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The overall character was slightly soft and dynamically tempered even though this had no influence on the perception of what occurred on stage contrary to what these traits might have predicted. The most characteristic salient qualities were the silky treble and a slight favoring of reverb trails particularly in the mid to lower octaves.

This created the mentioned softness and simultaneously a large mass of sound. There was no trace of dryness. The dynamic tempering was part of the reverb handling. Whilst not softened, transients weren’t overly incisive or ‘punctual’. The listener’s attention was simply drawn to what happened right after the attacks – body and tail of the notes.

This was very nicely demonstrated on live recordings like Wes Montgomery’s Smokin’ at The Half Note where the guitar as well as rhythm section of the Wynton Kelly Trio had plenty of air behind it. But this was about more than just vividness, more than just imaging, performer transitions and the communication between them. I got all that with these Norwegian cables integrated into the recorded acoustics of the event.

Of course live recordings showed the latter best but even studio productions like David Sylvian on Sleepwalkers or Dinah Washington on the After Hours With Miss D mono LP had vocals and accompanying instruments natural, vibrant and breathing. This last recording reconfirmed the very silky slightly withdrawn treble. This led to no darkening of the sound but simply a delicate ‘buffer’ which enveloped recorded 'pin pricks'.

I also mentioned the high sonic mass. This always happens whenever lower midrange and upper bass are as strong and full as here. Yet the lowest bass wasn’t as extended or dynamic as over my Tara Labs. This was best heard with electronica like Jarré, Radiohead, Nosowska and Sylvian. Nevertheless I couldn’t deny the impression that the Norwegian cable did something ‘good’ in my system even on the bass. It was simply coherent which is a quality usually lacking. The swapping out of the Tara Labs Omega Onyx for this cable did not hurt. The modification of the sound was minimal despite the audibility of everything I described above. Taking into account the colossal price difference, I had to bow before the designer of this cable.

SC Air Centaurus A. The cheaper cable from Skogrand Cables is not at all cheap in the sense of sounding cheaper. It shares a certain DNA with the Markarian 421 although the sound is different. This is still a very full sound with long reverberations and coherence. It’s still velvety and smooth yet internally sophisticated to allay any suspicions of cheap tricks. Yet the overall perception will be different from the Markarian 421.

This cable is much more dynamic and expressive in a way most systems will prefer. Although still smooth and saturated, this sound is more live and open. Bass seems to reach lower due to the fact that its midrange creates a strong rhythmic foundation. This is a transparent sound whose treble has a lot of energy and is not withdrawn. In turn it’s not as velvety and three-dimensional as the more expensive cable but we actually gain something.