Ares Audio is a Singapore based maker of custom IEM and headphone cables. Recently, I had the pleasure of reviewing their debut cables, the Kasai and Yuki. In this review, I’m taking a look at the Ares Audio Sakeishi, which is the company’s first hybrid cable. The Sakeishi is an 8-core cable with a mix of copper and silver wires plus a unique colour. Let’s find out how it performs.
This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Ares Audio Sakeishi Review
Good handling and minimal microphonics
Lightweight and strong
Refined, clean signature
No cable cinch
Package and Accessories
What a change this is compared to the early Kasai and Yuki cables I reviewed! Ares Audio is really beginning to establish itself as a brand and this is reflected starkly in the new packaging. The Sakeishi comes in an attractive metal box that has some branding and the logo on the front.
Inside is a black foam insert with a circular cutout for the cable and an additional cutout for the fabric carrying pouch. This is a great solution that offers separate storage options for at home and on the move.
Another new addition is the branded leather cable strap. Additionally, you’ll find two stickers and a business card in the box as well. This is a thoughtful and practical package that goes a step further than most to provide a great user experience.
Build Quality and Design
There are several things that struck me the first time I laid my eyes on the Sakeishi. First of all, there is no fabric sheath as there was on the Kasai and Yuki. Instead, the Sakeishi has PVC + EMI double sleeving, which to me feels much nicer to handle.
Additionally, the Sakeishi has a less common flat braid style that gives it a unique appearance and handling. At first, I was concerned it might be awkward or stiff but it turns out to be very supple with none of the microphonics that the Yuki had. It drapes well and is lighter than it looks too, enhancing the comfort of the cable greatly.
Of course, I can’t talk about the design without mentioning the Sakeishi’s unusual colours. It has a blend of black and purple that to my eyes is really gorgeous, although that is my subjective view.
The usual connectors and terminations are available and you can customize these as you wish. I chose 2-pin connectors and a 2.5mm termination. This is another aspect that separates the Sakeishi from Ares Audio’s earlier cables. The new connector housings now have a polished finish, colour-coded ring plus a ribbed texture that makes gripping them much easier when disconnecting the cable.
Furthermore, the new self-designed Y-split and plug are now a gunmetal grey colour and have the brand logo on them. They’re tough but lightweight and really help to reinforce their uniqueness. I love the direction Ares Audio is going with their designs.
With its mix of 6N OCC copper and 4N occ silver, the Sakeishi has a sonic character that is as unique as its appearance. It has a wonderfully black background that creates a cleaner sound with improved layering. Soundstage dimensions and particularly stage depth are increased. The stage becomes vividly holographic and stable as positioning is more pinpoint.
Bass is tighter without losing any of its extension and there is an increase in bass texture. The midrange benefits from the extra bass control as it gains more instrument separation which in turn boosts resolution. Instrument size is reduced slightly with faster transients and clearer air between notes.
Treble gets an extra measure of sparkle and clarity, which reflects the overall signature of the Sakeishi, which is one of articulation and control with an undercurrent of warmth. Micro-details are rendered with an alacrity allowing you to pick up certain cues that warmer cables might gloss over.
The Fusion has a warmish tonality with a fairly laidback treble so the Sakeishi is a great match for it. This pairing brings extra shimmer to the treble which along with its additional bass control expands the already large soundstage. Fusion has outstanding imaging and separation which is enhanced even more with Sakeishi making for such an immersive experience I had a hard time putting it down.
Is there any cable that doesn’t work well with this hidden gem? I don’t think so. But the Sakeishi turns out to be another excellent match for it. The micro-details I’m getting from this duo is so gratifying and the cherry on top is that it doesn’t make the sound any brighter. Have you ever played with a glitter globe? That’s what the SA-50 sounds like with this cable. Sparkles for days, layering, stage, tight bass, you name it. All the positive superlatives match this setup.
Empire Ears Bravado
This was the most surprising of the pairings I tested. The Bravado is characterized by its Godzilla-like bass, one that towers above tall buildings and makes the earth shake under your feet. With the Sakeishi the bass still has a mighty presence but what I didn’t expect was the increased presence with female vocals and lower treble. Suddenly the Bravado sounds more dynamic and lively, a pleasant discovery indeed.
The Ares Audio Sakeishi is the current flagship model and it performs like one. Not only does it have a unique and refined sound signature but the flat braiding is impeccably handwoven and it has a delightfully unique aesthetic. You can also have peace of mind knowing the cable has a limited lifetime warranty. With their innovation and forward-thinking approach, I expect we’ll see a lot more from Ares Audio in the future and I can’t wait for it.