ISN Audio AG8

Before starting this review, I would like to share technical aspects and package details.

Here is the link of ISN Audio: https://penonaudio.com/isn-audio-ag8.html

Specifications:

Model: AG8

Material: High purity silver

Number of cores: 8 shares

Connector: MMCX/2pin 0.78mm

Plug:3.5mm audio/2.5mm/4.4mm balanced gold-plated

Cable length: 1.2M

Test Equipment:

Opus #1

Earmen TR-Amp

Chord Mojo

Oriolus Reborn

Shozy Neo BG

Nocturnal Atlantis

Customart Fibae 2

Package, Design;

ISN AG8 comes with a standard small blue ISN cardboard box and everything inside of the nylon carry case. The cable is hefty and it is pretty thick because of the 8 braided design. It does not claim great comfort and ergonomic but still it is comfy with its soft and gentle material. Besides its beautiful looking, it also gives built like a tank feeling in hand. All sockets, y splitter, and jacks have a golden black pattern design which looks great with the metallic golden-brown color of the cable itself. There is a blue and red indicator on sockets to help which one is right and left. Gold plated jack has 3 options like 2,5mm, 3.5mm, and 4,4mm, also you can order MMCX or 2pin sockets. Overall build and material are great, especially its price tag.

Sound:

Surprisingly AG8 doesn’t have that typical silver cable sound like bright top end, tight lower with the sterile presentation. It is surprisingly smooth and lush like copper cable but also has great clarity and details. it has a similar characteristic sound like copper cable, with a bodied and warm presentation. It does not touch the upper frequencies as expected from the silver cable, but it helps to make it clearer and cleaner. AG8 makes the biggest change in mid frequencies, in my opinion. It makes mid sound meatier, fuller, and it takes the vocals forward. Although it does not make a serious change in the bass, it makes slightly tighten and makes more controlled. The stage is one of the things that the AG8 does well and it opens the stage quite well and opens the distance between the instruments.

Generally, silver cable makes noticeable changes especially in upper frequencies like increasing quantity, extension, and making it brighter. However, the AG8 making some improvements and minimal changes on upper frequencies. It provides a smooth airiness without cutting the details and offers a cleaner sound but it doesn’t do so much change. Instead of making major changes, it creates a more organic and natural concert by adding a warm and smooth character to the existing sound. I believe it would be a nice combination with bright-sounding earphones. However, it should be noted that AG8 has a different presentation than a normal silver cable.

Mid frequencies are where I am most surprised. If someone hadn’t told me that this was a silver cable, I would have invested all my money in the copper cable. It unexpectedly adds body to the mid frequencies and emphasizes the bass on lower mids. Vocals are also affected by the warm, bodied, and smooth presentation. The vocals are forward, with body and texture, which like. Although it adds body to the sound and pulls it a little forward, it certainly does not narrow the scene, on the contrary, it offers a more spacious and airier concert by spreading it over a larger area.

The AG8 does not make any drastic changes in the amount of extension of the bass, but it makes the bass more controlled and increases its quality. Bass has become cleaner and more controlled, plays smoother. All of the earphones that I tried it clean up the grain on the bass and increase the quality. In this sense, AG8 makes improvements in the existing sound rather than improving the physical sound of the bass.

Compare:

ISN AG8 vs PW Single Crystal Silver:

PW is a great and well-known cable company and I have some of their cables in my collection. PW Single Core Silver is 4 braided silver cable. Both cables are great in terms of material and build quality. Due to the high braid count of AG8, PW provides better ergonomic with its lighter and smaller size. Sound-wise PW has a typical silver cable sound while AG8 is more like a hybrid of copper and silver. Trebles are more extended and sparkle on PW and changes are more noticeable while AG8 makes it smoother and warmer with great natural feelings. Mids are more forward, bold and thicker on AG8 while PW has more clarity and bright presentation. Vocals are more distinct and slightly laid back on PW while AG8 has forward and more organic vocal performance. Bass has similar quantity and quality on both but PW has slightly less impact. The soundstage is almost the same but AG8 has slightly airier.

 

ISN AG8 vs Rhapsodio SGD2.98 MK2:

SGD 2.98 MK2 is the new version of the legendary MK1 and it is a great cable that I use with my Anole VX. Both cables have fantastic build and material quality that they also look so good in the hand. MK2 is 4 braided but you can get it 8 braided as well. MK2 has a smooth and warm-sounding cable while AG8 is a brighter and open-sounding cable. AG8 is airier and more spacious on trebles while MK2 has warm and tamed. Mids are more forward and lush on MK2 and it adds more body-on sound while AG8 is slightly less bodied and warm. Vocals are slightly more forward on MK2 while AG8 is laid back. MK2 has more in quantity and adds more impact on the sound which improvements are pretty noticeable. AG8 adds more control and tightness, other than that it leaves as it is.  

ISN AG8 vs Effec Audio Eros:

Eros is MK1 version and has 22 awg 4 braid. There is some oxidation on my Eros and I believe this is not the litz. I like its sound but I don’t like it looks anymore because of ugly oxidation. Both cables have great material and build quality (except oxidation of Eros) Their sounds quite similar in some areas. Eros makes more change on trebles and it adds more sparkle and improves the extension while AG8 is smoother and warmer. Mids are flat and almost lifeless on Eros when I compare with AG8. The smooth and warmer sound of AG8 gives a more natural feeling. It has more body and vocals sound better in tonality but also it is slightly bolder. Eros provides a more realistic sound while AG8 is more excited and natural on mid frequencies. They have similar bass quantity and do not add extra rumble and impact but improve the control. 

Verdict:

ISN Audio is a brand with very good products in terms of price performance and seems to have continued this tradition with the AG8. The AG8 is a different cable from the typical silver cable and the changes it has made to the sound are not similar to the usual silver cable. With its smooth, body and natural sound structure, it is a cable dedicated to being a safe pair with many earphones. It is also a very nice cable in terms of construction and material quality. Overall AG8 is a great cable for the money.

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