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Then you haven't tried Beats by Dr. Dre
(just joking, please don't take away my Head-Fi membership)
I've decided to hold off a bit on the purchase as I'm planning on reorganizing the collection... probably selling the 18t and the Andromeda for an Elysium purchase
The Horus—A Brief Revew: All that glitters isn’t gold—but this is
I recently auditioned the Leo II, Leo II-Octa, and the Horus. If you asked me at the start which cable I would end up with, I would’ve said the Octa. The Leo II was a revelation and I expected that the Octa would only provide more. Also, I adore the aesthetics of the Leos. The palladium silver wire is drop dead gorgeous. It’s like other beautiful silver cables only with the visual contrast turned up, and the Y-splitter is all spartan elegance. The Horus was a late edition into the trial. I didn’t want to spend that much for a 4 wire cable and I personally dislike the gilded look of it.
But, here I am listening to the Horus while the Leos are making their way back to the dealer....
The reviews I read all talked about how Horus had better clarity and detail and that the Leo II was more full, but you really had to dig to find if they thought one was better. And, EA can charge whatever they want, but of a truth, I mildly resented the price difference at first. Early impressions had me feeling that they were of equal caliber and a choice would just come down to taste. The Octa seemed to better justify its cost by having the best of both in this regard. It was more clear than Leo II and more full than the Horus. It also added increased density and impact.
Why then the Horus?
Forgive me for getting broad and super pretentious for a moment, but you know that cliche quote from Michelango? You know, he said that the sculpture is already in the marble he just has to chisel away all the superfluous material. I feel this way about audio. The music is already there in the signal you just have to cut away all the noise. The Horus does a better job of rendering pure music than any cable I’ve ever heard.
The Leos are more full and the Horus is more clear but that isn’t really the main story. The fullness of the Leo and the density of the Octa both provide an enormously appealing sound. But, it almost seems to me like additions to the music imparted by the cable. The Horus sounds just as full and dense to my ears, but one that is achieved by subtracting all that isn’t music. A certain sonic haze is dissolved and all the natural, voluptuous contours of the music are revealed. I wouldn’t frame the difference between the Leos and the Horus in terms of fullness and clarity as much as intelligibility. The Horus is simply more articulate, extracting the most actual music encased in the audio. Doubling the conductor count can do many things, but delivering this kind of musical purity depends on the base metallurgy and design at the molecular level. Don’t get me wrong, both Leos are spectacular, spectacular! I would’ve been absolutely thrilled with them—if I had never heard the Horus.
I know many would question the worthiness of this kind of invesment into a cable, including many audiophiles. However, the Horus fulfills a main goal of audiophile level sound quality: connection to the music itself. It does this with a zero footprint and is transferable to any of my mobile and home systems. If I let my mind roam over the equivalent cost in static components it would take to achieve this result I am more than satisfied.
A huge thank you to Paul at EA and especially Andrew at Musicteck. If you don’t know, Musicteck has an audition policy without restocking fees. i would never have found the Horus without it, as it took time to understand in quiet conditions with my own system.
Great review! I've never gotten around to hearing the Horus myself but it is a cable I've always been intrigued by. What is your setup if you don't mind sharing?
I auditioned the cables with my LCDi4, which is just such a talented transducer irregardless of form factor. I have a SimAudio Moon Neo 430HAD, Chord Hugo, etc. but I used a custom modified iBasso DX220. The DX220 has about 50 capacitors replaced in the main board and amp with state of the art caps including legendary Elnas. It eclipses other products for me and was a fantastic mate for the EA cables, but especially the Horus.
I use DSD512 files with professional mastering grade processing including two instances of custom convolution. The files I tested ran a wide range of genres from delicate acoustic instrumentals to pumping synthetic EDM raves.
Did you mod your DX220 yourself? Ahhh I bet Illenium's new album Ascend sounds fantastic on it
Yeah, I have no background in electronics whatsoever, but I learned how to solder components half the grain of rice purely because of audio.
Thanks for the introduction to Illenium! i have so many on that genre but have heard of them. There is so much good music these days.
Thank you so much for the awesome review brother! I am glad that you're enjoying your cables!
Hey man, good to see you on here, and that's an excellent review that really makes me want to try it too!
I wonder if you've considered trying a Horus 8-wire? (rabbit hole)
Hey. I know the 8 wire was a special upgrade offer, and really rare right?
As it is I love the 4 wire and have happily settled into listening to music instead of the system.
You know... for now.
Cough... is there a chance for an EFFECT AUDIO cable tour anytime in the future...?
Yes, sir. Coming soon!
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The impossibility of the Horus
I’ve been trying to understand what makes the Horus so good, and from my perspective, I think it comes down to this: conductivity, i.e., the control over conductivity. I’ve always been of the school that the best sound would result from the most conductivity, because, you know, of course. Who would take costly, hard to source, ultra pure xN silver and dilute/pollute it with less conductive materials?
Whoever first thought “I would,” is brilliant. I’m coming to believe that simply aiming for sheer maximum conductivity is a brute force solution to a complex problem. Complex because the problem is not ultimately electrical but musical.
Pushing electrons is one thing. Orchestrating them to dance delicately then savagely, leap like lightning and slow like legato, well, that takes a whole troupe of diverse materials, strand sizes, etc. arrayed in a precise controlled conductivity.
The effect of this within my system is... impossible. Every moment of enjoyment is like a mind boggling magic trick to me. How can notes this dense and fully realized float so weightlessly in empty space? How can highs etched with a laser also have lows that throb so organically and mids that are both so lush and clear. I play an acoustic piece engineered by a master and it is so exquisite and subtly shaded I think to myself, ah this is what it does best. Then I put on an EDM track all caveman pump and chaotic sawtooth waves and the system is a rave. And, where it really does shine sublime is with the singer/songwriters. It renders something you identify with the best of density and transparency into something unidentifiably human.
It's these contradictory elements hitting you together, both musicality and referentiality, simultaneously, that just sweeps me away leaving behind the vague notion of "impossible." I scratch my head, "it can't be both musical and neutral, that's not possible”—except with a controlled conductivity. The sound is clear and sharp stabbing me awake, but warm and emotional, piercing me between the lungs and not the ear drums. It’s reference without sterility; analog without haziness: a creamy-clarity, dreamy-reality. The sound is… pure music.