In this feature, we review the Effect Audio Fusion 1, which is a 21AWG 2-wire aftermarket IEM and headphone cable using a new Solid Core Design. It is priced at $999 SRP.
Disclaimer: This sample was sent to us in exchange for our honest opinion. Headfonics is an independent website with no affiliate links or services. We thank Effect Audio for their support.
To read more about Effect Audio gear previously assessed on Headfonics click here.
Note that this article follows our current scoring guidelines which you can read in more detail here.
Effect Audio Fusion 1
The Effect Audio Fusion 1 cable is a very good cable to start the journey into the new “Fusion” series lineup.
It provides additional clarity in the mid-range, mid-bass forwardness and wide soundstage whilst keeping the treble in check.
Great cable design and build
Unique material composition
Impressive mid-bass and midrange coloration
Cable is bulky and thick
Potential for cable noise during use
Pairing dependent performance
Effect Audio has officially launched its new “Fusion” series lineup of cables to continue a year of numerous cable releases. This series introduces some never-seen-before cable materials and blends to the market.
The concept is inspired by the “7 Wonders of the World”. For example, the “luxurious image” of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus or the “impressiveness” of the Colossus of Rhodes has served as inspiration for the design and materials used in the Fusion series cables.
The Effect Audio Fusion 1 cable is the initial offering and true to the pitch it boasts some very interesting specs and materials. How does the Fusion 1 fare and does it live up to being one of the “wonders” of the cable realm? Read on to find out.
Materials & Geometry
The Fusion 1 uses a blend of Ultra-Pure OCC gold-plated silver Litz, pure silver Litz, and pure copper Litz. That may be a mouthful to say but it is indeed quite a unique set of materials and a reflection of what the Fusion series is all about.
The presence of gold plating on silver is designed to target certain areas of coloration, where in my experience, gold and silver plating are there to assist with tweaking timbre, layering, and imaging capabilities.
The Fusion 1 has a 21 AWG gauge and comes in a 2-wire configuration. Although 21 AWG sounds “thick”, the Fusion 1 is actually not as thick or rigid as I expected. In fact, it showcases the same amount of suppleness and flexibility as a standard 24 AWG, 8-wire cable, which is an impressive feat.
According to Effect Audio, the Fusion 1 features a new cable geometry called “Tri-Strata Layering” or TSL.
Basically, there is a combination of close to half a dozen different copper variants, spread across 40 different bundles which surround a pure solid core for each cable wire. To add, each bundle features multi-sized stranding.
The Fusion 1 has a tri-color theme with a mix of light gold, copper, and silver to signify the type of cable materials utilized.
The cable itself has Effect Audio’s “circular geometric patterns” in copper and silver color which are blended together to illustrate the “fusion” between the cable materials.
The cable is coated in Effect Audio’s UltraFlexi Insulation which is a clear plastic material. However, the insulation is very flexible which makes the Fusion 1 very supple for a 21 AWG gauge cable. There is sufficient tension between the braids which keeps the 2 wires closely against each other.
The splitter cable ring and plug have the same design and come in a light gold finish. The barrel is sleek and comes in a cylindrical shape. The connectors have a similar color and are donned with the Effect Audio logo on each side.
Effect Audio has done an excellent job to ensure that the finish of the cable overall, including the plug, splitter, and connectors, all have a premium and robust finish. The blend of the colors across the whole cable melds very well and gives off a luxurious finish.
The connectors and cable plug features Effect Audio’s ConX and TermX system which allows you to change the type of connector, (e.g., from Pentaconn Ear to 2-pin), and plug, (e.g., 2.5mm to 4.4mm). This makes the cable very versatile as you are able to pair it across your collection of IEMs.
The Fusion 1 is a flexible cable which makes it comfortable to use. The ear-hook comes in a clear plastic sleeve which is attached to the cable before the connectors.
This is quite an important feature as it ensures that the cable keeps its shape when the IEMs are attached. The weight of the cable is above average and can come off as heavy. This is due to the thick 21 AWG gauge and the number of materials used.
Although the splitter is sleek and lightweight, it does provide enough tension to allow the cable to drop nicely.
One point to note however is that given the cable’s thickness, there may be some cable noise during use. This is because of the thickness and below-average “cable memory” which makes it difficult to revert back to its original or straight shape after wrapping it up for storage. Despite this, there were no comfort issues noted during use.
Packaging & Accessories
The Fusion 1 cable comes in a light gold box with the words “Fusion 1” etched in gold lettering on the lid. The color of the box matches the theme of the cable very well and gives off a classy and elegant finish.
Inside the box, you will find the Fusion 1 cable along with a carrying case, leather cable strap, instruction manual, and warranty card.
The carrying case is simply excellent. It is large, but it feels robust and durable coming in a rectangular shape made out of leather and thick polyester.
The case has a large flap which, once opened, reveals two small pockets to store accessories such as ConX or TermX cases and a larger, main compartment to store the cable itself. Given the thickness of the cable, the case is a fitting example of practicality, and you can easily fit the cable and a pair of IEMs within the case.
Effect Audio includes a basic ConX set with the Fusion 1 which includes a 2-pin and MMCX connector.
The following performance impressions were made with the Cayin N8ii as the source and the Elysian Acoustic Labs DIVA 2023 as our main tested IEMs along with the Kinera Nanna 2.1.
Smoother midrange, punchier mid-bass, and improved treble extension. These are the characteristics of the Fusion1 as the cable utilizes its silver and copper materials to enhance sonic clarity and bring another level of listening experience to the user.
The main focus of the Fusion 1 cable is to add more mid-bass texture, detail, and clarity to the midrange and extend the treble.
Within the sub-bass, the level of depth and extension is slightly increased. It is a bit different for the mid-bass as it becomes punchier with faster decay. It may seem like a subtle difference in the sub and mid-bass, but it’s there.
As a result, the sub and mid-bass obtain better definition and bass texture. Coupled with its silver cable material, the Fusion 1 allows the midrange to breathe and gain better resolution and clarity.
The Fusion 1 tends to pull back the lower to center midrange and what you end up with is a more linear presentation of the midrange. The resolution of guitar strings being plucked, and cellos being strung improves and comes off as very detailed and resolving.
A similar story can be said about the treble. The treble does not become brighter or darker however there is better extension, detail, and clarity from the Fusion 1. Cymbals sound crisper with a better definition. The timbre from the Fusion 1 is slightly warm.
Staging & Imaging
The Fusion 1 allows the overall soundstage to become wider with a slight extension of the soundstage depth and height. As the soundstage becomes wider and with more depth, imaging and placements of instruments improve.
Instruments are also spread more accurately across the stage to give a wider sound field.
Click on page 2 below for our recommended pairings and selected comparisons.