Effect Audio Fusion 1


Reviewer at Ear Fidelity
Effect Audio Fusion 1
Pros: Beautiful
Fantastic build quality
Good ergonomics
Rich, slightly warm tonality
Great technical performance
conX and termX
Cons: The color scheme won't suit every IEM
Rather thick

Introduction to the Review of Effect Audio Fusion 1​

The brand Effect Audio has been reviewed a few times already at Ear Fidelity, and the brand itself needs no introduction. They are one of the leading manufacturers of IEM aftermarket cables, dating back to 2009.
Their lineup now consists of IEM cables, headphones cables, as well as IEMs (we’ve reviewed their Axiom here). What sets Effect Audio apart from the competition is their conX and termX connectors, but I will explain those later in this review.
The subject of today’s review, the Fusion 1 is the newest release from Effect Audio, the cable that looks as stunning as it gets. It is the first model in the newest Fusion series, and it promises to offer some great technology, and what you could expect from Effect Audio – Fantastic craftsmanship. Let’s dive into it.


Set that comes with Reviewed Effect Audio Fusion 1

Sadly, I’m not able to comment on the unboxing experience of the reviewed Effect Audio Fusion 1, as I received the cable in a demo packaging. Included was the cable itself, and two boxes containing conX and termX.
The cable had its hardware wrapped in a thin plastic film to prevent getting scratched during the transit, and it got the job done.
Fortunately, knowing Effect Audio, you can expect a great unboxing experience and some great accessories included if you order a Fusion 1 for yourself.

Build Quality, Comfort, and Tech​

Splitter of reviewed Effect Audio Fusion 1

Let’s start this paragraph of the review with the build quality and design. The Effect Audio Fusion 1 is an eye-candy for sure, this is one of the most beautiful cables I’ve ever seen without a doubt.
Its subtle rose-gold + gold color combination, together with just a stunning-looking wire and beautiful hardware all make for a cable that is elegant and refined looking. Take note, however, that if you like your cables stealthy and not grabbing attention, reviewed Effect Audio Fusion 1 is definitely not a cable for you. It grabbed attention every time I wore it outside, but it was a good type of attention. It doesn’t look cheap or too flashy, it’s just…elegant. The color scheme will definitely not suit every IEM on the planet, but hey…you can’t satisfy everyone.

Now onto the actual build quality, and once again, this is fantastic. The cable feels sturdy, and reliable and the actual finish of the hardware is spot-on. Well, you can see it all in the photos, as I’ve used my macro lens a lot in this review (and that was a pleasure, to say the least). I’ve had only good experience when using Effect Audio cables in the past, so I’m sure this one will last you a long time without any issues.
Speaking of comfort, the Effect Audio Fusion 1 is rather a comfortable cable, but it’s definitely not its biggest strength. The wire is quite thick, so this is not a type of cable that you “don’t feel while wearing”. You’ll know it’s there, and since you paid so much for it…maybe it’s a good thing?
Jokes aside, I have no problems with the comfort of the Fusion 1. The cable is not microphonic, it’s quite pliable and smooth to the touch. Even though it’s not the thinest, nor the lightest, I’d say that it’s comfortable enough for an all-day listening.

Now, let’s get into the tech. Reviewed Effect Audio Fusion 1 is built of selected Premium UP-OCC Material Gold Plated Silver Litz, Pure Silver Litz, and Pure Copper Litz Hybrid. It’s a 2-wire, 21 AWG cable. This all might sound like some kind of witchcraft to you, but it just shows how much effort and thought went into creating the Fusion 1. This is the best example of a cable being a real premium product, and it’s not expensive because “it can be”.
While ordering the Effect Audio Fusion 1 which we review this time, you have a lot of choices when it comes to its terminations. On the IEMs side, you’ll be getting Effect Audio ConX. This allows you to change between two-pin and MMCX connectors. This is absolutely brilliant and I consider it to be the best “invention” in the IEM cables market. You don’t have to worry that the Fusion 1 will not be able to be used with your next IEMs – it will, don’t worry. Additionally, you can get additional A2DC, IPX, and Pentaconn Ear ConX plugs if you’re using IEMs with one of those.

On the other end of the cable, you’ll have a great choice of different plugs. You can choose between Pentaconn OFC 4.4mm plug, EA 2.5mm, EA 3.5mm, and EA 4.4mm. However, you also have the option to choose the TermX multiplug system, consisting of all three – 2.5mm, 3.5mm, and 4.4mm in a single box. This, together with ConX gives you unlimited compatibility with all IEMs on the market, and this is an absolutely fantastic thing, considering this cable costs $999.
I still remember times when I used to buy expensive IEM cables in the past, only to realize that I would not be able to use them with the new IEM that I wanted to upgrade to. Effect Audio is doing a great job of allowing you to only buy a single cable to use with all your current and future IEMs. Huge kudos to Effect Audio for it.

Sound of the reviewed Effect Audio Fusion 1​


The Effect Audio Fusion 1 is very interesting when it comes to its sound. It is a highly technical type of sound that is warm and lush at the same time.
While the Fusion 1 allows every single detail to come through, and the resolution is just stunning, this cable also improves the note weight, smoothness, and warmth of the entire audio spectrum. There are cables that are highly detailed, due to them boosting the treble significantly, and it’s not the case here.
The Fusion 1 is just detailed, but it doesn’t alter your sound signature in a way that is known when we’re talking “detail”. At the same time, the dynamics, punch, and richness of every single note get elevated while using it. This is my favorite type of performance when it comes to cables, as I like an elevated technical performance with a hint of richness and thickness to it.

You see, to create a detail monster when it comes to the cable, it’s not that hard really. You’re making a bright-sounding cable made of good silver and it’ll be detailed, but at the cost of your IEMs being more tiring in most cases. To create a cable that is both rich-sounding and very detailed – this is something worthy of your respect.

The bass is slightly elevated, especially the mid-bass region, which gives you an extra body and thickness to low frequencies. I really like good bass reproduction in my IEMs (I absolutely love Fir Audio IEMs for that reason), and the Fusion 1 adds another few percent to an already brilliant bass performance of these IEMs. However, this cable does not make the bass slow or overly thick though, it adds that body and energy, but it remains incredibly fast, snappy, and detailed. This is the best type of bass an IEM cable can offer.
Effect Audio Fusion 1 plugged into N3 Pro Cayin

The midrange is smooth, detailed, and natural sounding. The Fusion 1 adds that slight refinement to the mids, but once again – it does not overdo it in any way. There’s body, richness, and lushness, but it remains fast and transparent. It goes well with vocals, as they gain that natural body to the sound that is needed for good reproduction of vocals, creating an intimate, yet refined listening experience. Female vocals sound great as well, as Stevie Nicks sounds romantic, energetic, and beautifully smooth. This is a very pleasant type of sound that is easy to listen to for hours.

The treble is very slightly tamed, but nothing to be worried of. There’s no sign of sharpness, yet there are a lot of micro-details and the overall treble performance is fast and accurate. As I said previously, this cable isn’t bright or analytical sounding, but it’s still a very detailed piece of equipment. Once again, this requires a lot of testing and a good understanding of how analog cables change the sound of your headphones to achieve a sound like this. Effect Audio clearly knows what they’re doing, and the sound of the Fusion 1 just proves that again and again. The Fusion 1 is like a good seasoning to an already great dish – it enhances your experience, but it doesn’t overpower yet alter the core of the dish.

The soundstage is vast, and has a lot of air, but it doesn’t sound artificial. The Fusion 1 once again doesn’t try “too much” for the sake of technical superiority. It is a refined and well-balanced type of experience that goes well with the rest of the sound of the cable. However, for a relatively warm cable, I must admit that the soundstage is surprisingly open, and airy and the separation is just phenomenal. The Fusion 1 gets you a great insight into any recording with its highly detailed, yet smooth type of sound, and the soundstage further improves on those. It just sounds natural, realistic, and pleasing to the ear. Very impressive.


Astral Acoustics Eclipse

The Astral Acoustics Eclipse is a pure silver cable coming at $950, so it’s priced very similarly to the Fusion 1.
First of all, while both cables are built very well, I must give an edge to the Fusion 1 here. It just feels more boutique out of the two, especially when it comes to the metal hardware. It also looks more sophisticated, even though surely not everyone will like its color combination.
The Eclipse is much more universal when it comes to its design, and it’ll fit most of IEMs, which I cannot say about the Fusion 1. Just imagine pairing it with blue IEMs…no, this would just look plain ugly.
When it comes to the sound, both cables represent a similar level of technical capabilities. However, the Fusion 1 is a warmer sounding of the two, giving you a richer and smoother type of sound.
The Eclipse however is even more open and transparent sounding, and it doesn’t “add” as much to the sound.
Both cables are great, and the choice is definitely not easy. It might actually come down to your preferences on the design and looks. The eclipse is also a bit more comfortable.
I personally prefer the Fusion 1 for that extra richness and lushness to the sound.

Nostalgia Audio Olorin

The Olorin comes at $520, so it’s half the price of the Fusion 1. It uses pure 6n silver with a coaxial design, so it’s a much less complicated design than the Fusion 1.
The price difference shows immediately after picking up both cables though. The Fusion 1 just feels much more substantial, the hardware is way better, and it also looks a lot more sophisticated.
The Olorin offers a switchable plug system, just like the Fusion 1, but I find the EA one to be more refined and definitely less chunky.
When it comes to the sound though, the Fusion 1 takes the cake here. It’s more detailed, more natural, and more romantic sounding. The Olorin is still a great cable for $500, but with the Fusion 1, you’ll definitely get what you’re paying for. It is an obvious upgrade over the Olorin.


Fir Audio Krypton 5

Let’s get the pairing section started with my favorite IEM of all time, the Fir Audio Krypton 5.
This is an IEM with probably the best bass ever, and an overall very natural, smooth sound, which matches the Fusion 1 brilliantly.
The Fusion 1 doesn’t “overpower” the signature of the Krypton 5, but it just adds another brick to the whole. This combination sounds incredibly energetic, punchy, rich, and smooth at the same time. This is one of the best cables I’ve heard with the Krypton 5, even though their signatures are more or less the same.
This further proves that even though the Fusion 1 has a sound signature of its own, it’s not overly prominent, and you shouldn’t worry about pairing it with your favorite IEMs. If you own the Krypton 5 (or any Frontier IEMs by Fir Audio actually), it’s definitely worth demo-ing the Fusion 1 with these.

Campfire Audio Solaris Stellar Horizon

The new Solaris Stellar Horizon IEM by Campfire Audio is definitely a neutral, fast, and technical-sounding IEM, so it should benefit greatly when paired with a cable like Effect Audio Fusion 1…and it does.
The Fusion 1 improves the note weight, richness, and smoothness of the sound, while also improving the detail and resolution even further. This is a match made in heaven if you ask me, especially since the Fusion 1 matches the Solaris Stellar Horizon aesthetics well.
It’s a huge upgrade over the stock CFA cable, and it definitely sounds like a cable that is worthy of this great IEM.
This is the best cable that I’ve tried with the Solaris Stellar Horizon, and by quite some margin actually. A fantastic match, where two products complement each other just perfectly.

Effect Audio Fusion 1 Review – Summary​


Reviewed Effect Audio Fusion 1 is one of the best cables I’ve ever tried and reviewed. It’s a whole package: great design and looks, fantastic build quality, ConX and TermX, and most importantly, a very detailed, yet smooth and rich sound.

This product just screams quality, and it’s easy to see and hear that Effect Audio has put a lot of thought into crafting this one. A fantastic introduction to the new series, the Fusion 1 gets our strong recommendation.

Big thanks to Effect Audio for providing the Fusion 1 for this review. I wasn’t paid or asked to say anything good or bad about this product, all of the above is just my personal, unbiased opinion.


100+ Head-Fier
Fusion 1 and Cable Round-up - Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Snake Oil
Pros: Rather good ergonomics despite thick wire
Tremendously well-rounded sound
TermX and ConX provide great compatibility
Cons: Price
TermX has a tendency to get a little loose



Stupidly I forgot to take pics of all the cables, so please enjoy this one I took of the Fusion 1 and a terrible photo rounding them all up later on.

Many thanks to @Damz87 and @EffectAudio for arranging the Australian tour of the Fusion 1, Ares S, Cadmus S and the Code 23. Shoutout to @GiullianSN as well for lending me his personal Cleopatra II Octa for the sake of this review.

The IEMs used to for this review included:
  • Fir Audio RN6;
  • Fir Audio XE6;
  • Fir Audio NE4;
  • UM MEST MK2;
  • EA x Elysian Gaea; and
  • Elysian Diva.
The world of cable rolling has been a rather divisive one, with two parties seemingly slinging mud at one another over a fence. On one side, lies the denier, who vehemently disagrees that there is any sonic benefit to be gained from a cable change. On the other side lies the enthusiast who swears by synergistic pairings and the importance of cable rolling to eek out as much performance as possible. And in the middle, the fence sitters such as myself, who had little experience with a variety of cables and had little funds or interest to investigate further.

And so, when the opportunity arose for me to experiment with a venerable cornucopia of cables from well known manufacturer, Effect Audio, I jumped at the opportunity.

Today’s review concerns the Fusion 1, their latest entry into the market but also includes a review of:
  • Ares S 8W;
  • Cadmus S 8W;
  • Code 23;
  • Cleopatra II OCTA

The Factual Stuff​


Ares S 8W:​

Part of the Effect Audio Signature line and also available in a 4 core version (4 wires instead of the 8 on this model), the Ares utilises 8 wires of 24 AWG UP-OCC copper litz. Combined with their rather handsome aluminium and carbon fibre hardware, the Ares also utilises EA’s ConX interchangeable IEM connectors and a TermX interchangeable termination.

The Ares is priced at 279 USD.

Cadmus 8W:​

Similarly to the Ares, the Cadmus is also available in a 4 wire version and utilises the ConX and TermX technology. Where it differs is it’s use of 24 AWG UP-OCC silver-plated copper litz. The Cadmus is priced at 299 USD.


Utilising a 2-wire configuration of some thicc 16.5AWG cable, it utilises a solid copper core surrounded by 12 multi-size strands of copper litz. The Code23 adopts some very serious looking hardware.

The Code23 is priced at 599 USD.

Cleopatra II Octa:​

Part of the Heritage line, the Cleo utilises 8 wires of 26 AWG UP-OCC silver litz that are insulated and enamelled. The Cleo opts for more lightweight hardware compared to the other cables in this shootout.

The Cleo is priced at 1799 USD.

Fusion 1:​

The latest cable out of EA’s labs, the Fusion 1 utilises a mix of gold-plated silver litz, pure silver litz and pure copper litz to form a two-wire configuration with 21 AWG wire. This is combined with some very clean looking hardware.

It is priced at 999 USD.

The Opinion Stuff​


Now let’s get this out of the way, there is plenty of literature and double-blind tests and other evidence to point to that there is no perceptible difference with cables.

With that being said, I heard a difference. Chalk it up to a trick of the mind, preconceptions or simply me having ded ears, I don’t think you would read a cable review if you had an inkling that changing cable would change sound.


I am well aware of the various traits held to pure copper cables and as such, that preconception may have coloured the following opinion but the Ares is definitely all about that low-end warmth. Utilising the Ares with IEMs such as the XE6, an already warm and impactful IEM seemed to indulge even more with the mid-bass frequencies. Combining the Ares with more neutral IEMs such as the MEST MKII imbues a much needed sense of warmth and note weight creating a increased sense of impact.

Outside of the bass, the Ares seemed to pull back female vocalists away from the mic and recessed the mids of my IEMs slightly.

Outside of tonality, when comparing the Ares against stock cables, it seemed to minorly improve some technicalities by deepening the stage ever so slightly but this may be a trick of the mind through the increased bass response and seemingly more recessed vocals.

Overall, the Ares provided a warm and engaging listening experience that would be suited to imbuing a sense of easygoingness to more clinical and neutral IEMs in the market.

I would feel comfortable buying the Ares to have in rotation but also note that the difference was not hugely significant to me to swipe my credit card immediately.


Compared to the Ares, the Cadmus injects a sense of airiness to whatever IEM it is paired with. Upper mids come forward in the mix and there is a greater sense of perceived detail retrieval with all IEMs that I tested with it. There is a slight emphasis on sub-bass compared to mid-bass on the Cadmus but overall, it is not doing noticeable increases in the quantity of bass. The increased airiness adds a sense of drama to the upper end of the frequency response curve with a greater sense of tingliness with treble-heavy tracks in my library. However, the caveat of this was increasing levels of shoutiness with certain instrumentation and female vocalists. This was apparent in an A-B test of the Cadmus with the Ares.

The adjustments to the tonality of whatever IEM I was listening to appeared to present the Cadmus as a much more technical representation of an IEM. Things felt more neutral if it was already a coloured tuning and more neutral IEMs started to shift into the realm of more bright. There was a sense of greater clarity and detail but again, this may be a result of tuning differences.

Overall, the Cadmus seems more suited to injection some life and energy into more “lethargic” IEMs that may seem dark or veiled. The difference between stock cables within this test demonstrated a more significant difference than if I was A-Bing between stock and the Ares.


The Code23 represented a specialist cable through and through. Combined with any IEM in this review, the Code23 opened up the stage wider and deeper. Vocals became very forward into the mix presenting the image of a singer in a rather large auditorium singing at you instead of a phone booth like the Ares.

The note weight seemed to float away into a very light and effortless reproduction of instruments and vocals in the mids. With certain IEMs such as the Gaea, the bass felt slower and more boomy than the stock cable. However, on the whole one could potentially characterise the Code23 as reproducing an overly thin representation of whatever IEM you are listening to owing to the upper mid lift and increase in spaciousness. Technical performance in terms of layering, imaging and staging seemed to be substantially different to the Ares and Cadmus with these elements being sharpened out and microdetails becoming far more present.

Overall, I felt that the Code23 was less of a one-size fits all cable when compared to the Cadmus or the Ares but rather coloured sound in a manner that felt faster, more technical and less weighty. This was a rather good pairing with more dark sounding IEMs like the XE6.

The Code23 demonstrated a rather large difference against the stock cable but this isn’t necessarily a good thing given the above notes.

Cleo II 8W:​

I would term the Cleo as a more relatable version of the Code23 and perhaps the lovechild of the Code23 and the Cadmus. Silver is usually associated with brighter tonality and the Cleo seems to eschew that for a more balanced approach to sound signature. The vocals became quite forward in the mix and the staging opened up rather well, not to the extent of the Code23 but wider than the Cadmus. The leading edge of certain notes seemed to be smoother than the Code23 and I felt myself cringing less to some sibilant notes in EDM songs in my playlist when compared to the Code23. Furthermore, there appeared to be the retention of sub-bass impact.

All of these elements combined to a greater sense of perceived technical performance. Pinpointing certain sounds and instruments within a complicated song became easier yet retained a naturalness and smoothness that was very easy to listen to.

Overall, the Cleo presents a wonderful balanced approach to music reproduction with the slight caveat that vocals (and perhaps mids in general) may have been brought too forward into the mix.

Fusion 1:​

The subject of this review is the lucky last cable in this shootout, but that is for good reason. The Fusion 1 is a wonderful all-rounder in the same vein as the Cleo. This generous mix of materials seem to delicately balance all of the qualities held to each material. The Fusion manages to have a responsive and punchy low-end, a strong presence to the mids that is neither too heavy nor too thin in terms of note weight and the treble was lifted slightly imparting a sense of drama and sparkle to any IEM it was paired with.

The retention of low-end impact without being overly done with darker IEMs like the Ares was a refreshing benefit of the Fusion 1, it seemed to do so at little to no cost in terms of becoming too boomy and overly warm.

Moving on to technical performance, the Fusion seems to stage the deepest out this round-up and creates a greater “out-of-head” experience with any IEM that I threw at it. It did so without the cost of diminishing any particular element of the frequency response curve and thus presented to me, the most enjoyable experience with certain acoustic and orchestral music. Detail retrieval and imaging also improved to other IEMs in this round-up, representing a major jump from the Ares and the Cadmus and a subtle but apparent jump from Code23 and potentially the Cleo.

Overall, the Fusion 1 seems to be best all-rounder out of the cables in this round-up and I feel that it would not feel out of place on most IEMs in one’s collection. It potentially may lean a little bright and I would hesitate to pair it with an already-bright IEM but otherwise, if I was to speak in potential hyperbole, seemed to make everything 5% better.

Ergonomics & Quality of Life:​

Ares / Cadmus:​

Considering the similarity of these two cables, I believe they were largely the same in terms of ergonomics. Considering the 8 wire configuration, these are much beefier and chunkier than the usual cables you get with your IEMs or the 4w versions of these cables (duh).

This additional weight and heft does limit ergonomics slighty in that the ear hooks are rather cumbersome and the weight of the cable tends to add to the potential of dislodging the earpieces.

However, despite the rather large size of the cable, it remains fairly pliable and does not seem to retain much memory, unfurling quite nicely and not kinking unless you tangle up the cable and shove it back into its case. These are hugely beneficial when compared to more stiff cables such as my PWAudio MEST MK2 cable.

Aside from that, both cables adopt some rather chunky metal hardware for the Y-split leading to a rather ostentatious presentation and something rather annoying if you use a cross body bag such as myself.

The Ares and the Cadmus also implement creature comforts in the form of TermX and ConX, allowing the user to switch between 3.5, 4.4 and 2.5 (yuck) mm terminations and between MMCX, 2 pin and Pentaconn connectors. These are huge benefit to those with a range of IEMs in their collection or simply see their cable as a longer term investment, to go through various IEMs over the course of several years. There are however, some caveats with the TermX and ConX connectors. The TermX connector utilises a 4 pin connection between the wire and the relevant termination, there is potential for this to be dislodged and lead to the rather concerning experience of wondering why there is no sound coming from your IEM. Whilst easily rectifiable, this does not inspire much confidence as to the potential longevity of these connectors.

Overall, I feel that the additional heft of the wires themselves is not much of an issue. However, the hardware chunkiness presents some difficulties in comfortably using the cables when on the go.


Where do I begin with the ergonomics of the Code23, perhaps with the statement that there are no ergonomics. The Code23’s thick wire use and its sleeving reminds one of Hifiman’s medical tubing cables and leads to an extremely stiff and unwieldy cable. It retains it shape and develops kinks extremely easily and the stiffness and weight of the cable seems to be fighting against gravity as soon as the earpieces go in. The stiffness of the cable also made it very uncomfortable with larger and heavier IEM earpieces.

I do not believe the Code 23 is viable for anything else that some at-home listening which for my use case is a huge disadvantage. The hardware is also similarly chonky and issues arise with changing out the TermX connector in that the hardware requires some muscling to be pulled back on the wire. All of these elements combine for an unwieldy and annoying listening experience that detracts from comfort and from long-term listenability.

My observations relating to TermX and ConX outlined in the Ares / Cadmus discussion hold and this is worsened just by the sheer volume the Code23 takes up.

Overall, this is potentially the worst cable I have used ergonomically and as such I cannot recommend it to anyone that I believe would ever have to move slightly with their IEMs in their ears.

Cleo II 8W:​

Similar to the Ares and the Cadmus, the Cleo has a rather thick cable owing to its 8 wire setup. However, where the Cleo differs is its rather lightweight hardware which has a smaller footprint than the Ares/Cadmus. The result of this is a rather elegant looking cable that is ergonomically more viable in my use-case when compared to the Ares/Cadmus.

Compared to the Code 23, the Cleo II seems as if I am using a 2 wire twisted cable from Moondrop it feels that light. I am a tremendous fan of the ergonomics of the Cleo II when compared to the other cables in this review. Whilst the 8W set up inevitably causes issues with ear hooks and just the thickness of the main portion of the cable, the lightweight hardware and the rather malleable nature of the cable itself lends itself to being liveable compared to the Ares and the Cadmus.

As was the case with the other cables in this review, the Cleo’s ConX and TermX connectors provide you with tremendous compatibility.

Fusion 1:​

Like the Code23, the Fusion 1 adopts a two-wire construction utilising thicker cable. Where they differ is in the sheathing of the cable and the overall pliability thereof. Where the Code 23 seems like it can stand up with its own stiffness, the Fusion 1 remains more malleable. In this regard, the Fusion 1 presents a far more ergonomic solution compared to the Code23 but when compared to the 8 wire setups with thinner gauge cable, the Fusion 1 does remain cumbersome.

However, its ergonomics do not restrict or destract from the listening experience in the same manner as the Code23 and its perceived performance provides me with some greater desire to work around its slightly thicker than usual construction.

Where things start to fall apart is with the TermX connector, which as noted above, has a tendency to disconnect with the application of slight tension. Whilst this was true for most of the cables in this line-up, this issue was particularly prominent with the Fusion 1. Whilst the Code 23 had enough cable stiffness and very slight tolerances against the hardware, the Fusion does not have such idiosyncrasies to prevent disconnection.


The cost of these cables differs quite considerably but some general points can be made regarding the value of these things. If you plan on chucking any of these cables on a Salnotes Zero I would probably say don't bother and use the cable funds on another IEM. If you have a collection of IEMs or have a TOTL you're looking to squeeze out some extra performance or merely synergise better with then its a different story.

I cannot comfortably say that I recommend everyone run out and buy any of these cables but I can definitely say that the investment that a Fusion or the Cleo commands is somewhat alleviated by the ConX and TermX capabilities of all these cables. These cables will outlast a range of IEM changes and will be able to adapt to you as your collection changes.

Otherwise, I would say that the differences that the Ares and Cadmus brought were not significant enough for me to go out and buy one myself.
The Code23 has horrendously poor ergonomics and I cannot say it is worth it if you don't intend to sit perfectly still at a desktop setup.
The Cleo is the most expensive but the combination of great ergonomics and great sound mean that it is perhaps an investment that is worthwhile to someone having consistent changes in their IEM lineup.
The Fusion 1, like the Cleo, seems like a great all-rounder and thus justifies its pricepoint somewhat.

At the end of the day, I am a mere mid-fi, kilobuck enjoyer and as such, none of these cables will probably find themselves in my cart but if you have the means, I can heartily recommend Fusion 1 and Cleo.


Call it placebo, call it confirmation bias, call it simply having ded ears, the experience of rolling cables has given me an appreciation for them outside of their aesthetic appeal and ergonomic benefits. The subtle shifts in sound quality and signature with changing cables provides an added layer of customisability that I thoroughly enjoyed exploring and experimenting with. Synergy is a word that is often thrown around and in the case of cable rolling, it seems to me that it is a crucial part of those looking to play around with the nuances of their IEM.

On that basis, I note the following conclusions on each cable:

Ares S 8W:​

Warmed up in the mid-bass and imparting extra weightiness to the notes, the Ares 8W provides an end-user with greater impact and aggression to their IEM. Whilst technical differences were almost neglible in my listening, the Ares 8W is a well-made and rather comfortable cable outside of its sheer thickness and the girth of the hardware.

I rate the Ares 8W as an injection of fun into any IEM but overall, I give it a 6 out of 10 (where stock on each IEM tested is a 5).

Cadmus 8W​

A lift in the upper mids and an injection of air, the Cadmus alters sound signatures to be more clear and layered in its presentation. The perception of sounds and the ability to directionally pin-point these are improved. It appears that bass is diminished, either in absolute or simply relative to the rest of the FR curve, the Cadmus lacks low-end impact.

The ergonomics are similar if not the same to the Ares.

I rate the Cadmus as a brighter cable and overall I give it a 7 out of 10 in that it provides strong technical proficiencies and a more dramatic difference against stock.


Absolutely horrendous ergonomics but a tremendous expansion of staging makes the Code23 a mixed bag. The Code23 provided the greatest difference against stock cables but perhaps to its detriment. It imparts a dryness and diffused signature that may be construed as overly airy and potentially thin.

I rate the Code 23 as a 1 out of 10 simply due to the ergonomic deficiencies. Completely ignoring the elephant in the room of ergonomics and considering certain IEMs in the market that one would pair this with, it could potentially be an 8 or a 9 out of 10.


8 wire but pliable, angular hardware but lightweight, great balanced approach to sound injection a sense of space, perceived technical improvements and great staging lead me to a 8 out of 10.

Prohibitively expensive yes, but for that I feel you get a cable that could last years and years of IEMs constantly rotating through and the likelihood that each and every one of them would work well with the Cleo.

Fusion 1:​

Good but not great ergonomics combined with a balanced approach to altering the frequency response present the Fusion 1 as a more jack-of-all-trades cable. There is a slight lean to highs in the Fusion 1 but I would not go so far as to say it is a “bright cable”. There is a retention of low-end, a lift in mids and a sparkle imparted in the high-end whilst opening up staging and imaging to a point of superlatives.

I rate the Fusion 1 as a 9 out of 10 due to my belief that it would synergise well with a lot of IEMs with manageable ergonomics
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