Before starting this review, I would like to share technical aspects and package details.
Also, I would like to thanks to Penon Audio for this great opportunity. Here is the link of the Penon Leo; https://penon-official.com/product/penon-leo/
8 cores pure silver braided cable
Carbon fiber material plug and splitter
THX AAA 789
Astell & Kern AK120
Leo comes with the Penon cartoon box like their other cables. Package contents are exactly the same as Neo which is great. There is velvet pouch, wooden case, metal clip and nylon strip inside the box. I really like its rounded wooden case because it is great to use as an earphone case. Overall package, contents and unboxing experience are great.
Leo is 8 braided silver cable and big brother of Penon Neo silver cable. It’s pretty thick but light for an 8 braided cable and surprisingly feels soft and ergonomic while using. There is no memory wire and it is easy to wear it. Y splitter, jack and sockets are black carbon fiber pattern that adds some elegance and it looks great as well. There is a gold Leo text on the Y splitter. Sockets have metallic red and blue circle line to identify left and right side. Cable looks gorgeous and it makes any earphone that you used beautiful. The important thing is the sound of course but the visual is also important. My cable has 2.5mm jack and 2pin sockets but you may select MMCX, 4.4mm, 3.5mm.
Leo has typical silver cable sound character and it shows its best performance at upper frequencies. It adds more sparkle and extension to show more details and resolution. I’ve tried with my Fibae 4, Atlantis, Reborn and Leo improves the clarity and resolution level of all the earphones that I used. Reborn’s trebles become more prominent and detailed, and mids are tad of laid back, but of course still forward (compared with No5). Moreover, bass is surprisingly doesn’t lose its power and quantity which I like. And also, It makes Reborn’s bass more controlled and faster. Atlantis’ bass frequencies are not powerful and deep but with Leo I feel the quantity of the bass is increased significantly, and again the top frequencies are definitely more detailed and distinct. Overall, Leo improves the top frequencies significantly, making the bass more controlled and better without reducing the quantity. It makes mid frequencies just a bit thinner and laid back. Tonality is bright but slight on warmer side.
Undoubtedly, treble is the best region of Leo. It takes quality of the high frequencies to a higher level and increases the level of details noticeably. Of course, a good synergy with the earphones used is extremely important. Leo has great match with the particularly bright or laid-back trebles earphone. It won’t be good with bright and prominent trebles earphones for sure. If I have to give an example of Atlantis, upper frequencies are more controlled and it improves the quantity. In addition, the presentation in general has become airier spacious. It makes the strings more prominent and detailed without causing an aggression and harshness. The progression of Leo has made on the top frequencies also contributes to the instrument’s separation.
With all the earphones I tested with Leo has lost some weight on mids but that’s’ not a big a margin. In general, Leo takes back the mid frequencies a little and opens the stage. The best thing that Leo does is in the mid it improves the clarity and the sound definitely gets cleaner; it is very obvious when I compare the stock cable with Leo. Improvements of transparency and cleanliness of the mids are quite high. The vocals go back little in the stage, but it creates larger space and airy stage. Instrument separation is definitely better and can be heard easily. Again, to give an example from Atlantis, the cable is boosted the lower mids but Leo makes it tighter and relatively more controlled. Overall, the resolution and detail level of the mid is great and it has positive effect on soundstage.
Bass is another great frequency of Leo and its quantity is impressive for a silver cable, but it is not like the copper cable in terms of quantity for sure. Leo makes bass tighter and also improves the speed and tight bass performance makes it controlled. Controlled bass helps clarity and doesn’t compress the other frequencies. Leo has a great bass response and the percussion is punchy. Atlantis’ bass is not powerful and deep but it is tight and controlled. Leo adds some weight to Atlantis’ bass but it still keeps tight and controlled without losing control. Overall bass performance is clean tight and slightly warm.
Leo noticeably improves the soundstage both wide and depth. Not only it improves the soundstage, it also improves the instrument separation and details. It brings more detail, especially on upper frequencies. Airy and spacious soundstage is pretty great as expected from silver cable.
Leo vs PW Audio SC Silver:
Both cables are pure silver, PW is 4 braided while Leo is 8 braided. PW SC Silver comes in simple black cartoon box with cotton pouch. Leo’s package contents are richer and better. Both cables are beautiful and makes it look gorgeous. Although PW has 4 braids, it is stiffer which makes Leo more comfortable and ergonomic. Sound is similar but they are differing in bass department. Trebles are similar in quantity and quality but PW has slightly more extended and sparkle. Both are detailed and the resolution level on the top frequencies are great. Mids are slightly more bodied on Leo while PW is thinner and bright in tonality. Bass is more in quantity of Leo and it has more impact than the PW. PW has more controlled and tighter bass but it’s sacrifice quantity and weight. Soundstage is similar but Leo feels airier and more spacious.
Leo vs Rhapsodio RSD Silver:
Both cables are beautiful and their material and build qualities are top notch. RSD has 4 braids while Leo has 8 but they are almost in same thickness because of gauge differences of the cables. RSD is warmer and organic sounds cable while Leo is more on technical side and slightly bright when compare to RSD. Leo has more quantity and extension on trebles. RSD is organic and it has copper cable warmth. Mids are more forward and lush on RSD and it has more body while Leo is more laid back and thinner in tonality. Vocals are also more forward on RSD as expected. Bass is more in quantity on RSD and it has more impact but Leo is faster and tighter. Leo is clearer in presentation and the transparency is better. RSD feels more organic and natural. Overall both cables are great but they have different sound character.
Rich package contents, great craftmanship and material quality with great sound is really impressive for the retail price of Penon Leo. Market is so hot these days with the crazy price tags, and Leo brings some fresh air with its affordable price. It is a great performer silver cable and if you match with the right earphone it will improve all the sound to another level.