Satin Audio Zeus Review: Gentle, bold finesse
As one of the fastest-growing cable brands from Vietnam, Satin Audio has been putting out numbers of quality cables for reasonable prices. We have the classical Monster series (now replaced with Monster II series), the affordable Titan series, and the Olympus series – the premium or flagship level of the family. Athena is Satin’s premium palladium-coated cable which also made the start of the Olympus series. It was not until recently that Satin Audio announced the second model of the Olympus series as well as their first flagship, Zeus. There are not many doubts about its quality since their stably fine outputs all this time, yet it still caught my eyes big time to find if they were thoroughly capable of reaching the ‘top-tier’ level in both tuning and performance. Let us now take a look at Zeus and see how Zeus performs and compares.
The packaging of Zeus parallels with the one from Athena – clean and artistic box design but not overdone. The front of the box shows the plaster cast of Zeus’ face that we are all familiar with. The rear includes the overlook of Zeus, showing the introduction as well as its specs. Inside the box is simple but comes with all the necessities. Other than the cable itself, the package includes a premium sheepskin leather case, a silk pouch, a leather cable strap, a warranty card, and some Satin Audio stickers for you to stick them elsewhere you want.
Aesthetics / Details
Zeus uses 24awg wires with a tribrid formulation in material, incorporating Gold-plated Silver, Silver-Gold alloy, and Palladium-plated Silver. For the record, Zeus is the first to be using a tribrid setup as well as the second to be using Palladium after Athena among the Satin family. Combining three or more materials has been a recent trend for flagship cables, such as Effect Audio Code 51, PlusSound Tri-Silver, Han Sound Torfa, and more. But of course, ‘the more the better performance’ logic does not necessarily either on cable materials or driver counts on IEMs. It all comes down to the tuning and making full usage out of all those materials which we will find out from the sound impression sections soon to follow. Before moving on, let us cover the rest of its structural details and specs.
Zeus is applied with Satin Audio’s signature SP-OCC technology, new extraction technology ables them to achieve one of the highest purity, exceeding 6N or even reaching close to 7N. It also uses the latest Satin Special Structures II, which is an advancement made from their prior structure. A Kevlar Damping core is installed in the middle of each wire that increases durability and signal transmission. Silver Gold alloy wires and Palladium Plated Silver wires are alternatively wrapped around the core. Then these bundles are once again shielded with Gold Plated Silver wires. Lastly, the transparent outer jacket named SA Insulation II protects the wires from oxidation and to keep its flexibility. The inner and outer wires have different dimensions that Satin Audio refers to as a Geōmetria Multi-sized Structure. This is to achieve the specific sound characteristics and tuning Satin Audio intended to make.
Photo by Satin Audio
Premium & Custom Satin connectors
Satin Audio uses its exclusive connectors for 2Pin and MMCX terminations. It is not just about using a unique barrel design, but they also use conductors or pins made of TeCu/PEEK and TeCu/Teflon. Satin Audio introduces their TeCu (Tellurium Copper) connectors to show superior conductivity by ranges between 45-93% while most other connectors would reach around 45%. For the plugs, Satin made a special advancement for their flagship cable by using Palladium-plated Ultimate Copper which obtains high conductivity, durability, and sound quality. Satin’s Ultimate Copper plugs are unique as they obtain strength and durability that is good enough as Brass, while normal copper does not. These plugs are available in 2.5mm or 3.5mm. For 4.4mm, Satin uses Pentaconn OFC plugs which is certainly one of the very best plugs out there.
At the time being, Satin newly announced their updated design for the metal components as shown above (unlike the Zeus parts I am featuring in this review). The specs stay the same – it is just the design that has been revamped to look even better with those gold polygons wrapping the barrels. As great as the new components look, they are exclusive to Zeus and other Olympus series products. For the braids, Zeus comes in as 4 braids by default but could also be upgraded to 6 or 8 braids.
General sound characteristics
Now, it is the time to get to the most important – the sound. Zeus brings in a significant amount of liveliness and pushing force throughout the range, making every note to sound powerful. While lows gain depth as well as deepened in color, it does not bloat or pumps up the bass quantity one bit. Instead, Zeus widely spreads out the layer, giving a delicate vastness to the low-end atmosphere. Since that, the bass would advance in both the clarity and dynamics. All three bands would get tastier in tone, though the true appreciative element I consider to be is that this “tastiness” is toned elegant and full of richness.
This is why I would differentiate from those that simply sound “sweet”, as Zeus applies a type of sweetness that does not feel cheapy or cute. Instead, Zeus sounds highly mature that involves a bit of an antiqueness. How ironic is that I would bring up the term “antique” while the cable itself is named Zeus with an archaic theme! However, such an impression is, of course, no imagination but an evident characteristic from Zeus. To elaborate further, this “antiqueness” I am referring to has to do with the texture. It is somewhat like an image from those classic films – texture exposed the fine grains, which does not depreciate the presentation but instead adds a nostalgic and antique mood. However, I would not call such an analogy to be perfect because Zeus is crushingly clearer and finer in resolution than usual stock cables or lower-grade custom cables.
Deeper into the sound
Another wow-factor that I would guess other to Perhaps one of the most natural-sounding hybrid cables out there. Trebles get clearer, airier along with the tonality getting tastier while staying all neutral. Along with a cleaner decay, the splashes would spread wider and further, strengthening the afterglow. This leads treble atmosphere to gain a more breathable and cheerful mood. Thanks to all that, the upper end now sound much more engaging and realistic without getting fatiguing or harsh as they never get any hotter.
Below are two comparisons where Zeus is put to the test paired with a single dynamic driver IEM and a hybrid/multi-driver IEM. Note that these are rough tendencies and generalizations based on the driver settings which may still vary depending on each IEM.
Single dynamic drivers (in general)
Once paired Zeus to 1DD IEMs, the IEMs usually benefit by gaining upper-end openness with clearer treble strikes, thicker (both in color and density) mids, and deeper, darker, and more prominent lows. The staging usually does not gain direct changes as it does with hybrids (which is good since the natural single-driver-headroom is retained), yet the extra depth from the lows and the trebles getting opened-up visibly makes the sound livelier and engaging.
Hybrid / Multi-drivers (in general)
The role of EST drivers gets stronger and bolder all while keeping strict originality and balance. Others would flow similarly as if it did with single dynamics. Despite the number of crossovers going on in multi-driver IEMs, the careful modification and precise improvements that Zeus carries do not discolor or degrade the original tone an IEM has. Very interesting that the bass would stick out with higher clarity without booming up the quantity or breaking the original sound signature of the IEM.
Sound impressions – Paired with Unique Melody Maven
Maven already sounds clear and clean as it is, yet Zeus makes the impossible by bringing an increase in purity and resolution once again. The overall clarity is increased – all the way from lows to highs. Since their EST drivers, let us first talk about the trebles. The electrostatic drivers in Maven truly shine as we pair it up with Zeus. Now, the airiness sounds much more vivid and lively that it could produce stronger and wider-spreading splashes. The same applies to the mids as well. It opens up with clarity with further detailed texture expression, though what is more impressive is that the depth and density do not degrade, if not upgraded instead. The surface is smooth and fine despite the blatant texture reveals, hence the sound does not get dry or harsh at all. Alongside, the sound expression from all three bands would scale larger and wider which leads to an increase of both the side-stage and height.
Sound impressions – Paired with Rhapsodio Eden (*Officially modded with RSD GSW wires)
Time to put my all-time favorite 1DD IEM, Rhapsodio Eden. Note that my Eden is an upgraded version where the inner connectors are replaced with Rhapsodio’s Gold-Silver Wizard wires, making the sound fuller and more dynamic than the originals. The expansive, flat, and organic charms from Eden further advances as we match it with Zeus. The sound has become thicker both in color and density. Mids are where such changes would get most apparent to the point where the stock Pandora Drawf cable would sound watered-down compared to what Zeus offers. The fine texture details are now fuller and impactful, making the overall sound a lot more “tuned-in”. The staging size itself remains similar or slightly wider in this case, though the overall dynamics and depth are the ones that made the major changes. Eden’s unique softly-dry texture allows maximum texture details without getting any harsh or lacking moisture – and Zeus fully respects its original nature. The way how Zeus brings in all the positive effects while keeping the tonality and the IEM’s original characteristics have amazed me big time.
Compared to other Flagship cables
-Rhapsodio Silver Copper Wizard-
While the textures are just as refined, SCW (Silver Copper Wizard) gives a larger bite to the sound, making the sound feel more ‘manly’. Lows leave slightly more reverbs that adds subtle vastness to the atmosphere. It has a slightly darker background with a serious atmosphere. The body is also slightly thicker and fuller in SCW. In contrast, Zeus makes the lows just as visible, bold, and nearly deep as SCW without applying more bass quantity or reverbs, taking advantage of neutrality – or keeping the sound original as possible. While I have said SCW is thicker in body, the difference is rather marginal and Zeus still is thoroughly full and rich in body. In fact, the body is more ‘fit’ and able to keep the sound more agile and cleaner.
Both cables do a fine job adding natural finesse to the vocals as well as making the vocals stand out and packed with density. For the highs, Zeus shows a bit quicker and airier nature while SCW delivers slightly more weight and stability. The size of the sound stage is similar but SCW takes a slight lead for the low-end and Zeus for the high-end. Both cables are very well made and go neck and neck. Of course, Zeus sure holds its advantage is portability since the slimmer wires!
-Han Sound Audio Torfa-
Both do a great job maintaining a clean, pitch-black background but they slightly differ in their sound signature. Torfa brings out a punchier bass with a gently empowered low-end body and color. It also adds more meat to the lower-mid body, giving a more surround, darkish feeling to the vocals. While Torfa shows excellent resolution, Zeus takes a step forward in its analyticity and creates a more reference-like signature. It makes less alteration with the quantity but does more with others – such as the texture details, airiness, color, and so on. The bass quantity from Zeus is mildly lesser than Torfa as Zeus tends to stick with the IEM’s intended bass quantity. However, as mentioned before, Zeus does outstandingly well in highlighting ultra-low extensions without noticeably increasing the quantity. This leads the lows to stand out clearer and bolder yet still very leveled and original in their presentation.
Torfa takes the lead in terms of depth and fullness while Zeus does the same with its mid-high extension and lush openness. Both cables utilize a variety of different materials and shieldings, but one thing in common is that they show compatibility that is outstandingly stable. Custom cables often result in mismatches as pairing with a player or an IEM, yet these two cables bring out a consistent and omnivorous sound signature.
Zeus is a bold yet remarkable output made from Satin Audio. Flagship cables tend to show vivid changes to your sound, though this could also lead the cable to be trickier to pair with an IEM. In that sense, Zeus pervades into the IEM’s sound outstandingly natural manner. Its unique and pleasable effects – improved depth, clearer texture, and wider extension – are brought consistently and apparently. In fact, I would put Zeus to be one of the top fives that maintains a beautiful harmony with a variety of IEMs with different sound signatures, all while bringing evident improvements to the sound.
As I conclude this review, Effect Audio Code 51 comes up to my mind due to the same material combination with Zeus. It would be worth mentioning that Zeus made itself more competitive by marking a more reasonable price along with its higher versatility with different IEMs. Zeus is sure not a budget cable that is easily accessible to everyone. However, if you are looking for a serious cable to step up the sound of your flagship IEM, or a cable that is sleek, light, and portable-friendly, Zeus would be one of the very best and safe choices you could make.
Thanks to Satin Audio for providing Zeus in exchange for an honest impression/feedback.
I am not affiliated with Satin Audio and none of my words were modded or asked to be changed.
Satin Audio Zeus$1399
Value for the price9.6/10
- Well-balanced, deeper lows and purer mid/highs
- Great consistency among different IEM matches
- Slim and light despite its flagship tier/performance
- Reasonably priced for the performance
- High-quality leather case and straps
- Inevitable price barrier