A $599 Cable with Exceptional Cost-performance? The OSLO Cable isn’t Just About Convenience: A Phileweb Review
This OSLO review was sourced from phileweb and written by Atsushi Takuma.
Translated and adapted by Asher Yeo
See the original article here
Sound Preferences Aside, This is a Cable that’s Objectively Convenient:
The elements earphone uses look for in a replacement cable can roughly be divided into 3 categories
Whether a replacement cable is suitable for a pair of monitors largely depends on what kind of sound compliments monitor’s original tuning. This means that an individual listener’s favourite cable-IEM combinations are almost entirely dependent on their own preferences: These are just some reasons why a universally good cable does not exist.
One aspect of this element is the portion of the cable we know as the ear-hook. This bit of the cable may be enhanced by a mouldable metal wire, resin or even “free-form” non-moulded hook-types. The fit of this portion and the way it loops around the users’ ears also depends on what the user likes. This means that it's impossible for a universally fitting cable to exist, too.
However, when it comes to functionality, there’s a replacement cable on the scene with the sort of practicality most everyone will welcome.
That is DITA's latest OSLO Cable, and it’s presently retailing for $599 USD.
As of time of writing, a universal MMCX version and DITA Twins version is available.
The 2-pin and FitEar terminations are still awaiting release in Japan.
From 3.5mm to 4.4mm to 2.5mm: The Awesome Plug Supports (Almost) Everything!
What's this prattling on about ”functionality”?
I’m talking about DITA’s ultimate weapon “the Awesome Plug!”
As you can probably see, the images above contain multiple connector sizes:
All these plug options come included within the packaging of the OSLO cable.
This really is a universally convenient function for most everybody, especially for those who want the immersion that comes with using the balanced output on the DAP but also want the convenience of listening to their radio subscriptions on their smartphones.
This can also be a useful feature for those who have transitioned entirely to TWS earphones for their smartphone and only need, say, a 2.5mm plug for their DAPs. These users now have the convenience of an available 4.4mm plug should they choose to switch machines, letting them use the same OSLO cable on 2 entirely different setups. This system goes a long way in giving the end user a peace-of-mind.
Given that high-end cables really don’t come cheap, a cable that’s functional in multiple situations and that’s convenient to use on most machines is a huge boon that DITA wants to provide. The Awesome Plug gives the OSLO cable a high cost-performance factor that’s certainly going to be a big reason to own this one.
Moving Along from the Plug, The Cable Itself is Quite the Powerhouse
Despite what we’ve talked about above, a replacement cable of the OSLO’s price bracket isn't going to get by with simply being “convenient”.
I’d like to reassure my readers that the OSLO cable’s merits don’t just end at the convenience of the Awesome Plug.
In fact, even if you took away the Awesome Plug system entirely, the OSLO cable still has ample strength to stand on its own. It's a strong contender in the high-end cable category.
Let’s kick off by talking about the product’s specifications, we’ll move into talking about the sound a little later.
The conductors themselves are made from oil-soaked PC-Triple C Long Crystal Copper. While the nanoparticle oil the conductors are soaked in is made from squalane, an oily substance found in the bladders of deep-sea sharks. Gold and silver nanoparticles have been added in the mix.
Applying this mixture to the conductor’s surfaces will smooth and fill fine irregularities, making for smoother, more accurate, signal transmission.
Incidentally, it should be noted that squalane oil is widely used in cosmetic applications and is safe. It’s widely used as a lubricating agent. This writer personally uses squalane oil to facilitate the removal of the nuts and saddle on his guitar. Some audiophiles also use squalane oil to maintain highly complicated equipment with small moving parts.
The cable sheath is made of polyethene, its not too thick, it’s flexible and easy to handle. It’s easy to wind up and put away. While cables that are too thin and soft may get tangled easily.
The absence of a memory wire allows the cable to drape naturally around the ear making wearing experience smooth and comfortable
The splitter is made of what looks like aluminium with brand name emblazoned on the top. It’s appropriately weighty. While weight may sound like a negative, it’s beneficial in this case, helping to pull the cables snug around the ears, applying downward tension and stabilising the earphones.
The current OSLO lineup is as follows
Cables for the company’s Twins Series and a universal MMCX configuration is out. Universal 2-pin and MMCX will be released in the future. I’ve managed to borrow an MMCX prototype and a 2 Pin prototype for the purpose of this review. As far as I know, the 2 termination will be undergoing a revision very soon. As such, please note that what is written above may be subject to change!
There’s a little bit of a protrusion after the connector, this is to accommodate monitors with a sunken-in connector. However, on the flip side, there’s going to be a bit of the connector’s base showing when the cables are used with normal IEMs, the connector itself also becomes slightly longer.
One of the main boons of the OSLO cable seems to be its versatility regardless of the monitor its combined with: As such, the cable certainly works with most IEMs. This characteristic of the OSLO Cable, paired with the universal connector on the DAP-end of the cable makes the OSLO cable suitable for various configurations
Giving Reference Earphones Warmth and Nuance
The OSLO cable does make an impact on the sound of the earphones. But it generally enhances the earphones in terms of making them the sound more liquid and richer. These are also two of the major takeaways for the OSLO cable.
I paired it with my Shure SE846 thinking “This is going to be great!”, the SE846 is, after all the most reference offering in Shure’s lineup. It’s a relatively uncoloured sound.
Combining the SE846 with the OSLO Cable produced a sound that was richer and more fluid than the SE846's original sound. The OSLO cable took the edge off the stock tuning of the SE846 giving a smooth, liquid feel to the whole setup.
That said, there’s always the concern that making the overall tuning of a setup warmer and more fluid would sacrifice the resolution and sharpness of the earphones. Thankfully, I haven’t ran into this issue and the sharpness and detail remained the same as always.
A good example of which earphones are and aren't suitable to be paired with the OSLO cable are the E5000 and E4000, both members of final’s E Series.
The E4000, with it’s clean sound, was a great match with the OSLO cable, much like the SE846, the E4000 doesn’t possess a lot of its own colouration, allowing the cable to take the edge off the earphones and the allowing the E4000's monitors to tamp down the sweetness of the cable, resulting in a sound that can be described as “clear but rich”.
On the other hand, when pairing it with a pair of earphones that are already fluid, like the E5000, the effects of the cable rolling doesn’t come through too easily, there isn’t a particularly large need for a combination like that.
Giving Great Cost Performance to Fans of the Sound Signature
The OSLO cable is versatile and all-purpose, however, its sound profile does suit some users more than others.
That in addition with the fact that certain monitors may be better suited to the OSLO cable, makes the OSLO a product that should be purchased according to the listening profile of each user.
That being said, the OSLO cable is by no means flawed. It is cable that changes the character of a pair of earphones, while upping the resolution of the monitors in general.
If you’ve fallen in love with a cable, you’d want to use it for a long time, the OSLO cable comes with a plug change system. Thanks to this, even if you changed your DAP you could still use this cable for a long time to come. And as you use your cable for longer and longer periods of time, its cost-perfomance will increase.
For instance, if you used your OSLO cable for 5 years (60 months):
US$599/60=the cable would cost just $10 per month.
It’s really about the same price as a music subscription service, and a cable really is something you can use above and beyond that, so it’s performance at a non-intrusive price.
I personally liked the cable's functionality and sound very much. But I'm troubled that you can only choose one sort of termination on the earphone side.
The OSLO cable may be excellent for long-term cost performance. But your humble writer doesn’t have the short-term funds to buy all MMCX, Fitear and 2-Pin terminations.
My money troubles aside, the OSLO Cable might be the perfect thing for you if you're looking for a long-lasting replacement cable.