EVOke your inner… cable!
PROS: new design concept with interchangeable Y-Split faceplates and new connectors/plug housing, great workmanship, a noticeable mid-forward sound emphasis and sub-bass improvement.
CONS: faceplate replacement is a bit cumbersome, sound improvement varies depending on pair up.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
I’m aware that some people don’t believe in cables and have very strong opinion about it. It’s not my intent to start an argument, instead, I would like to share what I hear during my testing. Perhaps, I can’t fully explain why there is a change in sound, but I do hear it and don’t believe it’s a placebo effect. What makes sense to me, a metal wire is a material with physical properties of resistivity, conductivity, purity, and unique geometry, all of which put together act as a filter between your source and earphones. Variations of these physical properties can affect the conductivity of analog signal, resulting in a sound change, from a subtle to a more noticeable level. Also, the sound change introduced by a specific cable is not universal because it will depend on the design and the synergy between the source and earphones under test.
When you look at the lineup of Effect Audio products, you will find a number of premium flagship cables complemented with more affordable budget series models. To bridge the gap between these two, EA founder Zou Su Yang (SY) and his team decided to introduce a more affordable new EVO series with quite a few surprises. Priced a little higher than their budget Vogue series, the new design features wire material I often associate with their higher end flagship cables. Plus, EVO series also introduces new cable hardware, including a very unique, transparent, and customizable Y-Split with replaceable E-Face cover faceplates.
Similar to a lot of new audio gear “pandemic” releases in the last 12 months, this one came as unexpected surprise too, and after spending the last few weeks testing Effect Audio EVO10 cable, I’m ready to share what I found.
Unboxing and Accessories.
Aligned with a new design concept of the cable, EA stepped it up with a brand-new packaging for this EVO series as well. You can see that a lot of thought went into crafting it. Arrived in a longer slim rectangular eye-candy-box, the exterior sleeve has slitted cutouts which let you take a peek at the artwork of the new Y-Split pictured on the cover of the storage box underneath. With sleeve and cover removed, you will find a cardboard insert with a round cutout in the middle to reveal the Y-Split with extra custom E-Face cover faceplates. This insert also has storage pockets for EVO series manual and warranty card.
Underneath, inside the box, you will find a precise cutout with 3 foam/velour spool wraps for EVO10 cable to snake around it. The cable was wrapped tight around these spools with top and bottom ones having a separate cutout for 2pin connectors and headphone plug, and the middle spool hosting Y-Split with 2 extra colorful replacement cover faceplates which I guess you can consider as included “accessories”.
The design of EVO10 features 4 separate conductors, each having 26AWG gauge 7-core multi-stranded litz wires with Gold Plated and Silver Plated UP-OCC Copper. For those not familiar with OCC, it’s a process developed and patented by Professor Ohno of the Chiba Institute of Technology in Japan, thus a name Ohno Continuous Cast (OCC), which is a special casting process that eliminated grain boundaries in copper and silver. As a result, it draws a single crystal structure with least possible oxides and other impurities. Wires used in EVO10 are Ultra Purity (UP) version of OCC.
Furthermore, wire strands are individually enameled, and EA continues to use a woven Kevlar to maintain the stability of its septuple core design. The wires itself are non-microphonic, soft and supple thanks to its UltraFlex jacket and a new enhanced Surlyn insulation introduced for the first time in this EVO release. The wire jacket is non transparent, all black, yet, the cable does not feel generic or cheap. While the wires are not super thick, the combination of their thickness and all new hardware gives this cable a more premium look.
And speaking of hardware, EA really stepped it up in this release. I’m so used to their traditional round connectors and plugs, when I opened the packaging, I wasn’t sure if I’m still looking at EA product. Matching the color of black cable jacket, 2pin connectors were inside of a metal square housing with EA logo on outside and L/R marking on inside. The headphone plug had a matching shape/design housing with a rhodium plated plug. The 4 wires coming out of the plug have a semi-loose braid which helps to keep the cable flexible. Then, above Y-Split, wires are twisted in pairs while going to L/R sides and have pre-shaped black heat-shrink earhook.
Of course, I saved the best for last. While trying something totally different, EA came up with an all-new interchangeable E-Face Y-Split design which also has a hidden retractable plastic chin-slider. The Y-Split itself is rectangular and made out of transparent plastic which “opens a window” to reveal each individual wire. While the black cable jacket hides the wires, Y-Split does the opposite by putting it up on a display. One side of the Y-Split has a raised EA logo, and you have 3 interchangeable E-Face covers with a logo cutout that slides/snaps on top of the Y-Split with a logo side.
The E-Face covers are aluminum and come in black, purple, and purplish-orangish colors. The faceplates with purple colors do add a colorful flavor to Y-Split, though I personally preferred less flashy stealth look of the black cover. It does snap on and stay secure, but taking it off is a little less intuitive, though you get used to it while using your fingernail. My only comment here, while Y-Split is intended to have a clear window facing out to showcase the wire, I personally preferred the E-Face side facing out, and end up twisting the cable for the Y-Split to turn the other way.
Also, keep in mind, EA recently introduced ConX (reviewed here) interchangeable connectors going to IEMs. Those are also available as an option for EVO series cables. And, in addition to EVO10, EA also released a cheaper EVO1 version with a slightly different combination of wires and a little different E-Face interchangeable faceplate design that looks more like a colorful frame rather than a cover.