If you ask me about the best budget cable brands, I can easily name ISN Audio. All of their cables, which I have tested so far is not only budget-friendly but also very good in quality. From ISN audio cables ISN Audio S4 was a gem, it defeated some high-end cables still being affordable. Now as soon as they released the S4, I was hoping for a copper version of 4 wire cable and yes they did it. ISN Audio C4 is not only a copper version of 4 wire cable but it has overcome some shortcomings of ISN Audio S4 and I would like to thank Penon Audio for sending this C4 unit to me for review.
Specifications of ISN Audio C4 Cables
- Length – 1.2M/ 4ft,
- Core – 4, single strand is 63 cores, a total of 252 cores,
- Conductor – Single Crystal Copper,
- Coating – PU/Teflon,
- Connector – 2 pins 0.78 mm or MMCX,
- Termination – 2.5mm Balanced, 3.5mm Single-Ended, and 4.4 Balanced,
- Weight – 20 grams approx,
IEMs used with Origin in this review
Presentation, Design & Build Quality of ISN Audio C4 Cables
Like all of ISN Audio cables, C4 comes inside the same blue paper box. You can see the cable through the transparent window of the box, and all the specifications have been printed backside of the box. The cable has been secured with foam inside the box too. Now as this cable is not as cheap as ISN Audio’s 8 wire versions, I think a new/better presentation( bamboo wood box or a round metal box) could have done.
ISN Audio C4 cable is a 4 core cable like ISN Audio S4, and totally hand made. 24 AWG (not sure) separate wires have been hand-braided till splitter, then every two wires separately twisted till the MMCX plugs. Braiding is good and not so tight. ISN audio has used the same black carbon fiber 3.5 plug, splitter, and MMCX plugs in C4 but instead of a big metal chin slider, C4 comes with a small plastic one. The cable feels very soft in hand. Both the 3.5 mm and MMCX male plugs are gold plated and good in quality. ISN Hi-Fi branding has been done on the 3.5 mm plug outer shell.
In terms of build quality and design, ISN Audio C4 is an improved version of S4. The two main problems in S4 were it’s conical MMCX plugs and misaligned memory wire near the MMCX plug. Those conical MMCX plugs are not ideal for easy cable swap, the misaligned memory wire also does not want to stay over the ear so ISN audio learned the lessons and removed the conical MMCX plugs with a new good one and completely removed the memory sleeves. Between S4 and C4, S4 is still the softest cable I have.
Like other good OCC cables, ISN Audio C4 doing its job perfectly. Copper cables mostly add more warmth in sound over the stock cable and C4 also adding more emphasis to the lower frequency part. The sub-bass and mid-bass region get boosted with a good margin. With quantity, the quality of the whole lower-frequency part has improved, more impact and rumble can be noticed easily.
Mids where C4 doing the very minimum job. No noticeable improvement or degradation can be noticed with C4, only a mild boost in the upper-mids is present. In the higher frequency, part, C4 reduced some harshness but not enough to make everything smooth. Still an overall smooth warm sound is what you can expect from your existing IEMs with ISN Audio C4. Soundstage, instrument separation and detail retrieval are good but not as good as the ISN Audio S4.
Effect Audio Vouge Maestro Vs ISN Audio C4
Without the carbon fiber plugs the look and feel of both EA Vogue Meastro and ISN Audio C4 is very similar. C4 is much softer than Meastro and the individual OCC wires are also thicker in C4. C4 is not so stiff like Maestro and feels solid in hand. Sound-wise, it is very hard to make any comment on them, they both sound almost similar. Maestro doing a bit better in the lower-mids; still, this difference could be a margin of error.
‘Good cables for an affordable price’, this could be the motto of ISN Audio; and yes ISN Audio C4 is also a good OCC cable for half the price of an EA cable. Now if you really looking for a cable that can increase the bass response without hurting the other qualities of your IEM, C4 is a perfect option.