plusSound provided the Exo Series free of charge for the purpose of my honest review, for good or ill.
The Palladium Plated Hybrid Exo sells for $999
plusSound released their new flagship conductor, a silver & copper hybrid Type 6 Litz, each strand plated in palladium. I would remark on how complex this design is, but considering some of their other conductors, this could be seen as throttling it back a bit.
Still, it’s an interesting product which comes together nicely.
As always, plusSound’s build quality and aesthetic are stellar. The deep metallic hue of the palladium, woven expertly into a 4-strand round braid, makes for a handsome showstopper. The insulation is soft and pliable, which allows the cable to drape comfortably, defusing all microphonics. To put it simply, the Palladium Plated Hybrid Exo sits in the upper echelon with the best of them.
The PPH possesses a warmish tone, with a big, bold character. The notes have body, and serious weight. Yet there is also a profound clarity, accompanied by awesome detail and breathtaking transparency. An expansive soundstage creates the grandest field, upon which all these virtues play out.
There is a very natural quality to the timbre. Higher frequencies are not strident or brittle, and richness imbues everything. Depth and complexity give structure to the succulence of this fruit. It’s like a fine merlot. It might be the best combination of warmth, clarity, and energy I’ve heard.
Comparing PPH to one of my other plusSound creations, the X8 Silver+Gold ($725, Review HERE), and I find the X8 does a good job keeping up. The note weight and energy are more or less equal. However, the highs are smoother with PPH, and there’s an overall warmer tonality. Both cables have a full bass presence. The X8 is brighter, though, and pairs best with warm IEMs.
Eletech’s Plato ($999, Review HERE) swiftly became one of my favorite cables. As a pure silver conductor, it does everything right. It manages remarkable transparency and avoids the glaring treble to which silver can succumb. It is perhaps the most perfect cables I’ve ever tested. That said, PPH may be my new favorite. I haven’t quite decided. There’s every bit the resolution, most of the transparency, yet it adds that warmth, extra depth, and a preternatural holographic quality to its rendering. I guess you can say there’s an x-factor I find addictive.
From my perspective, the Palladium Plated Hybrid’s signature is such that any well-balanced IEM will pair beautifully. This also means it won’t be the cable that fixes your IEM. If you are unhappy with the sound of your monitor, PPH is not so extreme in its tuning as to correct any inherent flaw. It will not warm up harsh treble, and it will not brighten a dark and muffled mid-section. Where this conductor shines is increasing cleanness, transparency, and soundstage, along with a hint of warmth.
The Empire Ears Legend X ($2,300, Review HERE) is how I spent most of my time getting to know this cable. It’s the most well-balanced monitor I’ve ever heard, and really vibed with PPH. All of LX’s natural traits became better and more pronounced, yet now there was a smoothness and liquidity in the mix. I gotta say, I love this pairing, and don’t think I’ll switch it out any time soon.
JOMO Audio Quatré ($1,500, Review HERE), being extremely warm and musical, really doesn’t need any more of that. So when I tell you PPH plays well with Quatré, it is testament to how subtle plusSound’s warmth really is. It did not tip the scales into veiled territory. Like any flagship cable ought to, it simply sounded amazing.
plusSound created something outstanding with their Palladium Plated Hybrid conductor. Whatever’s going on behind the science here, my ears approve. It might not be the most naked-sounding cable of all time, but it is special. And the performance does not disappoint. The magic of this combination earned PPH a place at the very top of my favorites.