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 compare it to. What you hear is a synergy between 3 elements in the sound chain: 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 decided to give U18t sockets a break and used 64 Audio Trio with Lotoo’s LPGT and A&K SP1000 SS, 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”.
More sound analysis details could be extrapolated from my Comparison/Pair up sections of the review but based on that testing I can also draw some common observations about Cleo performance. Right off the bat, this is not your typical Pure Silver cable, so don’t expect a brighter and more revealing fine tuning of your IEMs. This cable keeps tonality natural and smoother.
Relative to many basic stock cables and even some lower end premium cables, I do hear an improvement of soundstage perception. I mean, perception is a matter of a “perception”, but in every single pair up I’ve tried – the sound was wide and expanded, never limiting the full potential of IEM soundstage performance.
The effect of this cable in the low end was also consistent and a bit surprising since it doesn’t only offer more mid-bass impact, but also adds more rumble to the sound. I’m not just talking about going deeper and extending lower, but I’m actually hearing a little lift in sub-bass rumble which adds more analog flavor to the sound.
Also, with mids, I’m hearing a smoother and more natural finetuning of the tonality, especially noticeable in vocals. I wouldn’t say it’s warmer, but just sounds more natural, with less of a digital edge, while still remaining resolving and without loosing retrieval of details. Treble sounds natural as well, I don’t hear any changes associated with more spikes.
Keep in mind, this is all relative to IEM I’m testing with, so I’m describing the effect of the cable on the monitor signature. Of course, there will be some variations, but overall Cleo helped improve the low end extension and impact as well as keeping mids natural and detailed in many of my pair ups.
Consistent with my cable testing philosophy, I used the same IEM (Trio) and only changed one variable at a time to note the sound difference I hear while keeping volume matched. Keep in mind, I’m describing how these cables sound with 64 Audio Trio IEM.
EA Cleo vs EA Thor II+ – Cleo has more bass slam, both in terms of deeper sub-bass rumble and harder hissing mid-bass, while Thor has similar sub-bass extension with a bit less rumble and slightly more relaxed mid-bass. Mids have the most noticeable difference with Cleo being more organic, slightly warmer, and more soulful, while Thor mids are more transparent, brighter, and more forward. Cleo also has a more natural rendition of treble while Thor has a little more sparkle in high end. As a result of a little more bass impact and more natural mids, Cleo makes Trio sound slightly more v-shaped while Thor makes Trio sound a little more mid-forward. Also, Cleo expands soundstage wider.
EA Cleo vs EA Lionheart – In this comparison, two things stand out as the most noticeable difference. Cleo’s bass hits harder, especially the sub-bass rumble, warmer, thicker, more analog, while Lion has a decent sub-bass extension, but not as deep or impactful. Even mid-bass punches a touch harder in Cleo. Another noticeable difference is the soundstage expansion, with Cleo expanding wider, especially in mids. The rest sounds very similar, the same organic natural mids tonality, and well-controlled and well-defined treble. As a result of difference in bass, the mids/vocals in Cleo pulled slightly back while in Lion a little forward.
EA Cleo vs EA Leo II/Octa – I don’t have Leo II anymore only updated Octa version, so some of this comparison is by memory relative to a/b comparison with Octa. Both have a very similar expanded soundstage. With bass, Cleo is closer to Octa version of Leo II where you have more impact in low end, with Cleo subs being even a touch more elevated; mid-bass punch is the same. Regular Leo II version should have less bass impact. With mids, Cleo is a little warmer while Leo is a touch more revealing and slightly more forward in presentation. Treble sounds the same in both.
EA Cleo vs DITA Audio OSLO – with an exception of Cleo having a deeper and a little more elevated sub-bass rumble, these two are quite similar in soundstage expansion, mids tonality and presentation, and treble rendering. Go figure, pure silver vs copper, which only proves this is not your regular silver cable.
EA Cleo vs PlusSound Tri-Silver – Here, Cleo soundstage is a touch wider in comparison to Tri-Silver, but just by a touch. Bass quantity is higher and deeper in Cleo, with a noticeably deeper sub-bass extension and higher level of rumble and stronger mid-bass punch. Tri-Silver extends nicely as well, but it is not the same quantity. Mids are more organic and smoother with Cleo, while a little brighter, more revealing, and slightly more forward with Tri-Silver. Also, with treble Cleo is a little smoother and more natural, while Tri-Silver has a little more sparkle and airiness.
EA Cleo vs PWA 1960 2wire (4conductors) – Both have a very similar wide soundstage expansion. With bass, they also have a similar mid-bass punch, but Cleo sub-bass rumble goes deeper and has a higher quantity. Cleo mids are smoother and more natural, while 1960 are brighter and more revealing. The same with treble, Cleo is smoother and more natural, while still being well defined, and 1960 is brighter and crisper. In some poorly recorded tracks the treble with 1960 and Trio sounded harsher, while with Cleo is was more natural.