The PLUSSOUND Tri-Hybrid is a limited edition 26AWG 6-wire IEM cable featuring a Tri-Silver, Tri-Copper, and Tri-Metal wiring mix. Pricing starts at $899.99
Disclaimer: The PLUSSOUND Tri-Hybrid cable sent to us is a sample in exchange for our honest opinion. We thank the team at PLUSSOUND for giving us this opportunity.
To read more about PLUSSOUND products reviewed on Headfonics click here.
Note, this 2-page review follows our new scoring guidelines for 2021 which you can read up on here.
The Tri-Hybrid is one of the most balanced sounding cables I have heard to date from PLUSSOUND. It has less overt coloration than the Palladium-Plated Hybrid or the Tri-Copper and slightly smoother on the top-end compared to the Tri-Silver.
There is something about anniversaries and PLUSSOUND. Last year was their 8th year in business and they celebrated with the launch of the rather excellent X6 Palladium-Plated Hybrid cable.
This year sees the launch of a new cable to commemorate their 9th year in business but this time in a Limited-Edition format. This is a spin on one of PLUSSOUND’s favorite build techniques, a triple blend of metals into a new cable called the Tri-Hybrid. Only this time it is a ‘triple triple’, meaning 2 wires of each triple metal blend to give you all 3 tri-blends in one cable.
Call it the ‘kitchen sink’, the ‘holy trinity’ but basically, this is every exotic blend of metal you can think of inside one aftermarket audio cable which might be some kind of record.
Interestingly, I had expected the price to be very high but instead, the Tri-Hybrid sits $100 below their Palladium-Plated Hybrid at $899.99, Perhaps due to a lower level of palladium through all the wires is balancing out the costs but otherwise, not the most expensive in their range.
Materials & Wire
PLUSSOUND has absolutely loaded the Tri-Hybrid with different metals so bear with me on this one as I list them down. At a high level, you have 6 26AWG wires, each wire is split into 2 wires of each group of metal and each group of metal has 3 different metal elements.
You get 2 wires of Tri-Silver, 2 wires of Tri-copper, and 2 wires of T-Metal. Tri-silver consists of pure silver, gold-plated silver, and palladium-plated silver which was first seen in PLUSSOUND’S Tri-Silver cable we reviewed back in 2019.
Tri-Copper consists of another 3 elements, this time with copper as the base including UP-OCC copper, silver-plated copper, and gold-plated copper which we first encountered in their Tri-Copper cables we reviewed back in 2018.
The final two wires have a triple element T-metal fuse that is new to use but something PLUSSOUND has been using for a long time. This is a more mix of the more traditionally used gold-plated copper, silver, and gold-plated silver. Of the three, the T-Metal blend is the cheapest of the material mixes inside the Tri-Hybrid.
I honestly do not of a cable company that has tried this amount of metal blending as well as this particular type of wire split. Exotic or bleeding edge is definitely an understatement here.
The geometry of the Tri-Hybrid build is unchanged from the X6 Palladium-Plated Hybrid cable or pretty much any X6 design from PLUSSOUND with the use of a Type 6 Litz wire.
A type-6 wire is a fairly advanced Litz configuration. The geometry is certainly a lot more complex as it features bundles of type-4 wire twisted around a fiber core whereas Type 1 and 2 wiring has no individual cores.
Each type-4 wire has its own core which acts as a dampening element to reduce vibration, regulate consistent conductivity as well as generally produce a better feel when handling.
Generally speaking, Litz is an excellent wire for reducing the level of resistance, especially on lower gauge variants. Their lack of material depth and excellent insulating properties means they do a better job than most reducing the skin and proximity effect on typical non-Litz wiring.
The aesthetics in terms of hue is slightly different from the previously reviewed Palladium-Plated Hybrid cable. This time, behind their translucent PVC PS jacket you get a pale copper and tan collage from the 3 different blends of wire as opposed to that darker grey-olive color of the Palladium-Plated Hybrid.
That brighter finish is further complemented by some beautifully matched rose gold hot-stamped metallic heat shrinks on both the black connector and jack barrels as well as those high-quality chrome splitter and chin cinch aluminum components.
This is a hugely classy design that some competitors would be wise to study because it is as far away from DIY as you can get in terms of cable construction as well as feeling very robust.
PLUSSOUND has walked through a number of build iterations since we first started covering them a few years ago and since those quasi-DIY days they are now churning out some of the best cable builds I have seen to date. The Tri-Hybrid is no different in that regard.
The Tri-Hybrid form factor and external braiding configuration are very consistent with the Palladium-Plated Hybrid cable so there is a degree of familiarity here. It has that same beautifully tight semi-round lower braid sequencing that I love to see on cables that use PVC-type translucent jackets.
I have come to appreciate that even more when I compare this to slightly looser creations such as the Satin Audio Athena. It looks way too loose in comparison. Tight braiding is now critical for me given the heavy use I put into cables daily. You do not want gaps to form that can catch and rip that cable open.
All credit to the flexible PS insulation (PVC) jacket which means you get minimal resistance, zero tangles or memory retention, and excellent low-microphonic levels.
The connectors are the same connectors PLUSSOUND has been using for a while now and blends in nicely with the matching splitter barrel and chin cinch.
The complementary color and finish choices are probably the most complete I have reviewed to date on their cables. The only change from the previous editions is a switch from a gold moniker print on the inside to a silver version though you can pick the final color when buying your own cable.
As always you get a choice of connectors at the checkout. These come with 2-pin 0.78mm black coated aluminum screw-threaded barrels and hot-stamped metallic heat shrinks. They are bigger than the EA versions but they are not prone to coming undone from dried glue in humid weather with the use of screws.
On the outside of the black coating, PLUSSOUND has upgraded the old red and blue brand labeling with the newer printed logos, (other color choices at checkout), that will not chip or fade over time.
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 busier brighter color of the Tri-Hybrid wiring is offset by PLUSSOUND’s familiar lightweight anodized aluminum barrels finished in silvery chrome. That is matched with a beautifully trimmed anodized aluminum chin cinch and chrome-edged termination barrels at both ends.
I received the same finishing with the Palladium-Plated Hybrid cable last year and for some reason the high-impact of the finishing on the Tri-Hybrid suits these barrels just a little bit more. You can, of course, choose different colors and if I was nitpicking I would have gone with a rose-gold version of this splitter to match the rose-gold strain guards.
The chrome 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 first time I have gone with this type of jack from a cable provider and whilst they are more robust than 2.5mm TRRS options they do add a little more to the overall weight of the Tri-Hybrid 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 Tri-Hybrid lacks memory wire at the connector end and personally, I think that is a more comfortable option when done correctly. For example, the Tri-Hybrid is more comfortable around the ear than our recently reviewed S.T.E Cable Ag W16 and Cu W16 which both use thick springy-type memory wire coatings.
If you think this lack of memory coating will impair the deadening against microphonics on the ear, then think again because the Tri-Hybrid is deathly quiet. Also, the weight and braiding tightness from this cable means it remains quite disciplined around the ear. This is not a cable that will move around, hence no memory wire is really needed.
Of course, that 6-wire will feel heavier around the ear compared to a 4-wire but it is not going to give as many problems as an 8-wire for glasses users. I am still addicted to 8-wire personally but when I slap on my reading glasses I do appreciate how much lighter a lower wire count can be.
Accessories & Packaging
PLUSSOUND has continued to use their latest attractive packaging designs drawn from the Palladium-Plated Hybrid for the Tri-Hybrid.
That means an executive-type styling with a slimline gold-trimmed lift-top black box and a minimalist exterior styling and a protective transparent perspex lid on the inside to protect both the Tri-Hybrid cable and its accessories during transportation.
Inside you get a quality little leather drawstring case embossed with the PS logo, a silk cleaning cloth, and a matching dark tan/black leather IEM organizer strap.
It is ironic, even on other flagship cables offerings you get none of this which never ceases to amaze me. The strap doesn’t cost much but is so incredibly useful for storage and keeps the tangles at bay.
The Tri-Hybrid leather case will fit not just the cable but quite a few monitors also. It doesn’t protect quite as well as the stiff round pill cases supplied by the likes of EA but it is more discreet for pocket transport.
Click on page 2 below for performance impressions and select comparisons