Careful readers will have noticed
how until now I've kept stumm on my resident speaker cables. That's because for the last two years, I used a handmade sample of a semi-professional maker from Southern Germany. Because I'm presently unsure about whether he's still in this business, I can't tell you much more except that his conductors were copper and that performance topped my prior NBS Monitor O by a clear margin even on bass. End of foreplay and into the listening room where the Tellurium Q leashes would have to prove that their weighty asking price paid back in sufficient sonic coin.

As I'm told, Arnd Rischmüller who also handles VPI turntable importation for Germany was quite insistent that Tellurium Q develop a special phono cable for their Black Diamond range. It sounds a bit overdrawn – quite as though you'd need to force a Bavarian to drink his beer from a litre jug not champagne flute. After all, Great Britain is known as the motherland of analogue playback.

And so someone must have listened and we now can to the Black Diamond Phono. As soon as it moved between Pyon Sound Iris S.E. tone arm and Einstein's TTC phono preamp, I enjoyed a substantially more solid foundation with simultaneously higher bass definition and a broader palette of colours. This sounded notably coherent. Detail was nicely embedded in near casual obviousness. Aside from gains in transparency and focus, the virtual performers and their instruments enjoyed stronger edge limning and greater body. Records which previously weren't my first choice for sonic pleasure, perhaps due to fussier nervousness, grew in weightiness and calm with the Black Diamond Phono cable. For example, the evening of October 9th, 1964 which had Stand Getz and sidemen plus a trio work with bossa nova star Joao Gilberto in Carnegie Hall became an all-around convincing experience [Verve V6-8623/2 stereo]. More embodied and earthy than before, the musicians materialized on a stage whose dimensions appeared better defined than before.

The occasionally hooded otherwise vehemently blown Getz sax showed how wins in coherence and solidity didn't stem from any artificial calm which would entail a concomitant drag on dynamics. Not. Nits? I couldn't find any. The British phono leash clearly belonged to a small group of top-class phono connections. After I'd sufficient acquaintance with this super-critical low-voltage system juncture, it was time to check out the single-ended standard interconnects whilst the speaker cables remained untouched. The Raven AC's platter spun singer/pianist Chie Ayado's To you album with its refreshingly purist takes on beloved standards. Before the needle leaves the lead-in groove, I usually hear groove noise plus low hum from the gain stages. Surprisingly, this aspect felt suddenly less in the foreground, less distracting than normal. Then Ayado's voice arose from a very calm backdrop which one often sees referred to as blackground. I simply didn't dream that it'd turn out this pitch black as with the Black Diamond.

Could this be laid at the feet of reduced phase shift? Do other cables suffer stronger antenna effects to overlay the signal with ultrasonic noise? If so, the Black Diamond seemed quite immune to such shenanigans. Of course Tellurium Q are about more than maximal noise suppression. More profane hifi disciplines are on the books as well: intense finely hued tone colours, a wealth of tiny detail and shockingly realistic dynamic jump factor all impressed me despite high expectations based on these cables' premium stickers.

How clear and compelling our Japanese lady intoned the Lennon classic "Imagine" or Billie Holiday's "God bless the child".  Conjoined with a mild dose of warmth and elasticity, the Black Diamond conjured up a most realistic audition imprinted by great inner cohesiveness and calm. At the same time, I never grew suspicious that I missed out on the smallest nuances. This came from a wonderfully open informative treble which nearly exhibited some silkiness to stay far clear of aggression or sharpness. Such coarser tricks might at first suggest more dynamics or detail but quickly grow tiresome.