Unless they have no business here because their ears aren't trained enough, even diehard all-cables-sound-alike types who are honest with themselves will soon have to see their confessor. No worries, the oath of his office binds him to confidentiality. Or, break the mirror. The thinner cable with half the already very low inductance of the thicker cable demonstrably does not sound alike. That's the same for both headphones. Owners of Magna who want to narrow the gap of aeration and related inside-out visualization can do that with the Star-8. With Satis, textures go more matte, resolution dulls some in lockstep as does separation. On the costlier leash, Magna's general Susvara parity other than dynamics and some body where it already had more also added an undeniable resolution lead; on an amp of Enleum's calibre fronted by the Laiv DAC¹. My other amps narrowed the exploded-on-top effect. Just so, the ribbon triplets still out-aired, out-scaled and out-staged the twins when both used the €1'000 silver cable.

And there was another difference. Magna's upper bass felt a bit fuller. It gave that band more weight and darkness. Immanis moved more air below. That plus the even more activated 'air flimmer' which meant more audible space made Immanis project bigger but also feel a bit more – er, spirit infused which made Magna the more material or earthy. In generic terms it meant acoustic vs. amplified performances where Immanis was the first, Magna the second. To me club beats sounded somewhat fatter on Magna but Immanis tracked synth-based true sub bass even better. As such I didn't hear a true iron-clad hierarchical order. Cost no object, Immanis clearly had my heart. What likely influenced my preference as well was that I listen to far more acoustic than amplified fare. Trying to put myself into the shoes of rockers who rotate heavy metal, grunge and industrial techno where my tastes can't go, I can easily envision how matter textures, slightly thicker connective tissue and a seemingly punchier mid bass could tip the scales over even grander staging and small-detail magnification. Rather than dub Magna the 2nd-born doomed to forever live in the 1st-born's tall shadow; or call its sonics following being physically smaller and lighter to also sounding more compact – it could be fairer to split the target audience along musical tastes? Up to that question though not its answer is as far as my second day of comparative listening got me. Beneath it bubbled subtext. Magna leashed with Star-8 had now usurped my residential Susvara spot. Immanis to me played in an even higher league. Not having heard the big Abyss or Spirit Torino but knowing how new contributor Simone sold off both Susvara and Abyss to end up with Immanis and Valkyria Titanium instead… could this be as good as it currently gets? For this question I'd not have any answer regardless of how long I spent with my two Raal 1995 loaners. It'll be for somebody else's therapist to figure out who has heard everything that's out there.

The branded Immanis flight case in anthracite grey as backdrop for the two cables.

¹ Even more than Magna, Immanis really stretched the performance gap between my three ribbon stations. It's important to stress that to hear Immanis' 'true' distance from Magna requires ancillary hardware of matching pedigree. In my own case, I hadn't yet fully appreciated how much better the AMP-23R is as a headphone driver to my in-house alternates. And whatever might exist beyond the Enleum I don't even know about.

Personal highlights of Immanis were many. In no particular order, I start with treble effulgence and micro detail. Both of these qualities or actions were incredible. For a brilliant example, spin up "View from a Window" from the classic space album Transfer Station Blue by Michael Shrieve and Klaus Schulze. All album covers are linked again. There's a load of synth-generated HF effects here. Nobody can possibly know what they're supposed to sound like. They're utter artifice. Yet what we can tell easily enough is just how much more or less of it we make out when we swap transducers. To get poetic again if just for a small indulgent moment, to my imagination these treble sounds suggest shimmering starlight, solar winds, astral humming birds whose fluttering wings tremble dew drops in spider webs and such. These chirps and sweeps occur all throughout the track, albeit at different degrees of loudness relative to what else goes on. Suffice to say that Immanis tracked more of this gossamer stuff in ways I've not heard before. For more planktonic puffery, cue up "Khallik Fekirni" from Aytaç Dogan's solo album Deva. There's super-fine stick work throughout. Again, Immanis resolved those micro clicks and ticks against far louder main threads with a perspicacity that was news to me.

Next let's talk percussive textures. Cue up "Elle" from the Smadj album Dual. It features heavy synth percussion, electrified oud and a very mean wooden traverse flute compliments of Sylvain Barou. This really is a trickily mastered track with many crisscrossing beats. Over Immanis those acquired radically more numerous and dissimilar surface textures. Even the sub bass echo immediately following each main slam starting at 0'40" had pitch definition and stoppage which eludes most in-room speakers unless a super-clean sub is in play. Likewise for the beats on Bob Holroyd's "The sheer Weight of Memory" from A Different Space. Some smacked or snarled, some were more hollow. Some were sharp and crisp, some ringy or redolent. If we call this variability of beat flavours percussive textural bandwidth, Immanis stretched it far beyond normal. It's important to say that my YouTube links are mere pointers. If you listen through the YouTube compression algo via earbuds off a smartphone, even nicer headfi hanging off a laptop or PC, you'll at best have glimpses of what I'm writing about. I know this because I duplicated a prior playlist from my most serious setup to my work computer, then monitored for correct links with €600 dynamic cans on YouTube. Good grief. Those budget cans couldn't capture the half of it with lossy files. If that's all I had whilst reading what I describe here, I'd think "what the hell is he on about". If you really wish to know, do the work. Look up these tracks on your serious system in full resolution. That'll get you a lot closer to unravelling these subtleties which make all the difference. You simply won't be able to with the next one.

That's when things got outright freaky with Mercan Dede's Alef relative to imaging beyond the skull. My mind actually struggled to accept that Immanis placed certain sounds obviously well past where I knew the headphone to end; and not by a small margin. On that score I didn't think that my winged-out SR1a had anything on this big circumaural. Just how hard this 'in extremis lateralis' shock value can hit obviously depends on how a track was mastered. If and when a crafty DJ/mixer like Mercan Dede applies panning and phase trickery like he does here, be prepared to have the cave of your skull temporarily blown up. It'll shrink back to normal soon enough. Here Immanis clearly outsizes Magna. If max headstage scale is important to you to get more of the sound to extend beyond your head, your choice is clear if costly. Another observation with this track was the clear forcefulness of extra overtones which the end-blown ney flute during peaks generates with higher air speed in her upper register. This was back at fireflies but for once not from oscillating metal objects in a percussionist's arsenal or crisply plucked strings but sheer breath work. That's as far as my next session went. To not forget things, I had to limit myself to a handful of tracks picked for specific aspects, be clear on what I heard then step into the office and put fingers to keys.