We review the Effect Audio Cleopatra II OCTA, which is a 26AWG 8-wire UP-OCC Silver Litz aftermarket in-ear monitor cable with ConX connectors. It is priced at $1599.
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 this opportunity.
To read more about Effect Audio gear previously covered on Headfonics click here.
Note that this article follows our latest scoring guidelines which you can read in more detail here.
Effect Audio Cleopatra II OCTA
The Effect Audio Cleopatra II OCTA has excellent dynamics, more than what I was expecting, and meshes really well with monitors that have excellent bass capability. If you want your tone smooth and natural but with a bit of sparkle up top combined with excellent imaging capability then this is a good cable pairing.
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Powerful natural sound quality with paired monitors
The original Effect Audio Cleopatra cable was launched in 2019 and was a moment when the concept or myth of how a silver cable should sound, i.e., bright, was blown away by a much smoother weightier tone.
Roll on late 2022, and EA decided it was time to update the Heritage Series with a second-generation version simply called Cleopatra II. Partly due to what they saw as an opportunity to create something for the expanding hybrid IEM lineup since 2019 but also to modernize the original with their latest cable technology.
However, instead of us rolling out an updated review of the original we decided to go all out and review the ‘big daddy’ version called the Cleopatra II OCTA.
The OCTA nomenclature has been used a few times before by Effect Audio for the likes of the Leonidas II OCTA. It should be no surprise then that the Cleopatra II OCTA follows the same path with it also being an 8-wire version of this new release.
Materials & Wire
The Effect Audio Cleopatra II OCTA uses a 26AWG gauge selected premium UP-OCC silver Litz wire with individually enameled strands.
There is no specific comparative spec to use against the original Cleopatra wire purity rating. However, given that the grade of highly conductive silver Litz used in the original was much higher than the older silver used in the old “Premium” series I would have to assume that the latest material is a similar caliber or higher.
In theory, individually enameled strands will also further decrease resistance and produce a much better high-frequency performance in combination with multi-stranding for the level of wire gauge used.
The Cleopatra II OCTA’s Litz wire will have numerous advantages over a regular wire. The first is the ability to build a multi-stranded cable which has better high-frequency properties due to what is known as the “skin effect” where electrons travel along the skin of the wire.
A Litz cable has a higher surface area than regular builds and for that reason should deliver a better high-frequency performance. It will also be more durable than other cables when flexed and we flex our IEM cables a lot!
Aside from the wire grade itself, the stand out for the Cleopatra II OCTA internals is the dual wire geometry, something which EA has been using in one form or another in its new Signature Series cables such as the recently reviewed Ares S 8W.
The ‘dual’ means that the wires alternate between two different geometries with four of the Cleopatra II OCTA wires comprised of a proprietary Litz multi-size stranding and the other four wires finished in EA’s classic septuplet core bundle structure.
The geometry is specific to how EA wanted the cable to perform, with an eye for detail and improved clarity over the original but also with enhanced body and warmth to produce an even more natural sound with paired monitors.
In this case, the proprietary Litz multi-sized stranding is for the body and warmth whereas the septuplet core bundles are designed to enhance the performance in terms of clarity with the 8-wire geometry maximizing the dynamic range potential of any attached IEM over the 4-wire version.
The Cleopatra II OCTA is a beefy form factor but with a sparkling aesthetic that will leave you with no doubt that there is nothing but silver on the inside.
No surprise there considering we are working with a 26AWG 8-wire construction but it is thicker external than some of EA’s alternative 8-wire versions such as the Chiron and the Leonidas II OCTA.
The size is more reminiscent of the girth of the older Janus Dynamic cable but with additional suppleness in the material and a superior level of finishing.
Side by side with the likes of the Chiron and the Leonidas II OCTA, the Cleopatra II OCTA seems to be using a slightly thicker but softer version of the transparent EA UltraFlex materials. I suspect also the older Leonidas II OCTA sample I have here has a jacket that has stiffened a little over the years giving it a more rigid feel.
EA did change it up a bit with the Chiron cable, so it is a slimmer Ultra Flexi Insulation jacket and one that feels a bit rougher in terms of texture and not as smooth to the touch compared to the Cleopatra II OCTA version.
The finishing is superb and very durable. EA has pulled from the titanium material of the now-discontinued Code 51 and the titanium and black-edge barrels of the flagship Centurion to produce some very durable angular titanium barrels for the splitter, plug, and connectors.
The splitter and chin cinch are a nice mix of the aforementioned cables’ legacies with the same width and similar finishing as the Centurion version but a little stubbier also.
The connector barrels seem to be the same type also as the Centurion and are completed with ConX interchangeable connectors. The plug is a bit of a beast with an OFC Pentaconn 4.4mm design encased in a large titanium shell matching the aesthetics of the splitter and connector barrels.
Now, at this stage, I must point out that this cable is the Performance version and not the Versatility alternative. Both packages have the ConX interchangeable connector system with options for MMCX and 2-pin packed into a small box complete with a micro-wrench to tighten it all up when connected.
However, the Cleopatra II OCTA Performance version comes with EA’s top-of-the-line OFC 4.4mm jack which EA claims adds some refinement to the mids whereas the Versatility version comes with TermX.
TermX is a 4-pin locking interchangeable plug system for the cable with slightly lower performing materials compared to the OFC plug but with a wider range of plugs including 2.5mm TRRS, 3.5mm SE, and a balanced 4.4mm Pentaconn plug.
Courtesy of the 8-wire build, the Effect Audio Cleopatra II OCTA will make its presence felt more than any 4-wire version when on the ear and in terms of general handling.
However, the soft material of the jacket and the beautiful braiding make it a joy to use, and not once did it feel like it was coming loose or providing unnecessary resistance to rolling it up when not in use.
It does have memory coating on the connector side but this is the newer springy type that I prefer. It creates a singular soft contact surface and prevents the undulating nature of the braided wire from digging into the back of your ear.
The Cleopatra II OCTA is also fabulously memory resistant and 100% tangle-free. It is one heck of a pliant build-quality with EA UltraFlex PVC jacket materials deadening the movement and removing any hint of stiffness in the build. This thing just drapes effortlessly around your ear or around your neck.
Microphonics do have slightly more presence on the Cleopatra II OCTA compared to the 4-wire build of the original. However, I expected that considering there is more surface area to contact and conduct physical noise. Overall, this is a very quiet and well-behaved 8-wire build.
Accessories & Packaging
The Cleopatra II OCTA packaging is nothing overly fancy with its compact cardboard black box and the product and company branding on the outside and all the accessories and cable itself neatly arranged in a dual-layer design on the inside.
If you think of how jewelry is presented then in some ways the Cleopatra II OCTA internals are not that far off. The cable itself is neatly arranged on the top in a singular display tray with all the accessories tucked in underneath.
Speaking of accessories, as you can see from the picture above, the Cleopatra II OCTA does come with a rather attractive new carry-case design.
It’s a spin on their previous semi-stiff or flexible cases such as the patina leather-inspired version from the Leonidas II OCTA. However, this grey version is more of a squared-off leather design with an eye-catching crisscross leather design inspired by the braiding on Cleopatra’s hair on the top of the lid and a bright and soft inner.
It is deep enough to hold both the cable and more than a few IEMs also so plenty of space to pack everything in and tuck neatly into your bag. You also get a small black organizer strap but this one feels a little tight to snap into place for the 8-wire build when rolled up.
The final Cleopatra II OCTA accessory line-up depends on whether you bought the Performance version or the Versatility version.
If it’s the Performance version then it comes with the ConX connectors in a small plastic box only. If it’s the Versatility pack then you get the additional TermX interchangeable plug package which sits right where that small gap in the picture above of the inside of the box.
The Effect Audio Cleopatra II OCTA is a serious upgrade on the original 4-wire I reviewed back in 2019.
It has the upgrades you would expect in going from 4-wire to 8-wire with a slight increase in loudness as well as improved dynamic range. It has a more complex soundstage quality and sounds more holographic presentation compared to the original’s more sedate performance.
It still has that OG’s smooth tone for a pure silver cable. If you are expecting neutrality and a very clean liner delivery then you will be surprised as this is anything but. However, this cable unleashes more power and note body from our tested monitors.
It has excellent bass volume, teasing out more sub-bass growl than competing 8-wire EA cables such as the Leonidas II OCTA. It is a little drier than the original but I actually find that helps with low-note definition.
Throw in the additional space and some superior texture and shape to bass synths or double kick drums, especially with dynamic drivers from hybrid IEMs such as the Odin and the Ragnar and you get some excellent depth and power.
I get what EA is after on the highs also. It’s not as laid back as the Leonidas II OCTA and is more refined and distinctive than the OG Cleopatra. I tend to prefer this pairing with the Phonix’s smoother but detailed tuning compared to the OG Cleopatra for that additional air and headroom.
However, I would still say the Chiron and Centurion are TOTL for staging expansiveness. I do not think the Cleopatra II OCTA is quite as roomy or allows for the same spaciousness and imaging complexity of these two cables with the same monitors. There is a degree more intimacy and comparative thickness in the OCTA’s performance.