The audio world is divided into two groups, where the first one tells that cables don’t make a difference. Well, if you’re reading that, you have to be in the second group, which can hear the difference. This time, the difference is easy to hear, so even the first group would fail in blind test. As we know from the ddHiFi webpage, the BC120B is handcrafted to enrich visual color as well as the details of the sound. Did they make it happen? Let’s find out.
Packaging and build quality
ddHiFi is always trying to be on the top in terms of build quality, and this time they almost have done it. But okay, let’s start with the goods. The box is a standard cardboard one, which they’re using with every single product from their offer now. It looks cool, but I’m still missing the old, wooden box.
I have to say it, I fell in love with that cable design. Orange/yellow (ddHiFi tells that it’s red), white, green, and blue strands make that cable the unique one. There are some other colorful cables on the market, like “Vivid” made by Noble Audio, but ddHiFi found a golden mean between vividness and being stealthy. It drags attention, but without doing that in an unpleasant way, like the “Vivid” which is kitschy in my opinion. Sky has something interesting between the jack and splitter. They call it a “Metal stabilizing bucket” which helps to organize that cable, and upgrades the sound quality. I can’t verify that second part, because I don’t have one without it, so we have to trust the producer (well, we’re doing that all the time in the audio world, right?). The cable is terminated with CNC stainless plugs, in my case that’s a 4,4mm jack, which is of really good quality. On the second end of the cable, there are 2pin connectors, also made of stainless steel. And there’s the first problem, the left one is kinda sloppy. It doesn’t keep the earphone as well as the right one, I’ve almost lost one Craft Ears Four in a bus. Besides that, the whole cable is solid. Some other, more expensive cables aren’t made like that.
Not gonna lie, I’ve been using that cable for a long time now, and the comfort is just perfect for me. Maybe that’s not the most flexible and soft cable, but the outer sleeve is really smooth, so the cable doesn’t have any microphone effect, and it doesn’t catch on the clothes. Besides, the metal stabilizing bucket that I’ve mentioned before is remarkably helpful to arrange the cable in case. 4,4mm jack is a strong one, made from bold CNC stainless steel. It makes a really good first feeling which stays with me till the end. If we wouldn’t count that one mistake with the left 2pin connector then we would have a perfectly comfortable cable.
Okay, we’re here. That’s the part where I’m not the happiest person ever, but that’s because of my taste. Around 120 bucks there are so many cables to choose from. Some of them are making a really big difference, and improve the sound quality significantly when the others are not making such a big disparity. BC120B is closer to the first group, so we have an enhancement, but it’s just not as big as some of the others can do.
And one, really important thing. That cable needs about 30-50hours of burn-in process. I know that might sound like bullshit for you, but that’s true. When I first plugged the Sky to my Craft Ears Fours and Cayin N3Pro, I was like, wtf, I’m not going to use that, but when I left that cable playing for two days my opinion has changed a lot.
BC120B vs. Cross Lambda Direction Neo
Similar build, which is slightly better for BC120B, thanks to the smoother sleeve and way better jack connector. You know, I’m not expecting a Furutech at this price range, but ddHiFi set the bar at a very high level.
The bass is a bit moved forward in the Sky. It’s offering a more neutral playstyle, and I’m not the biggest fan of that. Especially, the subbass is way more pushed back compared to the Direction Neo. The texture remains at a similar level, but the details are delicately sharpened using BC120B. It can be useful with some sloppier IEMs, but my Fours don’t know what sloppiness is, so I’m experiencing a little bit too many details in the lows. If you prefer a more technical playstyle there, that might be an option for you. For example, Moondrop SSP achieved a more dynamic and tighter bass with that cable. I think that would happen to some IEMs like Campfire Audio Vega 2020 or Honeydew, which are bassier too, but I can’t test it, because they have MMCX connector.
The midrange is well, specific. It gained a lot of details, but the timbre isn’t my favorite one. Vocals are just colder on BC120B, especially the male ones. They sound like they’re over-textured and over-detailed. So again, if you’re tired of the smoothness of your IEMs, the BC120B can help you to achieve a better experience. If you’re okay with the details on your earphones, the BC120B might add too much. By the way, did you know how tough it is to write a review of a cable when you’ve got a 9-week kitty next to you? Damn.
Going back to the quality, if you’ve heard the newest single of Billie Eilish, the “NDA”, then you know how dark it is, and that’s the song where BC120B is working perfectly. It pushed her vocal to the front, dropped the blanket from her voice, and that’s the thing that I love there. And similar thing happens to other female voices, they’re pushed to the front, and gains a little pleasant shine.
The treble is quite different this time because it’s really similar to the one from Direction Neo. It’s a truly enjoyable treble, with pleasant sparks that won’t hurt your ears. It opened a little more there, but that’s not a significant difference. The overall timbre is only delicately changed, it’s more clinical and clear style. BC120B opened the SSP’s treble, so it’s a lot more vivid and just noticeable.
The soundstage is also a little different from Cross Lambda’s cable. Both cables aim for being more profound than wide, and they keep precise pin-pointing of every sound source. BC120B has slightly less air in the sound, but yet again, that’s not a huge difference. All instruments are having their role, and they’re not combining into one wave of sound.
That’s what is more pleasant in the BC120B is the possibility of sound starting swirling. That’s the thing that adds a lot of enjoyability to the songs that are focused on a soundstage, especially with symphonic music or anything with a bigger squad.
In a few words, the BC120B has a different target in the sound than the Cross Lambda Direction Neo that was made mainly for improvement of the sound, not for changing them. BC120B Sky is there for making the sound more clinic, with a lot more details than stock cables.
Craft Ears Four stock vs ddHiFi BC120B.
So, the difference between stock and BC120B is big. Of course, the build quality is absolutely different, especially when stock has a different target, it’s made for the artists, and it has to be great on the stage. The ddHiFi cable is great if you want to calm down everything under ~800Hz and boost everything above. You’re lacking details and clinical presentation? Here you go, the ddHiFi BC120B Sky is made for you. Besides that, it’ll greatly improve the size of the soundstage, add more air to the sound, but it’s all by the cost of the bass.
Moondrop SSP Stock vs ddHiFi BC120B
The difference is even bigger right there. SSP stock cable lacks the dynamics, so ddHiFi with its technical presentation is changing a lot, turning the SSP to an ever better IEM than it is. The bass gains a lot of speed and texture, even it is a little pushed back and loses some power, it’s still a head shaker, but with a lot more control. It also exposes the female vocals, delicately calms the males, but adds more texture, and a lot more details. The same thing happens with the soundstage, it’s wider and a lot deeper. For some, the vocals might be moved too away, but personally, I like that feeling.
The ddHiFi BC120B Sky is a decent upgrade cable for its price. It’s lovely to use because of its build quality and design. The timbre is specific, it puts the higher midrange way above the bass and lowers mids, so for fans of Asian playstyle or female vocals, it’s a very good option. ddHiFi told us the truth, that their cable will enrich the details, as they enriched the visual color.
I know it’s quite a short review, but as the old meme says, it ain’t much, but it’s honest work.
Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:
- IEMs – Moondrop SSP, Bqeyz Spring 2, Craft Ears Four CIEM, Noble Audio Django (briefly)
- Sources – SMSL SU-9 + SH-9, ddHiFi TC44B, Cayin N3Pro