The bass on Eros II feels like it is tighter and more controlled. I said that in my 4-wire review and once again this is the impression I get with the 8-wire. Especially with the Phantom this is noticeable. From everything I have learned of the Phantom’s tuning, I understand the bass is a key part in giving them that characteristic natural tonality. Eros II reduces some of the bass quantity compared to the stock Ares II, but maintains enough of it not to harm that aspect of the tuning. The notes are not quite as thick and instruments are not quite as full sounding, but never does it feel like the bass is lacking. Indeed when called for, the Phantom with Eros II are still very capable of a good rumble. Bass instruments also still maintain their natural resonance and I love listening to Bach’s Cello Concertos as more details come through of the playing techniques.
Equally, when listening to Caro Emerald’s Acoustic Sessions album, especially a track like Back it Up, there is no sense of loss in the excitement of the track with that wonderful double bass accompanying the sweet, sweet voice of Caro. I have read some criticism of the Phantom, mostly that the Phantom are too thick and warm to be natural. I think that perhaps for those people Eros II might be a great way to achieve a natural tonality as they see it. Perhaps something to let them try out at a CanJam one day.
The mids are a real strength of Eros II, even for Effect Audio, who I feel are always very good at making cables that excel in the mid range. Like with the 4-wire, the 8-wire does something with vocals that I especially like. It does not push vocals forward very strongly, not like the Ares II 8-wire, but gives them a clarity and presence that is strong in and of itself. It is very natural and very alluring and works amazingly well for solo vocals such as London Grammar’s Hannah Reid, as well as highly layered choral pieces such as Bach’s Magnificat. Male and female vocals have pretty much equal strength, greatly benefiting the layering in such complex choral pieces.
As indicated in the bass sections, Eros II maintains enough warmth for instruments to sound natural and this can be clearly heard with mid-range instruments such as woodwinds. I love those instruments and, after adjusting to the more neutral tone, have grown to love the balance that is achieved among mid-range instruments in classical symphonies such as my favorites; Beethoven’s 3rd and 5th. The woodwinds are not quite as prominent, but have enough presence to rise above the rest when needed with a great sense of realism. Everything is well balanced, refined and (there is that word again) effortless. Mid-range clarity is improved and is something that can benefit more V-shaped IEMs, if that is what you would like. I felt it worked very well with the more V-shaped, overly warm Saturn.
As can be expected from an Effect Audio cable, the treble is very smooth and linear. No peaks here. There is some added sparkle that comes through, but I expect this has more to do with the reduced warmth from the bass rather than any specific lift in the treble. If there is a lift it is only slight and done linearly.
A key area where I do feel a significant improvement is made is in the bite of strings and cymbals. With Ares II I was not entirely happy with violins, finding them a little too sweet and lacking the bite I would like to hear when listening to Paganini or Saint-Saëns. Indeed, I would sometimes switch to a silver cable to get that. With Eros II the bite is there and the added details that come through combines to give a real sense of the swiftness with which Paganini’s Violin Concerto No.4 is being played and the eeriness in Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre. The more neutral tonality of Eros II emphasizes instruments such as violins and this is also apparent in Beethoven’s 3rd, resulting in a greater sense of speed with which the symphony is played. (Once again, something I also noticed with the 4-wire.)
I think Eros II works very well to add that bit more bite and sparkle without introducing any peaks or harshness. With the Phantom this bite sits just in the right place that I actually love that about this pairing. It is however a word of warning for anyone who owns the Phantom and already has some sensitivity to their treble with the stock cable. Eros II might not resolve that and in that case Lionheart might be a more interesting option to explore.
Effect Audio Ares II 8-wire.
My love… The Ares II 8-wire really impressed me in its synergy with my Phantom, as well as my Ei.3 and Saturn. In fact, my Ei.3 with Ares II is my favorite pairing for playing video games. What I loved most of all though was listening to Beethoven with my Phantom and the Ares II. It is a bold and exciting pairing with thick notes, full instruments and quite forward and strong vocals that can at times sound eerily realistic, like the words are being whispered in your ears. Eros II is more neutral and refined by comparison. Notes are not as thick and vocals not as forward. Eros II also gives less a sense of the venue when listening to Beethoven, although in its own way the presentation is enticing because of the quality of the imaging. By comparison Eros II fairs much better with violin music, where Ares II is a little too sweet and does not achieve the level of articulation that Eros II achieves. What surprised me most was that although Eros II is more neutral, I found the pairing with my Phantom more versatile. That is something very unexpected, as my preference is usually towards a warmer thicker sound, but the technical advantages that Eros II brings seem to work with everything I can throw at it.
PlusSound X6 Tri-Copper.
Now here is an interesting one, especially with the Phantom. Where the Eros II seems to get out of the way and does not make significant changes to the sound, the X6 Tri-Copper injects a wonderful dose of fun into the mix. The stage of Eros II is larger and more airy, throwing out the music in front of you. The X6 contrasts this by being more intimate (relatively speaking) and surrounding the listener in sound with heaps of detail that Eros II simply cannot match. Eros II is linear in its sound and especially the treble is very smooth and refined. The X6 makes the bass of the Phantom come alive and adds lots of sparkle on top. Indeed, I think that relative to each other Eros II’s strength is in the mids, where the X6’s strengths are in the bass and treble. For example, the pairing with the Rhapsodio Saturn was better in the case of Eros II because the Saturn come stock with an SPC cable and I always felt the mids were rather far back. Eros II resolved this a bit better, although I can’t but admit that for ‘moar bass’ the X6 is still my weapon of choice for the Saturn. I love both these cables for completely different reasons and (if possible) would highly recommend trying them out before deciding. I think synergy will be key to what works best with certain IEMs, but both I expect will pair well with many IEMs.
In a thread on Head-fi I explained my thoughts on the Eros II 8-wire as following: “Like seeing an old friend who has matured to become an even better friend.” I could have said “like an old friend who has enjoyed life and added a little weight”, but I think the former is more accurate. The 8-wire feels very similar to the 4-wire version of Eros II, although I sadly did not have that one around anymore to compare directly. This is based on simply writing down very similar notes and using the same words at times. Eros II 8-wire is an uncolored cable that gets out of the way. It adds space, air and detail and is highly versatile in its pairing with a wide variety of IEMs. It is a little bulky, as all 26 AWG, 8-wire cables inherently are, but is surprisingly comfortable nonetheless. It is an expensive upgrade, but with the right IEMs such as the Empire Ears Phantom, the synergy is capable of resulting in something truly special. Highly worth a demo!