen as a successor. The all-new No. 10 is a piece commemorating PW Audio’s 10th anniversary; a vibrant, boisterous, dynamic wire that brings smooth, technical and refined energy to the entry level.

PW Audio No. 10

Build and Accessories

The No. 10 arrives in PW Audio’s standard retail packaging: A modest black box with the brand logo printed atop a white inlay. Lifting the lid finds soft foam lining the interior of the box, with a circular cut-out where the cable snugly resides. A stitched, leather, cable tie is included in the package too, which I think is a wonderful touch. Where I think this packaging could improve is visual impact. Having the logo embossed in a metallic material, for example, would help add some pop. But, otherwise, this is perfectly adequate packaging for an entry-level offering. And, again, that cable tie is a terrific plus.

The cable itself is wonderfully made. Despite the relatively thicker wire gauge compared to most others in the price tier, the No. 10 is certainly one of the most comfortable and memory-free I’ve used. The braiding here is precisely even, with firm twists past the Y-split to stave off all potential for the wires to unravel. But, they’ve also been given just enough slack to prevent any kinks or bends from forming as well; a sign of refined craftsmanship. Just before the monitor connectors, you’ll find pre-bent heat shrink. They’re arced a tad higher than I’m used to, but I’ve had no issues with them whatsoever.

Next, comes the conductors, perhaps this cable’s most peculiar aspect. Peter Wong’s opted to keep the No. 10’s material make-up classified; certainly, a first for me. The only indicator to its composition is that silvery hue. In any case, whatever they’ve put into it certainly looks, feels and sounds gorgeous, and that’s all that matters to me. Hardware-wise, PW Audio have stuck with their classic chrome look on the connectors, as well as their signature wooden Y-split. Branding comes in PW Audio heat shrink, as well as a logo on the Y-split. Also on the 4.4mm plug is a cleanly engraved No. 10; a classy touch.

For me, with the industry trending more and more towards bespoke metalware, I would love to have seen PW implant a bit more personality here. Apart from the Y-split, little about the hardware really screams PW Audio, and I think a distinct identity is a must-have in this day and age. Perhaps engrave those logos directly onto the plugs, for example. That aside, though, I have very little complaints as to how this cable looks and feels. The No. 10 is a wonderfully smooth, comfy and kink-free cable that, in spite of its size, is a breeze to use. Tweak the hardware a tad, and you’ll have yourselves a winner.

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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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