Jul 26, 2018 at 6:20 AM
Gawd I love thoroughness!Hello sir Mact. Yes the reference point is SP1K Cu -> Ares II -> Phantom. I'm prob gonna make this unnecessarily more complicated, but | always feel answers should have the proper nuance ; ) The first thing is that there is always going to be a unique synergy between cables and the source, besides the iem. As mentioned, the SP1K Cu is pretty warm and generally benefits from an upper treble lift, so I currently tend to prefer brighter cables. If I were to have the SP1K SS for instance, I would prob stick with the Ares II to maintain a sufficient amount of warmth. So one's source should definitely be taken into account. Sometimes I think the source synergy is more important than the iem itself.
These cables (e.g. 2.98, Thor/Leo, Eros, Ares) all have a different type of timbre, where the difference is hard to put in words since you tend to need the same descriptors. For instance, 2.98, Thor/Leo and Eros can all be described as a different variant of neutral/natural (with the SP1K Cu, the Ares II leans more predominantly to the warmer side). Even so, the Phantom paired to 2.98 is more of a 'fun' sound, mixing a light warmth with a brighter lower treble. For reference, going more in the direction of the Andro/A18 type of sound. With the Eros II, it is more of neutral with a slight touch of warmth, more similar to the Meze Empyrean or Mr. Speakers Aeon Closed we recently discussed. The EA silvers on the other hand again have a very different type of sound, which is more of an uncolored smooth sound, where both the warmth and brightness are taken out, resulting in a refined sound. Quite frankly, all of these types of sounds have something going for them, so it is hard to pick a winner, and even harder to recommend one. For example, Rick (the hifi store owner) tends to prefer the more uncolored type of sound of the Thor and Leo, since he feels it is closer to how hifi should sound, where Ares II and Eros II is closer to what I would associate with natural.
Right now I am really digging the 2.98 with the Phantom, because of its fun and stimulating sig. Its lower treble is a bit brighter than Leo and Thor, but there is a certain melodious magic going on its upper mids, where the EA silvers are a bit smoother. That being said, I don't have any of those other EA cables so my choice is not very difficult hehe. But, one of my top recommendations remains Leonidas (just regular will do), as it provides that neutral/smooth sound while maintaining the body and forwardness of its midrange compared to something like Horus (which has nicely sized vocals, but less vocal power). In addition, I found the Eros II 8-wire very intriguing so I will add that to this shortlist. Leonidas might offer greater performance, but Eros II 8-wire is perhaps one of the best pairings in terms of instrument timbre and overall signature, ahead of Leo and 2.98. Eros II 4-wire attenuates the mid-bass and does not really improve the stage dimensions, but I have the feeling 8-wire maintained a similar bass response and widened the stage. Eros II 4-wire however would be one of the best options for people that find Phantom a bit too bassy or thick, as it will reduce the mid-bass and improve the airiness, while maintaining its naturalness.
The Plus series are thick AF as is. I don't think EA makes them in 8-wire for iems, and if they did you prob wouldn't want to buy them ; )
Now I just have to thoroughly convince someone an $800CAD cable is in OUR best interest....anyone know of a
Brace yourself, it’s a stiff 43 ohms. I say this in the nicest way possible and knowing full-well we’re all nuts for audio.....but this dude’s nuts : )Those are the spec for AMP1, which doesn’t use discrete components and is not as powerful as AMP8 by a long shot, or even AMP4 and 5 for that matter.
This being said, I am not surprised a desktop system will have more power (it makes sense ) which is good for full sized cans, it probably also has more current too (or not, given it’s usually designed to drive high impedance headphones).
One thing to consider to drive the Phantom well is the output impedance on your amp (more often than not it’s not optimized for low impedance IEM), it needs to be very low (< 1ohm) as the general law here is output impedance of your source should be 1/8th of your gear (Phantom is 6ohm, so under 1 ohm of output impedance needs to be low, AMP8 on DX200 is 0.38 ohm which is good in that respect). This is important as higher output impedance will affect the signature and coherence of a multi BA setup.
First time I experienced how it can radically alter the signature is with the SE846 which at the time was one of the lowest impedance of the market (8 ohm). Low impedance IEMs or headphones are somewhat of a tricky beast, as they don’t require much power to run loud, but they require high current and low output impedance. So you might not notice your gear is not driven properly contrary to high impedance where you don’t get the required volume and drive.
Edit : I checked the HDV820’s spec, they don’t list the output impedance for headphones but... and that’s an indication, they list minimum recommended headphone impedance as 16ohm which is not unusual for a desktop system. This probably means output impedance is at least 2ohms... so not so good for best performance with the Phantom.
Driving low impedance IEMs is one area where DAPs are designed to perform, while desktop system might not (some portable AMPs are designed to drive low impedance or have a switch for them).