Review - Aune Flamingo

Review - Viking Weave Cables & Do Cables Matter?

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Also available on YouTube in Spanish: Acho Reviews YouTube 

While the following is actually a review, or at least opinions, of Viking Weave cables, the video that I published on this subject actually turned into a ramble about cables and the infamous question of “Do cables matter?”

I am not going to go into the same depth on my opinions as I did in the video but I do want to basically do a brief recap on the subject before getting to the actual point here. So, if you want to skip my ramblings about my opinions on cables and jump to the Viking Weave cables, just scroll down 😉


Do cables matter?

In short, yes.

Now, let me start by pointing out that this is not aimed at starting a debate, nor am I interested in arguing the subject with anyone. The TLDR of this is “Do whatever makes you happy!”.

Cables can certainly make a difference, the specs of a cable can determine whether the sound of the earphones in question are affected or not. Impedance matters. Yet, when two cables are of a low enough impedance to not affect the earphones in question, then there is no reason that there should be a sound difference between the two.

But that doesn’t mean we won’t hear a difference!

The brain is, in my opinion, the most important factor in the music and audio world. Our minds are capable of making us hear things that are not there. No matter how unbiased we feel we are, everyone has a bias (consciously or not) that can affect the way we perceive sound (or an infinite amount of other things that interact with our senses). Yes, it is possible that we hear a copper cable to be “warmer”, for example, and just because the science behind it proves there is no difference at all in the signal, we still hear the difference.

That is not a bad thing, far from it! At the end of the day, listening to music, no matter how deep we try to dive into the science behind it, is a completely subjective experience. People have different tastes and also different experiences and no matter how crazy we feel others may be for liking something we hate, or hearing something we don’t, the only important thing is that each of us finds what we like and enjoy it, it doesn’t matter if science (or other people) says we are wrong, it is about enjoyment. I mean, if that wasn’t the case, Reggaeton wouldn’t exist 😉

Ok, so getting past the subjective differences we hear between different models of cables (again, when two cables are of the same specs), there are a few more things that matter in the world of cables.

Build quality of the cable is obviously an important factor. The cable used, the quality of the connectors and hardware, the quality of the soldering etc. These are all things that are going to make a cable objectively better. Good materials and good quality control will make for a cable that is going to last a lot longer.

However, the above does not need to be expensive. Connectors, for example, can range from a few Euros for Neutrik up to a lot of Euros for more exclusive brands. I have used Neutrik connectors over the past couple of decades for many things, from full theatre installs to short patch leads at home, from live events to studios, from places where the get plugged in and forgotten about for years, to places where they are plugged and unplugged dozens of times a day. Neutrik makes some pretty good connectors at a decent price, so why would we spend more on other more exclusive brands? Well, although science might say otherwise, we can route our answer back to the subjective part above or to the subjective part that comes up next… aesthetics.

While there are people who really don’t care about aesthetics, the truth is that the vast majority of us do. We all have our own tastes in looks and aesthetics (which is a great thing, otherwise most of us would be single 😉 ) and these can also affect our other senses without us even noticing. When we pick something up that is aesthetically pleasing to us, we automatically look for positive things, when something is the opposite, we automatically look for negative things. Although it is not always the case that we do find positive experiences in pretty things, or vice versa, it does (subconsciously) affect the way we approach them. The same goes for price. If we think that something is way overpriced, our brain will automatically try to zone in on the faults rather than the virtues.

The last thing I am going to mention, which could probably be classed as the most important of all from a science point of view but we probably account for the least, is the way cables are braided or twisted. The construction of the cable, or the way the cores are relative to each other, actually serves to help protect the signal from interference. Looking at it from an exaggerated point of view, the cable is like an antenna, picking up interference along the way. Specific ways of twisting or braiding the cores of the cable can help to reject the interference and help keep noise out of our final sound. Again, this (along with impedance and length) is probably the most important part about cables from a scientific point of view, yet is something that is rarely considered when purchasing a new cable.

So… should I buy cable X?

Well, that depends totally on you and what makes you happy. As I just explained, if the specs of the cable are good and the build & hardware of the cable are good, then buy what makes you happy.

If you feel that your choice of a silver cable has revealed more detail, or that your copper cable gave you that extra bit of warmth you were looking for, then great! You have found a cable that enhances your listening experience and that is the best result you can obtain, no matter what anyone else says on the subject.


Viking Weave Cables…

Finally I am getting to the actual subject of this (sort of) review, Viking Weave Cables.

I met the guys behind Viking Weave in Munich earlier this year and had a great evening with them, discussing cables (amongst many other non related things). Apart from being great guys, I found that they were very down to earth and sincere about what (and what not) to expect from their cables. They were quite open to my opinions (about cables not actually making a sonic difference if they are of a good spec) and explained to me how they can actually use things like impedance to make changes in specific cases (as in, certain specs will interact in a specific way, with certain headphones). However, above all, they were proud of the craftsmanship and they have every right to be! 

They didn’t try to convince me that this cable would create “insert magical sound properties” here but they did stand their ground on the subject of their quality, especially in relation to price. They very kindly offered to send me a couple of cables for me to try out and to share my opinion with them on what I thought. They didn’t actually request that I post a review or anything but I am more than happy (as always) to post my honest opinions on what I have found.

The two cables that they sent me are those pictured above. Now, if I am not mistaken (which is quite possible!), the one on the left is the Berkano and the other is a custom version that they put together and is not actually for sale. They have a few models, starting from around 100€ (depending on the exchange rate) for the basic model all the way up to custom models that they will make for you if you request them. 

The price of a custom model is obviously going to depend on what you actually request but the most expensive of their “normal” models is around 500€. This might sound like a lot of money to some people but in comparison to other manufacturers that have models costing multiple thousands of euros, it is actually a reasonable price.

The cables use their own custom hardware and connectors and I have to say that the workmanship and attention to detail is nothing short of spectacular. I have been using both models with my (ever growing) collection of Hifiman headphones and I have really fallen for both their looks and the comfort. The custom version they sent me has the thinker fabric wrapped cores up until the split, making it a very sturdy cable, but the change to the softer cores after the split makes it very comfortable.

In the video version of this review I compared their cables to various other cables I have. An extremely cheap model by Openheart, a few of the stock cables that Hifiman include and the cables that I make myself. On a sound level, the only one I can honestly say I can immediately notice a difference with is the Openheart cable. This is because the cable has an impedance balance between the two channels and makes it quite obvious that one channel is different to the other.

In comparison to the other cables, I can’t say that I would be able to pick out the sound in a blind test, yet, as mentioned in the first part of this wall of text, I subjectively prefer the Viking Weave Cables. The fact that I like their comfort and aesthetics immediately puts me in a more positive mindset when comparing them to something like the “blood transfusion tube” that Hifiman included with things like the HE1000se.

The cables that I make myself (using Canare, Neutrik and Rean) is something that I find very handy as I use the modular system, allowing me to swap terminations at both ends and lengths very easily, depending on my needs at the time. However, there is no way that I would pick up my own cables over those sent to me by Viking Weave. There is just no comparison!

All I can say is that they get a 10/10 from me for build, aesthetics, price and of course sound, as everything sounds great with them!


Conclusion…

If you are considering a nice cable, then I think that Viking Weave Cables (https://vikingweavecables.com/) are certainly worth taking into consideration.

The guys behind them are not a large company looking to sell cables at prices that are as high as they can, they are two people who love audio and want to offer the best quality they can for a price that is as reduced as they can. Just looking at the amount of work that goes into their cables, I feel that their prices are very fair.

They are also great guys to talk to and I am sure they will be more than happy to accommodate any requests you may have for custom options. They are active on quite a few headphone forums but the best option I think would be to reach out to them via their website above.

Just as a reminder as I end this long post (my plan was for it to be shorter than the video but I guess I failed 😁 ), I am in no way affiliated with Viking Weave Cables, even if I sound like a salesman, it is just that I have maximum respect for those who try their hardest to make quality products without losing touch on reality along the way!


All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on achoreviews.squig.link
 
All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on achoreviews.squig.link/isolation

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