Cable manufacturer ZenWave Audio, out of Lafayette, CO, is headed up by Dave Cahoon, a passionate audiophile who has been on a mission to build the highest quality products, at the fairest price, with top shelf parts and materials. Reading on, you will see that he delivers on his
promise in many ways. ZenWave products are designed and built stateside, and can be ordered directly from their well-organized web shop.
Let’s get one thing out of the way. I tend to avoid cable manufacturers who tout ultra proprietary, pseudo-scientific features coupled with marketing campaigns to appeal directly those who crave exclusivity above sonics. Yes, there are audiophiles who shop for cables based on price (the higher, the “better”), dubious technological claims, and believe it or not, appearance and product name. “The Golden Dragon Silver Moon” interconnect sounds a lot more intimidating than a bland model number.
First let’s start with the basic raw materials that all cables require, the metal. According to Dave Cahoon, “Neotech supplies lots of cable manufacturers, the highest end...if you google UPOCC audio cables pretty much every cable company that comes up will be using Neotech's wire or completed cables. Neotech is the only company producing wire using the OCC patented process, Furukowa used to but stopped in 2013 in favor of a less costly process. Also, many cable companies built their reputation using Neotech wire, then switched to a cheaper alternative.”
I received an entire loom of ZenWave cables for review, including one pair of D2 interconnects, which start at $325, one pair of D4 interconnects, which start at $950, three PL11 (11 gauge) power cords, which start at $529, and a set of SMC15 speaker cables, which start at $572. The SMC speaker cables are UPOCC copper cables. There are also SMSG silver/gold alloy speaker cables available starting at $1190, which are the equivalent to the D4 level of interconnect cable. The SMC are equivalent to the D2 level of interconnect cable.
It is important to discuss the quality of the wire and connectors in these cables, because they are equal to or surpass far, far more expensive cables. The D2 uses Furutech FP-108(R) RCA plugs and 4x Neotech 20 gauge EC-UPOCC cotton insulated litz wire. Each 20 gauge wire contains 256 strands of individually insulated 44 gauge UPOCC copper wire braided around a flat film core. The Ultra version uses WBT 0102 platinum-plated silver plugs. The standard XLR version uses Furutech FP-700 Series with gold plating and Furutech CF-600 Series with rhodium plating for the D2 Ultra XLR.
The D4 RCA uses the WBT 0102 Nexgen RCA plug with silver contacts with platinum plating, and for XLR, the Furutech CF-600 Series with rhodium plating. The wire is custom Neotech UPOCC Silver/Gold Alloy. This is a proprietary alloy made specifically for ZenWave.