A Copper with Goldschläger twist!
PROS: improves soundstage expansion, brings more analog punch to the bass, gives more body to the mids with a smoother more natural tonality, quality workmanship, Awesome-plug with interchangeable 2.5/3.5/4.4mm terminations.
CONS: sound improvement varies depending on pair up.
The product was provided by DITA Audio for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
I’m aware that some people don’t believe in cables and have very strong opinions about it. It’s not my intention to start the argument here, and instead I would like to share what I hear during my testing. Perhaps, I can’t fully explain why there is a change in sound, but I do hear it and don’t believe it’s a placebo effect. What makes sense to me, a metal wire is a material with physical properties of resistivity, conductivity, purity, and unique geometry, all of which put together act as a filter between your source and headphones. Variations of these physical properties can affect the conductivity of analog signal, resulting in a sound change, from a subtle to a more noticeable level. Also, the sound change introduced by a specific cable is not universal because it will depend on the design and the synergy between the source and earphones/headphones.
DITA Audio is one interesting company. While other manufacturers were fighting the multi-driver war, they were perfecting their single DD driver design. While most of the flagships came with cheap cables, they used premium wires from a custom cable maker. While DAP manufacturers were deciding on balanced outputs, they introduced Awesome plug. And while IEM prices are still on the rise and everybody is following each other, they are pursuing their own original path and keeping prices at a reasonable level.
DITA’s latest release of “bumble-bee” Project 71 IEM was no exception, still following the path of innovations at a very reasonable price which also included a new custom OSLO cable. While this P71 brass/wood fusion was part of a limited release, the universal version of their new cable is available now for sale in either 2pin or mmcx, including Awesome plug. Even if you got P71, you might still want to consider this cable since it doesn’t have mmcx connector lock. Now, here is more about DITA Audio latest OSLO cable release.
OSLO cable arrived in a compact box, nothing too flashy, but still very elegant in presentation. Once you remove the top cover, you will find a user’s guide (with instructions how to use Awesome plug and 2pin/mmcx connectors), a roomy protective storage pouch (from a nice felt material) with a flap cover and a cable inside of it, and at the bottom of the box a foam cutout with a small bottle of nanoparticles oil and two additional Awesome plugs.
The pouch is not intended for protection but rather for storage, and it’s actually not bad, perfect size to carry one set of cables with IEMs. Also, you get all 3 Awesome plug tips, including 2.5mm BAL, 3.5mm SE, and 4.4mm BAL. The oil bottle looked like a miniature nail polish bottle, even had a small brush inside. I received both, 2pin and mmcx connector versions, and unboxing experience was identical for each one.
I’m sure many will be curious where the name OSLO came from. Actually, it’s an abbreviation for Oil-Soaked Long-crystal Oxygen-free cable. Straight from Japan, DITA sourced the ultra-pure long crystal copper conductors which have a simplified grain structure with fewer impurities, enhancing the conductivity within a wire and reducing distortion even when compared to regular high-purity copper. To take it to the next level, each strand of copper wire is soaked in a squalene oil suspension of gold and silver nanoparticles by pulling through a special extrusion and polishing die.
This cable manufacturing method goes back to 1950-1970’s time period. Though not exactly the same, the principle kind of reminds me of wire plating when you apply another material to a surface of the conductor core to enhance skin effect in order to improve signal transfer. For those unfamiliar, Skin Effect refers to a property of electric current having a higher density/flow at the surface of the round wire where majority of electric signal conducts. Basically, similar to wire plating, this oil-soaking in suspension of gold and silver nanoparticles suppose to enhance and maximize conductivity of the wires.
OSLO cable uses 4 separate 30awg conductors, each from many intertwined copper wire strands, shielded and isolated and then surrounded by a transparent flexible jacket so you can clearly see the actual wire. Unlike their previous Truth cables, you no longer have to worry about springy memory effect, the cable is very soft and supple and with hardly any microphonics. You will also find new custom housing of 2pin and mmcx connectors, marked with DITA logo and L/R label, also with a color dot on 2pin connectors. Then, you have a flexible pre-shaped transparent earhook piece, no annoying memory wires. The Y-split is metal with a signature round shape, laser engraved DITA name and “nanoparticles” artwork. Around Y-split there is plenty of strain relief and a plastic custom chin-slider which fits the shape of round Y-split side.
Down to a connector, you will see a metal “bullet” with OSLO label and “made in Japan” acknowledgement. That extends down to DITA’s signature Awesome Plug connector. The female side of the connector has a nice strain relief and a straight piece of a metal housing with a knurled tightening ring. The modular replaceable threaded part of the connector with 4 pins has a right-angled rubbery housing (nice grip) with either 2.5mm BAL, 3.5mm SE, or 4.4mm BAL goldplated plugs. The plug replacement is quick and secure, and you have flexibility to use any audio source without the need for adaptors. The idea behind Awesome plug is very practical and super convenient.
Nanoparticles contact enhancer.
Last, but not least, as already mentioned, DITA included a small sample bottle with their nanoparticles infused oil. This extra oil solution is intended to enhance the conductivity between metal connectors, similar to DeoxIT contact enhancing solution. DITA own nanoparticle formula is enhanced with gold and silver particles, the same as the solution applied to the wires of the cable.
While being skeptical, I did a blind test between 2pin cable where I applied this oil to 4pin connector of Awesome modular plug and mmcx cable with mmcx-to-2pin adapter where no oil was applied. With U18t as my monitor and LPGT as my source, I was able hear a subtle difference with a sound change in upper mids being a little brighter and more transparent, revealing. I don’t want to trigger any “snake oil” comments, just describing what I’m hearing. Will continue testing with other connectors in a near future.