• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Norne Audio Premium Headphone Cable Review

digicidal

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Messages
1,466
Likes
2,453
Location
Sin City, NV
Since I subscribe to the same importance-ratio with head-fi as I do with hifi... I'd have to own/be considering ~$8K headphones (at least) before $800 "pretty-fied" cables would even begin to make sense to me (or even $250 cables for that matter).

On the other hand - $20 worth of wire, $5 worth of paracord, $50-$75 in termination... and an afternoon of braiding and assembly... that might indeed be worth it. If I'm rolling my own, I can justify way more on the purely aesthetic side of the equation. ;)
 

Rayman30

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Messages
301
Likes
208
Pardon the dust, but I really like Arctic Cables! but I did not buy one for sound quality, I needed a premium built 4.44mm balanced cable for my Hifiman Sundara/Ananda. It was around $95.

IMG_1252.jpeg
 
Last edited:

luft262

Active Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
128
Likes
74
Great review per usual. I like how you didn't beat the manufacturer up too much. I'm not familiar with Norne Audio, but I appreciate that a handmade accessory can be expensive. I think by this point pretty much everyone in the audio community understands that cables don't make a significant impact on audio quality unless they're un-shielded or frayed or something extreme, which could cause distortion or disconnects. I can understand wanting to purchase a premium cable for piece of mind, aesthetics, feel, etc. Some people have bigger budgets and can afford nice accessories, but if one is on a restricted budget fancy cables are best avoided. Thanks again!
 

Sharpi31

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
43
Likes
51
I tried to ‘improve’ a cheap pair of Samson SR850 headphones, as the original cable was not nice to handle (I can’t remember exactly why - it’s been a few years - but it wasn’t good). I had a drum of nice purple Van Damme XKE install cable, so spent a couple of hours installing that instead. The Van Damme cable turned out to be so microphonic that I couldn’t ever use the headphones again - the cable rubbing against my shirt made a huge sound in the cheap plastic ear cup. I’d basically made a stethoscope by accident.
 

odyo

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2019
Messages
373
Likes
163
If i'm gonna pay this much money (expensive than amazing headphones) i expect changeable connectors along with build quality instead of snake oil.
 

Katji

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 26, 2017
Messages
1,493
Likes
948
Location
Mzansi
For that money, the could put some snake skin on them.
I thought about doing that, a while ago - putting short sleeves of snakeskin covered with clear heatshrink - I can quite easily get snakeskin here...price depends on which snake.
 

maverickronin

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 19, 2018
Messages
1,913
Likes
2,259
Location
Midwest, USA
How are they terrible? Too stiff? Too microphonic?

Yes. Many are too stiff and microphonic. Garden hoses covered with techflex that rub against your shirt and transfer the vibration straight to the cups. I made new cables for my HD800 and DCA Aeon 2 Closed for those reasons.

@frogmeat69 also mentioned durability concerns with his Nighthawk's stock cable, which is another issue, though one I haven't personally run into before, at least on a higher end headphone. A lot of cheap headphones actually have cables with better ergonomics, but considerably worse durability, just because they are smaller with thinner gauge wire and thinner insulation.

The HD650 cable is my goto because it's slim, supple, durable, and not very expensive. I certianly don't mean to imply any of them change the sound coming out of the transducer. It's just ergonomics and reliability.
 
Last edited:

AudioSceptic

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 31, 2019
Messages
1,493
Likes
1,268
Location
Northampton, UK
Yes. Many are too stiff and microphonic. Garden hoses covered with techflex that rub against your shirt and transfer the vibration straight to the cups. I made new cables for my HD800 and DCA Aeon 2 Closed for those reasons.

@frogmeat69 also mentioned durability concerns with his Nighthawk's stock cable, which is another issue, though one I haven't personally run into before, at least on a higher end headphone. A lot of cheap headphones actually have cables with better ergonomics, but considerably worse durability, just because they are smaller with thinner gauge wire and thinner insulation.

The HD650 cable is my goto because it's slim, supple, durable, and not very expensive. I certianly don't mean to imply any of them change the sound coming out of the transducer. It's just ergonomics and reliability.
Thanks. That's what I thought, although it could be argued that vibration transmitted from cable to cup is actually an SQ issue. ;-)
 

alexrus

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2020
Messages
7
Likes
5
Hey, HD650 single ended stock and Sennheiser XLR cable do sound differently, XLR is brighter, even my non-audiophile girlfriend noticed difference in quick test. I think difference depends on how ****** stock cable is
 

spigot

Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2018
Messages
27
Likes
33
Hey, HD650 single ended stock and Sennheiser XLR cable do sound differently, XLR is brighter, even my non-audiophile girlfriend noticed difference in quick test. I think difference depends on how ****** stock cable is
Being different connections, couldn't that be a characteristic of the different output of the amplifier?
 

maverickronin

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 19, 2018
Messages
1,913
Likes
2,259
Location
Midwest, USA
although it could be argued that vibration transmitted from cable to cup is actually an SQ issue. ;-)

Definitely. My post was getting long-winded enough though, so I added the caveat about just the transducers.
 

Yorkshire Mouth

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2020
Messages
467
Likes
342
Location
God's County - Yorkshire
So here's a question.

As these cables cost a lot of money, for no benefit, we might call them a 'rip off'.

But are they only a rip off in that sense? Or are they also a rip off in that they don't cost a lot more to make than the standard cable.

I mean a pen made of gold will write the same as one made of silver, or a cheaper metal, but it wouldn't be possible to sell all three for the same, lower amount.

So is it just not beneficial, or are they also charging a fortune for something which costs next to nothing to make?
 

ReAlien

Active Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2018
Messages
105
Likes
14
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.
Nice try, but I listen with my eyes closed when comparing any audio products. It enhances the auditory reception greatly.
 
Top Bottom