I would like to thank HaiEn from Ares Audio for providing me with the Ares Audio Yuki in exchange for my honest opinion. No incentive was given for a favorable review.
Ares Audio was founded in March 2018. Initially, Marcus and HaiEn were providing re-termination service and upgrade cable solution on Carousell (a selling platform in Singapore). I sent one of my cable to them for re-termination and from when I received my cable, I am sold to their service quality.
Ares Audio continues to improve their service and without any delay, they started their official online store. Ares Audio boutique cables and they give customers degree of freedom to choose the termination and connector. High price to performance ratio is always their motto to continue strike for the best. Every cable is fully handmade, and Ares Audio prides themselves with having excellent build quality at a great price.
Yuki is one of the models which is officially launched on Ares Audio official website. It is a 4 cores silver plated copper cable with 5N silver plated and 6N Ohno Continuous Cast (OCC) copper. The length of this cable is kind of standard - 1.25m.
I have unboxed several upgrade cables from different cable manufacturers such as Effect Audio and ALO Audio. Unboxing Ares Audio Yuki is a pleasant experience for me. The cable is stored in a pouch which is very useful - it saves space and I can easily store and sort the cable.
Unlike any common pouch, the pouch provided is made from Nylon to increase the reliability and Ares Audio logo is printed on the pouch. The presentation is simple yet fulfilling. In the pouch, I can find Yuki lying comfortably together with stickers and name card. I am a crazy sticker collector and I am so happy that there are stickers in the pouch!
The overall "texture" of this cable can be considered as stiff. To store this cable, I always need the help from a cable tie. This is totally different from a supple Kasai (another model from Ares Audio). Due to the stiffness in this cable, it is a little bit tough for me to use this cable when I am commuting - it creates microphonics when I move. Improvement is needed over here.
Otherwise, the build quality is supreme. The lower part of the cable is covered by Nylon. I believe the nylon outer layer serves as a protection layer. This makes the cable more durable. When ordering the cable, you have the freedom to choose the connector and termination. I chosen MMCX connector and 2.5mm balanced jack on my Yuki. The 2.5mm balanced jack is fantastic - it looks sturdy and rigid. A common issue for 2.5mm jack is rigidity due to the small diameter. The rigid jack actually boost my confidence on it!
At the connector side, the MMCX connector is constructed using the same material as the jack. Without a doubt, rigidity checked! I tested with a few in-ear monitors (IEMs), the MMCX connector always give me a crispy "click" when I attach it to the IEMs. I love this because I have some bad experiences with some MMCX connectors that do not give me this affirmative "click" sound. There are heat-shrink ear guides to provide a good sit for the cable on your ear. I am glad that I do not see any memory wire in the ear guides - that is my phobia as an audiophile with spectacles on.
To complete the overall image of this cable, the choice of material to construct the Y-split will definitely be the same as the jack and connectors. No one is outlier in this cable. Everything work together nicely and harmonically. Well done. Near the Y-split, there is a black, round chin slider. This is something I need the most and I do not understand why a lot of the cable manufacturers neglected this important part. I am glad that Ares Audio remember its importance and included it in the cable. I love it!
Here is the most important part for this review. I paired this cable with a few IEMs and I will share my insights on each IEMs instead of separating this part into the conventional "Lows", "Mids" and "Highs". I always believe that cable should be reviewed more by pairing. Overall, this cable fulfilled its task as an upgrade cable - the performance is upgraded when the cable is upgraded. Requirement one checked!
What do I mean by upgrade here? I always treat cable as my final tuning in the setup. I will listen to the setup and mark out which part need to be "upgraded" and slowly roll through cables to fulfill the "upgrade" requirement.
I have been using Campfire Audio Nova for for almost 3 years and it is still my favorite IEMs among my collection. Campfire Nova faced a very serious treble roll-off and this could be disastrous for Nova users. When I paired Yuki with Nova, the first thing I noticed is the amount of air in the highs increased noticeably. The extension of the highs is better now. Yuki could be a good choice to assist IEMs with early treble roll-off. First skill unlocked!
Let's continue the journey to unlock other potential of Yuki. I paired it with Symphonium Audio Aurora - another dual drivers IEM. Different from Nova, Aurora is facing darkness in its life. It need a bit more synergy, emotions, motivations to make it more lively. I introduced Yuki to Aurora. The pretty Snow White added colors to Aurora - making the sound signature to be more fun. The lows performance is elevated and with the air makes the highs sparkle. Yuki has the ability to enlighten a dark IEMs with some joys. Second skill unlocked!
Finally, Yuki meets Jomo Audio Haka, a relatively neutral IEM. Similar to previous scenario, the sound signature is altered a little, the lows are boosted and highs sparkle. However, I find some imperfections here - mids. The mids of Haka used to be its secret weapon - meaty full. In Yuki Haka combination, the mids become slightly weaker - it was slightly drawn back making the stage to be positioned differently. It is definitely not the deal breaker! Vocals are still sweat and breathy.
Let's take a look at Yuki ability:
Yuki can aid IEMs with early treble roll-off
Yuki elevated bass
Yuki is fun
I will recommend Yuki to audiophiles who are looking a solution to solve treble roll-off and darkness in their IEMs. The overall texture of this cable will be more suitable for a lean sounding IEMs. The overall sound signature of the cable can be categorized as U-shape. It is not the most neutral sounding cable but it has its ultimate that can help a specific group of audiophiles.
Yuki is retailing at SGD$160. For those who are interested, you can head down to Zeppelin & Co. for an audition session and make an order on Ares Audio official website. Marcus and HaiEn are super helpful and feel free to drop them a message if you faced any difficulties.
Currently Ares Audio is offering a 10% off for all the orders but they can only fulfill the orders in August because HaiEn is now overseas for internship. Do not miss the golden chance to grab a Yuki to complement your beloved IEMs!