Top critical review
KabelDirekt Pro Series 3.5mm stereo jack to jack audio (5m)
on 19 May 2016
Please note, this review is for the 5m length cable, shorter versions of the cable may likely perform better. The 5m length sadly generates considerable hiss compared to similar quality, shorter cables and the audio quality / volume again is sadly lacking in comparison.
PACKAGING, CONTENTS & MEASUREMENTS.
The KabelDirekt Pro Series 3.5mm stereo jack to jack audio cable comes supplied in a plain clear plastic bag bearing a small sticker with basic product information printed on it. Inside the cable is coiled and secured with two black twist ties, the only other contents found within is a small warranty and contact information leaflet.
- The exact length of the cable, excluding the connectors and cable reinforcement is 498cm.
-The connector jacket and cable reinforcement sections measure 24.15mm long on each end.
- The metal connector jacket measures 8.63mm in diameter and the section between the connector and the connector jacket (the section that comes into contact with whatever device the cable is connected to) measures 5.97mm in diameter.
- The cable measures 3.69mm in diameter.
The left, right and ground sections of the cable plug are plated with 24k gold to reduce signal loss (gold is a far better conductor of heat and electricity than carbon based metals such as steel). The connector jackets are constructed from two sections,
the connector and cable are joined within a rather cheap looking black moulded plastic with the cable reinforcement being part of the same construction.
The main section of the jacket between the cable reinforcement and connecter then has a mildly magnetic metal cap screwed on to a plastic thread (which for my liking is a little too easy to remove).
The cable has a black PVC sleeve with no braiding it is kink free and has a good degree of flexibility (the minimum size coil that can be formed without it shifting is about 3"). The first few inches out of the connector is, however noticeably stiffer. There are absolutely no markings on the cable whatsoever and so specification information regarding the cable is unknown.
The nearest quality cable that I have in comparison to the KabelDirekt Pro Series is an (https://www.amazon.co.uk/IBRA%C2%AE-3-5mm-Stereo-Audio-Cable/dp/B007C2MX68). Overall the quality is similar, however the KabelDirekt Pro Series simply looks more premium with its elegant black cable and silver coloured connectors and slightly better quality moulded plastics. By comparison the Ibra looks a little tacky with its white nylon braiding and gold coloured jacket covers that said the metal covers on the Ibra jackets are at least aluminium.
For the last 15+ years or so I have lived by the rule that you should spend about 10% of the value of a device on cables for the said device, per meter, per cable to ensure that you get the best from the device (when it comes to AV equipment). Spend less and the resulting picture / audio quality will likely not be the best that the device can offer, spend more and you are not likely to see any additional benefit. (That said, just because two cables cost the same means they are the same quality, it's just a benchmark of what sort of cables you should be looking at).
This ideology was based on a forum post I read a long time ago by the very intelligent folks over at the Ars Technica OpenForum (the sum collective knowledge of the users on this forum is beyond belief, if you have a technical question that you can not find the answer to I’ll be my last penny that would will find the answer there).
Now if I based the current sale price of the cable in such a calculation, it would imply the cable is best suited for headphones / speakers under £15 in price. The problem is I'm not so sure this is accurate as currently the 1m cable costs more than the 5m cable.
I would also advise that you buy the shortest possible cable length that you can get away with. The longer the cable the greater the resistance offered by the cable which can reduce the audio signal strength which affects the volume and in cheaper cables can also affect the audio quality (such as static or hiss) and obviously longer cables cost more... well usually.
I do have to confess that I have thrown my cable purchase rules out of the window with this particular purchase, simply for the fact I didn't purchase it for myself. I recently gave my neighbours daughter a mini projector, a weatherproof Bluetooth speaker and projector screen to watch films in the garden during summer. I simply bought this cable so she could connect the speaker to the projector and have it placed above or below the screen rather than sitting on the table next to her.
To get the best from such a setup (and what I would have purchased if it were for myself) a cable costing in the region of £5 per meter should have been coupled with the devices.
Unfortunately, I do not have any other 5m lengths of 3.5mm cable for comparison and while my Ibra 1m cable is similar in price and quality (despite a vast difference in length) such a comparison isn't exactly fair or scientific, but I did it anyway.
Testing using my Sony SRS-BTM8 Bluetooth speaker playing music from a Motorola Moto G 2nd Gen I listened to multiple tracks randomly switching the cable over and repeating sections of the song to compare quality. The shorter Ibra cable sounded louder, clearer and also more vibrant, the KabelDirekt Pro cable generated about 300% louder hiss (still undetectable at distances beyond 1m) and sounded a little flat.
Sadly, without access to a 5m length of both cables this comparison is, however somewhat pointless, but it does show that the KabelDirekt Pro isn't really an ideal companion to a mid range speaker (£50-100).