Ares Audio is a boutique cable brand based in Singapore. They provide customizable, handcrafted IEM and headphone cables and also offer a retermination service. In this review, I take a look at the Ares Audio Kasai, a 7N OCC copper cable. Let’s dive in.
This sample was provided in exchange for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Hard protective case and lightweight carrying pouch included
Cable is extremely lightweight
Warm, robust sound
L and R markings a little hard to see
Package and Accessories
The Kasai comes in a neat little branded aluminium tin. Inside is a foam insert with 2 recessed compartments. In the top circular compartment is the cable and in the one below, there’s a handy woven fabric pouch with branding on the front. There are also a couple of stickers and a business card inside.
It’s a stylish and practical package that gives you the option of a rigid, protective case or a lightweight and ultra-portable pouch. This kind of attention to detail can be seen in the cable as well as the packaging but we’ll cover that in the section below.
Build Quality and Design
In this 4-core version, the Kasai is distinguished by its burgundy-coloured, braided fabric sheath, which envelopes the cable from the termination to the Y-split. Ares Audio cables are customizable, giving you the option to choose 2-pin or MMCX connectors and 2.5mm, 4.4mm or 3.5mm termination. The unit I received has 2-pin connectors and a 4.4mm plug.
Kasai’s straight plug has an aluminium housing with a matte finish and a band of silver-coloured carbon fibre towards the rear end. It also has strain relief for added durability. The Y-split is an elongated barrel shape and is silver-coloured with a carbon fibre band in the middle. There’s a little black plastic chin slider that moves up and down the cable easily but stays firmly in place wherever you position it.
The 2-pin connectors have an aluminium housing which matches the colour of the Y-split and termination. There is a small L or R marking on the left and right side respectively for identification. The L & R markings can be a bit difficult to see, especially in low light but that’s a minor niggle, not a serious drawback.
Some pre-formed ear guides are present too, in the form of heat-shrink tubing. I love the way they’re made short – just long enough to go over your ears and then the rest of the cable is able to hang naturally.
Handling and Aesthetics
As I mentioned above, the Kasai has a burgundy fabric sheath covering the cable below the Y-split. This gives it a distinguishable appearance amongst my other cables. The colour-matched termination, Y-split and connectors create a pleasing and unified appearance and in my opinion, the Kasai is a very handsome looking cable.
The Kasai is remarkably lightweight despite the robustness and size of its termination and Y-split. It is a soft, supple cable and therefore, it drapes and handles well. There is not really any noticeable microphonics and that combined with its lightweight nature means that you can forget about it and enjoy your music while it does its job.
The source used for testing was my Sony NW-ZX300, as it’s currently the only DAP I have with a 4.4mm balanced output.
Ahh, copper – atomic number 29, known for its superior electrical conductivity and high ductility. It is widely considered to provide additional warmth to earphones, along with some extra bass punch. In the case of the Kasai, this is exactly how it goes.
Strangely I didn’t find it to attenuate the high frequencies, which is one of the things people often look for in a pure copper cable. Instead, the Kasai takes a more aggressive stance, keeping the sound vivid and lively.
At the same time, the presentation as a whole is more upfront and forward. The Kasai forgoes nuance, preferring a bolder, more boisterous approach. This is a cable that energizes, like the red planet Mars, which incidentally translates to ‘Ares’ in the Greek language.
The Moondrop KXXS has a balanced, airy presentation with good bass extension and a large soundstage. Paired with the Kasai, the bass gets added grunt and sub-bass rumbles are more visceral. The midrange is fuller and more forward, resulting in extra intimacy and vocal density.
Treble notes are still crisp and don’t feel as though they are attenuated, so there is still plenty of energy and detail up top. Additionally, the soundstage maintains its expansiveness and sense of air, plus the sound emerges from a blacker background.
Custom Art FIBAE Black
The FIBAE Black (review here) has a single balanced armature driver and a warm, laid back presentation. What struck me first of all when paired with the Kasai was the treble extension. Contrary to what I was expecting, the Kasai adds body to the treble without any apparent reduction of its extension or airiness.
Added punchiness empowers the Black’s bass, giving it more impact and fullness. Thankfully, the midrange is also brought forward, so there aren’t any adverse effects of the emboldened bass. This is a combination that I expected to be detrimental to the Black’s sound but in fact, the Kasai makes a perfect partner for it.
Fearless Audio S8F
This Chi-Fi gem houses a combination of Knowles and Sonion balanced armature drivers – eight in total per side. It’s very detailed but at the same time warm and musical with good tonal accuracy; it’s easy to see why it has such unanimous praise within the audiophile community.
When paired with the Kasai, the S8F’s bass takes on extra body and impact. The overall signature gains a little warmth making it less demanding and more easy-going for the listener. The midrange is fuller but maintains the S8F’s incredible resolution and separation.
Unlike the other 2 IEMs I tested, the S8F’s treble sounds smoother with the Kasai, due to the added forwardness of the midrange and the overall presentation’s extra warmth.
This one turned out differently from what I was anticipating. The Ares Audio Kasai provides extra warmth, punchier bass and a richer overall tone. It doesn’t throw a warm blanket over the sound but rather infuses heat from within, like glowing embers. This fire isn’t fading though; the Kasai feels like it’s ready to spark a flame at any time as it’s still bristling with energy.
This was my first exposure to Ares Audio products and the quality of construction plus the attention to detail makes me eager to see where they go moving forward. The Kasai is available from the Ares Audio website. If you’re looking for an affordable pure copper cable then be sure to check this out. And if red is your thing, well, look no further.