The Moontails are Jade Audio’s entry level interconnects, but at $550 a stereo pair (RCA) and $800 (XLR), they are perhaps more expensive than many audio fans would consider. Prices go up to over $4,000 for a 1m stereo pair of RCA interconnects for Jade Audio’s top of the line offering. Jade Audio are clearly focused on the upper echelons of the hifi price bracket.
The MoonTails are constructed using 99.99% pure gold plated OCC (Ohno Continuous Casting) copper wire; and 99.99% pure silver plated OCC copper wire. These are used in combination to make up both the positive and negative conductors.
These conductors are sleeved in an unbleached cotton dielectric; Jade Audio say that this allows for only 5% of the wire surface to be in contact with the cotton, leaving the remaining 95% in air (the next best dielectric to a vacuum!), and that cotton is second only to air as a good real-world dielectric giving the least energy storage possible.
The appearance is very distinctive, with more than a hint of goldness shining thru the outer sleeving! They are also surprisingly light, and quite flexible considering their broad diameter.
The Reviewer’s Perspective
I have been something of a cable obsessive over the years and have tried and enjoyed cables at all price levels from £5 a pair to over £1,000 a pair. It’s fair to say, though, that I have also found rather more cables which didn’t float my boat at all price levels as well!
My own preferences are for a detailed, focussed and explicit sound with vibrant in-the-room presence. It’s a seat in the front stalls for me! And personally, I’d be happy to sacrifice, for example, some bottom end grunt and slam for increased midrange transparency and detail. But others will differ in their priorities, and that’s fair enough.
My job as a reviewer is to present you, the reader, with as objective an assessment as I can of the sound presentation of any component, and not praise or dismiss it based only on the vaguaries of my own personal taste. I intend my reviews to be just a guide to help you decide if something should be on your list of candidates for purchase.
Getting straight to the point, I was impressed. I very much enjoyed using these cables in my system and they suit my own preferences in sonic presentation well.
I liked the Moontails even more in some ways than my own reference RFC Pluto cables – they are a tad more open and have a little bit more presence at the top end, which I liked. Some folk may find them a little tonally ‘hot’, especially if used with hifi equipment which is already a little on the toppy side.
One of my favourite recordings, both for review duties and musical enjoyment, is Vol 1 of Naxos’ solo lute sonatas by Silvius Weiss, a composer from the Baroque period and a contemporary of JS Bach. The delicacy and transient speed of the lute’s plucked strings, and its placement within a somewhat reverberant acoustic space, is pretty much perfectly captured in this wonderful recording made in a Canadian church – ideal for assessing the abilities of hifi equipment!
The Moontails were very good, but not the best I have heard; the imaging is not quite as focussed as a good solid core (single strand) cable, they are a little vague in imaging in comparison. The Moontails are as good as the best multi-strand that I have heard, though, and some listeners find solid core cables to lack a little weight and solidity. Perhaps you can’t have everything in one component! In the Weiss solo lute sonata CD, the sonic image of the lute is just a little smeared and unfocussed using the Moontails compared to the best I have heard, with the lute rather further forward than I think it should be, and the sense of acoustic space a little diluted. I’m deliberately being a bit picky here, the cables are still very good!
Bass as conveyed by the Moontails is deep, taut and cleanly textured – not better than I’ve heard before, but up there with the best.
A minute or so into Dougie MacClean’s wonderfully atmospheric song ‘Ready for the Storm’ on his double album ‘Essential Dougie MacLean’ there is a deep and vibrantly controlled bass synth phrase. This catches so many components out, but the Moontails allowed it to pass unhindered – very nice indeed! Actually, it’s a fantastic track in a fantastic album – with superbly clean and transparent sonics – well worth getting!
It’s well worth mentioning the Moontails’ portayal of vocals at this point, too. Very open and clear with pure tonality. Dougie MacLean’s voice is conveyed with wonderful clarity and presence through the Moontails.
Dynamics are nice and free, but not hyped up by emphasis on leading edges. There’s an easy naturalness to the presentation that is nonetheless room-filling when the music requires it to be. The opening bars after the initial trumpet call of Michiyoshi Inoue’s recording of Mahler’s 5th symphony just explodes into the room – fantastic! It’s a rare CD, but is one of the most natural recordings of an orchestra in full flight that I have heard – a great performance, too. So many cables diminish this recording’s impact and sense of scale, but not the Moontails.
The Moontails use a combination of gold- and silver- plated high purity copper cables along with high quality gold plated Furutech connectors. That’s interesting, most cables using gold or gold plated conductor wires I have heard err on the soft and cumfy side; but that is not what I heard from the Moontails – maybe it’s the combination of gold- and silver-plated cables that are used in the Moontails that achieves this.
1 The Moontails are much thicker than most cables (although not as thick as other Jade Audio cables!) – just on 2cm in diameter – and some hifi equipment has the left/right RCA sockets too close together for them to fit comfortably.
2 Jade Audio warns users to be careful with handling and not to repeatedly plug and unplug them.
Jade Audio make this statement on their website: “Because of these issues, I am not able to warrant these cables, but I will attempt to repair any cable that breaks. Assuming the break is in the wire at the plugs, I should be able to repair them for little or no cost. If however the break happens in the middle, I would need to use new wire, and depending on whether it is solid or vermeil gold will have a profound effect on the price of repair. SO PLEASE TREAT THESE WITH RESPECT!”
Fair enough – consider yourself warned!
A fast and insightful cable, but maybe not for those who like to kick back and relax and want to be enveloped by the music. And I think you have to be careful of fitting them in to a system that is already a bit on the bright side – the Moontails are very open at the top and the combination may be a bit too much. And they are not the ultimate in image focus, but are up there with the best non-single core cables I have heard. And make sure that multiple cables can actually fit on the components you wish to connect, they are of large diameter.
Whoa! – that’s a lot of negatives, but don’t get me wrong, you just have to be careful of overall system synergy. These are very fine sounding cables and will give you genuinely high levels of insight into the recorded musical event, and that’s a result that can be hard to achieve at any price.
Review system: MBL 116F speakers, Viva 300p (power amp mode), Restek Consens pre-amp, Yaqin
MC-100B integrated amp, McCormack UDP-1 silver disc spinner. Audio technica OFC speakers cables, RFC Pluto interconnect cables.
Author – Jerry