Golden Wrap-It Raph!
PROS: beautifully crafted cable with an updated custom hardware, soft and lightweight, improves 3D depth of sound imaging, noticeable improvement in mids by bringing them forward and adding more body to the sound.
CONS: no chin slider.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
Manufacturer website: Eletech Audio. Available for sale directly or from authorized retailers like Bloom Audio and MusicTeck.
I’m aware that some people don’t believe in cables and have very strong opinion about it. It’s not my intent to start an argument here. 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, and purity, all of which put together act as a filter between your source and earphones. Variations of these physical properties can affect the conductivity 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 of earphones and their synergy with a source.
It’s always good to see well-known audio companies balance their high-end product line with budget series, like Eletech which offers their flagship cables under Parnassus series, mid-fi cables under School of Athens, and entry level cables under Virtues Series. As I often say, flagship cables have their own audience who buys it regardless of the price, going straight for diminishing returns to choose a cable with the best pair up synergy with their flagship multi-kilobuck IEMs. Those who are on a tighter budget often turn to places like Aliexpress where they might find something that looks pretty, but ends up having a cheap wire material, poor quality hardware, connectors that don’t fit well, or plugs with a tolerance issue. I heard plenty of nightmare stories from my readers who wasted their money.
Eletech budget series, Virtues, was quite popular and offered Fortitude (copper) and Prudence (SPC) cables. Early this year, Eric Chong, the driving force behind Element Technology (Eletech), made the announcement of discontinuing both… only to surprise us a month later at CanJam NYC with new updated version of each, replacing copper Fortitude with Azrael and SPC Prudence with Cassiel. Those were redesigned from ground up, with all new ultra-high purity materials and new wire geometry design. But apparently, there was more, and Eletech decided to complete their Virtues series with a brand-new cable which could have been easily bumped to School of Athens price level, but instead is being introduced under Virtues Series umbrella. After spending the last few weeks testing different IEMs with this new Eletech Raphael cable, I would like share with you what I found.
Virtues Series group shot
Nothing to report here since I received Raph in a Ziplock bag. But from my previous experience of dealing with other Eletech cables, regardless of the price, I’m sure it will be a themed based packaging.
It’s very common for entry level cables to use basic materials, such as copper or silver-plated copper or silver wires. And those are not always the highest quality because the whole point of “entry level” is to be more budget friendly. The updated New Virtues Series switched to Ultra-High Purity wires, and Raph stepped it up to more exotic materials, using a blend of Ultra-High Purity Gold Plated Copper (GPC) and Gold-Copper Alloy (GCA). The cable uses 4 wires, 25.5 AWG in thickness, and each wire has a multi-sized stranding design with 9 Core Litz of GPC and GCA, reinforced with Kevlar strands at the core. Furthermore, strands are individually enameled and also cryogenically treated. The wires itself are wrapped in a transparent FlexiMax insulation.
The hardware of the cable is updated, all custom, and looks and feels very premium to the touch. It uses Aluminum Alloy material and designed to shield and reject EMF interference. The Y-Split and Termination housing features new precision cuts of seven balanced triangles with a pattern of other nested triangles. They also feature Eletech’s engraved name (on both) and logo (on Termination housing). Connector housing is very compact, also made from a matching Aluminum alloy and has Eletech’s logo and corresponding engraved L/R marking. Cable is relatively lightweight, very flexible, non-microphonic.
I’m still hoping that one of these days Eletech will introduce their own chin-slider with a matching design. But for now, no chin slider was included with Raphael.
Page 2 – Pair ups, Comparisons, and Conclusion w/Sound Analysis.
4 thoughts on “Eletech Raphael”
Do you recommend a burn-in period?
This is a very controversial topic 🙂 By force of habit I run everything in a loop for 3-4 days. Cable manufacturers suggest at least a few days.
Hey Twister! Curious if you tried pairing this cable with your Odin? If so, what were your thoughts..
Just did. Odin is a bit mid-forward to begin with, so I don’t hear as much of a sound sig change, but vocals did get more body. With a stock 1960 2W they sound a bit brighter/thinner. Now, a little fuller and smoother. Not a drastic change, more of a refinement. Actually sounds pretty good.