Review: Aurealis Audio Crystal IEM Cables

Build and Flexibility

Generally, the pre-requisite marker of an excellent audiophile cable is how it feels in the palm of one’s hand. The workmanship of each cable is braiding par excellence. Every strand tightly intertwines around the other in an intricate series of 8 tautly-woven branches. Accordingly, each braid is difficult to untangle, retaining its original structure at all times.

Both Crystal series cables share identical cable sheathing/jackets reminiscent of heat shrink, providing ample protection to the delicate cores beneath it. Because of its lack of malleability, the cables tend to bend and increase in awkward shapes when they are being used aside. Like a new pair of Goodyear welted shoes, stiffer cables need wearing in.

The decorative elements such as the carbon fibre Y-split and aluminium caps on the 2-pin and swappable termination ends add a layer of welcomed refinement in both aesthetics and durability. As for the aesthetics of the cable material, that’s an entirely subjective experience. Some users may gravitate to the mocha-brown warmth of pure-litz copper. Naysayers might attest to the unadulterated purity of pure-litz silver. Apples and oranges. Different strokes for different folks.

On the termination end, switching between the balanced and unbalanced plugs is favourably intuitive. Upon further inspection, users would quickly discover that the aluminium cap above functions as a treaded collar, with each swappable plug screwed onto it.

With a few twists and turns, the connector is now exposed and can be removed with a tug. My only minor gripe is the relative ease with which the collar can come loose after the adequate force is applied — like friction generated from rubbing against your clothing. But, this did not present as a persistent problem, but one that emerges on occasion (bumpy rides on a local bus etc).

Each swappable connector stays attached to the cables via a series of 4-pins — a facsimile of the much larger XLR 4-pin cables found on high-end balanced cables for speakers or headphones.

More importantly, there is a tiny notch at the bottom of both the swappable plug and the receiving end of the termination. Both notches must be aligned correctly to ensure the right polarity.

The Crystal Cables are handsomely designed, and replete with an array of balanced and unbalanced plugs for all possible listening permutations. They do not fall short in the durability department either. Apart from some minor quirks, the Crystal Cables are just a stone’s throw away from greatness.

Onto the next page for the Sound Quality



Picture of Kevin Goh

Kevin Goh

Raised in Southeast Asia’s largest portable-audio market, Kevin’s interest in high-end audio has grown alongside it as the industry flourishes. His pursuit of “perfect sound” began in the heydays of Jaben in Singapore at the age of just 10 years old. Kevin believes that we live in a golden age of readily accessible, quality audio.


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