Cables

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Review and Lab: Keith Howard  |  Jun 19, 2019
hfncommendedShort of having a dedicated generator in your garage, you are not going to get cleaner mains than from PS Audio's new Power Plant, which is bigger and better than ever

In a game of audiophile word association, 'mains regenerator' will elicit the response 'PS Audio' just as surely as 'electrostatic headphones' does 'Stax'. PS Audio can't claim to have introduced mains regeneration to high-quality sound reproduction – that distinction belongs to Linn Products and the Valhalla board for the LP12, introduced in 1982. But nobody generalised on that specific, realising that a regenerated mains waveform might bring improvements to audio components other than a turntable's synchronous AC motor, until PS Audio introduced its original Power Plant, to a somewhat bemused hi-fi industry, in 1998.

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 16, 2019
hfnedchoiceOne of Chord Cable's longest-running products, the Signature, receives just its second upgrade in materials and performance in fifteen years.

There's a lot to be said for the philosophical approach to hi-fi manufacturing: 'if it isn't broken, don't fix it'. Chord Cables is certainly of this persuasion – its ranges are broadly distinguished by geometry, while performance is very gradually 'tickled up' by the transition to steadily superior conductors and dielectrics. For example, the original Signature speaker cable held court for a decade before the Reference version was released [HFN Aug '14].

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 12, 2019
Designed, manufactured, assembled and tested in Massachusetts USA, Accusound brings no-nonsense pro-cable thinking to the high-end scene.

With one foot firmly planted in the pro audio sector, US brand Accusound is also reaching out to the audiophile community with a limited range of interconnect and speaker cables. All its cables are assembled in America, the company boasting a cohort of industry pros vouching for its various instrument, microphone, tube microphone and patch cables.

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 01, 2018
hfnedchoice.pngThe very finest ingredients, including solid silver, are stirred into this flagship cable before serving in a custom leather jacket. A 'gilty' pleasure?

Silver may play second fiddle to gold at the jewellers, but when it comes to thermal and electrical conductivity this metal is king. Its use in high-end audio cables is legion, not least for the clear correlation between the conductor's cross-sectional area, cable length and damage to your bank account! A 1m stereo set of Asimi, terminated in spades, Z-plugs or cold-welded expanding 4mm connectors costs £6600, or £17,800 for 3m. And the 7m set required for our testing and auditioning? I didn't ask...

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 01, 2018
hfnoutstanding.pngTop of the trio in Transparent's Premium series, and now in fifth generation guise, the (upgradable) Ultra combines a cable and filter network.

There's a very clear philosophy at work in all Transparent's cables: that 'wires' are unavoidable, so their bandwidth should be constrained to an appropriate range, banishing the egress of RF noise, and their lumped parameters – inductance, capacitance and resistance – be 'managed' to maintain a consistent and predictable performance regardless of the cable length. This, in a nutshell, is the rationale behind the in-line filter network that's part-and-parcel of every Transparent cable.

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 01, 2018
hfnedchoice.pngCryogenic treatment, a patented demagnetisation process and silver/gold ‘dosing’ lie at the heart of Furutech’s latest flagship speaker cables

It’s all about the copper in Furutech’s cables. Even the geometry of this flagship NanoFlux design is fairly conventional, as is the multistrand conductor style and ‘audio grade’ PE (polyethylene) dielectric that binds it. The carbon-fibre sleeving of those bright, rhodium-plated plugs/spades and ferrite clamp certainly adds to the exquisite finish of these supremely well built cables, but it’s what you can’t see that really makes the difference – Furutech’s proprietary ‘Alpha Nano-Au-Ag OCC Pure Transmission Conductors’.

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 01, 2018
hfnedchoice.pngNaim’s meticulous engineering of its Statement amplifier did not stop with the bespoke alloy casework, but extended to the speaker cable itself.

During the development of its flagship Statement amplifiers [HFN Jun ’15], Naim Audio went into exquisite detail, even defining the silicon substrate and legs of its custom transistors. So while analysing every component and length of PCB track, Naim Audio also turned an engineering eye towards the cables that might accompany its ‘ultimate amplifier’. Its Super Lumina cable is the result, priced at £650 per terminated stereo metre (£3245 for a 5m stereo pair).

Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 01, 2018
hfnedchoice.pngAs one of the brands that kick-started the cable revolution, QED has always emphasised value in its designs. The Supremus flagship is no exception.

What began with its 42-strand and 79-strand speaker cables has seen QED on a journey of discovery culminating 40 years later in this flagship Supremus offering. Closer in physical bulk and generally unwieldiness to a hawser than a speaker cable, QED's new top-of-the range wire has almost nothing in common with the figure-of-eight-shaped 79-strand cable that was in the vanguard of that early subjective revolution.

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