DDHiFi Cables: Air Nyx Copper ($249-$389, BC130B), Air Nyx Silver ($249-$389, BC130A) & Air Ocean ($229, BC125A): Cables, cables everywhere.
I have had the pleasure of trying numerous DDHiFi products. From the excellent Janus (and J2) to all manners of adapters, dongle/DAC’s and bags all have been of superb build and having sound quality (where applicable) on par with the best in their respective price. I once said that DDHiFi made solutions to problems, which we did not know existed for us. Yet. While doing this, the company has also been at or near the forefront in making some exceptional cables, like the ones here. They may not all be on the lowest end of the price spectrum, but you can be certain that the price is more than acceptable in the segment at which they compete.
Air Nyx Copper:
23.6AWG (cross shielding)
Litz high-purity Taiwan OCC (core)
Litz high-purity oxygen-free (spiral shielding)
0.06mm x 7 x 7 strands x 4 strands (core)
0.05mm x 7 x 16 strands x 4 strands (spiral shielding)
Plug: 4.4mm bal, MMCX connector
Japan NUC chemical foam HDPE (Made in Japan)
High transparency SoftFlex PVC (Made in USA)
Air Nyx Silver:
23.6AWG (spiral shielding)
Litz Type II high-purity pure silver (core)
Litz high-purity oxygen-free copper (black)
Litz silver plated over long crystal copper (silver)
0.05mm x 7 x 7 strands x 4 strands (core)
0.05mm x 7 x 14 strands x 4 strands (shielding)
Plug: 4.4mm bal, L-shaped right angle 24K gold-plated copper
0.78mm 2-pin 24K gold-plated copper-silver alloy connector
Japan NUC chemical foam HDPE (made in Japan)
High transparency Softflex PVC (made in USA)
22AWG (cross shielding)
Litz high-purity OCC (core)
Litz silver plated OFC (cross shielding)
0.06mm x 7 x 7 strands x 4 strands (core)
0.05mm x 9 x 8 strands x 4 strands (core shielding)
Plug: 3.5mm se, MMCX connector
Campfire Audio Supermoon (MMCX)
Ultimate Ears Live (MMCX)
DDHiFi Janus 2 (2-pin)
UM Maestro V2 (old but still good! 2-pin)
A&K ACRO CA1000
Bill Evans Trio
Suffice to say that all of the DDHiFi unboxings represent a treat. Originally in bamboo boxes, with a nesting of shredded paper, the removal of the wooded lid was always a delight. Moving to cardboard boxes, for ease of recycling and cost savings; the boxes still promote recycled materials in them. Still a nice touch. All came in plastic bags that were semi-transparent in nature, and quite thick but with good feel. Recycling of the plastic bag was easy for me as well.
All cables were wound neatly in their respective boxes, but were pliable upon removal. The feel of each will be covered below.
The following could be said about all of the cables, but I will keep them separate, because there are differences in material and tactility. Right up front, all are simply put; gorgeous. These are among the best-looking cables I own, rivaling the much more expensive Eletech Socrates, which graces my Empire Ears Legend X.
Air Nyx Copper:
Copper. I like copper. I like copper a lot. The gold accents on the 4.4mm bal L-shaped jack and the MMCX connectors look upscale and proper. The silver finish also accents the build nicely, giving a look of luxury. Softer ear hook guides are shrunk around the MMCX connections, making for easy fit. I had no trouble keeping the ear guides over my ears, even while wearing reading glasses.
The goldish-bronze cinch ring looks good, accented against the Y-splitter in silver. Wrap of the cable is fairly loose, and I do wish it was wound tighter; but with the bend of the cable, it looks and feels quite good. As a result, I have no worries about catching the cable on anything.
The 4.4 L-shaped jack works well, except I did find that on some devices it was a bit hard to pull out of the jack. I also found that it hindered access to some points on the devices I used. It does also limit how you swing the jack around on devices. On the CA1000, I could not spin the jack around if I moved, and had to either leave it or take the jack out to reorient it. No bother, really as I planned the placing of the A&K accordingly. The three parallel grooves aided in removal as well as putting the jack into the 4.4 socket.
Overall, this is a very good cable, with excellent tactile feel and no microphonics whatsoever. I can also live with the looser wind and L-shaped jack.
Air Nyx Silver:
Pretty much everything I said about the Nyx Copper can be said about the Nyx Silver. The silver is a thicker gauge, but has a better tactile feel than the copper. The L-shaped jack doesn’t have the three grooves either. The 2-pin connector is a bit thinner than the copper, and does not carry the shiny accents, either.
Feel to me is better than the copper, and it lays better as well. There are no microphonics here either.
The beauty of the Ocean, other than the color is that this high performing cable is meant for those who still value and have 3.5mm se jack needs. And in that regard, it is spectacular. Similar in build to the copper, but with a straight jack in brighter gold and silver, that jack is longer than most. This can be good or bad, but I like having that extra length, since it helps me grab it easier.
An excellent plastic shrink ear guide is soft and fairly pliable making for a good fit over ear. The MMCX connections at the end are small but robust, meaning they stay out of the way. The gold cinch ring works smoothly and even with the looser bound wrapping.
One cannot fault DDHiFi and the build or fit quality of their cables. Much like their other products, the cables are of impeccable build and mostly (the stiffness of some) work unscathed.
Many will still note that cables do not make a difference. That is well within their right, much like consumers spending several thousand dollars of headphone or speaker cables. At a show last summer, I pointed out to my colleagues that the display in the room where we had a seminar consisted of some of the best and highest quality cables I had seen. And they were plugged into a fairly expensive power conditioner. And what did that power conditioner plug into? A $15 orange extension cord like the ones you would purchase at Ace Hardware…go figure. Understandable if this were plugged right into specific wiring at a customer’s home, where the electrician would send high quality cable to the outlet, but kind of unforgivable at the show. Thankfully here the cables go right into the IEM of choice and a high-quality source.
I will use the same songs, spreading through Jazz and pop such as Twenty One Pilots.
Air Nyx Copper:
Copper is traditionally of a warmer, richer presentation. For that reason, using it with an IEM, which has a darker signature may not be the best use. The Campfire Audio Supermoon is slightly warm in signature, but has a vibrant tonality to it, which transcends into a thoroughly pleasant signature, but with very good detail. The Nyx Copper provides a slightly deeper growl to the bass, and a warmer signature, but without losing that detail. On “Soul Junction,” from The Red Garland Quintet, the piano sings its mournful melodic chords with soul, much like the name. The upright bass makes for a perfect combination, and the slap of the snare brush (love that stick, I do) makes the song complete. Higher notes hit right and with more authority than on the signature Smoky Litz cable. Darker yes, but with more weight. I find that using this cable there is little bleed into the mids, limited by the IEM of choice. The Supermoon-custom is a fabulous IEM, and sounds wonderful regardless; but here the Nyx Copper promotes a deeper reach of those low notes, but with excellent control still.
On “Heavydirtysoul,” from The Twenty One Pilots, the bass is strong, reverbing through the Supermoon, but with slightly less control. The upper end extends, pushing the limits of what I can tolerate. Regardless, I turn the volume up.
Switching to the Janus2, for continuity, the bass hit hard and deep on the TWP song. Slower decay allowed the bass to linger, giving good rumble, reverb and control. Not hitting as hard or deep as the Supermoon, the Janus2 is still an excellent choice for this cable. This cable would fit just as well for my choice in the intro paragraph of the Nyx Silver, next.
Air Nyx Silver:
Since this was the only 2-pin in the group, I paired it with the excellent Janus2. When paired this way the duo becomes my favorite sub-$500 IEM. Period.
Silver traditionally presents a brighter signature as well as transmits sound a bit faster (according to the experts of which I am not).
Starting with “Soul Junction” again, the sound is indeed a bit snappier and slightly brighter overall. The Janus2 was used with Comply tips, so even with those, isolation was behind the Supermoon. Mids tended to slot slightly behind the upper end, but that very well could be the Janus2 as well.
Playing “Heavydirtysoul,” I immediately noticed the thinner character of the song, with bass not hitting nearly as deep. Tighter control was had here, though. I hate to use “analytical,” but that may best describe the silver’s character. Fabulous control of the mids presented Tyler’s voice with punctuality and verve. This is such a good song, and a very good judge of how an IEM (or any audio system) can handle all of that energy.
The silver held onto that adage of presenting a brighter but more detailed signature. This is a very good compliment to the Janus2.
Up until this choice, the jacks have been of the 4.4bal variety. The Ocean is a 3.5mm se, making for a less than optimal comparison, but you will see that the cable holds its own nonetheless.
Starting with “Soul Junction” again, I noted the delicacy with which the piano was held. Not thin or brittle, but handled with aplomb. Functionally subtle, the Ocean presents itself as the smoothest of the three. This cable is no slouch.
That smooth character does not transpire as easily with TWP, but the song is so good, that it still sounds wonderful through the Supermoon & Ocean. Slightly warm, and with good reach down low, the mids suffer a bit with some strong “s” sounds, but not sibilant. Only amplified in nature, I could still raise the volume quite nicely. I did have to turn the volume up about 10 more notches on the CA1000 to match the “feeling” of same volume or intensity. It could very well be the single ended versus balanced as well.
Switching to the Janus2, the sound mimics that of the Supermoon in response. Vocals are more forward here, and the sound has less depth, but this could be the Janus2. Extension is quite good, but I still have to raise the volume up. Transient attack was good, but not great. That is to be somewhat expected in this combination, but I did not suffer the loss, since the signature characteristics were so good, with excellent spatial representation, if a bit narrower in scope from the other two.
Regardless, the Ocean is an excellent cable for those who are limited to 3.5se, or who want a nice upgrade cable.
DDHiFi is like the Golden Goose. Anything they touch turns to the “gold standard,” in my humble opinion. Solutions for problems we did not know existed; but are thoroughly thankful they sorted this out for us…their adapter are staples in many audiophiles’ cases. Will and I witnessed firsthand at T.H.E. Show last June the selling out of their dongle/DAC in the TC44C from their main source in the US. This shows that when you get and keep the reputation for providing quality products, you can in fact charge a reasonable price (not the cheapest in any category) and the users will purchase said products.
These cables are an extension of that trust and quality. Each has its own merits & qualities, fitting different purposes. With the ability to order the jack and connection of your choice, it is a win-win. You get a quality product that works with exceptional sound characteristics, and they get to keep innovating their products.
I can recommend all three cables for your needs, and with the ability to tailor them to your needs, another manufacturer provides us with excellent upgrade opportunities.