Silver Dragon Premium Cable for Abyss Headphones V3
2013 PFO Writer's Choice Award Winner!
The Silver Dragon Premium is our Top of the Line Headphone Cable for the Abyss headphones. It is a silver conductor based cable and it uses 4 x 99.99998% UP-OCC Stranded Silver 24AWG Teflon insulated stranded conductors.
It can improve the listening enjoyment of the Abyss headphones and it has lots of detail, great energy, a fantastic soundstage with lots of air. It is also a great candidate for warmer sounding headphones or planar magnetics like the Abyss AB1266, Audeze LCD-2 or LCD-3.
Headphone Guru Review Coming Soon!
This Premium cable is excellent for the Abyss headphones and it includes premium Furutech Rhodium Connectors to enhance the look, feel and listening pleasure of all your hifi music sessions. Higher grade Silver Solder is used and all connectors are treated.
The difference between the Standard Silver Dragon and the Premium Silver Dragon are the connectors used on each end and a harder to work with higher silver yield solder. The wire is identical. When you are trying to squeeze out every last percentage point of performance, the Premium version makes sense. The Furutech Top Line connectors are quite simply the best made. And every point of signal saturation will make a difference. Is there a night and day difference between the sound quality of the standard and premium? No. Is the Premium the best of the best? Yes. These cables are meant for the cream of the crop headphones where every little thing makes a difference in terms of bring you closer to audio nirvana.
"The...Silver Dragon cables…brought me closer to the music…to what I hear in live performances...The air and separation of the musicians and instruments were more noticeable. Vocals became crisper and the transparency increased...I forgot about the cables and just enjoyed the music," Frank Iacone, Positive Feedback, Issue 73, May/June 2014
Moon Audio has improved the conductor properties on the Silver Dragon V3 Headphone Cable over the previous Version 2 as these conductors are free from impurities and have virtually no crystal boundaries. The conductors have almost no distortion compared to ordinary silver conductors. The previous version used 4 x 99.998% Ultra Pure Silver 24AWG Teflon insulated stranded conductors. Therefore, we have stepped up the purity to the purist available by today's technology. The Silver Dragon Headphone Cable Version 3 (V3) uses 4 x 99.99998% UP-OCC Stranded Silver 24AWG Teflon insulated stranded conductors.
Each conductor is made up of a special varying sized stranded geometry. The silver stranding's are mixed with Kevlar standing's to reinforce the conductor making it stronger overall and less prone to failure due to the harsh constant flexing that headphone cable experience.
Each conductor is encapsulated in a Teflon casing. The conductors are then surrounded by cotton and a thin layer of Aluminum Foil.
It is then protected by a 100% coverage silver plated copper secondary shield and placed in a polyethylene jacket for further protection. To improve it's flexibility, we are no longer using a Techflex jacketing as we did with our previous versions.
For the Silver Dragon V3 Premium version, we are using the Furutech FT-610 connector. Furutech’s beautifully finished, beautiful sounding CF-H800 connectors are the result of meticulous engineering and careful audition of various suitable materials. The FT-610 features an α (Alpha) phosphor bronze conductor and Nylon+Fiberglass 15% insulation for minimal impedance and a nonmagnetic stainless and carbon fiber finished main body and nonmagnetic stainless end ring for superior damping. The Pins are Nonmagnetic Rhodium-plated α (Alpha) Phosphor bronze conductors.
The wire is soldered to the connector with high quality silver solder. The default 1/4" Plug is the new Furutech CF-763. Furutech’s beautifully finished, beautiful sounding CF-763 connectors are the result of meticulous engineering and careful audition of various suitable materials. The CF-763 features an Nonmagnetic Rhodium-plated α (Alpha) phosphor bronze conductor and Fluoropolymer insulation for minimal impedance and a nonmagnetic stainless and carbon fiber finished housing for superior damping.
For XLR connections there are 2 choices. The FP-601M（R) XLR which uses a Beryllium copper and phosphor bronze α (Alpha) Conductor: the body is a Copper alloy with PVDF Fluoropolymer insulation. The second choice is the top of the line CF-601M（R）XLR which utilizes an α (Alpha) Beryllium copper and phosphor bronze Rhodium-plated Conductor with Carbon fiber and nonmagnetic stainless steel housing. The Body is PVDF Fluoropolymer insulation with a Specially designed cable strain relief.
A 27� quad-core iMac with 32GB of RAM and a 3TB Fusion drive running El Capitan and Audirvana Plus (no iTunes)
A three-meter AudioQuest Diamond USB cable
An Ayre QB-9 DSD DAC
Two pairs of Stealth Sakra interconnects, one balanced and one single ended
A Cavalli Liquid Gold
A Woo Audio WA5-LE V2 with Western Electric 300Bs
Many pairs of headphones, including the Abyss AB-1266 Deluxe, which are not necessarily my favorites, but which I like very much
I�m also using all Stealth Swift power cables (one with pure silver connectors) and an Equi=Tech balanced transformer plugged into a PS Audio Power Plant 10 plus a Chang Lightspeed CLS-309 just for good measure.
I started reading about third-party headphone cables for the AB-1266s a while and even though I�m just crazy enough to spend $3,000.00 on the JPS Labs �super cable� now offered for the AB-1266s, I decided to pass. Instead, I asked Drew Baird at Moon Audio to make up a ten-foot, balanced Silver Dragon cable for then with just one long cable (not a separate cable from each ear cup) leading to a full-size four-pin XLR, which I knew would work with either my Liquid Gold or my WA5-LE V2. I like the cable that came with the Abyss headphones, but they seem to sizzle a little in the high frequencies at least without significant burn in and they also seemed to be lacking in a certain degree of spaciousness of sound. I could have tried many other third-party cable, but I know the Silver Dragon sound very well and I also trust Drew Baird of Moon Audio not to rip me off (i.e., to charge me an excessive profit margin regardless of his cost just because he could).
If you�ve never heard of Drew, or his company, Moon Audio, I have to tell you that you�re missing out. Located in Cary, NC, Moon Audio started as a hobby for Drew, who is a Professional Engineer, and eventually became a full-time business with employees and everything, not only selling headphones and other audio equipment, but some of the finest, least expensive headphone cables out there. Drew�s, or Moon Audio�s, three main cables are the Blue Dragon (all copper), the Black Dragon (silver-plated copper), and my personal favorite, the Silver Dragon (all silver). Although I will occasionally get a Blue Dragon cable attached to, e.g., my slightly bright Beyerdynamic T70p�s that I use at the office with a 13� MacBook Air, Drew�s Black Dragon USB cable, and a space gray Woo Audio WA8 Eclipse, or the Black Dragon headphone cable for my HiFiMan HE-1000s, I most often favor the Silver Dragon because of the overall clarity of sound. So that�s what I choose to go with my Abyss AB-1266 Deluxe headphones for the most part paired with my Woo Audio WA5-LE V2 with Western Electric 300Bs, which is not to say that I disliked the sound of the Cavalli Liquid Gold. It just seemed to be a better match for my Silver Dragon modified Audeze LCD-2.2s and my Audio AN-SPx modified AKG-K701s, which found the perfect match in the Liquid Gold.
Drew made the Abyss Silver Dragon cable for me �on spec�, meaning that we were just trying it out to make sure I didn�t want a double run of Silver Dragon, one from each ear cup, or some such thing, and that he would only charge me if and when I decided that I wanted to keep the cable. I had actually been visiting a friend in Cary, NC, the home of Moon Audio, and got to spend an afternoon with Drew chatting and listening to various headphones and headphone amps. I�ll say right now that I�m in love with the Mr. Speakers ETHER headphones and the Pass high-current headphone amp, but I only have so many dollars in the bank. We also discussed the design of the Silver Dragon Abyss headphone cable and came to what I felt would be an optimal balance of sound and convenience, not to mention cost. I returned to my home in San Francisco, CA and a few weeks later a padded envelope arrived with exactly what Drew and I had discussed!
I carefully tore open the envelope and connected my AB-1266s to my Liquid Gold. Suddenly all of that �tizzy� high frequency nonsense was gone and the sound seemed smooth as silk. I notice an increase, somewhat paradoxically, in the overall clarity of the sound, as the midrange opened up, and although I didn�t think I was l was listening to a pair of Beats, the bass also sounded a lot more firm. Next I connected I connected the whole thing to my WA5-LE V2 and, even though I was then running single ended instead of balanced (using the same cable with its four-pin XLR) I noticed a relatively dramatic increase in the spaciousness of the sound particularly after I replaced the stock 300Bs with a matched set of non-NOS Western Electric 300Bs. I listened a lot. I tried my HiFiMan HE-1000s with Drew�s deluxe Black Dragon balanced cable using a special rhodium-plated four-pin XLR connector. I found the HE-1000s to feel much lighter and more comfortable on my head plus they just look a whole lot nicer. However, the music sounded a lot closer. In other words, I lost a lot of that spaciousness that I got with the Abyss/Silver Dragon combination, something that I can�t say I heard with the stock Abyss cables.
I listened to the 24/96 of Linda Ronstadt�s Heart Like a Wheel. I hear near-electrostatic detail without the high-frequency sizzle that I often hear with the higher-end Stax headphones even on reference-level amplifiers like the Woo Audio WES (the stock version with stock tubes). There might have been a tiny bit of congestion in the higher frequencies but the overall presentation of the music was so pristine that I may have been hearing the limits of the recording. Next up was the 24/96 download of Mark Knopfler�s Shangri-La, a very rich sounding album, which had much deeper bass and more extended high-frequency detail, without ever sounding bright, and a lush midrange featuring Knopfler�s resonant voice and the dulcet tones of his carefully plucked electric guitar. Then I upped the game a bit and played the 24/192 remastering of David Bowie AKA Space Oddity, which sounded like a dream. I could hear every detail of the recording but it held together as a whole in a way I don�t think I�ve ever heard before and that I can�t say excited me as much using the stock Abyss cables. Next I changed musical directions a bit and queued up Yo-yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble with the 24/44.1 album Sing Me Home, which is just so well recorded and so interesting musically that I had to stop and take an extensive listen as the Abyss AB-1266�s with the Silver Dragon cable delivered all the music in that album and just laid it bare as it had been recorded and mastered. Finally, I changed over to some jazz and one of my own personal reference recordings, the 24/192 download Movement to Moment by Cava Menzies and Nick Phillips. This recording sounds extremely lush no matter how I play it, but with the Abyss/Silver Dragon combination, the saxophone just dripped soul and the piano notes hung in midair until they gently dissipated like moist fog in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
I think both the headphones and the cable have a lot more hours to go to before they reach their peak, but I�m happy and I didn�t need to spend an extra $3,000.00. The retail price for the ten foot Silver Dragon cable, if I am not mistaken, is $520. I think that�s quite a bargain if it brings out the best in a $5K+ pair of reference-level planar magnetic headphones.