PLUSSOUND Copper+ is a new 24AWG coaxial type Litz UP-OCC copper wire available in a wide range of the company’s current cable series. It is priced from $999.
Disclaimer: The PLUSSOUND Copper+ cable sent to us is a sample in exchange for our honest opinion. We thank the team at PLUSSOUND for giving us this opportunity.
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Note, this 2-page review follows our new scoring guidelines for 2021 which you can read up on here.
Question. How do you improve a cable’s shielding performance from top to bottom without turning it into a thick and unworkable creation? PLUSSOUND believes they have the answer to that with their new Copper+ wire.
This is not only a ‘back to basics’ type of element, (pure copper), and a contrast from their hybrids such as recently reviewed Tri-Hybrid EXO 6. It also heralds an entirely new geometry from their previous Litz Type 6 builds.
For those new to PLUSSOUND, Copper+ is not a cable per see, but a specific wiring element and geometry that can be chosen by the user within a number of the company’s cable ranges. This particular cable is from their EXO series and starts from $999 all-in making it one of their more opulent wire choices.
A New Wire
I am not entirely sure I have ever reviewed a PLUSSOUND cable with just one single element. Normally it is an exotic mix of plated copper, silver, or gold with palladium thrown into the mix.
However, here we are with a high purity UP-OCC copper, albeit at a larger 24AWG compared to the usual 26AWG.
Despite the cable being a 4-wire and not 6 or 8, the large gauge size should mean resistance levels are going to be a bit lower than a 26AWG equivalent as well as improved high-frequency production. There will also be a better skin depth than the smaller 26AWG wire for improved conduction.
This is an entirely new geometry and where the term coaxial comes from in terms of the Litz build with an inner conductor and an outer shield sharing a geometric axis.
The core of the cable is UP-OCC copper 24AWG in a single twist Litz configuration. Then you have another outer layer of UP-OCC but this time they are 5-strand bundles in a Litz configuration.
Both the single twist and 5 strand twists are enameled at the individual strand level to prevent the dreaded green oxidization effect.
In between the new copper Litz geometry a new second clear type layer of PS insulation to isolate that core single twist from the 5 strands twisted bundle outer layer. You then have a main PS insulation jacket wrapped around that outer UP-OCC copper 5-strand twisted bundle.
The Copper+ has an entirely new type of shielding (PS Shielding) just under the outer PS Insulation. I am told is made from silver and has a dual purpose of protection from more potential EMI interference than cotton or braiding can offer as well as operating as a ground layer.
Black, different, and stealthy looking, at least compared to previous PLUSSOUND cables we have reviewed to date. There is a reason for that.
Technically the Copper+ aesthetic is related to the reworked geometry with a new PS Insulation jacket in a matte black finish as opposed to transparent. This is also a twisted finish as opposed to braided which brings its own unique handling dynamic.
The Copper+ matte PS Insulation does ‘plump’ out the wires a bit more along with the new thicker internal 24AWG coaxial build which, combined with the twisted finish, does mean the cable is not as pliable as some of their previous 26AWG creations.
I have to say though the matte black jacket does create a wonderful visual contrast to the supplied rose gold hot-stamped metallic heat shrink on both the connectors and jack barrels as well as the matching chin cinch. It also matches the main barrel’s signature matte black paint job to a tee, much more so than the older translucent braided jackets.
The Copper+ tighter twisted build means that the overall diameter of the cable is quite a bit thinner than similar EXO designs we have covered before such as the Tri-Copper braided. So, what you lose in terms of overall suppleness you gain in terms of width as well as cable discipline.
What I mean by discipline is the lack of potential loose loops in the braiding due to the twisted finish, any undue hardness developing over a period of time, as well as a lack of memory retention when unfolding the cable.
The level of microphonics below the splitter on the Copper+ EXO is extremely low for this time of geometry and finishing. However, it is a shade higher than PLUSSOUNDs traditional translucent braided PS Insulation builds.
That might be something you pick up on quicker using high isolation custom monitors when brushing against the Copper+ jacket and less so on universal IEMs depending on the level of seal. Like the alternative braided designs, microphonics will be higher above the splitter.
There is no memory wire on the Copper+ EXO to further insulate but that’s the same across most PLUSSOUND cable designs.
PLUSSOUND does the best connector barrels in the business. I have said that a few times before but, using the matte black PS Insulation combined with the rose gold hot-stamped metallic heat shrinks and matte black barrel finish, they really stand out this time around.
This time around the inside moniker is white but you can pick your preference of color at the check out including gold if you prefer. This particular termination is a 2-pin 0.78mm black coated aluminum screw-threaded barrel but you can also opt for a wide range of alternatives including MMCX, IPX, and Fir Audio‘s RCX.
Strain relief is internal to the barrel so you will not find any mucky or bulky external silicone strain relief nor will you find any additional memory wire weighing down the connectors on the Copper+.
These are essentially the same connectors now you will find on most of their cables since the X8 Tri-Silver in late 2018. As always, the screw faces to the outside and the labeling to the inside when connecting.
The darker Copper+ PS matte black insulation is offset by PLUSSOUND’s familiar lightweight anodized aluminum barrels finished in rose gold chrome. That is matched with a beautifully trimmed anodized aluminum chin cinch also in rose gold.
The chin cinch has a very smooth articulation up and down the cable. It will not pinch the cable in an awkward manner holding its position quite well and will not slide down involuntarily during use.
The same design and finish of the connectors are also applied to the jack barrel so the whole design is fairly harmonious looking.
This particular finish is a 4.4mm Pentaconn which is the second time I have gone with this type of jack from PLUSSOUND and whilst they are more robust than 2.5mm TRRS options they do add a little more to the overall weight of the Copper+ cable.
You can, of course, choose your own jack option at website checkout which includes balanced and unbalanced 3.5mm TRS, 2.5mm TRRS, 6.35mm, USB-C, and RSA type to name but a few.
The lack of memory wire lightens the load on the back of the ear when using the Copper+ with our tested monitors. The stiffer insulation though will be felt a little more than EXO alternatives with the slightly softer braided jacket alternatives.
However, the weight is not an issue with its 4-wire construction proving relatively lightweight. In fact, the slightly ‘wavier curve’ in the new PS Insulation lifts the cable off the ear slightly so you only feel it on the sides more than any pressure bearing down.
This is not a cable that will move around either, so no memory wire is really needed with the Copper+. Glasses users will also find the resulting 2×2 wire split and twisted thinner design to play well with their frames when in use.
Packaging & Accessories
PLUSSOUND has pretty much settled on their ‘executive wallet’ packaging look for the Copper+ cables as was the case with the Palladium-Plated Hybrid and the Tri-Hybrid.
That means a slimline gold-trimmed lift-top black box and a minimalist exterior styling as well as a protective transparent perspex lid on the inside to protect both the Copper+ EXO cable and its accessories during transportation.
I quite like the packaging in all honesty. It is less fiddly the some competing over-engineered boxes and includes accessories that I actually would want when buying an IEM cable.
So, what I really need I actually get including a dark tan organizer strap that frankly I always complain about not being included in other high-end offerings and a proper little leather pouch and a silk cleaning cloth.
The strap doesn’t cost much but is so incredibly useful for storage and keeps the tangles at bay. The leather case will fit not just the cable but quite a few monitors also. It doesn’t protect quite as well as larger and stiffer puck-style cases but it is more discreet for pocketable transport.
Click on page 2 below for performance impressions and select comparisons