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PLUSSOUND Copper XL Review — Headfonics

In this feature, Lynn reviews the PLUSSOUND Copper XL, which is a new aftermarket 18AWG UP-OCC pure copper aftermarket cable design for IEM users. It is priced from $749.99.

Disclaimer: This sample was sent to me in exchange for my honest opinion. Headfonics is an independent website with no affiliate links. I thank the team at PLUSSOUND for giving me this opportunity.

To read more about PLUSSOUND products previously featured on Headfonics click here.

Note, that this article follows our current scoring guidelines which you can read in more detail here.

PLUSSOUND Copper XL Review

Summary

The PLUSSOUND Copper XL is a great aftermarket audio cable with an attractive design and a performance that allows the listener to hear a high level of detail from paired IEMs.

Slide here to add your score on the gear!29 Votes

9

Pros

Added detail to signature

Bass reach and control

Stunning looks and build

Cons

Can be a bit ungainly

No ear hook shrinks

PLUSSOUND has recently released a ‘sibling’ to the previously reviewed high-end Silver Plated Copper XL aftermarket IEM cable, called the Copper XL.

The Copper XL is priced a little bit cheaper at $749.99 but shares many similar traits to its bigger brother geometry-wise.

The key change for this cable is the core material, switching from silver-plated copper to pure Copper which, in turn, creates a different performance and sound quality from my tested IEMs.

PLUSSOUND Copper XL geometry cross section diagramPLUSSOUND Copper XL geometry cross section diagram
Copyright PLUSSOUND 2024

Materials & Geometry

The Copper XL consists of a fairly thick 18AWG UP0OCC pure copper wire with individually enameled coating combined with PLUSOUND’s signature Type 6 Litz geometry in a 2-wire configuration.

The unique 2-wire X cable consists of one 18AWG XL wire per channel intended for IEM use for all purposes.

The Litz group bundle count is raised to 36 (compared to just 6 on 26AWG wire). Purportedly, this eliminates almost all electrical resistance, for efficiency, improving the output power. As a result, while the pattern can be used for headphones, it is designed with IEMs in mind.

Varied dampening cores are also used for the first time. This maintains a round shape for consistent conductivity, helps to prevent mechanical vibrations that may affect interference and interruptions, and softens the XL wire to make it as flexible as the smaller gauge wiring.

The proprietary outer insulation used on XL wire provides increased flexibility and durability, mimicking supple smaller-gauged IEM wires. This should also help to reduce the effects of microphonics from larger cables.

PLUSSOUND Copper XL on white backgroundPLUSSOUND Copper XL on white background

Design

PLUSSOUND cables such as the Silver Plated Copper XL or the Tri-Silver, have a very high level of craftsmanship, finishing, and a very classy feel to them. The Copper XL falls right into that philosophy and is designed to carry on that premium touch.

The two 18AWG copper strands are wound somewhat loosely until they separate at the Y-splitter. I noticed that if you want, you could tighten the braiding simply by twisting the strands together. I did this, and due to the supple nature of the wires, the tighter braid stayed in place.

The individual cores can be seen clearly through the clear proprietary insulated sheath. For such a large gauge cable, the Copper XL lays quite nicely, and with less tug than one might expect.

Finishing

PLUSSOUND offers many customization options for its cables including the plug type and color, splitter, cable ring, and connectors.

The Copper XL cable sample I have here has a rhodium plug, a larger rose gold-colored splitter that comes in the shape of a barrel, a silver cable ring, and gold and black connectors, with rose gold sheaths.

The connectors used on the test cable are rhodium-plated, 2-pin, 0.78mm connectors however PLUSSOUND provides many other variations such as gold-plated and MMCX connections among others.

All of the popular connectivity options are available. The connectors are designed precisely and have a small rose gold cone that leads into the black barrel or connector. On the inside of the IEM connector, a small “PS” logo can be found.

A nicely done feature of the Copper XL and PLUSSOUND cables in general, is that the left and right-side indicators are shown by a small button that faces the outside of the connector. In the case of our sample, that button is also rhodium, I believe.

PLUSSOUND Copper XL balanced pentaconn plug on white backgroundPLUSSOUND Copper XL balanced pentaconn plug on white background

Handling & Comfort

The Copper XL cable is quite flexible and easy to bend, especially for such a large 18AWG gauge cable. The cable is also very comfortable to wear and no discomfort was noted during testing, not even from the bend around my ears.

Given its natural thickness, however, there are a couple of points to be aware of.

First, the cable wraps up fairly easily to be stored, but there are times when it tends to bend out of place when wrapping, which prevents it from keeping the wrapped shape. Considering the nice leather pouch, this is not really of too much concern.

Secondly, PLUSSOUND did not insert a plastic sleeve or ear hook before each connector which can result in the bend not staying in place as readily as a regular ear hook might.

There is a greater than 90-degree bend approximately ¾” from the rose gold sleeve though, allowing the cable to tuck neatly behind the ear. When not using the cable cinch, I did find a bit of movement from the cable while I traveled around the house.

Using the cable cinch can also help to minimize what little cable microphonics are present by keeping the cable in place. Even with the above-mentioned potential issues, the cable laid quite nicely and without bother, during use.

PLUSSOUND Copper XL accessoriesPLUSSOUND Copper XL accessories

Packaging & Accessories

The newest addition to the PLUSSOUND lineup carries on the tradition of exemplary unboxing sessions, with items thought of as standard in the luxury bracket. The Copper XL does not fail in that regard.

The cable comes in the standard PLUSSOUND cable packaging which is a small rectangular box laden with the PLUSSOUND logo and verbiage. The black color of the box is coupled with a shiny silver “PS” logo, which is a carryover from the highly successful other lines.

Inside the box, there is a rectangular glass plate which, when lifted, reveals a black leather pouch housing the Copper XL cable. The pouch is also big enough to carry the cable tethered to your favorite IEM without bother.

Underneath this, there is a separate section that includes a black leather cable tie, warranty card, thank you note, PLUSSOUND sticker, and cleaning cloth. The leather pouch and cable tie are of high quality while still being soft and supple simultaneously.

PLUSSOUND Copper XL paired with Empire Ears Legend XPLUSSOUND Copper XL paired with Empire Ears Legend X

Performance Impressions

The following performance impressions were completed using the Copper XL paired with the Empire Ears Legend X and Spirit Torino IEM Twin Pulse Beryllium IEM.

Sources and amps included the Shanling M6 Pro connected to the FiiO K9 Pro ESS and iFi Audio iDSD Diablo 2 as additional power sources.

Summary

The PLUSSOUND Copper XL adds a touch of richness and warmth, as one might expect from an all-copper cable, but surprisingly to me, the level of detail rose as well.

Better clarity helped with instrument placement and provided a succinctness to the tonality that showed well without becoming dry or analytical—seemingly two antithetical responses when dealing with previous all-copper cables.

Timbre

Copper is known to add more color to a signature than silver, seemingly at the expense of detail. That does not seem to be the case with the Copper XL.

The sub-bass and mid-bass ranges from our paired IEMs showed improved clarity, while also reaching deeper. Paired with the warmer, richer signature of the Shanling M6 Pro it did not make the duo too dark or molasses-like, benefitting from the Copper XL’s excellent level of detail.

While the control is tighter, the note weight carries through with a clarity-driven naturalness that follows a copper cable’s main suit.

There was an excellent grumble down low, with plenty of reverb through the Legend X, lightening the overall tendency for the LX to sound too dark and uncontrolled. The grunt down low did not carry over into the mids, allowing the transition to proceed smoothly.

Resolution in the midrange follows the same presentation pattern as the Silver Plated Copper XL but with a more organic performance. Midrange clarity carries forward with a slight lifting to the presence region, with better detail retrieval.

This elevation carries over into the upper region, allowing for a smooth transition with the grace for which copper cables are known.

This is among the smoothest transitions I have heard from a copper IEM cable and done so without losing detail or becoming too smooth in overall character.

Staging & Dynamics

The Copper XL seemingly added height to an already quite good soundstage, as well as expanding width to accommodate the extension of the notes. Layering proceeded smoothly (aided by the excellent timbre), with a thicker presence across those layers.

However, the tying together still marked a complete signature as opposed to separate expanses in sound. Having distinct layers also seems to be an antithesis to copper cables, but the Copper XL carried on with aplomb.

I found the cable quite enticing and the engaging music allowed me to become enveloped in the music. The level with which the Copper XL presents detail retrieval allows the user to differentiate between not only the layers but also the precise placement of instruments. 

Tying this all together, the imaging afforded the compositions to show individual merits, while presenting an overall organic nature with a precision you may not expect from a pure copper cable.

Click on page 2 below for my recommended pairings and selected comparisons.

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