Unleash the Alien Monster!
The first time I heard of Liquid Links Venom cable was during introduction of Elysian Acoustic Labs “X” flagship IEM. Venom was included as stock cable, and it came with custom Pentaconn connector to accommodate X. It was impossible to test this cable with other IEMs since those are not common connectors, until now when Liquid Links released a standalone 2pin version. Noticing that Musicteck now carries Liquid Links cables, I asked Andrew to borrow Venom for a few days, to get a better idea how it sounds.
After spending a few days with this “Goldschläger” Venom, I would like to share my impressions in this very brief review. Btw, you will understand what I mean by calling it “Goldschläger” once you take a closer look at the cable and its insulation with infused gold flakes. In my opinion, this finish gives Venom a more premium look, reminding me of Mest MKII universal shell. Now, more about it.
Venom has a very different and quite interesting design with only 2 wires, each 19awg thick with a blend of 5 different alloy hybrid metals, making these wires a bit thicker and stiffer. It is not your traditional multi-wire braided cable. Instead, you have only left and right conductors, each one combining a quinary alloy hybrid structure with a thicker shielding. According to a friend who helped me translate the spec, Venom uses a five-element alloy hybrid structure, which includes: palladium-plated OCC silver, OCC copper, gold-plated copper-silver alloy, and carbon fiber. These five elements are mixed in a specific ratio structure. Also, it uses a high dielectric constant PTFE insulation layer in the innermost layer, a special PU material with vibration damping effect in the middle layer, and cold-resistant and soft PVC coating on the outermost layer.
The cable feels very solid and durable. Also, hardly any memory effect as you unwind the wires. It has a common Liquid Links hardware design with “liquid” shape y-split and complementary chin slider and matching finish headphone plug and connectors, all in black glossy piano finish.
Though you can feel a little extra weight while holding the cable, it wasn’t as noticeable when wearing it. For example, most of the flagship cables I tested in the past were 36-46g while this one is 56g. I tested it while walking around the house, finding it quite comfortable to wear. Also, it has zero microphonics, probably due to its carbon fiber acoustic absorption design and PVC rubbery shielding. Btw, while I did say it feels stiffer, the wire is still quite flexible, better than some of my other 8-wire braided cables. But the overall ergonomics and the feel of Venom is different, which could be polarizing for some.
Here are a few up-close pictures, including the packaging and the cable exterior design:
In my brief testing, I tried Venom with Oriolus Traillii and Aroma Jewel, comparing to stock PWA 1960 4wire cable and, in case of Jewel, to PWA First Times. I was using LPGT as my source, volume matched in every comparison.
stock PWA 1960 4wire vs Venom – brings mids more forward with improved clarity, resolution, and retrieval of details. Especially relative to mids and vocals, the sound is more revealing, less colored, and still remains natural. It doesn’t make the sound brighter, but, rather, more revealing. Also, makes bass sound faster, more articulate, and with improved control due to a faster attack and shorter decay of notes. Relative to stock PWA 1960 4wire cable, soundstage is the same.
PWA FT vs Venom – I’m hearing a very similar sound change as I did with Traillii. Perhaps, it is due to using PWA cable as a baseline for comparison, but with Venom cable mids/vocals definitely gain more clarity, improved resolution, and retrieval of details. Venom doesn’t make the sound brighter, it makes it less colored and more revealing, more micro-detailed, with a higher precision of detail retrieval. Also, makes bass sound faster and tighter which results in a better control and articulation of low end.
Liquid Links Venom offers a unique flavor of sound finetuning with both Traillii and Jewel, has a technical and sonic performance on par with other flagship cables, has a very durable build, and cost a fraction of the price of other flagships.
I know that many are probably going to question the ergonomics of the design, but the cable is not that heavy, though still has a bit of a heft. It uses PVC sleeving which feels rubbery and a bit stiff, but also very durable. I experienced zero microphonics, hardly any memory effect, and still find it quite flexible for 19awg thickness cable. It does feel a bit different when wearing it, perhaps, it’s one of the trade-offs. But as I already mentioned and will say it again, sonic performance is on the level of other popular flagships at a fraction of the price. So, it definitely gets my recommendation.