Part of me feels silly reviewing cables, since there is a whole school of thought (and some evidence) that says cables do very little to affect the sound quality of a headphone. That being said, I can attest to having heard noticeable differences in sound characteristics based on the cable I’m using. And all that aside, build quality is a real thing, and there’s no question that Effect Audio makes some versatile and well-built cables. So, taking this aspect into account (along with a little grain of salt), let’s see what kind of performance you can expect from Effect Audio’s pure copper Ares S.
For all of its UP-OCC cables, Effect Audio boasts a design method that minimizes electrical resistance and maximizes signal transmission speed.
One cool feature of Effect Audio’s cables is the ConX technology, which allows you to switch the top end connector. In my case, I replaced the 2-pin connector with a ConX MMCX connector. (The various modular top-end connectors are sold separately for $15). This is a super handy feature if you’ve got a few IEMs with a variety of top-end connectors.
Effect Audio also uses UltraFlexi Insulation and EPO (Ergonomic Performance Optimization) to not only insulate the material but also make it flexible and keep it lightweight.
The brand describes the Ares S pure copper cable as being warm with a punchy, dynamic bass and smooth vocals. According to the recommendations of Effect Audio, the Ares S is ideal for rock, pop and country genres.
For this review, I took the only duplicate pair of IEMs I had – the Campfire Andromeda – and hooked one pair up to the Ares S, while leaving the other pair connected to the ALO silver plated copper Litz cable that originally came with the Andromeda.
I will preface my impressions by saying that I have definitely heard difference in sound characteristics when comparing copper cables to silver cables. In theory, as well as in my experience, copper cables tend to bring out warmth and fluidity to the sound, while silver cables tend to sound brighter and cleaner. And this is certainly true for the pure copper Ares S. With respect to the Andromeda, it maintained that iconic warmth and richness, and was super easy on the ears.
That being said, it came as no surprise to find that the Ares S had the very same sound characteristics as the copper Litz cable (though silver plated) made by ALO Audio. Were there any notable differences in quality between the two cables? After an initial listen, I heard no real discernible difference between the two cables. If my brain wasn’t playing tricks on me (though it probably was), I would have said that the Ares S was slightly less resonant. But I’m not willing to bet my life on it. To be honest, the very idea of having beat my head against the wall trying to find nominal differences between the two cables made me quickly lose interest.
But what I can say for certain is that, in addition to the versatility and alluring aesthetic of the UP-OCC Pure Copper Ares S, the sheer thickness of the braided cable, along with the solidity of the plug/termination may be reason enough to invest in the Ares S, especially if longevity is your main priority.
With moderate confidence, I can also tell you that when I’ve paired the Andromeda with a pure silver cable in the past, the sound profile sounded too active. So, my recommendation would be that if your IEM is on the edgier or snappier side in terms of its sound profile, and you want to temper it down a bit or add some warmth, the Ares S would be an ideal option.
The Ares S seems to be the optimal choice for those looking for a warmer more forgiving sound signature. And whatever your feelings may be about the whole cable debate, at the end of the day, Effect Audio’s cables equip some of the best IEMs on the market. So, in terms of build quality, there’s no question that any Effect Audio cable you buy, including the Ares S, is a solid and safe purchasing decision. And given the interchangeable connectors, the Ares S can also become the most economical option if you own a variety of IEMs with different top-end connectors.