Reviewer: Hadi Özyaşar
Financial interests: click here
Transport: Auraliti PK90
USB bridge: SOtM dX-USB with mBPS-d2s
DAC: Aqua HiFi La Scala MKII, Chord Hugo
Integrated amp: Ayon Spirit 3
Speakers: Harbeth Super HL5 Plus, Quad 9L
Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, Audeze LCD-2
IEMs: Lear LCM BD4.2, CustomArt Harmony 8 Pro, Hidition NT6
DAP: Lotoo Paw Gold
Headphone amps: Sennheiser HDVA600, Ear Stream Sonic Pearl 2 [on review], Cembalolab Spring 1 [on review], Burson HA-160DS
Cables: Acoustic Revive loom, Skogrand Beethoven interconnects [on review], Skogrand Wagner power cable [on review], Ear Stream SunSet interconnect [on review], Ear Stream Digix3 S/PDIF cable [on review], Ear Stream Optimal v.2 USB cable [on review]
Review component retail: $22'000 for Beethoven interconnects, $2'500 for Wagner power cord

“I was never more hated than when I tried to be honest. Or when, even as just now I've tried to articulate exactly what I felt to be the truth. No one was satisfied.” ― Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Last week I watched an amusing YouTube vid by way of a friend. There was some footage from Der Untertag (Downfall) montaged with irrelevant English subtitles. In sum, Hitler alleges that audio cables matter but his fellow fighters don’t agreed with him. So Adolf turns mad. Speaking of Hitler reminds me of Roland Barthes’ famous quote. For fascism does not prevent speech, it compels it he said. Therefore, whenever a reviewer starts to write about cable opinions, his anxiety increases in direct proportion to the cable’s price. In those reviews you can see shaky handwriting and defensive uncertainty. The words are selected carefully. That’s completely understandable but not good enough for me. A reviewer has a responsibility. She ought to write what she hears, not what expectations would seem to enforce. Hence, I will write my straightforward conclusion about the Skogrand Beethoven interconnects first, then get freely on with my article. Skogrand’s Beethoven are the best cables I ever heard in my life. Actually, I should rephrase those words. One doesn’t hear them at all. They are invisible and have achieved that most targeted aim in the cable industry. Now I can continue without being concerned whether I will be accused as a voodoo priest; or not. Alea iacta est. The dice is cast.

Skogrand Cables are a Norwegian company. As they put it about themselves: "Our cables are manufactured in a small workshop in the mountain hills of Norway. We stand firmly within a 1’000 year history of cautious and sincere labouring towards our goals, in unison with the Norwegian tradition of highly skilled craftsmen taking pride in delivering their utmost when thinking through and constructing our products. This tradition of sincere consciousness and perfectionism is clearly seen in everything from the architecture and beauty of our stave churches, the elegance and superior speed and handling of our Viking ships to our world-leading hydro energy and oil production technology.

"Our cables have proven their unmatched performance both in-house through testing and with reviewers and clients worldwide. Their ability to deliver is enjoyed in a great variety of setups including tubes, solid-state, speakers of all designs and sizes, in digital PC-driven environments as well as fully analog dedicated vinyl settings. Our product's signature trait is to let any system perform at its full potential interfering to the least degree possible. That is reflected in our outspoken design ideal, which is to liberate the true sound of every system connected with Skogrand Cables - standing aside to let through.”

My first question to Knut Skogrand, owner of the company, was on how he succeeded at that kind of fidelity for his Beethoven range: "I am originally—and at the core of my being—a musician. Working as a musician for decades, I have performed within many settings live, in studios and at rehearsals, always feeling a kind of urgent lack of silence. Growing up in the peaceful countryside and living in the serene mountain hills of Norway, I have grown accustomed to filtering sound through a mesh of tranquility and sonorous peace – having sounds around me standing out as meticulously shaped entities from a perfectly silent background. What I have experienced both as a performing musician and as a conscious listener is that the various cabling I have encountered often has a tendency to constrict and distort the signal being put through it – often to an extent that it has to be artificially corrected by applying studio/live effects. It has always seemed a rather backwards procedure to me."