DISCLAIMER: Element Technologies provided the Iliad 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) is an aftermarket cable maker who made their debut this past CanJam Shanghai 2019, spearheaded by Singapore’s very own Eric Chong. Eric’s most recent endeavours include a stint as a marketing manager for cabling juggernauts, Effect Audio. And, as you might expect, he’s bringing all the insight he’s gained from that gig into his very own brand. Eletech have launched with a line-up of no less than 4 distinct conductors, and, today, we’re taking a look at the captain of the ship: The Iliad. Armed with a palladium, silver and gold mix, it’s silky-smooth clarity personified.
- Wire composition: 24 AWG Type-4 Litz ‘Flawless’ Monocrystal Silver + Palladium Plated Silver + Gold-Silver Alloy
- Default configuration: 4-wire
- Key feature(s) (if any): Kevlar Resilient core, FlexiMax insulation
- Price: $1799
- Website: www.elementechnology.com
Packaging and Accessories
The Iliad arrives in fairly standard packaging, wrapped all around in Trojan imagery. It’s clearly an homage to this cable’s namesake, and I adore the uniformity in theme maintained throughout. The box is even made to shape like an old tome or book; a really clever detail. Unfortunately, Eletech’s wits have been let down by a couple aspects here. First, would be the style of the graphics themselves. Iliad and Troy are themes that beg for a regal, ancient, war-torn aesthetic, while the clean shapes and monochrome on the packaging screams modern to me. Then, there’s a disappointing lack of texture or contrast; no metallic accents on the logo and text, and the box just feels like smooth cardboard all around. All in all, it’s a clever concept in need of proper execution. I’d love to see Eletech give it a better go, and – knowing Eric- they surely will.
Thankfully, what the packaging keeps calls for far more praise. With the Iliad, you first get a metallic owner’s card. It’s got this premium, brushed finish with crisp engravings on top. And, it lends some welcome exclusivity to the overall product. I’m, however, not the biggest fan of the Eletech-shaped hole on the bottom. The cutting on it looks fairly rounded and not sharp. Also, the lines from the brushed finish are a tad slanted on my card; more so on the back than the front, for some reason. So, though those are minor details, it’d be a great shame to spoil an otherwise sleek accessory simply due to QC.
Below that, however, you’ll find an accessory that almost makes up for all the grievances laid out above, and it’s Eletech’s fantastic leather case. It’s a puck-style case not unlike ones I’ve seen from Effect Audio, Satin Audio and Vision Ears, but it does have the distinction of utilising a zipper system. This makes this case infinitely more secure, and there’s even a hole on the pull tab (or handle) for you to attach a carabiner, so you could hang it off of a bag or belt hoop. The zipper itself is very substantial, and I love the chrome finish on the pull tab, along with the engraving. In fact, the finish of this case as a whole is superb; smooth, robust and very premium-feeling. The Trojan artwork on top has been embossed stunningly as well with a subtle shimmer to it. The image also nails the balance of new and old I was looking for in the Iliad’s packaging.
This case’s interior, again, boasts a silky-smooth texture, accented by precise stitching that complements the stitching on the outside. And, it also features a small pocket to store accessories like ear tips, cleaning tools or cable ties. I wish it was a hair roomier to accommodate multiple accessories, or bulkier ones like adapters. I can barely run my finger across the bottom of the pouch, for example. What I am disappointed with here is the lack of a cable tie. It’s an accessory that, now, even budget cables tend to give, and Eletech even include them with their more affordable entries. So, its exclusion from their flagship is pretty confusing to me. Nevertheless, it’s something Eletech can hopefully improve on in the future. And, in any case, they can at least walk away with the distinction of having one of the best carry cases I’ve personally ever had.
Aesthetics, Ergonomics and Everyday Use
Now, finally moving onto the cable itself, I’m glad to report that the Iliad’s look-and-feel is unmistakably top-class. Owed to Eletech’s superb, silky-smooth insulation, the conductor ranks among the lightest and most supple I’ve ever had; near-unmatched in pliancy, even among its distinguished peers. Further aiding that is its clean, precise braid; as even and taut as can possibly be without losing that floaty quality and becoming unpleasantly rigid. And, topping it all off is this cable’s raw visual appeal. The conductors take on a very pale gold with a gorgeous, subtle glint to them, reminiscent of the high-end chains you’d find dangling off of a celeb’s neck. All in all, the Iliad is wire wonder; silk-smooth, clean and feather-light.
Completing the Iliad’s stunning stylings are Eletech’s bespoke, CNC-milled, Pentaconn-co-signed hardware. The Iliad’s are silver and gold to match the wiring, then further elevated by textural details Eletech and Pentaconn have integrated here as well. The silver, metallic components are brush-finished, resulting in etches that gorgeously resemble tiny veins, while the gold is left glossy and pristine for contrast. The latter’s also been milled with a bit of flair; ridges and polygons spread across both the Y-split and the 4.4mm plug. Especially when shone under light, they lend great complexity to this cable’s design. And, they set the Iliad apart from the sea of carbon fibre and wood Y-splits riddled throughout the market today.
Eletech’s hardware also treads the line between ergonomics and looks pretty well. The pieces feel substantial and robust, but never get in the way in day-to-day use. They’re about as weighty as Effect Audio’s typical set of hardware, which most should find acceptable, or even desirable. The 2-pin connectors Eletech have employed here are impressive too; some of the easiest to cable-roll with in my arsenal. And, Eletech have also used the industry-standard, pre-shaped heat shrink to ease looping around the ear. Last, but not least, are Eletech’s incredible instances of attention-to-detail from the colour-matching between the gold hardware and the gold-plated 4.4mm plug, to the engravings found all throughout the cable; some of the cleanest, most precise I’ve seen, with black-and-orange fills, no less. This truly is stunning work from Eletech.