Eletech Socrates ($699): Though far apart in price, the Socrates does provide a mini-Laura experience somewhat. The Socrates is a noticeably bassier cable. Its low-end is slightly thicker and more present and also sports excellent dynamics. However, the Laura provides an even keener attack and noticeably higher note definition. In turn, it sounds a lot cleaner, more technical and detailed with similar dynamics albeit slightly less presence. The midrange is slightly more laid-back on the Socrates and has higher contrast. The Laura has bigger, more intimate vocals and it sounds a lot more articulate and resolving, layering most notably is vastly improved.
The high-end on the Socrates has a bit more air and clarity but less initial bite. The Laura is the opposite having a highly defined lower-treble with a darker background. It sounds more extended and sparkly but also a lot more organised. The soundstage is similarly sized on both but more nuanced on the Laura with more multi-dimensional imaging and better layering. The Socrates comes across as a more superficial experience with a similar overall tone and character but less nuance, of course, for less money.
Eletech Aeneid ($2399): The Aeneid is Eletech’s former flagship chronologically but can be considered a co-flagship given its similarly prestigious price point and construction. It represents a more balanced foil to the darker Laura with a similar technical foundation. The Laura immediately provides a more robust bass response. Where the Aeneid is clean and quickly decaying, the Laura has better sub-bass presence and power alongside a more defined note structure. This gives it a more textured, dynamic bass presentation with the Aeneid having slightly better separation and a bit less emphasis to suit bassier IEMs. The midrange is well present on both and somewhat antithetical.
Where the Laura provides large and articulate vocals and strong coherence, the Aeneid pursues a more contrasted sound with slightly greater emphasis on artiuclation yet but less size and presence. It has a bit more room which gives it greater separation albeit at the cost of the same natural timbre as the Laura. The Laura too comes across as a touch more resolving here, aided no doubt by its exemplary layering. Treble is more present on the Aeneid which has both greater air and clarity. The Laura doesn’t have less headroom per say but definitely isn’t as open sounding due to its much darker background. In return, it has a crisper and more focussed lower-treble that gives it greater emphasis on percussion and greater bite.
The Aeneid sounds a bit wispier if also more open and sparkly making it the choice for those wanting greater top-end energy and emphasis on extension. The Aeneid impresses with its quick transients and width whilst the Laura provides a deeper stage with better layering. In terms of separation, the Aeneid generally has the upper hand though the Laura does sound a bit more organised during complex passages due to its cleaner background. This means both have similar fine detail retrieval under scrutiny.
Plussound Copper+ ($1025): The Copper+ provides many similarities at a lower cost, chiefly, the cleanliness of its background and pure copper construction. The Laura comes across as a more nuanced take yet, being more balanced though both share many similar characteristics. This is pertinent within the bass where both provide a well-extended, robust presentaiton. The Laura provides better sub-bass extension whilst the Copper+ has a slightly bigger and punchier mid-bass. Whilst the Laura does sound cleaner and more refined, the Copper+ has a similar style of note presentation albeit lower note definition and speed.
Interestingly, the Laura comes across as the more coherent performer in the midrange despite its lesser warmth. The Copper+ provides a slightly warmer hue over the midrange counterbalanced by slighty higher clarity within the upper-midrange. It sounds clear and clean but less integrated. The Laura has larger, more filled-in vocals and higher resolving power. It derives clarity from its articulate top-end rather than within the midrange which gives its vocals a more grounded, natural timbre. The Copper+ meanwhile is more coloured and some may enjoy its more vibrant presentation here. Both cables have a very similar top-end being defined by a more prominent lower-treble set to a dark, clean mid-treble/background.
This permits both a contrasted, layered presentation. The Laura has notably higher note definition. Its transients are more defined and each note has greater bite and immediacy. The Copper+ comes across as a bit smoother and lacks the same fine detail retrieval. Above, both are similarly clean and dark alongside boasting strong extension, the Laura having a slight advantage. Despite this, I do find myself enjoying the soundstage on the Laura more. The Copper+ has greater width and excellent layering. However, the Laura sounds more three-dimmensional with more equal proportions and better positioning.
Custom cables are always an interesting product to review and in the case of flagship products like this, all pretense of value must be dispensed. I feel we are reaching a stage of maturity in the custom-cable world where raw materials no longer defined expectation for price and sound. The Laura is a statement product first and foremost that exemplifies this, and Eletech’s accessories and design all exemplify this intention. Indeed, you are paying for a fine visual experience but also a quality sound too. While cables can’t transform a budget earphone into a TOTL one, they offer a valuable tool to enhance and fine tune. That’s just what the Laura provides, a gorgeous midrange, likely the most enjoyable vocals I’ve heard from a cable and an exemplary, wicked clean bass response. While highs are clean, their darkness won’t suit all yet this is also responsible for an especially immersive soundstage presentation. As always, synergy must still be considered, however, the copper construction does mean that the Laura simply sounds very normal and, therefore, played well with nearly every pairing I tried. This isn’t a cable for treble-heads but if you enjoy a smooth yet articulate sound, you’d be hard pressed to find such a desirable design and mix of sonic qualities in a competing cable.
The Ode to Laura is available from Eletech (International) for $2799 USD at the time of writing and in the configuration tested. I am not affiliated with Eletech and receive no earnings from purchases through this link.