Effect Audio Bespoke 8-wire Ares II – The Bronze Serpent


Sound Impressions

The Bespoke preserves much of the original’s timbre: A lightly warm tone juxtaposed against an articulative lower-treble. The stage gains remarkable depth, but the most noteworthy change lies in its definition. The cable outputs a pitch-black background with ample headroom, resulting in effortless refinement; teeming with openness, dynamic contrast and air. While the stock Ares II tends to fabricate space through its leaner lower-midrange, the Bespoke is more welcoming of harmonic detail. Instruments compromise neither body nor tone, yet remain congestion-free because of the cable’s innate expanse. Every element is resolved from transient to decay, with minimal warmth intruding on clarity.

Improved bass extension pairs the Ares II’s warm, meaty punches with palpable physicality. The low-end is tastefully accentuated, focused between the mid- and sub-bass frequencies. As a result, there’s a hint of rumble with every punch; inviting rhythm, energy and motion to the overall presentation. Thankfully, the Bespoke allows enough headroom to avoid veil. Excellent treble extension applies a perimeter of air around each thump. So as the note arrives (and decays), the monitor is able to convey texture, tone and dynamic energy in a cleaner, more articulate and well-separated manner – all whilst maintaining titillating impact. Also, in tracks where bass drops are waiting to happen, the Bespoke’s authority allows the listener to more easily follow the crescendo; adding a dose of theatricality as the song approaches its climax.

Like the original Ares II, the Bespoke maintains a vibrant, emotive and musical upper-midrange. This vibrancy comes from a 6kHz peak, vulnerable to stridence with problematic pairings. However, the Bespoke alleviates this through heightened headroom. The rise is now more rounded, smooth and refined, but just as transparent, articulate and clear. The lower-mids – although largely neutral – gain excellent resolution, as harmonic detail is better rendered against the black background. Male vocalists with larger ranges (like Michael Bublé) reap most from this; amalgamating the Bespoke’s bodied bass, defined lower-midrange and melodious upper-mids to ensure musicality whether he’s crooning or belting. Finally, a stable stage fuels imaging and separation. Instruments maintain their size, energy and hue, but are placed within a more spacious environment; resulting in a more precise – yet tonally-correct – presentation.

The Bespoke’s top-end is just lightly risen, aside from its 6kHz peak. As a result, the Bespoke’s treble maintains a largely neutral tone. However, it also consistently boasts sufficient definition. Its composure translates neither to sluggishness nor veil, as a result of excellent headroom and admirable extension. Notes decay just quickly enough for proper contrast, outlined against a black background, and imaged precisely throughout the stage; resolving, clean and clear. It merely flirts with adding the biting crispness that most silver cables (or even the Eos, for example) are known for, but clarity never falls short. The Bespoke’s linear upper-treble invites a more natural timbre, but its light lift serves dividends in dynamic energy; compensating for its lack of frills with excellent stability, decent transparency and palpable realism.

Suggested Pairings

Because of the Bespoke’s strong technical foundation, it’s a versatile cable that’ll synergise with most monitors it’s paired with. It doesn’t carry any notable frequency aberration(s), even though it does have an overall tinge; lightly warm counterbalanced by the peppiness of the upper-midrange. Regardless, most of its major effects are technical in nature: Palpable increases in soundstage depth, background blackness, image stability, note resolution and spatial precision. So, if the qualities below are ones you’d love to see improved within your IEMs, the Bespoke Ares II will do you good:

Heightened transparency, without brightness  While the simplest way to coax clarity is by boosting the upper-treble, the Bespoke Ares II skilfully creates a blacker, more stable background. It’s as if the image lowers in distortion; becoming more effortless and well-defined whilst maintaining tonal balance. This is ideal if you own warmer IEMs – like the Empire Ears Phantom or the Custom Art Harmony 8.2 – and seek to clean the image without altering its inherent timbre.

Increased bass physicality, without bloom, bleed or dominance – The Bespoke Ares II is ideal if you want to increase the bass’s sensation of impact, without necessarily boosting the mid-bass altogether. This is done through great extension. IEMs like the Warbler Audio PreludeLime Ears Model X and 64Audio A6t benefit most from this, as their tonally-correct low-ends become substantially more authoritative, guttural and musical, without becoming dirty.

Greater midrange texture, without congestion – If you have monitors like the Phantom, Harmony 8.2 or the Empire Ears Zeus and you find their lower-midrange biases may border on overt, the Bespoke Ares II makes an ideal pair. The conductor brings the region closer to neutral and – more crucially – adds authority and texture. So, you never get that cloy sensation of chestiness or fullness. Instead, you get great gravitas within a bellowing, deep lower-midrange.

Conversely, because of the Bespoke’s balance throughout the midrange, as well as its warmer tilt, here are aspects the won’t benefit from the conductor upgrade:

Fuller, meatier and more-bodied notes: Although the Ares II is a copper cable, it does not have the fullness and euphony that copper conductors generally do. Its light warmth is confined strictly to tone, whilst note density, body and richness remain largely unchanged. In fact, its neutral lower-midrange may invite a lighter, less-heavy-handed delivery. In-ears with wispier notes – like the Nocturnal Audio Avalon – won’t benefit (in meatiness, at least) with the Bespoke.

Cleaner, brighter vocals: The Bespoke places its vocals neutrally on the stage; a combination between increased stage depth and a linear upper-treble. Despite its bias towards the upper-mids, the Bespoke should not be your pick if you’re looking to give vocals a cleaner, crrisper tone. The midrange will tend towards melodious and sweet; vibrant and zing-y. With the 64Audio A6t as an example, this added depth gives too much of a contrast between the upper-mids and the 7kHz peak, which makes it less-than-ideal for peaky-er pairings or for low-level listening.

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About Author

Church-boy by day and audio-obsessee by night, Daniel Lesmana’s world revolves around the rhythms and melodies we lovingly call: Music. When he’s not behind a console mixing live for a congregation of thousands, engineering records in a studio environment, or making noise behind a drum set, you’ll find him on his laptop analysing audio gear with fervor and glee. Now a specialist in custom IEMs, cables and full-sized headphones, he’s looking to bring his unique sensibilities - as both an enthusiast and a professional - into the reviewer’s space; a place where no man has gone before.

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