In today’s post, we review the Effect Audio Ares S 8W, which is a new generation 8-wire UP-OCC Copper Litz IEM aftermarket in-ear monitor cable. It is priced at $279 but currently selling for $251.10.
Disclaimer: This sample was sent to us in exchange for our honest opinion. Headfonics is an independent website with no affiliate links. Many thanks to Effect Audio for their support.
To read more about Effect Audio gear previously covered on Headfonics click here.
Note, that this 2-page article follows our latest scoring guidelines which you can read here.
Effect Audio Ares S 8W Review
The Effect Audio Ares S 8W is an impressive copper cable that targets its coloration towards the bass and mid-range frequencies. It is suitable for those seeking to enhance the sound quality of their existing audio gear by bringing in a bold mid-bass and detailed mid-range to the table.
The 2nd generation Ares S is Effect Audio’s staple entry-level cable for their vast array of cables. It was one of 3 new designs including the Cadmus S and the Eros S, all part of the new Signature Series launched in 2022.
Now, we have the new Ares S 8W which adds four more wires to the original to bring the company’s entry-level copper wire cable up to speed alongside the recently reviewed Cadmus S 8W, both
Is the Ares S 8W a worthy creation that will set the benchmark for affordable 8-wire cables? Read on to find out.
Materials & Wire
The Ares S 8W is an Ultra-Pure, OCC Copper Litz cable and comes in an 8-wire, 24 AWG configuration. It features a proprietary dual geometric design.
This means that the wires alternate between two different geometries where 4 wires are comprised of multi-size stranding and the other 4 wires feature septuplet core bundles.
According to Effect Audio, the purpose of the multi-sized stranding is to bring out the traditional warmth and power from copper cables whereas the septuplet core bundles are designed to bring higher resolution to the sound.
The wire gauging of the Ares S 8W is on the thicker side however it is super soft and supple due to Effect Audio’s Ultra Flexi Insulation.
The Ares S 8W comes in a matte-copper color where there is a strand-like texture applied to each wire. The strand-like texture is different between wires which symbolizes the dual geometric design of the cable.
For an 8-wire cable at this price point, the Ares S 8W has an excellent finish and design. Each wire is braided evenly with sufficient tension across the cable.
There are no uneven or unwanted gaps throughout the cable. Even with its 24 AWG gauging, the Ares S 8W is a robust cable that is surprisingly, (in a good way), flexible and well-designed.
The Ares S 8W is finished with a selenite grey termination, splitter, cable slider, and connectors. The termination or plug case is made of polished and brushed aluminum.
The plug itself is made of rhodium-plated brass and comes in standard 2.5mm, 3.5mm, and 4.4mm variations or Pentaconn 4.4mm. The splitter and cable slider are made from brushed aluminum material which is like the plug case however the splitter also has a black forged carbon fiber plate on the back and front sides.
For my taste, I quite like how the grey and copper blend as it gives the cable a classy finish.
The splitter has a peculiar shape in the sense that it is a barrel, topped with a square which then splits out into a hexagonal base. This means that the splitter is quite large and could have been a few millimeters less in diameter.
The connectors or ConX shell is made of anodized aluminum whereas the actual ConX connector is finished with a gold-colored ring leading to the 2-pin interface.
Effect Audio’s ConX technology allows you to change the connectors, for example, from a 2-pin to MMCX. This creates versatility as it allows you to potentially pair the Ares S 8W with other IEMs in your collection which have different connectors.
Comfort on the Ear
Despite its 24 AWG gauging and 8-wire configuration, the Ares S 8W feels very ergonomic, and supple, sitting comfortably on top of the ear during use.
The ear hooks are finished with a thick and translucent PVC coating ensuring that the cable retains its shape during prolonged use.
Like the other cables in Effect Audio’s Signature Series, the splitter is large, however, it’s also lightweight, which allows the cable to drop with sufficient tension. This reduces the risk of unwanted cable noise and discomfort during use.
Packaging & Accessories
The packaging and accessories of the Ares S 8W have a simple yet premium finish with a black, rectangular box that is coated with a thread-like texture.
On the front of the box, Ares who was a Greek God of War, has his face presented in a shiny copper color reflecting the Copper material used in the cable.
Inside, there are 2 booklets: one describing the Signature Series as a whole and the other focusing on the Ares S 8W itself. As you sift through the box, you will find a black carrying case and a leather cable strap.
The carrying case is known as a “chamber-ready cloth pouch” and is made out of thick polyester. The pouch has an opening at the top where you can attach the cable strap to the case by using the button.
This is a very intuitive design as it allows the cable strap to have 2 functions: one to strap the cable itself and the other to provide closure to the carrying case. Inserting and withdrawing the cable from the carrying case does take some time to get used to because the size of the opening is relatively small.
However, with an 8-wire cable, I found that the cable “only just” fits into the case. This means that the carrying case may not have enough room to fit both the cable and IEMs it’s attached to.
To get around this, I found that wrapping the cable “around” the IEM shells helps a lot as it allows the IEMs to pop into the middle of the cable loop whilst making it compact enough to slide into the carrying case along with the Ares S 8W.
The Ares S 8W incorporates the DNA of most copper cables and focuses on coloring the bass and mid-range frequencies.
As the Ares S 8W represents the basis of the Signature Series, it aims to introduce listeners to a bold mid-bass and a hefty but detailed mid-range. If you want more bass slam and a thicker midrange at a reasonable price, the Ares S 8W is a suitable cable for the job.
Coloration & Timbre
Overall, the Ares S 8W colors the sound by increasing the sub and mid-bass to give it a big, bold presence whilst delivering more volume and clarity to the midrange.
The sub-bass digs deep whilst the mid-bass has large amounts of slam and rumble. The mid-bass is bold and prevalent meaning that it is drawn to the forefront of the frequency response. This results in a slower decay of bass notes.
The Ares S 8W brings the lower-to-center midrange to the forefront whilst giving it additional volume, weight, and clarity. Instrumentals and vocals are delivered with increased heft and the sounds of string instruments carry more thickness in their notes. Male and female vocals sound very smooth and organic.
Treble coloration is limited and does not substantially impact the sound. As such, it has a limited impact on the sound although it allows the IEMs to maintain their treble original treble response with a sufficient level of extension and detail.
Timbre-wise, the Ares S 8W colors the sound with a slightly warm timbre which is typical of pure copper cables.
The soundstage impact from the Ares S 8W is quite impressive as it generally allows the soundstage to become wider. However, the impact is focused mainly on extending the width rather than the height as the impact here varies on the pairing.
Layering and imaging are decent where vocals and instrumentals come off with a sufficient level of accuracy and space.