If you’ve been into custom cables or high-end IEM cables, I bet you’ve heard about the cable called 1960S. if not, perhaps you have heard about PW Audio. Established in 2010, PW Audio is one of the most established custom cable brands that have been leading the industry with their early flagship product called the “1960S”. This was the cable that introduced and popularized fabric shielding for IEM cables. The 1960S gained immense popularity and is still much appreciated for its iconic sound profile.
PW Audio since then has been releasing a number of flagship cables, including our recently reviewed Meet Agains and their super-flagship cable, the Orpheus. Though most fans of PW would agree that the 1960S is the real deal no lesser than the other models. Well, after a long gap of years, PW have finally ushered in with the successor for the old legend, the 1960S MKII. Let us now test the sound profile, see the changes made for the 2nd generation, and compare with different IEMs and cables.
Packaging & Cable Geometrics
Using a 26AWG OCC Litz pure copper as the conductor material, the 1960S MKII adopted the wire structure of the 1950S – which was and still is another popular flagship cable by PW Audio. However, unlike the 1950S, the 1960S MKII is applied with seven layers of shielding that does the additional “PW Magic”. The outer skin is finished with Morandi blue nylon jackets with soft PVC. What’s quite special about the cable is that it uses a pure copper plug for the sake of better transmission and preserving the iconic sound that the 1960S MKII desires. Since the proprietary tuning and shielding structure, the 1960S MKII is available in 4.4mm by default.
Interestingly, the 1960S MKII also comes with a high-quality German silver polishing cloth. The cloth can be used for polishing and shining silver surfaces. Quite an interesting accessory to be included with a cable (that doesn’t use silver surfaces either). However, I believe this is to be used for IEMs that are made of silver housing or faceplates. I’ve tested on several of my tarnished or oxidized silver IEMs and they work like a charm. Unorthodox yet a useful accessory to be included.
More on Specs & Geometrics
Besides, the 2-braid version of the 1960S MKII is produced with a separate model name called “August Fun”. The 1960S MKII is 4-braided yet PW Audio states each cable braid is designed as “1 core-1 net design” that brings the sound effect of the braids being doubled. Hence August Fun has the sound effect of a 4-braid, and the already 4-braid 1960S MKII would technically have the sound effect of an 8-braird.
Speaking of usability, the 1960S MKII is very smooth and light for its thickness. The cable does not feel stiff or springy, keeping the user experience free from microphonics and discomforts. Those who are used to using thinner cables, or those who dislike thick cables, would be able to use these without much problem. The connectors and Y-split are all finished with black matte metal parts which are light and smooth to the touch.
The Sound of 1960S MKII (1/2): Tones, Bass, and Vocals
Many custom cables intend to make the sound fuller by enhancing the bass quantity or warming up the sound, yet the 1960S MKII doesn’t take simple steps like that. The difference is that the 1960S MKII deepens the depth and thickens the tone color, making the IEMs sound much richer and more established. The ultra-lows and sub-bass gently increase in quantity with a much thicker tone and body. However, the bass doesn’t get any dull in technicality or muddy. Not only the bass but also the overall nuance retain more weight while keeping the sound crisp and agile.
Another strength of the 1960S MKII is its ability to utilize generous reverbs cleanly and naturally. It’s not about loosening up the tight sound or making things boomy. The 1960S MKII infuses natural resonance and reverbs in the music and IEM to create a much livelier, breathable sound. It’s basically breathing life into the IEMs. Vocals also gain quite a significant gain in scale and density, giving the similar fullness found from the bass. Interestingly, despite the cable’s dark, grand, and bass-enhancing nature, the vocals are surprisingly clean and clear. The smooth yet powerful dynamics are being poured out with fine grains and textures, giving a smooth, emo touch to the sound while significantly boosting the resolution.
Next Page: Sound impressions continued / Comparison and matchings