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Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: Esoteric UX-1, Yamamoto YDA-01, Yamamoto YDA-01B [on review]
Preamp/Integrated: Esoteric C-03
Amplifier: FirstWatt F5, Yamamoto A-09S, Octave MRE-130 monos
Speakers: ASI Tango R
Cables: Complete loom of ASI Liveline
Stands: 4 x Ikea Molger and butcher-block platforms with metal footers
Powerline conditioning: 2 x Walker Audio Velocitor S
Sundry accessories: Furutech RD-2 CD demagnetizer; Nanotech Nespa Pro; extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters, Advanced Acoustics Orbis Wall & Corner units
Room size: The sound platform is 3 x 4.5m with a 2-story slanted ceiling above; four steps below continue into an 8m long combined open kitchen, dining room and office, an area which widens to 5.2m with a 2.8m ceiling; the sound platform space is open to a 2nd story landing and, via spiral stair case, to a 3rd-floor studio; concrete floor, concrete and brick walls from a converted barn with no parallel walls nor perfect right angles; short-wall setup with speaker backs facing the 8-meter expanse and 2nd-story landing.
Review Component Retail: Konstantin D power cord 6000 SEK/2m., each additional 0.25m + 150 SEK | Discover 09 interconnect 8000 SEK for 1.1m/pr, each additional 0.5m + 300 SEK | Discover 09 speaker cable 8500 SEK/2.2m/pr, each additional 0.5m + 600 SEK | Digital Konstantin 09 5800 SEK (exchange rate September 09: 1SEK = $0.140770 or €0.084243)

"We will
send the cables tomorrow. The 4-meter long signal cable has been played for one hour. One of my customers owns a pair of theLars mono amps (he only paid €7000) and could not use our cable because it produced hum. I have sold cables longer than that and never had any problem before.

"I have tested your loaner leads in four other systems and treated them the worst possible way I could, across power cables, in circles, any which way I could think of to create hum but nothing - they were quiet and sounded good in these systems. I just tell you so you know that it has happened once before."

Straightforward and honest, this was Per-Olof Friberg of Entreq, the Swedish company I had written up with a review of their USB Crossword Discover cable. His interconnects are unshielded. I needed a long run between preamp on the long wall and amp/s between speakers on the short. My Acoustic System Int. LiveLine cables aren't shielded either but dead quiet. However, it is fair to point that under certain circumstances, this might not be the case. Business handled, next.

Not so fast. To my perhaps slightly jaded or cynical graying cells, conducting cable reviews approaches futility. The absence of proper impedance and related electrical standards in hifi makes interactions between cables and components even more unpredictable than how standard components or speakers might sound from room to room and system to system.

What a reviewer hears with cables might not at all gel with what a reader might hear with the same cables. If you agree with that basic premise, you'd equally cop to the "why bother" attitude that many snake-phobic reviewers have carefully cultivated to escape the dross of such assignments. Naturally, no woman no cry, no cable no sound. Cables are essential. To shun them in the pages of hifi magazines defeats a few purposes.

On the flippant side, little in hifi requires less knowledge and skill than whipping together a cable. If you don't own a soldering iron, plenty of Sino OEMs will make whatever you can dream up for pennies on your eventual retail dollar. Astronomical pricing. Baronial Münchhausen claims. Pseudo science. Plain gobblygook. Material fanaticism. The lot. What cables to write about and how to pick 'em involves far more voodoo—instinct and sympathies—than the sort of hard facts which help with CD players, speakers or amps. With Franck Tchang's LiveLine wires and Teo Audio's Liquid Cable, there was true novelty to sign me up. With other cable review solicitations arriving as predictably as monthly utility bills, there's often little more than thinly disguised we-need-publicity-to-survive hand wringing. Many a good story falls apart upon closer scrutiny. Or prices are horrendous, diameters unmanageable. Yet others pursue difference for no apparent reason other than to be different. Naturally, my voodoo selection process is far from infallible. I bet horses and kingdoms that I overlook cables of exceptional merit for all the wrong reasons. C'est la vie. Competing publications and their many writers even out the scales.

Enter Entreq. Per-Olof's common-sense approach and a focus on natural "müsli-man" ingredients appealed to my sensibilities. With cables, I've come to believe that solid core beats strands; thin trumps thick both on conductors and contacts; silk, rice paper and cotton dielectrics outdo plastics; and so forth. Personal encounters with Bernard Salabert of PHY-HP, Samuel Furon of Ocellia, Lloyd Walker of Walker Audio, Franck Tchang of ASI and similar individuals informed this bias. Ditto unrelated preferences for wool carpets over synthetics, life fruit to syrup-doused cadavers, plain cuisine to French sauces and simplicity to complications - er, complexity in all facets of life.

Peruse Entreq's website to appreciate the tie-in and take note of their 6-week home trial allowance (ship fees back to Åstorp/Sweden the only return obligation). You'll come across the environmentally friendly angle; proprietary silver/copper connectors (on speaker cables, hot in silver, return in copper); externally separated leads; cotton sleeves; 45-year cured Beechwood; flax; an external earth drain system; AC wraps encasing copper-based sand and metal inside leather to minimize magnetic fields and damp physical resonance when wrapped around a cable; shotgun power cords; component footers; and equipment racks. Also, Entreq manufactures in Sweden and does not turn Belden or Neotech wire into home-grown stuff for a fat surcharge.

To do cable reviews properly, one should really rewire a system all the way. For one, synergy concerns both good and bad ought to even out over just testing a single connection. Two, a house sound or core effect should have a greater chance of communicating itself. If so, it'd facilitate descriptions that more consistently translate from review to reader system. Naturally, setups with digital separates, mono amps, multiple power conditioners, biwirable speakers and such consume a lot of cabling. This puts quite a burden on providers of review loaners particularly with more upscale efforts. Per-Olof wouldn't have it any other way than all the way and my list to make that happen included power cords for transport, DAC, preamp, amp and two longer ones for two passive power outlet boxes feeding those components; a digital interconnect; two analog interconnects—one the 4-meter pair—and shorter single-wire speaker cables. I left it to Entreq to decide where in their range to draw from. What arrived was Discover 09 for analog signal cable, Konstantin for digital and Konstantin D for power for a complete Entreq cable loom to replace my customary ASI harness