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The Tara Labs cable gives an incredibly saturated sound. Compared to the Omega, all other loudspeaker cables known to me sound thin. Changing from my Velum to the Tara immediately presented a rationale why we should pay for it. The basic changes are easiest for me to describe with acoustic recordings like Hush-A-Bye by Carol Sloan and Salzau Music On The Water with the Danielsson/Dell/Landgren trio. The midrange makes the biggest impression, hence Sloan’s vocals were so beautiful in their presence and palpability, ditto Landgren’s trombone. It previously never happened that switching from the Velum to another cable would have me so enchanted, absorbed and filled to bursting with ‘yes!’. Never! I have tested cables which bettered the Polish reference I have now used for a few years - the Harmonix HS-101 ESQ Exquisite, the Acrolink Mexcel 7N-S2000 and to some extent also the XLO Limited Edition LE-5. But I never had the impression that the money I would have to spend (the Velum was far cheaper than any of them) would result in an increase of satisfaction. This means not that in other systems and for different listeners, this would be equally true. But for me the case was clear. I did not even want to think about replacing my cables. Velum it was. Until now.

It was different with Tara’s Omega Onyx. I know it inside out in its classic 'simply' Omega version which is slightly inferior to the Onyx. The older version is part of Janusz’s system which we use for our Krakow Sonic Society meetings. Its assets of phenomenally balanced sound and incredibly deep timbre are easy to hear. But only when I listened to what this cable would do in my system did I get the proverbial headache. Not so long ago I declared that I lusted after the Acrolink 7N-PC9100 power cord, the matching 7N-DA6300 interconnects and Ayon’s Polaris II tube preamplifier.

They all changed the sound of my system radically and I almost cried knowing what I’d lose after returning them to their respective makers post review. It was similar with this Tara, except this cable did it more subtly. The changes it creates are undisputed but the assets thereof will be noticeable in the proper perspective only when we get back to our own previous cables.

This will be like a sudden announcement that we got sacked at the job – unpleasant and sickening. I don’t really mean to draw parallels with moral and sociological perspectives. After all, this is simply a cable. You can live without it. But deeply involved lovers of anything—audio is one of many things you can love— will know whereof I speak. The changes brought on by the Tara Labs Omega Onyx are structural, not superficial.

This cable does not improve anything compared to what we had before, does not finish incomplete things, does not facilitate listening. It simply offers a completely different perspective on the same musical event.

Before I started my listening tests, I had imagined that I knew just what the Tara Labs would do in my system. I was wrong. I approached the whole affair from the wrong angle. I imagined that the Omega Onyx would smoothen out the treble and give more vividness to the whole. And the cable did that, much more than expected! But it was also the case that those things had no practical meaning per se. It was not about a polishing or refinement of something that had already been present. Those elements were superior because the entire sound arrived from a higher reference plateau. When I tested my Velum a few years ago, I had the impression that it did not introduce very much to the sound. And I was not wrong. Those are phenomenally neutral cables. But in this case, the differentiation between ‘neutral’ and ‘natural’ gained gravitas. A neutral cable is one that adds nothing or very little. This is of course an ideal. In real life, there exists a big margin of freedom or rather, deviation from such an ideal. But I believe that the ideal of the neutral cable is possible. Neutrality tells us one thing only: is there anything beyond the recorded signal that is transmitted by that cable (or any hifi product) as extra or not. In theory this neutrality should work either way, by pointing out additions and subtractions. Audiophiles however pay more attention to the first. This is a logical error but there is no use fighting language. Simply be conscious of the implications.

I called upon this dichotomy—it would be a split personality in the ideal world—because neutral products are rarely natural. The latter category allows for some deviation from neutrality (I am talking about adding something) under the condition that we obtain this something else not simply by subtraction or throwing away. This could be heard fantastically well in the comparison to the Velum. I will repeat that I do not know another cable for the given money that presents such an even and phenomenally resolved sound. But the Tara Labs Omega Onyx also shows what it keeps for itself when compared to cables like the top Acrolink. It is mostly about the incredible sonic energy we get from the American cables. The voices of Sloan, Perry Como (In Italy) or Beverly Kenney (Lonely and Blue) were full and had big output. For a moment I thought that the Omega brought the sound closer to the listener but this was not the case. Its bigger and more natural sound made everything more visible and thus, seemingly closer than before. Those three discs are by a special company, the Sinatra Society of Japan, which specializes in issuing unknown, forgotten or never released discs from the 50s and 60s. The sound is superbly natural but not always technically flawless. The Omega showed those two planes— recording and music—as good as almost no other cable did before, in my case no other cable. Best of all, it was better by a real magnitude of improvement over all the other cables I have listened to.