The Quatre comes with a high-quality cable already, so why change the Ares II to something else? Well, like some people, I enjoy playing with cable/IEM synergies and see how a monitor reacts to different materials and cables. Some In Ears show a more drastic reaction to cables, some only have mild changes.
The below list are some cables I enjoyed with the Quatre.
Effect Audio – Leonidas II
I’ll come right at it, this is the best pairing of all. The new Leonidas is a very special cable that uses Palladium plated silver and silver Litz wires. That’s a first for audio. The Leonidas II elevates the Quatre to new heights. It brings out details a lot easier and has a deep dark background. From this background, instruments stand out very clear and clean. Imaging is spot on and achieved easily. The resolution and rendering stepped up their game noticeably. Bass goes deeper and is slightly softer, but higher resolved. Mids are airier and the sound stage stretches further in width and depth. Layering also is of higher quality. High notes extend further and have more sparkle. The synergy between these two products is simply amazing.
Effect Audio – Leonidas (Limited Black Edition)
The LBE Leonidas has only two hardware changes, apart from the black components used, seen from the regular Leonidas – the Psquared plug and the Ferrite Guard. These two changes however make for a very obvious difference in sound. Black Leonidas pairs also very well with Quatre. You get a wider and deeper sound stage that feels a lot more open and resolved. A faster and clearer treble with more sparkle. Bass reaches deeper and sits tighter, yet is more resolved as well. Midrange is smoother and even more holographic.
Effect Audio – Leonidas
The original Leonidas tightens bass a notch and gives it deeper extension. Midrange seems smoother and higher resolved, yet it doesn’t reach the resolution levels of Leonidas II. Micro details are portrayed more effectively and clearer. Instruments receive a good amount of air around them, making imaging go up.
Effect Audio – Eros II (Bespoke 8wire)
Another great pairing right there. The bespoke Eros II adds air and stretches sound stage in all dimensions. It doesn’t colour the signature really, as it focuses more on technical abilities. Layering, imaging and instrumental separation have all been upgraded.
Double Helix Cables – Clone Fusion
The DHC is also a highly resolving cable that has high rendering capabilities. It adds some noticeable weight to low end, but also gives deeper extension and a stronger punch to bass. Midrange is more open and airier sounding with very good amounts of air. Treble shimmers brighter with more energy. The sound stage goes further on all axis. Another clear change has been made to layering and imaging, which both improved.
After getting my ears on the new Leonidas II cable by Effect Audio, I can only name one here as my personal favourite. What a special cable that is.
Most hybrid monitors benefit from a high-powered source, where especially the bass gets more controlled. The Jomo however is the exception to this above, as it sounds superb even with not so powerful gear.
Astell&Kern – A&norma SR15
Ever since the SR15 has landed at my doorstep, I have been using it on a daily basis. It is the perfect portable companion for me. It‘s lightweight, can hold a charge pretty long and sounds fantastic. The norma and the Quatre seem to be a match made in heaven. Very musical and joyful, with great technical performance. The sound stage stretches well in all directions. To my ears midrange, especially lower mids, are more in focus here. However the upper end doesn’t get overlooked either. Treble is neutral in timbre but energetic and sparkling in appearance. Quatre‘s strengths are the emotions, and with the SR15 as sparring partner you get lots of them too.
This combination has given me a lot of hours of fun, as they create a very easy to like sound together.
Astell&Kern – A&ultima SP1000
The AK über-DAP offers a higher technical level and a richer and more forward top segment, compared to its norma brother. The sound stage stretches wide and far out of your head, with instrumental separation bar none. It’s simply the best portable player I have come across. What I especially like about the SP1K/Quatre combo is the rich upper mids, which really transport a good golden glow. Other than that, the natural/neutral and slightly bright tuning of the ultima matches very well with the mildly warm and emotional sound of the Quatre. Ultima indeed.
Chord Electronics – Mojo
The Chord Mojo is one of the most popular devices ever. I don’t think another DAC has crossed counters as often as the Mojo. Maybe the DragonFly has been sold in similar numbers, but the Mojo is on a whole different level performance wise. Mojo is a super resolving device that is very capable of controlling many different products. The Quatre receives a ton of resolution, a wide stage and impressive instrumental separation from Mojo. Bass is tight and well controlled, with great extension and texture. Mids are well formed and a bit fuller. Treble is bright and shimmering with good richness and air.
Chord Electronics – Hugo2
The higher end FPGA DAC from Chord is known for a similar signature to the AK SP1000. Natural/neutral but fairly bright. I know some people can’t stand the treble tuning of the Brit, but I personally have no issue with it. Layering par excellence, a wide and deep sound stage and wide extension on both ends is the result of this love affair. The Hugo2 spits a signal that’s clean as a whistle and loaded with information. The high resolution is incredible and the sound still keeps Quatre’s core strengths in tact. Emotions and an airy midrange to fall for. My favourite office setup right there.
Comparisons and Conclusion on the last page!