Effect Studio Thor Silver IEM Upgrade cable review

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OVERVIEW
The Effect Studio Thor Silver IEM Upgrade cable is the new flagship made from quad-braided pure UPOCC silver that has been cryo treated and put together with Cardas silver solder.  The cable has a high-end look and feel, with a good thickness that has a relatively loose braid that won’t unravel below the hard plastic Y-Split and twisted above.  A custom-made cable slider with holes for right and left is a nice touch compared with the typical use of heat shrink.  The shell connectors are pre-formed from hard plastic and have a body that is larger than the typical stock plug, but on par with many other aftermarket cables.  The 3.5mm plug is an Oyaide, which comes standard, and I chose a right angled cable.  The behind-the-ear portion of the cable is pre-formed to curve around the ear instead of using memory wire and stays in place securely.  The cable costs $189.90, but you can find an exclusive THL discount on the Deals & Coupon Codes page.

BUILD & USE
The look and feel are top notch and on par with the best cables I have used.  Attention to detail is high and the sturdiness of the cable is impressive.  From a usage standpoint, ergonomics are quite good, but the memory effect causes the wire above the Y-split to twist, effectively shortening the length and requiring me to un-twist at times.  The cable is soft enough when this happens and something I could easily ignore.  There was no microphonics and the Thor silver cable showed very good tangle resistant.  While not the absolute best in overall ergonomics, the Effect Studio Thor Silver cable is close and doesn’t detract from the user experience.

IN-EAR MONITORS PAIRING
For this review, I am adding a score for each paring called Magnitude of Change (MOC) score.  This score indicates how large the absolute changes are to me, subjectively, considering my experience with cables and the differences to the overall sound.

  

Spiral Ear SE 5-way Reference: The Thor cable did not fit the Spiral Ear as the shape of the plug body kept pushing the connector out of the deeper than typical sockets.  This parting might work if the pins were longer.

Hidition NT-6: The Thor cable fits the pins well, but the slightly protruding socket doesn’t provide any protection, so more caution should be taken with the shell connectors compared with the stock connectors.  Compared with the thicker upgrade cable, the Thor Silver doesn’t exhibit the horrible microphonics and is better ergonomically.  Sonically, the Thor cable tames the treble slightly while adding a slight bit of space and bass reverb.  The changes aren’t large by any means and this would be more of an upgrade to improve ergonomics while keeping the upgrade cable performance.  MOC: 2/10

Hidition NT-6 pro: The Thor cable fits the NT-6 pro well, but the slightly protruding socket doesn’t provide any protection, so more caution should be taken with the shell connectors compared with the stock connectors.  Comparing with the normal sized upgrade cable sonically, the Thor cable adds more bass presence and rumble for bass heavy tracks, as well as takes the clarity up a notch by improving instrument separation.  Presentation size is expanded in all directions and is pushed back a bit overall while improving imaging for a more involving presentation.  The overall note presentation becomes smoother and less edgy with the Thor cable while maintaining detail and adding to the clarity, taming treble sharpness and cleaning up the bass region.  Overall, the Thor cable improves the strengths of the NT-6 pro resulting in an even clearer, more involving experience.  MOC: 7/10

M-Fidelity SA-43: The Thor cable fits similar to the stock cable, but the connector body is longer.  Sonically, the Thor cable increases the dynamics of the SA-43 with harder hitting bass more impact across the spectrum while reducing the forward projection of the presentation.  This reduction in forward projection reduces the imaging, making the presentation much more typical.  Details are brought to the forefront in large part to the changes to the presentation.  If you want a more traditional presentation from the SA-43, the Thor cable will help, but it does eliminate the forward projection that differentiate the SA-43 from the competitors.  MOC: 5/10

Lear LCM-5: The pins of the Thor cable are slightly smaller than the stock cable, but the fit is still secure, and the polarity of the pins is opposite the stock configuration of the Thor cable.  You may want to request the ear hooks are pre-formed for wearing with the pins in the opposite configuration.  Sonically, the Thor cable expands the soundstage by a small amount while pulling the midrange a bit forward, increasing clarity and cleaning up the notes across the frequency spectrum by a bit.  The changes are minimal, and while they are positive, the biggest reason to use the Thor cable is if you want a thicker, more ergonomically friendly cable.  MOC: 2/10

Rhines Custom Monitors Stage 3: The Thor cable fits the Stage 3 securely with a longer than stock shell connector.  Sonically, the Thor cable places more emphasis on the treble by pulling it forward while accentuating articulation of detail.  Bass is more impactful, with a slight boost to quantity and a nice improvement in quality.  Spatially, the Thor cable increases the soundstage size and allows the Stage 3 to project sound further, which can surprise with the placement of instruments and sounds in comparison to the stock cable.  Instrument separation is superior with the Thor cable, opening up the sound further in addition to the larger presentation space.  The result is a more open and natural sound from the Thor cable that in comparison makes the stock cable pairing sound unrefined.  While not all songs exhibit large differences, many songs did exhibit noticeable improvements, making the cable worthwhile if the added treble emphasis is acceptable. MOC: 9/10

Fit-Ear PS-5: The Thor cable fits the recessed sockets well for a secure fit.  Sonically the cable cleans the midrange up, reducing the thickness to an extent and pushing the presentation a bit further back resulting in less of a “stage” sound.  Notes are more articulated with better clarity and the presentation is more consistent from track-to-track.  Not a bad pairing, but don’t expect surprising changes.  MOC: 4/10

EarSonics EM4: The Thor cable fits the recessed sockets of the EM4 perfectly.  The polarity of the pins is opposite, so you may want to request the ear hooks are pre-formed for wearing with the pins in the opposite configuration.   Sonically, the Thor cable opens up the presentation and clears things up for an overall improvement, although the changes aren’t large. The presentation size remains about the same, although the presentation depth does increase a bit.  Bass quality is slightly improved as well, and the voicing is changed a bit toward a more neutral tone. MOC: 3/10

EarSonics S-EM6: The Thor cable fits the S-EM6 securely, but the pins are a bit longer than stock resulting in a gap between the shell and longer than stock connectors.  Sonically, the Thor cable adds treble, improves imaging, and opens up the sound while pulling the upper midrange slightly closer.  Treble is more reverberant and cymbals sound more natural while the Thor cable brings an easy to hear balance across the spectrum that is more natural compared with the stock cable.  The Thor cable also improves instrument separation, black space within the presentation, and clarity.  Note attack and decay become more natural with the Thor cable.  Overall, the Thor cable brightens the sound while increasing realism.  MOC: 8/10

Dream Earz AUD-8X: The Thor cable fits securely in the recessed sockets of the 8X.  Sonically, the Thor cable improves the coherence and increases the presentation space.  Notes are more concise, resulting in better clarity and cleanliness of the presentation, which is one of the weaknesses of the 8X.  Bass is slightly cleaner and tighter with the Thor cable and the upper midrange frequency response sounds more linear while treble is a bit more prominent.  The thickness that can be problematic is tamed a good amount by the Thor cable and the finer details are improved as a result.  MOC: 8/10

Thousand Sound TS842: The Thor cable is very secure and fits well.  Compared with the stock cable, the TS842 became a different CIEM, with better coherence between the dynamic and balanced armature drivers as sharpness was tamed.  While the balanced armature became less analytical, detail levels were still very high and the TS842 was much more enjoyable.  The well controlled bass became even more controlled for an improvement in clarity.    MOC: 10/10

Alclair Reference: The Thor cable fits securely in the recessed sockets of the Reference.  Sonically, the Thor cable opens up the Reference, improving imaging and fixing the center-imaging weakness.  The overall frequency response is flatter and the treble is smoothed out yet still just as detailed, if not more so.   The presentation is cleaner and more refined with a more enveloping feel.  Bass is more prominent with bass heavy songs and the treble sounds a bit more extended and airy.  MOC: 8/10

Dunu DC4: The Thor cable plugs are smaller than the stock cable and the pins, while not problematic for my testing, aren’t quite as secure as stock.  Sonically, the Thor cable adds layering and improves imaging while increasing instrument separation for a cleaner presentation with slightly better clarity.  The Thor cable also adds dynamics and increases the bass weight and punch, adding life to the DC4.  Micro-details are articulated better leading to a greater sense of ambiance within the presentation.  The overall presentation is a bit more spacious and slightly more laid-back. MOC: 7/10

SOUND SIGNATURE
In general, the Thor Silver IEM upgrade cable improved note attack and decay, generally increasing detail level and articulation.  Instrument separation generally improves, as does imaging, and the soundstage space was expanded for many pairings.  Bass control and clarity are improved and weight can be increased in bass heavy tracks.

SUMMARY
The Effect Studio Thor Silver IEM upgrade cable is a well built, ergonomically friendly, and great sounding cable.  Delivering real-world sonic improvements with a wide range of custom and universal in-ear monitors that can be eye-opening, the Thor Silver is another winner from Effect Studio.

Ergonomics: 9
Tangle Resistance: 9.5
Memory Effect: 8
Microphonics: 10
Build Quality: 10
Works with recessed sockets: yes
Options: Compatible: UE TF10/SF5, Shure SE215/315/425/535, Sennheiser IE8/IE80, Westone 4R; Oyaide straight or right angled 3.5mm plug
Standard length: 1.2m

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About Author

Having a life-long love of high-quality audio and gadgets, average_joe got back in touch with his audiophile side after a hiatus caused by life. His focus became headphones and related gear as the size and price fit his life better than home audio. He believes the entire audio chain is important, and likes to continue to think past the headphone and on into the head, as he believes understanding the details of how we hear will lead to a better audio experience.

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