Before starting this review, I would like to share technical aspects and package details.
Also, I would like to thank to Penon Audio for this opportunity.
This is the link where you can buy the GD849; https://penon-official.com/
8 shares, single share contains 49 cores, a total of 8 × 49.
18K OCC gold-plated cables
The solder joints is silver–contained tin
Carbon fiber metal splitter and CNC integrated slider
Copper Gold-plated plug
Cable length: 1.2M
Lotoo Paw Gold
Astell & Kern AK120
GD849 comes like other Penon cable cases. The contents are also exactly the same. I won’t complain about anything because I like the velvet pouch and that wooden case. I already said that in my previous review but I would like to say again. In this price range, this is the best package content I’ve ever seen. When unboxing, it feels premium with those presentation. Velvet pouch, cable clip, wooden case and Penon patch are all great. All in all, I really liked the package and contents.
GD849 is a really beautiful cable which I like that flat braided design. Cable color is gold and it looks like a luxury necklace. My cable has 2.5mm jack and 2pin sockets but you may select MMCX, 4.4mm, 3.5mm or some other options. The cable itself is pretty thick and heavy but I never had any issue with them. Cable is not thin, so you may need some big case for your earphone and cable to store. Cable itself feels solid and sturdy and it is built like a tank. Also, the material is pretty soft. I like the finish and metal Y splitter. Another great thing about GD849, there is no memory wire like other Penon cables. I don’t know what you guys think but I hate memory wire, and I never get any good fit with them. Overall, I am very pleased with the package content, comfort and quality of GD849.
When I got the cable, I was thinking that it must be warmer and darker cable, but I was wrong. Yes, it is slightly warm but it is not dark or muddy. Overall sound is warm, energetic and detailed. If I have to describe in one word for GD849, I chose the “musicality”. Treble is smooth yet detailed and prominent. I tried with my Earsonics S-EM9 and when I switched from stock cable to GD849, sound became alive. S-EM9 has one of the detailed IEMs in the market. After switching to the GD849, it absolutely improved the details and it has more treble sparkle than the stock cable. I have heard more details in the music and it added clarity and air which feels soundstage wider. Although up front high frequencies, it is not harsh or sibilance. Mid frequencies are smooth, energetic and lively. S-EM9 mids a tad of recessed and GD849 adds some body and slightly pulled forward. Low mids are more bodied. Also, vocals came forward and overall sound got little bit thicker than the stock cable. Vocal presentation is more emotional and smoother. Instruments timbre feels bolder than it should be, but it is not reference cable and it is focusing more on musicality. Bass is the best part of the GD849. It is more controlled and it goes deeper than the stock cable. S-EM9 bass is one of the best-balanced armature bass I’ve heard after 64 Audio U12, and GD849 improved the bass performance of S-EM9. Bass goes deeper and it is more layered than the stock cable. One thing that I don’t like, it is make bass response slow. GD849 makes soundstage is wider but not a huge improvement, but depth is much more sensible level. Overall, I like the S-EM9 with GD849 but some people might don’t like that warm and thick sound.
Also, I tried with my Nocturnal Atlantis IEM, and I am pretty impressed by the result. Atlantis has neutral with slightly warm sound signature and sometimes I want to hear more authoritative bass response. GD849 add that authoritative bass that I missed. The bass is balanced and rich but not heavy or overpowering, extends very well. It is also controlled and does not sound muddy. The mids are a bit forward and thick which makes vocals and most instruments sound little bolder. The treble extends well and it has a nice sparkle without being too much. GD849 matches great with neutral and slightly bright earphones. Synergy between GD849 and Atlantis are better than the S-EM9. I tried GD849 with my Oriolus Reborn but I didn’t like the sound. Bass became boomy and it makes mid hump very prominent. Reborn’s sound is already thicker and extra sauce makes it too much for me.
Vs Effect Audio Ares :
EA Ares is one of the most popular cable in the market and I also quite like them. GD849 and Ares have two different sound signatures and they are differing in many ways. When I compare them side by side, Ares is brighter and more linear than the GD849. Upper frequencies are more prominent and airier with Ares. Actually, GD849 is also prominent but warm sound signature makes them smooth and relaxed and it feels like laid back. Mid frequencies are neutral and slightly warm with Ares. GD849 has forward and thick mid presentation and that bolder notes make vocals emotional and smooth. Bass is more emphasis with GD849 in terms of quantity and quality. Ares has more controlled and tight bass but when I compare side by side it feels laid back. Soundstage is airier with Ares but depth is better with GD849.
Vs PW Initial :
Initial is one of my favorite cables and they share some similarities with GD849. Both cables are 8 braided and they look very similar. Sound wise, Initial has smooth and relaxed trebles like GD849 except a tad of laid back. Both cable’s trebles extend pretty well. GD849 is a little bit airier and separation is more definable. Initial mid frequencies are slightly less forward and bright than GD849. GD849 is more forward and thicker than Initial. GD849 bass is punchier and it goes deeper than Initial. Initial is more controlled and it has better layered and detailed bass. With warm source GD849 feels little bit slow. Both Initial and GD849 have great sense of soundstage but Initial feels wider and airier due to its brighter presentation compare to GD849.
Panon Audio keep producing great cables like other models that they have made. GD849 is another great cable in terms of sound and material quality. It feels really expensive, and also looks expensive. Package contains are also great. GD849 is not the best cable in terms of transparency and it is not the largest sounding cable, but its musical and engaging sound signature add some liveliness of your lifeless earphone and moves to the next step. If you are looking for musical, warm and detailed cable, I can easily recommend it at this price range. Its retail price is absolutely steal.