Being a cable aficionado, I am not one who would be satisfied with just using stock cables be it for IEMs or Headphones (unless of course, it is not detachable) and I truly love to mix and match and appreciates the difference each cable makes. As a Singaporean, I have always admired Effect Audio from afar, and so when Eric Chong of Effect Audio contacted me and invited me to visit, it was an invitation I couldn’t refuse.
Effect Audio, led by founder Zou Suyang is a Singaporean company which was founded to address the niche requirements of the audiophile and music industry professionals market. Since its founding in 2009, when Suyang was still an undergrad at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Effect Audio has grown from a start-up to one of the most innovative aftermarket audio cable company in the market. Today, Effect Audio has its own research and development division with a key focus on two areas of cable geometry design namely multi-size stranded and multi-bundled.
The Ares II succeeds the original Ares, with Eric sharing that the cable offers more balance, treble extension, and vocals allure as well as better ergonomics through an improved design featuring the multi-size stranded cable geometry design adopted from its Heritage series.
So what is multi-size stranded cable geometry design? Multi-size stranded cable geometry design evolves from multi-stranded cabling which is more flexible and less susceptible to cracking and metal fatigue than single-stranded cabling, making it the preferred cabling for audio due to the requirement to manoeuvre without experiencing metal fatigue. The increased surface area of multi-stranded conductors also decreases the amount of resistance that currents or signal passing through the wire will encounter, further justifying its use for audio cables.
Effect Audio have during the research and development process of their Heritage series discovered that the thickness of the cables strands excels in different areas of signal transmission, thinner cable strands are employed for highs and details due to the signal transmission speed, while the thicker size cable strands are used for the lows and mids. The Ares II, therefore, features a proprietary multi-size stranded design within a single encapsulation, meaning to say the 4-wire cable features cable strands of different sizes.
The Ares II uses UPOCC Litz Copper, the term Litz originates from Litzendraht which is German for braided/stranded wire or woven wire. Litz cables consist of many thin wire strands, individually insulated and twisted or woven together in one encapsulation, the result of these winding patterns is to equalize the proportion of the overall length over which each strand is at the outside of the conductor. This has the effect of distributing the current equally among the wire strands, reducing resistance.
The Ares II is a beautiful cable with its coppery brown strands exhibiting its charm through a flexible and lightweight transparent insulation, the review unit I received features the 2.5mm rhodium-plated carbon fibre jack, a carbon fibre Y-splitter with standard 0.78mm 2-pin connectors for the drivers. What I truly like about this cable is that it does not use memory wires, instead Effect Audio chose to pre-bend the wires. An implementation that I simply adore as I am one of those who does not like to meddle with memory wires. Overall, the Ares II is an excellent display of workmanship and design and is lightweight and comfortable for day-to-day usage.
The Ares II has a moderately warm sounding signature which constantly features an improved top-end extension over the stock cables when evaluating using the SIMGOT EN700 Pro and the Unique Melody ME.1. Testimony to Effect Audio’s technical strength, the cable is clean sounding with excellent layering from the lows to the highs, resulting in details with heightening clarity.
Evaluating the lows, the Ares II evidently portrays distinct details which are tight, compact and impactful. Though lacking in depth, the bass is airy and satisfying with sufficient body, much attributed to its distinctive separation.
The mid-range continues the airy attribute, the transparency of the mid-range brings clarity especially to female vocals and string instruments to another level with distinctive separation, my only gripe is that the lower mid-range is slightly laid-back which is a weakness if you listen regularly to male vocals as the lower mid-range sounds leaner than the rest of the mid-range.
Ares II’s highs are where the Ares II truly shines, it is dynamic yet neutral, detailed with a nice touch of sparkle. The delivery of a technical performance of this level demonstrates Effect Audio’s technical competency and again the airy attribute and distinctive separation are key.
- Excellent layering with superb sound separation
- Improved top-end extension
- Outperforms more expensive offerings
- Weaknesses in areas of tonality
It does have a few weaknesses in the areas of tonality, but considering its price and the evident improved top-end extension over the stock cables, the Ares II is definitely a strong contender if you seek to upgrade your stock cable. This is definitely not your typical copper cable.
This review unit is provided by Effect Audio.
- Sources: Astell&Kern A&Ultima SP1000
- In-Ear Monitors:
- SIMGOT EN700 Pro
- Unique Melody ME.1
- Dimension: 26 AWG
- Cable Material: UPOCC Litz Copper
- Design: Proprietary Multi-Size Stranded design within a single encapsulation
- Insulation: Flexible Insulation (same as Leonidas)
- Connectors & Y-Splitters: EA CF connectors and Y-Split
- Price: SGD 229 (USD 149.90)
- Warranty: 1 Year
- Website: www.effectaudio.com