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Astral Acoustics Eclipse Review – Headfonics

Today we discuss the Astral Acoustics Eclipse, a new flagship aftermarket in-ear monitor cable consisting of a 24AWG Silver Litz geometry. It has a price of $950.

Disclaimer: This sample was sent to us in exchange for our honest opinion. Headfonics is an independent website with no affiliate status or links. we thank Astral Acoustics for this opportunity.

You can click here to learn more about Astral Acoustics products previously reviewed on Headfonics.

Please note that this feature follows our latest scoring guidelines, which you can read in more detail here.

Astral Acoustics Eclipse Review

Astral acoustic eclipse

The Astral Acoustics Eclipse may be one of the softest sounding silver cables I’ve heard to date. Also, heaven knows what Henry and his team slipped into the “proverbial coffee” to also provide that amount of “welly” on the low end to most of my dynamic driver and larger subwoofer IEMs.

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9.1

Advantages

The power of dynamic drivers is manifested

Smooth timbre with paired monitors

Improved barrels

cons

Not for neutral lovers

Softer on the treble

It is an ironic twist of fate that my first review of the past two years came from Astral Acoustics and both ‘headline’ silver cables. Last year it was the Reference Silver, this time it’s their new flagship Eclipse aftermarket IEM cable.

Sure, the Eclipse price for a flagship is slightly higher at $950 compared to the Silver’s $750, but considering where high-end cable prices have gone in recent years, some might consider this a more reasonable offering.

Surprisingly, the pitch of the Eclipse is not neutral or reference, that distinction goes to the Reference Silver. This time we get buzzwords like heat, rumble and sweetness. Terms that I don’t often associate with a stereotypical silver thread.

Astral Acoustics Eclipse Review
Copyright Astral Acoustics 2023

Technical highlights

Material & Thread

The Eclipse uses a pure 5N Silver compound for its internal wiring. On paper this looks similar to the cheaper Reference Silver, but the Eclipse has a thicker strand composition and a higher purity silver material instead of the Reference OCC. It also uses an upgraded brazing material.

For those new to what the 5N means, this is the purity level of the fine silver used with 1N the lowest and 6N the highest. Although 6N silver is incredibly expensive compared to 5N.

This is how purity is defined when acquiring alloy materials. It’s not an entirely accurate measure and is generally taken as an approximation, but the N represents numbers on either side of the decimal point.

In this case 5 digits or 99.999%. You will see lower purity standards such as 4N and it works the same way at 99.99%. The figures above give you a broader insight into the entire range used.

The Eclipse gauge is also quite large with a 24AWG gauge. It’s not quite as dense as the Reference Silver, which was a 23.5 AWG Type 6 build, but it still looks a bit bulkier than your normal IEM cable.

One of the benefits of a thicker gauge is the reduction in performance drag compared to the common aftermarket 26AWG sweet spot. Ideally, the dynamic range and staging capability of linked monitors should be a step up without having to go to 8-wire as a result.

Type 4 Lit
Type 4 Lit

Geometry

Astral Acoustics uses a Type 4 Litz geometry with a 4-wire implementation for the Eclipse which, surprisingly, is slightly less complex than the Reference Silver’s Type 6 Litz build.

There is a reason for this and it has more to do with the desired alignment. For Astral Acoustics, they felt the Type 4 version sounds ‘less tight’ compared to a Type 6 version, which fits with their aim for a more ‘musical performance’ of the Eclipse.

In general, Litz is an excellent wire for reducing drag, especially on lower gauge variants. Their lack of material depth and excellent insulating properties mean that they reduce the skin and proximity effect on typical non-Litz wiring better than most others.

The Type 4 Litz geometry has bundles of twisted wire twisted around a central fiber core and is a fairly advanced Litz construction for reducing the “skin effect” in electrical wiring.

The skin effect is the tendency of radio frequencies to focus on the surface of the conductor. Litz constructions counteract this effect by increasing the surface area without significantly increasing the size of the conductor.

On an aesthetic level, Litz prevents annoying green oxidation tones on the silver wire that you often see on regular non-Litz builds. This cable must retain its color throughout its life.

Astral Acoustics Eclipse Review

Design

It’s hard not to glance at both the Eclipse and Reference Silver from afar and say they look the same except for the barrels with that uber-silvery sheen under an equally soft and translucent PVC shell.

That’s not a bad thing, as the Reference Silver was a handsome fellow in its own right and the Eclipse as well. There are some very subtle differences in the examples I have here, but I can’t say for sure if that’s by design or just an ongoing production change or variation.

The first is the braiding technique which has a slightly longer throw compared to Reference Silver. This may very well be due to the thicker strands in the Eclipse, forcing AA to maintain a slightly looser profile in the bend of the braid.

Astral Acoustics Eclipse Review

Therapy

Given its large size, the overall diameter of the Eclipse is slightly larger than your standard 26AWG aftermarket cable, but comparable to the Reference Silver dimensions.

However, it’s still a very soft PVC sheath used here, so it never feels manageable and stiff like the Wagnus Zillion Sheep builds or the new PLUSSOUND sheaths used on cables like the Silver+. It also feels lighter compared to the Reference Silver, with the new lighter barrel constructions being a major factor in that lower weight.

Despite the improved density, the Eclipse has an impressively low level of microphonics during use. More below the splitter than above, which is quite normal for most IEM cables.

One thing to note is the absence of the PVC strain relief overmolds at the base of the Eclipse jack, something that was present on the Reference Silver. I suspect the strain relief isn’t internalized, which is a plus for me as it helps clean up the overall external appearance of the cable.

Strain relief on the new splitter barrel is also integrated with a medium length soft PVC sheath that doubles for strain relief or ‘memory wire’ on the connectors.

Astral Acoustics Eclipse Review

Finish

It’s all changed here on the Eclipse finish with some new brand specific black and silver alu7075 (aluminium) barrels. These feel a lot lighter than the earlier Reference Silver titanium barrels and I feel it has a great effect on handling with less ‘sway’ at the base of the cable when you’re dangling from it.

While some may be concerned about the reduced durability of using aluminum instead of titanium, the new Eclipse barrels feel pretty solid, just with less weight. They are also the most mature looking branded drums Astral Acoustics has developed to date and are unique from competing designs.

I like the silver and black contrast, and it complements the silver hue of the Eclipse main cable nicely. More than that, it’s the more complex finish in the alternating black and silver rings, particularly on the main barrel and chinstrap that suggests a growing maturity in barrel design.

For closures you get three barrel choices, 3.5mm, 2.5mm TRRS and 4.4mm Pentaconn. For connectors you get a fairly wide choice of everything from the generic 2-pin 0.78mm connector and MMCX to the more esoteric Fit Ear and QDC’s quirky 2-pin reverse polarity connectors.

Astral Acoustics Eclipse Review

Accessories & Packaging

If there’s one area I think a flagship cable should differ from the rest of the lineup, it’s the packaging. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the AA packaging for the Eclipse. It’s the same tried-and-tested little black branded box and excellent compact drawstring suede carrying case that’s ideal for keeping shipping costs relatively low.

However, I think if you’re going to pay $95o, I’d be looking for something more grandiose, maybe to give it a premium look from the start. Maybe the same box but in a leather finish? A higher quality leather for the cable tie? Things to consider maybe.

One thing that’s new since I last reviewed the Reference Silver is the inclusion of a warranty card including a nice envelope holder. It looks classy and very welcome, but again, nothing overly substantial on what’s gone before.

Click on page 2 below for sound impressions and links.

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