In this feature, we review the Satin Audio Apollo, which is an industry-first 26AWG palladium-plated silver-gold aftermarket IEM cable. It is priced at $999.00.
Disclaimer: This sample was sent to us in exchange for our honest opinion. Headfonics is an independent website with no affiliate links. We thank Satin Audio for this opportunity.
To read more about the Satin Audio products we have previously covered on Headfonics, click here.
Note, that this article follows our latest scoring guidelines which you can read in more detail here.
From the Perseus to the Athena II, there is a current trend within Satin Audio’s lineup where most of their new cables feature some sort of unique composition of materials and structure.
The Satin Audio Apollo is currently the pinnacle of this trend as it is the first cable to feature a palladium-plated, gold-silver mix cable composition.
It also extends Satin Audio’s “Olympus” flagship series range and sits alongside the Athena II and Zeus. How does it make its own mark and take its unique cable properties to the next level? Read on to find out.
Materials & Wire
The Satin Audio Apollo has a very unique cable composition and is comprised of a palladium-plated, gold-silver mix and Superior Pure OCC silver. In simple terms, this means that the base material is a gold and silver cable which has been plated with palladium.
It uses a Superior Pure OCC for its silver and OCC for its gold-silver mix, this indicates that underlying materials have a very high level of purity and quality. According to Satin Audio, the Apollo is the first cable in the industry that uses palladium-plated gold-silver.
This is a 26 AWG+ gauge cable and comes in 4, 6, and 8-wire configurations. Our sample cable under review is the 4-wire, 26+ AWG version.
The Apollo features a “Satin Special Structure II” cable construction which is basically a Type 4 Litz configuration with Satin Audio enhancements.
Within each wire, there is a Kevlar Damping Core which is surrounded by an outer layer comprised of stranded bundles of SP-OCC material and a center layer comprised of bigger strands.
This setup increases durability, anti-vibration, and signal transmission according to Satin Audio.
The Apollo wears a shiny, silver appearance which is reminiscent of its silver and palladium properties. It uses Satin Audio’s advanced “SA Insulation II” jacket which improves usability, flexibility, and transparency.
Satin Audio offers many customization options for its cables thus allowing its customers to choose from various connectors, braiding counts, and termination types.
The connectors are made from a special Satin Audio material which improves transmission quality. They come in a dark grey color and are available in various forms such as 2-pin and MMCX.
The cable splitter is the highlight of the cable and comes in a uniquely designed harp, akin to the Greek God Apollo’s harp, and comes in a cylinder barrel that has a gold finish. As a bonus for the Apollo, customers can even customize the splitter by engraving their names/initials into it.
The plug or termination for the cable under review comes in a 4.4mm Pentaconn OFC plug. The plug comes available in different forms such as 4.4mm, 2.5mm, and 3.5mm terminations in standard Satin Audio or Pentaconn materials.
Comfort on the Ear
The Apollo is very lightweight making it super comfortable on the ear during use. The weight of the splitter is not too heavy and provides sufficient tension to allow the cable to sit nicely upon the ear during use. The cable comes with clear ear hooks which provide an ergonomic shape and fit.
Packaging & Accessories
Similar to other Satin Audio cables, the packaging and accessories of the Apollo are simple and compact, and the box itself is decorated with the Greek God himself.
Included inside the box is a hockey puck-style case made of synthetic leather, a warranty card, a silk pouch, a spare cable strap, and the cable itself.
The highlight of the accessories is the hockey puck-style cable case. The case is large enough to fit any cable with the IEMs attached, feels extremely robust, and has a stylish finish to it.
For this review, the Unique Melody Mest MKII and Kinera Imperial Nana 2.1 Z tune Edition were used alongside the Cayin N8ii as a source.
The Apollo has a very diverse impact on the sound frequency with its main focus on providing a lush and full-bodied mid-range, added sparkle in the treble, and a boost to mid-bass. Aside from this, it enhances layering and separation however its impact varies on the IEM pair-up.
Starting with the sub and mid-bass, the Apollo colors these frequencies by adding a tad more forwardness and oomph to the mid-bass. The mid-bass does become slightly slower to decay. The sub-bass does not change as drastically however the Apollo does allow the sub-bass to be left unchanged.
The mid-range is where it becomes much more interesting. The lower mid-range receives more forwardness and volume. Male vocals and instrumentals are delivered with more volume and weight which is audible through the sound of strings being plucked and strung.
The upper-mid-range also receives some coloration in terms of increased volume however it is evident that the Apollo dials it back a bit where is it not as far forward as the lower mid-range. It does well in fleshing out the micro details within the mid-range which results in a smooth and lush frequency response.
The Apollo does not significantly color the existing timbre and in some IEM pairings, it will result in a slightly cooler timbre at most.
The treble extension and quality are very good, and a definite strength. As a result, it adds a hint of sparkle and airiness to the overall frequency response. High hats and cymbals crashing sound crispier with better decay and improved detail retrieval.
The Apollo does a very good job of expanding the soundstage width to ensure that the overall soundstage feels expansive and extended.
Soundstage height slightly increases but not as much as the overall width. Layering and imaging are very good however its improvement is dependent on the IEM and source pairing.
The placement of instruments and vocals around the overall stage is very good and the Apollo allows for an immersive listening experience.
Unique Melody Mest MKII
The Unique Melody Mest MKII (Mest MKII) features a combination of dynamic, balanced armatures, electrostatic, and bone conductor drivers. The Mest MKII excels in delivering a silky smooth frequency response with its mid-bass boost, forward lower mid-range, well-extended treble, and a large soundstage.
The Apollo presents itself as an excellent pairing with the Mest MK II. It maintains the Mest MKII’s existing levels of sub and mid-bass response but provides slightly better control around the mid-bass decay.
The lower mid-range is delivered with extra volume, a high level of clarity, and a tad more smoothness. The lower mid-range maintains its forwardness and is still the center of the overall frequency response.
Timbre-wise, the Mest MKII becomes slightly less warm. The treble is where the Apollo has its largest coloration impact on the Mest MKII.
The treble extends further with improved detail retrieval, more airiness, and an added hint of sparkle. Cymbals and high hats sound fantastic and come off with the right level of decay and with an excellent level of detail.
The treble does not come off as harsh or sibilant. The soundstage on the Mest MK II is very wide and tall however the height is slightly reduced. There is no significant change to the layering and separation.
Kinera Nanna 2.1 Z-Tune Edition
The Kinera Imperial Nana 2.1 features a slightly elevated mid-bass, forward lower mid-range, slightly forward upper mid-range, and sparkly treble with excellent staging.
The main focus of the Kinera Imperial Nana 2.1 is on mid-range clarity and resolution where it excels at fleshing out the micro details from instruments and vocals. Timbre-wise, the Kinera Imperial Nana 2.1 leans slightly warm.
The Apollo increases the mid-bass presence on the Kinera Imperial Nana 2.1 where the mid-bass gains more slam, extended depth, and becomes more forward in the overall sound frequency.
As the mid-bass slam increases, so too does the decay. The lower mid-range receives a boost in terms of volume, clarity, and detail. Timbre-wise, this remains mostly unchanged under the Apollo. The treble is an area that receives further coloration with increased extension, detail, and quality.
The soundstage is very wide and tall and the height is slightly increased. This leads to better layering and separation as instruments and vocals have better positioning and accuracy.
Satin Audio Athena II
The Satin Audio Athena II (Athena II) has a unique composition similar to that of the Apollo.
It features a mix of Superior Pure OCC Silver, Silver-Gold Alloy, and Palladium. The base material of both cables is silver however the main difference is that the Apollo uses a gold-silver mix alongside palladium plating which the Athena II does not.
According to Satin Audio, the Athena II’s Superior Pure OCC technology results in a silver purity rating between 6N (99.99998%) and 7N (99.999998%) which is about the highest you can currently obtain.
The Athena II features a 26AWG gauge and comes in 4, 6, and 8-wire configurations. The Athena II subject to comparison is a 4-wire, 26AWG cable.
The Athena II has a similar design to the Apollo and comes in a shiny silver finish. The main difference being the two cables is from the splitter.
The splitter on the Apollo is gold-colored, made of aluminum, and depicts the shape of a harp which draws on the Greek God Apollo’s obsession with music whereas the Athena II features a standard dark grey and gold barrel. The braiding style and finish of the cable itself are similar to the Apollo.
This comparison was quite an interesting one given that the two cables share similar properties including cable composition and materials. Nevertheless, there was a noticeable difference between both, especially within the lower mid-range, mid-bass, and soundstage.
Within the lower mid-range, the Apollo was able to deliver more volume and higher resolution. Vocals and instrumentals carried more weight and better texture. The Athena II has a leaner and punchier mid-bass whereas the Apollo delivers more slam and slower decay.
The treble between the two cables was similar although the Apollo delivered slightly better extension and detail. The soundstage was wider and taller which lead to superior separation giving the Apollo a more expansive effect. The Athena II on the other hand has a more intimate and narrower soundstage.
Astral Acoustics Pulse
The Astral Acoustics Pulse is a 23 AWG, LC-OFC Copper cable and features a Type 6 Litz geometry.
Each wire within the Pulse houses multiple bundles of type 4 wires twisted around the main fiber core. The Pulse has a 4-wire configuration which comes with a 23 AWG gauge which is thicker than the Apollo’s 26+ AWG gauge.
The Pulse has a distinct copper color appearance and is coated with a translucent PVC jacket. The Pulse features a matte black finish on the plug, splitter, cable ring, and connectors which are all made out of metal.
There are hints of silver plating on the top of the plug, cable ring, and connectors. The combination of matte black and copper colors is a fantastic match, and it gives the cable a premium feel and appearance.
The Pulse showcases the strengths of a pure copper cable which has similarities and differences to the Apollo, which is a palladium, gold-silver mix plated cable.
The Pulse colors the sub-bass by providing more depth and just as much forwardness in the mid-bass. Mid-bass control and quality are similar between both cables.
The mid-range is where things start to diverge. Although both bring more volume and detail to the lower mid-range, the Apollo delivers this with more finesse. The lower mid-range on the Apollo is delivered with better overall quality, clarity, and detail and comes off as lusher and smoother sounding.
The treble extends further with more detail on the Apollo giving the treble more sparkle and a crispier finish. The soundstage on both is wide however the Apollo gives it that extra bit of width and height.
This benefits the layering and separation on the Apollo which comes off with more space and placement of instruments and vocals.
The Satin Audio Apollo is a cable with very good sonic quality and one that has clearly benefited from its unique mix of materials.
From its ability to improve the mid-bass, its key highlight is how it colors the mid-range and treble frequencies. Mid-range is delivered with noticeably more volume whereas the treble comes off with more sparkle, extension, and detail.
Satin Audio has done a very good job with the Apollo and has another gem on its hands.
Satin Audio Apollo Technical Specifications
- Wires – palladium-plated silver-gold
- Superior Pure OCC Silver Mix Palladium plated Silver-Gold OCC
- Geōmetria Multi-sized Stranded – Satin Special Structures II
- Kevlar Damping Core
- Premium SA Palladium Plated UCopper 2.5mm/3.5mm and Pentaconn OFC 4.4mm as standard plugs