Cables, cables, cables. We love them! Especially those with brilliant value. And in this case, that cable rocks. It’s one of the low-end cables but looks and feels like it would be five times more expensive. When we got a package with three different Cross Lambda cables, I was pretty sure this is the medium model that goes for around $500…how surprised I was when I found out that it is only $120. Even if you don’t believe in cables or something, it’s just worth it for how does it look and perform in hand. Of course, in this case, we’re not missing the sound improvement over standard, cheap cables. Ignite Pro is a wonderful cable, and you’ll know more about that in the following paragraphs.
When it comes to the build quality, Cross Lambda Ignite Pro is one of the best cables at this price point. The version we received is terminated with a 3,5mm jack, and with 2pin connectors on the second end. Each of them is made perfectly. The 3,5mm connector is covered with rhodium, so it’s way more durable than gold, and won’t corrode like copper. The major part of the cable is braided. I can’t tell what material is that, but I assume that it’s cotton. It’s really soft and has no issues with any rip-offs. Many cables struggle with that, and after some time they’re impossible to use, as that can easily change the shape of the cable.
The splitter has the same shape as all Cross Lambda cables, and it’s well made. When the cable splits, there’s no braiding so we can see the copper and some sort of black material that looks spectacular. It’s about the same thickness as the copper. 2pin connectors are simple and well made. They could have had a little different shape, it would have made disconnecting way easier. Anyway, that’s wildly made cable for this price. I could buy it only for the look and build quality, which are top-notch, far above this price point.
Even if the Cross Lambda Ignite Pro is a little chunky and thick, it’s very comfortable. I have no issues using it when I’m sitting by my desk, at work or whenever I’m going to the shop. The only problem is when I’m trying to fit that cable into my earphone case. It’s just too big, so sometimes I have to wrap it two or three times before it will go in. Other than that, I don’t have any complaints regarding its ergonomics.
An IEM cable doesn’t have to be thin and light to be comfortable. Even though the Ignite Pro is on a heavier, chunkier side, it’s yet so soft and playable that it’s a joy to use.
In terms of value, this cable is really similar to Cross Lambda Direction Neo. It improves every part of the sound over the stock ones, but of course, you shouldn’t expect any huge improvement over decent standard cables. The difference is biggest within my Craft Ears Four and theirs stock cable, but with Craft Ears Aurum, the difference isn’t in the quality, it’s in the timbre. But okay, let’s start with the comparison of Ignite Pro vs stock of CE4.
The bass grows a little stronger but smoother at the same time. It performs way better when there’s a need for something more powerful, a little denser. For example, when I’m listening to some rave. In that case, a combo of Ignite Pro and CE4 in the custom version acts perfectly for me. The sound gets a little darker, with a nice amount of subbass. When I launched the “Television Rules The Nation” by Daft Punk, the midbass shines. It’s fast but doesn’t get dry or too hard. It has a fair amount of texture, more than the subbass, but it feels smooth and delicate at the same time. It’s also totally different from bass that Mammoth’s got on their stock cable, where it’s pleasing and rather calm. This time, the Ignite Pro adds a little love to the sound, even if the CE4 on stock cable are charming and delightful. Ending on the kickbass, it’s faster like the midbass, but there’s again not that much texture. It kindly beats the beat, being a little pushed to the back, what’s making a really good impression on me, as it feels like the sound is more filed, more organized. We don’t have anything that punches us in the face, but it isn’t also covered with a blanket or even a duvet.
Let’s move to the midrange, and to Michael Kiwanuka with his “You ain’t the problem”, which is my favorite song he recorded. Unfortunately, at this point, with his voice, the blanket shows up. Usually, that really bothers me, and I’m considering this as a huge con, but this time it’s a little different. Well, for sure, the sound is clear, but it’s moved a little back further and softened. I don’t know why, but this reminds me of Polish highlander music, which is played live in wooden houses or restaurants. I’m not talking about some folk, more of those sad ballads, where the singer got a melancholy, nostalgic voice. Of course, Michael Kiwanuka’s voice isn’t sad, that’s for sure. I’m just trying to say that he’s got that nostalgic effect, which is handed to the listener with this cable. A similar thing applies to the female voices, they’re hidden in a delicate fog, but they’re gaining a nostalgic style. It matches perfectly with “Joanna” by Sevdaliza, but Billie Eilish’s voice is getting a little lost in the rest of the sound. There’s happening too much to listen strictly to her voice. Let’s move to other aspects of the midrange. Detail reproduction is on a very good level, a little below the Cross Lambda Direction Neo, and similar to the ddHiFi BC120B Sky. On the other hand, it’s shown differently, but I’ll get back to that a little later. Also, the midrange is rather smooth, not fully of course. It’s like trying to cover up the acne with makeup. You know it’s here, but it’s hidden.
The treble is great, it’s rather smooth and delicate, but can get a lot of power, like in “brutal” by Olivia Rodrigo, just to get smooth and delicate with “Valentine” by Snail Mail. In some cases, the cable might feel a little too sharp, but I noticed that only with Earmen Eagle and Craft Ears Six, so there’s not much to be worried about. Besides that specific case, there’s always good energy with a generous amount of charm, which makes those highs really enjoyable to listen to. Going down to some other music, let’s take the soundtrack from “The Pianist”. It’s recorded to be rather sad, and with Cross Lambda Ignite Pro it’s perfectly shown. It doesn’t matter which source and which IEMs I’d pick for this soundtrack, it’s always fulfilled with feelings, and not every cable is capable of that, as some go too wild or too soft. This cable is just spot-on in the treble, and I’m in love with that.
Well, the soundstage is the part where Cross Lambda Ignite Pro doesn’t shine. When the size is decent, pretty deep, it’s lacking width. The fact that the sound sources are rather big also doesn’t help. I mean, it’s great if you’re looking for a lush soundstage and imaging, but Ignite Pro is just not capable of creating a powerful soundstage. On the other hand, it performs well with games and movies, making them closer to the listener. Even some random TV series, like Chicago Fire. So if you’re a fan of mobile gaming, or you just want to watch some movies with your IEMs, the Ignite Pro is a great choice.
vs. ddHiFi BC120B
ddHiFi’s cable is way brighter than the Cross Lambda Ignite Pro. It’s trying to show up everything that’s above the midrange and hide what’s under that. Ignite Pro doesn’t do that, it’s more about putting life into the music. Life and emotions, as all songs that I listened to provided different feelings, and I believe that’s what the artists wanted to share. Remember that only the words in the songs go with feelings though. In more technical aspects, the ddHiFi BC120B wins by delivering more texture, and a little more details, but in cost of the timbre, which is a very personal thing.
vs. Cross Lambda Direction Neo
Well, as the Ignite Pro as a younger brother I have to say that they’re not really similar. Direction Neo is a little more technical, a little clearer, while Ignite Pro is lusher, more intimate. I really like them both, but I just can’t forget about the look and build quality of the hero of this review. When I reviewed Direction Neo, I said that it set the bar in terms of build quality really high, but this time Cross Lambda just jumped way further, overtaking even way more expensive cables.
If you have read my previous reviews of IEM cables, then you probably know that $120 is somewhere where we can start looking for upgrade cables. And well, the Cross Lambda Ignite Pro is a perfect start for cable adventures. It’s not the best cable on the market by any means, but it’s a really strong contestant at this price range, and probably the one that provides the most feelings and intimacy with the sound. Pair it with brilliant build quality and stunning looks and we’ve got ourselves a banger!
Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:
- Headphones – Craft Ears Four Custom, Craft Ears Six, Craft Ears Aurum, Moondrop SSP, Noble Audio Django, Lime Ears Pneuma
- Sources– Cayin RU6, xDuoo XD-05 Plus, Earmen Eagle