All listening was done with the Shanling M8 from the 2.5mm balanced out and the Lotoo PAW Gold Touch using a pigtail 2.5mm to 4.4mm balanced adapter with Cardas Clear wires. Streaming Qobuz with the LPGT was done using a MacBook Pro 2020 as a source and the LPGT as USB DAC (wired, not BT).
I have recently been experimenting with my reviews to bring them closer to the music and make it easier for others to listen to what I listened to so that they can compare what they hear to my descriptions. Here once again I am experimenting because I think synergy is key with cables. Let’s look at what Prudence 8 brings to the music with a selection of IEMs and compare to cables that synergise well with those.
“Oh no, not another long analysis! It’s just a flippin’ cable mate!” No worries, I will start off with the TL;DR so you can skip the rest if it bores you to death…
Based on the more detailed analysis below, I feel that Prudence 8 is a very well-balanced cable. It offers improved transparency over premium stock cables such as the Effect Audio Ares II, a smooth and extended treble response, and a more visceral bass response. The stage is larger and airier, but importantly, it offers a blacker background, improved stability and more accurate positional information, resulting in much better imaging. Prudence 8 does not extend the stage super wide or deep and as such maintains a relative sense of intimacy with IEMs that have such a presentation. Because it does not extend the stage and separation out very far, it might not be the best option for those seeking to push those aspects. The effect on the bass is probably its most immediately noticeable characteristic, offering a more visceral bass response. Mids feel more realistic and the treble gets a hint more sparkle without any brightness.
I feel Prudence 8 sits somewhere in between more traditional copper- and silver-based cables. It is organic and coherent, yet is also able to help push technical aspects such as transparency and imaging to a higher level.
Going Dutch with the MMR Gáe Bolg and Prudence 4 vs Prudence 8
Do the Dutch produce good music? Oh yes! We have some great talent in this country and so I am going to put that on display here.
Starting with a band I discovered recently that happens to come from the city of Groningen: Orange Skyline. I settled near Groningen a little over two years ago and it is a remote city in the north of the country where nothing much seems to happen and so it is great to see that is not the case. Things That I Hide is Orange Skyline’s debut album. When I switch from Prudence 4 to Prudence 8, I find that with the track Lost the bass becomes tighter, gets a little more punch and more clearly defined texture. There is a hint more noticeable sparkle without introducing any sharpness. The presentation feels larger, airier and yet maintains the lush character of the Gáe Bolg. With Prudence 8 imaging feels more stable and precise, where with Prudence 4 it feels like there is a softer edge to the notes. This is also noticeable in the intro of the track Talking of Michelangelo/Hotel Rooms that feels more spacious, clear and with great panning from left to right when using Prudence 8.
Surprise surprise, Groningen has more on offer! The distinctly British sounding band The Vices was established in Groningen in 2019. Looking for Faces is their first studio album. The track In and Out shows off the increased sparkle nicely, but I also find that although perhaps less immediately noticeable, it gives a good sense of the blacker background and improved image stability. One of my favourite tracks is Boy and here I find the layering more clearly defined with Prudence 8 compared to Prudence 4, as well as a more engaging punch in the bass. Relatively speaking of course, as Prudence 4 is already an excellent pairing.
Not from Groningen (we won’t hold it against her), Froukje recently won the 3FM Talent Award and for good reason, her voice is outstanding. Heb Ik Dat Gezegd? is the sort of simple song that sticks in your head all day long and you will enjoy too. With Prudence 8 the clearer definition and tighter bass, combined with improved vocal density helps to strengthen that effect. Infectious, I would call it. Froukje’s voice is clearer and it makes it easier to follow the lyrics (if, of course, you happen to understand Dutch). This is all the clearer with the equally infectious Ik Wil Dansen, where Froukje is on form with fast flowing lyrics that are more clearly presented with Prudence 8.
Around for a longer time Chef’Special is still raking in awards for their albums and you can easily see why, their recent album Unfold will cheer you up even in these strange pandemic times. Someone Else’s Love is one of those great tracks that has that bright and sunny feel to it, the sort of track you want to experience at a festival… Oh darn… Back to enjoying Qobuz in the solitary comfort of your home then. With Prudence 8 it feels consistent with everything I mentioned previously; clearer, better imaging and more punch and fun.
Initially I was leaning more towards Prudence 4 for the Gáe Bolg, but having spent more time with Gáe Bolg and Prudence 8 I find that the overall improvement is very good and I now much prefer Prudence 8. Prudence 4 certainly has excellent synergy, but feels a little softer around the edges, where with Prudence 8 the Gáe Bolg get a crisper, clearer and more technically proficient presentation.
Pedal to the Metal with the 64 Audio Tia Trio and PlusSound Exo GPS vs Prudence 8
“Pah! Too much pop and indie rock you great big wuss!” Time to bring in the heavy hitters. My recent addiction has (perhaps surprising to some) been Slipknot and although it took me a while to get into, I now love their self-titled debut album Slipknot. Going up against a more expensive (US$600) Gold-Plated Silver (GPS) cable from PlusSound is no mean feat for Prudence 8 when paired with the Trio, as I think the synergy there is near perfect. Surfacing shows the different effect of these two cables. The Trio paired with the Exo GPS presents this track tighter and clearer with more space, where the pairing with Prudence 8 results in a more forward presentation with a thicker, more visceral sounding bass. Prudence 8 is not as clean and that is made quite clear by this chaotic and angry track. Prudence 8 can’t quite tame the Trio as well as the Exo GPS.
The French do metal? Apparently so. Gojira is a French progressive metal band. A bit less extreme than Slipknot, but still plenty heavy. Because the layering of the tracks is less chaotic than with Slipknot, it does not feel like Prudence 8 has problems taming the Trio with Gojira. Instead, the presentation here is more raw and heavy, something that I think suits it. The track Silvera feels raw and heavy without being dragged down too much. The Trio seem to have no problem with switching tempo, as with the intro of the next track on the album, The Cell, which hits like a machine gun. Perhaps a larger caliber than with the Exo GPS, but still with the relatively high speed of the Trio’s bass (which is not as superfast and articulate as (for instance) that of the FiR Audio M4, yet still pretty fast).
Gojira a bit too nice and neat? Let’s go into Grammy nomination territory with Periphery’s album Periphery III: Select Difficulty, another recommendation I got from my Twister6 colleague Anirudh (Animagus). And difficult it is. This album is super complex, layered and technical. With Prudence 8 I feel that tracks such as Habitual Line-Stepper get a darker, heavier feel than with the Exo GPS, and I actually find that the technicality does not come through as well. Similarly for the track Motormouth, which sounds great until you compare directly to the Exo GPS. I have intentionally pushed the synergy here to quite extremes because of how well the Exo GPS synergizes with the Trio and Prudence 8 being a SPC. I think though that it is informative about the general characteristics of Prudence 8.
Hauntingly beautiful vocals with the Empire Ears Phantom and Effect Audio Ares II vs Prudence 8
How could I possibly have a cable review without using my trusted Phantom? Let’s turn things down a notch with some amazing vocal music. London Grammar just released their third album, Californian Soil, which is just like their previous two albums an absolute joy to listen to. Hannah Reid sounds as hauntingly beautiful as always. With California Soil, the track that gave the name to the album, Hannah pulls you along with her voice. Prudence 8 improves the naturalness of her voice over the stock Ares II. It feels smoother, but also more transparent and realistic, as if she is standing in front of you. The overall presentation is less bright, as Ares II can have a hint of brightness in the treble, which Prudence 8 does not have even though Prudence 8 does extend the treble.
More stunning vocals with Melody Gardot and Sunset in the Blue. With C’est Magnifique you immediately notice how much more intimate the presentation is with the stock Ares II compared to Prudence 8. Prudence 8 gives the Phantom a more spacious presentation without giving up the sense of intimacy. Vocals are pushed back slightly, moving them from more forward to neutral. The recording has a lot of emphasis on vocals and so it feels less like Melody (and the male voice) is whispering in your ear. Melody’s version of Moon River gives a good sense of how Prudence 8 adds a very nice amount of air, smoothness in the treble and overall transparency over the Ares II. Melody’s voice is just so seductive with Prudence 8, absolutely lovely. The guitar is also gorgeous with a lot of texture added to the strings and more of the resonance in the body of the guitar.
To wrap up I could not resist going back to where we started, with a Dutch artist. Eefje de Visser has a beautiful voice and her album Bitterzoet is wonderful for some relaxation. The title song Bitterzoet in my opinion shows how the Phantom feel more dynamic with Prudence 8. There is more depth, a blacker background and the bass line is cleaner, more impactful and textured, while Eefje’s voice is more cleanly separated and presented with more density. Pixels does this as well. It feels more dynamic, more realistic, more alive. Overall I feel that Prudence 8 is an excellent pairing with the Phantom and keeps their signature pretty similar while improving mainly in technical aspects.
The Eletech Prudence 8 is a wonderful cable with a great build quality, excellent comfort, especially for an 8-wire cable, and a versatile characteristic. It is a well-balanced cable that can provide a visceral bass response, extend the treble without brightness and improves transparency while nudging IEMs towards a more natural and realistic tonality. With the pairings I tested the result was better imaging, a blacker background and an overall more dynamic feel to the music. Prudence 8 might not pair well with everything, but should be a great choice for a wide variety of IEMs nonetheless.