Sifo

Watercooler Travel Team
Eletech Cassiel - Great value for even greater performance
Pros: -Bass quality, easy to hear details
-Tighter, quicker mid bass impact and decay
-Improvements all around to male vocals
-Great clarity and air in the upper frequencies but refined and silky smooth
-Increase in width and height, holographic presentation
-High resolution, great layering and separation
Cons: -Bass quantity, slightly less sub bass
-Dryer female vocals on certain tracks
-Not as much perceived depth
DSC02786.jpgDSC02788.jpg
Photography by @riverground

Disclaimer

Eric is a good friend of mine. As such, I would never lie to him or anyone about my true opinions and experiences with his products. This is out of respect for his constant desire to not only improve his products, but to create the best experience for Eletech customers. Eric has always taken everyone's feedback for its full value since long before Eletech. But to clarify any potential confusion, I don't work for or have any business obligations with Eletech, I volunteered at their table during CanJam NYC out of my own enthusiasm. This cable was provided to me free of charge for my honest opinion.

Introduction

I seldom write reviews, probably has something to do with imposter syndrome and also just not having the time to be as diligent as I should. Contrary to my preferences in gear, I prefer to just turn off my brain and enjoy the music. However, this is my first time doing a cable review. As far as the controversy of cables go, I trust my ears. If you don't trust my ears, then I don't know why you're still reading this. Despite my experience, I must admit I do feel crazy sometimes reading back on my own cable impressions. But as soon as I start listening, it's very easy to pick out the differences. As always, everything I am experiencing is entirely subjective and relative to the price range. And if you're new to cable reviews, everything I am describing is not a night and day difference, they are subtle changes that are being scrutinized for the purpose of the review.

With that out of the way, Cassiel is a silver-plated copper cable that runs for $299. It is part of Eletech's Virtue Series and the second most affordable cable in the catalogue, next to the copper sibling, the Azrael. The little SPC cable that is the Cassiel, packs a lot of value and exceeds expectations all around. It is a worthy successor to the previous Virtues SPC, the Prudence.

All comparative listening was done with a CIEM Aroma Jewel and an RME ADI-2 DAC FS, a relatively clean chain. Regretfully, I wish I had more time to go and pair it with other IEMs.

Ergonomics

In case you didn't know, Eletech actually designs the manufacturing specs for all their cables. They're not just buying pre-existing wire from the manufacturer and branding it as their own. Which is why I find it even more impressive that they manage to get such great sound while still being extremely satisfying to handle.

I'm at my desk all day so I'm not one to care much for cable ergonomics, but the Cassiel is a VERY soft and supple cable. I'd already handled it before at CanJam but I was still surprised when I received it in the mail. It does not get tangled and there is not much memory wire-like properties. I can wear it all day long and not feel the weight of the ear hooks. It's got this matte-like finish to it which seems to help minimize microphonics. I don't even go out with my IEMs that often but the freedom I feel while wearing this cable makes me want to more often.

Sound

All of the descriptions here are compared to the Jewel's stock cable. Yes, I used the Jewel's stock cable for weeks to write this review.

Lows

I think for most people, bass isn't the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of SPC cables. However the bass enhancements are exactly what makes this cable so great.

Cassiel provides a notable boost to the quality of bass. For example, I would compare being able to hear the note being played on a bass guitar whereas with the stock cable, you're just feeling the rumble. The stock cable has higher concentrations of the rumble so it sounds "bigger", but the Cassiel allows it to open up and breathe so it's less compact, giving you a great sense of space and air, making it sound "big" in a different way. So you do lose a little bit of that sub bass rumble quantity in exchange for the added texture, clarity and air. For me this is a worthy tradeoff, but it'll come down to the synergy of the pairing. I think this cable would go very nicely with a warm-bright IEM. However, the Cassiel is a relatively warm cable itself so it's not like the sub bass has all vanished; it's just a little more clean. You also get a tighter, punchier impact with snappier decay. I found that some snare drums sounded a bit dull due to this quicker decay, but kicks and toms sounded very natural. The stock cable sounds comparatively more bloated in the mid bass to lower mid region, but the Cassiel cleans that up perfectly.

Mids

Mid tonality sounds organic, just as it did in the lower frequencies. But if you're used to a warmer, thicker sound, then perhaps the Cassiel will lean towards sounding digital to you.

Plenty of clarity in the lower mids as mentioned, with a perfect amount of bite coming from instruments without sounding tinny. My favourite guitar tones sound just right with great energy. The attack on everything from percussion to guitars to vocals are quick, crisp, and realistic in weight without the sharp edge often associated with lower quality SPC cables.

Vocals aren't nasally and sound crystal clear. You get a fuller, smoother, richer vocal experience, especially with male vocals. This does give the perception of intimacy as well. The unique textures of everyone's voice as well as the nuances of each breath is enhanced. You can pinpoint exactly where harmonies are coming from and pick out every individual voice with ease.

I did find that certain tracks had some dryer sounding female vocals, which seems like a tradeoff for the added clarity, but this might also come down to the IEM pairing. This dryness I'm describing is still very smooth, so there is no unbearable sibilance or harshness.

Highs

Unlike some other entry-level silver cables, the energy up top is well refined and doesn't reach the point of sibilance. Surprisingly, I have the least to say about the highs. Just like the lows and the mids, the name of the game here is clarity. My emphasis is on refinement. High frequencies are tamed with this cable without sounding too dull or losing out on any energy. The balance of smooth tonality along with detail retrieval is top notch. I get plenty of air and extension with a natural decay. Usually my complaint with SPCs has to do with aggressive higher frequencies, but the Cassiel passes with flying colours.

Technicalities

Cassiel's got a very black background, considering it's not wrapped in a million layers of shielding. Notes are textured, well defined and have realistic weight whereas the stock cable sounds uncontrolled all around, especially in the bass and treble. Imaging is extremely precise and great layering, closing my eyes I could imagine exactly where I was in the space of the music. Everything is separated appropriately, allowing for details to be heard easily. There's not as much depth but it's a noticeably wider and more holographic with maybe a smidge increase in height. Dynamics was a huge one too because I'm not particularly one to pay much attention to that sort of thing, but the extremities sounded less compressed with the Cassiel to me.

Comparison

Seems only appropriate to compare to Effect Audio's equivalent budget SPC offering, the Cadmus 4W which currently goes for $199. That is $100 cheaper than the Cassiel. Cadmus' 24AWG vs the Cassiel's 25.5AWG makes the Cassiel the slimmer cable, which handles less rubbery than the Cadmus in general. I found the Cadmus to be cumbersome in comparison, but in practicality they're both perfectly fine. You should also take ConX and TermX into consideration; there is the added benefit of convenience if you have multiple IEMs or sources, however there is always the possibility that these connectors are degrading the sound quality. I don't know for sure, that's up to you to decide.

Cadmus has more sub bass rumble, a bigger attack but quicker in decay, while Cassiel is bouncier and punchier with a more natural airy decay. Like when comparing to the Jewel's stock cable, Cassiel wins out in details; it's far easier to hear the actual notes being played in the lower frequencies. The attack on bass guitar can clearly be heard AND felt.

Cadmus is less refined in the vocals and has a different sort of positioning in presentation. The Cadmus very much draws attention to the vocals, but mostly in volume, and it's the same with other instruments. It jumps out at you in a way that could end up fatiguing, or as an engineer might describe, "doesn't sit right in the mix." The Cassiel's mids are more relaxed in comparison, but edge out in texture and tonality. I did not experience that dryness in female vocals with the Cadmus, but I did experience a bit of sibilance with the IEM pairing.

Cassiel extends further and has more air in the top end. It is smooth and I keep saying this but very refined, whereas the Cadmus can be a little sharp and splashy (especially with cymbals). Just like the mids, Cassiel is notably less fatiguing in the higher frequencies.

The Cadmus has more height and depth than the Cassiel but Eletech's offering may edge out slightly in width. Staging accuracy and layering is no contest, Cassiel wins out on this in my opinion. The dynamics of the Cadmus are more compressed in comparison.

To summarize, if you want a more traditional sounding SPC, the Cadmus is for you. If you want something unique while still staying true to its properties, then give the Cassiel a try. Depending on what you are looking for, the price difference is justifiable.

Conclusion

One of the things I've always respected from Eletech is that they put the same amount of effort and care into ALL of their products, no matter the price level. Despite being the entry level line, these cables are not just afterthoughts in the catalogue. They are still meticulously designed with the same knowledge and experience gained from their flagships. I really love how these cables give a little twist to the traditional expectations of their materials as well, providing a unique but affordable entryway into to IEM cables.

The Cassiel is no exception. In my experience, copper cables are far more popular at the entry level. Even when I was first getting into cables, the thought of SPC was a little scary, which is why I much preferred the Fortitude to the Prudence in the previous Virtues line. This time around, I think Cassiel is one of the best value SPC cables on the market. It is very approachable and pairs well even with relatively a more "boring" IEM like the Jewel. So if you've been looking for an entry level but premium quality SPC cable, the Cassiel delivers all the way in both performance and value.
Last edited:

ian91

Headphoneus Supremus
Best of Both Worlds
Pros: A careful balance of the tonal qualities of silver and copper
Competitive 'technical' enhancements for the price
Well made accessories
Cons: Little alteration to stage width
Eletech Cassiel - Best of Both Worlds
(Virtues Series)


Introduction

I’ve rolled a fair share of budget to mid-fi cables over the three years in the hobby. Initially, it was quite difficult to appreciate any difference between cables but to a degree it was also a challenge to identify differences between IEMs! For better or for worse, over time my brain has adapted, my perspective has widened and my familiarity with my IEM collection has grown such that I do hear those differences and even with cable changes. Whether these observations would pass a blind test is another matter, but I enjoy exploring the dimension cable changes add to this hobby and I think that’s the main thing. What a good cable can offer, in my experience, remains a subtle refinement of sound, with accents on particular regions of the FR and sometimes an ability to change the more intangible qualities of presentation such as imaging, dimension and perceived resolution. I have yet to find a cable that was able to make me like an IEM if the overall tonality didn’t ‘hit’ from the very beginning. Rather, a cable just usually makes me enjoy a set more, or less if it doesn’t synergise well.

Generally there are some ‘expected’ changes with cable composition from what I have heard. Namely, the warmth, note texture and density of copper, the extension and resolution of silver, the imaging/layering of palladium and the rich overtones of gold plating. However, it’s not always that straight forward or predictable. A degree of predictability and scaling is what I expect specialist cable makers like Eletech to offer. That and of course excellent ergonomics and attractively machined accessories.

Eric kindly offered me the opportunity to review the Cassiel a silver-plated copper wire, one of their new cables from the reimagined Virtues Series that supersedes the previous ‘entry-level’ silver-plated copper, Prudence (now discontinued). My experience with Eletech cables prior to Cassiel includes the Plato, which I own, and a brief but impressive demo with their 2020 flagship, the Iliad. Both of these have impressed with clear shifts in sonics to a degree that other cables, largely in the budget-mid cable market, seemed unable to replicate. Read on to find out if this trend continues with Eletechs more affordable Cassiel…

Ergonomics

The Cassiel is a supple cable. It’s noticeably less memory prone than the Plato (itself already a very ergonomic cable) and I imagine this is partly down to the narrower 25.5 AWG versus 24 AWG of the Plato. The insulation is perfectly transparent, smooth and flawless throughout the length of the cable. Eletech have some of the slickest and well machined accessories in the game and the Cassiel sports their new CNC-milled gun metal colour accessories. These have rose gold geometric, pyramid-like detailing and I’m getting vibes that places my mind somewhere between Ancient Egypt and the Roswell crash site. I like it! There’s always a refined style to Eletech cables and I value that. I spend so long looking a beautiful IEM, it deserves a good looking cable to match.

_DSC3836.jpg


Sound Impressions

With over two months with the Cassiel now and feel I have a good handle on how it behaves across my IEM collection, especially with my tri-brid Mentawai.

Bass

One of the stand-out qualities of the Cassiel during my time with it is how it refines the bass frequencies. Bass is tightened and resolution and texture are enhanced. This seems to have a more significant effect on DDs. For example, the Mentawai sports a large 10mm DD with a healthy bass quantity and a slower decay than a lot of DDs. I have always enjoyed the indulgent low end but it does have some bloom that can obscure low midrange textures on instruments. With the Cassiel more instrumental detail and texture is a retrieved and the bass sounds cleaner and more responsive and yet unaltered in quantity.

Midrange

The Cassiel is a smooth operator in the midrange. The upper midrange isn’t as accentuated as on my other SPC cables but it manages to retain a good balance of clarity without feeling aggressive. This was noticeable from the get-go and with burn in this quality has only improved. Words I could use to describe the midrange are ‘balanced’ and ‘organic’ while still improving detail retrieval compared to similarly priced pure copper cables. Note weight is full and vocals are well separated, again with a very natural treatment.

Treble

Similar to the upper midrange, the lower treble of the Cassiel departs from how I hear other SPC cables. In my experience, other SPC cables do little to subdue treble spikes inherent in tuning and overall sound very ‘crisp’ and very ‘brilliant’. The Cassiel does a great job of softening, or rather naturalising an unruly treble and still managing to enhance air. Not something many other SPCs can claim to do in my experience and it does this without becoming dull or unexciting.

Technicalities

Silver is often attributed to enhancing the less tangible, technical aspects such as air, separation and staging. The Cassiel does a great job of improving note definition which itself seems to have a knock on effect of improving imaging and layering. The centre image is well delineated compared to some of my other cables and laterally I hear more positional information from more angles. This is not something I tend to expect with cables in this price range where often there’s an improvement in stage but no improvement in positional accuracy. Stage isn’t as vast laterally as the bigger brother Plato but for the price I wouldn’t expect it to be. However, at this point, I’m going to put my money on the and say that the Cassiel has stronger imaging than Plato. For it to achieve this at the asking price is another selling point.

Synergy

  • Mid bass heavy tunings where low mids are obscured
  • Peaky treble tunings that need softening
  • Amorphous or poor imaging, especially within the centre headspace.
Cassiel vs Plato
  • Cassiel is tonally warmer
  • Cassiel has more realistic (i.e. greater) note weight (and more my preference)
  • Cassiel has more dimensional imaging
  • Cassiel preserves macrodynamics better
  • Plato has a wider stage (probably the widest I’ve heard)
  • Plato has greater emphasis on lower treble and air
  • Plato resolves greater detail
  • Plato augments bass quantity whereas Cassiel manages to improve quality while leaving quantity relatively untouched.
Conclusion

If you’re looking for the extension of silver but the note weight and texture of copper this is a superb balance. In one way, it reminds me of when I listened to the Iliad for the first time in the improvement offered on imaging and layering. Not to the same degree, no doubt, but it has a more ‘natural’ impact on the space and retains a warmer and more organic tonality than both Iliad and Plato. When you consider that the Cassiel also manages to one-up Plato (imo) on its imaging prowess for about a third of the cost, the Cassiel is a strong contender in Eletechs line up.
Last edited:
Back
Top