Selective Pair up.
Here are a few examples of specific pair ups I enjoyed with a particular IEM and Signature series cable and my explanation what makes that pair up synergy special.
EE Legend X w/Eros S – LX is a bass cannon and with some cables the impact and presentation of the bass could be a bit overwhelming, pulling the mids/vocals and treble back. What I like about this particular pair up with LX and a hybrid cable is that it doesn’t change or attenuate down the impact of the bass. You are still getting a deep textured sub-bass rumble and elevated mid-bass punch. But the decay of the bass has better control without spilling into lower mids which actually helps mids/vocals to be more forward and more resolving. The treble is also crisp, airy, natural. LX pair up with SPC cable takes away from the sub-bass, and copper cable adds more weight to the bass and pulls the mids back. I found hybrid cable to have the best pair up synergy with LX.
SoftEars RS10 w/Ares S – RS10 is a neutral reference tuned IEMs with a rather neutral articulate bass, transparent clean mids, and crisp detailed non-offensive treble. In this pair up, I found copper cable to preserve the reference transparency of RS10 tuning, keeping upper mids and treble similar, and at the same time, to improve the texture of the bass by adding more sub-bass rumble and giving mid-bass a snappier punch. Plus, it adds a bit of a body to RS10 lower mids, giving vocals a more natural tonality and improving the dynamics of instruments. Basically, it turns the sound from being flatter and neutral to more energetic and more natural with a bit of coloring.
FirAudio XE6 w/Cadmus – I love the bass of XE6, but, just like LX, for some people it could be a bit overwhelming, especially those who want to hear cleaner mids/vocals with XE6. In this pair up, SPC cable takes away some of the sub-bass weight, focusing more on mid-bass of XE6. And removes the extra “weight” of lower mids body, to give the sound more transparency, to give instruments higher resolution, to improve the layering and separation of the sounds. But keep in mind, the bass, especially sub-bass, will be affected at the expense of the improvement in mids/vocals.
Consistent with my cable testing philosophy, I used the same IEM (U12t) and the same source (LPGT), 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 U12t sound compares between different cables. While I don’t have Eros II, I do have Ares II and decided to compare this cable from a Premium Standard series to a new Signature Series Ares S. And as expected, comparing EA Vogue series to corresponding material Signature Series makes perfect sense as well. Just keep in mind, Vogue Series uses thinner 26awg wires and cheaper hardware which is reflected in price difference. And, tbh, Vogue Series does feel cheaper in comparison to Signature Series. I don’t have any other budget cables with similar materials for comparison.
Ares S vs EA Ares II – the biggest change between these copper cables is in bass where I hear with new Ares S more weight in sub-bass rumble which goes deeper and has more texture. With the original Ares II, U12t sounds like it has a more neutral bass. Also, Ares S opens up soundstage a little wider and deeper.
Ares S vs EA Maestro – in this copper cables comparison, the bass presentation of Maestro is somewhere between the original Ares II and new Ares S. It doesn’t have as much rumble as new Ares S, but the biggest difference here is in mids, especially vocals that sound more distant and less resolving with Maestro. Also, Maestro soundstage is narrower. With Ares S, vocals are closer in presentation and have a higher in resolution.
Cadmus vs EA Virtuoso – the tonality of these SPC cables is very similar. The only difference I hear is in soundstage expansion which is more holographic with new Cadmus SPC cable.
Eros S vs EA Grandioso – the difference between these silver/copper hybrids is quite noticeable. With Eros S, sub-bass goes deeper and more elevated, mid-bass is also slightly lifted, giving the bass a more articulate elevated presentation. Furthermore, with Eros S mids are also more layered, more dynamic, and not as flat as they sound in comparison with Grandioso. The soundstage w/Eros S is also more expanded and has a more holographic imaging.
As a little side-note since I have both, prototype and production cables, and considering there were a few dozen of people who received prototypes and shared their impression on Head-fi. The tonality between prototype and production cables is identical, but the production cables have a wider soundstage perception and a more holographic imaging. I went back and forth many times, and always came back to the same conclusion. The only explanation I have is the difference in 4.4mm headphone plug which could affect the impedance and affect the sound characteristics. Also, I found prototype cables to have a slightly stiffer insulation. Plus, Eros S pearl silver finish is matt in production cable while it was shinier in prototype.
Conclusion w/Sound Analysis.
As I already mentioned in the Intro, I’m having a hard time calling these new Signature Series cables “entry” level. Relative to most of the other premium EA cables, the pricing of these wires is definitely entry level, ranging $179-$299. And one would expect for EA to cut corners with a basic packaging and generic hardware. Instead, EA maximized the value of these cables, raising the price/performance ratio to the next level. Ares S (copper) and Cadmus (SPC) wires are thicker at 24awg, in comparison to thinner 26awg Vogue series wires. Eros S wires are 26awg, but you have 8 conductors and that was a compromise to keep the braid more flexible and the cable more portable. The material and the finish of the plug, y-splitter, and chin slider are custom and look premium. And even the IEM connector features their ConX modular system where you can switch between default 2pin and optional mmcx, IPX, A2DC (Audio-Technica), or Ear (Pentaconn) IEM connectors. The packaging is premium too, including a unique custom storage case and leather cable organizer strap that snaps on the storage case. The build quality, the materials, and the packaging are clearly above the entry level.
So, how about the sound? Without a doubt, it’s also a step up from their Vogue series. I found each cable to have a very consistent sound characteristics across IEMs I tested. I do usually say that wires shouldn’t change anything drastically like an EQ, and instead help with a refinement and fine-tuning. And indeed, each wire does its job. Ares S (copper) gives the sound a fuller body with a more organic warmer tonality, bass with more impact and deeper sub-bass extension, along with more natural mids and treble. Ares S doesn’t affect soundstage as much, and if anything, the warmer characteristics of the tonality could give the soundstage more intimacy. Cadmus (SPC) gives the sound more transparency with less coloring, bass with less sub-bass rumble and more mid-bass punch, more transparency in mids resulting in higher resolution of vocals and more sparkle in treble, and some improvement in soundstage expansion. Eros S (silver/copper) has a truly hybrid characteristics, extracting the best from Ares S and Cadmus, giving the sound a deeper sub-bass rumble and more controlled bass with shorter decay, less colored yet still natural mids, and well controlled extended treble with airy sparkle. This one also has a more noticeable improvement in soundstage expansion and layering of the instruments.
EA Signature Series cables are easy to recommend because they are easy on the eye, easy on the wallet, feature higher quality wire material, all new premium looking hardware, and cool new accessories.