Wading through the plethora of products from various companies now offering ‘Audiophile Quality’ USB cables, Hifi Pig had the opportunity to test drive Tellurium Q’s new cable at the peak of their line up.
The Black Diamond, as all other Tellurium products, doesn’t come accompanied with a huge white paper of techno-babble, it simply comes with a suck it and see label.
The cable is of a substantial build quality, firmly thick and solidly terminated with male A to B connectors. The cable is a little stiffer than many on the market but in no way too stiff to manage with the 1.5m cable I demoed being very easily routed throughout my rack and around my equipment.
Other companies offer various incarnations of USB cables like split for data and power, cables with no power conductors, ones with external power supplies and some with inline filtration units. The Tellurium however doesn’t. Its non fancy visual appearance leaves one initially wondering, “So what’s so special about this cable then? What am I paying for that is going to add that certain something special?’
Suck it and see…
In she goes then, trailing off the rear of my Mac Mini and into the Totaldac d1 tube dac, followed by Emilly and the Ayons and after approximately a week of burning the cable in I created a playlist into Amarra 2.5 and sat down to listen.
Well, immediate impressions were very impressive, some acoustic work revealed great separation of instruments and strong placement in the soundstage, a definite open and transparent flavour with good under tones. Detail and texture was very natural and clean.
Some of the stronger more powerful vocal work listened to wasn’t strained by the cleaner nature of the cable, the voices had cleaner areas around them rather than any added brightness with extremities of female vocals being completely sturdy and controlled, whereas gruntier male vocals held a full bodied, solid and rendered performance.
Busier passages from some popular and classical work demanded presence from the soundstage, retaining air around larger dynamic transients, with subtle details remaining un-smeared and legible.
The Black Diamond is showing me a certain coherence which I haven’t heard from a USB cable before and I have had some excellently rated and sounding ones from the likes of Acoustic Revive, Oyaide, Wireworld and Furutech to name a few. The Totaldac was my first step back into exploring music for pleasure again from my Mac, with its most analogue character of sound and its ability to texturise digital in a magical way, but adding the Black Diamond has given more freedom for the music to express itself, complimenting the Dac’s pure ability in musicality.
Another feature or stand out point for me with the cable is its precise timing ability, which is why I believe the subtleties of a performance can stand truer against larger more dynamic passages, in turn layering a soundstage very naturally and unforced, music simply flows in waves of structured organic simplicity.
There is a definite and easily noticeable difference in performance when using the Black Diamond from Tellurium Q, the equipment just relaxes and the music becomes more effortless. Like Hussain Bolt running the 100m dash and just taking it in his stride, the construction of the USB cleverly controls timing and phase distortion without the need for other gizmos and gadget add ons to produce a fast energetic performance or delicate and sweet details with ease.
Price is £636 for a 1m length but other sizes are available.
Author – Dan