DISCLAIMER: Element Technologies provided the Aeneid in return for my honest opinion. I am not personally affiliated with the company in any way, nor do I receive any monetary rewards for a positive evaluation. I’d like to thank Element Technologies for their kindness and support. The review is as follows.
Element Technologies (or Eletech) are a brand on the rise. The Singaporean cable makers made their big splash with the Iliad in 2019, which they’ve only followed with the Socrates, as well as the Project 8 and Interconnect series; all lauded for both performance and their boutique accessories. It isn’t ’til now, though, that Eletech felt prepared to top the Iliad with an all-new TOTL. This is Aeneid; a stunning show of craft, and one of the smoothest, yet most open cables I’ve heard yet.
- Wire composition: 24 AWG Type-4 Litz ‘Flawless’ Gold-Plated Silver
- Default configuration: 4-wire
- Key feature(s) (if any): FlexiMax insulation
- Price: $2399
- Website: www.elementechnology.com
Packaging and Accessories
If you’ve seen my review of Eletech’s Iliad, you’d know the packaging was my largest point of criticism. The bog-standard materials, ill-fitting artwork and complete dearth of texture was, I felt, entirely inadequate for a flagship, and I made my thoughts crystal-clear to Eric, knowing full well he’d take it on the chin and improve. For the Aeneid, he did exactly that.
As I’d suggested to Eric, the Aeneid wears its Greek inspiration proudly on its sleeve. Rather than an odd hodgepodge of geometry, emblazoned on the front of its box is a charcoal-style drawing of a scene from the Aeneid poem, accented by hits of gloss on the product name and Eletech crest. Wrapped around it is a sleeve covered in Greek meanders, topped with hits of gorgeous gold along the front and back, and finished with a window for a peek at the image within. As far as exteriors go, Eric and his team have absolutely smashed this. That is how you take criticism and turn it into a home run.
Opening that box up, you’re greeted by a nicely-etched, numbered owner’s card. It is yet another improvement from the Iliad’s, even if the numbering on this one isn’t as clean as I would’ve liked. I find the decision to make it non-detachable a bit strange as well, but it’s a decent lift to the unboxing experience nevertheless. Underneath that, you’ll get the Aeneid’s second-to-last accessory; a black, 3D-printed, Eletech-branded rook. It’s not the most functional of add-ons, but, again, it is a fine addition for looks and theme. Finally, beside it is the Aeneid’s glamorous, Tyrian purple case, surrounded above and below in foam, and all-around in a 3D-printed recreation of Trojan ruin. Again, what a way to turn critique into a win.
My one critique here would be the layer of printed paper Eletech have placed with holes cut for the accessories below. I think the cutting here is rough at best, especially around that rook. It’s unnecessary, and I feel they could’ve easily done without it. So, that is one area where they could’ve gone less is more, but it’s a nitpick I’m certain Eletech will improve on.
The Aeneid’s leather case is more similar in form to the Iliad’s than the Socrates’s. It does not have the button lock or the carabiner that the latter’s got, which I personally miss. The finish this time is a glossy, patent leather as well. I think it was a brave choice from Eletech to stray from the matte finish that’s brought them a lot of love. Whether or not that decision was the right one will ultimately be up to taste. As usual, though, the proportion, shaping and craftsmanship of this case is absolutely outstanding. Eletech’s leather cases are up there with some of the best in the industry, and this one doesn’t buck this trend. The zipper design is as robust, yet easy as always, and I love how plush and roomy the interior is too. If I could critique something, it’d be that the small pocket inside the case still has very little room for anything beyond a low-profile adapter, for example. But, that aside, the Aeneid’s case is textbook Eletech; perfectly-made, stitched and finished.
Aesthetics, Ergonomics and Everyday Use
Aesthetically, the Aeneid shares some of the cues we previously saw on their Iliad and Socrates; smooth, tightly-wound conductors, then contrasts of brushed, matte finishes and metallic hits on the hardware. As a flagship should, though, the Aeneid takes this all up to 11. The Pentaconn-manufactured Y-split in particular features a shimmering, gold frame inspired by the Roman Colosseum. It’s this incredibly lavish, brave design choice that I expect will be a love-it-or-hate-it affair. But, you definitely can’t say they haven’t swung for the fences. That is for sure. It’s topped with an engraved logo in white and orange, which is then paired perfectly with black-and-gold connectors too; all appropriately rich and bold.
As usual with Eletech, craftsmanship is absolutely stunning as well. Every cut and etch on the hardware is flawless once again. Their decision to trust Pentaconn’s machining continues to pay off massively. Then, the braiding here’s balanced rather well too; not too loose and uneven, but not stiffly tight either. My only qualm here would probably be the design of the source connector. It’s a 4.4mm plug here. The design is borrowed from their previous entries, and it’s not as new or exciting as the Y-split. But, this aside, from top to bottom, Eletech have, once again, fabricated one heck of a product.
Ergonomically, I think what you see is what you get. The 4-wire, 24 AWG design is as light and as portable as ever. This’s made more so by Eletech’s extremely silky insulation. It is a tad smoother or more delicate than your PlusSound’s, it’s a hair less plasticky as your Han Sound Audio’s or Satin Audio’s, and it’s comparable to an Effect Audio at this wire gauge. The only thing weighing it down, similar to the top-end offerings from almost all those brands I mentioned above, is its fancy hardware. You can feel where that weight is centred when you’re using it on-the-go. Still, it is not a huge bother if you’re used to it. Microphonics are near non-existent too. So, aside from the given weight in its hardware, the Aeneid is about as pliable, flexible and smooth as a flagship product could be, balancing practicality and sonics better than most.
Also included with the Aeneid is an optional Pentaconn slider or cinch. Attaching it is as simple as unscrewing the back, splitting the slider in two, inserting the cable, then screwing it back together. It’s worth mentioning that the screw isn’t captive, so be sure you don’t accidentally drop and lose the screw when you’re attempting this operation. Functionally, I’d say the slider is an okay accessory. It doesn’t hold tight enough to withstand vigorous motion, but I can’t see people running around and performing on stage with the cable anyway. It does clash aesthetically with the rest of Aeneid, and it’s a tad disappointing. But, either way, it’s an optional extra you can leave out. So, I do at least appreciate the thought.