Pair up and Sound analysis.
Here is how I hear Eletech Socrates cable paired up with different IEMs in comparison to other cables (noted below). In this test I was using LPGT as a neutral reference source, volume matched, and playing the selection of my usual test tracks, such as Agnes Obel “The curse”, Sandro Cavazza “So much better” (Avicii remix), C-Bool “Never go away”, Ed Sheeran “Shape of you”, Counting Crows “Big yellow taxi”, Galantis “Hunter”, Alan Walker “Darkside”, Iggy Azalea “Black widow”, Indila “Boite en argent”, Robin Schultz “Oh child”, Dua Lipa “Love again”, David Elias “Vision of her”, and Michael Jackson “Dirty Diana”.
Please keep in mind, I’m describing the sound of IEM paired with a specific cable, driven from LPGT source. I don’t want to imply that cable will have a drastic EQ-like effect on the sound of IEM. Based on what I’m hearing, cable can finetune the sound, but if you find the original signature of IEM to be not your cup of tea, no cable alone will change that.
Stock SPC vs Socrates – Consistent with other comparisons, Socrates brings out K10 mids more forward, giving them more focus and clarity, while also expanding the soundstage wider, stretching mids/vocals more L/R. Bass didn’t change much here except being more balanced with mids. But treble sounds more natural, less harsh, a little smoother around the edges, with upper end having a more natural refinement.
Empire Ears Legend X
Stock Ares II vs Socrates – LX was tuned using original Ares II copper cable, but I think after trying Socrates in this pair up I might end up keeping it permanently. While the perception of overall soundstage stayed similar, mids/vocals got wider. Treble gained a little more sparkle and airiness, and the overall sound signature changed from L-shaped to W-shaped, transforming into a more balanced sig due to mids being more forward, more focused, and more revealing. I have tested other cables with a similar effect on LX sig, but they were 2x-3x more expensive. Also, with Socrates the quality of bass remained the same, so you will not be sacrificing the impact or the rumble of LX.
Empire Ears Odin
Stock PWA 1960 2wire vs Socrates – I had to switch multiple times back and forth in this comparison, focusing on soundstage, and noticed that while overall soundstage remained holographic between these two cables, the upper mids/vocals actually got wider with Socrates, stretching more L/R. But it could also be just a part of the perception where Socrates mids are more forward and also brighter. I also noticed a little less sub-bass rumble in Odin with Socrates, which could be a side effect of different cable impedance.
64 Audio Fourte
PlusSound PPH8 vs Socrates – consistent with other comparisons, again I hear more focus on mids and their width expanding/stretching more L/R. Bass and treble here sounded nearly the same, but the mids were less colored, more transparent, more revealing. Also, you get a perception of lower treble being a little more crisp as well, but it wasn’t too bad. Keep in mind, PS palladium plated hybrid cable is not stock, and going from stock SPC cable to Socrates will have an even more noticeable effect with more transparency and less coloring while bringing mids more forward.
Eletech Plato vs Socrates – with stock Plato the soundstage has a decent width but I hear more depth extending out of my head. With Socrates the perception of width catches up with depth, giving the sound a more holographic 3D soundstage. Other noticeable changes are the bass having a deeper and slightly more elevated sub-bass rumble and at the same time having a little more control with shorter decay which helps improve resolution and clarity of mids, especially audible when focusing on vocals. Treble sounds unchanged. Obviously, Thummim was tuned with Plato cable to give this IEM and thicker and fuller sound with more bass impact. I’m not suggesting that Socrates will improve the sound of Thummim, but it can offer a change for those who want more focus and clarity in mids.
Vision Ears Elysium
Stock SPC vs Socrates – Improvement in soundstage width is the first thing I noticed, especially in mids/vocals spreading wider and being more multi-dimensional, getting more out of your head. Bass has a little more sub-bass rumble and overall shorter decay, giving it more control. Treble didn’t change much, but mids are now more revealing and less colored. It will be up to a personal preference since Ely’s DD mids have a natural smoother tonality, and switching to Socrates opens them up with more revealing details. I have been vocal how much I enjoyed Ely with EA Code 51, and Socrates comes very close in mids, bringing them as forward and making them as transparent and less colored. C51, adds more mid-bass impact and treble sparkle, but in terms of soundstage improvement and mids – Socrates gets there at a fraction of a price.
Consistent with my cable testing philosophy, I used the same IEM (64 Audio U18t) and the same source (LPGT), and only changed one variable at a time to note the sound difference I hear while keeping volume matched. Keep in mind, I’m describing how these copper cables sound with 64 Audio U18t IEM, with a focus of this comparison being on Eletech Socrates.
PWA 1960 2wire vs Socrates – Socrates adds a little bit more sub-bass rumble, shortens decay of mid-bass, and brings mids a little more forward while also making them brighter and more revealing. Also, with a soundstage, over all it was similar but vocals sounded more expanded, stretching wider L/R. I also confirmed the same change with Odin per my previous pair up analysis.
Dita OSLO vs Socrates – The perception of bass in this comparison is nearly identical, but mids is where I hear the biggest difference, going from smoother more organic (OSLO) to more forward and revealing (Socrates). The level of clarity is the same, but the coloring is different, with OSLO giving mids a warmer smoother tonality while Socrates doing the opposite by making mids more transparent and brighter, and also making lower treble a little brighter.
PlusSound Tri-Copper vs Socrates – these two cables have a very similar overall tonality, but their technical performance is different. Socrates soundstage expands wider and it is quite noticeable. The biggest difference here is the sound with Socrates being more layered, more dynamic, and having more air between the layers. Tri-copper is not too far behind, but it was not exactly the match. I even tried it a few times in a blind comparison, and it was always clear which one was which.
I usually like to “preach” that cable shouldn’t have a drastic EQ-like effect on the sound, but after testing Socrates I’m starting to question that. Maybe not as drastic, but I do hear a consistent change affecting the sound of upper mids being more forward, more revealing, and more focused. It was quite noticeable in V-shaped tuned IEMs where pair up with Socrates shifted the perception of the sound toward a more W-shaped balanced sig. There was also a change with additional sub-bass rumble and more control in mid-bass having a little shorter decay. Another consistent change I noticed was relative to soundstage, also focused around upper mids/vocals, stretching them wider from left to right.
These are refinement level sound changes, based on a specific metal wire material and stranding geometry that will affect overall conductivity and resistivity of the cable. There is no fairy dust magic behind Socrates that will transform your IEM sound into something different. You have to be realistic, and if you don’t like the sound of your current IEMs the cable upgrade alone won’t help you. But Eletech Socrates latest copper cable can help you with a refinement of mids which is hard to ignore. Just like it is hard to ignore the fine workmanship and the distinct signature look of this cable hardware.