“Crystal Cable was founded in 2004 with the aim of building audio cables from a special balanced formula of gold-infused silver that increases conductivity because of its extraordinary purity, 99.9999999% conductive metal. The driving force behind Crystal Cable is Gabi van der Kleij, a trained concert pianist, who has assembled some very innovative engineers to develop and manufacture the cable materials and do final construction. All their cables are wound using special techniques that employ, as well as the proprietary gold/silver alloy, such materials as Kapton and Teflon for insulation purposes…”
“These very impressive, if tiny, cables are said in their literature to be the result of “advanced metallurgy perfected at famous German and Dutch laboratories” using “ultra-thin silver conductors with gold infusions to fill molecular gaps”. Both interconnect and speaker types are coaxial designs, with compact RCA, XLR, and spade proprietary ends, with WBT locking bananas on the speaker ends of the speaker cables, on which this review will primarily focus…”
“I have always recommended long interconnects, as opposed to long speaker cables, since less degradation can happen at line level than when cables are driven by an amplifier. That’s why the Signature 2 2.2 pair was 6 metres long as reviewed. Such a length is a real test for an interconnect, though, ideally, short is better for both. But before I talk about the Signature interconnects, a little background on XLO…”
Stager Sound Systems is basically a PA company who do the sound for some big shows, with these pure silver (99.9995%) braided interconnects (in various lengths that I’ll outline below) an audiophile sideline. They’re also an audiophile sound reinforcement company, according to their web site home page: “Stager Sound Systems is engaged in the rental and operation of high fidelity sound reinforcement systems and audio-visual systems in and around New York City.
Bill Low, AudioQuest’s president and founder, must have a thing for snakes, something not entirely inappropriate for someone who spends most of their time making audio cable. The Viper is fourth from the top in AudioQuest’s interconnect hierarchy behind the Amazon, Anaconda, and Python.
“I think that no audio component that does less gets written about more than speaker cables and interconnects. A visit to the AudioQuest web site will confirm this. In the preparation of this review I downloaded 30 pages of cable theory and physical descriptions, with dozens of names and their acronyms. And this is just to describe something that gets an audio signal from one place to another. After reading all this stuff it starts to become like mythology.”
“In recent years more science has been applied to the design of both interconnect and speaker cables, though this has been exceeded only by the secrecy with which the science has been used. Hence, rather than a detailed description of the materials and design topography of this Select cable, we get in the brochure just a few words, followed by praise from a dealer: “All [Select] loudspeaker cables utilize our proprietary X38R core compound. This compound possesses unique acoustic damping and electrical properties….”
Though I’ve heard some pretty staggering differences among speaker cables and interconnects over the years, skepticism has always kept me from taking the claimed sonic differences among AC cables seriously. How can a cable that carries 60-Hz alternating current make a difference in a two-metre length to a component, especially when that rough beast of a signal has slouched through several, sometimes hundreds of miles of mediocre copper cable, and numerous transformers?
Since I had my turntable put together close to a decade ago, I’ve used the cable that came with it, an old Linn, I think, that plugs directly into the bottom of the SAEC 407/23 arm’s standard 5-pin jack. But a couple of months ago Tri-Cell’s Vince Scalzitti handed me this Cardas cable, and said, “Try this out!.”
“Kimber was one of the early promoters of silver cable with their superb KCAG, which I still use in my system, but such cables have always been expensive. The Silver Streak is a hybrid cable that uses “a #19 AWG silver wire for the positive, or signal-carrying conductor, and two #19 AWG copper conductors as ground and return.” “The balanced Silver Streak has twin #19 AWG silver wires for signal and a single TCSS copper wire as ground,” according to the Kimber web site.”
“Back when I was a kid, and long before I was foolish enough to spend my money on things like audio equipment and records, I blew my not-so-hard earned allowance on more practical things, like candy. One of my favorites was a wide, but very flat and thin, corrugated strip of licorice which came in an array of day-glo colours. While aimed at much older kids with much more substantial allowances, Nordost Flatline SPM speaker cable is essentially licorice for audiophiles.”