Build Quality and comfort
The build quality of the Effect audio cables has only improved over all these years. They use the best cables, splitters and connectors on the market. The braiding is excellent: tight and perfectly the same all over the length of the cable. No looser braided parts, weird twists or anything. Comfort wise this cable of course is a little bigger than the standard cables you mostly get with your monitors. Lionheart however is very light and with the little carbon splitter at the Y-section is has just the right amount of weight to pull the cable down so it doesn’t bother you. It’s not heavy enough to drag your monitors down when they’re resting over your ears or t-shirt though. Microphonics are non-existent and using the Lionheart these last few weeks was silent and nothing but a pleasure.
The standard 4-way cable measures about 1 meter long and the memory wire at the earphone’s side is made out of preformed plastic. The cable comes delivered in Effect audio’s latest white boxes . Lionheart itself is delivered in a lovely leather pouch as you can see in the pictures. The splitters and connectors are protected with a plastic tear-off to make sure they arrive scratch and fingerprint free. The 3.5mm plug even was protected by a plastic cover/lid. (see picture). It’s all in the details.
The Lionheart first of all is a copper based cable. That means the Lionheart will present a full bodied sound and after listening to it for several weeks with a whole series of monitors I can confirm that you get a really full body from bass to mids to highs. Body is everywhere and if you’re fan of a lighter or thinner approach to sound, then the Lionheart probably isn’t your thing. This cable breaths body.
When I started listening to the Lionheart cable with the standard plugs, it was a nice sounding cable but it at the same time wasn’t that spectacular either. Everything sounded good but nowhere near the level of the Mars or Leonidas to be honest. Then I switched to using the PSquared Palladium plugged cable and that cable suddenly got a whole lot better. I never expected the PSquared plug to make such a difference but it did. Using Palladium and Platinum apparently results in a richer sound (more detail), better layering and improved dynamics. According to Effect Audio it should also improve the wideness of the spectrum but I mostly found its depth to improve.
That’s basically the only thing I can say about this cable that isn’t as positive as the rest: where the Leonidas and Mars cables have a wider and more spacious sound, the Lionheart is closer and it has a more intimate presentation. Don’t mistake intimate for congested as the Lionheart is clear, precise and natural sounding. Bass, mids and treble get the same focus and weight but as said, it really is a full bodied all around. Treble isn’t as extended as with the Mars cable in example and you get a softer and more easygoing presentation in the treble regions.
If you’re a fan of rich, layered bass and mids (who isn’t?) than this certainly is a cable to audition, just make sure it has the PSquared plug termination as it really elevates the performance of this cable. If you already own the Leonidas cable or Mars cable, I would stick to those excellent higher end cables. If you’re using a source or earphone however that can use some extra body and depth, and you don’t want to spend too much money on a high end cable, the Lionheart is all you need.
If you’ve never used a high end aftermarket cable, I’m pretty sure the Lionheart will blow you away with its level of depth and detail. After having heard the impact of the PSquared plug however, I am now thinking of sending back my Leonidas and Mars cable to get them equipped with the precious Oyaide plugs as well. Upgrade plan anyone?