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The E3 Extreme 1 interconnect features a twin-axial design using "ESC-OF8N extended single crystal pure copper conductors, solid Polyethylene dielectric spacer rods, a Teflon center air tube and braided silver multi-strand shielding over 100% copper/Mylar foil shielding". The E3 also includes MAL’s star ground pod, which appears to be a variation on the isolated floating shield and floating ground station technology Bond used at TARA Labs. Most interconnects address EMI and RFI issues by floating their shield (if there is one) at the source end and tying it to ground at the load end. Since the shield is effectively coupled to the circuit, any energy absorbed by the shield can still migrate into an audio system. The E3’s shield instead floats at both ends so no RF/EMI energy can enter the system via the cable. First the shields of the left and right interconnects connect together via short flying leads at the source end. Second another set of leads at the load end plug into a small rubberized pod which in turn connects to the lowest electrical potential ground point in your system, typically the ground post (or a chassis screw) on a pre/integrated amp to keep any shield-induced noise out of the signal path.

The included instruction booklet warns not to connect any star ground pod component to AC ground as it is typically not a reliable zero volt reference or efficient ground path. Additional ground leads in different lengths (25cm and 40cm) are available free of charge.

The E3 Extreme 1 speaker cables feature four separate runs of "16 helix-grouped ESC-OF8N extended single crystal oxygen-free 8 nines pure copper conductors". As with the interconnects, the speaker cables are directional thus small arrows on the connector barrels indicate signal flow. The speaker cables sport threaded ends for spade or Deltron connectors (the box includes eight each) which I prefer to any other banana including the highly regarded Z-plug. As with the iConn concept from MIT cables, I love the flexibility of interchangeable connectors.

According to the manufacturer, "...the Madison ESC™ OCC® audio conductor technology is a treatment and finishing process that begins with a pure copper rod made by the Ohno-Continuous Casting™ process. An OCC™ rod is made with molten copper formed within a graphite mold. This small rod can be used to make a single copper crystal as long as 200 to 250 meters. In an effort to create a better ‘finished’ conductor, the Madison ESC™ uses a series of preheated Kyocera ceramic drawing dies along with a specially timed annealing process applied inline just before the extrusion of the Teflon insulation. The finished insulated Madison conductor has a very long unbroken crystal structure. This is important to conductivity and to having a truly flat and uniform frequency/phase response."

The E3 cables were quite light and flexible and thus a breeze to route in tight areas without toppling lightweight components. Fit and finish appeared first rate with a black mesh covering a rust-colored jacket. There’s a strong resemblance to Matthew’s previous company TARA Labs. If it weren’t for the lettering on the cables, I’d have sworn these were TARA Labs products. My enquiry for further technical details on the cables and the star grounding pod was politely declined. Still, it is clearly apparent that Mathew Bond incorporated a good deal of what he developed back in his TARA Labs days.