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In the interconnect version the central conductor is hot, the outer shield the ground leg and the two of course are of opposing directionality. In the speaker cables only the central magnetic conductor connects electrically. The outer shield remains magnetically active to provide 'focus' and act as an EMI/RFI shield. At both ends of each leg are magnet-bearing ¾" x 3" capsules into which screw interchangeable gold-plated magnetically permeable spade or banana connectors. Here again each leg is directional.

On nits, the directional arrows on the cables are very small to be hard to read. What's more, the CT-1E (enhanced) RCA connector fits the collar of most RCA jacks so tightly that serious force is required to insert it. From this follows that removal can be hazardous to thin sheet-metal housings or board-mounted jacks. The High Fidelity Cables are said to require lengthy burn-in but my loaners had been previously used by the French distributor where I didn't notice any remarkable changes or improvements during my trial period - except for the time required by the dielectric to be fully charged and for the four jumpers which arrived late to break in (those took 2-3 weeks).

High Fidelity Cables declare that their enhanced version sports a different conductive alloy for higher ferromagnetic permeability and hence increased levels of magnetic conduction and performance. The conductor was specifically treated to lower dielectric absorption so signals should not be impacted by the change in electrical charge of the Teflon dielectric. The enhanced connectors also claim improve ferromagnetic permeability in their pins. 300 micron-thick 24K gold plating is higher than the industry standard and the ground collar is plated as well. The CT-1E speaker cables run an additional inline wave stabilizer in their centres.

What about sonic benefits? The entry-level CT-1 introduces something quite unusual which immediately suggests that you're in high-end territory with a very liquid extended soundstage. But the most salient feature is their apparent naturalness. I have always considered it very difficult to combine a very lively music reproduction with a good level of neutrality. For example Cardas cables are undoubtedly lively but deliver such density in the lower midrange as to quite often cause a kind of over emphasis there and to my ears a small lack of air and naturalness. At the opposite end Nordost cables provide such airy liquid detail as to become quite artificial. I always thought it was a pity spending crazy money on high-end cables to never get perfectly balanced sound.

The CT-1 speaker cables sat undoubtedly closer to Nordost than Cardas but were bit less ethereal than Valhalla to get closer to my concept of a truly universal wire. Bandwidth seemed extended but lacked some weight in the low end and the treble wasn't as sweet and refined as the Nordost Valhalla. On the flip side the Yanks had the better midrange and balance than Nordost. The profusion of low-level detail was in the top range of many cables I know. These resolved a tremendous quantity of small nuance from the mid bass to the upper treble. They also cast a wide and deep soundstage with an amazing quietness like the AudioQuest K2 but with much better tone and dynamics.

The overall sense was a nice balance between a lively effortless sound with very accurate timbres. This first cable set worked as though magnetic conduction made resistance not futile but pretty much irrelevant. Music literally seemed to flow through my system. The complete loom of speaker cables and interconnects made for powerful quick dynamics. Transient response was amazingly steep—a truly strange feeling when one starts out with speakers as fast as my Vivids—but also smooth and full with almost perfect tone.