Disclaimer: The Bespoke Ares II 8 wire was provided by Effect Audio for this review. It does not have to be returned. Effect Audio is not affiliated with Headfonia, yet they are a site advertiser. Many thanks for the generosity and opportunity!
About Effect Audio:
Effect Audio is a boutique aftermarket cable company seated in Singapore. They have been around for nine years already, and can be seen as the leading manufacturers for audiophile aftermarket cables. Suyang Zou, the owner and founder of Effect Audio, is a trained electronics and electrical engineer. With his knowledge about the matter he was able to understand how he could make his cables sound great and different. At an early stage of Effect Audio, Crystal Cables recognized Suyang‘s great work and that later led to Effect Audio offering the now well-known CC Piccolino cable.
The first real big hit however, was their Leonidas, which put Effect Audio on the global map. This cable still is one of the most popular aftermarket cables around.
Recently Effect Audio has shown us also, that they do look further than just working with the standard materials everyone else uses, by coming up with the world‘s first Palladium plated cable – the Janus D and Janus B. Both of which will be reviewed on Headfonia.
Effect Audio is a company that goes into collaborations with many other industry leaders. They have worked together with brands like Empire Ears, Vision Ears, Jomo, Oyaide and many more to bring something fresh and ground-breaking to the market.
EA is very well regarded among the community for their impeccable price to performance ratio and outstanding customer support. We even see more and more brands using their cables as stock for their great sound qualities.
In their repertoire of products you can find different lines of cables. There is the Premium (standard and plus), the Heritage and the Hall of Fame lines. Apart from their regular offerings, Effect Audio also gives their customers the option to have truly bespoke cables made according to their wishes. Every bespoke cable from Effect Audio is hand-made by Suyang himself.
Today we will be looking at one such cable.
About Ares II Bespoke 8 wire:
The eight-wire Ares II is the bespoke version of Effect Audio‘s regular Ares II cable. It consists of eight individual UPOCC Litz Copper wires with an American Wire Gauge of 26. It features Effect Audio‘s proprietary multi-sized stranded design within a single encapsulation. This exact fact enables Ares II to achieve distinct highs and details, because of the enhanced signal-speed.
When you order a bespoke Ares II, you can of course select the termination and connectors of your cable. In EA‘s portfolio you will find options for 2-pin, MMCX, FitEar, JH Audio, Sennheiser and others, as well as 3.5 mm stereo, 2.5 mm balanced, 4.4 mm Pentaconn and other more exotic plugs. These plugs are also available in Gold-Plated or Rhodium-Plated versions. Unfortunately the Psquared plugs are not available for the Ares II cables, neither regular nor bespoke.
When you order a regular Ares II cable from Effect Audio, you can also select between three different Y-splits. This option is not available for the eight-wire variant, you will get the biggest version. This of course is due to the double wire-count and thicker physics of the cable.
A set of Ares II Bespoke 8-wire will set you back 300 US Dollars.
My cable has 2-pin connectors and a 2.5 mm balanced plug.
Effect Audio is known for providing exemplary packagings with their cables. The case their flagship cable Horus comes with has caused many looks in awe. I‘m fortunate enough to have two of their leather cases they provide with their Leonidas cables. These I practically use daily for transporting different gear to work in my bag.
The packaging is another part where the standard Ares II and the bespoke differ. While the regular four-wired version comes in a simple white cardboard box with circular cut-out interior, the bespoke Ares II comes in a bigger black box with sleeving. When you glide off the sleeve you will see a velvet door under which your new Ares II eight-wire is waiting to be taken out. A similar box has also been used for my Limited Black Edition Leonidas cable.
At the back of the sleeve, you will find a small info about the Bespoke service as well as short information about L/R Denotation, Cable/Braid Reset, Technical Support and the warranty of the cable.
The packaging itself already is a good indicator of the attention Effect Audio pays for their cables.
Build Quality and Ergonomics:
Effect Audio has always prided themselves with good build quality, and the bespoke Ares II in my opinion is no exception. The braiding is well done, with good consistency from plug to connectors. I personally love the plugs Effect Audio uses, they are beautiful to look at and on top seem very robust and durable. Some people don‘t like the fact that these can be screwed off, I myself don‘t bother with that, but find it nice to be able to look at the soldering joints, as that is something I like to do with my electronics as well. See how much the people behind the manufacture looked for details and how well they worked. When you unscrew the cap of the plug, you will immediately notice the clear cover that is put over the wires. This is to protect the soldering work and to let you know that the warranty will be void if this is removed.
After around 2/3 of the cable there is a rather big Y-split. This comes in the same looks as the plug, a mix of silver metal and carbon fibre. I personally would have loved a smaller, lighter Y-split because I feel this one does add a certain amount of weight to the cable and might cause some discomfort over time. After the split, the bespoke Ares II separates itself into two individual four-wire braids for each signal-side. This braid continues until you reach the ear-hook, then the woven type braid changes into a twisted one right at the clear heat shrink.
The earhook‘s are both pre-formed and of course end with the connectors, 2-pin on my cable. The respective sides are marked with an R for right and L for left. Always keep in mind that, in order to have phase-correct connections, the Effect Audio logo has to face outwards. Though with the pre-formed hooks that should be given.
The nature of a 26AWG cable is a thinner one, but combined in eight wires, it of course gets thicker. This size plays a role in ergonomics. Of course the weight of this eight-wire cable cannot come close to the one of its half-sized counterpart. Where I hardly ever notice my regular Ares II cable behind my ears, I do that more often with the bespoke version. As said, this is due to the physical nature of an eight-wire braid.
The cable itself I find very flexible, that‘s due to Effect Audio‘s insulation. The cable does not transmit a lot of friction noise.
The review continues on Page 2