Sexy Centaur Beast!
PROS: classy looking cable with all Titanium alloy hardware and new non-transparent jacket, ConX interchangeable connectors, quality workmanship, noticeable improvement in soundstage/imaging, enhances the retrieval of details, preserves the sound transparency.
CONS: price, 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 here. 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 the test.
Can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but I’ve learned so much about Greek Mythology from… reviewing cables. Without a doubt, every manufacturer wants to give its product a cool catchy name. When it comes to Effect Audio cables, SY and his team doesn’t just come up with a name, but also have an engaging story associated with Mythological character behind the name and its connection to the cable design and characteristics of the sound. It just shows how much work and passion goes into every new release, to make it stand out.
While reading about Chiron, I learned that he was centaur, Greek Mythology creatures with the upper body of a human and the lower body and legs of a horse who were considered to be uncultured delinquents. But Chiron, by contrast, was intelligent, civilized and kind, because he was not related directly to the other centaurs. Chiron stood out from the crowd due to its unique character. Ironically, design and looks of this cable do the same to stand out from other EA releases, and not just looks but also sound characteristics in pair up with different IEMs.
If you appreciate the essence of exotic cables and ok with their luxurious price tag, and would like to find out more about this latest Effect Audio flagship release, here is what I found after spending the last few months with Chiron.
Unboxing and Accessories.
For the review purpose, I received only the cable without Chiron’s official product packaging, so there is not much to talk about my unboxing experience. But it most likely will feature their regular premium packaging box.
When it comes to accessories, since Chiron is equipped with ConX, expect to see a complete set of their connectors. ConX system allows you to switch between various IEM connectors without a need to buy another cable. I covered it in full details before, in my separate ConX review.
Another included accessory is the leather case, though I didn’t receive it. Apparently, it is also available for purchase separately. The case is called “EA Classic Design” and it combines Italy Alcantara leather and France Goat leather, designed with a side-opening structure for easy access and with enough room to fit cable and IEMs. I just assume that after Centurion release some people were curious about being able to purchase accessories by itself, and this is a perfect opportunity to add EA custom leather case to your collection.
The Chiron cable features 8 separate wires, each one 26 AWG gauge in thickness, using Gold-Plated Silver and Gold-Plated Silver Gold Alloy premium material. Basically, it’s a hybrid cable where SY experimented with a mix of GPS wires like in Horus and Gold-Plated Silver/Gold Alloy wires like in Centurion. Plus, they came up with a new EA Ultra Flexi Insulation which is not transparent but rather uses a new brownish sandblasted-like textured jacket with a rough texture finish that feels very nice to the touch. Call me crazy, but after so many cables with transparent jackets, I’m actually enjoying this one and find it “sexy” to the touch.
It still uses UP-OCC material. 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) – a special casting process that eliminates grain boundaries in different metals. As a result, it draws a single crystal structure with least possible oxides and other impurities.
Underneath of that UltraFlexi insulation, each wire has a 7 Core-bundling with a multi-sized stranding and individual enameling. The diagram below shows you the geometry of the design inside each wire. There are other premium cables featuring Silver, Gold, and Palladium, in different combinations and platting. And I have seen cables with Silver-Gold Alloy before, but I believe the addition of Gold-Platting on top of this alloy combo is brand new process, recently implemented in Centurion and now featured in Chiron.
The main portion of the cable between the plug and y-split has 8-wire loose braid, not too tight, giving the cable is flexibility and comfort while wearing it. Not too much of microphonics was detected. Above y-split, you have left and right side 4-wire braids going into a pre-shaped flexible heatshrink earhook. The cable I received is pre-production prototype, and the heatshrink is less transparent (actually, more milky-white) which creates a contrast with a cable’s brownish jacket, but the final production version will be more transparent. Also, while it is 8-wire cable, the use of 26 AWG wires keeps the overall cable diameter quite manageable, on par with some 4-wire 24 AWG cables.
The termination plug in my review unit was 4.4mm Pentaconn. This is their P-EA plug with Titanium alloy casing which has a frosted carbon fiber finish. I know, carbon fiber insert is “old school” and has been overused in the past, but this one blends in nicely with titanium hardware. When ordering, you also have option to get either 2.5mm or 3.5mm termination with the same Titanium alloy fitting and PSquared plugs. The y-split has a matching titanium design and exterior finish. At the top of the splitter, you will find a retractable Titanium chin-slider in a shape of “C”. This is not a coincidence since C stands for Chiron.
The connectors going to IEMs are EA’s recent new addition to their product line, ConX, a modular connector system with exchangeable tips for various IEMs, including 2pin (standard 0.78mm pins), mmcx (universal), a2dc (Audio-Technica connectors), and p-ear (Pentaconn ears connector). Per EA product announcement, it should come with 5 connectors, so I assume IPX will be included as well. The threaded mechanism that holds each connector in place is very precise and when tightened with included lock key, connectors are aligned which is important for 2pin and pre-shaped earhook. The small barrel housing of ConX in Chiron is also Titanium shelled to match the rest of the hardware finish.