Ego Audio impressed us well with its first wave of cable products embraced with reasonable prices and outstanding quality. Now it is time to feature the products that would step up to another level in terms of performance. Ego Audio recently announced two new premium cables, and if you have already read our previous review or seen their cables, these new cables just have to be named after alcohols too, right? Well, you are right. They are each named Gin and Brandy. We have gone through a review for Gin, co-flagship model, and now follows a review for Brandy – the latest flagship model ever released from Ego Audio. Let us briefly take a look at the specs and move on to detailed sound impressions and comparisons.
These cables come in the usual packaging all we are aware of, a small white box which includes a soft pouch along with the cable. The looks are a tad plain as there are no other design elements other than the Ego Audio log on the top along with the names and termination info labeled on the side for identification. The pouch is very soft and quite useful for preventing the cable/IEM from scratches. I usually cover my IEMs with these pouches before storing into another case, so that they won’t move around while they are stored. Though I would have wished to see a good quality cable tie and a carrying case included as an accessory, since its premium position and price. No biggie, but I would strongly suggest them to consider that.
Aesthetics / Features
Brandy gears up from Gin once again, infusing pure gold into pure silver with a ratio of 1:99. Featuring the same woven-braided structure that is stranded with super-thin fiber cores, resulting in a crystal-like texture to the looks. It is the same spatial and a slightly glittery appearance as Whiskey that makes the IEM fancier without getting burdensome. The wires used for Gin are 4-braid 4N OCC pure gold-silver alloy (23awg) covered with Kevlar core and medical grade PVC shielding.
The shielding is very transparent and soft, not causing any microphonics or oxidation. The weight is around average, not super light but definitely not on the heavy side. Besides, unlike their previous models, Ego Audio included an extra metal part a little higher from the jack with the product name indicated. I believe this is done for easy identification as Gin and Brandy are hard to differentiate by its looks. This does not bother the usage or sound quality – even for storing the device in your pocket.
Sound impression – Paired with Shozy Pola
If Pola feels to be a bit plain on the upper frequencies for your taste, Brandy would be a good option. Brandy neatly opens up the upper frequencies with a lot of air going on, presenting a truly analytical detail from the electrostatic drivers that were somewhat hidden with the stock cable. There are sure other cables that would also open up the upper frequencies for Pola, but not so much as Brandy does. There are elements that Brandy differentiates from other cables, the first being the texture. While most SPC or pure-silver cables would put a stronger highlight on the high ends, matching with Pola easily resulted in the vocals being dry and quite soulless. Along with that, although those cables would pull up the brightness, the sound loses its dynamics and sound a bit further away.
In contrast, Brandy opens up the treble details and energy without exaggeration and most importantly, the vocals would step in closer with an even fuller and clearer body. The right portion of gold added to the sound appropriately moisturizes the sound, keeping the sound sweet and organic. Speaking of sweetness, vocals would also gain a glimpse of sweetness and creaminess with a micro touch of resonance, making the vocals sound more realistic and refreshing. Not to forget mentioning that the bass thuds stay just as heavy, deep, and moist. Without killing the bass quality rather makes the bass response faster and tighter, creating a cleaner atmosphere. This is very ideal if your bass feels to be muddy and especially appreciable for Pola. Powered with Brandy, Pola now sounds uncomparably clean, airy, and lively, while carrying the same weighty and full-bodied bass and mids. Matching with these would be a definite way to prove that an IEM could be brought up to the next level by pairing the right cable.
Sound impression – Paired with Unique Melody Maven
What I appreciate from Brandy is that it adds body to the sound so naturally with delicacy. Matching Maven with Brandy like scratching that itchy spot, to say the very least. The bass gets deepen with the overall sound gaining a fuller body and larger imaging. The tone stays near exactly identical as original while deepening the color and clarity of the texture. The already large mids are now straight out massive and the highs now floating in the air with liveliness and boldness. I would like to highlight that mids get fuller without loosening with reverbs, staying just as tight and dense. The meaty, dense bass strikes with speed and depth.
If it sounded unfair to contrast a gold-silver cable like Brandy to the silver-based ones, let us also compare Brandy with other gold-silver cables. Although gold-silver cables were easier to find a good match than gold-plated copper ones, I still found gold-silver ones to be a little tricky finding a good match from time to time. The bass would be full in body and rich with good upper frequencies, though the sound often lost its speed and sturdiness – sometimes getting a little too warm. Of course, making the sound colder isn’t always the main purpose of using those silver-based cables, but for me, getting the sound too warm somewhat lost the purpose of using the cables made of such material as gold-plated copper or pure copper would normally bring a similar result.
When Brandy stands superior to Gin
As already appeared from the sound impressions up there, Brandy applies even stronger enforcement to the IEM. Most importantly, Brandy has a higher chance of forming a superior matching to Gin as it has better compatibility. If you have not read the Gin review already, Gin would be a superior option IF you want to keep the vocals as neat and clean as possible (or just original tone as possible), but unless that Brandy would distinctively enrich the vocals with even larger imaging and stronger appeals.
Let’s look at the case of Shozy Pola. If Pola is paired with Gin, the match would still be very nice but missing just about a fraction of percentages from being a perfect combo – the mids. Mids are brighter, but not thick and powerful enough compared to the bass. Definitely an improvement than the stock cable, yet the vocals are still held back a little from filling in the sound with its existence. Though Brandy adds that extra body to the sound, especially for the mids with very slightly warmer and calmer trebles, making the vocals very much fuller, powerful, and appealing. Although Gin tries to prove its abilities by standing head to head against Brandy, these are the situations where Brandy nail hard proves its definite superiority.
It is surprising how and how much Brandy empowers the bass. Not only it deepens the bass, it blatantly exposes the rumble and texture of the ultra lows. Gin also does a very good job and I rated it its bass performance to be one of the very best among silver cables, though for Brandy I would go even further and say that perhaps this could be THE best. I would also like to stress that Brandy is unlike other usual gold-silver cables. Typical gold-silver cables do highlight the bass fairly well while boosting the upper frequencies, though they are mainly achieved by increasing the reverbs along with the texture and density going soft or fluffy – or even a bit muddy. Brandy not only dives even deeper towards the ultra lows, but it also expresses the texture and rumbles far better. The strike and decay are tight and up to the pace, not feeling dragged behind at all.
Gin sports a similar characteristic to Brandy, but not as detailed in ultra-low textures. But guess what, the contrasts are bigger on mids rather than lows, for both Gin and other gold-silver cables. Mids on Brandy are larger and thicker, doing a lot better job on carrying out the shouting power from the vocals. But most importantly, what Brandy and Gin destroy other gold-silver cables is how organic the tone stays, despite all those sonic upgrades.
Brandy is an ideal choice for enlargening the stage and adding body to fast-responsive IEMs. This one holds an especially meaningful spot among numerous custom cables as it suggests a fresh new way of tuning a gold-silver cable. Listening to this deep, detailed bass achieved from a gold-silver cable is quite an eye-opening experience. If you are looking for a silver-based cable that empowers the lower ends (or all the way from ultra lows to upper mids) just as much as the higher ends, this is the likable solution you should pair up with your premium/flagship IEM.