Effect Audio x Music Sanctuary Eos – Enter the Dragon

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Re: The Ares II

The only elements separating the Eos and the Ares II are the solder and the plug; that is literally it. And so, it came as no surprise to me when I first announced I’d be reviewing the former, that every other question was…

“How does it compare to the Ares II?” 

Well, after multiple long rounds of A/B testing, I concluded that the Eos shares a similar flavour to its default counterpart, but it pushes beyond the Ares II’s technical accomplishments in more ways than what the “small” price difference might suggest. Although they are certainly tonal siblings, the Eos is the more mature cable. With the Ares II at its foundation, the Eos expands on its predecessor’s merits with evident improvements in stage size, dimensional resolution, and dynamic control; all of which amount to a more relaxed and realistic listening experience.

As mentioned, the two are very similar in terms of timbre, but small differences still remain between them. The Ares II doesn’t have as much of an upper-treble bump as the Eos does – partly due to its lesser extension – and it is more forgiving with hotly-mastered tracks as a result. However, this discrepancy hurts coherence in the upper-midrange. Due to its calmer top-end, the Ares II presents vocals with an ever throatier character than the Eos; with some recordings, it can border on nasal-y. But, it compensates for this with a slightly richer low-end, even if it means giving the Eos a tiny edge in bass definition.

The Eos presents music within a respectable sphere. And – because of its stellar stage organisation – instruments are laid out evenly throughout the entire soundscape, resulting in an even playing field when it comes to dynamics. Also aided by superior treble extension, the Eos possesses greater headroom, associating its presentation with modifiers like “open” and “airy”. By comparison, the Ares II’s stage is significantly more intimate and infinitely more compressed. Instruments sound like they’re playing right next to each other within a more confined space. Although this presentation could be touted as more focused or fun, it ultimately isn’t worth the loss in resolution and imaging. At the end of the day, I’d rather have the ability to transform music I’m hearing into images in my head, than brace a barrage of energy that eventually fatigues more than it appeals.

Verdict

The Effect Audio x Music Sanctuary Eos is a complete revelation. While rivals turn to precious metals, jumbo weaves and inflating prices for better sound, the Eos shifts its focus towards the finer details; investing in bespoke components to push poor man’s gold to its fullest potential. At S$299, the Eos challenges the boundaries of technical performance, offering superior definition, stage expansion and structural stability than most else in its price bracket. Bolstered by remarkable top-end extension and impressive dynamic authority, the Eos presents music with an eye for detail and a penchant for space; fusing energy and ease into a singular listening experience. It may not have the most accurate timbre, nor will it please those looking for the stereotypical copper sound, but this is an exciting avenue for folks who want something a little different. To the wide-eyed dilettante, the Eos will open gateways to more expensive possibilities, and to the battle-scarred veteran, it’ll serve as a reminder that so little can sometimes do so much.

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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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