What a difference a cable makes. Before I became the sick audiophile I am today, I was very skeptical about how much effect a cable can have on a headphone. But after testing so many cables and upgrading my own, I’ve become cable crazy. Indeed, cables can make a huge difference in sound quality and soundstage, and they’re really fun to experiment with on your favorite IEMs. Empire Ears includes Effect Audio’s Ares II 3.5mm with its buds. So, I was interested to see what an upgrade to the Eros II would do the sound signature. What improvements can you expect from switching to the Eros II? Let’s find out in this Effect Audio Ares II vs Eros II Cable Review.
Effect Audio Ares II vs Eros II Cable Review
The Eros II is an improved version of the original Eros in Effect Audio’s Premium Series. It promises better balance, staging and more alluring vocals. Ooh. We shall see…
The Eros II Litz copper / silver hybrid is 26 AWG. (AWG refers to the thickness of the wires. The lower the AWG, the bigger the diameter.) Effect Audio employs a proprietary multi-size stranded design with the same flexible insulation used on the ridiculously expensive Leonidas cable. And while the Ares II shares the same thickness, it’s missing the silver component.
The photos below show the Eros II.
The Y-split comes in different colors and designs if you want to get funky.
The great thing about Effect Audio’s cables is that you can customize them depending on your needs and preferences. The photo below shows a straight termination compared to the right-angle plug that comes packed with Empire Ears’ IEMs.
If you want to go balanced, 2.5mm and 4.4mm are both available. And of course, you can choose between 2-pin and MMCX.
I decided to use my favorite buds with a 2-pin connection, the Empire Ears Phantom. And I stuck with 3.5mm for the sake of a fair comparison. The Phantom has an even balance, so, it’s a good guinea pig. Given that I only had one pair of Phantoms to play around with, switching between the two cables took some time and subsequently made it more challenging to make immediate comparisons. That being said, the most apparent differences lie in the following 4 or 5 categories:
Soundstage and Separation
The first noticeable differences are in the soundstage and level of separation. You’ll get more height and width from the Eros II. And because the separation is superior, you can expect clearer layering of instruments. This also makes for a more colorful soundstage. Listening to Fleetwood Mac’s Big Love, the bassline became cleaner, while the rhythm guitar sat much further above my head.
You’ll also get a tighter or less resonating feel from the Eros II. Listening to the intro of The Beatles’ Come Together, the toms had a denser and more dampened profile, bringing a touch more impact and outline to the drumline.
Testing out some acoustic guitars, the picks were more crystalized, and the nuances of the “aftertaste” were clearer.
This is actually the only change I wasn’t into. But if you like your vocals to sit forward in the mix, this cable will do it. I was feeling nostalgic, so I played good ol’ Whitney’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody. On the Ares II, her vocals sat perfectly within the mix. But on the Eros II, her vocals had a lot more presence, making the instrumentation sound relatively distant. And I bet if I hooked up the Eros II to the Legend X, the forwardness of the vocals would be way too much for me. Again, many folks who prefer a dynamic sound signature will gravitate towards this quality. And if you have a very flat IEM that you wish could pop a bit more, the Eros II is a great solution.
If you decide on the more affordable Ares II, you will still be a happy camper. It’s a great cable. But for $130 bucks more than the price of the Ares II, you’ll get a significantly more multidimensional soundstage, a more dynamic signature, and a tighter sound that also comes packed with extra detail and resolve. Could I handle an upgrade to one of the snazzier Effect Audio models, like the $1799 Horus? The shock and awe and would probably kill me.
You can find the Eros II for the best price here:
And you can pick up the Ares II for the best price here: