PLUSSOUND is well-known for its unique cable materials and geometries with some excellent creations such as the Quad-Copper and Hybrid + cables, the latter of which was a co-awardee in our Top Gear Awards for 2022.
The new Silver Plated Copper XL is the company’s first 18 AWG gauge cable and a limited edition one at that with only 100 units being produced worldwide. The cable is suitable for both In-Ear Monitors (IEMs) and headphones.
For this review, we will focus on the IEM cable version. How does it stack up against the competition and what does this limited edition cable have in store? Read on to find out.
Materials & Geometry
As the name suggests, the Silver Plated Copper XL features UP-OCC, silver plated copper as its base material. However, the standout feature is PLUSSOUND’S newest cable technology, a Type 6×6 Litz, 18AWG gauge 2-wire geometry.
The Type 6×6 Litz construction means that PLUSSOUND was able to significantly increase the number of bundles of each wire to 36. This is quite high as you would usually find around 6 bundles in a standard 26 AWG cable.
According to PLUSSOUND, the increased number of bundles eliminates electrical resistance to improve output power and therefore better efficiency to drive IEMs and headphones regardless of the source.
Each of the 36 bundles makes up one wire within an 18 AWG gauge. Here, each bundle has a Type 6 Litz construction and varying sizes for its dampening core sizes.
The varied dampening core sizing allows for better conductivity and flexibility for the cable with each strand finished in a special enamel coating to help prevent oxidization and improve durability.
With 18AWG gauging per XL wire, the Silver Plated Copper XL is a thick cable. However, PLUSSOUND has done exceptionally well to keep the cable as flexible and as supple as possible by using their very own propriety outer insulation for the cable’s jacket.
If you have used or purchased a PLUSSOUND cable such as the Copper+ or the Tri-Silver, you would be akin to the high level of craftsmanship, finishing, and overall classy feel of their cables. The Silver Plated Copper XL is no different from this philosophy and has been designed to have a premium touch in mind.
The braided wire is finished with a threadlike texture and has a sparkly silver color to represent its silver-plating properties. Each wire has sufficient tension in the brading design so there are no unwanted gaps or slacks in the cable.
PLUSSOUND offers many customization options for its cables including the plug type and color, splitter, cable ring, and connectors. The Silver Plated Copper XL cable under review has a gold plug, a small yellow-colored splitter that comes in the shape of a barrel, a silver cable ring, and gold and black connectors.
The connectors used on the test cable are gold-plated, 2-pin connectors however PLUSSOUND many other variations such as rhodium plated and MMCX. The connectors are excellently designed and have a small gold cone that leads into the black barrel or connector itself.
On the inside of the connector, a small “PS” or PLUSSOUND logo can be found. A unique feature about the Silver Plated Copper XL and PLUSSOUND cables in general, is that the left and right-side indicators are shown by a small gold button that faces the outside of the connector.
The cable plug or termination has a similar design and finish to the connectors as there is a small gold cone that leads into a black cylinder that houses the plug.
Handling & Comfort
The Silver Plated Copper XL cable is very flexible and easy to bend, especially for an 18 AWG gauge cable.
With that said, the cable is very comfortable to wear and there was no discomfort noted during testing. Given its natural thickness, however, there are some notable items to be aware of.
Firstly, the cable wraps up easily to be stored away however there are times when it tends to bend out of place.
Secondly, PLUSSOUND did not insert an extra plastic sleeve or ear hook before each connector which results in the cable bending out of shape if the cable ring is not utilized properly during use. This does become an issue if you are moving around whilst the cable is in use.
Finally, there can be some cable noise during the use of the Silver Plated Copper XL given its thickness and lack of ear hooks to keep the cable securely in place. However, this is not so much of an issue if the cable ring is utilized properly to keep each wire securely in place.
Packaging & Accessories
Given that the Silver Plated Copper XL is a limited-edition cable release, PLUSSOUND has really gone above and beyond with the packaging and accessories.
The cable comes in the standard PLUSSOUND cable packaging which is a small rectangular box donned with the PLUSSOUND logo. The black color of the box is coupled with a shiny silver “PS” logo which matches well with the overall feel and look of the Silver Plated Copper XL cable itself.
Inside the box, there is a rectangular glass plate which, when lifted, reveals a grey leather pouch housing the Silver Plated Copper XL cable.
Underneath this, there is a separate section that includes a grey leather cable tie, warranty card, thank you note, PLUSSOUND sticker, and cleaning cloth. The leather pouch and cable tie are of high quality whilst being soft and supple at the same time.
PLUSSOUND Cable Pouch
You can also purchase the new PLUSSOUND Cable Pouch which is a highlight for me.
The cable pouch is an outstanding piece and a must-have for cable lovers on the go. The rectangular pouch comes in either a jet-black or tan leather finish with a small handle at the top of the pouch and a gold zipper.
To finish, the PLUSSOUND logo is embossed in black on the lid. The pouch does have a bit of weight given its leather material however it feels sturdy and robust. As you lift the lid, you will find a pouch strap and Velcro dividers.
The strap allows you to wear the cable pouch over the shoulder making it easier to transport and carry. The Velcro dividers allow for full customization of the interior where you can a mix of cables, IEMs, and other accessories very easily. There are 2 long rectangular dividers and a series of smaller rectangular dividers.
Overall, the cable pouch is an excellent additional option which sells for $299.99 on the website
The Silver Plated Copper XL colors the sound by further enhancing the overall resolution and clarity of the mid-range whilst creating more depth and slam to the bass frequencies. It should be noted that staging and treble impacts do vary depending on the pair-up.
Given its copper and silver-plating properties, the Silver Plated Copper XL directs its attention on coloring the bass and mid-range frequencies. There are additional enhancements to the treble and soundstage but their impacts vary depending on the IEM pair up.
A noticeable impact from my pairings was the sub and mid-bass gaining more depth, extension, and elasticity. The sub-bass digs deeper and the reverb becomes more tactile with the mid-bass receiving a noticeable boost whilst gaining more slam and control.
The mid-bass punch feels more “elastic” in the sense that its dynamic range and control improve. The bass texture within both the sub and mid-bass improves resulting in better overall resolution and quality.
The lower and center mid-range move forward whereas the upper mid-range positioning remains unchanged relative to the IEM’s original setup. The lower and center mid-range is also delivered with added volume and weight to each note which is a result of the additional mid-bass presence.
The resolution of the mid-range improves and there is a noticeable step up in overall sound quality being delivered as the Silver Plated Copper XL is able to tease out the finer details.
String ensembles and male voices in particular come off with a smooth and lush presentation as the additional volume allows them to come off as more natural and life-like.
The Silver Plated Copper XL does add a hint of warmth to the overall sound although it is not protruding or invasive. There is also some additional treble sparkle with improved extension and resolution. This allows high hats and cymbals to come off with more finesse and definition.
Staging & Imaging
The Silver Plated Copper XL adds a noticeable extension to stage depth and improves layering and imaging. However, the impact does vary between IEM, and in some instances, soundstage width does not significantly change.
With this in mind, the added stage depth does bode well with those seeking to obtain a more engaging and enveloping sound. Layering and separation between instruments and vocals does also benefit from the added stage depth.
Imaging improves concurrently as the stage becomes deeper allowing for instruments and vocals to be spread across the stage with improved accuracy.