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Darwin Cable Company Truth II Interconnect and Power Cables  Print E-mail
Home Theater Accessories AV Cables
Written by Andre Marc   
Wednesday, 22 March 2017
Article Index
Darwin Cable Company Truth II Interconnect and Power Cables 
Page 2


“Our clients insisted that our original interconnects consistently bested cables costing as much as $18,000,” Bender said. “So, in some regard we felt we were competing with ourselves.”
The biggest news coming out of Darwin is their development of Truth II Speaker Cables and Truth II Power Cables—both based on their tried and true methodology. Silver conductors. Air dielectric. Fastidious attention to materials.  “It took us years in development,” Magerman said. “A lot of fussing with materials and analyzing the effect of certain wire in certain applications.”



“We’ve had customers replacing entire systems of big name cables, selling them off at a profit, and getting better performance,” Bender said. “Our customers tell us the speaker cables and power cables have the same kind of dramatic and truthful effect as our interconnects.”  The company offers a 30 Day “Peace of Mind Money Back Guarantee”. “That almost never happens,” Bender said. “But, even though the cost to performance ratio is we believe the best in the industry, we realize it’s a big investment. You ought to have that kind of peace of mind.”



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Set Up & Listening

Running a fully balanced system for the first time allowed me to use the Truth II XLR cables. One cable ran from the Bryston BDA-3 DAC, to the new Schiit Freya preamp, and the other to the mighty Simaudio 760A power amp.  The Truth II Black power cords were connected to the Freya and 760A.  Everything was plugged into a Bryston BIT-15 power conditioner. 

The Truth II cables are designed for gentle bends, and Darwin’s Bill Magerman recommends no bending at least six inches from the connector for the power cords, and about three inches for the signal cables. I was able to follow this protocol with all the cables. After plugging everything in there was nothing left to do but listen. I had a good three months with the cables, and I am certain I understood how they performed within the context of my system.

The new Schiit Freya preamp is rather unique, and it allows for three separate output modes, selectable with the touch of a button or remote. There is a totally passive mode, JFET Buffer mode, and fully active mode with a 6SN7 tube gain stage. I used the tube output with the Simaudio amp, and the JFET buffer with the Audio Research amp.

I cued up dozens of albums from across genres, and as usual, from some of the most obscure ones at that. I listened to whatever I was in the mood for, regardless of recording quality. A good number of albums were culled from the classic progressive rock cannon, and quite a bit of classic jazz and fusion as well.

First up was the Jethro Tull classic, Minstrel In The Gallery box set, with remixes and remasters by Steven Wilson. It is one of my all-time favorites, and the 24/96 flat transfers of the original mix, and the beautifully crafted remix are stunning. With the Darwin loom in place, the music took on a dimensionality and texture I honestly have not encountered to this degree. It was apparent from the get-go that mythical noise floor with the Truth II cables was as low as it was going to get in my system. The system brought to the forefront little subtle touches in the mix like intricate percussion parts, vocal overdubs, and reverb choices made during final mixdown.

An album I have been listening to in every format, Pentangle’s 1968 debut, The Pentangle, sounded fantastic on the Japanese SHM SACD remaster. It is scarily analog like and the Darwin system produced the sharpest focus and most lifelike textures I have heard with the album.

I went really deep into obscurity with Quintessence, a U.K. band known for serious space jams, mysticism, spiritual lyrics, and Alice Coltrane-like cosmic compositions. Cycling through their stunning, long forgotten discography, superbly remastered on CD, it was a time travel back to the late 60’s/early 70’s.  It is easy to dismiss their output as quaint hippie timepieces, but that would be way off the mark. The Darwin system put the spotlight on the sublime musicianship, the incredibly skillful guitar work, complex arrangements, and the surprisingly punchy mixes. The songs were augmented by crafty touches like flute solos, and the Darwin loom brought out some of these fine details effortlessly.

Heading further down the path of rare and vintage material, I cued up Mission Suite by the Chris Hinze Combination, a seriously hard to find album by the Dutch flutist. The album is high-level fusion, strongly influenced by early King Crimson and Mahavishnu Orchestra. The Darwin system was allowed for the interplay of the musicians to come through without spotlighting any one player, exactly as these arrangements were intended to be heard. A very enjoyable excursion into psychedelic jazz fusion was the end result.

I was in the mood for the glorious voice of Julie Felix, a criminally overlooked progressive folk songstress from the 60’s and 70’s. Her magnum opus, 1971’s Clotho’s Web, in the Darwin system, really stunned me with the separation of instruments and how the emotion in Felix’s voice came through. Her penchant for dramatic melodies and her acoustic guitar work are show stoppers, and I can’t recommend her hard to find albums more highly. The low noise floor paid dividends here where the music seemed not to be connected to any physical body, it just appeared in space.

One final spin in the progressive genre, a long lost classic, the self-titled, and only album by Australian band Fuchsia. Vinyl copies of this gem are fetching insane prices, but the recent remaster by the Esoteric label, with two bonus tracks, sounds excellent. This is grand, orchestral rock with folk and classical shades, and the Darwin system brought out fine details, yet preserved the classic analog lineage. A real treat, and again, it is recordings like this that really benefit from a low noise floor.

At this point, I had put the balanced system through its paces, and I switched over to the Truth II RCA using my Audio Research VS50 KT120 tube amp. Along with digital, I spun a large amount vinyl at this point on a Rega Planar 3 through a Lehmann Cube SE.  All the hallmarks of the Truth II sound were there. Amazingly low noise floor, clarity, a total lack of any coloration, and a naturalness of tone. 

I used the Truth II RCA in a number of locations. From Phono stage to preamp, from DAC to preamp, and from preamp to power amp, and I heard subtle differences in where they worked best, but if I had to pick one location above all, it would be from source to preamp, but that will vary with your system in my opinion.

The Truth II power cords, in my estimation, are simply sensational. When used on my Freya preamp and both the Simaudio and Audio Research power amps, they unlocked new levels of clarity, bass articulation, and smoothness. My Acoustic Zen power cords are very cables indeed but the Truth II cables, from what I heard, were a significant step up.

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Conclusion

Tony Bender and Bill Magerman of Darwin Cables are have taken no prisoners with the Truth II series of cables. All of the previous Darwin cables I have reviewed were stellar sonically, and here they up the ante -- providing new levels of build quality, ergonomics, and drilling down what made previous generations so appealing, and then refining it.

Yes, the Darwin loom I enjoyed for many months is not inexpensive, but they are essentially a long term investment. The company offers a risk-free in home trial, so you can be absolutely sure these cables can maximize the performance of your system. A note on that: I am confident that I have sorted out my system pretty well (speaker placement, noise, component matching etc) and I think that once this is done, the Darwin cables are the icing on the cake, and let you hear the full result of your work. To my ears, Darwin Cables essentially represent the state of the art of cables today along with a few other manufacturers, but I have to tell you, that is a very small club.  Darwin Cables get an unconditional recommendation for an audition.


Specifications


www.darwincables.com

Truth II RCA: $1095 1M
Truth II XLR:$1195 1M
Truth II Black PC: $1295 1.25M

Review System 1


Server: Bryston BDP-2
DAC: Bryston BDA-3
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Turntable: Rega Planar 3
Phono Preamp: Lounge Audio LCR MKIII, Lehmann Cube SE
Preamp: Schiit Audio Freya
Amplifier: Audio Research VS55, Simaudio 760A
Speaker:  Bryston Mini T
Cables:, Wireworld, iFi, Transparent, Black Rhodium
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks and Svelte Shelves, Shakti Stone, Bryston BIT-15, Salamander rack

Review System 2


Music Server: Sonore microRendu
Turntable: Project Debut Carbon DC
Phono Preamp: Graham Slee SE
Preamp: Schiit Audio Saga
DAC/Streamer: Simaudio 280D
Power Amplifier: Onkyo M5000R
Speaker: Magnepan MMG, Spendor S35R
Cables: Wireworld
Accessories: Cable Pro Noisetrapper, iFi iPower, Audience aR6

 






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