From my perspective, there are three key criteria on which to judge a cable: tuning, technicalities and ergonomics. With respect to tuning, the First Times is perfect. I'd describe it as just a little bit warmer than neutral. It depends on what you're comparing it to, of course -- but in my case, using it on a Ragnar, it tames the treble; it adds just a bit of warmth to the mids; and it adds a bit more weight to the bass. There's no part of the spectrum that sounds wrong to me. From a technicalities perspective, it's solid, but there's certainly quite a meaningful gap between this cable and the First Times Shielding with respect to soundstage (not that the soundstage is bad by any stretch; it just doesn't compare to the FTS). I hear a little bit less detail as well. I'd also rank the Ode to Laura as also being a bit better than this cable for technicalities (but it has a very different and more colored tuning). Finally, for ergonomics, this is my favorite cable. It's not heavy or awkward, it doesn't tend to get tangled, the cable doesn't have a memory and remains pretty straight. Overall, the First Times Shielding is worth the premium if you want the utmost in technicalities, but putting that comparison aside, the First Times non-shielding is ideal as a high-quality, all-rounder, slightly warm (but relatively neutral) cable that's comfortable to wear.
Build Quality is excellent
Smooth “balanced” sound
Thick cable is not an issue for me, but some may find it noticeable around the ear.
I’ve had this cable for about three months, and have used it for extended listening sessions on a few different TOTL IEM’s.
It is an interesting cable in that it doesn’t really accentuate any particular frequency range. Rather it provides a smooth and “balanced” sound across the spectrum. It provides a very low noise floor that results in a more spacious and open head stage.
As example. On the Odin, compared to the stock Stormbreaker cable. First Times trims some elevation off the mids, and softens the metallic timbre on cymbals without affecting the clarity or detail. It just “levels the playing field”