Eletech Prudence

General Information

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‘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)

Latest reviews

Pros: 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
Cons: Price compared to other silver-plated copper cables
- Simplistic packaging
- Tangles easily
- Sound extension both ends
- Slightly lean bass
- Narrow soundstage
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.



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This is a glorified and extensively modified needle and syringe.



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.

Eletech’s lineup consists of three series, inspired by Raphael’s frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura of the Vatican Museums. Grandiose for sure, and right up my alley. From entry-level to flagship, they are Virtues, School of Athens, and Parnassus. Today we look at Prudence, the silver-plated copper cable of the Virtues lineup.

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.

This review was first featured in Headphonesty.



Equipment Used:

DAP

  1. FiiO M15
IEM
  1. Lime Ears Aether R

Cables
  1. Eletech Cables Prudence
  2. Linum SuperBaX
  3. Double Helix Cables Symbiote SP V3
Albums
  1. Art Pepper + Eleven – Modern Jazz Classics
  2. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
  3. Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence
  4. Macy Gray – Stripped
  5. Patricia Barber – Verse
  6. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Raising Sand
  7. The Eagles – Hell Freezes Over


Technical Specifications:
  • 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™


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The accessory set made my desk look enormous.



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.

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.



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If you stare hard enough, a stereoscopic image will pop out.



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.

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.



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Like an expensive game of snake.



Sound Quality

The basis of a cable’s sound lies in comparisons. The audio chain is affected mostly by the transducer and audio player, with maybe 10% of the sound tweaked by the cable. Plastics One forms the baseline of all my sound impressions, and what I report are based on deviations from them. It’s a common , cheap cable bundled with most custom IEMs. When we talk about stock cables, this is it.



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.

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.



Listening Conditions

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.



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Appreciate the finer things in life, like wine-colored tablecloths.



Bass

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.



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The evil alien overlord thinks this is a weapon.



Mids

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.

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.



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Does the logo look like a LEL to you?



Treble

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 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.



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Remember to floss twice a day for that radiant smile.



Comparisons

Linum SuperBaX


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.

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.



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The shiny, functionless metal barrel is DHC’s calling card.



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.



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The world’s tiniest coffee flask is good for exactly 1/8th shot of espresso.



Final Words

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.
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Pros: Sub Bass extension and impact, taming excessive energy, extended soundstage, separation, vivid, detailed, beautiful
Cons: depends on your requirements
Some Prudent Advice - A review of the Eletech Prudence cable



Introduction
:

So, allow me to introduce to you the new kid on the cable block:

Elemental Technology, known to those cool cats in the know as ‘Eletech’.

After some triumphant showings at CanJams and various other exhibitions, not to mention a groundswell of love and glowing impressions on Head-Fi, it is likely the case that Eletech in fact need no introduction from me whatsoever.

But my template has a section called ‘Introduction’ so it would be remiss of me – possibly rude even – to leave it unfilled, or indeed unfulfilled :)

Eric Chong, illustrious bossman of Eletech, is known to many for his long stint at Effect Audio cables, and the excellent service and engagement he provided there.

With a desire to realise his own vision of how things could be, he has taken a leap into the unknown and started his own luxury cable company.

Well, I say ‘leap into the unknown’, but the truth is he’s been doing this stuff for years and is an old hand at all this by now :)

His entire cable line up is currently informed by an Ancient Greek theme, with philosophy and classical literature references and influences very much making themselves known in the design, packaging and naming of the line-up.

With such preliminary ramblings out of the way, let’s move on to the cable itself!

The Prudence is from the ‘Virtues’ series of cables that form the opening salvo of Eletech’s cable offerings.

In the crazy audiophile world in which we live, it’s getting harder each day to be definitive about price levels, but I suppose I’d call this – in terms of price – a ‘second step’ entry level cable. You’ve got the stock cables, and then a plethora of cables of varying qualities from around $16 to $100+ USD, many of them via the Chinese online market.

I think above that point is where audiophiles have noticed the sound signature differences that cables can bring and are looking to step up to the next level, perhaps wanting to choose something from a more prestigious brand with innovative craftsmanship.

The Virtues series starts at USD $179 for the copper Fortitude cable and reaches $249 for today’s offering, the Prudence.

The Prudence is an OCC silver plated copper cable, featuring an extremely high strand count and hybrid Type-4 Litz geometry and a Kevlar core for greater resilience without compromising flexibility and ergonomics.

The details and ‘tech specs’ of the Prudence may all be found at the following page on Eletech’s website:
https://elementechnology.com/collections/virtues-series/products/prudence
Eric was kind enough to provide me with a Prudence cable, in return for my honest opinion.



Photos:
First up, the now-legendary ‘gratuitous photos section’ :)

With this cable (and indeed ALL of Eletech’s current line-up), it was love at first sight for me.

“Wait, what?! Sight, not sound? What kind of an audio reviewer ARE you?!” I hear you cry indignantly.

But yes, I mean exactly what I say. I’m a sucker for aesthetics and good (as well as functional) design, and in both regards, Eletech’s line-up just blew me away. Some really innovative styling that manages to stand out from much of the rest of the market.

Behold and see:

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Ergonomics:

The cable’s appearance speaks for itself. I really feel like I’m wearing a luxury product with the Prudence and it’s garnered some glowing comments even from random non-audiophiles I sat next to! It’s light, supple and eminently comfortable; I can wear it for hours without any discomfort. The build quality – inasmuch as I can tell these things – seems excellent and made with reassuringly robust and high quality components.



The Sound:

As with all my reviews, my favoured method is to – gasp! – use the product to listen to music with. Revolutionary, I know.



I feel this method has various benefits and has the additional benefit of creating a degree of consistency and comparability between my reviews of various products.

Those of a less patient disposition may wish to skip to the ‘tl; dr’ summary at the end.

But with the songs, what I try to do is highlight the key features of these tracks that I’m using for critical listening, and how those factors are affected by the stock cable vs the Prudence. This also has the advantage that one can find a copy of the track and listen to it (if not already familiar) to get a much more clear idea about where I’m coming from and the distinctions that I’m describing.



For reference, listening was done with the Lotoo Paw Gold Touch DAP, the Electech cable (of course!) and the following IEMs, which between them represent a pretty comprehensive range of sound characteristics for experimentation:

Stealth Sonics U4

Itsfit Fusion

Stealth Sonics U9

I also have the EE Phantom and EE Nemesis, but the Phantom is on temporary loan to a Head-Fi friend, and the Nemesis is being sent back due to a technical issue and should be returned in a couple of weeks.

This review will be updated (and impressions posted on Head-Fi) once these lovely IEMs are back in my avaricious grasp.
So, without any further preamble, let’s dive in :)



Stealth Sonics U4 - Prudence vs stock cable:

The Stealth Sonics U4 is a $499 IEM with a tuning that is fairly unique and which I deeply love. Despite owning TOTL IEMs, the U4 gets a substantial proportion of my daily IEM use.

It’s a 4 BA IEM, with a custom made extra-large BA to cover the lows and lower mids.

Pros: Note weight, note thickness, warm, rich, effortless and organic presentation of detail, silky smooth treble.

Cons: Technical performance is excellent for this price point, but could be a little better.
Would appreciate a bit more expansion in the soundstage and separation.


James – Nothing But Love (16/44 WAV):

This is a fairly dense and congested track, with a lot of instruments, backing vocals and a bassline (and drum) that is mastered on the recording in such a way as to make it powerful but with some bloat/bleed that seems to cause a degree of muddiness to the track.

Prudence brought an immediately noticeable increase in separation, air and clarity.

Bass quantity around the same, possibly slightly less, but that whole bloat and fuzziness is cleaned up and the bass now has a more DD-like impact.

The sounds of the various instruments seem to have more clearly defined edges.

The sound seems more vivid and clear.


Marit Larsen – Please Don’t Fall For Me (16/44 FLAC):

This is a track that I often use as a test track for critical listening of the low end of an IEM (I also use another of her tracks “Faith & Science” for the same test).

It is a tuneful and sweet pop song, which combines melodic strings, guitar and so forth with comparatively high-pitched female vocals.

On certain tunings of IEM, the vocal can sound a tiny bit sharp or fatiguing to me.

At around 23 seconds in, the kick drum comes in, and on this recording, it’s mastered in such a way as to have a great deal of thump.

On the right IEM, that can translate into a head-shaking impact.

Indeed, this was the primary test track I used when evaluating the Empire Ears X-series line up of IEMs, to find the one which gave me the most bass impact and rumble (Nemesis won, hands-down, for those that are interested) :)

Now with the Prudence, I’m noticing again more clarity and space, but that kick drum actually seems to have more overall impact with the stock cable.

I think because the mid-bass and sub-bass both play a significant role in the way the drum sounds on this track and the impact it has, so the stock cable (which has plenty of presence in both of those areas) doubles down on those qualities, whereas the Prudence seems to be more clean and sub-bass focused.


The Ataris – So Long, Astoria (16/44 FLAC):

Another of my test tracks. A fairly densely mastered fast-paced rock track.

Very melodic and moving though. It’s a good test for how an IEM handles the dense mastering without sounding congested and without those guitars, cymbals and whatnot turning into a hot fatiguing mess.
It starts with a crunchy guitar riff, with other instruments coming in later.

With the stock cable, I noticed, rather organically – as opposed to it popping out noticeably – that there are in fact two guitars playing, and one is covering more of the lower notes and the other more of the highs. There’s a nice interplay between them, and a delightful contrast between the timbre of each.

With the Prudence, that difference between the guitars pops out immediately, and the timbre is very nicely improved, with more micro-detail and texture.
Again, once the dense barrage of instruments all come into the track, the Prudence does make the whole presentation more clear and open.


Handel – Lascia la spina - from Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno (24/96 HDTracks):


This review is rapidly turning into a ‘greatest hits’ list of my favourite critical listening test tracks.

Anyone familiar with my reviews (if any such person actually exists, haha) should by now be familiar with this track.

It’s sung by Hong Kong based opera singer Alison Lau, whose voice can swoop low or soar like a veritable eagle (or stealth bomber, for the more bellicose amongst you) :)

This track also features gorgeous string arrangements playing in the background.

One thing I really like with the U4 is that it really brings beautiful depth, richness, warmth, note weight, note thickness and a subsequently captivating timbre to the stringed instruments here. Particularly at 13 seconds in, when the strings all descend into slightly lower notes. So this is something that I tend to test with other IEM’s; how well they handle that descent into the lower notes of the stringed instruments.

Also, with her voice, when it soars high – and with my existing sensitivity to certain sounds, mainly in the treble – on certain IEMs it can make me wince slightly.

But the U4 is effortlessly smooth and forgiving, without compromising on details or technical performance.

So, how does it fare with the Prudence on this track? :)

Straight away, the increase in openness, space, separation and imaging are noticeable.
Again though, a slight decrease in that richness, warmth and depth, which was apparent at that moment at 13 seconds in, where I listen out for that swoop in the strings.

So, it seems that the Prudence is bringing an increase in technical performance - soundstage, separation, imaging, layering, detail retrieval.

It seems to be taming the mid-bass down a bit, whilst giving technical improvements to the sub-bass; attack, accuracy, transients. There’s a bit more clarity and extension in the treble, and it manages the not inconsiderable feat of sounding vivid but with a veneer of organic smoothness.



Itsfit Fusion - Prudence vs stock cable:

The Itsfit Fusion ($950) is a relatively recent addition to my ‘stable’ of IEMs.

It’s a terrific and TOTL IEM, characterised by an enormously vivid and intense sound signature. Its technical performance is exceptional and it comprises of a DD for the lows, 2xBA for the mids, and a possibly world-first magnetostatic driver for the highs.

Pros: Vivid, hugely engaging, dynamic, excellent low end.. basically, just read my review! :)

Cons: With my treble sensitivities, I can find it a bit too energetic and it can get fatiguing after a while. Also, as a bass-head, I am always open to something that can add a little bit more quality or quantity :)



Marit Larsen – Faith & Science (16/44 FLAC):


As mentioned previously, with this track I’m listening out for how it handles that thumping kick drum at the beginning. But as the track progresses into the latter half, I’m more looking at whether an IEM can synergistically blend together all the lovely elements of the song.

There should be something of a shimmer and organic kind of richness from the blending of all the very musical elements.

With the introduction of the Prudence, the kick-drum that opens the song is dialled up from rich and thumping to an almost thunderous level of impact (on this track), not far off that of Empire Ears’ Nemesis or Legend X. However, this also comes with greater cleanness and accuracy.

The whole sound is much more pinpoint and precise.
I was then listening out for the way it the two cables present the piano chords which come in from 10 seconds onwards, alongside the vocals.

With the stock cable, the sounds are presented well, but the Prudence really does add a lush and shimmering richness to the timbre of both.

There’s a pretty significant opening up in separation which, combined with the outstanding spatial imaging of the Fusion makes for a seriously TOTL performance.


Handel – Lascia la spina - from Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno (24/96 HDTracks):

Stock cable:

As this track starts, there’s a collective intake of breath by all the classical stringed instrument players just prior to the strings starting to play.

The intake of breath doesn’t stand out especially with the stock cable.
Strings have medium richness and clarity. Nice coherence, very musical sound.

Vocals, in the highest parts skate the edge of the line in terms of triggering my treble sensitivity, but manage to stay just the right side of it, capturing the intensity without being overwhelming. Vocal timbre is accurate and fairly full-bodied.

Prudence: The collective intake of breath from the musicians is more defined and the background more black. Note richness, thickness and weight across the lows and mids are increased. Vocal and instrumental timbre both more accurate and engaging. The highest parts of the treble still detailed, clear, pure and intense, but no longer even slightly wince-inducing or sharp at any time.


James – Nothing But Love (16/44 WAV):

Stock cable:

The Fusion’s superb spatial imaging has its work cut out for it on this track.

The opening combination of strummed ukulele with a blend of vocals is all separated out very nicely, with engaging timbre and a lush and vivid musicality.

However, the trumpet line that comes in at 17 seconds is a bit muted and recessed in the mix (in fairness, I think it’s mastered like this on the track) and the introduction of the fat bassline and rumbling, thumping drums start to reduce that clarity a bit.

To the Fusion’s credit, unlike many IEM’s it doesn’t become muddy or congested at this stage though, maintaining a fairly good soundstage and excellent separation and imaging.

Prudence: Small but noticeable increase in separation, definition and clarity in the opening segment of the song (vocals and ukulele). Trumpet line is brought more front and centre and is significantly more prominent and defined (hurrah!).

Everything seems a bit more cohesive and calm when the bass and drum come in.

The Fusion already handled this challenging track very well, but the Prudence definitely adds further class, engagement and refinement to the performance.



Hobotalk – Walks With Me (16/44 WAV):
Two songs here from this talented Scottish singer-songwriter (plus backing band).

This album is relatively unknown, but one of my all-time favourites that I keep coming back to. This track is wistful and heartfelt and yet blissfully tranquil and restorative.

Things I’m looking out for here are the tactility of the opening guitar fingerpicking, the overall musicality and coherency, and the degree to which things are separated out and the way in which soundstage handled.


Stock cable:
Decent, but not exceptional degree of tactility to the fingerpicked guitar line that opens the song. Soundstage (as per the song’s mastering) is fairly closed and intimate.

This track has a slight echo heard with the vocals, but it is fairly subdued here.
Again, spatial imaging is superb. There’s two guitars, bass, mellotron, piano, strings and so forth in this track, and they are all separated but cohesive.


Prudence:
Increase in tactility to the cable. Ooh, bigger soundstage and more separation, delightful.
Again, taking the already outstanding qualities of the Fusion to a whole new level.
Greater cohesiveness, more rich and organic timbre with a touch of shimmer.

This song is sounding superb now, amongst the best presentations of it that I’ve heard.


Hobotalk – Motion Picture Scarecrow (16/44 WAV):

This is a rather different track. Still acoustic singer-songwriter material, but slightly more bluesy, driven by the sound of his boot stomping on a wooden floor and a real intensity to the guitar picking and vocals and lyrics. So here, I’m looking to see how that foot-stomping is presented, along with the guitar fingerpicking; it’s all about timbre and tactility here.

I want power and impact, and the same with the guitar picking and vocals. Done in this way, the song is powerful and enormously engaging. With this in mind, I want to hear the bassy notes of the mellotron in the background drawn out to drive the along song too.

So, the stomp and plucking is averagely done with the stock cable; decent, but far from the best presentation of this song that I’ve heard with other TOTL IEMs. Mellotron impact not especially present.

However, with the Prudence, BOOM! It’s all there, that intensity and impact that this track needs. Foot stomp and fingerpicking with all the steroidal impact of a WWE clothesline-takedown :)

Oh, and that mellotron is now doing what it’s supposed to do in this track, and adding a fist-clenching driving intensity to the track.

I found that using the Eletech Prudence SPC cable with the Fusion was extremely rewarding. The Prudence definitely provided an increase in bass definition and impact, adding a touch of extension and air to the treble, and overall a boost to the technical performance. Generally, it gave it a slightly more balanced and even tuning overall.

It’s an interesting effect in that it doesn’t seem to compromise that vivid, hi-definition sound; if anything, the added clarity and definition enhance that quality, and yet I did feel that the occasionally overwhelming ‘all dials turned up to 11’ nature of the Fusion was alleviated with the Prudence in some strange feat of wizardry :)



Stealth Sonics U9 - Prudence vs stock cable:

This is a TOTL flagship IEM.

It’s not entirely neutral-reference; it’s got too much good stuff going on for that :)

It features a DD for the low end, 2 x BA for mids, 2 x BA for highs and 4 x BA for the ‘super-highs’ (!).

It’s upper mids and treble remind me of the EE Zeus in their vast extension and technical excellence, but that DD adds both a welcome touch of power in the low end, and also that DD tactility to the overall timbre.

Pros: Beautiful delicate shimmer across the mids and highs, micro-detail, soundstage, separation, imaginging, layering..

Cons: Whilst the sub-bass can actually extend astonishingly low, overall, the bass impact and presence is less than I would like.


Marit Larsen - Faith & Science (16/44 FLAC):
Straight away, a significant and noticeable (and most welcome!) increase in sub-bass thump and impact, accompanied by increased space and air around the different parts of the percussion and all of it against a blacker background.

The piano and vocals have improved timbre and shimmer, with a lovely added tinge of organic richness. I also hear the treble (sometimes for me a little sharp on this song) being tamed slightly, but without sacrificing levels of detail retrieval.

Overall, I think the Prudence makes the U9 significantly more enjoyable on this high energy (and high treble) pop track, with the increase in bass strength, impact and thump really helping to make the U9 into more of an all-rounder for those who like their bass on certain genres to be tuned more than only very slightly above neutral.
With this in mind, let’s turn to an entirely different genre – opera – and see what the Prudence has to offer with the U9 here.


Handel – Lascia la spina - from Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno (24/96 HDTracks):

As this track starts, there’s a collective intake of breath by all the classical stringed instrument players just prior to the strings starting to play.
With the Prudence, this is much more clearly defined, framed, and noticeable.

Also noticeable again is the blackness of the background, which is giving more presence and definition to the instruments and vocal.

Whilst reviewing the U4, I felt that the Prudence increased sub-bass but did not add anything to the mid-bass. However, on the U9, with its relatively neutral-reference tuning, I am hearing a welcome tinge of mid-bass warmth and richness, which really adds to the already accurate timbre and emotional engagement of this excellent IEM.

Again, there is an effect where a degree of excess energy and sharpness in the treble on this track are alleviated.


James – Nothing But Love (16/44 WAV):
Wow. Once more here, the Prudence shows how it helps the U9 to shine even more and have a more all-round performance on pop and rock genre tracks.

The muddiness innate to this track is eliminated, but without compromising the richness, warmth and rumble of that powerful, driving bassline.

The instruments and vocals are separated out enough to let them shine both individually and collectively.


Roxy Music – More Than This (24/96 HDTracks FLAC):
With the stock cable, there’s a degree of sharpness in the upper mids and treble, noticeable in the twangy guitar riff that comes in from the very beginning.

Again, this is coming from my own treble sensitivity, and others may find it just pleasantly bright :) A slightly above average degree of thump and rumble to the bass and the kick drum.

With the Prudence, again that excess energy and sharpness is dampened slightly so that it just sounds deliciously bright, and yet it’s also increasing the vividness of the notes.

A tangible increase in impact on the bass and percussion, without much noticeably added to the mid-bass presence.



The Ataris – So Long, Astoria (16/44 FLAC):
Another of my test tracks. A fairly densely mastered fast-paced rock track.
Very melodic and moving though.
It starts with a crunchy guitar riff, with other instruments coming in later.

There are two guitars playing in the opening riff, and one is covering more of the lower notes and the other more of the highs. There’s a nice interplay between them, and a delightful contrast between the timbre of each.

With the U4, being the technically outstanding, reference-detail-fiend that it is, it’s not even a question of noticing the two separate guitar lines; they are completely and naturally separated and coherently combined. The Prudence simply enhances this already innate quality, and again, timbre is very nicely improved, with more micro-detail and texture.

Again, the Prudence is bringing a wonderfully engaging presence and impact across the low end, and a similarly delightful bump in the richness of the timbre which is especially noticeable across the mids and in the vocals.


Miles Davis – Blue In Green (24/192 HDTracks FLAC):
In this song, I’m again looking at timbre and tactility, especially with the brushed percussion.

I’m also doing my “does this make me wince?” check with the trumpet as it comes in.

This track is already presented very well with the stock cable.

On the U9, The upright bass extends deep down and has great decay and presence, underpinning the brushed percussion, which is noticeably clear and with very accurate timbre here. Indeed, on this hi-res recording, and with a TOTL IEM like the U9, the timbre and clarity with every instrument is exceptional and the trumpet is never too sharp.

So, let’s see what the Prudence adds (or subtracts) to the mix :)
Immediately, it’s as if someone turned the blackness of the background and the detail dials up a few notches. Straight away, instruments are even more vivid and lifelike. Spatial imaging seems more accurate. Improved performance in transients and decay and that added tinge of organic richness lead to an even greater presentation of timbre.

Overall, the track is just more engaging and emotional, and still the detail retrieval and technical performance is superior to that found with the stock cable.


Sugababes – Push The Button (16/44 FLAC):
A good test for how an IEM handles synthetic beats and bass.

Can it make the song foot-tappingly irresistible?

Not to labour the point too much, but yet again, the Prudence takes a track that sounds just a little bit underwhelming and non-engaging on the U9, and makes it explode into life by adding the impact, fullness and rumble to that low end that’s so important in driving the song, as well as providing an overall increase in richness and vividness across the spectrum.

Terrific combination here. Now there’s richness, depth and power to the low end, and an irresistible beat that makes me want to leap out of bed and strut my funky stuff like a circa 1970’s John Travolta, only clad in loungewear as opposed to a lounge suit :)



Simply put, I’m only going to be listening to the U9 with the Prudence from now on. A stellar IEM has been taken to new heights and perfectly tweaked to match my personal tastes.

A combination crafted in heaven and stuffed chock-full of WIN for good measure:)



========================================================





Phantom – Prudence vs stock cable (EA Ares II):

The Ataris – Summer ’79 (16/44 FLAC)
With Prudence, an increase in separation and clarity and a slight taming of the treble peaks.
With stock cable, the introductory part of the song can sound slightly congested as it has a kind of ‘wall of noise’ sound at this point; however, with the Prudence, this issue did not appear.


Marit Larsen – Faith & Science (16/44 FLAC)

With this song, I’m straight away listening out for the degree/quality of thump, impact and decay with the drum beat that opens the song.
It opens with a higher pitched drum (not cymbal or hi-hat); snare, perhaps?
Then a kick(?) drum, mastered on this track with a comparatively high amount of power and impact.
I don’t play drums, so anyone who knows of such things, please feel free to find this song online and let me know which particular parts of the drum kit I’m listening to :)
I hear less impact and a faster decay on the opening snare(?) drum.
However, I hear the impact and depth of the kick drum increased, with a deeper sub-bass extension.

That kind of veiled, slightly muffled feeling around the mids that I always notice in the first 5-10mins of listening to the Phantom disappears with the Prudence, for good or for ill.




Keane – Somewhere only we know (16/44 FLAC):

With this song, the focus is chiefly on the mids.
Keane are a slightly unusual British rock/pop/acoustic act, in that their musical line up is piano-led, with drums, bass, plus keyboards and random sounds, but no guitars.
It’s a sometimes fairly high pitched male vocal, and I’m really focused here principally on timbre.

With the stock cable, the sound is more rich, musical and resonant. There seems to be greater note weight and thickness. Terrific, engaging and faithful timbre overall. Basically, all the qualities here that I love about the Phantom.

Switching to the Prudence, I feel these qualities are slightly reduced; however, there is an accompanying increase in separation and clarity, along with a nice added sheen of shimmer.


Billy Eilish – Bad Guy (16/44 FLAC):
So, this song kicks off with a PHAT and deep bass line and synth beat.
That’s pretty much what I’m focusing on here.
With the stock cable, it’s deep, but I’m feeling it just as much towards the mid-bass.
The decay seems a bit slower and the bass is slightly muffled.

The muffled feeling is just the way it’s mastered on the track, but switching to the Prudence, the muffled feeling is cleaned up a little bit.
The overall impact and presence of the bassline is decreased.
Bear in mind this is a synthetic bassline and tuned more towards mid-bass.
Generally with Prudence, it seems to enhance sub-bass whilst tightening up and cleaning up the whole low end. Compared with pure copper cables, it seems to be more linearly tuned as it progresses from sub to mid-bass.

Aside from these observations though, I can report that there’s an increase in detail and clarity, Eilish’s murmuring voice in the background of the opening minute sounding like she’s whispering directly into my ear.
About how she wants to kill me or something, so it’s not all that hot :)

James – “Sometimes (Lester Piggott)” (16/44 FLAC):
So, this song features some frantically strummed acoustic guitars, a driving rhythm (but fairly neutrally mastered in terms of bass presence and impact) and, as the song progresses, more instruments and complexity coming in.
Once everything is all going on, it’s a good test of an IEM’s (or cable’s) ability to separate everything out and present it without it all becoming overwhelming.

Prudence definitely wins in the separation and clarity stakes here, and it becomes significantly more easy to pick out and focus on individual instruments.

With the stock cable, I’m hearing a bit more note weight and thickness and a more musical presentation. Treble extension is pretty similar between the two, but with Prudence I’m hearing a slight increase in extension and a smoother presentation.


Ok, let’s wrap this up.
After listening to these and many other songs with these two cables on the EE Phantom, below are my conclusions.

As with the other IEM’s I’ve paired the Prudence with, this excellent cable is offering the following general characteristics, and brings them to the EE Phantom as well:
An increase in sub-bass impact and presence, with more linearly tuned mid-bass.
An extension and smoothing of the treble (but without compromising detail retrieval).
Generally, a taming of ‘peakiness’ and excess energy.
Excellent detail retrieval and vivid presentation.
Increases in soundstage size and separation.

Now, the Phantom is a very unique IEM, that’s somewhat divisive in terms of its sound signature. Personally, I love it although I’ve sometimes wished I could increase the soundstage and separation a bit, and maybe remove that strange feeling I get of a slight veil across the mids. However, what I’ve found so far at least in practice is that such adjustments generally seem to come at the cost of losing something of the unique character of the Phantom.

So, with the Prudence - as with any other good cable – I’d strongly recommend demo’ing it with the Phantom if you get the chance. It’s also wise to consider what it is you are hoping to change/increase/decrease with the Phantom’s existing sound signature.

I found that with the Prudence, it lets the excellent technical abilities of the Phantom really shine. It starts to sound something more in the direction of the EE Zeus, or my Stealth Sonics U9; a (relatively) more reference sounding IEM, with TOTL sound quality and performance.

It does still retain many aspects of the original Phantom sound though, such as outstanding timbre and natural detail retrieval; however, that note thickness, richness and weight and the overall musicality are diminished somewhat.

So, if you’re in love with those specific qualities of the Phantom I’ve just mentioned (note thickness etc), then I’d suggest the stock cable, or one of similar composition might be more suited to your tastes.

However, if it’s other aspects of the sound you’re looking to experiment with, or if the Phantom has been an IEM that you couldn’t quite click with – but wanted to – then I can heartily recommend the Prudence. It basically offers you a different style of TOTL IEM for a relatively budget outlay.



Summary (tl; dr):



The Prudence is an outstanding cable and even more so at this relatively budget price point.

It cleans up and tightens the low end, adding a welcome amount of sub-bass impact and presence, whilst introducing a tinge of organic richness, warmth and note weight across the mid-bass and on into the mids, along with a little bit of shimmer.
This really added to presentation of timbre in vocals (male and female) and a wide range of instruments.

It adds treble extension and a touch of sparkle, and yet overall has the effect of taming excess energy in the upper mids and treble, but never at the cost of detail or technical performance.

Speaking of which, it noticeably improves soundstage size and separation on every IEM I’ve tested it with.

If you're looking for any of the following, the Prudence would definitely be worth consideration:
An increase in sub-bass impact and extension
An increase in soundstage size and separation
Improved detail retrieval
A tinge of organic musicality and shimmer
A cable to slightly tame excessive energy or 'heat' in the upper mids/treble

However, if you are looking for the following, then you might wish to consider other alternatives:
A significant increase in mid-bass presence and warmth (perhaps try Eletech's Fortitude cable for this?)
A cable to help add energy to an IEM's performance

So in summary, I would have to take my hat off (were I to wear one) to Eric Chong and the team for creating a truly excellent cable – in terms of both visual design and audio performance) at a relatively accessible price point.
Bravo!

Or perhaps I should say ‘Eureka!’ :)

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