Build Quality and Ergonomics:
I have always considered their cables to be well built. The EA UltraFlexi insulation does a great job at making the cables soft and pliable. It’s no surprise the Vogue series again features that. The cables are about 1.2 meters long, which is standard.
Both the Maestro and Virtuoso are nicely braided cables. The braid itself looks consistent to me. EA worked on the weight of their cables. They use now different hardware to make the Vogue series lighter. The Y-split and the chin-slider are super small, compared to the ones they use in the other line-ups.
You might see it on the photos. The connectors and plugs have a flat side. This makes sure to give your fingers additional grip when you work with the cable. On the 2-pin side I think this is very nice. I am not sure about the plugs, as these generally are big enough to grab.
There’s one thing I want to note about the new hardware. While it definitely supports the light weight, they also don’t come across as premium as the other hardware they typically use. Let’s take the plugs for example. On the new plugs there is a plastic part on the bottom. Here I have some left-over material standing away from the Maestro cable. This doesn’t look very nice and probably could have been avoided. The Virtuoso looks fine by the way. So I’m guessing the Maestro was just bad luck.
The new 2-pin barrels are nice in my opinion. The outer side has EA’s logo etched into it. The barrels themselves are made of aluminium. The same goes for the Y-split. It’s a tiny piece of metal, that just splits the cables and doesn’t add a lot of weight.
The sound of cables is always a controversial topic. Some people say there is nothing to hear. Others, me included, think different. Sometimes it’s harder to really pick out the differences between cables. In my experience there mostly are subtle changes though. It depends a lot on the monitor and the ears that are used. There are IEMs that benefit more of cable-swapping than others. The best example in my opinion is Noble’s Katana. Probably the most cable-sensitive monitor I own. It always displays me the differences in the chain. It’s a reviewer’s delight. For that reason I fall back to Katana for every cable review I do.
The Maestro has a typical copper sound. It gives nice body throughout the response and adds some weight to bass. You get a fuller low end, with slightly more extension into sub-bass. Lower mids are a bit more pronounced and overall there is extra warmth in the tunes.
What I really like about Maestro are vocals. They get a new layer of emotions and physicality. Singers seem more believable and I can connect to their story easier. I hear a richer tone in the midrange and treble section. The notes got a bit wetter and sweeter.
You also get a slightly darker background with better instrumental separation. The sound appears cleaned-up in comparison to the stock cable. Resolution has stepped up slightly and I hear a slim sound-stage expansion.
Overall the sound of Maestro is nicely organic and full with a hint of warmth. Suggested pairings would be the Noble Katana and Kaiser Encore, FAudio Symphony, Empire Ears Wraith and Zeus XIV, 64 Audio Tia Fourté or the HUM Dolores.
My experience with SPC cables hasn’t been the best so far. But to be fair, it really depends on the quality of the materials. Good silver and good copper are the key.
The Virtuoso slightly elevates the lows, but keeps them tight. The body is not as big as Maestro’s but there still are enhancements. Virtuoso adds a bit of shimmer to the top-end. I also get higher clarity in the treble.
As mentioned before it comes down to good materials. My history with SPC cables wasn’t good. Mostly because of squeeky treble and a metallic timbre. The Virtuoso does not have that. Which is why I think the quality of the silver in it is higher than the average SPC cable’s. Virtuoso gives highs more room to breathe. Treble is clean and clear, but there is no pinch, which is good. It comes off as a bit more effortless if you will.
I hear a better extension on both ends. Virtuoso provides more air in the mids, which makes vocals seem a bit lighter. Instruments are separated better and coupled with that, imaging got sharper. The resolution is higher and the soundstage stretches a touch wider and deeper.
Suggested pairings would be the Jomo Trinity, Empire Ears Phantom, JH Audio Lola, 64 Audio Fourté Noir or AAW’s Canary.
Effect Audio created the Vogue line-up for everyone on the go. The cables had to be as light as possible, and for that they worked on their hardware. The new Y-split and 2-pin connectors are great in my opinion. I would have wished for different plugs. When you want to get a product to a certain price-level you have to make compromises. In the end the plugs still work, so there shouldn’t be an issue to be fair.
The new Vogue series definitely has a unique proposition. Both cables I tested bring qualities that make them absolutely easy choices. The Maestro’s harmonic, emotional and sweet vocals is something I can adore. Virtuoso’s air and nimble-feet agility just makes it a pleasure to listen to with the right monitors.
Maestro and Virtuoso should be on the short-list for anyone who wants to start experimenting with cables. They are very fine entry-level offers and might just be the one to get you hooked on cable sound.
For me these cables are easy recommendations. Both for their unique qualities. Because of that, they will be added to the Best Accessories list.