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Hi-Fi Choice review of Kimber Axios headphone cable

Tuesday, 19th July 2016

Axios is the new line of headphone cables designed and manufactured by Kimber from their base in Ogden, Utah. Right from the start, Kimber were determined to achieve a two-fold ambition of creating a world-class headphone cable which also looked good and was light and flexible to use. Looking at the latest review from Hi-Fi Choice magazine, we'd say they've hit the target in the bullseye!

Axios Headphone cable for Sennheiser HD 600, HD 650 and HD 580
Each Axios headphone cable is hand-built specifically for the headphone model it is purchased for. The review sample is designed for use with Sennheiser's HD580, HD600 and HD650, all of which use the same split-braid technology to feed the two earpieces. This is one of the elements of the cable that illustrates Kimber's no compromise approach: by hand-braiding the cable, the maker is able to create a cable which runs seamlessly from a single 16 to two 8-braid legs. As Neville Roberts, reviewing, says: "the result is a headphone cable in one continuous length with no solder joint to impair the signal".

The unique design of Axios also ensures that the cable is very flexible and non-microphonic in use - a boon to any user who likes to listen to high quality audio on the go - and prompts the reviewer to observe that "the Axios is surprisingly flexible and light for a headphone cable and it is certainly one of the nicest cables I have tried".


Kimber Axios headphone cable

All very well, but how does it actually perform? The good news is that the effect the cable has on your listening enjoyment is more than equal to its good looks.
"Listening to a variety of music" writes Neville, "it is immediately apparent that it offers serious audible improvements compared with the standard cable". He uses a number of different pieces of music in the test which illustrates the cables propensity for musicality across a range of genres. Starting with the LSO's recording of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, he observes that "the quieter sections are just as detailed as the louder passages, with excellent imaging, transparency and spatial positioning".  He adds that "the dynamics also improve and there is a clear perception of increased headroom to accommodate the louder passages effortlessly".

Moving onto the large scale choral piece Carmina Burana, again performed by the LSO this time under the direction of Andre Previn, the Axios "really beefs up the volume and allows [him] to see how the cable performs with vocals". The complexity and volume of the orchestra and chorus combined in this piece is a great test for the ability of the cable to track the whole piece successfully without losing and definition in a muddy mess. Axios passes the test with aplomb: "even when the full orchestra and chorus are really letting rip in the first movement, the vocals remain clear and full bodied, meanwhile the delicate tinkling of the triangle is still clearly audible in the background". Impressive stuff!
Kimber Axios headphone cable for Sennheiser HD650, HD600 and HD58

As a complete contrast, Neville then listens to a Chinese piece of music, "Moonlight On Spring River with Zhao Cong playing an instrument that resembles a Chinese lute". The instrument is characterised by its ability to produce a very low bass line which is susceptible to being reproduced as a "plodding 'thump'. Not here though: with Axios in use that bass line is "clearly discernible as individual notes. 

In summary then, Neville Roberts is highly impressed with Axios and states that "this is a classy replacement cable for your cans and, although pricy, it delivers noticeable sonic improvements and is extremely comfortable to wear". It comes as 'recommended' with the full five stars.

Magazine: Hi-Fi Choice
Issue: August 2016
Verdict: 5 Stars, Recommended 


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