Effect Audio Virtuoso ($149)
Effect Audio’s Virtuoso, while similar in hue, is quite unlike the No. 10 sonically. Its timbre is leaner – crisper – because of a shelved lower-midrange. And, its low-end isn’t as meaty and full too. The advantage to this signature is cleanliness and clarity. But, the No. 10 then takes the lead in texture and resolution. Instruments are bolder and more fleshed out, while they may feel a tad restrained on the Virtuoso for airiness’s sake. Spatially, the two are neck-and-neck; impressive on the No. 10’s part, given its denser signature. So, the No. 10 is best paired with leaner, more laid-back IEMs that need fullness, power and texture, while the Virtuoso is for those that already have lots of it, and need a breath of fresh, clean, open air.
Effect Audio Grandioso ($199)
Effect Audio’s silver-and-copper Grandioso is a closer match to the No. 10. Both cables have great vividness and dynamic range. But, the No. 10 is the more brazen and boisterous of the two. By comparison, the Grandioso retains a touch more composure. This is most evident in its lower-highs; more refined and feathered than that of the No. 10. In the lows, then, is where the No. 10 comes off more vivid and textured. Plus, its lower-mids are more substantial and punchy too. So, the Grandioso is most ideal if you need a more even mix of finesse and fun, while the No. 10’s sig kicks the latter up a notch.
PW Audio’s No. 10 earphone cable sees the company – once again – triumph at the entry level. While not the most uncoloured-sounding cable in the world, the twists it does bring to the table align perfectly with the monitor market’s most common pitfalls at a similar price class: A dearth in power, texture and end-to-end extension. The No. 10 puts a stop to flimsy low-ends with its big, beefy, woofer-like response. And, it ups resolution a notch through raw top-end reach, without compromising the low-mids in the process. It achieves all this while sporting a smooth, balanced timbre, as well as ergonomics that befit an industry veteran. In value and in sound, the No. 10 is the quintessential upgrade cable – a lift to your in-ear in every way.
The PW Audio No.10 is available for purchase at Music Sanctuary.