Shunyata Research Venom-X Speaker Cable $1999 Review

December 9, 2022 § Leave a comment

Venom-X speaker cables aren’t cheap, but as Shunyata claims, they provided performance beyond what I would expect from the fairly modest price (by high-end standards); they compared quite favorably with my more expensive reference cables. So if you have made a significant investment in a high-end audio system, the Venom-X could be just what you are looking for in a speaker cable, and at a price that is lower than what you might expect to pay for its level of performance.


Chord Company RumourX (2022) $21/m review

November 11, 2022 § Leave a comment

We have a sample of the previous generation RumourX to hand, but it doesn’t take long to hear the improvements. Listening through either of our systems, it’s clear that the basic character of the cable hasn’t changed. This is still a detailed and dynamically expressive performer that’s unusually surefooted when communicating rhythmic drive. Yet, as we listen to the likes of Olafur Arnald’s Found Songs and Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar OST, it is clear that the latest version of the cable is more balanced with a tauter, more controlled bass performance. There is a greater sense of openness about the sound and a little more subtlety in the way it renders dynamic nuances. At the top end, our system sounds just that touch more refined whereas the last generation cable adds a small degree of previously easily-ignored hardness in this region. 

We switch to Carnage by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis and enjoy the 2022 edition’s extra clarity and improved transparency. It feels like the inclusion of ChorAlloy has just increased the RumourX’s ability to pass the signal without messing with it too much. Anything that allows us to enjoy Cave’s heartfelt music even more is just fine with us.

Wireworld Eclipse and Aurora Cables $1920 2M Review

November 1, 2022 § Leave a comment

Wireworld is one of my favorite cable brands. They simply deliver great build quality, excellent customer service, and a good sounding, well reasoned product. There are those out there who will claim cables cannot and do not make a difference. I understand why they think that because I also used to think that. Wireworld was the company that proved me wrong. Every product I have used of theirs has made an improvement or a change that makes sense. The value in high end cabling is very much in the eye of the beholder. As someone with a mid five-figure 2-channel system, buying cables like this can make sense. However, as I said above, do not buy high end cabling (Wireworld’s entry-level lines are fantastic) for entry level systems. Do not buy flagship cabling for mid-level systems. There are better places to spend your money, but if you buy cabling that makes sense for the system you have, you will likely hear a difference, and you spend will be in line with the system you have. For those who are privileged enough to have a system like mine, Wireworld cabling is exceptional and has my highest recommendation. Audition it, touch it, try it, and I doubt you will return it.

AudioQuest Dragon Interconnect $9500 Review

October 29, 2022 § Leave a comment

Last, and certainly not least, Dragon’s treble was simply stunning in its combination of openness and resolution on one hand, and smoothness and refinement on the other. One of my “go-to” evaluation tracks is “Ain’t Misbehavin’” performed by Bob James on the trio album Espresso (one of the best-sounding piano trio recordings I know of). On the intricate and subtle ride-cymbal work at the beginning of the bass solo, I heard a newfound delicacy, richness of detail, and treble purity. The treble was exquisitely detailed and finely filigreed, with no hint of hardness. The combination of high resolution and textural smoothness was extremely compelling, and greatly contributed to the musical involvement and overall ease of the presentation. If you audition Dragon, listen to how sibilance is less intrusive on an album like Diana Krall’s Turn Up the Quiet. The sibilance is still there, but it doesn’t have objectionable “ssss” component. This very fine resolution of treble detail was also apparent on “Beckus the Dandipratt” from The Arnold Overtures (Reference Recordings 176/24), particularly during a passage in which an unaccompanied snare drum is played at a barely perceptible volume. After installing Dragon, I could more clearly hear the inner detail and texture of the drum despite the vanishingly low signal level.

Shunyata Research Sigma V2 Cables $4000/1m Review

October 23, 2022 § Leave a comment

Shunyata has really improved its signal cables with the new v2. The performance advances in both the Sigma v2 interconnect and speaker cable over the already-very-good v1 are substantial, especially in areas such as overall resolution, dynamic agility, and soundstaging and imaging. The sonic improvements wrought by the Sigma v2 cables in my system are closer to what one would expect from a major electronics upgrade, rather than from new cables alone. 

Building upon the original Sigma’s technologies and construction, Caelin Gabriel and his team at Shunyata have brought to market some truly fine signal cables that, while fairly expensive, are not priced anywhere near the upper end of the market. I highly recommend Sigma v2 cables, even if you can afford the more expensive stuff.

Shunyata Research • Sigma v2 Interconnects and Speaker Cables $4,500 Review

September 20, 2022 § Leave a comment

I don’t know if the Caelin Gabriel of 1998 had some idea of where he and his fledgling company would be after a quarter of a century, but I have to think he would have been very pleased with the long roster of successful products and patented technologies he has created. Shunyata’s power products have overshadowed the company’s “signal cables,” but Sigma v2 should change all that. They are reference-grade cables with nothing near reference-grade prices. If some audiophiles consider that a sign of compromise, they will be missing out on one of the great cables here and now. As much as any product I’ve reviewed, Sigma v2 urges the sage advice, Hear ’em before you buy anything else

Wireworld Horizon Review

August 15, 2022 § Leave a comment

Play Kid Cudi’s Day And Night and there’s a more believable texture to Kid’s vocal and less of a rough surface to the track’s synths. The cable just helps to deliver a more satisfying overall sound: bass notes sound fuller and weightier and the song doesn’t sound as tonally grey. There’s more space around the different elements too.

Switch to Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven and the cable helps to communicate the harmonics of the piano and the differentiation between key strokes. The ebb and flow of the track is communicated with greater clarity. Notes sound natural and realistic. The speaker cable doesn’t allow dynamics to shine quite as brightly as the very best at the money, though, and there’s a slight emotional disconnect from the music.


July 5, 2022 § Leave a comment

Monet Power Cable from Crystal Cable $6190 Review

June 24, 2022 § Leave a comment

The Monet defied the silver stereotype. The lower-midrange and bass bands are well represented, even slightly favored. Secondly, images are endowed with healthy amounts of body and far from being model-slim. Third, the tonal temperature veers slightly to the warm side. About the only things that did conform to the silver stereotype were the sweet timbres and musicality. Placing the Monet on the often used analytic/musical metric, it would land to the musical side.

Audiophiles are always chasing the twin muses of resolution and musicality. One doesn’t readily encounter strong performance in both from a single product. The Monet Power Cable gives you the whole package and delivers a performance that would easily hold its own in a field of competitors at the $10K/2m range.

Mad Scientist Black Magic Speaker Cables Review

June 22, 2022 § Leave a comment

I am much impressed with these cables and if you ask me, the Mad Scientist has really outdone himself. Both the 2-Core and 4-Core versions provide a sound that seems to have been lost in so many other brands. These days, cables seem to be all about being more and more polished and refined, to the point that the musical message gets glossed over and the raw energy is lost. I am surprised and amazed to find what is in many ways the opposite of this trend with the Black Magic cables.

I have heard plenty of very accurate cables that managed to kill the soul of the music in the process. The Black Magic cables may be highly accurate and superbly neutral, but they do not sound damped or over-controlled in any way. Rather, they fully conduce the full extent of the lyrical and “singing” qualities of every recording and they have blown me away with the immensely solid, visceral, energetic, toe-tapping, dynamic, and joyful presentation that they elicit from both the NuPrime and the CH A1.5.

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