Satin Audio Zeus Review – Complexity

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Pros – 

Strong build and quality finish, TOTL resolving power and sparkle, Outstanding low-end extension and dynamics

Cons – 

Softer 2-pin connectors may present issues if not handled with care, Bass can overwhelm when paired with already bassy monitors

Verdict –

For those looking to elevate their musical experience, the Zeus is a fine accessory in every sense.


Introduction –

Satin Audio was founded in Vietnam by a team of audiophiles with the goal of producing luxurious handcrafted upgrade cables. Though first intended for the domestic market, Satin has since procured a large international, their wide range of cables underpinned by incredibly competitive pricing. Starting at just $70 USD with custom terminations and configurations, Satin Audio’s cables are a no-brainer for those wanting to augment the ergonomics, sonics and aesthetics of their gear without playing too far into diminishing returns. With such a legacy, I was shocked to hear then that the company was releasing a new flagship, the Zeus. It comes in at a hearty $1399 USD, so immediately it isn’t targeting their usual value-orientated consumer base. Instead, Satin Audio are demonstrating their mastery of craft. Featuring gold, silver and palladium conductors, the Zeus is proof that the once minute company can stand eye to eye with industry veterans.

You can read more about Satin Audio and configure the Zeus to your liking here.

Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Eric from Satin Audio very much for his quick communication and for making this review of the Zeus happen. As always, all words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. The cable was provided to me free of cost in exchange for my honest review, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

The Pitch –

Exotic Conductors

Much like tube vs solid-state amplifiers, listeners often attribute a certain style of sound to each metal. Silver physically offers the highest conductance and, therefore, in high purity represents the ideal in terms of minimising transmission loss. However, in actuality, many have dubbed silver cables as providing a brighter sound that is not always so ideal for synergy. The Zeus can be said to be primarily silver, maximising technical performance, while employing a highly exotic blend of conductors to provide a curated frequency balance. At its core, this cable employs gold-plated silver, silver-gold alloy (99% silver, 1% gold) and palladium-plated silver. Their silver conductors are produced via an SP-OCC process that enables their cables to exceed 7N purity depending on batch – Satin Audio calls this the purest silver cable on the market. This selection was designed from Satin’s experience and feedback on their previous pure-silver and precious applied cables.

Satin Special Structures II

The Zeus is a 4-wire cable though noticeably larger than most with a 24AWG gauge as opposed to 26AWG on conventional IEM custom cables. Still, it isn’t unwieldy nor especially cumbersome, especially compared. Satin Audio’s special structures take inspiration from Type 4 Litz but with the addition of multi-sized strands. What we observe is gold-plated conductors in the exterior followed by silver gold strands and palladium-plated silver surrounding a central Kevlar damping core. Strand size becomes increasingly large towards the centre and the strands themselves are insulated to ensure continued performance. The outer-most jacket employs SA insulation II designed for comfort, sweat resistance and transparency. Satin Audio also assure the jacket does not harden with age, an issue that affects many competitors. Unfortunately, this is difficult to test in a timely review.

Custom Connectors  

Satin Audio cables include custom y-splitters, jacks and connectors in the case of their 2-pin and MMCX models. It’s important to note that even the composition of the connectors has been customized to maximise conductance. Where most are brass or phosphor bronze in composition, Satin Audio connectors employ Tellurium Copper (TeCu). Meanwhile, their plugs have a high-purity OFC copper construction with hard-wearing palladium plating.

Unboxing –

Packaging

The Zeus announces its flagship status with similarly regal packaging that makes the customer feel well-loved. An outer sheath slides away to reveal a matte hard box. Inside is the circular carrying case made whose acrid scent reinforces its genuine leather construction. The case has ample internal space for IEMs and maybe a small DAP or BT transmitter too. It safely houses the cable that’s secured with an opulent leather strap. There’s a separate box below containing further accessories, an additional button-up leather strap, silk drawstring pouch and some Satin Audio stickers.

Customization –

Screenshot_1

Being a custom cable, the Zeus is configurable to the user’s setup and, to an extent, specifications. It is currently only available in 4-wire variant at a set ~1.2m length and the user would have to enquire over email whether this could be altered and potentially for custom connectors as well. Satin have made it apparent that they’re planning on releasing 6-wire and 8-wire variants costing $2099 and $2799 USD respectively. There’s an additional text box for the user to include extra orders for their particular setup. All common connectors are available, though only the 2-pin and MMCX connectors take advantage of Satin’s custom conductors as aforementioned. Of note, all are free besides JH connectors with bass control that are an additional $57 though other options are available for free. You can also alter the ear-guide design, I was very content with the stock option.

Design –

A hallmark of custom cables is their design and the Zeus provides a commanding presence with its captivating aesthetics. Indeed, Satin Audio’s proprietary jacket is highly transparent, showcasing the awesome lustre and texture provided by the Litz 4 geometry below. It has a 4-wire braid with 24AWG wires, larger than the normal 26AWG custom cables, though hardly unwieldy and never burdensome in weight or size. The conductors are a unique pale gold complemented by gunmetal/carbon-fibre connectors. Fine touches such as the flawless silver accents on the connectors reinforce an overall jaw-dropping combination of colours and textures. I am partial to the especially uniform aesthetic, remaining constant from bottom to top, a pet peeve of mine. One notable issue I did find here were the proprietary 2-pin connectors where I found the altered composition to be markedly softer than standard connectors. As such, the pins are especially prone to bending if not handled with care. Though easily bent back into position, repeated strain doesn’t bode well for longevity.

Cable Close Up

Ergonomics are also well-managed for those concerned about the cable’s size. There are no ear guides only bends in the insulation itself that keep the cable routed comfortably over the outer-ear. Despite this, I found fit stability to be excellent and the lack of pressure does contribute to comfort too. There’s a visible strain relief on the 2-pin connectors in addition to internal anchoring on the jack though external strain relief would have been good to see here too. The jacket itself isn’t the supplest on the market but does resist tangles exceptionally well due to its slight springiness. Nonetheless, it is not a stiff cable in the slightest nor an especially microphonic one and it still coils easily for storage. Satin Audio claim sweat-resistant and will remain clear and pliable over time. Though only extended usage will tell, I experienced no issues during my month of testing.

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About Author

Avid writer, passionate photographer and sleep-deprived medical student, Ryan has an ongoing desire to bring quality products to the regular reader.

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