Matthew's XLR meanwhile was even kinkier than the Kinki. It meant even more top-end shimmer and presence without trading substance. Au contraire. It actually managed to add mass. In terms of the last paragraph, this was the two-headed uphill advance perfected. It piled up equally on both ends of the scale. Despite my eyes and fingers disliking girth, plastic sheathing, metal dress barrels and absconding set screw, my ears were tickled their prettiest pink. Matthew's claims for minimized capacitance proved out. This cable did terrific air, space and focus but didn't forget to saturate image outlines with textural filler. It captured not just the harmonic tizz 'n' fizz of cymbal strikes but their burnished mass, not just a piano's upper-register metal but also its supportive tonewood. Mated to the ribbons, I heard a rather ideal dovetailing of aspects in the adrenaline not plush class. No argument though, the interconnect is the far better buy. Personally I'd favor a tad less bass mass for still more grip than the GSC 36 put out. But that's a fussy comment in the bigger picture. Sonically I thought these cables properly elite and on gestalt right up my street. That on speakers this materializes as an unusually broad ribbon without the full shape-maintaining foil stiffness of an Alpha Core Goertz is par for this course. Round is out, flat and broad are in. For now the interconnect's manual assembly seems resistant to being made into unusual lengths like my original 6m request. They're still working on it though it was too late for this gig.

Going into it I'd wondered. How much cable potential might beckon beyond where I play? Hearing my MBA sample set demonstrated it. For a very hefty surcharge indeed, it occupied previously empty headroom. Sure, to my blue-collar roots its extra volume felt negatively disproportionate to the massive price increase. But at this level it's all about shaving off percentage points. In the context of my hardware and system tuning, I'd not call it relaunching my game into a full higher octave. The margin was less so didn't redline my must-have needle. Nor could it overwrite the extraordinary value of the Kinki loom. Quite the opposite. For having clearly arrived ~95% by contrast, that value proposition became all the more stark. But – were I after shaving off these particular percentiles while staying in my favored energizer & accelerator zone, then didn't mind going all big black and swanky… Matthew Bond's poshest would be one perfect place I just learnt of. Now you did, too. Mission accomplished.

In closing, it seems fair to invoke the Crystal/Siltech branding in our cable sector's top echelon. Designed by the same team, Crystal promote slinky thin wires of coaxial makeup, Siltech thick ones based on twisted pairs. Regardless of sonic personalities, both brands have an audience also for their cosmetic identities. With Gabi the face of Crystal, Edwin that of Siltech, even calling it a woman/man thing isn't uncouth. In those terms there's no doubt about which side of these tracks the Matthew Bond cables call home.

Finally let's segue back to something our man so nonchalantly dropped earlier: "Additionally we have two entry-level series, Intrigue and Insight." With nothing about those on the website yet—here MBA clearly isn't shorthand for masters of business admin—only time will tell how they slot in on price and looks. What's clear already is that this new brand doesn't see itself solely as a cable purveyor for kings and queens. Knights and pawns, rooks and bishops will get their own attractions to hopefully leave nobody feeling checkmated and toppled off this board. MBA simply opened their game with a royal move.

The end; or rather, the beginning…