Effect Audio Cleopatra II


No DD, no DICE
Cleopatra II - Silver Refined
Pros: Soft, supple and comfortable feel with zero microphonics
Smooth, refined sound without the aggression of some silver cables
Visually attractive with premium hardware
ConX and TermX options add flexibility and versatility
Cons: TermX option could be easier to use and better built
While premium, it's still a relatively expensive option


I’ve been getting to know Effect Audio’s range of bespoke cables over the past year or so, including the original Cleopatra, and I consider the company quite bold in how it makes and markets its entry-level and midrange cables. To me, EA is synonymous with value for performance, and as you move up through the tiers, elegance as well.

While new Signature Series cables – specifically the Ares S I was fortunate enough to test earlier this year – set a new benchmark for entry-level upgrade cable quality, Cleopatra II represents quite a jump, in both price and performance. At $999, Cleo II is every bit as catchy on the eye as it is on the wallet, and as such my expectations for everything from build quality to technical performance are markedly higher.

Thankfully, she doesn’t disappoint. From its understated but expertly-finished hardware to its ultra-smooth silk sleeving and refined sonics, Cleo II is every bit the premium upgrade cable you’d expect at this level. Let’s deep dive into the finer details to find out why.


Fit and finish

Based on what I’ve seen online and discussed with my colleagues, the packaging and presentation of the new Cleo is of a fairly high standard. If the Ares S packaging is anything to go by, I really like how EA have modernised their presentation game. The stylish vegetable leather case included with Cleo II is a nice but expected to touch for a cable of this pedigree, although I must admit to being somewhat disappointed that the opulent chrome-polished steel presentation box that adorned the original Cleo is conspicuous by its absence.

The cable itself is made with high-purity silver using a dual geometry design which, according to EA, allows for both excellent detail retrieval and a more full-bodied warmth to the sound. The wire itself features Kevlar-infused individually-enameled Litz strands, covered by EA’s ‘Ultra Flexi’ insulation. Whatever it’s made of, the insulation is really supple and soft to the touch, smooth but not sticky, and seemingly very kink- and twist-resistant. It also has zero microphonics and the earhooks and lightweight materials make it very comfortable on-ear with all my IEMs.

Cleo II sports all-new, genuine titanium hardware, at least for the Y-splitter, chin slider and ConX-equipped connectors. Since titanium is easier to scratch than steel, the hardware parts are fitted with plastic sleeving to protect them during transport, a nice touch, but something you’ll want to remove to enjoy the smooth skin-like texture of the titanium finish.


ConX and TermX

I’ve mentioned ConX in previous EA cable impressions, and continue to be impressed with the ease of use and versatility of the system. One twist of the included removal tool and you can easily switch between mmcx, 2-pin, and other termination types. Best of all, EA’s mmcx implementation works seamlessly with the ‘proprietary’ mmcx connectors on Sennheiser’s new IE 600 and IE 900 IEMs, and also Sony’s IER-Z1R.

TermX is a more recent development, allowing you to swap out the source termination. The version shipped with my Cleo II sample includes gold-plated 2.5mm, 3.5mm and 4.4mm connectors, although I found it more difficult and less intuitive to use than the ConX system at the other end of the cable.


For one, TermX uses a 4-pin system to connect the termination plug to a female connector attached to the cable. While it’s easy enough to remove and reconnect the plugs, you must be careful to align the easily visible ‘notch’ on the plug to the virtually invisible notch on the cable side. I didn’t realise the pins had to be aligned at first, so my first listen out the box was, to be diplomatic, horrible. Align the notches, and the sound magically snaps into focus.

I also find the build quality on the TermX plugs a step down from the beautiful titanium hardware on the cable itself. That said, once connected and screwed back into the TermX housing, the system works perfectly, and I didn’t detect any notable sound degradation in my listening so far. EA does offer a ‘performance’ option for Cleo II, a soldered OCC 4.4mm plug that it claims offers more refined midrange performance, so there are possibly some performance points to be gained by ditching TermX. Unless you need the versatility of multiple plugs, I’d definitely stick to the performance version myself.


Sound impressions

I have a love-hate relationship with pure silver cables. Unless they’ve very well made, with high-grade, high-purity materials, silver tends to thin out the sound of most IEMs for me. While this works for some people wanting the purest, most detailed signal possible, it negates some of the inherent warmth and body of well-made copper cables.

Thankfully, Cleo II doesn’t suffer from such downsides. My first impression of the sonic ‘qualities’ it offers is of a slightly flatter, but not necessarily colder tonality, with a richness in the bass and lower mids that’s quite unusual for a silver cable. As I listened more, I liked how Cleo II held back on some of the raw ‘aggression’ of purely detail-oriented silver cables, and in fact I found it sounding quite laid back, at least compared to what I was expecting.


Compared to the original Cleo, I also find Cleo II more balanced, rather than emphasised at the extremities. Yes, there’s the trademark detail boost in the treble, and tightness in the bass, but the effect doesn’t sound forced, and the midrange, while not warm by any stretch, is natural and moderately full-sounding too. What I’m getting here is excellent end-to-end extension, with a rich-bodied but also detailed sound that doesn’t over-rev the engine, so to speak.

Using Cleo II with Campfire’s new Supermoon custom planar IEM, I’m getting a smoothness and richness that helps quell some of Supermoon’s occasionally strident upper-midrange and lower-treble energy or ‘glare’, although it doesn’t filter the energy completely. The upper registers sound even more airy and detailed, and stage seems slightly larger in all dimensions, but there’s not really much warmth added to the sound. Cleo II is certainly a looker when paired with Supermoon, although the option of silver rather than gold-plated mmcx connectors would work even better with the Supermoon aesthetic.


Comparing Cleo II to some other cables lower down the price tiers reveals just how much – and also how little – cables finesse the sound of the IEMs you’re using. Compared to EA’s $179 Ares S, Cleo II eschews Ares’s warm, pillowy tonality that adds body but also dulls some details in the upper registers, replacing it with heightened detail but reduced impact, especially down low. Cleo II’s technical performance is also notably higher, although at more than four times the price, that should go without saying.

Compared to Lavricables’ $210 pure silver Ultimate Silver cable, Cleo II is definitely more bodied and airier up top and more impactful down low, but falls short of Lavri’s crystalline detail retrieval. Cleo II is also better built than Lavri’s more utilitarian build, but again, that’s the least you should expect at these price points.

Cable pairings are as much about synergy as they are about quality and refinement. As long as Cleo II’s sonic qualities complement your IEM’s and source’s sound profile to deliver the type of sound you’re looking for, you can sleep easy knowing all the other stuff – build quality, materials and flexibility – are as premium as the asking price suggests.


Closing thoughts

In Cleopatra II, EA has released a formidable successor to the original and much-loved Cleo. The shift from a more traditional hard-edged silver-sounding design to a more ‘analogue-like’ smooth and silky profile is personally desirable, and makes Cleo II a much more versatile upgrade cable for a wider range of IEMs, in my opinion. The titanium hardware is premium and expensive-looking, and the fit and finish is all top-class, albeit not quite at the level of super-luxury multi-kilobuck TOTL cables.

Sonically Cleo II is every bit the high-end performer I expected it to be. If you find the right synergy pairing, the sound is both refined and extended without being aggressive or pushy, and doesn’t thin out the bass on my dynamic driver IEMs anywhere near as much as pure silver sometimes tends to do. Midrange performance is impressively clean, and treble air is plentiful without any unwanted shine or glare. This a rich sound that, while not quite mimicking the same qualities of a warm copper cable, certainly leans in that direction, but with its own distinct personality.

If you’re in the market for a serious upgrade to your IEM’s stock cable, and are willing to spend a little extra for some premium finishes and refined performance, Cleo II should definitely be on your audition list.

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1000+ Head-Fier
Effect Audio Cleopatra II Impressions
Pros: Beautiful and well designed cables, good quality, swappable connectors and plugs.
Cons: Price

I really like Effect Audio’s cables and after my last roundup review of their Signature series, I was definitely interested in checking out more of their cables. I was asked if I want to take a look at their Cleopatra II cable and give some thoughts on it. As such, this will be more of an impressions vs a full on review. I simply don’t have any other cables in this price range to compare so it feels incorrect to give it a full review. Regardless, I do have some pretty good things to say about their new Cleo II. The Cleo II starts at $999 for the 4 braid version and I have the “Versatility” version that has both ConX and TermX swappable connectors/plugs.

Gear Used​

IEMs: 64 Audio NIO, THIEAUDIO V16.

Source Gear: SMSL SU-9 feeding the SP400 amp.

Looks and Feel​

To probably no one's surprise, these are extremely beautiful cables and very well made. The furniture used is a nice matte grey color that feels high quality and has a decent weight to it. The cable has a nice feel to the coating and even the strands of cable look extremely high quality. Comparing it to other silver cables I have on hand, it just looks better quality wise. The 4 braid is my personal favorite and while I like thicker cables, I don’t know that the 8 braid version they offer would make much sense for me personally. I think this 4 braid also strikes a good balance weight wise as I don’t feel fatigue when wearing the Cleo II with my IEMs.




The Cleo II comes in a pretty big box for a cable. That being said, the presentation is really special. Which I would expect given the price of the Cleo II. under the main sleeve we get the cable wrapped around a nice felt holder, under that is the rest of the accessories. We get a really nice leather box to hold the cable and IEMs, plus two boxes that hold both the TermX and ConX connectors/pugs. I think this was a pretty nice setup and while I would prefer a smaller box, I can understand the appeal given the price of the Cleo II.


TermX and ConX System​

The TermX system is really well thought out and secure. It uses the main housing of the plug as a tightening and securing point so you just unscrew it to swap plugs and screw it back on to keep everything in place. Outside of DUNU’s own QD system, most of the other plug systems all use a simple connection that can come undone should you grab the wrong side of the plug and they also tend to be super long plugs too. The ConX system works well and they include a tool so you can tighten the connector on should you decide to keep a connector on for a longer amount of time. I really like both setups and I hope to see this same system on their entry level cables in the future.

Cable Sound Impressions​

Like most things in this hobby, cable rolling to me is super subjective. These impressions will be what the Cleo II sounded like when paired to the specific IEMs I choose. IEM selection, source selection and ear tip selection will possibly add very different results vs what I hear personally. While I spent a good amount of time analyzing everything, take my impressions any way you wish.

I think compared to other silver cables that I have on hand, I think the Cleo II stands out with better controlled bass that doesn’t feel lacking at all. The mids might be slightly cleaner sounding but I couldn’t notice it as much compared to the bass and treble so I’m gonna call the mids the same as other silver plated cables. It also seems to boost the treble just the right amount so that it doesn’t sound overly bright but more refined and brings out some of the best resolution I’ve heard from some of my favorite IEMs. It however does sound a little narrower but deeper soundstage wise. This has a more focused stage. I’ll get into what I heard a little more below.

64 Audio Nio​

The Nio is a newer IEM I’m currently reviewing but I did like this pairing overall. The Nio does hit hard in the bass normally but with the Cleo II, it felt better controlled and tight. It just sounded better detail wise down low. It still had the impact and slam I like but It felt faster vs the stock silver upgrade cable I have from 64 Audio. The mids sounded about the same here but the treble did have a little extra sharpness and amplified the details a bit more which I liked. The staging was naturally wide on the NIO but I did notice the width shrunk a little with the Cleo II. Not the end of the world and I do believe the detail retrieval increase is somewhat due to a better controlled width in the staging. Overall a good pairing.

THIEAUDIO V16 Divinity​

The V16 was my favorite pairing with the Cleo II. The V16, while using 16 drivers per shell, does pretty good at producing boosted bass that is very well controlled and fast. The V16 does lose a little bass impact IMO with the Cleo II cable. It however still sounds wonderful down low and just slightly less warm overall. The mids did sound a little cleaner with some of that warmth going away but this was the only IEM I heard this difference so I’m not sure if the difference in the mids are placebo or just specific to this IEM or not. The treble however was elevated and boosted enough to pull the V16 out of a “warm IEM” and more into an neutral to bright IEM with very good detail retrieval up top. I thought the V16 pulled in really good details and this was indeed boosted when listening with the Cleo II cable. The staging was super wide and while it did narrow the stage with the Cleio II, it wasn’t enough that I felt the V16 lost any of its magic. Overall I loved this pairing and for the V16 owners, I would recommend this cable for the V16 any day.

Overall Thoughts​

I really like this Cleo II cable and I was surprised to hear the refinements this cable provides sound wise over other silver plated cables I use. That being said, I personally believe a cable should be purchased for looks and quality first over sound improvements. Cable rolling is so subjective and while I do believe I hear a difference with this cable, it might be a different experience for someone else. As such, from a subjective point of view, I do recommend the Cleo II. I think this should however be a purchase for those who either have a lot of money burning a hole in their pockets or someone who has found their “endgame” IEM that wants to give it something extra. I really like Effect Audio’s line of IEM cables and I continue to look forward to their new releases. Thanks for reading!!
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