TACables Obsidian Review: Budget Cable Champion

  • Extremely well built
  • Beautiful design
  • Insulation feels premium

  • IEMs with forward sounding mids might become aggressive sounding

TACable is a new budget cable maker from China. They are actually a sister company of Hakugei, which is also a cable maker from the same country that focuses on more expensive cables. TACable recently released their debut cable which is the Obsidian, priced at just 20 USD. The Obsidian was provided to me for free by TACable in exchange for this review.

Wire Structure: Type 4
Black litz 5N OCC & litz silver plated 5N OCC
Single wire: 133cores 22awg 50% Black litz 5N OCC 50% Litz silver plated 5N OCC
Connector options: 0.78mm 2 pin, MMCX, QDC, IE80, IM, JH, Fitear
Plug options: 3.5 mm/2.5 mm/4.4 mm
Length: about 120 cm

Poco X3 paired with iBasso DC03 and Shanling UA1

The Obsidian was paired with the following IEMs:
See Audio Bravery
TForce Yuan Li
Moondrop Kanas Pro
Shozy Hibiki
Kinera Seed
Whizzer Kylin HE03
CCZ Plume
CCZ Coffee Bean

Test tracks:
Africano - Earth Wind and Fire
Dark Necessities - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Gurenge - Lisa
The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
Monsters - All Time Low
Ours - Taylor Swift
Stay - Mayday Parade
Snuff - Slipknot
Yesterday Once More - Carpenters
So Slow - Freestyle
Aurora Sunrise - Franco
Attention - Pentatonix
Blue Bird - Ikimono-gakari
You're Still The One - Shania Twain
Anyone Who Knows What Love Is(Will Understand) - Irma Thomas
Salamin - Slapshock
AOV - Slipknot
Hey Jude - The Beatles
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
...and a lot more.

Unboxing and Accessories:
The Obsidian comes in a flat box, with just enough space to accomodate the things inside. It has a window on the front so that the items inside are pretty visible. The Obsidian is wrapped in a separate resealable plastic container. It also comes with a velcro strap, a warranty guide, a thank you card, and another card printed with the meaning of TAC which is Technical Audio Crafts. The male 2 pin connectors are wrapped in a thin film to prevent them from colliding and scratching while in transit.
The Obsidian has 4 cores of mixed black litz OCC and silver plated OCC. Each strand is thicker than average, and has a bit of a weight to it. The Obsidian is not the softest cable around but the pliability is still very good and easy to manage. For the insulation, TACables used DuPont PVC which feels very different from other cables. The male connectors are made of plastic, while the splitter, chin slider, and the plug are all made of metal.
What separates the Obsidian from other budget cables is the construction and craftsmanship that is visible here on the plug. With other budget cables, the wires are simply soldered onto the terminals of the plug, and then insulated by multiple layers of shrink tube. With the Obsidian, after soldering the wires to the terminals, TACables covered the whole thing with some sort of a soft type of resin, and then extended it beyond the length of the barrel of the plug for it to act as a strain relief.
Now let's get to the sound.

Just a quick disclaimer. Not everyone can hear any sound difference with different cables, luckily I'm one of the people who can. This review is not meant to spark another endless debate about cables, rather just to share my experiences with it, especially with the sound. 

The following effects are not observed across all IEMs, but rather the general effect it presented through all of them compared to the stock cable:

The Obsidian considerably raised the subbass rumble and decay, and slightly increased the weight of the midbass. 

Now the mids are where the Obsidian had the most audible effect. With the Obsidian plugged in, the mids retained its thickness but it became a lot more forward. The aggressiveness was elevated in IEMs with already aggressive mids, and IEMs with neutrally placed mids now have a slightly more intimate presentation.

In the treble region, the Obsidian made everything relaxed. Sibilance were toned down a bit, and along with it, some small details in the tracks were lost. The treble reach and decay was also slightly reduced.

For the soundstage, I didn't notice any changes. The Obsidian had the same expansion, depth and width, and everything else when compared with the stock cable.

Sometimes you come across a product that will make you feel like it gave you amazing value for the price you paid for it, be it food, clothes, or just anything. That's exactly how I felt with the Obsidian. Considering the asking price of 20 USD, the level of craftsmanship and overall quality is simply outstanding. 

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