Satin Audio is best known for its excellent price-to-performance ratio cables which are represented by its Olympus, Titan, Monster, and Warrior series.
It’s amazing how time flies as our previous Satin Audio cable review was back in August 2022 where we took a deep look into the Warrior Series with the Satin Audio Perseus Cable.
Fast forward to February 2023 and we are now talking about Satin Audio’s latest release of the Athena II which marks a turning point in their Olympus cable series as they attempt to take an old-time favorite, the Athena, to new heights.
Materials & Wire
The Athena II has an interesting composition and features a unique mix of superior pure OCC Silver, silver-gold alloy, and palladium. The base material of the cable is silver.
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 with the sample we are reviewing a 4-wire, 26AWG cable build.
The Athena II features a “Satin Special Structures” cable construction which is basically a Type 4 Litz configuration with Satin Audio enhancements. It comes with a multi-sized stranding implementation where each wire uses varying sizes for each strand which then make up multiple bundles in a wire.
Furthermore, the Athena II uses hybrid central bundles where each strand has a Kevlar Damping Core. This setup increases durability, anti-vibration, and signal transmission according to Satin Audio.
The Athena II sports a shiny, silver appearance which is reminiscent of its silver and palladium properties. The cable is soft and supple making it very easy to use and wear on the ear. The Athena II 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 grey color and are available in various forms such as 2-pin and MMCX. The cable splitter is a small, metal cylinder and has a gold and silver finish.
The plug or termination has the same touches as the cable splitter which creates an alternating flow of silver, grey, and gold throughout the cable. 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 Athena II is lightweight and sits very comfortably on top of the ear during use and there are little to no microphonics to be had. The weight of the cable splitter is not too heavy and provides sufficient tension to allow it to sit nicely upon the ear during use.
Packaging & Accessories
Overall, the packaging and accessories of the Athena II are simple and compact with a striking visual of the Greek Goddess of Athena on the outer packaging.
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 aura to it.
Simply put, if you are looking for a cable that enhances the mid-range then the Athena II should be on your list.
The Athena II brings out the best of the silver, palladium, and gold cable worlds together which results in a cable that is highly focused on providing clarity and enhanced detail retrieval within the mid-range.
The Athena II is best suited with IEMs that possess a forward lower or upper midrange and slightly sparkly treble as it enhances these frequencies.
Given its silver, palladium, and gold properties, the Athena II colors the sound by fleshing out the lower mid-range, creating a bit of fizz or energy in the treble region whilst dialing back the mid-bass to make it punchier and faster to decay.
The Athena II does a very good job of picking out the microdetails in the lower mid-range. Vocals and instrumentals sound lush and smooth with a decent amount of texture. It injects a hint of sparkle to the treble but not too much that it cancels out the mid-range.
Furthermore, the Athena II brought a cooler timbre to the IEMs being tested which resulted in less warmth in the overall sound.
For example, on the Nostalgia Audio Camelot which has a noticeably warm timbre with an emphasis on the lower mid-range and mid-bass, the Athena II maintained the resolution of the mid-range whilst dialing back the mid-bass and therefore resulting in less warmth in the timbre.
The soundstage on the Athena II is wide and tall and the cable does a good job of making the soundstage feel expansive.
Layering and imaging are very good however impact are highly dependent on the IEM pairing and synergy. The separation of the mid-range, upper mid-range, and treble are also very good, and the Athena II does a great job of handling this.
Empire Ears Legend EVO
With its default configuration, the Legend EVO’s sub and mid-bass slam hard and it is meticulously textured in every aspect.
Despite all of this, the midrange is forward, smooth, and highly resolving. The treble on the Legend EVO is where it pulls things back a bit and comes off as neutral sounding with a decent level of detail.
Whilst paired with the Athena II, the Legend EVO’s lower mid-range became less forward with the same level of detail whilst the mid-bass becomes punchier and leaner with less boom.
This is not to say that mid-bass does not slam, because it still surely does, it is more to highlight the fact that the bass has less “boom” with a punchier finish.
Sub-bass still extends well and remains unchanged. The mid-range clarity and resolution are very good and similar to the stock setup whilst the timbre comes with a tad less warmth.
Treble extension and clarity remain unchanged whilst the soundstage feels narrower and slightly more intimate.
Nostalgia Audio Camelot
The Nostalgia Audio Camelot has a forward lower mid-range and slightly forward upper mid-range. There is also a slight boost in the mid-bass whilst the sub-bass extends quite deep.
Within the mid-range, the Camelot excels at detail retrieval where vocals and instruments sound lush and natural.
This leads to a warm timbre within its default setup. The treble extends very far with a high level of detail. The soundstage is very wide and very tall and gives off a 3D effect.
Whilst paired to the Athena II, the Camelot’s mid-bass was drawn back slightly and became punchier and faster to decay. The mid-range became noticeably less warm, and there was still excellent resolution and texture in the mid-range. Treble extended well with a decent level of detail.
The soundstage remained wide and tall but the soundstage height felt reduced compared to the stock setup. Layering and separation were very good however felt slightly compressed compared to the stock cable.
Satin Audio Apollo
The Satin Audio Apollo (Apollo) is another new cable in the Olympus Series and is Satin Audio’s first cable to feature a Superior Pure OCC Silver Mix Palladium plated Silver-Gold composition.
It uses a 26AWG, 4-wire configuration, and 2.5mm/3.5mm Satin Audio or 4.4mm Pentaconn terminations as standard plugs.
The Apollo uses the same connectors, advanced “Satin Special Structures II” or modified Type 4 Litz configuration as the Athena II. This particular Apollo build is a 26AWG, 4-wire cable.
The Apollo sports a very similar design to the Athena II and comes in a shiny silver finish. The main difference being the two cables is from the splitter onwards.
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. The braiding style and finish of the cable itself are similar to the Athena II.
This comparison was quite interesting given that the two cables share similar various similarities including cable composition and materials. Nevertheless, there was a noticeable difference between the two cables, 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 increased texture.
Mid-bass-wise, 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.
Effect Audio EROS S
The Eros S was Headfonic’s “Bang for Buck” cable for 2022 and is an Ultra-Pure OCC Pure Silver and Pure Copper Litz cable.
It is the only hybrid cable in Effect Audio’s Signature Series lineup and the only cable to include UP OCC Silver as a key element. The Eros S follows uses a 26 AWG, 8-wire configuration.
The Eros S has a pearl grey appearance which is finished with a matte jacket. The Eros S has a softer feeling to it as opposed to the Athena II’s shiny finish. The plugs, termination case, splitter, cable slider, and connectors are made from polished and brushed aluminum.
The plug itself is made of rhodium-plated brass and comes in standard Pentaconn 2.5mm, 3.5mm, or 4.4mm variations. The Eros S features Effect Audio’s ConX features where the connectors are interchangeable.
The main differences in coloration between the Eros S and the Athena II lie within the mid-bass, mid-range, and layering and separation. The Athena II’s mid-bass has more slam and better control over the Eros S. Furthermore, the sub-bass extends deeper.
The Eros S does not lack sub and mid-bass presence, it’s just delivered with less volume and oomph as it focuses more on control and texturing. The mid-range has a similar trend as the Athena II’s delivery of the midrange comes with more volume and is better at fleshing out micro details and providing superior resolution.
Treble-wise, the Eros S and Athena II extend well however the Athena II is able to provide better texturing and quality. The soundstage on the Athena II is wider and taller which leads to more separation and better layering.
The Satin Audio Athena II’s exotic mix of silver, gold, and palladium wiring makes for a well-rounded cable that is suitable for those looking to improve their IEM mid-range.
Although the impact on soundstage and layering varies, what you are left with is a mid-range that is lush and smooth resulting in an enjoyable vocal and instrumental performance.
To top it off, Satin Audio has included a fantastic cable case that will satisfy any cable enthusiast.