We review the Effect Audio Cadmus Founder’s Edition, which is a limited-release 24AWG 8-wire Litz cable with two unique blends of materials. It is priced at $999.
Disclaimer: This sample was sent to us in exchange for our honest opinion. Headfonics is an independent website with no affiliate links or services. Many thanks to Effect Audio for their support.
To read more about Effect Audio gear previously assessed on Headfonics click here.
Note that this article follows our current scoring guidelines which you can read in more detail here.
Effect Audio Cadmus Founder's Edition
The Effect Audio Cadmus Founder’s Edition represents an excellent example of a well-rounded aftermarket IEM cable that packs a punch whilst impressively improving soundstage depth, imaging, and separation.
Given there are 8 wires in total, the Cadmus Founder’s Edition separates the 2 blends across 6 and 2 wires for blend 1 and blend 2 respectively.
The first blend indicates that the Cadmus Founder’s Edition uses the base materials which were seen in both the Cadmus and Cadmus 8W. The key ingredients here are the silver-plated copper and septuplet multi-sized core bundles.
The second blend is where the “Founder’s Edition” recipe kicks in where this part of the cable uses Gold- and Silver-plated copper with multi-sized stranding.
Before we touch on the cable geometries, it is worth noting that the Cadmus Founder’s Edition features a Litz geometry as a whole.
However, the Cadmus Founder’s Edition features 2 blends with two different cable geometries: septuplet multi-sized core bundles and multi-sized stranding.
Effectively what this means is that you end up with a cable geometry similar to the Ares S 8W where there is a “dual geometric design” which is just split across 8 wires.
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 Cadmus Founder’s Edition has a simple and elegant design with a twist of gold. It features a shiny, silver, and gold appearance reflecting the essence of its silver and gold plating.
The inner jacket behind the clear PVC coating has a strand-like texture which gives the Cadmus Founder’s Edition a textured and intricate finish.
Depending on the wire, the strand-like texture changes where the base silver-plated copper strands appear to be thicker given its septuplet core bundles as opposed to the gold wires which have less texturing thus representing its simpler multi-sized stranding geometry.
In relation to the braiding, each wire is woven evenly with sufficient tension across the cable. For an 8-wire cable, the braiding is excellent as there are no uneven or unwanted gaps throughout the cable. Even with its 24 AWG gauging, the Cadmus Founder’s Edition feels robust, very flexible, and well-designed.
The splitter of the commercial versions of the Cadmus Founder’s Edition comes with a number indicating the item piece of 100 and a printed signature from Suyang himself. The splitter and cable slider are made from brushed aluminum material similar to the plug however the splitter also has a black forged carbon fiber plate on the back and front.
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 it is quite large in size and could have ideally been a bit smaller in size in order to make it more user-friendly and practical.
The Cadmus Founder’s Edition is finished with a selenite grey termination, cable slider, and connectors made of polished and brushed aluminum. The grey, gold, and silver color illustrates the cables’ image to be one of elegance and simplicity.
The plug is made of rhodium-plated brass and comes in standard Effect Audio 2.5mm, 3.5mm, or 4.4mm variations with or without TermX. There is also an option for a Pentaconn 4.4mm plug.
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 which has a premium finish.
Effect Audio’s ConX technology allows you to change the connector itself for example from 2-pin to Pentaconn Ear (PE). This makes the Cadmus Founder’s Edition very versatile and allows you to pair the cable with other IEMs with different connectors.
Comfort on the ear
The Cadmus Founder’s Edition is lightweight and ergonomic which makes it very comfortable whilst in use. As with the other cables in Effect Audio’s catalog, this is highly impressive for an 8-wire cable.
Effect Audio’s Ultra-Flexi Insulation really works well as it is able to create a really flexible cable to ensure that the Cadmus Founder’s Edition lays comfortably on top of the ear with ear hooks that are finished with a thick and soft translucent PVC coating.
Although the splitter is large, it is lightweight which allows the cable to drop with sufficient tension and does not create unwanted cable tugging and discomfort during use. During testing, there were no issues related to microphonics or cable noise originating from the cable.
Packaging & Accessories
The Cadmus Founder’s Edition comes in a silver, rectangular box which has a smooth finish. On the front of the box, Cadmus who was one of the first Greek heroes, has his face partially colored with gold to represent the cable’s gold-plated copper material.
Inside the box, there are 2 booklets: one describing the Signature Series as a whole and the other focusing on the Cadmus Founder’s Edition cable itself.
In addition, Effect Audio has included a black carrying case and leather cable strap. The carrying case is known as a “chamber-ready cloth pouch” which is made from a thick polyester material.
The pouch has a small opening at the top where you attach the cable strap to the button. This allows the cable strap to have two purposes; to strap the cable itself or provide closure to the carrying case.
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.
Personally, I found that wrapping the cable “around” the IEMs so that the IEMs sit in the middle of the loop allows smaller IEMs to fit within the carrying case with the cable.
What comes in addition to the Cadmus Founder’s Edition which is not included in the other Signature Series cable sets is the inclusion of TermX basic set. This means that alternative 2.55mm, 3.5mm, and 4.4mm plugs are included, (i.e. one of each).
The following performance impressions were made with the Cayin N8ii DAP and Cayin RU7 dongle as the main sources.
The Cadmus Founder’s Edition is an excellent all-rounder cable that focuses on coloring the mid-bass and lower-to-center mid-range whilst improving the overall soundstage and imaging.
Its strength lies in its mid-range coloration and imaging impact. Simply put, the Cadmus Founder’s Edition is the most impressive cable of the Signature Series to date.
There is a hint of warmth that is delivered throughout the sound. The warmth is subtle but not overwhelming. This is most likely a result of the Cadmus Founder Edition’s coloration impact on the mid-bass and mid-range thus giving it its overall warm signature.
The Cadmus Founder’s Edition follows a traditional copper cable’s DNA by first focusing its attention on coloring the low end. Sub and mid-bass quantity and quality increase when the sub-bass is allowed to dig deeper to provide more rumble and reverb.
The mid-bass quantity increases in a similar fashion and develops more slam. Bass texture quality and layering become more apparent as the Cadmus Founder’s Edition increases the overall resolution and alters the speed and attack of bass notes.
Bass notes have more weight and slower decay. The added gold plating helps with separation and imaging which restricts any bass bleeding into the mid-range.
Speaking of mid-range, this is where the Cadmus Founder’s Edition really shines. The lower to center mid-range receives similar treatment to the mid-bass as mid-range notes come off as thicker, in volume and weight.
The quality and resolution of the lower to center mid-range notes increase. Male and female vocals sound silky smooth, and the Cadmus Founder’s Edition is able to tease out the micro-details with ease. Guitars and string ensembles are presented with a high level of detail.
Treble sees a slight improvement as the Cadmus Founder’s Edition focuses on the lower to center treble before it tails off. Treble coloration allows it to come off with a hint of sparkle with excellent extension and detail.
Staging & Imaging
The Cadmus Founder’s Edition expands the soundstage in terms of stage width and height however there is a clear focus on soundstage depth. The separation between bass, midrange, and treble increases by a noticeable margin.
The imaging and staging coloration from the Cadmus Founder’s Edition is very impressive and allows the listener to achieve a more expansive and diverse experience.
Positioning-wise, the lower to center mid-range sits at the very front of the frequency curve where the other instruments are positioned well enough to feel pinpoint, left-right imaging.