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Norne Audio Premium Headphone Cable Review

tecnogadget

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#21
Every time you wear headphones, there is a slight deviation.
.
I’m interested on this. You mean it because every time you put them over your head the fit will be slightly different ? Or because the pads wear off and the cushion springiness change over time ? Or because the drivers mechanical properties change/wears every time you use them ?
 

uaciaut

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#23
Any chance of adding a few other, non audio-technical details in your reviews about other properties - in this game i'm most often interested in how resistant the cable is since most of the cables i've used (generally with IEM's) have gone to hell.
 
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#24
I understand how some expensive cables can sell, where they have thick shields made from luxury materials. But i will never get why these Kimber like products sell. They look so DIY. Looks like someone's grandma knitting a sweater... Not to mention how delicate and unprotected it all looks...
It's handmade, that's an added value! :)
 

Chnoeldh

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#25
Thanks for the review. So no electrical difference between the cables whatsoever. What about mechanical properties? I know it is difficult to measure, but did you try tapping the cables to see if there is less noise transmitted to the ear cup that way? Maybe this could justify the 800$ price tag :D
 

Koeitje

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#27
Looking forward to reading the thread on head-fi about this.
 
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#29
Didn't expect to see Norne here, they've always been one of the less expensive boutique cable brands. I feel compelled to comment because I've been a customer of this brand and will continue likely purchase more in the future.

I didn't purchase for any claims of magic, I bought them because I think that the cables are genuinely well made and look nice. I am an objectivist at heart and these cables cost more than the well measuring amp and DAC I connect them to ;).

Considering how the business is located near the Bay Area, the owner handles all questions with detailed responses, and does all the braiding by hand, sometimes 24 wires for some models, I don't think the prices are outrageous. It's also a bit disingenuous to compare these to the ultra thin gauge Aliexpress stuff. Just know what you're getting yourself into.

YMMV
 

Koeitje

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#30
Didn't expect to see Norne here, they've always been one of the less expensive boutique cable brands. I feel compelled to comment because I've been a customer of this brand and will continue likely purchase more in the future.

I didn't purchase for any claims of magic, I bought them because I think that the cables are genuinely well made and look nice. I am an objectivist at heart and these cables cost more than the well measuring amp and DAC I connect them to ;).

Considering how the business is located near the Bay Area, the owner handles all questions with detailed responses, and does all the braiding by hand, sometimes 24 wires for some models, I don't think the prices are outrageous. It's also a bit disingenuous to compare these to the ultra thin gauge Aliexpress stuff. Just know what you're getting yourself into.

YMMV
Its fine to buy stuff because it looks pretty. We've all done that. I don't think anyone is arguing against that. The problem is false claims about performance.
 

martijn86

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#31
With all the high priced, branded cables shown to be placebo or visual upgrades at best. It does make me wonder; what ís a good cable? And what should be avoided? Would it be possible to set certain rules for length and voltage and then find out within what range a cable is sufficient?

I'm thinking about variations of thickness in mm² (or AWG in the US) and materials used. CCA/CCS, OFC, OCC, silver plated, pure silver etc. Can you find extreme ends of the spectrum that hurt audio performance? Is there a sweet spot? Or can you basically yolo in a coathanger and match any of the above?
 
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#32
One possible explanation for why people hear differences could originate from something like the McGurk effect, try it yourself:

There is an audible difference which originates from simultaneous visual and audio impressions.
No matter what you do, a visual information alters audio interpretations. So you hear something different depending on what you see.
We have to accept that our hearing (or more precisely our perception of sound) is not a measurement device.

Recording engineers know about this. In audio recordings the lead singer's volume needs to be increased vs. the same in a video production to give the singer the same stand-out impression from the rest of the orchestra. Your eyes "amplify the sound" from the singer you are watching.

What is interesting and can be learnt from the video is, that you can't make that impression go away, even if you consciously know about it.
 
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#33
Its fine to buy stuff because it looks pretty. We've all done that. I don't think anyone is arguing against that. The problem is false claims about performance.
Yeah I can't say I agree with the owner's beliefs on sound. Though he does seemed genuine when he talked about the rising cost of silver wires and exotic plugs over the pandemic. I have no idea what the profit margins are on the silver cables.

My main point was about the actual cost without talking about the claims of sound. A 16-24 wire copper cable for around $300 USD (there is an additional 20% off during Black Friday and some other times) handmade by a one man operation out of the Bay Area did not seem that expensive to me.
 

RHO

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#34
One possible explanation for why people hear differences could originate from something like the McGurk effect, try it yourself:

There is an audible difference which originates from simultaneous visual and audio impressions.
No matter what you do, a visual information alters audio interpretations. So you hear something different depending on what you see.
We have to accept that our hearing (or more precisely our perception of sound) is not a measurement device.

Recording engineers know about this. In audio recordings the lead singer's volume needs to be increased vs. the same in a video production to give the singer the same stand-out impression from the rest of the orchestra. Your eyes "amplify the sound" from the singer you are watching.

What is interesting and can be learnt from the video is, that you can't make that impression go away, even if you consciously know about it.
What is your point in regards to headphone cables?
That when we see a "better" cable we hear differences and they are real?
 

Mnyb

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#35
*couch* your phones are delivered with cables aren't they ? these cables cost way more then a decent Sennheiser HD650 .

Never seen headphones without cables . There may be a need if one needs a so called balanced headphone cable , these may not always come from the mfg of the phones ?

20-40$ for a balanced set seem decent enough ? For unbalanced i would just used the supplied cables that comes with the headphones.
And i would only convert a headphone to balanced if there was a real need . ie can not connect a powerful enough amp otherwise .
 

RHO

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#36
*couch* your phones are delivered with cables aren't they ? these cables cost way more then a decent Sennheiser HD650 .

Never seen headphones without cables . There may be a need if one needs a so called balanced headphone cable , these may not always come from the mfg of the phones ?

20-40$ for a balanced set seem decent enough ? For unbalanced i would just used the supplied cables that comes with the headphones.
And i would only convert a headphone to balanced if there was a real need . ie can not connect a powerful enough amp otherwise .
I bought new cables for my HD6XX. Not because I think the stock cable is bad. It's just too long for my application and For €22 I could get one that better fit my needs.
My point is that even if the cable that comes with the phones is usable and performs as it should, there still could be a need to get a different one.
It's good that @amirm shows us that there's no need to get the expensive one, because the performance is in no way better than the stock cable. Just get the one you like and has the physical properties you are after (length, thickness, connectors, color, feel,... ). You do not need a big budget for that.
And if you do not have the budget, the stock cable will do just fine.
 

Frank Dernie

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#37
It does make me wonder; what ís a good cable?
The one that came with your headphones.

The manufacturer won't be supplying one which degrades their performance, it would be foolish.
The only reasons to change would be for a different length or one which picked up less mechnical noise rubbing on clothing.
Buying an expensive one one liked the look of would be a justifyable extravagance as well IMO :)
 

Koeitje

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#38
The one that came with your headphones.

The manufacturer won't be supplying one which degrades their performance, it would be foolish.
The only reasons to change would be for a different length or one which picked up less mechnical noise rubbing on clothing.
Buying an expensive one one liked the look of would be a justifyable extravagance as well IMO :)
There is also an argument to be made for peace of mind. I use quad star XLR cables for my power amplifiers. Probably makes no difference compared to non quad star in terms of noise, but I just wanted to be sure it would never be an issue. So I spend €20-25 on a cable instead of €10. But I would never do the same if the difference was €10 vs €100+.
 

Count Arthur

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#39
If the Focal cables are the same as the ones that came with my Clears, they look nice enough, but I found them annoyingly stiff. I replaced them with a cable I bought here: https://customcans.co.uk/s/s/index.php/cables/focal-headphone-cables.html. Not cheap, but not ridiculously expensive, the cable is very soft and flexible and you can have whichever connector you like at the amp end. I've had it a year or so now and so far, no issues.

The 3 meter cable on my HD560s was much longer than I wanted it, so I shortened it to about 2 meters and fitted a new jack plug to the amp end. Incidentally, there are four conductors in the stock cable, so you could fit a balanced jack or XLR connector if you wish.
 

Koeitje

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#40
@amirm on head-fi they are already claiming the differences cannot be measured. Is there a way you can do a null test with these cables?
 
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