I know cables are a tough topic for many. There’s big fan bases for the believers and non-believers alike. I have been a sceptic about cables for quite a while, but have changed positions once I gave them a real shot. Personally, I like playing with cables to see how monitors react to different materials and to tweak the sound a little here and there.
FAudio provides a pretty good silver plated copper cable with their monitors already. I ran through a good number of cables from my arsenal, and the following ones I have found to be especially nice for their respective strengths.
Effect Audio – Leonidas II
The Leonidas II has just secured my Best Cable of 2018 award, and that it did with flying colours. Leo II is a cable that transports Symphony to new heights when looking at technical parameters. The resolution and imaging stepped up noticeably, where each and every note and sound becomes crystal clear. Instruments stand out from a pitch black and quiet background. The sound stage becomes more holographic and wider.
Bass reaches deeper, with a slightly tighter grip. Midrange becomes a bit airier and more open sounding. Details and micro-details are rendered with higher precision
Double Helix Cables – Clone Fusion
The Clone Fusion puts a little more meat on the sound, while also enhancing top to bottom resolution and extension. It stretches a wider and deeper sound stage with better imaging. Bass has more authority and punch in it, while midrange is more open and detailed. Treble becomes a touch brighter and more agile with higher energy.
Linum – SuperBax
The SuperBax is a great cable to keep the key-signature in tact, as it doesn’t really alter the sound of the Symphony. I noticed a few enhancements for layering, resolution and transparency though. They’re not as big changes as with Leonidas II, but definitely there. What I love about the SuperBax is the unmatched comfort it brings. Once hooked up and around your ears, it vanishes. And yes, it has decrowned the X Series cables from PlusSound for king of portability. The only frequency change I noted with the SuperBax is a slightly lifted bass response.
These three cables are my top picks, but the most eartime is going to the Leonidas II pairing, as it transforms the Symphony into a technical highly potent monitor.
Symphony is a pretty easy to drive monitor, and no source of mine had any problems to drive it to full potential. It also does not pick up any hissing from any DAP or DAC/Amp, which always bothers me with some more efficient gear.
Most of my review time has been spent with the SP1000M, as it became my daily driver when it arrived at my doorstep, however there’s a few other products which I tested Symphony with.
Lotoo – PAW Gold Touch
The PAW Gold Touch is the most recent addition to my audio players. It has only been days since it made its way to me directly from Lotoo. From the very start I have been mighty impressed with its sonic performance, and it matches very well with my FAudio CIEM.
You will get a wonderfully detailed and well layered sound, that has excellent transparency throughout the entire frequency range. Resolution, imaging and sound stage are all top level quality and the Lotoo definitely is on par with the big AK in that regard.
The extension on both ends is superb, bass is well controlled and has good drive. Mids are full bodied and emotional, with great amounts of air around the instruments to give them enough room to breath. Treble is a touch north of neutral on the bright side, but there is no sibilance or harshness in it.
Astell&Kern – SP1000
The SP1000 is one of my absolute reference gear, it has enjoyed a lot of love in the two years it’s with me. For a long time it has been coming with me on my commute, but in the last weeks it has seen less and less playtime. New gear comes in and needs to be heard.
The AK has one of the very best performances in a portable product to date. Together with Symphony it’s very detailed and precise with excellent extension on both sides of the spectrum. You get a well layered sound with high resolution and top imaging.
The sound is of a very reference type with perfect balance. Bass goes deep and has good control. Mids are transparent and have good emotions in their vocals. Treble is rich, fast and glowing. I really love the combination, as it creates a wide and deep sound stage where all musicians appear in front of you with great accuracy.
Chord Electronics – Hugo2
The Hugo2 was the very first product I listened to when the Symphony arrived, and I was wowed from that moment onwards. The resolution and layering is outstanding. Symphony is perfectly controlled and powerful in its lows.
I just love how much details the Hugo2 can reveal with ease. The sound stage is very wide and deep and goes well out of your head. Imaging is top notch and the same goes for extension. The Hugo2 puts a lot of accuracy and precision in the sound of Symphony.
Mids are open and well formed. The Symphony’s bodied midrange matches very well with the reference type of sound of Hugo2, where both blend perfectly into each other. You get a natural and organic sound where nothing is missing.
Some people seem to have a problem with the Hugo2‘s treble, as it might be received with a little brightness. I myself never felt that, and I actually like the highs on the Chord. With Symphony it’s energetic, sparkly and still silky to me.
Chord Electronics – Mojo
The Mojo is probably one of the best selling products in its range ever. Since its debut it has made a lot of fans all around the globe. Its tiny form factor and big sound has convinced many people, me included.
Symphony works very well with the Mojo. It has great body, with a full type of sound, while it isn’t as detailed as with the other sources mentioned above, it still packs a huge amount of information. Layering, separation and resolution are all well done and together with the meatier sound it definitely can convince many people.
Treble goes wide with good sparkle and energy, it’s not as bright and forward as with the Hugo2 for example, but still manages to never fall behind. Bass has good control, texture and extension. Mids are organic and enjoy good body and weight. Instruments are carefully separated with nice amounts of air around them.
Find Comparisons and Conclusion on the last page.