Eletech Cables: From affordable to astronomical, because why not?

Eletech Cables: From affordable to astronomical, because why not?

Eletech cables

As part of the latest round of tours, Eletech has graciously offered their wares for review purposes. As part of this tour as a full reviewer, I decided to combine all the cables into one (hopefully massive) review. I will start on the “low end” working my way to the top, and the vaunted Iliad.

I was also lucky enough to have the MMR Thummim and Homunculus in-house as well, so switching cables between the two was indeed fun and afforded differing results. I will admit up front that the Socrates is a fabulous pairing with the Homunculus. Period. Until I tried it with my Empire Ears Legend X. So much so, that I may end up getting one for my LX, as it reignited my love for the LX. Take heed, that this cable alone could “prevent you” from spending several thousand dollars more on a possible TOTL flagship IEM as a result. But with the goal of achieving audio nirvana, isn’t the point to make you happy with the product in hand? Indeed, it is.

I again thank @Barra and @eletech for the wares offered here. It is spoken that these are review models, which will soon move forward to the next lucky soul. I am in no way indebted to give a wholly approving review, but an honest ascertaining of the pros/cons of each. This is of course as it should be. Read on and hopefully enjoy. Cheers.

Cables:

Fortitude $199

‘Fortitude’ is designed with a completely fresh philosophy and offers excellent ergonomics, a perfect tinge of warmth with undeniable vocals solvency. It’s unique geometry combined with a Type 4-Litz set up enables the Copper to offer excellent staging precision unlike most coppers. Augmented by a Kevlar core, the “Fortitude” is resilient while ensuring the structural stability of extremely high strand counts. 

Specifications

  • 26 AWG
  • Flawless OCC Copper
  • Extreme high strand counts
  • Hybrid Type-4 Litz Geometry ; Kevlar Resilient Core
  • Cryogenically Treated 
  • Eletech Customised connectors and Y-split
  • Individually Enamelled strands
  • FlexiMax Insulation™ (patent pending) 

Prudence $249

‘Prudence’ is designed with a completely fresh philosophy and offers excellent ergonomics, an energetic performance without sacrificing details and accuracy. It’s unique geometry combined with a Type 4-Litz set up enables the Silver Plated Copper to smooths treble extensions while having a visceral bass response. Augmented by a Kevlar core, the “Prudence” is resilient while ensuring the structural stability of extremely high strand counts.  

Specifications

  • 26 AWG
  • Flawless OCC Silver Plated Copper
  • Extreme high strand counts
  • Hybrid Type-4 Litz Geometry; Kevlar Resilient Core
  • Cryogenically Treated 
  • Eletech Customised connectors and Y-split
  • Individually Enamelled strands
  • FlexiMax Insulation™ (patent pending)

Socrates $699

Built upon Eletech’s wealth of  R&D experience & expertise, the “Socrates” was born from the relentless pursuit of purity and extremities of a mono material – Copper. Unsurpassed within it’s class, the “Socrates” breaks down the predisposed stereotypes of Copper and manifests in a reference grade Copper that articulates emotions and texture.

Drawing from the experiences derived from the development of “Plato” & “Iliad”, Eletech revisit HiFi attested Copper cables and materials and grasps the very essence of a high performing flagship Copper cable.

Traversing the purist approach to developing this product, Eletech resolves to achieve a flagship-like copper performance that is highly technical while having the capacity to iterate emotions, technicalities and stereo imaging.

Product Specifications 

  • 24 AWG
  • Flawless Monocrystal Bespoke 7N OCC Copper
  • Maximus Efficiency Strand Geometry; Kevlar Infused
  • Cryogenically Treated
  • Eletech Bespoke Solder
  • Eletech Customised Y-Split and Connectors
  • FlexiMax Insulation

Plato $999

‘Plato” is realization of Eletech’s quest for the ultimate purity and extremities of a single material – Silver. Utilizing an unique Eletech maximus efficiency strand geometry with “Plato” catalyst in monocrystal bespoke Silver, the efficiency, speed, accuracy and resolution is unsurpassed within its class. “Plato” is a reference grade silver that is capable of materializing every details from every nooks and cranny of the soundscape. 

Specifications

  • 24 AWG
  • Flawless Monocrystal Bespoke Silver 
  • Maximus efficiency strand geometry; Kevlar infused 
  • Cryogenically Treated 
  • Eletech Bespoke Solder 
  • Eletech Customised connectors and Y-split
  • FlexiMax Insulation™ (patent pending) 

Iliad $1799

‘Iliad” is the euphonious fusion of triple stellar materials which are able to stand in its own right. It’s forged from the catalyst of high grade pure monocrystal silver with industry new palladium plated silver while adding a meticulously calculated amount of gold-silver alloy to add a spark to its spirit and soul. Further tempered by an Eletech solder mixture, “Iliad’s” sonar qualities are calculated, every step of the way. Augmented by an incredible Type-4 Litz hybrid geometry and a Kevlar core, the “Iliad” is an incredibly soulful acoustic piece that elevates acoustical performance to the apex. 

Specifications

  • 24 AWG
  • Flawless Monocrystal Silver + Palladium Plated Silver + Gold-Silver Alloy
  • Hybrid Type-4 Litz Geometry; Kevlar Resilient Core
  • Cryogenically Treated 
  • Eletech Bespoke Solder 
  • Eletech Customised connectors and Y-split
  • Individually Enamelled strands
  • FlexiMax Insulation™ (patent pending)

Gear used:

MMR Thummim

MMR Homunculus

Empire Ears Legend X

Noble Savant II

Oriolus Finschi

Shanling M6 Pro

Cayin N6ii mk2

MBP/Little Dot mk3se

MBP/EarMen TR-AMP

Effect Audio Ares II

PW Audio Helix Initiale

Beginnings:

So off we go. I tried to match a similarly priced IEM with a similarly priced cable, but did “cross the boundaries” to see how each worked above their level on the IEM-level, and below their end on the cable-level. I did not try all cables on all IEM’s listed. I found that if I liked the way a certain cable paired with a certain IEM, I may have stopped. I did try to fit all in, but I find that overly comparing becomes redundant and can lead to writer and reader fatigue. Suffice to say that there is a plethora of IEM choices listed running the gamut from “budget” to flagship TOTL; as well as warm to slightly bright and of course neutral. There is also a plethora of differing driver sets as well. So, I do feel this is a warranted, valid comparison with enough diversity to give you, dear reader a good understanding of how I feel about the cable and how it might sound.

Also, there is enough written on dedicated threads that can add to this, so an informed opinion can be had. Phew, that was a lot, but the cables are worth it. I will also throw in a couple of extra cables I have in use as comparison as well.

One at a time:

Fortitude $199

Using the stock cable on the Oriolus Finschi, my current favorite at the under $200 price (with the excellent BQEYZ Spring 2), I am met a warm, rich sound, wrought from a solid foundation of bass, and melodic vocals, which drew me in. Not the most tangle-free though, and frankly a pain to use. I put up with it because the Finschi is so good.

Switching to the Fortitude using Tidal MQA through the Shanling M6 Pro, I was immediately met with a deeper reach of bass, and a wonderful near-thump. The kind, which would draw you in at a solid late-night jazz club. Not intrusive, but just right. Vocals sound a bit more forward, but cleaner. There is a nice crispness to the signature, which betters the stock cable. One would hope so, and this could be due to the AWG copper construction. This not only aids in the bass signature but gives a nice lushness to the sound. I think I just fell more for my Finschi. This is a sweet pairing. Soundstage widened a bit as well, with each side reaching to stretch the sound a bit, but not doing so like you might find in a YouTube video, which does not meet the right ratio requirements.

Fit and finish is excellent, and easily matches my Effect Audio Ares II of the same price point (both are very good, but the Eletech a bit tighter of weave.

Speaking of the Ares II, ever since the purchase of the PW Helix for my Legend X, the Ares has graced my Savant II. A certain crisp sound emanates from an already clean signature. The Savant is known for a slightly warm side with plenty of detail. Not the bass reach of the Finschi, but enough to keep the music honest. I do like this pairing and use it as a kind of “cleansing my palate” between reviews. Using the Noble while drinking a nice dram of single malt scotch or fine Kansas City whiskey rejuvenates my ears, mind and soul.

With the benefit of both having a 2.5bal connection, a valid comparison works. The immediate response of better clarity exudes from When Will I Begin from Tedeschi Trucks. Such a glorious voice Susan has, and one that spans enough musical octaves to show a cable’s (or IEM) weakness. Along with that clarity, a bit of what bass thump there is (not much) seems to be lost. It could be that the cleanliness of sound from the Savant Ii itself is to blame, and it necessitates a warmer sided cable. The Ares II seems to promote its “copper mettle” a bit more than the Fortitude. That isn’t to say I do not like it, but it may be a bit too clinical for me. Switching to 1-800MYLOVE confirms this, and a tighter soundstage results as well. Paired with the Savant II is still good, but a bit too dry for my tastes.

As a result, I do believe the Fortitude needs to be paired with a bit warmer signature IEM.

Moving to the Homunculus, the clarity returns (as it should) with a certain reprisal. One of the cleanest sounding IEM’s I have had the honor of hearing, the Homunculus does not really benefit from the Fortitude. I can safely say that this is beyond the need of a cable benefitting it. Not so with the more expensive cables, but that will come later.

I would recommend the fortitude for your mid-fi IEM, such as the two tested above. Each could benefit, but to me the “need” of a darker, richer signature benefits more.

Prudence $249

Moving to a silver-based cable, I will admit they are not my first choice. I prefer copper for its warmer signature (don’t really care whether you believe differences or not’ enough do to fuel this side industry). Even with my ears, silver-based cables often sound brighter, with better clarity associated with that.

Putting the Prudence on the Finschi promoted a certain thump of greater clarity than the Fortitude. Call it cleaner, but I could definitely feel that the bass gave a more 3D-like sound. Certain IEM’s give you that thump like a subwoofer can through the floor. The essence of that comes out the with this pairing. I find the upper end to be a bit cleaner as well. Not biting, thankfully but a bit fuller. This too, is a good pairing and I would be hard pressed to choose. I still lean towards the copper, but this IEM makes me think twice about that. For the price, this could be a hidden gem of cables.

Paired with the Savant II, the two complement each other nicely. No more bass than normal, the clarity of sound wrought from the Noble range rings true here. A bit more laid back to me, this runs counter to the copper’s warmth of sound. Typically to me a silver cable rings of detail and clarity. A certain crispiness of sound emanates as a result. Here though, the pairing sit back and take the scene in without getting in any way. I do like this combination as well. On energetic songs the pair does strut their stuff, though. But not with a shrill nature, or any stridency. Timbre comes through quite well here and I do believe I have found the genre, which suits the pairing. More energetic songs do play nicely here.

While the Prudence plays well with the Homunculus, this is another case of “not quite enough” better to make a case. As I understand it, the stock cable itself runs in the $400 range, and this to me does not compete. I do like the same characteristics mentioned with the Savant II, but to me it isn’t a downgrade which should occur. Not a bad cable, just not ready for the pros here.

Where the Prudence shines, is in its ability to bring very good timbre to the set as well as a bit more up top. And that semi-shaking of the shell even if not entirely deep of reach gives an added layer of complexity to the bass sound. A nice addition for an IEM, which may need to be “cleaned up” a bit.

Socrates $699

I will start this by stating that this is unabashedly my favorite cable of the quintet. Hitting all the right chords and layers, the Socrates simply sings to my musical senses. This cable kicks some serious arse (cleaned up for HeadFi…). Running at the “near-affordable” range by today’s standards, the Socrates brings outstanding quality to the bass on the Finschi. But it does so with a solid reach, bettering the Prudence in that subwoofer feel. Not shell-shattering (that will come below…), but just so solid below the belt that I pull another whiskey and relish the sound.

Paired with the Finschi, the Socrates makes this a wonderful mid-fi offering. Bringing out a bit better clarity (air betwixt the notes), without losing its character down low this cable can make magic happen under the right circumstances. We are starting to approach the “stratospheric” level of cable prices here, but at this price the Socrates may well be the bargain of the season. But it is not perfect. I do feel that the plastic sheathing befits a more economical look to it, and one that even with the geodesic jack and splitter cannot be overcome. But look has never been what I value first. I prefer to gauge on sound.

Back to the booming bass on 1-800MYLOVE, the pair sing my signature.

Switching to the Savant II, the airiness of Nobility is back in full force. Almost a bit too much push up top, this does rival the stock cable (not the Ares II), but I can still raise the volume to the hurt-level. Vocals sing through this pair, with an honest approach to detail and clarity. Of the three listed so far, the Socrates scales the best. I appreciate what it brings to the Savant II. As much as I like it, the added layers of bass play into the crisp nature of the natural Savant sound well. Giving a bit warmer signature as well, the pair just work.

The first IEM I placed the Socrates on was the Homunculus. Even before the Thummim. I was astonished with what it brought to the duo. Warmer and richer of sound, the Socrates seemed to even out the “discrepancies” of the Homunculus. Better reach down low, without covering up the splendid vocals offered, the Socrates rings out as an excellent upgrade to the homunculus. So much so, that I seriously considered getting the Homunculus/Socrates pairing instead of the Thummim. Priced less (yes, still astronomical for most), one could have a TOTL with a superb cable as an addition, essentially giving you two options.

Then this happened…pairing the Socrates with my Empire Ears Legend X I was stunned. I already loved the Legend X/PW Helix combination, which gave me a bit of a holographic sound; but when I put the Socrates on I quickly forgot about adding another IEM to my cache, and immediately thought of how many extra soccer games I would have to referee in order to fund the purchase (done and ready to order). Adding the Socrates to what was at one time EE’s TOTL gave me a refreshed outlook on it. The bass was still ever present and at the forefront, but the Socrates cleaned up that bass. Not tamed mind you, no. It added complexity without congesting or compressing that low end. Vocals are now to die for. This is the sound of legendary status, and just solidified why I love the LX so much. Words cannot properly describe how the pair made me feel, or the emotions wrought from When Will I Begin, or Jethro Tull’s My God; other than My God this is stellar.

Plato ($999)

Bridging the gap between the Socrates and Iliad is the Plato. Excellent bass response and a dark, rich signature are the norm here; which is more akin to the Socrates. I hate to call it a more “copper signature sound,” but that is the impression I am left with when paired with the Thummim. I very much like the sound, but feel the details drop a bit. Not cloudy, or veiled (not even close), but confidently shy. This would be akin to that athlete who only lets her athleticism show on the pitch. Not necessarily hiding it from view beforehand, but not flaunting it. Only those that pay close attention notice and watch in revere. This is a quite good cable, and my second favorite behind the Socrates. Were it not almost half again the price of the Socrates I would take a gander, especially since I prefer copper to silver. That says pretty much all you need there.

Micro-details are not the highpoint here but as their adverts state, speed, resolution and accuracy. I would agree, and this would be an excellent choice with which to pair if you favor orchestral or classical music; especially the faster pieces. But if ultimate detail resolution and clarity are what you want, it still works exceptionally well. Just don’t expect it to be an Iliad.

I do love its bass response as well. On Air, the bass is tight, fast and responsive. A hint of bleed comes through, but I take this to be the reverb (slight) in the recording, not the cable. When listening to When Will I Begin, I take a dram of Glencadam-10 and relish the sound as well as the single malt. Both provide clear representation of their respective trades, but not the top. Much appreciated though, both are.

Finishing the set with My God, I pour another and listen. Ian’s voice just fits. Throw in that dirty flute and you get the stuff of legends.

Iliad ($1799)

I wouldn’t call this saving the best for last. No, this would be simply going in price order. Especially since I gushed over the Socrates.

Switching immediately from the excellent Fir Audio M5 (“stock” cable) to the Thummim and the Iliad brought a quick realization. While the Iliad is quite good, it may be more than most need. The pairing is spectacular and brings out micro-detail pretty much like nothing I have heard (even with my ears…), but I missed the sound of the M5. I do love the pairing (before I heard the M5), and if one truly wants pinnacle items, then would recommend having the Thummim and Iliad together.

The amount of bass coming from the Thummim through the Iliad is tamed a bit, but oh so crisp and speedy. Decay is nonexistent, and as such you lose a bit of warmth. I prefer warmth. But if you are going for pure sound, this could very well be the best pairing out there. Unfortunately, due to the proprietary pin hook-up of the Fir, I could not switch. I would have loved to hear either the Socrates or Iliad on the M5.

I did pair the Iliad with the LX though. I can say it brightened up the signature a bit, “cleaning up” the sound, which did aid in those details becoming more refined. One would hope so, since I essentially doubled the price of the LX. 

If detailed response and clarity of all that comes through the IEM (good and bad) is what you want, then the clean (no pun) choice is the Iliad. But at so much more, one truly has to justify the price difference from the Plato and Socrates (different signature of course).

Pairing:

In conversation with @Barra, we spoke of which cables were our favorites. We both agreed that while the Iliad was spectacular, the Socrates drew both of us in and cuddled us like none of the others. Its rich, warmth was intoxicating enough on the Homunculus, adding that depth of warm signature, which seemed a bit lacking in the H. The Homunculus by itself is stellar as mentioned in my review. But when paired with the Socrates, it makes one think, “why spend the extra on a TOTL?” The pairing is that good. For the price of others TOTL, you could happily live with the Homunculus/Socrates pairing. I mentioned how I almost pulled the trigger. But then I pulled the Socrates onto my LX, and the rest is history as British Chronologist John Wade used to say.

The others happily fill in the lower end and can easily compare to the other boutique manufacturers at their respective prices. Add in that to me their build quality is near or at the top of each category and one could easily justify one of each (save the Iliad). In fact, had I not purchased other cables (which I dearly like), I could easily see myself using the Prudence and Fortitude to fill niches in my line-up. They are quite good and worth a listen and comparison with others if given the chance. Me thinks you shant be disappointed.

If you want absolutes though, then the Iliad/Thummim is an easy choice (except on your pocketbook). One could easily pair it with the Erlkonig, Elysium, A18s, or tia Fourte as well and be perfectly happy (no really, REALLY happy). But once one crosses that threshold of price, can one be truly satisfied? You may always have that doubt of spending too much. Of course, when one buys a Lamborghini, one does not worry about options. One simply states, “I’ll take that one.”

Eletech has hit all of the right price points and cable “specs” with the quint-set. There really isn’t a reason not to look as the price runs from quite affordable to astronomical. And much as one “graduates” from lo-fi to mid-fi and TOTL in their IEM’s & DAP’s; one can now do so with cables. Believe it or not, I really do not care. These are fine products, and worth a look at whatever price you desire.

I profusely thank Eletech and @Barra for the lending of their fine wares and the tour arrangement. Unfortunately, my wallet does not, and I have a Socrates on order as this is posted. The products are worthy of a look, and the boxes give you a history lesson as well. Who knew learning would cost so much? Well, I did.

Cheers.

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