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[REVIEW] Effect Audio Custom Cables

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Effect Audio Custom Cables

 

Roughly a year ago I had the chance to carry out a review on an Ultimate Ears TF10 with a couple of aftermarket cables. Until then I had not had the chance to use any aftermarket or ‘upgrade’ cables and did not know what to expect. I was amazed about the difference in sound and usability brought with these cables and became a believer. A year down the line and I do not have that many problems with the standard stock cable on a CIEM or universal IEM, they are fairly practical but that is not too say could not do with usability improvements. Also it is always exciting with the chance of getting a better sound quality out of a new cable.

 

Effect Audio is a company that focuses on one type of product, “premium audio cables” for IEMs. They have 5 different models on their roster, the:

 

  1. Rhea – 2 braid cable but 18 AWG silver cable and this is the flagship at 180 USD.
  2. Crystal – This model is £35 (50 USD) and features a quad braid cable. It is the cheapest model.
  3. Pearl V2 – This model is £40 (60 USD) and also features a quad braid cable and you can also choose the colour of the sheath on the bottom half of the cable.
  4. Athena – This model allows you to select the braid that you have on the cable with either a quad braid (£45, 70 USD), 6 braid (£55, 90 USD) or 8 braid (£60, 100 USD). You can also choose either orange or gold colour cable.
  5. Apollo - The second top cable cable is a quad braid and comes in at £65 (110 USD). You can choose it in blue black or yellow.

 

With any of these options you also get to choose the connector types. They have UE connectors (for TF10), UE custom connectors (or Westone to most people) and Shure connectors and as far as both Effect Audio and me are concerned, they are the only manufacturer that uses the official Shure connector that is seen on the Shure stock cables.

 

The next option you must choose is what jack you want to use and this will change the price just a little bit depending on your decision but they have a range of straight and right angled jacks from Yarbo, Pailics, Oyaide and Neutrik.

 

The last option is whether you want memory wire or not. This is handy as memory wire can be darn annoying, especially if you wear glasses (so I am told) so this offer is a really handy one, I personally can do without it.

 

So all of this allows for a very high level of customization for you cable with your choice of cable, the braid amount and even what jack you want! It is a shame they are not including Sony EX series connectors as this is not offered by a lot of cable makers and would really add to the versatility of this company but other than they offer a real handful.

 

Worth mentioning for all the cables they now sell is that I made a point of saying that I was sad to see they do not have cable cinches in the unboxing video I done and they got straight on it and now include a cable cinch with ever cable they sell.

 

 

*

 

 

 

For this review I have used three different monitors, the Lear LCM-5, Starkey Tunz Trio and Heir Audio 3.Ai.

 

AppleMark

 

The first cable up for review is the Rhea.

 

Effect Audio Rhea Upgrade Cable

 

 

Material

18 AWG Silver plated .9999999 OFC with FEP Mono-Filament and Spaced FEP Insulation

Core

Single core for Signal

Sound Signature

Odin delivers wider stage, higher speed, more detailed and Significant improvement of sound experience

Building

Bi-braided, soft and extremely  Flexible

Length

1.15m+5cm/-5cm

Compatible

UE Universal; Shure SE535; Westone ES4, ES3; JH Audio; UE Custom; Sennheiser IE8

Color

Silver

 

AppleMark

 

 

The most expensive cable and it comes proper kitted out. Westone connectors of course but I have it with my favourite jack with it, a right angled Oyaide one which really compliments the silver coloured cable of the Rhea. This cable looks like something worth its money with its shiny metallic cable, high quality jack and tight fitting westone pins. The cable its self is really sturdy, perhaps a bit too sturdy as it is not very flexible and has held its shape from being coiled up in the packet a bit too much. So while I do not worry about it getting damaged it is a bit bent up and all over the place on the way do my source that can be a bit annoying. These are also probably the most microphonic model in which the upper cables attract a fair few thumping noises. The short memory wire that this model has is really comfortable over my ear that certainly boosts the overall ergonomics of this cable a bit.

 

 

AppleMarkAppleMark

 

 

The sound is by far the fastest of all the cables and I find it adds just a touch of bass speed with the compromise of a quicker decay and smaller impact. I do however find it not too have the best sub-bass extension, perhaps the worst of all the cables. The transparency and detail retrieval is just amazing and the mids and very forward and the treble smooth fast and crystal clear. It really does sound good.

 

 

AppleMarkAppleMark

 

 

This price is steep however and I do not think it is a great buy. Its build is strong but it prevents it from being as usable as most stock cables, especially what you get with the Heir Audio 3.Ai. However I do actually prefer this cable by a country mile too the Starkey stock cable for ergonomics and it of course sounds a world better. In fact this cable is not leaving the Starkey and the stock cable may ands well be binned. So while it will not be better than your standard Westone epic style cable in ergonomics (but better in sound), if you have a not so good proprietary stock cable like you get with the Starkey Tunz series, you may think this a worth investment in sound and ergonomics, if you have a Westone epic style stock cable, I would give this a miss and go for something like the Apollo which sounds great and is a lot more useable.

 

 

AppleMark

 

Effect Audio Pearl V2

 

 

Material

24 AWG Silver plated OFC

Core

Multiple cores (30+) for Signal

Sound Signature

Good Balance in full frequency and very rich in mids and smooth treble

Building

Quad-braided, with Nylon sleeve wraps the main body

Length

1.15m+5cm/-5cm

Compatible

UE5Pro/ TF10/ Universal two pin connector

Color

Black/White/Blue

 

AppleMark

 

We move onto the only model in the Effect range that features a sheath on the bottom part of the cable. I like the sheath as it really makes the cable feel protected and also aids it into hold great form, always staying completely straight. However like sheaths have in the past for me, this does add a touch of microphonics. However I generally find this ergonomic and easy to use with the y-split being higher than usual, which is surprisingly a nice effect, not that I thought I would like it at first though. My Pearl V2 completely lack any memory wore but they do have a bit of heat shrink at the top of the cable which helps its form over your ear and it holds better than any cable I have ever had over my ear with out being annoying.

 

AppleMarkAppleMark

 

We maintain a fair amount of treble but it is certainly toned down from the rhea and it is clear we have faster more detailed mids. The bass is slightly more warm and a bit slower in decay with a bit more deep bass performance. Overall though I would still categorize this cable as leaning towards treble and high mid performance but we have stunning detail and transparency here and still a well performing deep bass.

 

AppleMarkAppleMark

 

I think this hits the spot nicely with it price, ergonomic and sound for its price and makes it a very great entry-level cable. Maybe if you are on the fence about getting a new cable I think you will be happy with this because I certainly amp. I enjoy using this more than a stock one that is for sure.

AppleMark

 

Effect Audio Apollo

 

 


Material

Silver plated .99999 OFC

Core

Multiple cores for Signal

Sound Signature

The bass, mids and treble are presenting in balance, the bass is significantly improved

Building

Eight wire braided, extremely thin and light. Great Flexibility

Length

1.15m+5cm/-5cm

Compatible

UE5Pro/ TF10/ Universal two pin connector

Color

Black/White/Blue/Yellow/Rainbow

 

 

AppleMark

 

Lastly we have the flagship cable from Effect Audio and by far my favourite. This one has an extremely soft and malleable quad braid cable that is ever so usable. It dos not hold any sort of shape ever and is quick to fold up for storage. We have the high y-split again that I have come to love with Effect Audio cables. It does not feel as strong as the Pearl with its sheath but the braid is ever so tight and professionally done that I never worry. For added protection it is also cover in a tight and transparent heat shrink that is hardly visible, letting the yellow cable shine through. My only niggle with this is that I have found the pins to be the loosest fitting of all the cables I got from Effect. It has only really been a problem with on side on my Heir Audio 4.Ai and has not played up at with my Lears, Starkey or the 3.Ai I have so it is not a real worry.

 

AppleMarkAppleMark

 

Effect says that the Apollo really stands out for its balanced sound signature and I cannot agree more. It provides a sweet midrange with amazing transparency and detail, especially compared to the stock cable. The bass is not as warm and hard hitting as my 8 braid Rhapsodio OCC copper cable but it has amazing extension and fast yet impactful mid-bass that really performs nicely on the Heir Audio models which do no need any bass elevation or warmth added. Treble is silky smooth and crystal clear and not as bright and prominent as the other Effect models.

 

AppleMarkAppleMark

 

I think the price of this is a bargain as it is nowhere near as much as other flagship cables and performs very well and more importantly is very easy to!

 

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With the LEAR stock cable and then the 8 braid Rhapsodio OCC Copper

 

AppleMark

With the Heir Stock Cable

Overall

 

I also gave the Athena cable a wiz with my friend Sennheiser IE8 and can say that I am very impressed, I have never heard them without that stupid mid-bass hump and natural clear mids so call me impressed. Anyway he has the cable and will be bringing us a further review.

 

The Effect audio range covers a fair few price points, all still cheap for a custom cable. You can really customize the cable just how you want it for your earphones. I will also once again mention how they use the genuine Shure cable connector that is really cool!

 

 I do however only really recommend the Pearl V2 for an entry cable (although I would spend a bit more and get the Apollo) and the Apollo. Mainly just the Apollo. The Rhea is not useable enough; I prefer the most commonly used Westone epic style stock cable to it. The Athena is nice if you want a cheap 8 braid but again I would get the Apollo over the quad braid version for the tiny but more. The only model I have not heard is the Crystal so I cannot comment on that one.

 

I should point out that my friend now only uses the Athena on his IE8, I use the Rhea on my Starkey Tunz Trio and the Apollo on my Heir 4.Ai. I still prefer my Rhapsodio OCC copper cable with my LCM-5 however.

 

Thanks too Effect for the discounted cables.


Edited by Swimsonny - 2/23/13 at 12:13pm
post #2 of 15
Thread Starter 

Athena IE8 Cable Review

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

post #4 of 15

Just saw this. I'll add this information and the cables i'm missing to the list in a matter of a day or two. Kinda busy these days. Thanks for the review

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks let me know when its on there and i have updated the info. maybe worth re reading this as i had a few things mistaken!

post #6 of 15

I purchased and received the Effect Audio Apollo CIEM cable today. The braiding is very exquisitely done.

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
It is indeed! How you finding it?
post #8 of 15

No problems with the the sound quality.

 

I was surprised to find just how thin the cable is, even though it is a 8-braid. (Note: I mean the thickness of the cable wires, not how it sounds.)

 

Now I am filled with ideas about contacting Effect Audio to customise this Apollo. Sorry about my wallet.

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

The apollo is a 4 braid cable! Also yes it is thin but i think this largely helps ergonomics and ease of use. 

 

What things would you change then if you could?! Would be nice to hear your thoughts!

post #10 of 15
An Apollo 16, where the current Apollo 4-braid is treated as one braid, to make a 4-braid times 4-braid cable. The overall thickness would still be not too thick... I think...
post #11 of 15

Hallo,

 

thank you for the complete information. I am looking for an upgrade cable for an IE80 by Sennheiser. Do you have an idea what I can use. Asking Effect Audio and a german dealer I got no response. The problem is that IE8 and IE80 are different cables - but perhaps the same connection? Hope you can help me.

 

Best regards

Stephan

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

Effect Audio make cables with IE8/80 connectors as i in fact have one, i would go with them!

post #13 of 15

Hello Swimsonny,

 

I like to listen Classic (or handmade) music. So which cable would you recommend for natural sound: APOLLO, RHEA od ODIN. In fact I hear Nordost Cable at home and like the sound - so perhaps ODIN?

 

Best regards

Stephan

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

I have heard the Apollo and Rhea and the Rhea is the best i have heard but maybe the Odin is even better?

post #15 of 15

Did you buy these online from somewhere in the UK? Trying to find somewhere with reasonable & fast shipping.

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Cables, Power, Tweaks, Speakers, Accessories (DBT-Free Forum) › [REVIEW] Effect Audio Custom Cables