DISCLAIMER: Effect Audio provided me with a discounted price on the Leonidas II in return for my honest opinion. I am not personally affiliated with the company in any way, nor do I receive any monetary rewards for a positive evaluation. I’d like to thank Effect Audio for their kindness and support. The review is as follows.
Effect Audio truly know no rest. The Singaporean ateliers have gone from strength to strength, especially throughout the past year. But, if one were to trace their exponential rise back to its origin, they’d find one common denominator: The Leonidas. First released in 2016, it was the cable that put the company on the map and it’s been the stepping stone to their overwhelming success ever since – which is why its discontinuation came as a shock to many across the globe. But as the saying goes, in every end lies a new beginning. A true successor in every way, a vast leap in speed, resolution and realism, brought to life by the bleeding edge of material sciences – Ladies and gentlemen… welcome the Leonidas II.
Effect Audio Leonidas II
- Wire composition: 26 AWG UPOCC Palladium-plated silver + Litz silver hybrid
- Default configuration: 4-wire
- Key feature(s) (if any): Palladium plating, UltraFlexi insulation
- Price: $888
- Website: www.effectaudio.com
Build and Accessories
The Leonidas II arrives in Effect Audio’s classic premium packaging: A towering, black monolith wrapped in a decorative sleeve. But to mark the momentous occasion, Effect Audio have dressed the Leonidas II’s with a genuine leather skin; engraved tastefully with the product name on top. Inside the box’s circular recession, lies the cable in its lavish leather case – an impeccably-crafted, puck-like unit classier than anything you’d find with flagship in-ears even. Both elements are constructed entirely out of premium calf leather; exuding luxury in ways only Effect Audio know how. This is the wow factor I felt was missing with the far pricier Janus D; a clear indication of its distinguished status. Although it’s worth remembering the cable still requires 888 of your hard-earned US dollars, it – so far – at least has a package to match.
Handling the Leonidas II for the first time was an immensely pleasing experience. After becoming accustomed to the Bespoke Ares II and Janus D, the II was a welcome change in weight; just as supple, silky and smooth, but vanishingly comfortable as well. However, only time will tell whether or not that softness remains after some degree of use. The pre-shaped heat shrink located near the in-ear connectors have upped in transparency, to the point where I initially thought Effect Audio chose to forgo them. Braiding is uniform, but a touch looser than Han Sound Audio’s, for example. Visually, the Leonidas II’s conductors are certainly more subtle than those of its predecessor. Now constructed out of silver and palladium-plated silver, the Leonidas II adopts a classier, more understated aesthetic than its gold-bling’ed counterpart.
But worry not, because the Leonidas II compensates elsewhere; namely, its leather Y-split. Marvellously matching the box sleeve and carrying case, the Leonidas II’s Y-split is eye-catching-ly exotic. The matte, almost sunburst-like finish of the leather contrasts beautifully against the engraved chrome metallic accents. The black ties keeping the leather wound around the barrel does run the risk of looking a tad messy, but they’re kept to the rear where they’re practically invisible in use. And, the best part of this design is it’s entirely modular! The leather aspect can be removed and replaced without dismantling the cable outright. Additionally, this leaves the door open for more… interesting options in the future.
Lastly, the Leonidas II features the updated hardware we previously covered on the Janus D. The connectors, Y-split and plug all carry a seamless chrome aesthetic; sleekly mirror-finished. Effect Audio’s logos are engraved directly onto the components for a cleaner look with zero risk of fading. The 2-pin barrels stay rock-solid when cable-rolling. And finally, carbon fibre accents the hefty 4.4mm plug, developed in collaboration with Pentaconn – completing the Leonidas II’s well-conceptualised, uniform and utterly spectacular look. This is a cable I can guarantee you’ve never, ever seen before.