Clean Sounding, Neutral, Transparent, Instrument Separation, Resolution
Price, Y-Split Could Have Been Smaller
I would like to thank Effect Audio for providing the Eros II 8W cable for the purpose of the review.
Effect Audio is a headphone/IEM cable manufacturer located in Singapore. While they used to make and sell cables for both IEMs and headphones, lately their focus has shifted completely towards IEM cables and this review is based on the Eros II 8W IEM cable.
The Eros II is their copper-silver hybrid cable, borrowing half the wire count from Ares II and the remaining from the Thor II. Although, 4-Wire and Plus are the only versions of Eros II listed on EA’s website, 8-Wire version has always been available through EA’s bespoke program. After realising the potential of the 8-Wire versions and the improvement in sound quality these 8-Wire versions offer over their 4-Wire counterparts, EA is currently pursuing to make the 8-Wire versions of all their cables as mainstream options.
Build and Ergonomics –
Just the thought of an 8-Wire cable can be scary, and I was quite sceptical about the weight and ergonomics of the cable until I received it and used it with my IEMs. While theoretically, the 8-Wire weighs twice as much as a 4-Wire cable, in practice and real-life use, the cable surprises me with its ergonomics, in a positive way. The additional weight is hardly noticeable and the overall flexibility and ergonomics is almost similar to that of the 4-Wire cables. In fact, the 8-Wire has its own advantages. The thicker braid of the 8-Wire prevents the cable from tangling and stays put when coiled up, as it does not have a springy behaviour. In addition, the cable is amazingly supple/flexible for its thickness.
As with all current generation Effect Audio Cables, the cable does not have a memory wire, but rather uses a pre-shaped tube to keep the cable secured over your ears. While the 4-Wire goes for a sublime look, the 8-Wire looks bold and brilliant. The only part about the cable that I am not a big fan of is the fat carbon fibre Y split. While it is actually very light and does not tug on the cable, my personal preference is for a more slim and discrete Y split.
For the remainder of the review, the Eros II 8-Wire will be referred to as Eros8.
Eros8 renders a neutral sound, as a result of both metals neutralising out each other’s strong characteristics. It is like both metals keeping each other in check, preventing one from dominating the other. So what you get is neither a warm and full sound of a copper nor a lean and too articulated sound of a silver. Instead, the cable finds a middle ground in all aspects such as; tone, signature, note structure and presentation. Well there is one exception though. One recurring theme I have observed with EA cables is that they have a slightly enhanced sub-bass, and the Eros 8 is no exception. But except for the sub-bass, this really is a neutral and colourless cable. So depending on the cable you are coming from, the changes you will observe will be slightly different. But in no case will the cable take you to extremes.
So what you get with the Eros8 after sub-bass is a straight line, starting from mid-bass and all the way into the treble. As the mid-bass is completely flat with the rest of the spectrum, it sounds controlled and maintains a clean presentation. At the same time, this is not a thin sounding mid-bass either. The mid-range again is neither warm nor bright. The vocals and instruments exhibit sufficient body and density but stop right before sounding full. While this cable may not help improve the tone or fullness of an IEM, it won’t impact it in a negative way either (unless, you are coming from an SPC cable, in which case, the Eros8 actually helps improve tone and body in the mid-range). The linearity continues in the treble and the result is, it balances nicely between smoothness and articulation. It is neither a sparkly nor a dull sounding cable. While it doesn’t add brightness by itself, it won’t help tame brightness if your IEM already has it. But overall, it is fairly smooth in its treble reproduction and leans on the forgiving side.
The linearity in its signature plays a vital role in its presentation. The controlled bass results in a clean and open stage, even though the absolute dimensions of the stage may not be phenomenal. It is still a large stage that is high in quality, with more than sufficient depth and airiness. The imaging is also quite good, although I wouldn’t call it a captivating feature like on the Leonidas. Having a clean presentation also helps the cable to maintain a high level of transparency, separation and resolution without having to resort to lean notes or boosted treble to fake those aspects. Overall this is a neutral cable that will provide a noticeable improvement over your stock cable in the technical aspects and fidelity.
Eros8 vs Stock OFC:
There isn’t one area, where a stock OFC cable would better the Eros8. Eros8 provides quite a noticeable boost in performance across the spectrum over a stock OFC cable. Most noticeable improvements would be in the form of a larger soundstage, better separation, better definition in bass, better resolution in the midrange, better transparency and detail retrieval. The overall presentation would appear more cleaner with better delineation of notes and textures.
Eros8 vs Audeze LCD-i4 Stock SPC:
Compared to the Eros8, the SPC cable sounds almost ‘U’ shaped due to its sucked out mid-range. The quantity and the quality of the sub-bass and mid-bass are almost similar on both the cables, with the SPC exhibiting just a touch stronger sub-bass. The treble is brighter and sometimes splashy on the SPC, where as it is more linear and slightly smoother on the Eros8. Eros8’s mid-range not only has more body, but also sounds a little warmer and exhibits better transparency and resolution.
The technical aspects are mostly similar on both cables, although SPC creates separation and airiness of stage using its lean note structure. Overall, Eros8 is the more coherent sounding cable than the SPC. Finally I have a cable that I can unreservedly recommend over the stock SPC cable for the LCD-i4. I would actually go to the extent of recommending the Eros8 over most SPC cables as it simply is the more mature and coherent sounding cable.
Eros8 vs EA Ares II (4 Wire):
The Ares and Eros8 are not too far off in terms of their general presentation. Eros8 has touch more sub-bass but presents a tighter mid-bass. As a result, the Eros8 sounds cleaner and more transparent. In the mid-range, Ares is slightly thicker in the lower mids and so is slightly warmer, but otherwise both cables are fairly similar in note structure in the centre-mids and upper-mids. But the Eros8 pulls ahead with a slightly more resolving mid-range. In the treble, both are fairly similar as well, but the Eros8 has better extension. The resolving nature of the Eros8 and its transparency helps it to retrieve more details than the Ares.
Eros8 is a noticeable step up over the Ares in the technicalities across the presentation. It has better separation, a larger and an airier stage and is more resolving. In a lot of sense Eros8 would be a perfect set-up, or an upgrade over the Ares, if you already like the sound of the Ares II.
Pairing Recommendations –
Due to the neutral sound of the Eros8, the cable should pair quite well with most IEMs, with a few exceptions. Due to the slightly present sub-bass, the cable may not be ideal for an IEM that already has a strong sub-bass region. On the other hand, if you have an IEM that lacks sub-bass power and extension, Eros8 should help get some sub-bass going. As this is not a tone focussed cable, this is not a cable that you would add for rescuing an IEM that already has a terrible tone, or to completely smooth out the treble if the IEM inherently is bright.
If you are looking for a clean, neutral cable that doesn’t color the sound of your IEM, while providing an overall improvement in performance across the presentation, Eros8 is a great option. The 8 wire count of the Eros II 8-Wire may sound and look intimidating. But it is very flexible that the ergonomics of the cable not too different from your typical 4-Wire upgrade cables. Also, the cable’s thickness has its advantage, as it prevents the cable from tangling and allows you to easily coil your cable for easy storing.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Product Page: Contact Effect Audio at firstname.lastname@example.org for placing an order or for more details.