This pair-up section is going to be a little different. Due to a shorter time allocated from when I received the cable to its introduction at CanJam SGP, I will not go into comparison of stock vs Cleo, but rather share my quick impressions of how selected IEMs sound with Cleo.
64 Audio Fourte – holographic soundstage expansion; deep sub-bass rumble, softer more rounded mid-bass; closer to neutral lower mids, upper mids here are smoother and more natural, especially noticeable with vocals which sound more organic; treble is crisp but not harsh. The most noticeable change here is in a more natural tonality of mids and less fatigue lower treble.
64 Audio U18t – very wide soundstage; deep sub-bass rumble, tight punchy mid-bass; more neutral lower mids with a little extra body, natural detailed upper mids which are more balanced relative to bass and treble; crisp well defined non-fatigue treble. Bass gains more sub-bass rumble and overall signature is more balanced with mids/vocals sounding more natural.
Oriolus Mellianus – soundstage is wide and has some additional depth, extending further out of your head; bass is tight, very articulate, sounds a little faster and with stronger mid-bass punch in comparison to stock TWag v4 cable; lower mids have a neutral body while upper mids are a little more revealing and a touch brighter; treble is crisp and extended while still maintaining natural retrieval of details. The change in this pair up, relative to its stock pure silver TWag v4 cable, makes the sound tighter, faster, and with mids having some improvement in retrieval of details.
HiFiMAN RE2000 – soundstage is very wide; sub-bass extends deep, similar to a stock cable, while mids-bass is a little slow and not as well defined; lower mids have more body while upper mids are brighter and revealing with a presentation that pulls back, also mids are more recessed, sound lower in quantity relative to lows and highs; treble is crisp and a little spiky. Overall, the sound here is a lot more v-shaped due to mids being pulled back. Plus, I didn’t like the bass rendering here, not the best pair up in this case.
Empire Ears Legend X – wide soundstage; bass is on a whole new level, being not just deeper and hitting harder, but also going up in quantity with some serious analog slam that rattled my ears; lower mids are a little thicker, while upper mids are still natural and detailed; treble is crisp and well controlled, not too crisp. Here, Cleo takes LX to the next basshead level, making signature even more L-shaped. If you want to squeeze more bass out of LX, this does the trick.
Noble K10UA – wide soundstage with more out of your head extended depth; bass has a nice sub-bass rumble with a deep extension and the mid-bass punch is tight, but the quantity of bass is a little lower; mids are brighter and more revealing, even go up in quantity a little bit; treble is crisp and brighter than usual. I was a bit surprised with this pair up, didn’t expect mids to be more in your face and so much crisper. If you want more revealing details from upper mids/treble, this pair up with help you, but for me personally it was a bit on a harsher side.
64 Audio Trio – holographic soundstage expansion; deep extended sub-bass rumble with extra analog texture, softer mid-bass punch, but still with a good control; slightly north of neutral lower mids with a little extra body, and very natural detailed upper mids with a little lift in quantity; treble is crisp and has plenty of control. Really like this pair up which turned Trio into a more balanced and a more coherently tuned IEM.
As I mentioned in the intro, my curiosity about Cleo went up once I learned this new EA cable has Pure Silver wires, but in the back of my mind I was thinking they already got Thor II which should cover it. A thought even crossed my mind that maybe EA is planning to phase out Thor II in favor of Cleo. But after spending almost a week with this cable, I quickly realized there is room in EA product portfolio for both cables because they sound different! This is just another example of how we shouldn’t judge cables based on stereotypes associated with their material composition.
While I always say that cables shouldn’t change the sound drastically like an EQ, they certainly can play a role in fine-tuning of the sound. And that’s exactly what EA Cleopatra does, lifting sub-bass rumble and bringing more impact to the mid-bass, while also making mids/vocals sound more natural and detailed without making them too warm or thick. There are too many revealing brighter cables, while Cleopatra, along with Lionheart and Leonidas II, approaches the task of fine-tuning the sound from a different angle – making it more natural and smoother without compromising on retrieval of details or resolution. Interestingly enough, all these three (Lionheart, Cleopatra, and Leonidas II) belong to the same Heritage series, so perhaps it’s not a coincidence.