Janine Elliot cuts a rug with the Black Rhodium Quickstep loudspeaker cables costing £400 for a 3m pair. More »
Janine Elliot cuts a rug with the Black Rhodium Quickstep loudspeaker cables costing £400 for a 3m pair. More »
The Chord Company is launching ShawCan — its first ever headphone cable at October’s headroom show, part of The Indulgence Show (14-16th October, Novotel London West).
Studio Connections are based in the UK and produce a wide range of cables for home audio use. In this review Dan Worth and Dominic Marsh take a look at the company’s Carbon Power cables retailing at £190 for 1m. More »
The Chord Company, has introduced a new ARAY-technology analogue interconnect to its Clearway range. The Clearway Analogue, which is hand-built at Chord’s Wiltshire headquarters, has been designed to show music lovers just how good the new wave of entry-level DACs, turntables and streamers really are.
Priced at £100 for a 1m pair, the new Clearway Analogue features the ARAY conductor configuration used on the Chord C-line, with a raft of critical upgrades. Chord’s technicians have improved the conductors by using high-purity oxygen-free copper, upgraded the insulation to FEP and used a higher density foil to improve the shielding.
Clearway Analogue is fitted with the high-performance Chord VEE 3 direct-silver-plated RCA plug and is also available terminated with DIN and XLR connectors.
Typically, cables that use oxygen-free copper as a conductor material will use either polyethylene or PVC as an insulating material. What sets The Chord Company’s Clearway cable apart is its use of FEP, a derivative of PTFE with very similar performance characteristics. Compared to polyethylene, the FEP-insulated Clearway carries both detail and dynamic information markedly more accurately. The tonal properties of the cable are also considerably more neutral.
The Clearway Analogue is priced at £100p/m and is available now fitted with silver-plated RCAs, DINs and XLRs. Custom lengths are available to order.
Atlas Cables has added to its range of Zeno replacement headphone cables with the launch of the Zeno IEM – a light and compliant yet durable upgrade cable for those who use in-ear monitors. Zeno IEM combines Atlas Cables’ unique cable technology with its latest range of dedicated solder-free connectivity options called Metik.
Hand-built in Scotland and available now, prices range from £280.00. Compatible IEMs from launch include Sure, Beyer Dynamic, Fit Ear and Ultrazone, with many more available upon request.
Zeno IEM features Ohno Continuous Cast (OCC) copper conductors, which are covered in FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene) low temperature deposition dielectric to protect the integrity of the OCC material. Wrapped within a protective soft PVC inner liner and finished with a tangle-free fabric outer jacket, Zeno is extremely durable and ideal for any level of usage.
Developed specifically for Zeno and covering a wealth of connection options, Atlas’ Metik non-solder crimp plugs provide signal consistency from socket to socket. Available in 3.5mm, 6.3mm and 4-pin XLR for the source end, Metik plugs provide a direct, airtight metal to metal contact.
Commenting on the launch of the Zeno IEM, Kevin Kelly, Managing Director at Atlas Cables, said, “With the launch of the original Zeno, we realised just how passionate users were as they sought to gain the best possible performance when using headphones. IEM users are no different. The development of this new cable comes about from demand as they set out to further refine the quality of their personal audio systems. The increase in sound quality and durability makes the Zeno IEM the perfect upgrade for those looking to retrieve the very best from their music – both at home and when on the move.”
Atlas Zeno IEM UK SRP with Metik 3.5mm source connection plug:
1.00m £ 280.00
1.50m £ 290.00
* Custom lengths available upon request
For 30 years Russ Andrews has been supplying accessories for hifi and AV systems. To celebrate this occasion the company is releasing an updated version of one of its most successful products from the past three decades, and is making it available to the mass market with a special anniversary price.
The Russ Andrews YellOPower™ mains cable shares its name with a cable that sold in its thousands when first introduced in the 1990s. Setting it apart from the original cable is over 20 years’ of additional research and development by the leader in this field, chairman and technical director, Russ Andrews, into the effects of ‘dirty’ mains on the performance of hifi systems.
Marking the 30th Anniversary, Russ Andrews is making the YelloPower available at its old price of £30 for a 1m cable for a period of 30 days starting 1st September 2016
The YellOPower is manufactured using eight individually insulated pure copper Kimber Kable conductors, arranged in the famous Kimber weave configuration. The 13 awg (2.62mm2) cores for live and neutral ensure excellent current handling and pure PVC insulation is employed. The UK built cable is finished off with a 13A Russ Andrews fuse, black Tecflex sleeving and robust IEC and UK three pin plugs. International plugs are available at no extra cost. The YellOPower branded heat shrinks, in yellow, add a reference to the original all yellow cable.
Russ Andrews, chairman, reflecting on 30 years in business says, “I started the company, then called RATA, to provide accessories for turntables, the mainstay of hi-fi systems at the time. As the years progressed and I developed our relationship with Kimber Kable, the leading cable brand from the USA, I quickly became aware of the benefits of its woven cables on the sound of the hi-fi system. Researching this and discovering its RFI rejection properties led me to make the UK’s first audiophile mains cable.” He adds, “Now, 30 years later, I am very pleased that we are able to reintroduce the YellO and bring the benefits of my research into mains to the mass market. And in a funny twist of irony that takes us full circle, no doubt many of them will end up being used with turntables again.”
David Robson takes a look at Indonesian company Vermouth Audio’s Rhapsody loudspeaker and mains cables costing £200 for a six foot pair for the former and £150 for a four foot cable for the latter. More »
The Chord Company has announced the launch of its new Shawline cable range, a cable we’ve been playing with here at Hifi Pig for a few months now.
The Wiltshire company commented it “can now make cables that do nothing. That’s nothing as in no colouration: colour comes from the music not the cables; no signal loss”.
What The Chord Company’s new Shawline cables can do they say is: “carry a musical signal with an extraordinary degree of detail and accuracy; transform the performance of almost every system they are used in and let music lovers even further into their favourite music”.
The Shawline range is a hand-built-in-the-UK cable line-up that comprises digital, analogue and loudspeaker cables, and features the company’s proprietary Tuned ARAY technology at a price of £200. The same unique conductor geometry as seen in Chord’s Sarum Tuned ARAY cables is now available with Shawline. The line-up sits neatly above the entry-level C-series and the affordable Clearway range.
The new Shawline analogue interconnect – available in DIN, RCA and XLR versions – uses the same Tuned ARAY technology as Sarum Tuned ARAY. They are fitted with silver-plated Chord VEE 3 RCA plugs with PTFE insulation. Shawline’s conductors are built from silver-plated multi-strand oxygen-free copper, insulated with PTFE. The conductors are contained within a specifically chosen outer jacket for flexibility and reduce mechanical noise.
The all-new Shawline Digital uses proprietary ARAY conductor geometry developed for digital cables. Also fitted with silver-plated Chord VEE 3 RCA plugs with PTFE insulation (or high-performance silver-plated BNC connectors), the new design features a tri-conductor configuration, optimised for digital signal transmission.
Further features include silver-plated, PTFE-insulated conductors with an internal PVC jacket that reduces mechanical noise and correctly spaces the high-frequency-effective high- density braid and foil combination shield.
Shawline loudspeaker cable
Completing the range is a shielded loudspeaker cable — Chord’s most discreet and flexible shielded speaker cable to date. The Shawline loudspeaker cable is a new design featuring silver-plated conductors and high-frequency-effective shielding. 16 AWG multi-strand silver-plated conductors with PTFE insulation are employed in a twisted-pair configuration, with a PVC internal jacket to minimise mechanical noise.
Shawline loudspeaker cable is available off-the-reel and in factory-terminated lengths, the latter fitted with Chord Company gold-plated banana plugs.
Hand-building is crucial to the complexity of the design of Tuned ARAY cables say the company.
Pricing and availability
Shawline is available now
Analogue RCA 1m: £200; additional metres £80
Digital: RCA 1m: £200; additional metres £80
Speaker: £30p/m unterminated; factory Banana/Spade terminations 8 plugs one pair £100
Submitted for review to Hifi Pig we have this MS HD Power MS-EO2 SS, Star Wired mains block with surge protection and external earth point unit costing £369. Dominic Marsh takes a listen. More »
Hifi Pig’s coverage of the Munich High End show is now available for FREE download. There’s over 140 pages of comment, photographs, inerviews and reports in this bumper edition that has been sponsored by Tellurium Q.
As well as all the great content one lucky reader will have the chance to win a Hifi Pig Special Edition pair of loudspeakers kindly given by Kralk Audio and a pair of Tellurium Q speaker cables to connect the speakers to your rig.
Download your copy now!
“The audio cable that enjoys a little teasing” is how this new British cable manufacturer opens their press release. The company in question is Wire On Wire and they hand build their cables in the UK.
With its REDpurl™ variable geometry (UK patent pending), the company’s Experience 680 interconnect permits the user to alter its wire spacing, allowing the sound character of the interconnect to be tuned to the user’s preference.
“The REDpurl™ geometry allows the user to vary the relationship between conductors”, says Wire on Wire’s founder and designer Chris Bell, “so altering the cable’s physics and helping it adapt to their system and musical taste. I was looking for something that could adapt to the individual and the result many years later is a cable full of potential tweaks.”
The Experience680 uses carefully chosen silver-plated copper conductors of different diameter, insulated with PTFE. Capacitance is kept low thanks to the REDpurl™ variable geometry.
Wire on Wire will be exhibiting at the North West Audio Show later this month.
Paradox Audio hail from Oslo in Norway and headed by Tore Magnus Wilhelmsen, founded early in the year 2010. They produce a range of cables aimed squarely at the high end of the market and the company’s tagline is “Probably the world’s most honest cables”. Dominic Marsh plumbs them into his system. More »
“Furutech’s recently-developed ‘Alpha Nano-Au-Ag’ OCC conductor is among the best that the brand’s engineers have ever conceived for sound reproduction. Not surprising, then, that it underpins the brand’s new top-of-line power and speaker cables. “ says the Japanese company’s recent press release.
The specialized manufacturing process begins with Furutech’s Alpha-OCC conductor which, after undergoing a patented two-step cryogenic freeze and demagnetization process, is treated with Furutech’s “finely-tuned transmission enhancer, Nano Liquid”.
Nano Liquid features a precise ratio of tiny gold and silver particles (approximately 8 nano-meters or 8/1,000,000th of a millimetre in diameter) that finely coat the conductor, filling up and smoothing out any microscopic concave-convex areas left on the conductor’s surface during the production process, and thus providing a greater contact surface.
Furutech’s engineers found that the precise ratio of gold and silver particles and of the dispersing Squalene oil used in the Nano Liquid had a notable effect on sound reproduction, and undertook extensive tests before settling on their final, very specific ratio.
NanoFlux NCF power cable
A double-layer insulation combined with a complex outer shield, damping layer and EMI-absorbing modules reject external vibration and electromagnetic radiation.
The NanoFlux NCF power cable also includes Furutech’s new and unique NCF piezo ceramic series connectors. Furutech’s Alpha pure-copper rhodium-plated conductors are housed within a body that contains an active damping material, Nano Crystal² Formula (NCF). The latter incorporates a “special crystalline material with two active properties: first, it generates negative ions that eliminate static; second, it converts thermal energy into far-infrared. This remarkable material is combined with nano-sized ceramic particles and carbon powder for their additional ‘piezo effect’ damping properties”.
This is then enclosed within a multi-layered non-magnetic stainless steel and silver-plated carbon fibre outer shell, incorporating a special damping and insulating acetal copolymer, the EMI-absorbing GC-303.
New NanoFlux speaker cable
The new NanoFlux speaker cable, again built around the Alpha Nano-Au-Ag OCC conductor, sports Furutech’s CF-201(R) rhodium-plated nonmagnetic pure copper spades along with CF-202(R) non-magnetic rhodium-plated banana connectors.
Pricing & availability
Furutech NanoFlux power & speaker cables are available now, priced as follows (incl. VAT).
|NanoFlux-NCF power cable||Length 1.8m||£ 3,795|
|NanoFlux speaker cable||Length 2.5m||£ 4,995 (per pair)|
Note: Custom lengths are available to order.
“The new IsoTek EVO3 Initium marries high quality materials with intelligent construction to deliver a power cable of outstanding performance and mechanical integrity, which will neither degrade over time nor break your bank balance” says the company’s latest press release.
EVO3 Initium key features/
Three x 2 mm2 conductors are arranged in a parallel construction with a slight rotational twist. This established technique remains the first line of defence against RFI and EMI.
99.9999% oxygen-free copper (OFC) conductors offer an exceptional level of purity with enhanced conductivity, and are less likely to fracture or degrade over time.
Polyethylene (PE) dielectric is chemically inert and has a very low dielectric constant over a wide frequency range. It possesses a high degree of stress crack resistance and a low coefficient of friction, making it an exceptional dielectric. PE is also a top choice for safety in both temperature and electrical insulation.
Cotton filler gives the cable internal strength and reduces microphony, while also possessing the best dielectric properties of a solid material.
A paper wrap secures the construction prior to the application of the PVC outer jacket. Together with the cotton filler, the paper wrap forms a buffer with the PVC so as to maintain exceptional dielectric properties.
A PVC outer jacket gives a high degree of flexibility and mechanical strength.
Bespoke audiophile-grade IsoTek moulded connectors featuring solid OFC conductors with robust nickel plating.
Cable length 1.5 m
Outer diameter 10 mm
The IsoTek EVO3 Initium power cable is available now priced at £64.95 (including VAT) for a 1.5 metre terminated cable.
Suitable for CD players, preamps, tuners, power amps, Blu-ray players, music servers, TVs, soundbars and more.
Hifi Pig Promotion
THE CHORD COMPANY LAUNCHES CHORDMUSIC, ITS MOST ADVANCED CABLE RANGE IN 30 YEARS
The Chord Company has launched ChordMusic, the company’s most advanced cable range in its 30-year history. The celebratory, flagship series distils 30 years of cable design and manufacturing knowhow into a ground-breaking line-up. ChordMusic is a revelatory product, developed using an exciting and entirely new insulation material which has never been used with audio cables before: Taylon®.
Hifi Pig Promotion
THE CHORD COMPANY LAUNCHES CHORDMUSIC, ITS MOST ADVANCED CABLE RANGE IN 30 YEARS More »
David Robson takes these relatively budget-minded cables from Scottish manufacturer Atlas out for a drive both individually and as a full loom set up. More »
Studio Connections are a cable company building their cables in the UK and headed up by Michael Whiteside. Here Dan Worth takes a listen to their Platinum digital cables costing £1350 for 1m, terminated lengths. More »
O2A are a speaker manufacturer from Liechtenstein headed up by Anna Robathin. Here Dominic Marsh tries out the company’s €1760 (2.5m pair) O2A Quintessence SUBLIM Speaker Cables.
The Chord Company is celebrating 30 years of Hifi cable design and UK manufacturing with the launch of ChordMusic, the company’s new flagship range of cables and yesterday Hifi Pig popped along for a listen at the exclusive KJ West One Store in London (Read more here).
The Chord Company says that the ChordMusic is the most advanced cable range in its 30-year history and that it is a is a “revelatory product, developed using an exciting and entirely new insulation material which has never been used with audio cables before: Taylon®.”
For a long time Chord have used a combination of PTFE – in various forms – as the dielectric and silver-plated conductors and recently introduced the Sarum Tuned ARAY and Super ARAY cables take this combination as far as they were able. With Sarum Tuned ARAY and Super ARAY the conductors are micro-polished prior to silver-plating and gas-foamed PTFE is employed as a dielectric before fitting of a PTFE RCA plug surround.
ChordMusic uses all the same Super ARAY technology and the same PTFE plugs but what Nigel and Alan from Chord Company were keen to stress it is the sets it apart is the Taylon® dielectric that sets it apart from its predecessors.
So what is Taylon® ? Nigel from Chord said “it is a unique insulation material that has never been used to produce audio cables before and is exclusive to The Chord Company with its roots being in the US military”. “Although its dielectric constant is very slightly lower than PTFE, Taylon® is phase-stable at typical room temperatures” said Alan. Needless to say there were questions about the makeup of Taylon® but none were forthcoming as both Nigel and Alan stressed they did not know and will not be told given the origins of this material.
ChordMusic cables have three external layers of noise reducing materials along their lengths. The first of these is designed to reduce levels of mechanical noise; the second was chosen to constrain the noise reducing layer in a very precise way; finally, beneath the white braided finish, there is a metallic external braid.
At the moment there are Analogue interconnects available with RCA, XLR and DIN terminations. The minimum length is 1m but custom lengths and custom terminations are readily available.
Digital interconnects are also available in coaxial digital and AES EBU configurations. Coaxial digital cables can be terminated with either RCA or BNC. Chord are also able to produce custom terminations, such as RCA to XLR (AES EBU).
ChordMusic streaming cables are fitted with RJ45 connectors and are available in custom lengths and a ChordMusic USB cable is currently in development say the company.
Finally Chord have announced the ChordMusic speaker cable which features the same mechanical noise reduction layers as fitted to the analogue and digital interconnects, as well as – for the first time – an ARAY technology developed specifically for speaker cable. A new clamp design, unique to ChordMusic speaker cable, is currently at the prototype stage and in another first, ChordMusic speaker cables will be fitted with silver-plated spade connectors.
A Chord Music tonearm cable is currently in development and will be available later in the year and a ChordMusic power cable is currently at the design stage.
The Chord Company released its flagship product, ChordMusic, at the prestigious KJ West One yesterday and Hifi Pig’s Linette and Stuart were invited there to take a listen. More »
The Chord Company has completely restructured its cable line-up, with new ranges, new additions and a simplified grouping system.
The Chord Company’s product portfolio now comprises seven distinct ranges, from the entry-level C-series, to the flagship, ChordMusic cables. The new ranges make it easy to discern between price points and performance levels and offers consumers a high-quality Chord cabling solution, regardless of budget.
The new Chord product line-up comprises of: the C-series; Clearway, Shawline; Epic; Signature Tuned ARAY; Sarum Super ARAY and ChordMusic. Chord is particularly excited to have developed its original Tuned ARAY technology enabling the new line-up to feature ARAY, Tuned ARAY and Super ARAY interconnects.
C-series (1m analogue RCA interconnect £45)
The C-series represents The Chord Company’s entry level range. It utilises techniques developed for the company’s high-performance cables, but applies them in a way that enables great affordability. The range features analogue and digital interconnects, including the C-view — a new super-slim HDMI cable, a C-series USB, plus the C-screen: Chord’s most discreet and cost-effective shielded speaker cable. The C-line analogue and the new C-digital interconnect both benefit from the implementation of the company’s ARAY conductor configuration.
Clearway (1m analogue RCA interconnect £100)
The Clearway speaker cable heads up the range of Clearway cables. Currently available is the Chord Clearway Digital — a digital interconnect that uses Tuned ARAY technology, originally developed on the Chord Sarum. Later in 2016, other cables will be added, including an ARAY-design analogue interconnect that will be available in RCA, DIN and XLR configurations.
Shawline (1m analogue RCA interconnect £200)
Unveiled at Sound and Vision 2016, the Shawline range features “ground-breaking performance and exceptional value for money” say the company. The new Shawline analogue interconnect – available in DIN, RCA and XLR versions – uses the same Tuned ARAY technology as their Sarum Tuned ARAY such a special cable.
Also available is a completely new Shawline ARAY digital cable to be joined by the Shawline shielded loudspeaker cable. More Shawline interconnects will become available over the next few months.
Epic (1m analogue RCA interconnect £400)
The Epic line-up takes its name from Chord’s long-standing Epic Twin and Epic Reference speaker cables. There is a new design Tuned ARAY Epic Analogue interconnect, as well as Tuned ARAY Epic Digital and streaming cables.
Signature (1m analogue RCA interconnect £800)
Signature cables were the first to use high-frequency-effective shielding which drove the development of Chord’s higher performance cables. The range includes speaker and power cables, plus analogue and a completely new design – Signature Digital interconnect. There are also streaming, USB and AES/EBU cables, all of which feature Tuned ARAY conductor technology developed for each specific cable design.
Sarum (1m analogue RCA interconnect £1,900)
The Sarum interconnect, power cable and speaker cable take all of Chord’s principle design values to a logical conclusion. Conductors are polished prior to being silver-plated, the insulation is gas-foamed PTFE and the shielding is the most effective Chord has used. Chord Sarum interconnects and power cables feature the Super ARAY conductor configuration. Super ARAY USB and streaming cables are also available.
ChordMusic (1m analogue RCA interconnect £3,800)
ChordMusic has been developed using an entirely new insulation material called Taylon®, which has never before implemented in audio cables. Taylon® is a phase-stable dielectric material and when combined with the Super ARAY conductor geometry, “takes cable performance to a completely new level” Chord say.
SOtM have announced the worldwide release of their dCBL-CAT7 and the iSO-CAT6 Special Edition which are designed to be used together.
The Filter Block on the dCBL-CAT7 is a new addition and is designed to “eliminate the wide band digital noise inflowing from the router or NAS interfering with audio signals”.
The iSO-CAT6 Special Edition is configured with 3 kinds of network cables which the company say “offer respectively different sound characteristics with high quality, which allows the user organize own unique customized audio system selecting bright & pompous tone, neutral, mild & comfortable tone”.
The length starts from 1.5M as standard and longer than 5.5m of dCBL-CAT7 is also available.
dCBL-CAT7 1.5M(Standard) : US$500 dCBL-CAT7 2.5M : US$600
dCBL-CAT7 3.5M : US$700 dCBL-CAT7 4.5M : US$800
dCBL-CAT7 5.5M : US$900
The iSO-CAT6 Special Edition comes with 3 different network cables, they are distinguished by black, dark grey and grey colour, the standard length is 50cm and can’t be changed.
dCBL-CAT7 1.5M with iSO-CAT6 Special Edition : US$1,100
dCBL-CAT7 2.5M with iSO-CAT6 Special Edition : US$1,200
dCBL-CAT7 3.5M with iSO-CAT6 Special Edition : US$1,300
dCBL-CAT7 4.5M with iSO-CAT6 Special Edition : US$1,400
dCBL-CAT7 5.5M with iSO-CAT6 Special Edition : US$1,500
Dominic Marsh takes this €840 package of amp, speakers and speaker cables from TAGA Harmony for a spin.
“The word to best describe the sound was “balanced” in that treble and bass were in equilibrium, midband was clean and clear, so it was no effort at all just to sit back and enjoy what I was hearing while the system was warming up.”
Janine Elliot plumbs in these £1750 interconnects from Polish company KBL into her system to see what she will find.
“Carlos Franzetti “The Jazz Kamerata” had a depth of sound I really got hooked on; the full colour from the piano, string warmth, flute and saxophone were all placed where I expected, with excellent decays on piano and a husky saxophone opened up as real as I would hear them live, like seeing the pixels on the screen, every ounce of colour was there for me to hear in all its glory.”
Dominic Marsh takes this €840 package of amp, speakers and speaker cables from TAGA Harmony for a spin. More »
Janine Elliot plumbs in these £1750 interconnects from Polish company KBL into her system to see what she will find. More »
Dan Worth take a listen to the £1000 Chord Sarum Super Aray USB cable. More »
Russ Andrews is introducing the brand new Kimber Kable Axios headphone cable to the UK.
Created using a new development of the Kimber woven cable design, Axios features 16 individually insulated 24-gauge strands of OFHC (oxygen-free high thermal conductivity) copper. The new hand braiding process, which was perfected for production after more than 100 trials, creates a precise and uniform braid that divides from the 16 strands into eight at the point where it splits into right and left channels. This ensures that there are no soldered joints or twisted wires and maintains the Kimber weave throughout the length of the cable.
Kimber worked closely with the manufacturers of high-end headphones to develop the connectors, which all feature hand-polished wooden accents to maintain an aesthetic relationship with the particular model of ‘phones. For example, the Audeze LCD3 cable features a Zebrawood connector, the Sennheiser HD800 is Gaboon Ebony and the HiFi Man is fitted with Mahogany. As such, each Axios cable is made to order for the individual customer based on his or her own set of headphones. The length of the cable can be specified, in addition to the connection at the amplifier end – 3.5mm or 6.3mm jack or 3 pin/4 pin XLR. The connectors also feature matching wooden accents of the same finish as the headphone end of the cable, which can be configured in a variety of formats. Most cables will be specified in a single Y format to connect an unbalanced headphone amplifier to a pair of headphones, but can also be manufactured with a double Y format for connecting balanced headphone amps to headphones. A single stereo connector to stereo jack (or XLR) configuration may also be specified.
Simon Dalton, of Russ Andrews comments on the performance of Axios, “Trying the new cable on a variety of different headphones, including the Sony MDR-Z7 and Sennheiser HD800, was simply a revelation. What Kimber has done with this new cable takes the performance of these already stunning headphones up a significant level.” He continues, “I am sure that our customers, and users of these ‘phones who are not yet our customers, will be equally delighted with the results in musical performance that they bring and we look forward to hearing their reaction.”
The Kimber Axios headphone cables are hand made at the company’s Ogden, Utah, USA facility and each set takes approximately four weeks to deliver to customers in the UK from placing an order. So confident is Russ Andrews in the benefits of switching to the new cable that, even though they are made to order, the company is offering its 60-day money back guarantee on any cable purchased. Customers can try it at home and if for any reason the results are not as expected, the company will refund the purchase price.
In keeping with the quality of the cables, all Axios models are presented in a custom made protective case with a hinged lid.
Sennheiser HD580, HD600, HD650, HD800
HiFi Man HE-6, HE400, HE560, HE1000
Audeze LCD range, EL-8
Dominic Marsh takes a look at the £180, silver plated power block from MCRU. More »
The Chord Company
When we were initially discussing this review by Dave Robson with The Chord Company we wanted to see what the company’s ‘loom’ would bring to the table ‘off the shelf’ and “untailored” to the specific system being used. Chord offer a service they call The Cable Doctor in which they tailor a combination of cables specifically to what they feel your system would benefit the most from. However, we wanted this first of two reviews to set a benchmark and in the coming weeks we will be conducting a second review using cables supplied by Chord after us using the Cable Doctor service. This will allow us to compare and contrast the bog standard, ‘of the shelf’ cables with a more bespoke set up. More »
Atlas Cables has launched its totally new range of high-performance replacement headphone cables – Zeno. Designed to be light, compliant yet durable, Zeno combines Atlas Cables’ cable technology with a new range of dedicated solder-free connectivity options called Metik. The result is a replacement cable that can work across a broad range of headphones. Hand-built in Scotland and available now, prices range from £145.00.
With the Zeno headphone cable, Atlas Cables set out to bring its own engineered vision of cable design to the fastest growing category of audio products. Ohno Continuous Cast (OCC) copper conductors are covered in FEP (Fluorinated ethylene propylene) low temperature deposition dielectric to protect the integrity of the OCC material. Wrapped within a protective soft PVC inner liner and finished with a tangle-free fabric outer jacket, Zeno is extremely durable.
Developed specifically for Zeno and covering a wealth of headphone connection options, Atlas’ Metik non-solder crimp plugs provide signal consistency from socket to socket. Available in 2.5mm, 3.5mm, 6.3mm and 4-pin XLR mini for the headphone end and 3.5mm, 6.3mm and 4-pin XLR for the amplifier end, Metik plugs provide a direct, airtight metal to metal contact. For brand-specific headphone connections, a wealth of options are available – Sennheiser, OPPO, Sure, AKG, Audeze, AudioQuest, HiFiMan, Ultrasone are all catered for and Atlas is able to source the correct connections for the majority of headphones available.
Commenting on the launch of Zeno, Kevin Kelly, Managing Director at Atlas Cables, said, “With the popularity of high-end headphones set to increase and the owners looking to further refine the quality of their purchase, we felt we could add real benefits in increased sound quality and durability. By applying our trusted scientific and engineering process to this new product category, we firmly believe that Zeno gives listeners the opportunity to gain even more from their headphones with the results speaking for themselves.”
Atlas Zeno 1:1 (standard termination – stereo cable 3.5mm )
1.50m £ 145.00
2.00m £ 155.00
2.50m £ 165.00
3.00m £ 175.00
3.50m £ 185.00
4.00m £ 195.00
Atlas Zeno 1:2 (standard termination)
1.50m £ 215.00
2.00m £ 225.00
2.50 m £ 235.00
3.00m £ 245.00
3.50m £ 255.00
4.00m £ 265.00
Atlas Zeno 1:2 (custom termination) = Atlas Zeno 1:2 (standard termination) + £50 (available on request)
* Custom lengths available upon request
The Zodiac line from KBL Sound is a direct replacement for the company’s previous Hologram range. The company says they are better cables, coming to the market at a similar price level.
These cables are manufactured with ultra-pure copper wire with each single crystal length reaching a few hundred meters (the result of the Ohno Continuous Casting process). Then, the copper is cryogenically treated to obtain a better molecular order within each wire.
“These advanced conductors achieve such a high level of homogeneity that signal flow is practically lossless. It is characterized by a smooth and detailed transmission signal in a wide frequency spectrum” says the company’s recent press release.
Zodiac interconnects are well shielded against EM and RF interferences using pure copper screen with a special multi-layered jacket protects the cables from external vibrations.
Standard termination comes with WBT-0114 Cu nextgen connectors.
Balanced option is available with XLR Neutrik connectors.
Zodiac signal cables are also available as 75 Ohm SPDiF /RCA (WBT) and 110 Ohm AES/EBU (Neutrik) digital cables. They are offered as phono cables too, coming with RCA to RCA (WBT) or RCA (WBT) to 5 DIN connector (Cardas) to wire up any tonearm.
Standard length: 1.5m, 2m. Other length available upon request.
After the assembly process cables are tested and professionally conditioned. Thus they are already burned-in for immediate use without waiting many weeks or even months for the ultimate level of performance. After a short time in a new audio system they sound the best they can and their performance does not change.
Last month Ansuz Acoustics announced their new ultra high-end series, d·tc. Now, Ansuz Acoustics is ready with their new addition to the d·tc series: the d·tc cables.
The Ansuz Acoustics d·tc series will cover a full cable loom containing mains and loudspeaker cables and a complete selection of interconnect cables. Ansuz Acoustics will be introducing the new d·tc series at the 2016 CES in Las Vegas.
“Ansuz Acoustics has incorporated all their unique technologies in the de- velopment of the d·tc cables: DGC (Direct Ground Connector technology), DIHC (Double Inverted Helix Coil technology) and NSC (Noise Suppressing Coil technology) together with new groundbreaking technologies such as dynamically charged dielectric material and active tesla coil” says the Danish company’s latest press release.
C-screen is a brand new shielded speaker cable aimed at both audio and home cinema systems. It joins the line up of Chord Company shielded speaker cables, including the Clearway and the Signature Reference.
Chord’s design objective was to produce a cable discreet enough for easy installation, with all the performance benefits that shielding can bring. C-screen is just 8mm in diameter and flexible enough to route around corners with ease. It’s finished with a white outer jacket which protects the shielding and makes it virtually invisible against white skirting boards.
C-screen features multi-stranded oxygen-free copper conductors, insulated with low-density polyethylene and arranged in a twisted-pair configuration to reduce interference. The cable is then enclosed in a PVC casing that aims to reduce mechanical noise and spaces the conductors correctly, relative to the twin-foil shielding.
C-screen has the same characteristics as Chord’s other shielded speaker cables the company say: “the ability to carry a musical signal with a genuine sense of musical coherence and involvement; shielded speaker cables bring real performance benefits to both hi-fi and home cinema systems, where interference can seriously affect sound quality”.
At £5 per metre C-screen is said to be an ideal product for home cinema systems, where often complex cable-run requirements are the norm.
C-screen is priced at £5p/m unterminated (off the reel). Factory and dealer terminations are available for a supplement.
Black Cat cables are the brainchild of Chris Sommovigo and are handmade in Japan. Dave Robson takes a listen to the company’s Redlevel Tube speaker cable ($450 for a 1.5m pair) and RCA interconnects ($350 for 1m). More »
Mad Scientist Audio Ltd has released a range of what their recent press release is calling “innovative” audio cables that use carbon fibers in the signal path. The New Zealand based company say this technology brings benefits like “immunity from skin effect, much smaller Eddy currents, which are quickly dissipated, and in the digital cable, absorption of jitter-causing
The Heretical Digital Cable
The Heretical Digital Cable (HDC), so-named because it makes no claim to
have 75-ohm impedance, takes a different approach. Mad Scientist say that in regular cables it’s possible for internal reflections to bounce up and down the cable many times, causing cable jitter but by using a resistive carbon fiber signal conductor, the HDC prevents this by turning these to heat.
Costs $99 for one meter (introductory price until end 2015).
Range of Interconnects
The RCA, single-ended interconnect range also use a carbon fibre signal
conductor, but differ in construction and ground wire materials. Another
innovation is the “Audio Block”, made from New Zealand native Rimu wood, it holds a pair of Mad Scientist Magic Tubes and a laser etched directional
arrow. Magic Tubes “are an enhancement device that uses subatomic phenomena to improve the sound quality” say the company. The tubes can be easily removed if the effect is not desired.
The entry level ATOH uses Ohno Continuous Cast (OCC) single crystal copper ground wire, and starts at $269 for 0.7 meter pair.
YANAM (mid level) and TORFORB (high end) use the same construction – multi element ground system using foil plus copper and silver OCC wires.
The YANAM uses copper foil and Neotech OCC wires.
Starts at $499 for 0.7 meter pair.
TORFORB takes this one step further, using silver (or optionally silver and
gold) foil, plus low volume specially-produced copper and silver OCC wires
for the ground system. Prices start at $1099.
ATOH, YANAM and TORFORB are available with a selection of RCA plugs
including Sonarquest Carbon/Rhodium, KLE Innovations Copper Harmony and Silver Harmony. Others available on request.
Clearway Digital is an all-new Tuned ARAY digital audio cable at a price point of £100. Available in a wide range of terminations, including a 3.5mm mono jack for today’s high-performance portable devices, Clearway Digital was conceived to deliver no-compromise digital audio, to and from a wide range of audio products.
Standard terminations include Chord’s high-performance direct silver-plated VEE 3 RCA plugs as well as silver-plated BNC plugs. The Chord Company has also recognised the increasing importance of high-performance portable DACs and is offering Clearway Digital terminated with a 3.5mm mono jack.
Clearway Digital takes design cues from the company’s flagship Sarum Super ARAY Digital.
Clearway Digital uses an oxygen-free copper conductor combined with gas-foamed polyethylene insulation and woven copper shield and it replaces the company’s popular Prodac VEE3 digital cable.
DACs are making enormous strides in performance and affordability. “Chord is thrilled to introduce its ARAY technology, first developed for the Sarum Digital cable, to the Clearway Digital. Clearway Digital is an extremely affordable way to experience the exceptional coherence with which digital ARAY cables carry a musical signal” says the company.
Clearway Digital: 1 metre RCA to RCA £100; 1 metre RCA to 3.5mm mini-jack £100; 1 metre RCA to BNC £105; 1 metre BNC to BNC £110. Custom lengths are available in all terminations.
Dominic Marsh plugs in the Purple Rain series of speaker cables from Polish manufacturer Melodika (€71.00 for 2.5m pair).
Cable wars must surely be the biggest single cause of conflict and injury between audiophiles and the reason I’ve not got involved in one in a good old while…better just to keep quiet, watch from a distant hilltop and let the troops on the virtual front line battle it out ad-infinitum, though casualties will inevitably be high. Here’s my guide to the elements taking part in this ongoing conflict. More »
Tellurium Q, the UK based cable manufacturer got in touch with Hifi Pig to tell us all about their latest Ultra Silver Power cables.
In their press release they say that the new power cables have “Even cleaner, more focused and more agile sound than the multi award wining Black power cable, with more precise bass definition and top end. Equipment sounds like there is more headroom and energy in the music”.
As ever Tellurium Q are keeping absolute details about the design of the cables very close to their chests but say “New cable architecture, including enhanced double layered screening, have allowed a leap forward in performance”.
The cable will get its first public outing will be at the Windsor show on the UK 23rd October, Wessex room 5 in a system with the complementary new Silver Diamond cables.
The Californian company’s Atmosphere Series AC Cords Feature:
Active / UEF Shielding with built in power supplies so no MPC’s and no additional wires
UEF AC Conditioner in Level 2 and Level 3 variants
World’s First use of Graphene in an AC Cord. Graphine is a room temperature super conductor with 8 million times the conductive density of copper
Custom UEF Calibration- Gold
New Active Shield Filter- Red
Plug and Play like standard non-Active AC cords
Level 3 Analogue, Digital, and High Current variants
All the company’s Atmosphere Series Power Cords are hand Made in the company’s California Factory