Introduction to the Review of Effect Audio Fusion 1
The brand Effect Audio has been reviewed a few times already at Ear Fidelity, and the brand itself needs no introduction. They are one of the leading manufacturers of IEM aftermarket cables, dating back to 2009.
Their lineup now consists of IEM cables, headphones cables, as well as IEMs (we’ve reviewed their Axiom here). What sets Effect Audio apart from the competition is their conX and termX connectors, but I will explain those later in this review.
The subject of today’s review, the Fusion 1 is the newest release from Effect Audio, the cable that looks as stunning as it gets. It is the first model in the newest Fusion series, and it promises to offer some great technology, and what you could expect from Effect Audio – Fantastic craftsmanship. Let’s dive into it.
Sadly, I’m not able to comment on the unboxing experience of the reviewed Effect Audio Fusion 1, as I received the cable in a demo packaging. Included was the cable itself, and two boxes containing conX and termX.
The cable had its hardware wrapped in a thin plastic film to prevent getting scratched during the transit, and it got the job done.
Fortunately, knowing Effect Audio, you can expect a great unboxing experience and some great accessories included if you order a Fusion 1 for yourself.
Build Quality, Comfort, and Tech
Let’s start this paragraph of the review with the build quality and design. The Effect Audio Fusion 1 is an eye-candy for sure, this is one of the most beautiful cables I’ve ever seen without a doubt.
Its subtle rose-gold + gold color combination, together with just a stunning-looking wire and beautiful hardware all make for a cable that is elegant and refined looking. Take note, however, that if you like your cables stealthy and not grabbing attention, reviewed Effect Audio Fusion 1 is definitely not a cable for you. It grabbed attention every time I wore it outside, but it was a good type of attention. It doesn’t look cheap or too flashy, it’s just…elegant. The color scheme will definitely not suit every IEM on the planet, but hey…you can’t satisfy everyone.
Now onto the actual build quality, and once again, this is fantastic. The cable feels sturdy, and reliable and the actual finish of the hardware is spot-on. Well, you can see it all in the photos, as I’ve used my macro lens a lot in this review (and that was a pleasure, to say the least). I’ve had only good experience when using Effect Audio cables in the past, so I’m sure this one will last you a long time without any issues.
Speaking of comfort, the Effect Audio Fusion 1 is rather a comfortable cable, but it’s definitely not its biggest strength. The wire is quite thick, so this is not a type of cable that you “don’t feel while wearing”. You’ll know it’s there, and since you paid so much for it…maybe it’s a good thing?
Jokes aside, I have no problems with the comfort of the Fusion 1. The cable is not microphonic, it’s quite pliable and smooth to the touch. Even though it’s not the thinest, nor the lightest, I’d say that it’s comfortable enough for an all-day listening.
Now, let’s get into the tech. Reviewed Effect Audio Fusion 1 is built of selected Premium UP-OCC Material Gold Plated Silver Litz, Pure Silver Litz, and Pure Copper Litz Hybrid. It’s a 2-wire, 21 AWG cable. This all might sound like some kind of witchcraft to you, but it just shows how much effort and thought went into creating the Fusion 1. This is the best example of a cable being a real premium product, and it’s not expensive because “it can be”.
While ordering the Effect Audio Fusion 1 which we review this time, you have a lot of choices when it comes to its terminations. On the IEMs side, you’ll be getting Effect Audio ConX. This allows you to change between two-pin and MMCX connectors. This is absolutely brilliant and I consider it to be the best “invention” in the IEM cables market. You don’t have to worry that the Fusion 1 will not be able to be used with your next IEMs – it will, don’t worry. Additionally, you can get additional A2DC, IPX, and Pentaconn Ear ConX plugs if you’re using IEMs with one of those.
On the other end of the cable, you’ll have a great choice of different plugs. You can choose between Pentaconn OFC 4.4mm plug, EA 2.5mm, EA 3.5mm, and EA 4.4mm. However, you also have the option to choose the TermX multiplug system, consisting of all three – 2.5mm, 3.5mm, and 4.4mm in a single box. This, together with ConX gives you unlimited compatibility with all IEMs on the market, and this is an absolutely fantastic thing, considering this cable costs $999.
I still remember times when I used to buy expensive IEM cables in the past, only to realize that I would not be able to use them with the new IEM that I wanted to upgrade to. Effect Audio is doing a great job of allowing you to only buy a single cable to use with all your current and future IEMs. Huge kudos to Effect Audio for it.
Sound of the reviewed Effect Audio Fusion 1
The Effect Audio Fusion 1 is very interesting when it comes to its sound. It is a highly technical type of sound that is warm and lush at the same time.
While the Fusion 1 allows every single detail to come through, and the resolution is just stunning, this cable also improves the note weight, smoothness, and warmth of the entire audio spectrum. There are cables that are highly detailed, due to them boosting the treble significantly, and it’s not the case here.
The Fusion 1 is just detailed, but it doesn’t alter your sound signature in a way that is known when we’re talking “detail”. At the same time, the dynamics, punch, and richness of every single note get elevated while using it. This is my favorite type of performance when it comes to cables, as I like an elevated technical performance with a hint of richness and thickness to it.
You see, to create a detail monster when it comes to the cable, it’s not that hard really. You’re making a bright-sounding cable made of good silver and it’ll be detailed, but at the cost of your IEMs being more tiring in most cases. To create a cable that is both rich-sounding and very detailed – this is something worthy of your respect.
The bass is slightly elevated, especially the mid-bass region, which gives you an extra body and thickness to low frequencies. I really like good bass reproduction in my IEMs (I absolutely love Fir Audio IEMs for that reason), and the Fusion 1 adds another few percent to an already brilliant bass performance of these IEMs. However, this cable does not make the bass slow or overly thick though, it adds that body and energy, but it remains incredibly fast, snappy, and detailed. This is the best type of bass an IEM cable can offer.
The midrange is smooth, detailed, and natural sounding. The Fusion 1 adds that slight refinement to the mids, but once again – it does not overdo it in any way. There’s body, richness, and lushness, but it remains fast and transparent. It goes well with vocals, as they gain that natural body to the sound that is needed for good reproduction of vocals, creating an intimate, yet refined listening experience. Female vocals sound great as well, as Stevie Nicks sounds romantic, energetic, and beautifully smooth. This is a very pleasant type of sound that is easy to listen to for hours.
The treble is very slightly tamed, but nothing to be worried of. There’s no sign of sharpness, yet there are a lot of micro-details and the overall treble performance is fast and accurate. As I said previously, this cable isn’t bright or analytical sounding, but it’s still a very detailed piece of equipment. Once again, this requires a lot of testing and a good understanding of how analog cables change the sound of your headphones to achieve a sound like this. Effect Audio clearly knows what they’re doing, and the sound of the Fusion 1 just proves that again and again. The Fusion 1 is like a good seasoning to an already great dish – it enhances your experience, but it doesn’t overpower yet alter the core of the dish.
The soundstage is vast, and has a lot of air, but it doesn’t sound artificial. The Fusion 1 once again doesn’t try “too much” for the sake of technical superiority. It is a refined and well-balanced type of experience that goes well with the rest of the sound of the cable. However, for a relatively warm cable, I must admit that the soundstage is surprisingly open, and airy and the separation is just phenomenal. The Fusion 1 gets you a great insight into any recording with its highly detailed, yet smooth type of sound, and the soundstage further improves on those. It just sounds natural, realistic, and pleasing to the ear. Very impressive.
The Astral Acoustics Eclipse is a pure silver cable coming at $950, so it’s priced very similarly to the Fusion 1.
First of all, while both cables are built very well, I must give an edge to the Fusion 1 here. It just feels more boutique out of the two, especially when it comes to the metal hardware. It also looks more sophisticated, even though surely not everyone will like its color combination.
The Eclipse is much more universal when it comes to its design, and it’ll fit most of IEMs, which I cannot say about the Fusion 1. Just imagine pairing it with blue IEMs…no, this would just look plain ugly.
When it comes to the sound, both cables represent a similar level of technical capabilities. However, the Fusion 1 is a warmer sounding of the two, giving you a richer and smoother type of sound.
The Eclipse however is even more open and transparent sounding, and it doesn’t “add” as much to the sound.
Both cables are great, and the choice is definitely not easy. It might actually come down to your preferences on the design and looks. The eclipse is also a bit more comfortable.
I personally prefer the Fusion 1 for that extra richness and lushness to the sound.
The Olorin comes at $520, so it’s half the price of the Fusion 1. It uses pure 6n silver with a coaxial design, so it’s a much less complicated design than the Fusion 1.
The price difference shows immediately after picking up both cables though. The Fusion 1 just feels much more substantial, the hardware is way better, and it also looks a lot more sophisticated.
The Olorin offers a switchable plug system, just like the Fusion 1, but I find the EA one to be more refined and definitely less chunky.
When it comes to the sound though, the Fusion 1 takes the cake here. It’s more detailed, more natural, and more romantic sounding. The Olorin is still a great cable for $500, but with the Fusion 1, you’ll definitely get what you’re paying for. It is an obvious upgrade over the Olorin.
Let’s get the pairing section started with my favorite IEM of all time, the Fir Audio Krypton 5.
This is an IEM with probably the best bass ever, and an overall very natural, smooth sound, which matches the Fusion 1 brilliantly.
The Fusion 1 doesn’t “overpower” the signature of the Krypton 5, but it just adds another brick to the whole. This combination sounds incredibly energetic, punchy, rich, and smooth at the same time. This is one of the best cables I’ve heard with the Krypton 5, even though their signatures are more or less the same.
This further proves that even though the Fusion 1 has a sound signature of its own, it’s not overly prominent, and you shouldn’t worry about pairing it with your favorite IEMs. If you own the Krypton 5 (or any Frontier IEMs by Fir Audio actually), it’s definitely worth demo-ing the Fusion 1 with these.
The new Solaris Stellar Horizon IEM by Campfire Audio is definitely a neutral, fast, and technical-sounding IEM, so it should benefit greatly when paired with a cable like Effect Audio Fusion 1…and it does.
The Fusion 1 improves the note weight, richness, and smoothness of the sound, while also improving the detail and resolution even further. This is a match made in heaven if you ask me, especially since the Fusion 1 matches the Solaris Stellar Horizon aesthetics well.
It’s a huge upgrade over the stock CFA cable, and it definitely sounds like a cable that is worthy of this great IEM.
This is the best cable that I’ve tried with the Solaris Stellar Horizon, and by quite some margin actually. A fantastic match, where two products complement each other just perfectly.
Effect Audio Fusion 1 Review – Summary
Reviewed Effect Audio Fusion 1 is one of the best cables I’ve ever tried and reviewed. It’s a whole package: great design and looks, fantastic build quality, ConX and TermX, and most importantly, a very detailed, yet smooth and rich sound.
This product just screams quality, and it’s easy to see and hear that Effect Audio has put a lot of thought into crafting this one. A fantastic introduction to the new series, the Fusion 1 gets our strong recommendation.
Big thanks to Effect Audio for providing the Fusion 1 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.
Founder of Ear Fidelity. I’ve been into audio for many years, working in production, distribution, retail, and marketing throughout my career. Now trying to revolutionize the art of reviewing audio gear, but one thing will never change: Music is the most important.