The Philosophy of Copper!
PROS: excellent workmanship, beautiful design of the plug and the y-split, very distinct mid-forward sound refinement, improves the perception of soundstage expansion.
CONS: no chin slider, sound improvement varies depending on pair up.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
I’m aware that some people don’t believe in cables and have very strong opinions about it. It’s not my intention to start the argument; instead I would like to share what I hear during my testing. Perhaps, I can’t fully explain why there is a change in sound, but I do hear it and don’t believe it’s a placebo effect. What makes sense to me, a metal wire is a material with physical properties of resistivity, conductivity, purity, all of which put together act as a filter between your source and headphones. Variations of these physical properties can affect the flow of analog signal, resulting in a sound change, from a subtle to a more noticeable level. Also, the sound change introduced by a specific cable is not universal because it will depend on the design and the synergy between the source and earphones or headphones under test.
While the name Element Technology (Eletech) might sound new to some, the face of the company co-founder will be quite familiar to many. Eric Chong was a big part of EA team for years, attending many international audio shows, until recently he co-founded Eletech cable company, based in SGP. When I ran into Eric early this year at CanJam NYC’20, I didn’t realize that he was such a Renaissance man, and I mean it in a literal way.
The Eletech display at the show and the naming of products was based around the work of Italian Renaissance artist Raphael, with entry level Virtues Series featuring Copper and SPC cables, mid-fi level School of Athens Series featuring Monocrystal Bespoke Silver cable, and summit-fi level Parnassus Series featuring premium blend of Monocrystal Silver & Palladium Plated Silver & Gold-Silver Alloy. A thought did cross my mind, considering entry level Copper and SPC and mid-fi level Silver, the School of Athens was missing another cable ingredient. Now, with introduction of Socrates Bespoke Copper cable the series looks more complete.
The only thing I’m still curious about is the name Eletech chose for this cable, Socrates, because they mentioned “Socratic Irony” as being the reference for the design which could lead to many different interpretations, even controversial ones. Perhaps, like the lyrics of some iconic songs in the past left up to interpretation of the listeners, we might never find out the true meaning behind it. But I will give it my best shot to provide you with my own interpretation of how Socrates copper cable sounds to my ears. So, here it goes!
Unboxing and Accessories.
Not just this particular Socrates cable, but all Eletech cables packaging is very impressive and original. With some people who don’t even take cables seriously, I’m sure the mentioning of cable unboxing will raise some eyebrows. But regardless of that, just look at the pictures to judge it for yourself. The theme of the cable name is infused into this packaging, with a box designed to look like a book, opening its cover to reveal the content inside. It is a box which you can actually put on a bookshelf, upright, and it will fit right in.
Inside you will find a soft foam lining with a cutout for a leather case and decorative copper plate emblem – a clever touch for a copper cable. The provided stock Eletech Companion Case is individually handcrafted from exclusive wine-read leather with a darker accent. This case looks and smells premium, branded with ET logo imprint on the top and on a zipper tag. The case also has a carabiner clip to hang it off your bag, and a flap with a snap button on the back to attach to your belt. It is a truly luxurious leather case with a soft inner lining and plenty of room for a cable and IEMs.
My cable arrived with 4.4mm plug termination, but I’m sure you can request Eletech for optional custom accessories if you need an adapter.
While designing Socrates, looks like Eletech decided to step back from the exotic wire material and get back to basics, using monocrystal bespoke cryogenically treated OCC Copper, 24 AWG gauge with 7N purity. By definition, a single crystal refined copper goes through a special manufacturing process of keeping the material flowing continuous and unbroken to achieve zero grain boundaries which enhances signal transmission conductivity.
According to Eletech, they developed their own in-house geometry stranding to maximize the design efficiency which allows various multiple sized strands of copper to be encapsulated within their own FlexiMax insulation, keeping the cable slim, flexible, and microphonics free. Furthermore, it is Kevlar infused for extra durability, and they also use premium grade bespoke solder.
Socrates is not exactly a flashy cable since you can’t see the actual wires due to an all-black wire jacket. The main part of the cable between the plug and y-split has 4 loosely braided wires, and above the split, wires are twisted in two pairs going to the left/right 2pin connectors with black metal housing, L/R marking on inside and ET symbol on the outside. The cable features a pre-shaped earhook in a form of a clear heat-shrink for a comfortable fit above your ears.
The bland look of the wires is compensated by a beautiful customized Y-Split and matching Connector Plug. The Y-split has a signature Eletech design with a copper insert featuring various polygons and triangles, creating a mesmerizing 3D effect as you turn it around under the light reflection due to angular planes of the design. And the gold-plated plug of the connector has a matching black metal housing with a copper insert and angular planes in a shape of triangles.
The black and copper theme of the design works really well here, bringing more attention to the copper featured in the y-split and the plug. And btw, while this is an original Eletech design idea, the manufacturing of y-split and the plug was done by Pentaconn.