Review: Effect Audio Leonidas II Octa

Effect Audio Leonidas II 8-wire

Pairings:

The original Leonidas II is the first cable I hook up to new gear, and it never fails me. I expected similar results with the eight-wired counterpart, and again have not been disappointed.

64 Audio – Tia Trió

The Trió is a nicely balanced monitor with decent organic warmth in it. For the last couple of weeks, it has been my daily driver and I’ve grown fond of it. With the Leonidas II Octa in the chain I get a better controlled bass with higher resolution and extension. Lows have better texture and layering and are bound with a tighter grip. There is excellent speed and dynamics in the bass.

Mids are more transparent and open. Vocals seem to have a touch more air in them, making them slightly more emotionally grabbing. Instruments stand out from a darker background, but are highlighted precisely to stand out clear.

The biggest changes have been made to technical parameters. The sound stage stretches wider and deeper and puts the scene more in front of you. Imaging has stepped up noticeably and the resolution is incredible. Layering and instrumental separation are superb.

Treble is a touch softer and more enjoyable. The tia treble can become a bit dry in the higher frequencies, but the Leonidas II helps well here.

Effect Audio Leonidas II 8-wire

Effect Audio Leonidas II Octa

64 Audio – A18

One of my favorite pairings of the A18 is the regular Leonidas II. It just transforms it to an even higher end IEM. The Octa Leonidas II does the same, but to a higher extent.

With the A18 as sparring partner, I get a bigger sound stage, better extension and improved imaging. What I love about the A18 is its extreme precision and accuracy, with the Leonidas II Octa in the chain it’s able to step up even further.

There is higher resolution with enhanced texture and layering. The sound stage goes a bit deeper and wider. The 64 Audio IEM extends deeper into sub-bass. Low ends are tighter and more dynamic.

The key signature of the A18 is still intact, and that’s a wonderful thing. The Leonidas II Octa simply took the 64 to a higher level in terms of technical performance. Treble again did get a touch softer and sweeter.

Effect Audio Leonidas II 8-wire

Effect Audio Leonidas II Octa

Empire Ears – Phantom

The Phantom is a monitor that I put highly for its accuracy. It’s one of the nicest monitors when it comes to listening to instrumental pieces, with its warm and soothing tonality. However, it does have a few draw-backs, especially in the upper midrange and treble section.

One of my biggest complaints about Phantom is the missing air. The Leonidas II Octa puts in more of that, especially around instruments to give them better separation. Some vocals however could still use a portion of air for my taste.

Imaging is one of the key-strengths of Phantom. It doesn’t throw a majestically large stage, but it organizes the musicians on the stage so very well, that it’s easy to pin point them in your head. This part gets even better with Leonidas II Octa, as the background is darker and gives the notes more contrast to stand out from.

Overall there is also higher resolution and nicer texture. Phantom creates a wider and deeper stage, but still isn’t overly large in that aspect.

Effect Audio Leonidas II 8-wire

Effect Audio Leonidas II Octa

JH Audio – Layla

Layla is my zone-out IEM with which I can kick back to and simply enjoy my favorite tunes. Though it comes with the JH Audio 4-pin sockets, I can still use my Leonidas II Octa with it, thanks to the E4UA adapters I got. These give me the benefit of being able to roll cables on my Layla and even bring the bass-dial the JH monitors are known for.

The stock cable of Layla is its biggest point of weakness in my opinion. Swapping it for a higher-grade copper cable does wonders already, but when replacing the silver-plated copper stock with the Leonidas II Octa you’re in for a real treat.

I noticed significant changes in imaging and resolution. Though Layla already is packed with heaps of resolution, the Leonidas II Octa puts in considerably more. You will gain a darker and deeper background, excellent layering and imaging bar none. This is the best I’ve heard my Layla sound thus far.

The sound stage again stretches further on all axis, while keeping things so well-organized JH’s flagship is known for. I just love that Layla’s signature doesn’t get moved around here, and it keeps its organic and full-bodied sound. Layla reaches higher and deeper into the spectrum and has enhanced values of air and speed. Bass is tighter but also of higher resolution with nicer texture. Mids are more transparent and smooth, while treble gets more room to play.

The last page concentrates on comparisons and conclusion.

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A daytime code monkey with a passion for audio and his kids, Linus tends to look at gear with a technical approach, trying to understand why certain things sound the way they do. When there is no music around, Linus goes the extra mile and annoys the hell out of his colleagues with low level beatboxing.

    8 Comments

    • Reply March 21, 2019

      Steven Zore

      I’m wondering how much of a difference there is between the 4 wire and 8 wire versions…

      • Reply March 22, 2019

        Linus

        Hi Steven,
        thanks for your comment.
        There is a difference, but it isn’t exactly huge. A comparison between 4 and 8 wired versions is included in the article.
        Have a great weekend!

        • Reply March 29, 2019

          Steven Zore

          Oh, yes, I see that. But I wonder in general what the 8 wire gives you. I’m torn between Eros II+ 8 wire, or the new Cleopatra…

          • Reply March 29, 2019

            Linus

            In comparison 8-wire cables have a bigger sound stage and better technical performance over their 4-wire siblings. I can’t say anything about the Cleopatra yet, but once it’s here, I’ll share my impressions of course 🙂

            Personally, I am a 4-wire guy, as I prefer the comfort of them, and some also sound splendid – like the Leonidas II 😉

    • Reply March 22, 2019

      Bill

      Hi, great review! It sounds like there isn’t really a lot of difference between the 4 and 8 wire Leo. Have you tried the 8 wire Leo with A12t? Wondering how that sounds.

      I currently use a Thor Bespoke with A12t and wondering if it is worth upgrading to the Leo Octa or just the Leo II?

      • Reply March 22, 2019

        Linus

        Hi Bill,
        thanks for your comment, much appreciated.
        Well, there is a difference, but it’s not huge.
        The Leonidas II is one of my favorites with the A12t. Just this week I did get to enjoy it again for two days straight. Had to take a short me-time-break from the review-queue. 🙂
        I can’t say anything about the bespoke Thor, but the Leonidas II sure is awesome. If you have the chance, go and try it.

    • Reply March 23, 2019

      Bill

      Cool, thanks Linus. Appreciate the reply. I used to have the Leo II but stupidly sold it without giving it a proper chance, so will but again.

      I just picked up a Dita Oslo and waiting for that to come in, should be interesting.

      BTW, it was your review of the A12t that made me want to pick it up and so glad I did, thanks :-).

      • Reply March 23, 2019

        Linus

        Hi Bill,
        no worries, glad to help.
        Leonidas II is an excellent cable.
        Ah yes, the Oslo cable.
        That’s so cool, thanks a lot for telling me! The A12t is one of my personal favorites. 🙂

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