Astral Acoustics Pulse and Astral - Reference Silver Sound Impression/Review

General Info/Build

Astral Acoustics is an audio company specialising in cables based in Hong Kong. They produce premium audio cable mainly based on copper and silver, according to their website’s about us section, “Exotic materials like Gold and Palladium give users a unique experience, but those are for a niche group of audiophiles.” I have the Pulse (a pure copper cable) and Ref Silver (a Pure Silver) with me today courtesy of Mr Henry from Astral Acoustics, I thank him for giving me the opportunity to test out both of the cables.

Build Quality


  • It is very soft overall, 4 wire 23 AWG Type 6 Litz LCOFC Copper

  • No microphonics based on my experience throughout the time when i’m testing out the Pulse (>2 weeks)

  • 2 pin connector is made in accordance to industry standard manufacturer AEC. The 4.4mm jack is solid, the pin's thickness is also in accordance to the actual 0.78mm with a low margin of error at 0.005. The jack is similar to both Mercury and Voyager which i have also tested previously

  • Chin slider works well and no complaints about it

  • The cable is very easy to manage and doesn’t tangle up easily, the braiding is also very well done

Astral - Ref Silver

  • The cable thickness is more or less the same as the Pulse, however, in terms of stiffness, It is a lot more softer than the Pulse

  • It doesn’t get tangled up easily

  • The connectors, Y splitter, chin sliders are different from Pulse, it is using premium TA4 titanium, as expected from such premium cable, also in accordance with the AEC standard

  • I did not notice much microphonics on the Ref Silver as well

Cable’s Specifications


Material: 4x 23 wire gauge Type 6 Litz Multi-sized LCOFC Copper

Length: 120cm approx (Customizable depending on your request *additional cost may incur)

Ref Silver

Material: 4x 23.5 wire gauge Type 6 Litz 5n Silver

Length: 120cm approx (Customizable depending on your request *additional cost may incur)

Gears used for this impression

  • Earmen Angel Dac Amp 4.4 output

  • Earmen ST-Amp 4.4 output

  • Kiwi Ears Orchestra Lite - 8 BAs

  • Hidizs MS5 - Hybrid (4BA + 1 DD)


My impression is solely based on what I hear via my equipment and I never consider my reviews to be objective in any way rather a subjective approach. Do take into consideration that everyone’s ear anatomy is not the same, so the psychoacoustics perception might be different as well, but i believe it will not stray too far

Sound Impressions

The sound impressions are based on comparison between the IEM’s stock cables and Astral Acoustics’s cables, also the reason why to go with Earmen Angel and the ST-Amp as a source is because it is fairly neutral and uncolored, hence i will be able to pick up the differences easily


  • Overall sound profile is warm, thick and smooth, very musical to my ears

  • From what i can tell, the bass sustain is definitely slightly longer, quite similar experience when i’m listening to my ZX300

  • When paired with mid focused IEM, the end result is amazing, will talk more on that later on

  • On IEMs with energetic treble, Pulse tend to smother it a little, somehow, i find the note weight to be slightly thicker

  • The soundstage and imaging is noticeably better, better separation and bigger soundstage

Astral - Ref Silver

  • Ref Silver is something totally different sounding from the Pulse

  • The correct way to put it into word is that, it doesn’t add any “colour” to the sound, instead, both the low and highs has got much better extension, of course, that is also depending on the capability of the transducer

  • Bass extension is better, hence you get a bit more punch and rumble from the lows

  • Treble on the other end, due to the extension, the presentation becomes airier hence leading to slightly bigger perceived soundstage

IEM Pairings

Pulse with Kiwi Ears Orchestra Lite

  • Orchestra Lite itself is rather “safe” sounding, pairing it with the Pulse elevated the experience, it becomes more musical

  • The bass has more body than how it used to sound, the sustain is also longer hence it gives the perception of “a little bit more bass”

  • Note weight is noticeably thicker

  • Mid range and the vocal is amazing on this pairing, the mids and vocal on stock is already good, pairing it with Pulse made the Orchestra Lite’s mid range somehow sounded more lush, not to mention the voice of Teresa Teng, Anita Mui, Zhao Peng and Na Ying, they all sounded very full and sweet

  • The longer bass sustain made Billie Eilish’s bad guy even more enjoyable

  • Listening to Slipknot’s People=Shit!, the separation and imaging is clearly much better compared to stock, you can easily identify/pin point where the instruments are coming from

  • The added warmth contributes slightly to the soundstage as well, slightly more atmospheric feel to my ears (Do take into consideration that perceived soundstage after all, still largely depends on the eartips, amping as well as source)

Astral Ref Silver with Kiwi Ears Orchestra Lite

  • Switching over to Ref Silver from Pulse, the listening experience is totally different

  • Mid range remains very lush

  • I noticed the extension on both treble and the lows is somehow better compared to Pulse, bass lingers a little longer giving the perception of slightly bassier, treble on the other hand has a bit more air, the whole presentation is very different compared to pairing it with Pulse, with Ref Silver, the soundstage is as if i’m present at the live concert, with the Pulse, i get a bit more width and depth but the experience is different due to the treble extension i believe

  • Slightly better separation and detail retrieval but not day and night differences

Pulse with Hidizs MS5

  • Note weights are noticeably thicker on all three frequencies (Low, Mids, Highs)

  • Sound stage does expand a little bit in terms of width, height and depth compared to stock cable

  • The highs on the MS5 on certain track does have a slight hint of sibilant, pairing it with the Pulse, replaying the same track, the sibilant is reduced and overall the treble response is smoother while retaining the energy

  • Bass response is fuller, the same goes to the mids and vocals, they have better texture

  • Soundstage doesn’t change much, just slightly wider with this pairing, i believe it is due to how it's tuned, imaging and separation however is slightly better

Astral Ref Silver with Hidizs MS5

  • Switching over to the Ref Silver, my expectation is that it might make the highs on MS5 more energetic hence make it even more sibilant, i was wrong, it does not add any sibilance at all

  • The bass extension is better, overall texture does have improvement to my ears, one would expect a pure silver cable to be bright sounding, but Ref Silver doesn’t do any of that, it is rather neutral/reference sounding, instead giving better extension on both ends

  • Na Ying’s vocal have a slight hint of sibilant when i crank the volume up on MS5 with stock config, listening to the same track with Ref Silver, the sibilant is somehow not that noticeable anymore (the vol pot on my amp is at 9 O’Clock, it is very loud given the MS5 has very low impedance and high sensitivity), until you crank the volume further up to 10 O’clock, that’s where you start to hear the sibilant again.

  • Detail retrieval is better and also the soundstage, more open sounding overall, all these improvements yet it doesn’t change the tonality of it

Random Test

  • So, out of curiosity, i have decided to pair the Pulse and Ref Silver with some entry level IEMs costing between 20$ to 100$ to see what kind of improvements can we expect from a premium cable

  • Dunu Titan S for example, doesn’t benefit much from Ref Silver, with Pulse, the note weight is heftier, better bass response and also better separation

  • 7Hz’s Legato, the recent release with a dual dynamic driver that brings back some memory due to it sounding like a vintage speaker, i skipped the Pulse and went straight for Ref Silver, it elevates the experience further, the bass of Legato has that effect where you feel enveloped within it, the room like acoustic reverb and the airy presentation, very good match, downside is that the cable itself cost 7x more than the IEM

Final Thoughts

This is the 2nd time i’m testing out cables from Astral Acoustics, once again, i am impressed, i started off by testing out their entry level’s range, and this time stepping up to another tier, i am certain that both the Pulse and Reference Silver is another step up from the Voyager and Mercury, in terms of sonic performance, build quality as well as material.

The cables do not make your IEMs sound day and night kind of difference, rather cable rolling is targeted at those who are looking to squeeze out that extra bit of performance, or improving a certain range of frequency for their IEMs. I have yet to own any TOTL, but testing them on my mid-fi IEMs and noticing the improvements makes me even more curious what/how it will perform when paired with TOTLs. So, if you ask me, is it worth getting the Pulse or Reference Silver? I would say it is all down to your preference, as you progress further into the hobby, you will know exactly what you’re looking for and settle for the signature that you’re going after, the same can be said for TOTL IEMs, it is either you love it or hate it because their tunings are usually quite niche and it is not catered for the mass.

The price for both Pulse and Reference Silver aren’t exactly accessible, which is to be expected for a premium cable, but then again, if you already owned a Ferrari, the cost of the accessories should not be a concern, i might even get flamed for this review, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion and i believe my ears.

*A big thanks once again to Henry from Astral Acoustics for the opportunity to test out the cables. All thoughts are of my own and I am not in any way influenced to produce this article. There is a Pulse b-stock listed on the website which is currently going for 380$ instead of 550$, that is essentially a saving of 170$ over the normal Pulse.

*The difference between the b-stock Pulse vs Non b-stock

  • Less flashy IEM connectors

  • Misprinted run of Y-Split without the Astral’s logo

  • 2 Pin version comes in a grey coloured PEEK dielectric rather than black

  • Sound, connector material, solder will be the same as the normal Pulse 

Product Link

Pulse - Non Affiliated

Pulse b-Stock - Non Affiliated

Astral - Ref Silver - Non Affiliated


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