Eletech Sonnet of Adam: Midas Touch

Sound impressions

Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam continues to captivate more than 500 years after the last stroke of paint was left to dry on the Sistine Chapel loft. The meanings of its depiction often intersect, reflecting both a complexity of design, and the way each of us interprets Michelangelo’s motives.

In its most literal sense, the scene depicts the creation of infinite wonder – man himself – where there was nothing before the divine touch that created him. Fast-forward half a millennium, and this creation of something from nothing is an almost perfect allegory for what the cable itself is doing – carrying the electrical signals from your digital source to tiny transducers, exciting their otherwise static drivers into vibrating sweet, glorious music through your ears. 

Depending on which side of the cable divide you stand, you could also argue that something from nothing is indeed much ado about nothing. I won’t labour on the tired argument that suggests all cables sound the same; instead, I’m going to double down on how some cables actually create more than just something by making the music you hear sound better than it did before. 

Sonnet of Adam is one such cable. 

Tonally I hear Adam as a fairly neutral ‘sounding’ cable (cables don’t make sound, but they can and do affect how the IEMs you use present the sound information from your source). By this I mean that I’m not hearing obvious and jarring changes to the tonality of most IEMs I’ve used with Adam so far (see select pairings below). I do however hear improved extension to both the extreme low-end (sub-bass) and high-end (upper treble) frequencies, which serves to open up the overall soundscape. 

While bass is extended, it’s not necessarily lifted too far off neutral. There’s a cleanliness to the sub frequencies that make rumbles feel more precise, which, when coupled with the extra detail and texture I hear from the midbass when using this cable, makes for a more rewarding, revealing, and responsive bass presentation. This is a tighter bass that doesn’t shave the heft, but rather trims some of the bloom (from bloomier monitors), and lets already-tight bass-first monitors do their thing without hindrance. If anything, I hear the bass on most monitors hitting deeper and more precisely, but with no less force.

The midrange is where I can almost see the divine spark lighting up the darkness and bringing to life what was once just a mass of nothingness. Which is not to say Adam is a bright-leaning cable, but rather that clarity, precision and space are the essence of what it brings to the fundamental frequencies. 

As with bass, Adam’s influence on an IEM’s tonality is mostly neutral, with a hint of added body and definition to the middle and upper midrange notes in particular. It’s a transparent cable that lets the character of sound pass right through, while subtly enhancing the imaging, separation and layering of that sound.

The same goes for the upper frequencies, where I hear a slight elevation in lower treble that helps with better defining the presence region without changing the fundamental character of the IEM. There’s no added brightness or stridence here, though the cleanliness of the background and overall presentation does make sparkle and microdetail more apparent with less effort. 

I also hear Adam’s smoothing effect on the treble, not dissimilar to what I heard with Raphael, and which seems to be consistent with Eletech’s ‘house sound’. There’s an almost complete lack of harshness or hardness to the treble, so those who prefer their cymbal crashes and snares more confronting might be left wanting more grit. 

That said, the smoothness doesn’t come at the cost of detail – on the contrary, Adam is one of the most detailed cables I’ve heard to date, at least in how it maximises an IEMs’ inherent resolution. There’s no fake detail here, but instead a combination of darker background and better separation of sounds which makes finer, layered details easier to perceive.  

But perhaps its greatest accomplishment is Adam’s sense of space. This is the widest sound I’ve heard from a cable, rivalling the famous Orpheus – although Orpheus’s is an altogether larger, warmer and far more aggressively-coloured sound. There’s a hint of colour with Adam, sure, but most of its technical prowess comes from refinement rather than embellishment. 

Overall, I’d describe Adam’s sound profile as clean, pristine and pure. The sense of space and focus must be similar to what Adam himself saw when he first opened his eyes on a new, untouched world, created just five figurative days before (or roughly 4.4 billion years in factual scientific terms). 

It’s a cable that heightens the sense of what you’re hearing by finessing the various frequencies with only the lightest of tonal touches, but also enhancing technical performance significantly which, when paired with the right monitor, can make a world of difference to the listener.  

Select pairings

I generally prefer to pair IEMs with cables that befit their station, which is to say, don’t cost more than the IEMs themselves. As such, I’ve mostly paired Adam with two of the pricier IEMs I have in rotation: FIR Audio’s Xe6 and Rn6.

Both these IEMs are likewise co-flagships, but more than that, offer two very different sound profiles that respond very differently to what Adam has to offer.    

Radon 6 ($3,299, reviewed here). Rn6 is a balanced monitor with a moderately elevated Kinetic bass shelf, some upper-mid emphasis, and a spritely treble, none of which are overbearing or overwhelming to my ears. Some of the criticisms levelled at this standout monitor are an occasionally forward presence region, and stage depth that doesn’t quite match some of the better monitors at this price tier. 

With Sonnet of Adam, both of these ‘issues’ are addressed to some degree: treble becomes smoother overall, and silkier too, while upper-mid emphasis, which I repeat has never been an issue for me, becomes even less so. I can’t speak for stage depth, even though I agree Rn6 is wider than it is deep, but Adam somehow makes the most of what stage depth there is (and there is more than enough even by good IEM standards, to be fair), while stretching an already-wide stage even further. 

What Adam does even better is refine and focus the detail delivery, which, while already very good, becomes stellar. In my opinion, if you need more resolution than Rn6 connected to Adam can deliver, you probably won’t be satisfied with anything other than the most analytically resolving monitors available – most of which, it must be said, cost significantly more than Rn6. 

Xenon 6 ($3,799, reviewed here). At the opposite end of the tuning scale to Rn6, Xe6 is unapologetically warm and thick, with a clever party trick that makes it sound both detailed and airy despite its fullness. While I tend to try ‘tame’ the heaviness in the tuning with specific tips to start (give Eletech’s Baroque a try, you won’t regret it), and also by down-shifting to the red Atom module which does wonder for the midbass ‘bloat’, I find Xe6 to be very responsive to cable rolls too.

While I haven’t heard Xe6 with Eletech’s Ode to Laura – the two are said to be a magical combination – I knew straight away that Adam was an almost perfect match for this monitor. Not only is the midbass and lower mid bump tightened and refined, but the stage opens up even further, and Xe6’s natural depth becomes almost cavernous in proportion.

Adam also clarifies the midrange further, so vocals are audibly cleaner and clearer, and while it doesn’t bump up treble levels too much, it adds some silkiness up top that polishes Xe6’s already exemplary treble tuning. 

For some reason, Adam and Xe6 haven’t met with widespread acclaim, and yet both visually and sonically they look and sound as if they were made for each other. To my ears, Adam makes the most of Xe6’s potential, assuming, like me, you want Xe6’s bombastic nature brought to heel.   

Continue to comparisons and conclusions…

SHARE.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Picture of Guy Lerner

Guy Lerner

An avid photographer and writer 'in real life', Guy's passion for music and technology created the perfect storm for his love of portable audio. When he's not playing with the latest and greatest head-fi gear, he prefers to spend time away from the hobby with his two (almost) grown kids and wife in the breathtaking city of Cape Town, and traveling around his native South Africa.

RELATED POSTS

2 Responses

  1. Could you offer some more specifics with regard to the comparison, for example which among the 3 (FTS, Orphys, SOA) has the most resolution, where specifically(low end, highs, etc)? How do the stages differ? What about positioning, is it a mid forward cable, how does it compare to the others in that regard?

    thanks

    1. Sure, I would say it’s. ore or less on par with FTS and Orphy when it comes to resolution, and mainly in the mids (although there’s a resolution boost across the spectrum from how clean it makes the sound). It doesn’t have quite as low a noise floor as the other two, but it’s very close – at this level we’re talking barely perceptible levels of difference. It mostly comes down to tonality: the PWA cables are more aggressive in their colouration, where SoA will be closer to the sound profile of the IEM and source you plug it in to. And no, I wouldn’t say it’s mid-forward necessarily but it improves midrange clarity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent posts

Sponsors

Categories