The new value-minded copper option, Azrael takes what the company learnt with their plethora of high-end copper models and scales things down to a more affordable level. The company has focused here on creating a high-clarity copper cable that still maintains the material’s beloved warmth and staging depth. The Fortitude was quite lively for a pure copper cable too, so the Azrael feels like a logical progression. As the unit I reviewed was on loan, I did not have the Fortitude on hand at the time of review for comparison so my comments will be more general and regarding the Azrael as a standalone product.
As promised, the Azrael delivers a warm sound with a laid-back treble character and a smooth albeit clearly expressed midrange. Bass takes a step forward and is bolstered by enhanced dynamics and depth. Both the sub and mid bass are noticeably enhanced producing thicker notes with enhanced body. There’s a bit more warmth and fuzz, as a result, leading to a slight reduction in separation in exchange for a more weighted character. Attack is on the more aggressive side which provides the impression of greater note definition and greater dynamics. On the flip side, decay appears slightly elongated which combined with the warmer tone, draws greater focus to textures in the mid-bass at the expense of some resolving power of small details in complex passages.
I must reiterate that the bass changes are on the more subtle side, especially when compared to something like the Socrates which has a more clear-cut bass-focused character. I would define the Azrael as having a warm tilt but placing greater focus on a smoother, forgiving top-end. In the same vein, I find the midrange to mostly respond in a reactive fashion to the colouration surrounding it. Vocals are a touch more forward but not exceedingly so. The midrange isn’t hugely different in terms of tonality, however, there is a small upper-mid emphasis that aids vocal size and presence, producing a more powerful voicing. This impression is bolstered by a notable increase in bass/midrange contrast in addition to a smoother articulation due to a subtle treble attenuation.
This provides a smoother, more coherent midrange presentation in addition to a more prominent one. The midrange doesn’t provide huge brightness or intimacy but offers excellent separation and vocal definition despite the increase in warmth. The added smoothness brings a delightful euphony to the cable alongside a hint of warmth from the bass. Due to the upper bass/lower midrange dip, there is no veil, roominess, or loss to separation. Accompanying the tonal changes is a slight bump to resolution. This overall makes for a very pleasant listening experience, especially on brighter monitors. You get greater listenability without sacrificing technical performance or vocal clarity.
I recall the Fortitude providing an almost brighter tilt in the top end making for a more engaging and contrasted listen overall. The Azrael rather pursues a more refined, traditional copper sound here. Most notable is the lower-treble attenuation which is the primary quality responsible for the Azrael’s smoother character. I also immediately noticed the cleanliness of the background, something Eletech has been excelling with on their latest releases and a standout quality of the Azrael.
Finally, the upper treble has been bolstered, offering greater sparkle and fine detail presence. It’s a light and delicate treble presentation that is thin but airy with great headroom. While you do lose some density and crispness in the foreground, detail retrieval remains strong and small nuances are more apparent atop the Azrael’s superbly clean background. This contributes to superior micro-detail presentation in addition to improved staging.
The Azrael provides a slightly deeper stage and good width that is bested by some others in class. Overall, the stage is nicely rounded just slightly oval. Imaging is a standout performer that said. The dark background greatly aids clarity of positioning and provides great contrast between layers. Moreover, the vocal presentation is more firmly centred, providing an anchor for superior left/right separation. I found the Azrael to offer enhanced directionality to stock cables offering a more multi-dimensional sound. Separation is above average but not exceptional due to the smooth and warm character of the cable.