A newcomer, only not. Eletech Cables is the brainchild of industry veteran Eric Chong. Watch, or rather hear, their silver-plated copper cable Prudence pave its way towards cable innovation.
You know lions, and so do I. These royal cats firmly believe in the circle of life, that every being has its place in nature. At least, that’s what Disney told me. We see this manifest in bands too, especially those with larger-than-life members. Band starts from humble beginnings, band achieves success, star of the band emerges as breakout solo artist, rest of the band continues on their own or splits. End of cycle.
That circle of life gave us John Lennon, Michael Jackson, George Michael, Beyoncé, and um, all the dudes from One Direction. Let’s add Mr. Eric Chong to the list. In the portable audio sphere, for many years Eric was the face and voice of cable specialists Effect Audio, tirelessly tending to customers’ needs and making appearances at shows and events.
- »Stunning proprietary components
- »Stellar build quality
- »Fantastic ergonomics and comfort
- »Vibrant and lively sound signature
- »Good dynamics and resolution
- »Amazing mids tuning
- »Deep and tall soundstage
- »Excellent imaging and separation
- »Price compared to other silver-plated copper cables
- »Simplistic packaging
- »Tangles easily
- »Sound extension both ends
- »Slightly lean bass
- »Narrow soundstage
When he left Effect Audio, those who knew him were left wondering what happened. Turns out he was behind the scenes working on his pet project, the end result being Element Technology, or Eletech for short. Eletech Cables is founded by Eric and materials specialist Wang, to embark on a new journey of cable crafting, with innovation, individuality and integrity being the company’s motto.
Prudence is an in-ear monitor (IEM) cable with 4 wires of OCC silver-plated copper, with an unspecified but high strand count. They come with beautifully customized connectors and Y-splits, and are available in 3.5mm single-ended, or 2.5mm and 4.4mm balanced jacks. They can be purchased via Eletech Cables’ official website. I would like to thank Eric for the review sample and our continued working relationship.
- FiiO M15
- Lime Ears Aether R
- Eletech Cables Prudence
- Linum SuperBaX
- Double Helix Cables Symbiote SP V3
- Art Pepper + Eleven – Modern Jazz Classics
- Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
- Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence
- Macy Gray – Stripped
- Patricia Barber – Verse
- Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Raising Sand
- The Eagles – Hell Freezes Over
- 26 AWG
- Flawless OCC silver-plated copper
- Extreme high strand counts
- Hybrid Type-4 Litz geometry
- Kevlar resilient core
- Cryogenically treated
- Eletech customized connectors and Y-split
- Individually enamelled strands
- FlexiMax Insulation™
Packaging and Accessories
The sleek and simple all-black slide-out box reminds me of bow tie packaging, and the familiarity is a nice touch. Inside you will find the Prudence cable, a leather cable clip, cloth pouch and an information card. The bare essentials are covered, and the cable clip is finished impeccably, but I’d love to see at least a zippered pouch that offers some protection to the cable.
Design and Build Quality
Prudence is more than just a pretty cable. Eletech applies various technologies and innovations aimed at bringing the best out of their cables physically and sonically.
- Type-4 Litz geometry is a wire arrangement that has bundles of twisted wire around a central fiber core, to reduce electrical resistance and current loss.
- A Kevlar central core in each wire bundle confers durability, temperature resistance, lightness and flexibility.
- Cryogenic treatment for the wires, ie. deep freezing, is to ensure the crystal boundaries of metal conductors align together more closely to increase conductivity.
- Individually enamelled strands mean each thin wire strand is coated to provide electrical insulation, preventing short circuits and optimizing signal conduction.
- FlexiMax Insulation™ uses custom medical-grade PVC sheaths for wire insulation, beefing up the cable with flame resistance, flexibility, transparency, low impurities, and low friction.
Rest assured, the purer the cable material, the better the conductivity, the better the sound quality. That’s what I gleaned from it.
Bespoke, Thou Hast Spoken
The custom-made Y-splits, connectors and jacks are just breathtaking to behold. A unique set is used for each Eletech model, and for Prudence, they are black with a brushed metal appearance, with a gold polygonal insert that resembles a crown. My photographs don’t do them justice at all, they look mesmerizing, reflecting light as you turn them. The message conveyed is loud and clear: my cable is better than yours lol.
For all the brilliance in design, Prudence is decently built too. The cable is lightweight, yet possesses high tensile strength. A few hard tugs and sharp bends did not alter the shape of the cable at all, I’m betting that the Kevlar cable core might have something to do with it. The proprietary Y-splits etc are meticulously assembled and feel rock solid too.
Ergonomics and Comfort
I don’t know about you, but we might have reached a watershed era in IEM cables. A few years ago buying cables was a gamble, you never know if you’d end up with one so stiff and rigid it could stand on its own like a snake being charmed.
Today, I’m glad to report that the majority of cables I’ve bought or reviewed have superb softness and flexibility. Prudence is no different, feeling extremely smooth, supple and lightweight. It’s a joy to handle thanks to its slimness. It coils with just a bit of memory effect, but holds its shape well enough for photography, for example.
Relax and Uncoil
As for comfort, the ear hooks are pre-molded and loop comfortably around my ears. There weren’t any unpleasant memory wires to deal with. Thanks to its lightness and softness, wearing the Prudence is a rewarding experience. One niggle I have is the cable tangles easily, as the lightweight wires are weighed down by the bulkier Y-spilt and jack, leading to unintended looping and knotting.
Overall Sound Signature
It’s 11pm. You have a pile of paperwork left undone, and you want to power through before collecting the reward of a night’s sleep. You put on your favorite IEMs and funnily enough, despite your best efforts, your eyelids are getting heavy. You’re driven to madness as the sleeping gods drop by prematurely.
I Hate Tea
Not tonight, my friend! The Prudence is, for lack of better words, caffeine for your IEMs, a shot of wholesome espresso to inject some much-needed soul and liveliness to your music, like an “on” switch. Across the signature, the notes are tightened, transients are faster, and there is a playful edginess to the note texture, bringing urgency and immediacy to the mix.
Like the Beatles song, dear Prudence has come out to play.
Prudence is anchored by a neutral-bright signature. There’s a palpable boost in the mids as they are brought forward and given the show to run. The treble is also slightly accented to deliver a more energetic zing, while the bass sits where it is, content with being an important background player, like um, Ringo Starr. The extra spring in the steps is grounded by a natural, true-to-life timbre that gives Prudence its special character.
Critical listening was done after 100 hours of burning in. It’s probably more for my peace of mind, but equipment breaking-in allows the different components to settle into its given sound after some time. Think of it like a band that plays better and better the longer they are together. The IEM of choice is Lime Ears’ flagship Aether R, because I’ve been looking to improve its somewhat humdrum signature.
Like an intensive weight management program, Prudence takes a hammer and chisel, and hacks and sculpts away. Excess mass is trimmed, and blurred edges are given a more precise shape. The entire bass spectrum benefits from the makeover project, with notes ending up tighter, more textured, and completely bloat-free.
This is a faster and fitter bass, light on its feet and brimming with vigor, with most changes heard in the midbass. Post-makeover, it packs a personality too, sounding more assertive, dynamic and punchy, thanks to the tighter notes and swifter decay. The best part is, the bass tone is left mostly intact, and sounds natural and refined.
The leaner notes might not be for everyone though. There is no increase in bass quantity, which hinders impact and slam. Sub-bass extension is not as plentiful either, so you’ll need to look elsewhere for your head-throttling bass fix. This is a disciplined, if a bit slender, bass rendition that is perfect when paired with warmer and bassier IEMs for that detail boost.
The theme of self-help and self-improvement continues, and Prudence is there to guide you along the way. Becoming the best version of yourself takes work, physically, mentally, psychologically. For starters, you have to be well-read across many subjects to engage someone in conversation; and learn to dress sharply, to stand out and reflect a more confident you.
So how does that translate to an audio cable? Patience, Padawan. The Prudence does most of its magic in the mids. They are more prominent and brought forward slightly, placed front and center onstage. There’s no escaping the spotlight. They take on a very engaging and immersive character, with clean, well-defined notes, and better detail and transparency.
My Better Half
Sit back and listen to a better version of your music unfold. Instruments are rendered more lifelike and riveting, enveloping your headspace. Vocals are luscious, dreamy, and intimate. The sculpting here is less obvious than the bass, with note body and fullness untouched albeit with an airier decay. Timbre and naturalness are maintained, with a dash more immediacy.
The key to the mids is in the separation, thanks to the astounding depth. Lead vocals and instruments float forward and make their presence known, supported by intricate layering of the background. Layer by layer, small touches and nuances in the music are lovingly revealed, rewarding the patient listener.
This is a purpose-driven, soul-fulfilling mids section that sounds like a front-row performance just for your ears.
The pursuit of holistic improvement cannot be without culture and refinement. Manners maketh man. The name Eletech itself brings to mind words like elegance, elevation, and elephants perhaps? They are known to be wise creatures, after all.
What Prudence does to the treble, as a silver-plated copper, is predictable yet welcome. The treble performance is crispy, airy, and shimmery, but maintains an evenness throughout. There’s no going overboard with showboating here. The treble is as prominent as it is refined, with a good dollop of detail and a touch of smoothness to the notes.
There is a bright tilt in the lower treble, which rolls off after the mid-treble. The upper treble is subdued, with Prudence providing just a bit of extension upwards. Note attacks are on-point and precise, sustaining with a delicate flourish, before decaying rapidly into the background. It is a lively and energetic treble, reined in with superb control, and partying responsibly.
Soundstage and Imaging
I have spent stupid amounts of money on upgrade cables, and the one thing I’m almost assured of, is higher purity of the cable material. I’m no rocket scientist, but purer cables lead to better transmissibility of the sound signal and reduces noise, which theoretically translates to better sound quality. For me, the most obvious changes are in soundstage and imaging, and for Prudence, it’s no exception.
The Debt of Depth
The majority of generic cables are warm, stuffy and in-your-head. Prudence provides immediate improvement here. The overall presentation is significantly clearer and less congested, with a cleaner stage and darker background. Because of that, notes pop out, and are better spaced in-between, allowing you to focus onto any part of the music as you please.
Imaging is much improved in all 3 axes, especially in depth. Cues are eerily precise like a knife-edge thanks to the splendid separation. Soundstage expansion though, is mostly in depth, and just a bit in width and height. It’s a pity about the smallish dimensions, because the marked improvement in depth compared to the rest, feels like staring into a deep tunnel, albeit one that plays wonderful music on request.
Comparing like for like, the SuperBaX is the only other similarly priced silver-plated copper cable in my collection. Both are outstanding choices for upgrades, but you came here to find a winner, correct? Physically, SuperBaX leads in comfort, and being lightweight to the point of ridiculousness. Prudence however, boasts more premium parts, better ergonomics and hand-feel, and well, just looks prettier.
For sound, SuperBaX on the whole has a tamer, calmer sound signature. Compared to Prudence, there is less sub-bass extension, lighter midbass slam, and a feeling that the bass is not operating at 100%. Despite the lesser quantity, SuperBaX sounds more sluggish than Prudence, with slower and less pronounced transients. Prudence is more satisfying with a punchier, sprightlier bass, and better detail levels.
BaX to the Wall
In the mids you start to appreciate Prudence’s note texture of choice, playfully balancing between timbral accuracy and transparency. Prudence’s forward mids rack up the excitement factor, sounding more immersive and dynamic. SuperBaX’s mids are located a step back, with rounder and bloomier notes. The tone is more natural too, although we’re splitting hairs here.
Prudence has a better-extended and brighter treble, bringing the coherent and exciting signature full circle. SuperBaX’s treble is safer and smoother with blunt edges, but less fun. Soundstage-wise, SuperBaX is wider with better imaging across the left-to-right axis, while Prudence is deeper and taller with better separation across layers. All in all, SuperBaX has an agreeable tone that is hard to dislike, but sounds generic.
Prudence sets itself apart from the rest with class-leading stage depth and separation, and an irresistible signature.
Double Helix Cables Symbiote SP V3
The grand-daddy of cable companies, Double Helix Cables (DHC) is a purist company serving only three ingredients, copper, silver-plated copper, or for their flagship-grade cables, pure silver. The Symbiote SP V3 is their entry level pure silver cable, although priced at $409.99. Design and build quality are just as good for the Symbiote and Prudence, although the latter wins once again in ergonomics.
For the sound, DHC’s cable has a classic “silver” sound, with more refinement across the spectrum. This means the Symbiote is brighter, more extended and airier than the Prudence, and capable of extracting more micro-detail. The DHC also has a wider soundstage. So in terms of pure technical performance, Symbiote is a heavy favorite.
However, Prudence isn’t taking this fight lightly, and pulls ahead in its areas of utmost expertise. Prudence reigns supreme in stage depth, height and imaging, while providing better note body and timbre. There are a few times the DHC is caught sounding more “digital”, although rare. Prudence also has the bonus of providing better bass slam and rumble.
So from a value standpoint, for the Prudence to be able to stand toe-to-toe with a cable priced one tier above, smells like a win to me.
Like any dog would tell you, it’s ruff out there being the newcomer. Eletech though, might be a different breed, guided by the safe hands of an industry veteran. Their small but strategic lineup is but a launchpad of greater things to come.
But before that, have a look at the Prudence. For the casual listener, it is costlier than most silver-plated coppers, encroaching into the price range of pure silver cables. Regardless, what Prudence achieved in the sound department deserves mention. It elicits enjoyment and excitement few other cables can, and still manages to sound natural.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Prudence is a caffeine shot for your IEMs, injecting youth and vigor into otherwise lifeless sound signatures, awakening them from stuporous slumber. Many an IEM I’ve condemned to the classifieds, and I bring them out for one last rodeo with the Prudence to see if they can improve any. And in most cases, they do. Sometimes you have to believe in a little cable magic.