|Transparent Audio “The Wave” Speaker Cable and “The Link” Interconnect Review|
|Home Theater Accessories AV Cables|
|Written by Andre Marc|
|Friday, 24 May 2013|
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Transparent Audio, based in Saco, Maine, has enjoyed its position among the most respected audio cable makers for decades now. In an area with fierce competition, their power products and cables have been favored by those with state of the art systems. Their upper echelon products are amazingly expensive, in the tens of thousands. I happen to enjoy mid-tier offerings from Transparent, which serve my system very well.
Transparent also supplies cabling to high-end audio manufacturers, most notably, Wilson Audio, which uses Transparent wire internally in their speaker systems. A good number of speaker designers use Transparent speaker cables to voice their products as well. On top of that, many in the professional audio world, including some Grammy winning record producers and engineers, endorse Transparent.
Transparent cables are unique in that all of their analog cables use bandwidth-limiting technology with network boxes attached to each cable. It must be noted that network boxes have been a very controversial topic in general. Many purists and skeptics regard any passive or active device attached to a cable as a gimmick. Actually MIT (Musical Interface Technologies), one of Transparent’s biggest competitors, goes one step further, allowing for “articulation poles” to “tune” the cable.
Transparent, for their part, says there are distinct advantages to their approach. They believe cables can essentially act as an antenna, so limiting bandwidth at certain frequencies is way to make sure nothing but the musical signal passes through. They also say the network adds some inductance, which helps with signal purity. Lastly, and a very important consideration, they say each cable can be calibrated so they will perform identically at any practical length. The cables are also directional, with arrows pointing the way for proper connection.
Today, we are reviewing Transparent's The Wave speaker cable and The Link interconnect. First we will look at The Wave speaker cable, which retails for $210 for an eight-foot pair terminated with spades. Bananas are available as well, and that is how my sample arrived. Just about any custom termination, length, or bi-wire configuration is available. The cable is finished in black, a recent switch over from the classic Transparent cream color.
The Wave is very nicely made, flexible, and low mass. There will be no issues with trying to integrate it into a system, like some garden hose, bulky offerings. The Wave features “five nines” ultra pure copper conductors, and high quality connectors. I used The Wave with two speakers, the Harbeth Compact 7ES3 and the recently reviewed SVS Ultra Bookshelf. A McIntosh MA6600 integrated amplifier drove both.