In my opinion, cable doesn’t have a “sound” which you can describe by itself like IEMs in terms of lows, mids, treble. Cable is a medium that could shape up and fine-tune the sound signature or expand the soundstage perception, something you can describe relative to IEM under the test or relative to another cable you comparing it to. What you hear is a synergy of 3 components in the sound chain with the source, the cable, and IEMs. Thus, it’s easier to describe the sound when you replace one of these elements and note the change associated with it.
In this sound analysis I used 64 Audio U18t, Earsonics S-EM9, and 64 Audio Trio with A&K SP1000 SS (latest 1.11 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”.
Also, please keep in mind, we are talking about 8 thick conductors with an overall reduction in cable impedance relative to thinner 4 wire stock cables. When you increase the cross section area of the cable, you reduce the impedance. So, even if you don’t take material into consideration, change in impedance alone will have an effect on the sound.
Now, in terms of the sound tonality, I hear the difference in Janus cables as following:
Basso – has more emphasis in low end (mid-bass punch specifically) and treble sparkle (adding a little more crunch and airiness). Also, I hear lower mids to be more neutral and upper mids to be a little leaner and brighter. Depending on pair up, it gives the sound a little more v-shaped sig.
Dynamic – has more emphasis on mids (with a more forward presentation) and adds a little more sub-bass rumble, along with improved treble control. Here, I hear lower mids having a little more body and upper mids being more natural in comparison to Basso version. Depending on pair up, it gives the sound a more balanced sig.
Both cables improve the perception of soundstage expansion and give sound more transparency with improvement in detail retrieval, relative to IEMs with their stock cables. But they each fine-tune the sound in a slightly different way, and would benefit different IEMs in a different way depending on the original baseline signature of monitors.
Consistent with my cable testing philosophy, I used the same IEM (U18t) and only changed one variable at a time to note the sound difference I hear. As I mentioned in the Intro, this is going to be a shorter than my usual review since I’m skipping the pair up. After my review of Leo II, I got a few questions with people asking me how come I covered Horus and Leo II, but skipped Janus. So, I decided to focus this review section on comparison between Janus D, Horus, and Leo II.
Janus D vs Horus:
Horus makes the sound leaner and more transparent, Janus D gives the sound more rumble in sub-bass and a little more body in mids. Also, I’m hearing more air between the sound layers with Horus in comparison to Janus D where I also find a great layering but the sound is a little thicker due to that extra body in mids. Furthermore, Horus has a slightly wider soundstage, while both have a similar soundstage depth.
Janus D vs Leo II:
When switching from Janus D to Leo II, you get more bass slam, similar to Janus B, where I hear Leo II having a stronger mid-bass punch and a little more body in lower mids. The upper mids are the same, and so does treble, except Leo II has a touch more sparkle in lower treble. Both have the same soundstage expansion. Janus D keeps the sound more balanced with just a little more focus in mids, a good alternative if you don’t want any extra boost in low end.
Janus is known as the God of Duality which is usually depicted as having two faces, looking to the future and to the past. Of course, the idea of two-face came from having a similar cable design with two “faces” of sound sig, Dynamic and Basso. But the definition of looking to the future and to the past has a lot of merit here. EA cable designs are always based on successful ideas from the past with addition of a new forward looking future ideas. Palladium plating was already introduced in their PSquared Palladium-Platinum connector, and now made it into the future with a Palladium plated copper wires in Janus cable.
I don’t have a scientific explanation why Janus D differs in sound from Janus B or what are the secret ingredients in that alloy mix, and how it varies between D and B. What I can tell you is that I do hear a difference, and it’s rather noticeable, enough to understand why EA decided to release 2 separate cables instead of picking one in favor of the other. Also, it will depend on a signature of IEM you pairing Janus cable with, to make a decision if either d or b will suit it better. Just please remember, no cable is intended to change a signature of your IEM. Instead, it’s there to fine tune, to squeeze out every last ounce of the performance by refining the sound rather than drastically changing it.