In the first installment of my silver cable survey (Link
), I covered RS Cables and Element Cable products. In this second installment, I will be looking at silver cables by DH Labs, based in Alachua, Florida, and Decware, out of East Peoria, IL. I received samples of DH Labs Silver Revelation interconnects, and the Decware Silver Reference interconnects.
This survey has been extremely illuminating and an eye opener for me. It has reaffirmed for me that you can get performance approaching the very best for a small fraction of the price of the most expensive audio cables on the market. Ultra pricey cables, in my opinion, have become somewhat of a status symbol. Cables have been called “audio jewelry” by some well known high performance audio reviewers, and I agree. However, I also believe they are a very important link in the chain, and can be considered a component in themselves.
Decware is a direct to consumer out fit started by Steve Deckert about 14 years ago. They specialize in small, handmade SET tube amplifiers, preamplifiers, high efficiency loudspeakers, and cables. After initially introducing their Zen Triode amp, they have enjoyed a cult following. Today they have a loyal, dedicated customer base. Selling direct has allowed Decware to sell at prices that are well below what audiophiles normally expect to pay for superbly engineered and hand crafted components. Under evaluation here is the Silver Reference interconnect, priced starting at $129 per half meter.
The Decware Silver Reference IC has a unique design. According to the Decware website, the conductors “are a rope lay grouping of flat silver ribbons wound around a bees wax impregnated cotton fiber core.” Deckert believes in low mass, low resonance, but robust cables. He says his designs will not put undue pressure on your components input jacks. According to Decware, the insulator is 94% air. My cables came with the Silver Xhadow Precision RCA connectors, and only silver solder was used to eliminate the interaction of unlike metals.
I really enjoyed the sound of these cables from the start; a superbly balanced, full bodied presentation. The mids were especially sweet and liquid. These cables would be a perfect match with SET amps as the designer is a master SET amplifier maker. But they worked fabulously with my Audio Research and Naim equipment.
Overall I thought the Decware cables were very musical and ever so slightly mellow compared to other silver cables I have tested. The other cables may highlight certain frequencies, which I don’t think the Decware cables do. They seem to be to be pretty neutral and deliver signals in high resolution. They performed at their very best between CD player and preamp. I recently received a copy of the new Legacy Edition of the recent Santana classic, Supernatural. With the Silver Reference cables in place, the mix was huge, the bass was heavy (but nimble) and mids were oh so right. On David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, a longtime favorite, I had never heard the mix so coherent, with the individual instruments easily followed in the sometimes dense mix.
I also really liked what I heard when I used the Decware cable between my preamp and power amplifier. Mids were luscious; and the overall presentation was full bodied. The soundstage was focused and rock solid. An all Decware wire up definitely has a beautiful synergy. Yet again, mega priced cable makers should be worried. Decware cables were a superb value and absolutely recommended.