Astral Acoustics Mars: The Purest Upgrade

Astral Acoustics Mars Review: The Purest Upgrade

Upgrade cables for in-ear earphones is a tricky and vague area. There are many of those who don’t believe in the change but believe me – if you’ve had a proper trial of custom cables, it’s too obvious/drastic of a change that should be beyond the questioning of believing or not. However, some IEMs are also extremely reluctant or immune to cable changes (Nostalgia Tesseract for example) which also makes it thoroughly understandable why so many don’t “believe” in cables.


Introducing… Astral Acoustics!

Anyhow, today we’re talking about another solid cable manufacturer, Astral Acoustics. I wouldn’t say the scale of this brand isn’t as gigantic as other major custom cable brands, yet their business operation is no minor scale – nor their products are. If you’ve been peeking around for custom cables, I’m pretty sure you’ve also heard of them – or you already know the quality of Astral cables if you already own an Astral cable.


Established in 2016, Astral Acoustics is a Hong Kong brand that’s been designing and manufacturing proprietary wires and cable components. Among the various cable materials and price tags, today we’re reviewing one of Astral Acoustic’s newest products, a classic pure copper cable, the Mars. Being placed as a premium product among the Astral line-ups, Mars is a 2-braid coaxial cable priced at $650. Let’s see how Mars performs, sounds, and compares with the products in our reviewer lab. 


Let’s now unbox Mars!


What is Mars / The Specs

Mars comes in a small, black casual box. Once unboxing reveals the cable hidden inside a soft pouch. Nothing special about the packaging, yet Astral Acoustics chose simplicity and cost-effectiveness, throwing in more investment into the cable itself than a fancier presentation to cut the retail price. I also greatly appreciate cable products that put effort into good presentation and concept-making, though cost-effective moves like these are just as preferred. For obvious reasons – better pricing for the customers.


As for the cable specs, although using the most classic (and the most well-respected) cable material, Astral introduces Mars as a pure copper cable that has gone crazy with the wire design. Of course, the wires are proprietary manufactured and not bought off the shelves. Mars is comprised of a three-sized standing coaxial design with a combination of thick 21awg wires. These multi-layered shieldings formulate a single thick wire, and two of these wires are braided to create the Mars cable. 


Usability / Flexibility

Despite the thick gauges of wires, Mars is easy to handle due to its slim form factor and unexpectedly lightweight. Mars has an average custom cable usability and weight, giving nearly an idea using experience as any other 2-braided coaxial cable. All connectors and Y-splits are finished with lightweight metal with a matte black coating. The wires are also considerably pliable as it’s a 2-braid cable, so there shouldn’t be any issue using these casually.             


How does Mars sound: The Listening Experience

Mars is a cable that doesn’t particularly alter or change your IEM’s sound signature. Instead, it seeks a pure “upgrade” in sound. To be specific, these upgrades include resolution, cleanliness, clarity, and dynamics. Let’s go into detail on how these changes are made. First, Mars provides deeper and cleaner extension towards both directions – ultra lows and highs.


The rumbles of the ultra-lows are stronger with cleaner reverbs. The highs have better transparency and polish the fine treble splashes that used to be rather vague and foggy. Next is the dynamics. Mars gives powerful liveliness to the sound, making the IEM provide a sound that’s more impactful, agile, and rich. The sound also gets gently fuller in the body. Thus, the mentioned improvements would comprehensively bring the soundstage to be wider three-dimensionally – which means, the headroom is larger, broader, deeper, and reaches higher in altitude.


The last significant sound change brought by Mars is the density of the sound. The so-called “tightening the sound” may bring higher density but get lesser body, though that isn’t really the case here. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Mars makes the sound slightly fuller in body, yet the overall sound gains this tightness and crispness to the texture, making the sound more packed in resolution.           


Next Page: Matching with IEMs / Cable Comparisons