Blue Dragon Cable V3 for AKG Headphones
The Blue Dragon is a neutral, very natural sounding headphone cable, making it great for vocal performances. This Blue Dragon V3 headphone cable uses the mini 3-pin XLR connection, created with our own molds to fit directly into AKG full-size headphones.
Designed for: AKG K712 Pro, K702, Q701, K271 MKii K240 MKii & other AKG Studio headphones
Also compatible with: Pioneer HDJ-2000MK2 Professional DJ Headphones & Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO Closed studio reference headphones
Note: The K812 utilizes a special Lemo connection, not the 3-pin XLR.
- 4 x 24AWG
- Material 99.99998% UP-OCC Copper
- Varying Size Stranding
- Cardas Silver Solder
- Teflon, Foil, Braided Wire Shield
- Blue Polyethylene
- Single Entry
- 3-pin Mini XLR
- Fullsize Headphone
- Sound Signature
- Break-In Time
- 40 Hours
I ordered the cable on 12/29, got immediate (automated) confirmation of the order, which shipped two business days later via (free) USPS one-day priority shipping. Great and swift service!
The cable arrived well-packaged, and is well-built as expected based on Moon Audio's reputation and standards. The plugs are very solid (the Furutech 1/4" is almost ridiculous). The cable is moderately flexible, and I almost regretted ordering a 5' length as the limited flexibility makes the cable a little harder to coil around your shoulder and such. However, as long as I sit reasonably close to my setup, it's fine- and completely my own responsibility to think through before ordering! I note this only because the cable's thickness/rigidity is key to consider before deciding on a length.
Given the high-quality fit and finish, the mini-RCA plug snapped into the AKGs without further ado, and the Burson amp happily accepted the bomb-proof 1/4" plug on the other end. Added bonus: The cable also works on the AKG K702 and K712 Pro (future upgrade?) headphones, which use the same mini-RCA plug.
I listened to various discs yesterday for about two hours yesterday, and here are initial impressions:
The changes and improvement from the stock (thin/flexible/decent-quality) AKG cable was not immediately impactful as I expected, but it was noticeable right out of the gate. The bass was much more textured (i.e. notes were clearer). Multi-note basslines were discernable, and bass came across as deeper/heavier as a result.
However, as I listened to more music, I realized that how much clearer/detailed the midrange was. The proof point was how much easier it is to understand lyrics. It seems obvious, but in many cases it's tricky to pick up on every word sung by many vocalists. With the Blue Dragon in place, it was noticeably easier to track the song's words and the emotions of the singer. Nuances in enunciation and phrasing were clear, without coming across as overly analytical. The midrange remained engaging and natural, without harshness.
The space and atmosphere of the performance also came through better, elevating the experience of listening to very close to hearing it live. Compared to my mid-level Naim setup (amp/speakers), it's several notches above, and the Burson/Moon Audio/AKG combo is truly high-end. The Blue Dragon lifts the AKGs into reference territory, and closer to what I lusted after once I'd heard a friend's Audeze LCD-2s.
The only mild criticism I have at this point is that on some recordings, the treble can be a little harsh at times. However, this is likely because the cable has yet to be broken in for the requisite 40+ hours- I have firsthand experience with cable break-in, and have heard significant differences as a result. It's also possible the Blue Dragons are simply letting me hear harshness that is in the recording. Either way, I remain unconcerned.
I have rated the price and value at four stars simply because spending $ 180 on an aftermarket cable vs. the $ 180 purchase price of the headphones is arguably a luxury purchase, but I don't regret it for a moment and am very happy.
It reminds me of hearing an $ 1,800 pair of speakers connected to a $ 5,000 reference level power amp- it made the speakers overperform radically, simply because the speakers were excellent for their price and the power amp enabled them to show it. This is a similar experience- the AKGs are given the opportunity to punch above their weight with the Blue Dragon, and they do.
Well done Drew!
Music I listened to: Norah Jones ("Come Away with Me"), Foals ("Holy Fire"), Coldplay ("Ghost Stories"), Adele ("25"), Tori Amos ("Boys for Pele"), and a few others. In other words, a mix of pop/rock/jazz with both male/female vocals, acoustic and electric instruments. I look forward to listening to the rest of my large disc collection with the Blue Dragon in place!
Headphone amp: Burson HA-160 with Pangea AC-14SE power cord (plugged into a Furman PST 8 digital filtering power strip)
Source: Burson DA-160 DAC connected to a Marantz CDP as a transport with Audioquest Diamondback interconnects (same power setup as above)