Positive Feedback Logo

Moon Audio Silver Dragon Headphone Cables

11-26-2022 | By Sam Rosen | Issue 124

Do cables make a difference? It is a question I get asked quite often, and it is a question that Audiophiles have debated since the beginning of time. I am not going to directly address that question in this review because for me it does not matter. The way my headphone system is setup, I required a 15ft – 20ft cable for my headphones. This means I have to purchase an aftermarket cable. My goal is to simply purchase the best aftermarket cable I can find. For this review I will use my reference cable as a base, my WyWires Platinum 20ft cable, that I purchased through a retail channel about 6 months ago ($1800 as configured), and compare them to a 20ft Moon Audio Premium Silver Dragon cable which Drew from Moon Audio loaned me two months ago for this review ($690 as configured).

Both cables are terminated for my Hifiman Susvara, and both use quarter inch single ended jacks on the amp end. The Moon Audio cable does have an advantage of being a single cable. The WyWires cable is actually 3 cables: an amp connector, a 13ft run, and a headphone connector. Each break using a mini 4 pin XLR. I do not believe this will make a substantial difference but it is worth noting.

Both Alex from WyWires and Drew from Moon Audio are a pleasure to work with and the buying experience is exactly what you would expect from high cost aftermarket cables. The Moon Audio cable is made from silver and the WyWires cable is made from copper and uses a proprietary graphene compound. The WyWires cable (without the 3 breaks) retails for about three times the cost of the Moon Audio Silver Dragon. Using the WyWires as a base, the question is how does the Moon Audio Silver Dragon perform in comparison?

To help ensure the comparison if fair, I fixed the system parameters and I am using my most transparent headphone. The goal is simply to establish a base, and then discuss how switching to the next cable changes the experience.

For my review I will be using the following:

  • Roon Rock (FLAC, Qobuz, Tidal)
  • Pro-Ject Stream Box S2 Ultra
  • Chord MScaler
  • Chord Dave
  • Ampsandsound Bigger Ben
  • Hifiman Susvara
  • All interconnects are Wireworld Equinox series, USB is a FTA USB Cable

Starting with the WyWires Platinum Cable

The WyWires cable is a nice cable, but I have never particularly loved the finish of the cable—it is a bit utilitarian (industrial) in its overall finish. The quarter inch cable is a standard gold plated Neutrik connector and the 2.5mm connectors for the headphone are also gold plated. I am not sure who the manufacturer of the headphone connector is but they appear to be more "premium" than what one finds from stock cables. While looks are not everything, it would be nice to see higher end connectors and a more "premium" feeling cable.

Queuing up the test tracks, the thing that describes the WyWires Platinum is neutrality. This cable is not adding anything to the bottom or top end, but it is also not subtracting anything. The clarity is lovely, and I find myself turning down the volume when I am using this cable. This is  not because it is fatiguing, but because of its clarity, I just don't need the extra volume. Spatial queues are also presented well, with a sound stage that is both tall and wide. I do find the image my headphones produce with this cable to be slightly more diffuse, but this is only noticeable when directly comparing to other cables.

The tonality appears to be correct, and things sound the way they should. Overall the WyWires is a very nice cable which is one of the reasons it is a permanent fixture in my audio system and is currently my reference headphone cable.

Stacking the Moon Audio Premium Silver Dragon

The Moon Audio Premium Silver Dragon is a nice looking cable. High-end Furutech Rhodium connectors are used and when you hold the cable you feel like you are holding a "premium" product. Between the two visually, for me the Moon Audio takes the cake. The only complaint I have with the build quality is from the Y to the headphone; the cable feels quite fragile. To be clear it is not fragile, but it looks and feels like it is and I wish there was a way to make it feel more sturdy. The cable's jacket is a nice dull silver and it looks good with pretty much any headphone you may have.

When I received the cable, Drew from Moon Audio told me to let the cable run in for about 60 hours before doing any critical listening. I followed his instructions and let the cable run for about 80 hours before I began my listening test.

As the name suggests, the Silver Dragon is a silver cable, in contrast with the WyWires cable which is copper. Most people would say that silver cables tend to be brighter, and copper cables are more mid centric and bass centric. The Silver Dragon does not subscribe to stereotypes; while it is detailed, it has a smooth sound signature, smoother then the WyWires. In contrast the WyWires has greater overall clarity, which can be very exciting, but if you have a bad recording, the Silver Dragon will help make it a better listening experience where the WyWires will not.

Bass extension is about the same on both cables, and detail retrieval is neck and neck. In my listening tests the main difference I found was with the sound stage. The Silver Dragon produces a wide sound stage, but it is not overly tall. The WyWires by contrast produces a similar width but adds much more height. This height with the WyWires comes by sacrificing image clarity; the WyWires is slightly more diffuse, where the Moon Audio Silver Dragon is very precise.

Concluding Thoughts

Cable reviews are hard, but they are important as so much money can be spent on aftermarket cables and some guidance needs to exist for the consumer. To put it simply, WyWires and Moon Audio make excellent cables and you will likely be quite happy with both. The main questions are: who is providing more value? And where is the line?

When I look at value, the Moon Audio is a great buy. Sonically the Silver Dragon is extremely close to the WyWires Platinum, and the premium look and feel make me feel like I bought a $690 cable. In contrast, while the WyWires Platinum performs slightly better, the cable itself does not visually present itself to the level of fit and finish of the Moon Audio Silver Dragon; but then that is how I see things. While I will not be keeping the Silver Dragon, I find myself wishing I had listened to it before I purchased the WyWire. It's not that the WyWires suffer in comparison, I just think the Moon Audio Silver Dragon would have been enough for my needs, and that is the biggest endorsement I can give. Any of the perceived differences were only revealed in back to back comparison. I spent the last two months listening with the Silver Dragon cable everyday and could not have been happier.

The last thing I want to talk briefly about is proportional investment. Cables in my opinion are finishing elements to a system. In my experience they will not dramatically alter the sound signature of your system but will provide slight changes perceived in extension, sound stage, and smoothness. With that in mind it is important not to over invest in cables. I own a WyWires Platinum cable for my headphone system because that cable is less then 15% of the total retail value of my headphone system. My rule is that cables, especially headphone cables, should not exceed 20% of your overall system. Once you go over 20% I believe it makes more sense for you to invest in other parts of your system as it likely will provide more long term value. My philosophy on cable costs makes it even easier to recommend Moon Audio as they provide a ton of value and better build materials for a reasonable price compared to the competition.

Moon Audio Silver Dragon

Retail: $315 (5 feet standard length)

WyWires Platinum

Retail: $599 (5 feet length)



Moon Audio