Cable-sound is always a hot topic, and I assume it will never change, there will always be people who say cables can aid the sound, as well as there will always be some people who will declare the others as crazy. I am happy to be declared crazy in that matter.
For cable reviews I always fall back to my weapon of choice – Noble Audio‘s Katana. A monitor that can show you each change in the signal path quite obvious. It does that so well, that even a very non-audiophile colleague of mine could hear differences in cables with it.
What surprised me with the bespoke Ares II was that it doesn’t necessarily do what you expect it to. Typically Copper cables tend to beefen up low ends and breath some natural warmth into the signature. This particular Copper cable is an exception. While it does add some harmonic warmth to the sound, it does it to a rather subtle extent. It does not warm up the lower midrange like other Copper based cables I have heard, but rather adds layer after layer of transparency to it.
The eight wire Ares II helps the sound get more open, more detailed and airier. It brings a nice smoothness to vocals and adds control to bass, but does not give it a typical forward boom.
Most other Copper cables soften out treble, the bespoke Ares II again does it in a more gentleman-like manner. It does take down certain tones a bit, but adds cleanness to the overall treble tonality. Do not mistake that for clear, it does not brighten the upper frequencies, but gives them a more defined pronunciation.
As with everything in life, there is no perfect cable that matches with every monitor in the world. There are monitors I would never get near some cables, because they would make them sound too clinical and harsh or too thick and boomy. The following list of In Ear Monitors I found were a good match for the Ares II eight-wire.
Empire Ears – Legend X
The Legend X comes equipped with the standard Ares II as stock cable, and therefore the changes in sound aren‘t too big, but rather enhancements of certain aspects. The most obvious change to me is the wider sound stage and cleaned up sound overall. You will get a tighter controlled bass, smooth and sweet mids and well-articulated treble.
64 Audio – A12t (M20)
The A12t usually does not pair well with Copper cables, but to me the situation is very different with the Bespoke Ares II. All other Copper cables seemed to make bass too uncontrolled and boomy for my taste. The Bespoke Ares II is the exception to the rule and adds control. The A12t keeps its wonderful smooth vocals and midrange, yet gives more precision to treble, tickling out a few nuances more details. The sound stage and layering both stayed untouched to me.
Lime Ears – Model X
The Model X is a very tough performer in terms of technicalities on its own already, yet with the bespoke Ares II you will gain a wider sound stage and even further enhanced layering. Low ends are reaching a tad deeper and are better controlled, mids get a touch smoother and more open while treble again appears cleaner.
For this part of the review I like to go back to Katana as main monitor and use the Mojo as source because of its dual output. I am in the nice position to have two sets of Katana‘s, so a direct comparison is easily achieved. The big question most people are interested in, of course is: how does it fare up against the regular Ares II?
Effect Audio – Ares II (150$)
Of course the two Ares‘ share a core signature, so let‘s get that out of the way right at the start. Both have a smooth midrange and good overall control. The regular Ares II to me seems to be the warmer cable of the two, while the bespoke is more neutral. The four-wire variant has a closer and more intimate presentation while the eight-wire is more open and airier with better separation. Treble to me is cleaner and better articulated on the bespoke, while the regular might be the better choice to tame harshness more.
PlusSound – X, Gold-Plated Copper (349$)
plusSound uses the same size for their cables as the Ares II – 26AWG. The X series is their dual wire line of cables and therefore is loads more portable than the eight-wire Ares II. In fact, I have yet to come across a cable that matches the X series in that regard.
The GPC X cable has a more forward mid- and upper bass presentation than the Ares II, which holds its low end tighter and with more control. The midrange on both cables is smoother, but neutral smooth. plusSound‘s might be a tick more transparent, while the Ares II has more convincing vocals. The X tames treble more noticeably, while Ares cleans it up. Sound stage wise I give the nod to the Effect Audio cable for a wider and more open stage.
The only thing I would change about Ares II is the Y-split, I hope Effect Audio offers their customers slimmer choices in the future, as the supplied split to me adds too much weight and thus pulls the cable down with higher force.
As mentioned before, to me there is no cable that rules them all, but I think the Ares II would be an incredible choice for you, if you‘re not looking to change the signature of your monitors too much, but rather want them to perform on a better technical level. Wider sound stage, increased transparency and better layering with great control and a clean sound. It certainly is a serious contender for the Best Accessory title this year.