Soooooo, I lied. It’s not my first cable review. I’ve done that for local audiophile magazines before. But it is my first headphone (IEM in this case) related test. To add some spiciness to it, I used to run a small-time audio cable/mods business. I made a ton of different cables for stereo, and recently I have made an IEM cable for myself. Well, Eletech. Hope you are ready because I am.
I met Eric, the Sales Director for Eletech in London, at CanJam 2022. We were introduced by a mutual friend, Mark, from HiFiMan. Yes, audio is a tight-knit community. Eric is a great guy and probably the chilliest person in the industry. No wonder why we got along so well. Naturally, we came up with a review idea, and I wanted to try introducing some silver into my EDC rig. Of course, I modestly asked for the cheapest silver-plated cable in their offer. I just met the man, and I don’t want to drain his account. Yet. Eletech is a premium cable manufacturer from Singapore. They are widely known not only for their products’ quality but also for being active in the community. You can find them on the Head-Fi forum, and they even created a product, a top IEM cable called Ode To Laura, in cooperation with the community on that forum. I think that really speaks volumes about the kind of business they are running.
Let us start with the basic information. The Prudence is in the starter series of Eletech. Together with a cable named Fortitude, it creates a series called Virtues. The series takes its name from Raphael’s painting “Cardinal Virtues”. Their product series refer to classic arts: IEM cables to Raphael’s paintings, Ode To Laura relates to poetry, and headphone cable Inferno to Dante’s written masterpiece. So this is an introduction to their offer.
Head/earphone cable has a much more challenging task than other cables. It not only has to sound better than others, but it also needs to be as comfortable to use as possible. I’ll also be evaluating this cable in terms of durability. It’s a premium cable, and I expect a premium experience that will justify its price point.
A note on cables because it is a hot topic, and I want to get it out of the way immediately. My experience says cables make a noticeable difference. I’m talking about the last 10% of performance. Please take this scale into account. Even the best cable won’t transform your IEMs into something they are not. If you are not interested in a review of this sort, that’s cool. Let’s pretend you weren’t even here and never talk about it. Check out my other reviews. Go out with your friends, play with your dog, or learn a new skill. Do something positive instead of giving me crap about reviewing cables. It won’t change my experience. It will only take your precious time away.
The cable comes in a small but tasteful box. It has a drawer that slides out. Inside there is a felt pocket for the cable with the manufacturer’s logo. Together with the cable, we get a leather cable strap, again with a logo.
Prudence is a premium product, and it certainly is packaged as such. There is also a card with metallic letters describing the product series, Virtues, and the cable’s specifications. The box also has a sticker informing what’s inside, and mine also has my name, which is a nice personal touch. Appreciate it, Eric, thanks.
Build Quality and Tech
Back to the subject at hand, Prudence is a silver-plated cable, composed of 4 Litz wires, each fortified with a Kevlar core. This geometry is called by Eletech: Hybrid Type-4 Litz Geometry.
The copper used is OCC flawless copper, as per their website. The isolation is called FlexiMax and is patent pending. The cable is cryo-treated. In my case, it is finished with a 4.4 mm plug and 2-pin plugs. Together with the Y-splitter, they are machined in CNC to fit the wires perfectly. They also have this unique pattern that helps to get a better grip (at least on the plug).
The 2-pin plugs have channel markings on the inside, which makes it convenient to quickly check when plugging in. The cable is made flawlessly. It feels like a premium product, and I wish even more expensive products would provide this level of quality. The wire is super soft and pliable. It has zero microphonics.
Overall, it is my favorite IEM cable in terms of build, and as shameful as it is, it beats the one I made too. You can say that much thought and work went into making this product. It’s like a piece of jewelry.
Let’s get it out of the way. The cable does not transform the sound of your audio gear. It’s more like fine-tuning to get the last gram of performance. They tailor the already good system to your exact liking. Silver conductors and silver-plated copper are very often regarded as better than your regular Cuprum. That’s not the case, as red cars are not usually faster than blue ones. The quality of the materials used, starting with the conductor’s purity, dielectric, shielding (if applied), and connectors, influence the sound the cable introduces. As with all other audio devices, the most important thing is the synergy between all pieces of your system. No more disclaimers, I promise.
What does the Eletech Prudence sound like? Very good, that’s one, and as you would imagine, that’s two. Silver-plated copper promises both resolution and proper punch. That is what you get. Prudence, huh? Not really. This cable brings liveliness, fun, and openness. If you compare it to most stock cables, the difference is big. The sound opens up incredibly well, and that is the main difference. It shows in spaciousness, textures, and layering. It’s cleaner and richer. I’m sorry, most stock cables are just poorly made. This is changing, but we are still not yet there. The tonality of Prudence is a little brighter, but not in the meaning of more treble, but rather giving the sound a spark and pulling out more detail. If you are afraid that Prudence will push your kit too far into brightness, it’s possible but unlikely. It will work great with easily 80% IEMs on the market. Out of three IEMs, I have tried, only with one I wasn’t perfectly happy. Alright, let’s call it 66,6% of IEMs on the market. The small test sample, I know. Now, let’s start with the overall changes, and then I’ll go over the IEMs used in the review.
What I really love about Prudence is that it doesn’t harm the bass, as many SPC (silver-plated copper) cables can. It takes off a layer of fat, like a gym rat, before going on a summer vacation. You lose a bit of the bulk, but it’s cleaner and richer in textures. Pulls out all those fine details in the bass range. And trust me, if you need to, it will be punchy and muscular. I think that better resolution and precision actually add to the impact of the bass. I want to highlight one song in particular: Billie Eilish – My Strange Addiction. The bass on this album is controversial. Many people describe it as bloated to the point of not listenable. That’s the loudspeaker people with their bass-reflex speakers. There is a lot of bass in this song, true, but it’s very impactful. Prudence helps to make it snappy and satisfying.
Prudence gives more dynamics to the voices. Helps to hear the fine detail and textures without compromising the tone. It feels like you are getting more of the song you are listening to. It’s not like the cable sounds like this, more like it helps the IEMs to sound better. That’s how I feel about it. Both with male and female vocals, the voices sound more realistic, more forward, and display more layers. The same thing with instruments, Prudence helps them to “fill the room” in a good, natural way with timbre and realistic decay. I’ll bring up The Chain by Fleetwood Mac and appreciate how this midrange-heavy song beautifully opens up after Prudence is plugged in. The music gains richness but doesn’t lose control. It’s like turning the “niceness” regulator to 11/10.
Of course, SPC cable will benefit treble. That’s one of the reasons why we use them in the first place. What is interesting is that Prudence doesn’t give you more treble, rather it gives it an extension. It makes the fading sounds fade away longer not by boosting the amount but by bringing you more detail and insight. It also really shows how poor stock cables can sound in this range. I’ll put my money where my mouth and.. of wait. I’ll put Time where my mouth is in this case. The beloved Dark Side of the Moon by you know who is a great test for any silver or silver-plated cable. If you can’t stand the clocks, divorce your cables. Prudence passed the test with the exception of one IEM. It was getting a little too hot. With the other two, it sounded detailed, controlled, and lush.
The Prudence gives some air in between the instruments and allows them to be set wider and deeper. It’s great if your headphones play a little too close for your liking. If it’s not the case, it’s still awesome. Extra breathing room is always appreciated. It helps IEMs to build realistic spaciousness for you. A great example is the Random Access Memories by Daft Punk, the whole album. It’s super rich and complicated and has multiple layers of sound coming from all directions. And Prudence really shows off its worth by not limiting that in any manner.
Erua Audio TAWA
Paweł has described the Tawa as the best thing since sliced bread, and I agree. It’s a spectacular cable. How does Prudence compare to it? The better the IEMs the bigger the difference, but I would say for 95% people, Prudence is as good as you need. It’s like a baby Tawa. It has the same ability to bring out more music from the recordings. While it is not a final word in any aspect, for most IEMs, it’s more than enough. While Tawa sounds better and is more flashy, the Prudence is much more comfortable for daily use.
Stock cables (multiple of them, actually)
The Prudence beats them in sound quality, and it’s not even a contest. It beats them in build quality (duh). What is more important, it also beats them in comfort. Its super soft, pliable wire is super convenient and totally non-microphonic. It’s worth its asking price even for that.
Fir Audio KR5
Wow. And it’s not a song by Post Malone. This is one of the best combos I have ever heard in my life. The Prudence brings juiciness and even more fun to this excellent IEM. That’s a match made in heaven. They go together like garlic and butter. they should be sold together.
It just adds one point to the score of every aspect of the KR5.
I love MEXT. It’s one of the best fun-sounding IEMs on the market. Punchy and expressive, it’s like an extrovert at a basement D&D session when compared to other IEMs. It breaks my heart that Prudence doesn’t fit it perfectly. This combo can sometimes get too hot in the treble for my liking, like overpouring a beer in a glass. In this case, the copper brother of Prudence, Fortitude, would be a better match.
I’m not an idiot, give me a chance to defend myself. How did this happen? Well, I have multiple IEMs, as many of you do too. I also have Prudence, as many of you don’t. So if both parts are already here… It’s a great match. A cable is more expensive than an IEM. Lol. But it’s true, they work great together. The Prudence helps to elevate the sound of the S12 even further. They really open up and gain some nice timbre with this cable. Okay, you dumb shill, so why it’s not stupid? Because a cable like this can make sense when you already have numerous IEMs in your collection. When you have over $1500 of earphones, a good quality, durable and comfortable cable for $249 doesn’t sound that ridiculous anymore. You just use it with all of them. You won’t be using two pairs of IEMs simultaneously anyway.
Let’s be honest, $249 is not cheap. And it’s really not cheap for a cable. If you need a good quality cable for your collection or your favorite pair of earphones and you are comfortable with spending this amount of money, I say it’s worth it. It will serve you for years. It’s like an MSG for headphones, it just makes them sound better, FUIYOH!
It gives earphones a nice spark, helps build an excellent soundstage, and makes a detailed sound. Or doesn’t take that away from you, it depends on how you want to look at this. Eletech shows they are at the top of cable manufacturers on the market. Prudence’s build quality is outstanding. It sounds amazing while not having any cons, and it is the most comfortable IEM cable I own. I can’t recommend it enough. Try it if you are in the market for a premium IEM cable. If you are not, try it. You can always return it if this review is full of crap, right? You can only gain experience. Or a fantastic piece of gear.
Big thanks to Eric from Eletech for providing the Prudence for this review. I wasn’t paid or asked to say anything good or bad about this product, all of the above is just my personal, unbiased opinion.