Blue Dragon Cable for AKG Headphones V3
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.
The Blue Dragon V3 Headphone Cable has been designed to match the Silver Dragon V3 Headphone cable but with a high purity copper conductor using the Ohno Continuous Casting Process. The Blue Dragon V3 Headphone Cable has the same geometry structure as the Silver Dragon V3 Headphone Cable only it uses UP-OCC Single Crystal Copper conductors.
The Blue Dragon V3 is a good fit if you do not want to add coloration but want to improve clarity and dynamics in your headphones. In addition, if you do not want to tip the headphone forward or back then the Blue Dragon is a wonderful choice and is also the "best bang for the buck cable" on the market today.
The Sennheiser HD600 has been one of the best phones for classical music because of the smoother warm sound. The HD600 is not as dark and laid back as the HD650 and so the neutrality of the Blue Dragon is the better fit for the HD600 signature. It is a great cable for a wide variety of music genres. If you are using a very warm tube amp and a forward headphone, the Blue Dragon is a good choice to keep the sound signature the same. The Blue Dragon V3 is also the most flexible of the full-size headphone cables and makes a good choice for headphones that use a single entry connection point like the AKG K702 and many of the Ultrasone headphones.
"With cables, the devil is in the details. I strongly suggest using cable makers with long years of experience and a good reputation. If you have headphones with a hard-wired stock cable and would like to have them replaced, again, it is very important to find a reputable supplier who is very familiar and competent with this type of work. I'll happily recommend Moon Audio as one such supplier."
— Tyll Herstens, Innerfidelity.com, February 26, 2013.
We also use the Blue Dragon V3 Headphone Cable for the Ultrasone, Sony Qualia, AKG Pro Series and any other headphone that uses a connector attachment system. This cable can also be hard wired to Grado's, AKG, and Audio Technica headphones too.
The Blue Dragon Headphone cable we use the same 4 x 24AWG Teflon insulated stranded conductors using pure single crystallized UP-OCC pure copper with 7N purity 99.99998% as the main cable.
Each conductor is made up of a special varying size stranding geometry. The copper stranding is mixed with Kevlar stranding to reinforce the conductor making it stronger overall and less prone to failure due to the harsh constant flexing a headphone cable receives.
The conductors are then surrounded by cotton and then a layer of Teflon tape. The new version is now also shielded and placed in a polyethylene jacket for further protection.
The Version 3 is quieter than Version 2 with no microphonics. It is a balanced cable geometry that can be terminated for either single-ended or balanced configuration.
This cable can be configured in a variety of different ways. Please note that single-ended signal connection can not be converted to a balanced signal connection. As the grounds are tied in the single-ended connector. Therefore, only pick this configuration if your amp has no single-ended connection outputs.
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)