In this review, I’m looking at the ddHiFi Air NYX earphone upgrade cable. The Air Nyx is currently ddHiFi’s flagship cable and is available in 3 versions: standard, short and SE short. You can choose between a straight or L-shaped balanced 4.4mm termination. It’s priced at $249 – $399 depending on which version you choose.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by ddHiFi for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
ddHiFi Air Nyx (BC130A) Review
Visually stunning and sonically refined, the Air Nyx is a joy to see and hear.
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Precise, holographic imaging
Improved focus, spacing and smooth treble extension
Visually stunning with cohesive aesthetic elements
The Air Nyx arrives in an environmentally-friendly unbleached box. Inside the box, we find the ddHiFi Air NYX (BC130A) cable, a ddHiFi denim carrying case and a warranty card.
Earphone upgrade cables generally improve either the look and handling or audio quality. In the case of the Air Nyx, I’d assert that it does both. They say: “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and I think most people would agree that the Air Nyx looks really stunning.
This hand-crafted cable is a combination of Type II High-Purity Pure Silver, High-Purity oxygen-free copper (OFC) and Silver Plated over long Crystal Copper material Litz wires. The standard version is 120cm long and each strand has a core gauge of 27.2AWG.
Starting at the top of the cable, we find ddHiFi’s patent-pending shielded 2-pin connectors. The connector housings are smooth grey aluminium with a tapered end. Each side is marked with an L or R denoting the left and right sides respectively.
Then there’s the Y-splitter that has 4 vertical slits carved out of it. These slits help reduce the weight of the component in addition to just looking really cool. Next to the splitter is a gold-coloured metal chin slider. The gold colour of the slider adds some nice contrast to the cable’s colourway.
Lastly, we come to the plug. You can choose either a straight or L-shaped plug at purchase. I chose the former out of personal preference. The plug is all metal and ends with a balanced 4.4mm Pentaconn termination.
The end result is this gorgeous cable that feels every bit as good as it looks. Covering the outside of the wires is high-transparency SoftFlex PVC (made in the USA). The outcome of the soft outer insulation combined with the other materials and manufacturing process is a cable that handles beautifully.
Despite being relatively thick, the Air Nyx is both lightweight and supple. As a result, it drapes very nicely and has no kinks or memory. There’s no noticeable microphonics and the cable never seems to become tangled, even after it has been unceremoniously shoved into my pockets.
Curious to hear how ddHiFi’s new flagship cable performed, I paired it up with several IEMs and ran it through its paces. The extra precision the Air Nyx brings out in some of my favourite IEMs came as a bit of a surprise. With its deep black background, each instrument is clearly separated and given its own dedicated space.
It’s the perfect cable for warmer IEMs like the Empire Ears Bravado but it also blends beautifully with brighter IEMs like the FiiO FH5s. The bass extension remains intact, but bass notes have better layering and depth.
It doesn’t have the cool touch that some silver cables exhibit but it tightens up the lows which in turn lends extra air to the mids. Leading edges are more defined, with increased air around each note. Decay gets the same treatment, dissipating progressively faster and tidying up the trailing air. But nothing gets lost in the process. If an IEM has a tendency to rumble, the Air Nyx will encourage it to continue doing so.
Swapping out the stock P1 cable for the Air Nyx on my M-Fidelity SA-50 netted immediate results. The midrange is presented stabler and more composed. As a result, instruments and vocals are seated more firmly in place in addition to being surrounded by cleaner air. Midrange notes come across with crisply focused details and added transparency: the centre image gains density and better separation from the background. So, according to my ears, the Air Nyx is midrange approved.
With the Air Nyx, the stage gains width as the treble accumulates more clean air. Imbuing the highs with better extension benefits not just the treble but the lows and mids as well. It’s like turning a camera lens and seeing everything come into sharper focus. There’s no added sharpness though, just a firmer control that results in more precision.
I knew from the photos that the ddHifi Air Nyx (BC130A) looked the part. But it wasn’t until I had it in my hands that I was certain of how it handles physically. It turned out as good as I’d hoped and then some. The build quality is exquisite and it’s a pleasure to use on a daily basis.
What I didn’t expect was the outstanding audio quality. Its tight but uncompromised bass is accompanied by a steady, focused midrange. That focus is paired with (and in many ways enabled by) the firm but unfettered treble.
Another thing that impresses me about the Air Nyx is the ease with which it pairs with various IEMs. It’s versatile and unfussy about what it’s plugged into. Whether it’s a bright, sparkling IEM or a warm, melodic one, Nyx will weave its spell.