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An important consideration in auditioning cables is to give each one time to settle in after installation. I'm not talking about break-in here. This was most audible with the Prana cable, which began to sound noticeably better after about 20 minutes in the system. In this review, I was careful to give each cable sufficient settling time. To cover all bases, some listening sessions were done with relatively quick changes between cables, while other listening was done with one cable brand in the system and listening to a lot of music over several days, allowing for any longer settling that might occur.

My friend Dan who owns the Bastanis Apollo speakers brought over his Bastanis Epilog I speaker cable and we compared it to the Epilog II on my Prometheus Mk. II upstairs speakers. We played Albert King's The Tomato Years [Rhino R2 71623]. This is a great CD compilation and the cuts vary in recording quality but all are at least of good quality.

We played "Truckload of Lovin'", "The Very Thought of You", "Call My Job" and "I'm Gonna Call You Soon As The Sun Goes Down". My notes on the Epilog II say: "Great body on vocals, great dynamics and leading edges... nothing wrong." On cut 10, the audiophile nerd test is how the guitar amp hum and crowd noise of this live performance are revealed. The Epilog II made these background sounds easily discernible. In other words, it was more detailed. Switching back to the Epilog I and playing the same cut, Albert's voice was not as rich. Also, the Epilog I was less powerful in the bass, especially the midbass, which comes from the widebander and not the powered woofer in the Bastanis speakers. The soundstage got significantly smaller in all dimensions and dynamics were noticeably less explosive.

Overall, the Epilog II is a more natural sounding and better balanced cable than the Epilog I and outperforms it in every way. Mind you, the Epilog I is still very good. If I already owned the Epilog I and did not have unlimited funds, upgrading to the Epilog II might not be the first upgrade I would do. In fact, the first upgrade I would do is changing out the Jupiter (or other brand?) high-pass tweeter caps for the new ones Robert supplies. This provides a very large improvement to the smoothness of the tweeter and its integration with the widebander. However, if I was buying from the start, I would definitely go with the Epilog II. For the reader's information, we did the same comparison in Dan's system over his Bastanis Apollo speakers on two separate days and came to the same conclusions.

A few days later, my friend Arthur Loesch visited and brought along his home-built single-ended tube monos which can use either 300B or 50 output tubes with a flick of a switch to change the operating voltages for each (WE 417A input tubes, interstage transformer). These are superb amplifiers and have been my favorite design of his for many years. (The globe 50 has long been a favorite whose sound I find fully competitive with the 300B, albeit somewhat different). The commercial Tempo Electric amps are based on this design. With these amps, we were able to connect the Nataraja but not Epilog II cables because Arthur uses old-fashioned screw-style barrier strips that would not handle the banana tips of the Epilog II cables.

The combination of Arthur's amps and the Nataraja cables on the Bastanis Prometheus Mk. II speakers was sheer magic! A CD I have played many times is the Aaron Copland Appalachian Spring [Deutsche Grammophon 427 335-2]. I've never been overly impressed with this recording. However, now there was a panoramic airy soundstage with seemingly limitless depth. It was spectacular! I have rarely if ever heard such a combination of musicality and resolution. String tone was perfect. The entire presentation was perhaps the most realistic portrayal of an orchestral performance I have ever enjoyed. Part and parcel of this of course are the Bastanis Prometheus II open baffle speakers, which provide the portal through which this sonic bliss was realized. Few speakers I know of will permit such spacious sound. People who have heard these speakers at shows have not heard this aspect of the Bastanis speakers since the importer (formerly Bill Allen of Bauls Audio) could not afford a large enough room to let them really strut their stuff.

This combination of 300B/50 SET amp, Nataraja cable and Bastanis Prometheus Mk. II was truly something special. Arthur ran out to his car to get a couple of CDs: Eva Cassidy Live at Blue's Alley [Eva Music 2263] and the French power rock star Johnny Hallyday A la vie, a la mort! [Universal International 63406]. Eva's voice just soared on "Stormy Monday". The raw energy of the Johnny Hallyday cut "Entre nous" was handled with ease by the Prometheus speakers, which just kicked out the jams with power and refinement.

Next on the docket was the Tel Wire speaker cable. Tel Wire is Chris Kline's one-man operation based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I found out about him on a recent trip to Jonathan Weiss at Oswald Mill. The one page white paper enclosed with the cable states that: "All Tel Wire construction employs the finest materials currently available: OCC and UPOCC conductors (Ohno Continuous Cast copper and Ultra Pure Ohno Continuous Cast copper), Oyaide AC/IEC plugs, and Xhadow RCA/XLR/Spade/Banana ends." The website also mentions Teflon dielectric, nothing revolutionary but the results are quite good. I tried this cable on both my WLM LaScalas and Tannoy Cornettas. To cut to the chase, the wire doesn't do anything spectacular in particular but conveys the music naturally, in some ways more so than the other cables discussed thus far. For example, tonality is excellent, perhaps the strongest attribute of the cable's performance. In the upper midrange where the Acoustic Revive can get a little forward at times, the Tel Wire is smooth and relaxed. The violin in the Michael Musillami CD is not aggressive and has the right rosiny texture.

On the downside, the Tel Wire speaker cable is not as detailed and exciting to listen through as the other cables. However, with long-term listening, it shows its merit. Bass is also not as clean as I would like but it is in proper balance. This cable turned out to match best with my vintage Tannoy Cornettas, where its natural tonality brought out these same strengths of the speakers. Chris also sent along his interconnect and power cord. While this review focuses mainly on speaker cables, I will say that they were both very good. My favorite may be the interconnect, which matches the warmth and musicality of the speaker cable.