I fell in love with the Lavricables Grand cable that I had been using for a while with Meze’s Elite headphones – one of only a select few components that I would personally categorise as a must-have accessory (within the context of that setup).
It isn’t exactly cheap (circa €600), however, so having multiple cables for a range of headphones can end up being a costly exercise. Thankfully, Lavri have a solution for those that want to use one cable with all of their headphones: cable adapters, or as they’re affectionately called, ‘pigtails’.
Lavri Grand pigtails are made of the same high-quality materials as the rest of the Grand Line. In other words, 6n purity silver conductors in a multistrand litz configuration and coated with soft PVC insulation. Visually they are identical the Grand cable, which works well with my OCD for marching components.
The pigtails I received are beautifully made, with top-notch Furutech connectors and impeccable craftsmanship. The look and feel are unmistakably high-end and understated, befitting their flagship status. Ergonomics are also terrific – pleasant to the touch, with no kinking or coiling, and virtually zero microphonics.
So how do they work as part of a multiple headphone system? The genius lies in having a “primary” cable terminated in easy-to-use snap in connectors – dual gold-plated 3.5mm TRS male to be exact. The amp side of the cable is finished in a 4.4mm balanced connector, with a carbon fiber barrel inlay.
Each set of pigtails consists of two short runs of Grand cable with a female 3.5mm socket on one end, and the desired headphone connector on the other. I have three such pigtails – one terminated in mini-XLR (for Audeze, Meze, ZMF, etc.), one terminated in Lemo-style HD800 connectors (for HD800, HD820, Campfire Cascade, etc.), and a third HD800 terminated set with extended heat shrink (for the T&A Solitaire P).
There’s beauty in the form and simplicity of being able to swiftly switch, needing only unhook the two 3.5mm plugs from one pigtail and connect the main cable to another. The added benefit is a minimisation of the number of times cables are inserted and removed on headphone itself – it’s virtually eliminated with the pigtails being connected permanently to each of the cans.
If you refer to my original review of the Lavri Grand, you’ll already know my verdict on sound quality: exceptional. The pure silver conductors provide a clear and detailed sound, with remarkable resolution and clarity. This isn’t the stereotypically thin or sharp silver – it is even-keeled, with natural weight and body.
The pigtails introduce zero noise or degradation into the signal chain. Comparing a mini-XLR terminated Grand cable with the Elite versus using the 3.5mm terminated cable with pigtails yields no discernible difference. They retain the fine balance between precision and detail extraction, and a hint of subtle, organic warmth, all portrayed on a wide, deep, holographic soundstage.
Burn-in remains amongst audiophilia’s most divisive topics. The main headphone cable was ready-to-go from day one thanks to Lavri’s handy burn-in service (it got the 150h treatment). The pigtails did not, and thus needed some time to full ripen.
To my ears the sound opened up with extended usage and started to peak at around the 90 to 100 hour mark. Key differences to my ears were transparency, stage width, and toning down of a slight glare that could initially be heard with high-pitched vocals and strings.
As mentioned earlier on, the 3.5mm connectors between primary cable and pigtails are straightforward in operation. I appreciate the fact that they are snap-in instead of locked in place, and they require no precision guided alignment.
Importantly, the plugs and connectors themselves are streamlined and lightweight, so they don’t drag the whole cable down or exert unnecessary pressure at the connection point. It feels like a single, integrated cable, with the foundational advantage of being able to swop out across headphones in less than 10 seconds.
Lavri’s adapters extend (mind the pun) the functionality of the Grand cable, making it usable across a collection of headphones with different interfaces. It’s also a future-proof system – should another headphone (with a different and/or proprietary connector type) come along, you can simply have another set of bespoke pigtails made.
The pigtails share materials, design, look and feel – the end result is a slick, modular cable setup, built with uncompromising quality and craftsmanship, which preserves the gorgeous sound characteristics of this flagship cable range.