Effect Audio Signature Series Ares S and Cadmus Review

Effect Audio Signature Series review featured

In today’s review, I’m checking out the Effect Audio Signature Series earphone cables. The Ares S is a premium UP-OCC Copper Litz upgrade cable for IEMs and Cadmus is a silver-plated copper cable. The price is $179 for Ares S and $199 for Cadmus.

Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Effect Audio for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own, based on my experience with the product.

Effect Audio Signature Series Ares S and Cadmus Review
Verdict
If you're looking for an aftermarket cable to elevate your IEMs, it's hard to look past the Effect Audio Signature Series.
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Pros
Fully modular on both ends
Great packaging and accessories
Materials and build quality
Good handling and low microphonics
Cons
Might seem heavy for some users
4.5
Our Score

Effect Audio Signature Series

Specifications
  • Ares S
    • Selected Premium UP-OCC Copper Litz
    • Proprietary Dual Geometric Design
    • EPO* 24 AWG 4 Wires
    • EA Ultra Flexi™ Insulation
    • ConX® Interchangeable Connector
    • Rhodium Plated Brass Straight Type Plug
  • Cadmus
    • Selected Premium UP-OCC Silver Plated Copper Litz
    • Septuplet Multi-sized Core Bundle
    • EPO* 24 AWG 4 Wires
    • EA Ultra Flexi™ Insulation
    • ConX® Interchangeable Connector
    • Rhodium Plated Brass Straight Type Plug
In the Box & accessories

In the Box

In short, the Signature Series packaging is outstanding. The unboxing experience you get is somewhat akin to that of some well-thought-out IEM bundles. The boxes and materials both look and feel premium.

Each cable has unique cover art that depicts not only the model names (they’re all characters from Greek mythology) but also the material makeup of the cable. This same attention to detail is on display on the actual products as well but more on that later.

All of the cables come with a small carrying pouch and a clip strap. The clip strap can be used on either the cable directly or on the pouch to hold the cable securely inside.

Signature Series design

Design

The cables are offered in either 4-core or 8-core versions. Ares S is constructed from Ultra Pure Ohno Continuous Casting (UP-OCC) copper wire whereas Cadmus uses UP-OCC Silver Plated Copper. This process (UP-OCC) reduces impurities and ensures exceptional conductivity. The “Litz” implies wires made from multiple smaller strands individually insulated and woven together, minimizing skin effect and improving electrical performance. Consequently, these cables have been crafted for improved signal transmission and reduced interference.

The 24AWG wires are slightly thicker than most stock IEM cables. This makes them slightly less flexible and reduces resistance, potentially enhancing signal transmission. However, the Signature Series cables utilize EA’s Ultra Flexi™ Insulation, ensuring they remain supple. Both IEMs came with straight rhodium-plated brass plugs.

Custom Y-split

The pre-formed ear hooks are firm but pliant. They’re thicker than the ones on Ares II, making them more comfortable during long listening sessions.

Visually, the cables look fantastic (in my opinion). Ares S has the same rich copper colour as the iconic Ares II, complemented by selenite grey and forged carbon fibre components. It’s slightly stiffer than the Cadmus but it handles much better than the old Ares II. Cadmus, on the other hand, is more supple but still resistant to tangling. It boasts a glowing pearlescent white colour and looks stunning from both afar and on closer inspection.

The cables boast a meticulously braided pattern, resembling an intricate lattice formation. The weave is tight and uniform, lending a smooth texture to the touch. Visually, it’s striking, with the braid creating a subtle shimmer under light. The consistency of the braiding remains uniform throughout each cable’s length, suggesting enhanced durability without compromising their elegant appearance.

ConX and TermX

One of the most interesting facets of the Signature Series is the ConX and TermX components. These make each cable versatile and compatible with pretty much any IEM you can poke a stick at.

With ConX you can quickly and easily change the connectors on your cable. You can buy the full set or individual connectors. The connectors available are 2-pin, MMCX, p-Ear, IPX and A2DC. The process is simple and done by using the included ‘key’ to unscrew and attach your connectors.

TermX allows you to switch your cable termination so you can use your cables with different sources. You can buy the full set which includes 2.5mm, 3.5mm and 4.4mm terminations or you can buy them individually. There are even Lighting and Type C options. With TermX you no longer need to worry about buying or carrying around various adapters.

Carrying case

Sound

This part is naturally subjective because the cables don’t show any difference in measurements. However, I stand firm in my belief that cables can change the sound of IEMs based on experiences I’ve had where a cable change resulted in distinctly different sound characteristics.

Effect Audio Ares S

Being a big fan of the old Ares II, my excitement and expectations for the Ares S were high. It not only met my expectations but exceeded them in both build and sound quality.

Ares S wraps your music in a comforting warmth. Its dual geometric design, whispered secrets passed down from Olympus, caresses your eardrums with a velvet touch. Vocals emerge like ancient incantations—smooth, mesmerizing, and utterly irresistible.

Fear not, for the Ares S does not forsake detail. It’s no mere potion of dulcet tones; it’s a philosopher’s stone that transmutes ordinary notes into gold. Each pluck of a guitar string, each percussive heartbeat, resonates with newfound clarity.

The standout feature of the Ares S lies in its ability to bring forth the soul and deeper emotions embedded within music tracks. Vocals are notably energetic, yet smoothly delivered, drawing listeners into a hypnotic embrace.

Moreover, instruments gain a lifelike quality with the Ares S. Electric guitar riffs acquire a natural grit, while drums exhibit impactful strength without overshadowing other elements.

Cadmus

This was my first experience with Cadmus so I wasn’t sure what to expect, although I had some idea based on the wire materials. It offers a different experience compared to Ares S, delivering a more pristine character.

In the pantheon of audio cables, where threads of music weave into legends, emerges the Effect Audio Cadmus—a hero forged in silver and copper.

The Cadmus introduces a low end that’s both assertive and finely controlled. However, the true star of this mythic journey lies within its ability to unveil a higher resolution, gifting listeners an exceptional treble response. The balance struck here is impeccable, offering crispness without a hint of harshness, creating a sound that’s as smooth as it is detailed.

Highlighting a tight and controlled bass, the Cadmus elevates the music by presenting improved resolution and extended highs, sounding both vivid and expansive. But the true star here lies in the heavens—the higher-resolution sound and crisp treble.

Pairings &Comparison

FiR Audio 5×5 (review here)

Ares S: Smooth, inviting vocals and deep sub-bass notes. To my ears, the lows and mids have more body but don’t sacrifice on texture. Electric guitars sound gritty while vocals sound rich. Treble notes are dense and accurate in timbre.

Cadmus: Details are unleashed in full. Bass is tight with a focus on punchy mid-bass. The midrange and vocals are neutral and spacious. The biggest change I hear with Cadmus here is in the treble which is crisp and airy with improved extension.

Meze ADVAR (review here)

Ares S: Lots of body in the bass, especially sub-bass and heavier kick drims. Mids are organic and silky with sultry vocals. Electric guitars pop and cymbals are smooth with a shorter decay. Overall balanced but slightly warm sound yet still spacious.

Cadmus: Bass notes are clean and punchy but not as impactful. Mids are clean and wide open. Vocals are articulate and instruments are clear with accurate timbre. The treble is airy with notes adorned by a sheen with a captivating halo effect.

Effect Audio Cadmus

Verdict

In conclusion, I’m thoroughly impressed with the Effect Audio Signature Series cables in every aspect, from the meticulously designed packaging and comprehensive accessories to the exceptional build quality and affordable pricing.

The Ares S delivers a rich, emotive sound characterized by enhanced bass depth and velvety, upfront vocals. Meanwhile, the Cadmus presents pristine audio with outstanding resolution, accompanied by shimmering, illuminating treble notes.

In the past, cables of this quality would have been extremely expensive. Now, not only do they boast an impressive appearance and excellent handling, but they also offer added versatility with the ConX and TermX modularity. If you’re in search of an aftermarket cable to enhance your IEMs, Effect Audio’s Signature Series lineup is definitely worth exploring.



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