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Review: Eletech Aristotle and Euclid

I’m a huge fan of the classics, be it literature, philosophy, art or music. Stories from centuries and millennia gone by remind us of a time when man genuinely knew so little about his world, that every small discovery opened new doors to previously unimaginable wonders. 

In this same spirit, I’m also a huge fan of how Eletech founder Eric Chong’s passion for the classics informs the themes he uses for his cables. 

Take the School of Athens Series, for example. This is Eletech’s ‘second tier’ of cables, sitting technically and numerically one rung below the flagship Parnassus Series, although still representing a decidedly high-end tier of cable. 

Where the flagships, currently the brilliant duo of Ode to Laura (reviewed here) and Sonnet of Adam (reviewed here), spare no cost in exotic material choices, blends, and hardware machining, the Athens cables share a different philosophy: single material purity. 

As such, the newly-minted Aristotle and Euclid are each an expression of the fundamental nature of their native materials, copper and silver respectively. Both of their famous classical namesakes, the philosopher and teacher Aristotle, and the ‘Father of Geometry’ Euclid, are depicted as prominent figures in Raphael’s masterful fresco, Scuola di Atene (School of Athens), decorating one of the Stanze di Raffaello rooms in the Vatican.

What, then, can we expect from these new classics? Where will they take the story of copper and silver, relative to how their Raphaelian predecessors, Socrates and Plato, put their own twist on these classic cable types? 

If there’s one thing I’ve come to learn about Eletech, it’s that there’s usually nothing usual about their cables. Even when it comes to pure mono-material cables, there’s going to be something decidedly different to what us audiophiles imagine their common traits would be, whether it’s just in one part of the signature, or even in how they’re made. 

As such, these aren’t as much replacements to what came before as they are entirely new cables, with a sound, look and feel all of their own.

Packaging and accessories

Very few audio products rival the quality, intricacy and attention to detail of Eletech’s cable packaging and accessories, and the new School of Athens duo continue that tradition. 

What’s most impressive here is that, at less than half (or in the case of Aristotle, less than a third) the cost of the flagships, unboxing both these cables feels remarkably similar to the top tier. 

Both ship in solid wooden boxes with magnetic-latch lids, with an illustrated silk-screened slipcover depicting the theme, namesake, technical details and some marketing verbiage for each cable. 

The design and detail of the covers may not be quite as elaborate as the richly-hued embossed and foiled covers of the Parnassus cables, but they’re not far off, opting instead for a simpler angular pattern embossed in the red (Aristotle) and blue (Euclid) colourway that stylistically represents each of their material compositions. 

A welcome message from Eric greets you on the inside lid of each box, with the contents themselves presented in layers in the main compartment: 

  • A protective foam sheet; 
  • A die-cut acrylic panel with the pattern, colouring and likeness of the Greek legend lending his name to the cable;
  • A dyed leather cable clamp;
  • A metal card with your unique serial number; and
  • A beautifully made, premium dyed-leather puck-style carry case holding the cable and spare Versa mmcx connectors inside. 

The leather used for the cases and cable clamps may not be as textured as that used for the Parnassus cases, but I actually prefer the colouration and design of these cases. Each case has a buttoned clasp that’s cleverly split in two, allowing the high-quality zipper to open the case without having to first undo the clasp, and the swirling red and blue pattern on the two leather cases gives them a stunning retro-modern appearance. I also like that the visual continuity between the colours and patterns on the packing and accessories carries seamlessly over to the cables. 

It’s quite obvious how much thought has gone into the design, which makes all the difference to those of us who truly appreciate Eletech’s flair for aesthetics.  

New technology

Aside from their packaging and accessories, another common factor between the Athens cables is the new technology Eletech has chosen to debut with them. 

Triple Coaxial Design. Gone are the intricate four-wire braids of typical Eletech cables, replaced by a solid-looking two-wire twist of 18 AWG (that’s 1.04mm diameter) cable. The added girth comes from Eletech’s new Triple Coaxial design, which uses three coaxial cores – one for negative, one for positive, and one for active shielding. 

As Eric explains it:

Double shielding. Previous to Aristotle and EuclidOde to Laura was the first and only Eletech cable to feature active shielding. The Athens cables take this concept one step further, with a material mesh ‘net’ (OCC copper-infused for Aristotle and silver-infused for Euclid) serving as more traditional ‘passive’ EMF shielding, effectively making these cables double-shielded, something you’d only normally see in expensive large-gauge Hi-Fi speaker cables. 

Oil-soaked core. The surface of the coaxial core of each cable is soaked in a viscous (non-liquid) oil substrate, which theoretically ‘fills the gaps’ in the cable surface. This reduces the ‘skin effect’ in signal transmission, which is said to improve the transmission of high-frequency data that’s pushed outward towards the cable surface during signal transmission.  

According to Eric:

Versa modular connectors. Both Athens cables ship standard with Eletech’s new modular connector system, Versa. Co-designed with Chinese accessory maker ddHiFi, Versa makes it easy to switch between 2-pin, mmcx, and now also P-Ear connectors, allowing you to use each cable with multiple IEMs. 

I personally find Versa a more elegant and resilient design compared to others, such as Effect Audio’s ConX. The Versa connectors use thicker two-pin wiring to preserve signal integrity and proper polarity (as opposed to ConX’s single pin), and changing connectors is entirely tool-less. Also, once ‘locked in’, the Versa connectors can’t come loose during use, and Versa doesn’t place any undue strain on the connector or cable, both of which can be problematic with ConX.    

Other than these four new technologies, the most obvious difference from previous Eletech cables is the visual change from the traditional small-gauge braiding style. While Eric concedes that there isn’t any inherent technical advantage to using larger gauge cables, what it does allow for is more space to experiment with the multistrand and multi-core geometries that help push both of these cables to their natural extremes. 

Continue to Aristotle…

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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.

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