Effect Audio Code 23

A flagship copper cable and a second entry in the CODE series, CODE 23 aims to change the cable game forever. Effect Audio, known for excellent cables fights for the spot of THE manufacturer to go. See how their newest model does at $799.

Introduction to the review of Effect Audio Code 23

Effect Audio, a company started and run by electronics and electric engineer Suyang is a Singaporean-based cable manufacturer. They are making quality cables since 2009, earning their place on the market as one of the best manufacturers around. What sets them apart from their competition, is not only the quality of their products but also their excellent approach to customer service. 

They are one of the most active manufacturers on Head-Fi. They are always quick to interact with their customers to provide help, advice, or just joke around. As you know by now being engaged with the community is a major green flag for me. I met them in London at CanJam and they are as nice live as they are online. Kind, informed, and experienced as you would expect from a company like Effect Audio. 

Back to the topic at hand, Effect Audio CODE 23 is the ultimate copper cable for headphones and earphones. So this is a surprise, as it’s the first model like this from Effect Audio. Usually, a cable is designed for one of those. Well, CODE 23 is no ordinary cable. I’ve seen speaker wires thinner than that. We’ll get the juicy details about that later, but note that a headphone variant is $200 more expensive than the IEM one.

The CODE series’ goal is to push the materials to their limits, creating CODE 51 – the ultimate silver cable and now the 23, the ultimate copper cable. It’s the pinnacle of Effect Audio’s 14 years of experience. Everything is best, from the materials, to assembly, and packaging, everything is meant to set new rules in the game. The biggest step is the change of thickness. This cable is 16,5AWG, which is absolutely crazy for a headphone/IEM cable. THICCC with three C.  It’s not only a resistance thing though. It also allowed Effect Audio to go for a new type of conductor in their offer. Let’s see if it is actually a game-changer.


The box in which this cable is shipped screams quality. Textured finish, pressed foil lettering, velour finish inside. There is an included pouch for the cable made with artificial leather and Cordura-like material. It’s a nice touch, and I see myself using it for this cable, or else.

The whole thing does feel luxurious indeed. I mean take a look at the pictures, and imagine you get something like that from the mail. I know the product is more important than the packaging. Sure, it is. I have to admit though, packaging of the reviewed Effect Audio CODE 23 does IT for me and I’m not ashamed to admit that. In the end, a $799 headphone cable is a luxurious item and should be treated appropriately.

Build Quality and Tech

This is absolutely outstanding! The cable is finished in a black, smoky colour. The splitter is a nice, machined piece in gunmetal. The connectors are custom, Effect Audio jack 3,5mm and the 4 pin XLR is made by Neutrik. While I like Neutrik, at this price point I was expecting something higher quality here, like AECO, or Furutech.  It is the only thing that I don’t love about this cable though. I assume they have chosen the Neutrik because of how well it complements the rest of the parts sound-wise.

There is an option selector on the Effect Audio’s website allowing you to choose the connectors you want, whether it’s headphone or IEM cable. There is a great selection available including the most popular standards, including swappable plugs like ConX and TermX. The CODE 23, as a pinnacle of copper design uses the top conductor: UPOCC copper. The cables are a mix of solid core and litz wires, and it’s the first time for Effect Audio to use solid core. It was made possible thanks to the aforementioned thickness of the wire.

Solid core wires have a big following in the audiophile community, so I was curious how it’s going to work in Effect Audio CODE 23. There is a ratio of 12 litz bundles to one single core wire, which was researched to be optimal for the construction of this cable. 

Not only the conductors are special though. To make a cable this thick, that is not extremely stiff and mechanically sturdy is no small task. They came up with an isolator material called Effect Audio UltraFlexi™ which keeps everything together. While it is a stiff cable, for this gauge of wire used it’s really not bad. Doesn’t really bother me when daily driving to be honest.

Sound of the reviewed Effect Audio Code 23

If somebody is sceptical about the influence of headphone cables, let them listen to CODE23. It’s a killer. I’m more of a copper type of guy, so it’s right up my alley.

With my primary listening setup consisting of HiFiMan EF400, Musician Pegasus, WHAMMY and HE6SE the Effect Audio CODE 23 fits right in. I needed an adapter with the WHAMMY, but it was still a noticeable upgrade. So, first things first, how does it sound with the subject of the review added to the signal chain. It’s like unshackling the music. When I tried it for the first time I had the feeling that other cables that I used previously were limiting the sound in some manner.

It was truly like the limitations went away, and what was left was just a beautiful, boundless sound. The main signature is a little dark, and warm, which is caused by the bass being elevated. More on that below. Overall it is an instant upgrade over any stock cable and many aftermarket ones. It’s built differently. Both in reality and metaphorically.  


Effect Audio CODE 23 is a game changer and a must-have for all you bass heads. One of my references for bass performance is the track Earth Drums by Xiuntan He. You might recall it from numerous audio shows, being used as a showcase of how well the bass is reproduced. Well, try it with CODE 23 and hold on to your socks. Not only is it incredibly demanding to show the textures and the dynamics. Additionally, all of the instruments are heavily working in terms of positioning and travelling around the listener. CODE 23 nails this test effortlessly. At this point, it’s my reference.


Copper tends to have a slightly warmer tint compared to silver. It is also true in this case. It’s not life or headphone, changing though. There is one common adjective to use for the Effect Audio CODE 23. Effortless. Music just flows from the cans. Subconsciously I have selected Lenard Cohen’s You want it darker. His unique, hoarse voice is always like a box of chocolate. There are so many things going on, that it’s hard to decide what to focus on. Upgrading to this cable, it clears up the midrange making it much easier to follow a few of the aspects of his voice much easier. Just a clean, precise scope to enjoy, or analyse, whichever you please. 

Reviewed Effect Audio Code 23 connected to Hifiman EF400 and hifiman he6se


I know it is a reference that is beaten to death, but it is a good one. So I’m rolling with it, whether you like it or not. Time, by Pink Floyd. The opening part with clocks ringing. There is so much going on, that even this fragment allows us to understand the Effect of the Effect Audio cable. What I really appreciate about it is the fact that even in very intense moments, it retains separation between sources very close to each other in terms of tone. All of those clocks, going absolutely nuts, yet we can still clearly separate them from each other. It’s not easy to achieve even with a kick-ass setup like mine. Effect Audio CODE 23 pushes everything to an even higher level of performance. 


While it can’t compete with silver cable in terms of openness, it holds its own very well. Wide, deep sound staging, with very natural sizing. It is basically limited by the headphone. One of the reasons I prefer copper cables is the fact that they always have a very natural and realistic experience. I find the sound staging of the reviewed Effect Audio CODE 23 exactly this way. It allows the headphones to shine and doesn’t change anything. It’s like a wide, open road for the sound and musicians to amuse you.


HiFiMAN Stock Cable

The famous dry condom. I would rather eat pizza with pineapple than use this cable.

Lavricables Grand

Top tier silver vs top tier copper. Big boy league. The differences are exactly as you would expect them to be. No surprises here, besides one. The CODE 23’s sound staging is much closer to the Lavricables than I expected. It has this common quality of open, effortless sound that really enhances the perception of depth and width.

As for the rest… Of course, the silver cable offers bigger sound staging, with more pronounced details, while CODE 23 shines with dynamics, bass and the organic sound it provides. You knew that already, didn’t you? So whatever floats your boat.



My daily driver and the old flagship still amaze me with its resolution and control. If, when asked how much detail you want to hear, you answer “yes” this might be a headphone for you.

The Effect Audio CODE 23 works excellently here, feeding those famously power-hungry cans. The effortlessness introduced by this cable goes perfectly with the HE6SE’s extreme separation and capability. It’s like being with that one friend, that you really get each other going positively. I’m not looking for any other cable, in my opinion, CODE 23 fits like a glove.

Denon AH-D9200

I wanted to get a glimpse of how it will perform with closed headphones. I was interested if the incredible bass of the CODE 23 might overwhelm the experience. It wasn’t the case. I feel that this cable doesn’t necessarily add any bass, but it just allows it to sound full. As mentioned before and after, if you are here for bass, it’s a no-brainer. What I liked about this combination was that extra separation, compared to the stock cable, really did a favour for the Denons. I would rather use the Lavricables Grand with them, as it will fit them better. Unless you want to double down on their warm sound signature, then stay with the CODE 23.


Splitter of Effect Audio Code 23

The Effect Audio CODE 23 is the cable to show to your “cables don’t matter” friend. Its effect is so noticeable, nobody can just ignore it. It is one of the best cables on the market regardless of price.

Excellent build quality, supported by years of experience and research. One of the cables to try when you wish to bring your flagship headphones closer to perfection. A great selection of connectors, including swappable ones allows you to choose your own adventure.

Effect Audio is one of the audio companies that are the most in touch with their customers. It’s a great product, from a reputable vendor, that improves your experience of listening to music. A must-have for bass heads, a strong recommendation for others.


Big thanks to Effect Audio for providing the Code 23 for this review. I wasn’t paid or asked to say anything good or bad about this product, all of the above is just my personal, unbiased opinion.