The “sound” of the wire is not easy to describe, it’s not an IEM with a specific sound signature. We are talking about a wire that connects a source with a particular signature and goes to a pair of monitors with their own signature. What you hear is a synergy of all 3 elements in that sound chain. It’s easier to describe the sound when you replace one of these elements and note the change you hear. I’m sure many will be interested in the sound of Ares II 8 wire relative to its 4 wire regular version.
In this test I used 64 Audio U18t with A&K SP1000 SS (latest 1.08 fw), playing a selection of the test tracks, such as Agnes Obel “The curse”, Sandro Cavazza “So much better” (Avicii remix), C-Bool “Never go away”, Ed Sheeran “Shape of you”, Galantis “Hunter”, Iggy Azalea “Black widow”, Indila “Boite en argent”, Robin Schultz “Oh child”, David Elias “Vision of her”, and Michael Jackson “Dirty Diana”.
Since going from 4 wire to 8 wire lowers the impedance, no magic here because you are doubling the cross-section area of the electrical signal flow which lowers the impedance and improves the conductivity, the sound level will get louder and will require a proper volume matching for a more accurate comparison.
Taking all this under consideration, the difference between Ares II 4 wire and 8 wire is actually quite noticeable where I hear a wider soundstage, more forward mids, and improved resolution and transparency of mids when going to 8 wire version. In comparison, 4 wire sounds a little warmer with mids being less resolving. Basically, 4 wire has a more typical “copper” coloring of the sound, while doubling of these wires has an effect of a leaner sound with a noticeable improvement in mids.
Obviously, many people buy a cable to fine tune a sound of their current IEM with a stock cable. Here is a selective pair up comparison of a few IEMs with a stock cables vs EA Ares II 8 wire. I was using SP1000 SS as a source, volume matched in every comparison.
64 Audio U18t
SPC to Ares II 8 wire – wider soundstage, more forward mids, tighter bass, more transparent mids. Change in mids here is the most noticeable, especially when it comes to vocals, given them more clarity and better definition.
SPC to Ares II 8 wire – I do hear a wider soundstage going to 8wire. When it comes to a sound, again, most of the improvements I hear are in mids, given them more definition and clarity, bringing up more micro-details. At the same time, sharpening that 6k-7k peak which can make sound a little sibilant. In this pair up, there is a trade-off depending on your sound preference and sensitivity to lower treble peaks.
Empire Ears Legend X
EA Ares II 4 wire to EA Ares II 8 wire – despite my previous comparison of 4 wire to 8 wire, soundstage here is nearly the same because Legend X has a very wide staging to begin with. The changes I hear are around the bass and mids. While sub-bass is relatively the same, mid-bass impact is lower and mids presentation is more forward going to 8 wire. As a result, overall signature is more balanced, and I personally found it less fatigue due to a more relaxed bass slam.
64 Audio N8
SPC to Ares II 8 wire – soundstage here is the same, nearly unchanged. I also hear the same sub-bass rumble and mid-bass slam, but mids presentation is more forward and more resolving, making overall sound signature to be more balanced.
In addition to Ares II 4 wire vs 8 wire comparison, I decided to run more tests using U18t and Plenue 2 mk2 DAP, volume matched in every comparison. Consistent with all other tests, I change only one variable at a time to record the sound difference I hear.
EA Ares II 8 wire vs EA Thor II+ – I hear 8wire soundstage to be just a touch wider, but not by a lot. Thor II+ sub-bass has a little more rumble in comparison to a more neutral sub-bass when paired up with 8wire. Mids are nearly identical when it comes to tonality, presentation, and technical performance. Thor II+ treble has more sparkle while 8wire treble is smoother and with more control.
EA Ares II 8 wire vs EA Lionheart – very similar soundstage expansion. Lionheart bass goes deeper and hits harder in comparison to a more neutral 8wire low end. Treble is nearly the same (maybe with a little more sparkle in 8wire), but mids are different where 8wire is brighter and more transparent, while Lionheart mids are smoother and have a fuller body.
EA Ares II 8 wire vs PlusSound Tri-Copper – a lot of similarities between these two. Soundstage expansion is nearly the same, wide and spacious. And the same with mids and treble, similar tonality, presentation, and technical performance. The only difference I hear between these two cables is in bass, in particularly the mid-bass. When it comes to sub-bass, Tri-Copper has a little more rumble, but with mid-bass it slams harder in comparison to 8wire.
Ares II 8 wire Bespoke cable is easy to recommend because it’s a beautiful pure copper design with a nice hand braiding, with flexibility and comfort equivalent to its 4 wire version, with noticeable sound changes, and still with a reasonable pricing. This is probably one of the few cable reviews where I didn’t mention “diminishing returns” because of the pricing. Of course, you have to keep in mind that we are talking about a pure copper material which is cheaper then silver or gold or combination of both. People often jump all over the cable pricing without realizing that precious metals have a higher cost associated with it.
If you already have Ares II 4 wire or purchased IEMs which come bundled stock with it, you will be able to appreciate a wider soundstage expansion and resolution/transparency improvement in mids when upgrading to 8 wire version. A similar improvement could be achieved upgrading from other stock cables as well. Just keep in mind, the sound improvement of one specific cable is not universal with every other IEM because it will depend on the pair up synergy between your source and your monitors. And hopefully my review with other cable and IEM examples will help you decide if Bespoke Ares II 8 wire cable will do the job of sound fine-tuning you are looking for.