When talking to my readers, I see many who are buying cables to fine tune the sound of their current IEMs relative to a stock cable. And a lot of them focus on flagship monitors where for some it makes more sense to spend about half or less of the IEM price on the cable upgrade. Thus, I decided to use in my pair up comparison a selection of flagship level IEMs with their corresponding stock cable vs EA Leo II. I was using SP1000 SS as a source, volume matched in every comparison.
64 Audio U18t
Stock SPC to Leo II – I hear an increase in soundstage width, which is quite noticeable here. Bass is tighter, faster, mids are more revealing without becoming brighter, and treble is crisper and airy relative to stock cable. The sound improvement follows Leo II signature of improving resolution and transparency of mids, while still keeping them full bodied and natural.
64 Audio Fourte
Stock SPC to Leo II – while I do hear a slight improvement in soundstage width, Fourte is wide to begin with so the overall effect is not as drastic. Bass has a better definition, more control, you can hear that especially in a shorter decay of its dynamic driver. Mids are still bright and revealing, but with Leo II they are less harsh and a little smoother. The same with treble, Leo II smooths out a few peaks to make treble sound more natural. There is an improvement, but I personally prefer warmer cables with Fourte, like Lionheart or Redcore.
Stock TWag v4 to Leo II – In this comparison where a stock cable happens to be a premium one, the soundstage is nearly the same, maybe with Leo II being just a touch wider. With a bass, I hear it getting tighter, faster, more controlled. Mids got a little more forward and more revealing, while treble remained the same. One of the biggest improvements here is the ergonomics of the cable with Leo II being thinner, more flexible, and without any microphonic. TWag v4 pairs up well with Mellianus, but Leo II fine tunes that and takes ergonomics to a whole new level.
Empire Ears Legend X
Stock EA Ares II to Leo II – I hear the soundstage to be a little bit wider, but the big focus here is the bass. If you think LX was a basshead delight before, Leo II scales it up to the next level of ear bleeding!!! I’m personally not a basshead, but I can appreciate the improvement in low-end control when switching the cables in this case. As a result of a more controlled and focused bass, now mids have a little more room with a better, more balanced presentation. Treble remained the same. While for my personal taste I usually look for LX cable pair ups to reduce the bass impact, I can still appreciate what Leo II brings to Legend X table. It’s still L-shaped tuned IEM, but the perception of the bass is more powerful and the extra body in mids gives them a better presentation as well.
Stock SPC to Leo II – I can hear soundstage becoming wider. As with previous pair up tests, bass sounds tighter and more controlled, except the faster attack with a shorter decay made the bass a little leaner now. Mids are smoother, more natural, and the same with treble – more natural and better controlled. The sound signature shifted a little more toward mid-forward presentation due to bass becoming a little leaner.
Stock SPC to Leo II – I hear a truly remarkable transformation of the sound in this example. As I have seen in other examples, soundstage is wider. The bass has a better control with a more articulate definition. Mids have the most noticeable transformation where they sound more natural and smoother while still remain very detailed, literally on micro-detail level. Another noticeable change is in upper mids/lower treble with attenuation of sibilance peaks, making RE2k sound very non-fatigue in comparison to its stock cable. This was a good example where I rediscover the IEM sound all over again.
Coincidentally, if you look up the description of “Leo” zodiac sign, you will find traits of “warm, action-oriented and driven by the desire to be loved and admired, the Leo have an air royalty about them.” This made me think that original Leonidas “Leo” name wasn’t randomly selected. I can’t speak about the original Leo sound, but you can say that Leo II is action-oriented to drive your IEMs with a more focused faster bass and a desire to be loved and admired for its full body transparent mids/vocals tonality. I will leave “air royalty” to your own interpretation, though it definitely adds nice airiness to the sound, and it looks royally good!
Cables are often a polarizing topic of discussions because of their price and the changes in sound which people hear at a different level. Many are trying to justify the purchase while having unrealistic expectations that a cable will transform their IEMs into a different sound sig. The cable can enhance and refine the sound, but if you are looking for a more significant change – you got yourself a wrong IEM to begin with. Compared to EA other flagship releases of Horus and Janus, Leo II is more affordable while having the ergonomics of Horus and Palladium plating tech of Janus. Regarding the sound improvement, it’s definitely there, but you need to figure out if this pair up is the right one for your IEM. And I hope my Review with Pair-up/Comparison examples will help you in that decision!