Eletech Iliad (USD 1799)
Compared to Eletech’s previous flagship, the Aeneid has a calmer, more precise presentation, where instruments look a bit smaller, quicker and less vibrant. The Iliad, by comparison, is more in-your-face, due to its livelier tonality. There isn’t a huge difference in colour, per se. There’s just a bit more business to the Iliad. This leads its images to span wider, then slightly overlap too. Whereas, instruments are further apart on the Aeneid, with darker, cleaner space around them too. Another big difference is the Aeneid’s punchier, more solid-sounding low-end. Its sub-bass has more oomph to it, so the Iliad’s seems pillowy-er by comparison. And, in detail, I find the Aeneid tighter and better-etched, which promotes clarity and separation for big band ensembles like Snarky Puppy, while this Iliad is more about flowing musicality and cohesion.
Effect Audio Code 51 (USD 2399)
The Effect Audio Code 51, compared to the Aeneid, is a more clarity-oriented, active-sounding cable, if that makes sense. Its slightly-brighter, slightly-sharper transients are almost beacons that point you towards nuances and details. Whereas, the Aeneid’s more passive in how it renders them, simply letting them float within its stage, so the listener’s the one who has to “reach in” for them. Because of that, this Code 51 provides the more exciting listen, I’d say, with your eyes darting back and forth with each spatial cue it brings you. It’s got stronger stereo separation than the Aeneid by a hair. But, that also leaves its tone with a bit more bite and a bit of a harder edge, so it may not be as compatible with certain monitors. Apart from those differences, I’d say the most notable one would be this Aeneid’s more solid or chesty centre-midrange, compared to the 51’s more vibrant, articulative one. Ultimately, it’ll come down to which presentation you’d prefer more.
Nightjar Acoustics 4-wire Mira (USD 2499)
Nightjar Acoustics is a relative newcomer to the aftermarket cable market, and they’ve recently come out with the huge, 4-wire Mira flagship, which we’ll be reviewing in the future. Comparing the two, you get this sense that they’re two sides of a similar coin. Both deliver a fairly measured, refined sound where notes aren’t enlarged or too pronounced. The one place they differ would be where they sit on the warm-to-bright scale. While the Aeneid is the more relaxed and natural of the two, the Mira’s a more open, light and airy-sounding cable. It doesn’t have as much chest to the midrange, nor as much oomph to its lows. Its emphasises are more in expansion, which it does with a bit more height and depth than the Aeneid. And, it’s also more centre-image-centric, while the Aeneid is more evenly spherical. The final obvious difference would be ergonomics, where the Mira will most likely be for stationary use, while the Aeneid can be a lot more versatile.
The Eletech Aeneid emulates, for me, what the ideal flagship cable should do: Step back, disappear and let the music do the talking. In lieu of bold colourations, exaggerated dynamics or overly-intimate instruments, the conductor simply opts to present detail as there; ripe for the taking. And, this endeavour’s made effortless by how well it cleans up all the space around it too. The pitch-black background, the spherical, out-of-head imaging and the clarity it offers is what makes this elegant, natural delivery of detail possible. It likely won’t be that endgame cable for those looking for gobs of articulation, energy or crisp, clinical, hard-edged transients. But, for those who simply yearn for an effortless transparency and linear, natural dynamics – not to mention the stellar craftsmanship, materials and accessories – the Aeneid is Eletech’s best yet.