As it turned out, that adjustment sufficed to reset our residential 'normal'. Structural tension remained more relaxed than tautly ratcheted up but now was merely flavour, not fault. The Italian speakers were slightly fatter than usual but again well within range of minor taste shifts. The musical gestalt felt slower and less driven though contrast was very high. That tipped its hat at Richard's pursuit of quiet cables. Whilst the overall feel was bloomier and less grippy than the all-silver loom had it, the only slightly unwilling payment as far as I was concerned was with looser than perfectly ideal bass. It was rotund and redolent like a bowed upright. Firing-squad hard drum machines aren't my ideal either but I could have stood a few more inches in that direction.

Rather than amplitude domain, I'd in fact lay the overall sonic signature at the feet of relative damping. Imagine each note as a tiny kettle drum. Less damping means a looser skin. Each mallet hit encounters more give, less resistance. That goes boiiiinnnng. More damping clamps down on the skin for max resistance and least give. Now it goes boinkk. Not only do the first letters pronounce softer, there's more of them. That's because the sound takes slightly longer to settle down.

From that seed form sprout all the other effects already hinted at. In many ways this was a personal rerun of my prior Absolue Créations encounter. Given that both dealt in pure copper, it's hard to escape the notion that reduced damping in fact is a—or the?—core Cu quality versus competently executed Ag of an otherwise matching design. Like Richard, I don't believe that a properly built cable should or would make more or less bass, treble or midband. Basic measurements would reflect if it did. With our designer not being after any personalized response skewing, I'm certain. These wires measure perfectly linear in the frequency domain. Likewise for their silvery competition. Just so, they patently did not sound alike. The extreme example anyone who moved house a few times knows from personal experience is the effect of variable damping on our own voice. An empty bath room makes it sound fuller and richer. Heavily stuffed furniture, closed extra-thick curtains, deeply piled carpets and such dry it out. The range of possible values along this axis is broad. Intuitively or strategically, hifi users set their sweet spot with a combination of room décor, speaker/seat positioning and choice of hardware. Here one shouldn't overlook cables; and the perhaps key decision about whether to pursue a pure copper or silver loom. A final pointer are surface textures. My silver loom sounded glossier, this copper version more matte. That was exactly in line with Richard's earlier stated preference.

Tone as timbre is a function of harmonic envelope. Without harmonics, we end up with pure sine waves. On that axis, the Eterna loom behaved as though it more emphasized the 2nd than 3rd harmonic. Its silver counterpoint's drier crisper more damped behaviour suggested a reversal of the same overtone fortunes. This is mere descriptor of the effect, not a statement of actual cause. It matters naught what the real reasons for the sonic offset were. That's for the engineers. We're interested in a relatable description of the sound. Between my harmonic and damping efforts, I trust that you'll draw appropriate conclusions. Our room's dimensions, double-high gabled ceiling, hard floors and windows make it more live. That's more reverberant than the more typical overstuffed small rooms with wall-to-wall carpeting, bookshelf-lined walls and plush couches. As a result, the higher damping of our resident silver cable loom better rebalanced these conditions. The opposite would be true for a more conventionally sized deader room. That makes neither loom superior, only more or less suited to prevailing conditions.

Being very sturdily built with clear quality connectors, no usage issues or accompanying marketing drivel, to me the perhaps key attraction of this French loom was its combination of coppery bloom with tangible silence. When HF noise is bled out this effectively from our playback like an ancient leech cure, everything gets calmer and more settled. Many reviewers describe this quality as organic. It's not edge-of-seat adrenaline, shock-jock staccato or adolescent urge. It's more relaxed easeful flow. It's a quality often ascribed to top tube gear or vinyl. Wherever that and the attendant increase in body and gravitas factor big on the list of desired gains; wherever speakers are of the "modern" type—more damped, dry, emphasizing leading edge and treble over sustain and sweetness*—these smooth beautifully made and beautifully sounding Esprit Audio Eterna cables from France are a very obvious destination!

* It's an admittedly arbitrary personal scheme or classification attempt. It's based on my opinion from 20+ years of trade show attendance that many hard-dome/cone speakers with steep filters and ultra-rigid cabinets behave accordingly. I call it the modern sound as opposed to the soft-dome/paper-cone more vintage aesthetic. I found the same to apply to Western Electric (vintage) vs. KR Audio or Emission Labs (modern) 300B. The vintage bottles were more pliable and soft, the moderns ones very dynamic and more lit up if also stiffer and harder. As a result and speaking in coarse generalities just to make the point, for an even *more* modern sound one would combine hard metal drivers with silver cables. A more vintage read would mate copper to cellulose or silk drivers. Someone wanting to remain more in the middle would do soft drivers + silver or hard drivers + copper instead. Add more live or dead room acoustics and the range of personal tuning options becomes very broad indeed. It makes it entirely impossible to speak of "best" or "correct" relative to any hifi component, cables included.

Esprit Audio website