The Effect Audio EVO 10 is a ConX compatible hybrid copper and silver 26AWG cable with customizable e-Face splitter faceplates. It is priced at $588.
Disclaimer: The Effect Audio EVO 10 was sent to us in advance of retail release to allow us to complete this review. Many thanks to Effect Audio for giving us this opportunity.
To read more about Effect Audio products reviewed on Headfonics click here.
Note, this review follows our new scoring guidelines for 2021 which you can read up on here.
The EVO Series is the first major product launch from Effect Audio in 2021. It currently consists of two cables, the EVO 1 priced at $388 and the one we have here today for review, the EVO 10, which is the series flagship priced at $588.
EVO, in this regard, is defined by Effect Audio as being short for evolution and is a statement on where these see themselves now in terms of growth over the last 10 years.
And indeed, one glance at the new design, the specs, and the application of some interesting aesthetical accessorizing will tell you that the EVO 10 is as much about how you wear it as well as how good it might sound.
Positioning-wise, the EVO sits above the entry-level Vogue Series from 2019 both in terms of product complexity and pricing and separate to their core product lines such as Heritage, Premium, and Hall of Fame.
The EVO 10 is a mix of materials though not an alloy with the use of both 26AWG UP-OCC Gold-Plated Copper and UP-OCC Silver-Plated Copper. The combination is 4 unique wires with individual strands of copper and silver rolled as one rather than 2 wires of copper and 2 wires of SPC.
Actually, you can see of yourself the individual 4 wires via their new transparent splitter which is kind of a neat compromise from those that are used to gazing at their builds through transparent jackets.
Silver-plated copper is a well-known material for wiring, (SPC), and my own take is that I tend to hear that as more energetic than pure copper with a bit more treble ‘spice’ though no less low-end impact, something which copper fans tend to like.
Gold-plated copper on the other hand is not as well known, but essentially it is to use the slightly lower conductive properties of gold to tame any roughness in the copper’s treble detail and give it a smoother sound.
All wires use individually enameled core strands in what Effect Audio has described as a ‘septupled’ (7) core bundled Litz geometry. Like the Cleopatra, the EVEO 10 is Kevlar-infused but unlike the Cleopatra, we also get introduced to a brand new insulation material called Surlyn®.
Surlyn is both a registered trademark and also a specific type of insulation material made out of ionomer resin by DuPont. It is quite popular in a wide variety of applications with differing grades for differing purposes including wiring but also in the food industry.
Here, Effect Audio has applied it under that black jacket to hammer down on microphonics and other noise-related nasties that could travel ‘up the pipe’. It also duals as an effective moisture barrier which is pretty essential given the electrical properties of an aftermarket cable.
The EVO 10 has a number of visual cues that are quite different from any of their previous cables I have reviewed to date. In fact, some like the new interchangeable E-Face plates are a first for me in any cable review.
The first big design change is the color of the EVO 10 jacket going from their usual transparent to a monotone black. Over the last few months, EA has been quietly introducing this new black UltraFlexi™ version as an alternative to its previous transparent jackets.
This is the same soft PVC material as before so there is really no noticeable difference to the handling but it does offer a very different and darker visual tone. The braiding is as tight and professional as ever but there is a change in the connector memory wire which seems now seems to be ampler than previous cable designs.
The second major design talking point are the E-Plates of which you get 3 of them inside the box with one pre-applied on the cable.
Essentially, EA has opted for a lightweight transparent rectangular splitter with detachable faceplates for the EVO 10. Each detachable faceplate is made of a lightweight metal shaped to attach onto the front of the plastic splitter to alter the final aesthetic overall.
The 3 included are Jet Black, Amethyst Purple, and “X-Face” which for me is a blended pink and orange, (‘man speak’). All 3 plates have an opening in the middle designed like the Effect Audio logo which cleverly doubles up as a form of a secure latch to keep them in place on the splitter.
The EVO 10 splitter itself has the logo as a raised bump which fits neatly into the E-Plate opening to lock them into place. This also means you cannot take them off by simply sliding them up and down as I attempted to do without first reading the manual. That happens a lot in audio by the way.
Once you read this it becomes dead easy to lift, detach and replace with a different one. I know some will opt for the Jet Black plate for a more low-profile harmonious look but my personal preference is the “X-Face” plate over both Jet Black and Amethyst Purple. I like a dash of interesting color in my IEMs and cables that give them a unique look.
As always with EA cables the EVO 10 handling is exceptionally well done. If anything, the black jacket finish makes it a shade harder to discern any differences in handling quality from the older transparent PVC jackets but I am told the materials are the exact same.
That means you will be hard-pressed to create any unintended kinks and with the new splitter and barrels spacing the wires relatively widely it keeps everything very clean when draped on your person.
The memory retention is next to nothing on the EVO 10 and below the splitter the microphonics is non-existent so poking the cable will not result in any annoying noise traveling upwards into your ear.
Above the EVO 10 splitter, though there is a bit more noise from handling which I feel is due to the memory wire around the connectors creating a larger and stiffer surface contact area.
Now, you get a degree of friction with most cables in that area but in our comparison with the 4-wire Cleopatra, which has a lower-profile memory wire, there was slightly less noise on that design.
Now the stock EVO 10 comes with a beautiful new square-framed connector design with the engraved EA logo for both jack and connectors. The pitch of these new designs was to magnify the contact area for the IEM and the cable and reduces the friction during insertion and extraction, making the connection between the cable and IEM seamless and convenient.
However, we decided to go for EA’s new ConX connector system to kill two birds with one review stone. This means we get the standard EA engraved chrome barrels though they are a little heavier than usual with the screw system inside.
ConX is an interchangeable set of gold-plated connectors that screw in and out of the main barrel with the intent to give your cable the maximum flexibility to be used with various IEM connectors.
Inside you, you get options for 2-pin, MMCX, and interestingly A2DC and P-Ear connectors which I personally have no use for. The key ones for me are 2-pin and MMCX. The 2-pin is the default on the cable you order or send in to be re-terminated with the other 3 in the box for just $50.
To change the connector you get a small ‘wrench’ at the base of the ConX container which allows you to unscrew the connector from the cable. I found that you do not need the same mini-wrench to screw any new one back on, simply insert and tighten with your fingers.
The new square-framed jack barrels for the EVO 10 are unique and eye-catching. From the pictures, all the EVO 10 barrels perfectly complement each other so there is some harmony in the design unless you opt for ConX as I did.
The barrel has a relatively long and slightly oversized form factor with a flat wide jack exit plate. It feels like aluminum but relatively lightweight with a two-tone silver and black coated finish and EA delicately engraved on the silver.
The sample we have here is terminated with a 2.5mm TRRS which tends to emphasize the size of the exit plate but you can also get the EVO 10 jack terminated with the usual alternative options that EA supply including 3.5mm TRS and 4.4mm Pentaconn.
Comfort On The Ears
The EVO 10 comes with a healthy amount of memory wire which is a bit thicker than what I am used to seeing on their recent releases such as the Horus X but perhaps a little closer to the Vogue Series except in black.
This is not an adjustable memory wire but rather a springy type one that adjusts naturally to the shape of your ear when you wear it. Once you take the cables off your ear they spring back into shape.
All overall comfort levels are very good and there is very little pressure on the ear. The memory wire arch is not so tall that it disturbs my super-light titanium glasses frame and they are more comfortable than some of the heavier 8-wire builds I have in the collection.
Accessories & Packaging
The EVO 10 packaging is very cool to put it simply and quite different in terms of styling compared to previous cables. This is a long and thin cardboard box quite unlike the stubbier thicker packaging of the Hall of Fame or the Heritage Series. It kind of reminds me of a luxury chocolate box in a way.
And there is a reason for that length because the inside is actually an elaborate triple-pillar felt display organizer with the cable wrapped around each to highlight the E-Plates and plugs in a very pleasing manner.
In the older boxes, the cables would be rolled relatively tightly into a circular basin at the base. It looked good but when you open it the cable can unravel quickly or come loose and the ‘wow effect’ is a bit diluted.
This is much tighter in terms of display, you get to see more of the cable without having to unravel it. In fact, if you are skillful enough, you can reuse the box as a type of display for any cable that will fit.
Click on page 2 for performance impressions and comparisons