Accomplices to this assessment were the Pink Faun A/V Streamer in for review, and a guest-starring PS Audio DSD DAC. From our permanent provisions we put to work the Arcadian Audio Pnoe horns, the Hypex nCore 1200 monos and Music First's Passive Magnetic (the latter of course did not participate in the power cable assessment). Later in the audition we switched to our analog setup of Dr. Feickert Blackbird turntable, Trafomatic Reference Phono One, Audio Note Meishu integrated and Sounddeco Alpha F3 loudspeakers. We received a big box full of Oyaide products which felt like X-mas in July. Most of the products within were from the new line of 102 SSC cables but some were ‘still’ built with PCOCC copper or no wire at all. Let’s start with those two non-cable items. After connecting all participating equipment with Oyaide power cables and interconnects, we turned to the effects of the MWA-RC. That is shorthand for magnetic wave absorber and describes polypropylene RCA caps with a grey metallic top. Intended to absorb stray magnetic waves to result in a cleaner signal processing, they also prevent dust accumulation inside the RCA jacks. Less obvious is their mechanical damping effect. The greyish tops are a material called Sendust which according to Wikipedia "is a magnetic metal powder that was invented by Hakaru Masumoto at Tohoku Imperial University in Sendai, Japan, about 1936 as an alternative to permalloy in inductor applications for telephone networks. Sendust composition is typically 85% iron, 9% silicon and 6% aluminium." Though fully in the Oyaide tradition of using Japanese materials exclusively, the aural effect of these plugs was less than we expected.

We tried them on various open RCA connectors but in all cases the result was a sonic veiling. This voided musical sparkle and liveliness and instead dulled the presentation. We noticed this effect when capping either source or amplifier. We cannot think of a valid explanation since rationality would expect either no effect at all or a more positive result. [Purely guessing, couldn’t these plugs works as reflectors for internally generated radiation which, instead of escaping through the open RCAs, now remains trapped inside the component to result in more and not less disturbance? – Ed.] The next item was the MTS-6e power distribution block which former Polish contributor Wojciech Pacuła previewed for us here. Our sample was deployed to power as many devices as possible and make use of all its six receptacles. Preeminent was the grip the receptacles exerted on any Schuko plug inserted. There was an instant feeling that this connection would stay put forever. Non-magnetic stainless steel for the chassis begs to be handled only with gloves (not supplied). Finger prints will show. At the bottom four brass spikes can compensate for slightly uneven flooring but they do challenge vulnerable wooden parquet. Some small receiver shoes would be appreciated if included with the MTS.

More attention was paid to the internal soldering, ss-47 audio-grade solder, and internal damping with a sheet of viscoelastic material. According to Oyaide, the internal wiring is OFC copper soldered to the silver-over-rhodium copper contacts of the IEC. The 2.7kg MTS-6e felt solid overall, nicely finished and its 6 in-line design was easy to use. Its weight was a benefit with heavy or rigid power cords which couldn't turn the device airborne. Sonically we can’t report any changes when the same cords plugged into a Furutech eTP60 power distribution block instead. Practically speaking, there still was a change since the Furutech’s lower weight struggled with the pull of the applied cables. Some strategic redressing was needed especially when one insists on correct AC phasing and considers a 180° twist along the cable’s axis an absolute no-go. In a purely mechanical competition, it’d be 1:0 for the Oyaide. Continental 5S is the label Oyaide stuck on their USB cable which we retrieved from the box. First to be noticed was the gold finish of the standard A and B type connectors. This came from the outer plating of the rhodium connectors which in turn cover silver atop the core brass. 5S is a reference to the 5N silver used for the signal wires. These are 1.05mm in diameter and slow-drawn to minimize mechanical stress. Just like the 102 SCC wires, the silver wires here are drawn through diamond dies to achieve the smoothest mirror surface possible. For the USB power line, Oyaide use PCOCC-A copper. Where most even high-end USB cables just twist power and signal leads to prevent noise infiltration, the Continental 5S individually shields its leads with a copper foil. Atop that comes a second shield of aluminium foil and finally a third shield made of braided silver-plated copper. The latter can be seen through the transparent polyethylene sheath. Wait, we almost forgot the silk threads between the wires which prevent unwanted electrical storage.

To get an impression of the capabilities of this cable, we referred to our Phasure streaming setup. That’s a dedicated PC on which the XXHighEnd software runs bare-minimum Windows services and processes them at very low clock speed. This connects via a separate USB 3 extension board to the Phasure NOS DAC. Normally this setup runs with a disconnected protective ground between PC and DAC. To achieve this, the USB 3 extension board mounts with a non-conductive bracket home-made from a plastic bottle. At the DAC side the ground wire of the USB receiver board disconnects. To our ears this isolation of devices by eliminating a shared ground improves the sound quality. In day-to-day operation, our usual USB cable is an Audiomica Pebble Consequence. We tried the Oyaide Continental 5S in the described fashion and alternately used a USB 3 output from the streamer’s motherboard with the ground wire reconnected at the DAC end. After a few hours of burn in, both ways worked very well but we preferred the 'non-grounded' outcome. A few back and forth comparisons between Polish and Japanese cables resulted in our conclusion that in this configuration—yes, objectivity is hard to find—our subjective preference was for the Polish cable. Where the silver Oyaide sounded more open and at first sparkling, the Audiomica offered more ease for the brain; well, our brains. Plural.