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Entreq Konstantin 2010 + HiFiMan HE-500. Changing the HiFiMan cable I more or less knew what to expect. The changes introduced by the Swedish cable were quite similar regardless of what stock cable it replaced or whether the load was dynamic or magnetostatic.
The sound again was deeper and richer although I could not pin down the range or even regions of the audio band where there would have been any perceptible changes. The fact that I perceived the sound as much improved resulted from its overall energy and differentiation. I didn’t say it yet but next to the Entreq the stock cord sounded withdrawn and a little ‘behind’. The new cable was more forward, stronger and fuller. Nothing became brightened or sharpened however. Transients weren’t hyped yet there was the parallel impression that the stock cable had watered down or dissolved the same attacks.
The HiFiMan is no subtle headphone. It can pack a punch and float a large soundscape. The new cable still added sophistication to the treble and midrange which previously seemed perfectly sufficient. Now I knew it hadn't been. The excellent differentiation with the new cable also allowed the soundstage to open up. The HE-500’s weakness is that they focus centrally shown details such as voices exactly in the middle. The Sennheisers show them as clear shapes not just smack in front of us. The Swedish cable opened them up a little, i.e. it better distinguished between foreground and background, presenting close things a little closer and larger. I was sure this was the result of superior resolution and better spatial front/back articulation.
Conclusion. I ended up acquiring both cables. I won’t claim they’re the best. The Oyaide is yet to be reviewed. I hope it eventually will be. But the Entreq Konstantin 2010 was the first headphone cable that brought a definite improvement to my headfi system and headphones, an improvement in sound that suited my needs. It does not look as nice as the stock cable coming with the Sennheisers but it is handmade and therefore to some extent an artisanal product. The HiFiMans clearly did gain in the looks department because their stock cable is ugly and stiff. The Entreq pimps them up nicely.
Design. Little is known about Entreq’s cable design. When I asked Per-Olof Friberg he weaseled out, commenting only that he’d worked on it a long time and that it’s about lots of various small details. As he wrote in the introduction, he eliminated plastic and metal from around the conductors to rely instead on natural materials like wood and cotton. The cables arrive in wooden boxes and look like pieces of fine craftsmanship. They are easy to handle and not rigid – a clear advantage. They are however quite thick, much thicker than the stock cables. That's because their cotton wrapping fits rather loosely over the conductors.