Here is how I hear various IEMs pair up with Code 51 and compare to their stock cables.
Oriolus Mellianus (stock Whiplash Pure Silver vs Code 51) – didn’t expect difference to be that noticeable, especially since I always found Mellianus stock Whiplash pure silver cable to have one of the best pair ups. Switching to Code 51 the impact of the bass goes up with a more noticeable articulate punch and tighter control (in decay of the bass). Mids sound like a layer of veil has been lifted, becoming more revealing and micro-detailed. Vocals do sound brighter, but they are still natural and realistic, just with more revealing tonality and better retrieval of details. Treble sounds a little airier. I also noticed that I had to push volume a little louder with Code 51 which probably indicates that stock silver cable had a little lower impedance.
Empire Ears Wraith (stock EA Cleo vs Code 51) – here the switch between the cables didn’t have as much of an impact in sound difference. Wraith and EA Cleo is a good pair up to begin with. Code 51 added a little more sub-bass rumble and helped a bit by making upper mids and lower treble a little brighter and more revealing, but the change wasn’t as big as I have heard it with Mellianus. For my own personal preference, there is no need to go beyond Cleopatra in this pair up. Also, noticed I had to bump the volume up by a few notches with Code 51, indicating a slightly higher impedance.
Empire Ears Legend X (stock EA Ares II vs Code 51) – I get asked quite often about LX cable pair up, thus never miss the opportunity to try cable rolling with these bass monsters! With L-shaped dominating signature, vocals of LX are usually pushed a little back, but with Code 51 the presentation of mids/vocals and even treble are a little bit more forward, and the sound itself it a little brighter and more revealing. But the focus here is still around the bass. With a stock Ares II cable, the mid-bass still has a very strong dominating impact, but when you switch to Code 51 you add more heft underneath of that mid-bass where the sub-bass rumble gets elevated as well, giving the bass more weight, more oomph, making the low end impact more rounded.
64 Audio Fourte Noir (stock Premium SPC vs Code 51) – I’m sure many will say, but of course, Code 51 should sound better than 8wire SPC cable. But in case of Fourte Noir it’s not about which cable is better, but rather which one yields a better pair up synergy. Fourte is well known for the quality of its bass, and with Code 51 I hear even more sub-bass rumble but the bass sounds tighter, not as laidback/relaxed due to a tighter control of the bass decay. Mids are a little brighter, but not harsher. I was paying closer attention to upper mids and lower treble, and while it is a little more revealing, it wasn’t harsh. To my ears, in this pair up bass is where you would find the focus of the finetuning due to more sub-bass and shorter decay of mid-bass without spilling into lower mids.
Campfire Audio Solaris (stock Super Litz SPC vs Code 51 w/OE Audio adapter) – Due to Solaris mmcx connector, I was using OE Audio adapters in this comparison since I was curious how Code 51 will pair up with these IEMs in comparison to their own stock Super Litz SPC cable. The result was a little unexpected. First of all, while I didn’t notice too much of soundstage changes in previous comparisons, here the sound feels wider and deeper, creating more holographic imaging. Bass sounds very similar, just a little more sub-bass rumble I hear with Code 51, a small refinement which I did appreciate. But the biggest difference I heard was in mids/vocals and treble. I usually find Code 51 to bring up more details and make sound a little brighter, but in this case the vocals became more organic and smoother, though still micro-detailed.
Every time I bring up a new review of a flagship IEM or a cable, I get a lot of questions asking if this is the best product I ever heard. Some people automatically assume that a flagship status and a premium price elevate the product to “the best of” level. But in reality, it all comes down to what you can afford and what is “the best” for you, regardless if it’s a budget IEM with EA Vogue series cables or kilobuck flagship with Code 51 or Horus. And often, to appreciate the latter one, you have to understand the meaning of diminishing returns where some audiophiles invest as much into cables as they do into IEMs, even just for a subtle improvement to squeeze out every drop of the micro-tuning enhancement.
Code 51 is not a cheap cable. After all, we are dealing with thicker 24AWG gauge wires and premium materials, like Gold Plated Silver, Palladium Plated Silver, and Silver Gold alloy. It’s a beautifully crafted and very comfortable to wear cable with a unique sound finetuning characteristics that combines the best of Effect Audio previous Horus and Leo II 8wire flagships. As a result, it delivers a balanced enhancement of the sound, from a more articulate bass to a more micro-detailed natural mids and enhanced treble definition in many pair ups I tried, especially with my go-to U18t where I already switched from Leo II 8wire to Code 51. If you are a cable aficionado, make sure you give this one a listen.