Thanks to @twister6 and @ngoshawk, whose Head-if Socrates reviews led me to take the plunge.
I undertook an A/B comparing Socrates on Empire Ears Legend X to the stock Ares II cable. A-II is 2.5 mm terminated with a Cayin 2.5 mm-> 4.4 mm balanced adapter. Socrates is also 2.5 mm terminated, connected to Socrates 2.5 mm -> 4.4. mm pigtail . Source is Hiby R8, Turbo = on. Tracks were Fruhlingsgefuhle by Melokind, Magnetar by Mark Lettieri, Beldiya by Triplego, Twice by Ludovici Einaudi (Reimagined by Mercan Dede) Lifted by Love by KD Lang, Drover by Bill Callahan and When will I begin by Tadeschi Trucks Band. I listened through all tracks, the last one several times (When will I begin) because it was the last one listened to via Ares II before starting to listen to the Socrates. I used Azla Sedna Xelastic tips well worn in.
I was immediately struck by the difference in the detail retrieval and presence of the mids. Vocal annunciation was much clearer on Socrates than A-II and immediately noticable (at first I wondered if there was something wrong it was so noticeable). I particularly noticed that background vocals, which with A-II were always far back on the stage and never very noticeable, suddenly were more forward and clear. Some mids instruments that had been hidden in the mix with A-II were now easily distinguishable and clearer with Socrates. Mids instruments spread across the stage with more separation than I had noticed on A-II.
Treble was much more forward, I was noticing a lot more snappy, crispy, sparkly details up top, especially on percussion instruments- transients were perfectly timed. With A-II, there is a kind of warm, gooey smooth musicality that is very comfortable (in fact at times almost soporific), but detail retrieval up top is pretty recessed and rolled off. With Socrates treble jumps forward into focus, and the amount of treble information noticeable is - a lot, and it is more extended. None of this is harsh, sibilant or shouty btw- lower treble in the vocal range is clear, breathy, consonants are forward, but there is no sense of it being in any way shrill. I have read a lot of places how much better U12T treble retrieval is than withLX — I have both, Socrates turns LX to a treble detail emperor, easily U12T's rival.
Bass- on A-II bass quantity was always strong, but with Socrates I am hearing a lot more bass detail, just the right amount of rumble and slam (read: lots), I think sub-bass rumble is in fact more, I can feel it down in my chest. On some tracks with A-II, bass feels a bit 'boom'y and not so well controlled. With Socrates, the control I had wanted, hoped for is -THERE BABY- . @twister6 reported that Socrates did not change LX bass- IMHO I think bass is transformed. This is really noticeable on Bill Callahan's Drover- kind of a test track for physical drums. They were present and impact was OK with A-II. With Socrates, those drums are right in the room with me. Mid-bass (especially bass guitar) vibration is palpable. Bass remains forward but there is zero bleed or suppression of lower mids now (which was indeed present with A-II on some of these tracks). Quality and nuance of bass texture, I think, FAR OUTSHINES A-II. Micro-dynamics (max bass to max blackness in between bass drops) is much better, decay seems a bit quicker with Socrates. When there were several bass instruments playing at the same time, instrument separation and location with Socrates is much wider and clearer than with A-II.
In terms of staging and separation overall, as I've already I think made clear, Socrates has it in spades- instrument separation in both width and depth and space between instruments across the FR. Stage width was wider with Socrates than AII, not a lot but noticeable, but the preciseness of instrument or vocals location on that stage was crystal clear, with greater instrument separation and clarity than I noticed with A-II, ever. Depth is about the same between the two. Soundstage with the A-II is much more "inside the head" or at best 'helmet-like'. Having said that, it's not terrible with A-II, instrument separation was still good- everything is just closer and more intimate. Interestingly the center image is still clear for both, the difference to me is in the details I can hear coming from it with Socrates. Having said all that, the smoothness, a musicality, and coherence I have always loved on LX is still present. I do agree with @twister6 that Socrates makes LX a more W shaped set.
Conclusion: This is transforming. This makes LX all I ever hoped it would be, this was even more than I anticipated or had read about. This is not subtle. If anything, it may take some getting used to. LX is now much more exciting
Bloom audio was fantastic to work with over the waiting period, as was the maker in Singapore. Get one while you can!!!