As with all my cable reviews, I evaluate them using the Noble Katana. That is for two reasons mainly. First, the Katana is a splendid monitor that shows you every change in the signal path with ease. Second, I own two sets of Katana’s, giving me the possibility to directly compare the aftermarket Katana to stock. For this I usually use the Chord Electronics Mojo for its dual outputs.
Clone Fusion has a lifted bass response which also gains in weight. Low ends reach to a deeper level and come in with more sub-bass rumble. What is amazing is that the entire frequency spectrum has stepped up its resolution, tickling out even finer details. The Clone Fusion creates a wonderfully airy and wide sound stage with great instrumental separation and layering. When it comes to treble I find the DHC to not particularly colour it brighter or richer, but to give high notes more air and energy instead. The Clone Fusion adds a small amount of warmth to the lower midrange while helping the rest of it become more refined and resolved.
To me cables heavily rely on their synergy with the monitors and headphones they’re used with. There are some cables that go well with brighter signatures, and there are other that are perfect companions for warmer sounding IEMs. The Clone Fusion I would put in the first category, as the elevated low end and slight warmth might be too much to pair with warmer gear, though there is an exception.
Noble Audio – Kaiser Encore
I love the Encore for its energetic and rich sound, yet to me it could be improved in the low end department. Pairing it with the Clone Fusion gives its bass the needed body and drive I was missing before. The lower mids gain a bit in warmth while resolution stays in tact. I hear the sound stage reaching a tad deeper but staying the same in terms of width and height. The added authority in its lows makes the bass really pumping.
64 Audio – Tia Fourté
The Fourté and the Encore are much alike, only that the Fourté takes the Encore’s performance to the next level. With the Clone Fusion the Fourté gains a bit of warmth and drive. While I don’t necessarily hear a lot of changes in resolution, sound stage or imaging, I noticed a slightly better layering. For those who are looking to tame its treble a bit, I must say it isn’t what you’re looking for, as the highs didn’t get calmed.
64 Audio – N8 (m15)
The N8 is the only warm monitor I consider a good pairing with the Clone Fusion. It adds resolution across all boards, gives the N8 a more dynamic sound with faster bass. The sound stage reaches wider and deeper. The texture of the midrange becomes nicer, but keeps its lush appearance. Treble shines a touch brighter.
Empire Ears – Zeus XIV
The Zeus is an outstanding monitor with one flaw in my opinion. The bass is lightweight and doesn’t have the needed authority for some genres. With the Clone Fusion that changes, though not drastically. Bass reaches deeper with a more prominent place in the picture. Especially sub-bass becomes more elevated. Lower mids become slightly warmer, while the entire frequency range steps up a bit when it comes to resolution. Not that the Zeus needed it though. Sound stage dimensions pretty much stayed the same. To me the Clone Fusion is a great complement to the Zeus XIV.
My personal favorite pairings are the Zeus XIV and Kaiser Encore.
I was curious about what DHC had to offer for a while, and now that I finally got the chance to try out one of their products at an extended period, I must say I am very impressed. Not only is the Clone Fusion a true one of a kind product, that convinces with outstanding sound, wonderful build quality and great flexibility. It cures the weaknesses of two of my favourite custom monitors and matches well with a good number of other monitors too.
There are only two points for improvement as I see it. The supplied packaging could at least contain a box and the channel indication should be revised. Other than that the Clone Fusion ticks all the boxes and becomes a member of our Recommended Accessories List. Well done DHC!