plusSound X8 IEM Cable

REVIEW: plusSound X8 IEM Cable - A Beautiful Silky Sound


Website:  PlusSound

PriceStarting from U$D 350

Warranty1 year



Design & Build Quality:

As its number suggests, the X8 is the 8-wire IEM cable from plusSound. For the review matter, I received the new "28awg copper type 6 litz wires", which according to plusSound is a bit more compact for better ergonomics than standard 26awg wire and still maintains the same SQ performance. As an 8-wire type it is still a thick cable, but definitely light, nonetheless. I got the most standard version without any extra addition or termination, and yet the build quality is excellent. The 8 strands can be braided in 3 different types, round, flat or square, from the plug to the Y-split, and then round or flat for the R and L sides. The one I got is the 'square' type and flat for R/L. I think it's the first 'square' shaped cable I've seen, and it definitely looks gorgeous as the rest of the cable. The cable has a soft pink color theme, nothing flashy but smooth and discreet. The straight plug is large and well relieved by the heatshrink tube ). The Y-split is made of anodized aluminum, very solid, light in weight but a bit large. The cable slider is missing in mine, but should be very similar to the Y-split. At the upper part, the standard 2-pin connectors shells are made of anodized aluminum too and also covered with heatshrinks. The R and L sides are easy to difference between each other as the metal part should be facing outside. There's no memory-wire.

Fit, Comfort and Microphonics:

Being square shaped, the lower part of the X8 cable (from plug to y-split) is very soft and doesn't have any memory effect. The upper R/L part is less friendly, at least in this flat braid style as it is not as easy to shape, but still soft enough. Not a serious issue, but I'd rather suggest the round type for the R/L part, or at least the addition of a memory wire to help the cable stay fixed around the ears. Despite being an 8-wire, the newer 28awg version is very light, indeed. Microphonics is nonexistent.





The plusSound X8 offers a different presentation when compared to some other IEM cables I've recently tried. Some of them offer improvements in terms of dynamics, extension, stage dimensions, enhance the low or high ends, or boost clarity and detail. While the X8 also shows some differences in those regards, it's mainly focused in presenting a more delicate and smoother sound.

With the X8, the sound is noticeably more laid back with a more natural extension. While there's no roll-off on either of the ends, it might still limit the strength of lows or energy of the highs with certain IEMs, which is well perceived with V-shaped signature IEMs. The sound of the X8 is slightly warmer and fuller, but its principal strength is the silky smoother presentation. It is more refined and better articulated with a more natural texture.

The bass quantity is lower, but exchanged with a nice texture, a bit smaller in body but natural decay, although a bit slower with faster BA sets. Despite the lower amount, sub-bass depth is not affected, just that it's rather softer in impact and tone and takes a step back next to more liquid midrange. For those who like their IEMs strong bass, the X8 may not fit their needs as an upgrade cable in pure quantities, unless they're looking for some extra control and definition.

Similarly, the treble follows the laid-back formula, it is still crispy and doesn't lower the amount of micro-detail, nor limits the extension, but it noticeable less prominent. The X8 may tend to make the details not as forward, but technically they're slightly improved and more naturally presented. While lower highs are well mixed with the upper mids to keep a nice midrange balance, the upper highs, on the other hand, are positioned a half-step behind the whole midrange, which contribute to a smoother and more forgiving/less fatiguing sound. The Null Audio Vitesse cable (4-wire), included as 'stock cable' with the AAW CIEMs, has a much stronger treble energy. The Lear C2, while it can't match the X8 level of refinement, will also bring a more V-shaped sound with a brighter treble. With the X8, guitars are not missing the necessary bite or texture, but cymbal crashes are less lively even with a brighter IEM.

Midrange is where things start to get interesting and are main target of the X8 cable. It is dominant and forward but not overly done, full in texture and sweeter but not thick to give up the smaller details. Also, more natural and realistic in timbre and well spaced. The extra forwardness actually starts in the upper-bass with a very little addition of warmth, and continues up to the upper mids and lowest treble regions which result in a more effortless and engaging midrange. Instruments are a bit affected by the laid-back and relaxed nature of the X8, mainly the lower and upper ones being a bit less emphasized and less energetic. Yet, the greater transparency and midrange smoothness is best shown when it comes to vocals as they simply shine. Seriously, the X8 can make vocals sound excellent. 'Euphoric' would be the best way to describe them; so effortless and extremely immersive and so addicting with a lot of emotion and realism. Smooth as silk and free of harshness regardless the recording.

Lastly, soundstage is very well rounded but doesn't show any strong improvement in terms of dimensions, at least not more than what a good IEM can have through an already wide sounding source. While fast music or electronic genres might be a bit slower than usual, it is quite a good match for classical and most acoustic music, especially for having a natural separation and positioning.




Main IEM/CIEMs used for the review: W350, Jomo 4, Lear AE1d

Conclusion and Value:

As usual, recommending any $300+ product is not very easy, even more when referring to just an 'upgrade' as are earphone cables. Nowadays it's possible to buy a very strong and excellent portable audio setup for the same money, that a couple of years ago would have cost a lot more. Nevertheless, the last plusSound X8 addition to the IEM market is a real improvement in terms of sound quality with its striking beautiful and silky sound. Vocals with the X8 are among the best I've heard. The design is pretty awesome as well, with a look just as beautiful as how it sounds.

Again, huge thanks to plusSound for letting me audition this last addition to the X8 series.