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Off we go.
: So Michael Parin, what would you like us to know about Elijah Audio?
MP: Everything I have read regarding USB cables stresses the absolute need for shielding the cable from the multitudes of potential pollution sources associated with computer audio. My cables use no shielding (apart from the tight braiding) and so theoretically they should sound like schitt (the byproduct, not the audio company). I really don’t know why my cables sound like they do, maybe it’s a case of the exception proves the rule. I have no pretension that my cables are the best in the world but simply believe they are unique sounding cables at a fair price. Of the 50 + cables sold I have only had one returned for sonic disappointment.

: I couldn’t help but notice that you treat all parts with PWB products.
MP: I have been using Peter Belt’s products to enhance my own system for about six years so it seemed only natural to incorporate his products and procedures to enhance Elijah cables in the same way. I use a variety of PWB products during construction and also treat the finished cables. The extra treatments add about 30 minutes per cable build.

: And you got started on all of this how?
MP: My first audio cable was a version of Greg Weaver’s Magnet wire in packing tape about 8 years ago. Then I used various versions of 30-gauge wire for interconnects and even speaker wire. Elijah Audio came about when a fellow JPlay Forum member asked if I could build him a custom cable with separate battery lead. The early versions used generic hookup wire until I heard the Audience Ohno Cryo wire.

Listening. I did long-term listening on my own plus two listening sessions with three listeners each to net the following observations. To begin with, we calibrated ears by comparing the one-meter $45 Wireworld Ultraviolet high-performance USB cable I’d been using for about a year now with what I had used prior to its acquisition, a $5 ‘gold-plated’ 28/24AWG USB cable. The Ultraviolet™ is said to utilize the same advanced cable design as the more expensive Starlight™ USB but with less silver. The Wireworld cable separates the data conductors and power conductor, which are usually grouped together.

Oh yea, baby. That's worth $50. For certain. With the Wireworld the music sounded more spacious, articulate, focused and all around confident and propulsive. It also came across as tonally warmer mostly due to a bit of upper bass prominence. Another listener described it as dripping with beauty as a result of the richer tone and more detailed texture. He could understand lyrics better. We both I felt more relaxed as we listened through it.

Next up was the Elijah Audio Quad Braid Wow! Or is that whoa? This was a tranquil and laid-back sound. It had broader macro-dynamic range than the ‘stock’ USB and was even smoother than the Wireworld... but …muted. Certainly not as fully developed as the others, it seemed to be missing the propulsion, low-end punch and more strict timing served up by the Wireworld plus the lucidity of the Isolate. It was so cozy that we dubbed it ‘sleepy.’ Then as if on cue we simultaneously opined that it could be the saving grace for a more abrasive system - one that displays palpable digititis. But we don't have one of those so the opinion is just that. As for our systems, the charm factor was simply too much.

On to the Isolate. In short it was our favorite. Talk about background silence! Whether due to the absence of the power lead or some other factor, we found it to be the most open, smooth yet properly faceted and tonally secure cable in the bunch. With it vocalists and instruments sounded most authentic thanks to the transparent, naturally relaxed and correctly metered performances coming from a blacker backdrop. The Isolate was more candid and revealed more space than the Ultraviolet but not by a wide margin. I definitely preferred the former’s bass coherence as well. We observed that the Ultraviolet was comparatively a bit more muted when working its way through musical subtleties probably due to a higher noise floor. Still, it was not nearly as grainy as the ‘stock’ USB. But neither the Ultraviolet nor the Quad Braid could purr as seductively in the mids or bass. The Isolate made my shoulders drop (a good thing) yet kept my mind alert with attack and decay that were less blunted than the Quad Braid. Music coming through the Isolate was more musically refined and less regimented than through any of the other cables. In the scheme of things I’d call it a good value and will gladly be acquiring the review sample for my long-term listening pleasure. One of the other listeners wanted one as well.
Manufacturer’s response. Thanks Stephæn for your positive review of the Isolate Cu cable and yes, the Quad does suffer when competing against its thinner sibling! Unfortunately not everyone’s setup can accommodate the Isolate’s powerless format. While experimenting with longer length cables recently, I found that two twisted pairs—Data +/- twisted together and 5V/Gnd twisted together—offers a small but noticeable improvement in dynamics and presence over the current 4-way braid thus henceforth I will be only offering the Quad with the new double-twisted pair geometry. Also, I’ve devised the 5-minute Isolate Cu Compatibility Test for your readers who wish to learn whether the Isolate would work for them.

Elijah Audio website