|Silver Cable Overview: Part One|
|Home Theater Feature Articles Audio Related Articles|
|Written by Andre Marc|
|Wednesday, 10 February 2010|
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Q & A with Richard Sachek of RS Cables:Q: In your mind, is there anything you can think of, materials, design, exotic metals, etc, that could justify a pair of interconnects or speaker cable costing $5000, $10,000, or even $32,000?
"No. I know what the raw materials cost and there is no way to justify such lofty prices. One of the things about the cable industry is that barriers to entry are relatively low compared with, say, power amplifiers. So you have a lot of cottage businesses offering some very good buys. Ours are the best, though!"
Q: What do you like personally about silver and palladium conductors as compared to copper?
"The resolution. It is very satisfying when a customer switches from copper to silver or palladium, then plays a favorite recording that they have listened to a million times and tells us that they are hearing new things."
Q: What can you tell us about palladium? I'd bet most audiophiles know little about it.
"The excellent performance of palladium in audio cables can only be partially explained from a scientific standpoint because palladium is not one of the most conductive metals. However, palladium wire is virtually impervious to corrosion so cable performance will never ever deteriorate over time. Also, because the palladium wire does not corrode, we can use a very loose fitting insulation, which only makes partial contact with the wire, reducing potential coloration from the insulation. My interest in palladium within the audio realm springs from a glowing review that I read several years ago and we began experimenting with palladium wire shortly thereafter. Although tough to quantify, the synergy is impossible to dispute upon listening."
Q: Can you give us an idea of what your reference system consists of?
"I am in a temporary living situation right now while my home is being renovated, so I have a pretty modest system going. My most oft used source is a Rega P3 turntable with a RB600 tonearm and Dynavector 10X5 cart but I also have a Sony SCD-777 CDP and power is a Musical Fidelity A300 integrated. Speakers are an M-T-M design which I built myself, including the crossovers. And of course, the internal wiring is silver."
Q: Lastly, vinyl or digital?
"Vinyl all the way."
Element Cable:Element Cable was founded in 2003 by Anthony Wynn and Chris Wynn to offer audiophile grade cables at prices that were very fair, and affordable. Element produces a full line of signal, speaker, video, and digital cables, as well as power cords. I received two sets of their Silver Serenade interconnects (starting at $129) and a sample of their Red Storm power cords (starting at $69). Yes, those are the actual prices.
The Silver Serenade is made with 99.99% pure solid silver conductors and thin virgin Teflon dielectric cross-spiral geometry suspended in a flexible PE air tube. The cable is terminated with high grade Cardas SLVR silver RCA connectors, using WBT silver solder. As an upgrade option, Eichmann Silver Bullet connectors are also available. But I assure you; the standard Cardas connectors are very nice indeed. The outer jacket is an attractive light gray and the cable has a classy look. One would not have to shove these out of sight for fear of being ridiculed for buying "cheap" cables. As I will describe below, there is absolutely nothing about the performance of this cable that even hints at a modest price. If I was a mega buck cable manufacturer, and I got a hold of a pair of Silver Serenade IC’s, I would be worried.
I started as I did as before, installing a half meter pair of the Serenades between my CD player and preamp. My first impression was one of amazement. I heard all of the things I have come to expect from expensive interconnects with silver conductors, with not a nit to pick. The sound was just beautiful. All the delicacy, detail, imaging, and silky smooth high frequencies I could ask for. Bass was huge, articulate, and all my room could handle. Now I am wondering what the Signature line, Element’s more “upscale” offerings can deliver.
I then took a look at the Red Storm power cord. It is a three conductor 12 AWG tinned copper cable with Teflon insulation and double shielding. The Red Storm cord is matched with a high quality hospital grade Marinco plug and Schurter IEC. The connectors are commonly found on much more expensive power cables costing way more than the Red Storm.
I used the Red Storm mainly on my Naim Flatcap 2x, as Wynn suggested that digital sources commonly benefit the most. The Flatcap 2x is the external power supply for my Naim CD5x cd player. I was nothing less than knocked out by the results. Dynamics were immediately improved, along with bass extension and soundstage depth. The Red Storm , to these ears, bettered, or at the very least, equaled one of my own power cords costing five times as much. Very impressive, and also very highly recommended.