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So much for theory. Basic listening has even the occasional dogmatist surprised. Into this arena step the well-respected US cable firm Wireworld who recently overhauled their entire portfolio with the new Series 7. If I didn’t lose track, that lot includes 17 different models. And no, they didn’t send us all of ‘em—no AES/EBU for us—but still a sizeable bunch. And that’s what I’ll report on today: select Toslink, coax and USB cables from Wireworld.

Wireworldly optical. Toslink has a bad rep. Cited culprits are insufficient bandwidth and mediocre connectors. The latter makes perfect sense to the most basic hifi expectations. The notoriously loose fit of cheap plastic nubs doesn’t curry much confidence. But since we transmit light, does a bit of wobble really matter? And how about perfect galvanic isolation which could make a decisive difference in Toslink’s favour? If the electrical connection of a given source seems circumspect, an optical option could well make sense. To put it mildly, personal expectations on audible differences between plastic fibre cables were – well, very mild. That is until I got my mitts on an Audioquest Cinnamon to compare it to a Mediamart freebie. "That’s so not possible!" was my first reaction. It had higher resolution and better soundstaging. It also was more dynamic and frisky, albeit also more direct in the mids which wouldn’t suit all systems. I had a hard time correlating those differences to a silly length of glass fiber. Inconceivable - but ever since part of my personal hifi tool box. Wireworld’s ‘grand’ Toslink now goes by Supernova 7 and demands €199 per meter. Its internal architecture of 388 borosilicate glass fibers with mirror-polished ends for transparency and dynamics to satisfy the most demanding listeners is how the confident Yanks describe it.


Wireworld Supernova 7 Toslink. The mirror-polished ends painted a crooked grin on my face. I was visualizing highly qualified workers polishing away under a microscope like dishwashers preparing for a high-society feast. But the concept wasn’t as out there as it might seem. Competitor Audioquest also talk of precision-polished glass-fiber ends. The rationale seems to be less stray light losses for a cleaner signal. What does that sound like?


Different from my Audioquest. And better too I had to admit. Which given 2 times plus the cost was fitting. On resolution and stage illumination particularly in the depth domain, both were essentially equal and superior to a generic. But I couldn’t fail to notice that the Wireworld put more body on individual sounds where the Audioquest played it flatter. The Supernova 7 also was tonally better balanced and in the treble perhaps minorly defensive where the Cinnamon can pop harder in the presence region. This conveys tonality and dynamic brio but can backfire when it doesn’t suit a system, your music and/or personal taste. The Wireworld seemed more correct or at least more socially adapted if not quite as crisp and cracking.

Cross interrogation with an Aqvox coax showed something similar. The Wireworld’s treble was a bit softer. The soundstage didn’t feel quite as generous as with the S/PDIF but the performers seemed more tacit. That quality was really good with the Wireworld. It also had a bit more bass shove (which I liked) if a tad less definition. A lovely observation was that something quite similar was available for a quarter the dosh without swapping brands. Enter the more basic Wireworld Supernova at €49/m. It was nearly as good. Nearly. I slurped my milkshake from a €40’000 system. That revealed differences. The cheaper Nova wasn’t quite as transparent at the stage edges, depth suffered a bit and resolution particularly at the frequency extremes stepped down. But if ancillaries aren’t of the costly sort, Wireworld Nova does a very good job when Toslink is on the menu.