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Darwin Ascension Silver Interconnect Review Print E-mail
Monday, 10 June 2013
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Darwin Ascension Silver Interconnect Review
ImageDarwin Cables very much impressed me with their Silver Interconnect, which I evaluated not too long ago. At its $295 asking price, the Darwin Silver is amazingly coherent and musically complete. In fact, it's still in my system, performing admirably. But my personal Darwin story does not end there. Tony Bender, co conspirator at Darwin Cables, sent me a note, indicating they had developed a cable a notch up from the Silver, called the Ascension, and wanted to know if I'd like to hear it and do a formal review. I said yes (of course).

To “ascend” means to go climb, or go upward. It seems the folks at Darwin felt they had a legitimate breakthrough in performance via careful tweaking of materials and build. The Ascension's appearance differs from the standard Darwin IC in that it features clear tubing, one for each silver conductor. The cables sell for $595 direct from the Darwin Cables web site, but as of the time of this publication, are on a $495 introductory special.

According to Mr. Bender, here are some particulars about the Ascension's design and development:
  • Low Mass Ends: Heavy ends create unwanted signal anomalies and eddy currents, smearing the sound. Through trial and error, the development team found the best combination of low mass, quality metallurgy and synchronicity with their unique design.

  • Silver Core Wire:  Bender says, “We learned that seemingly infinitesimal variances in gauge, purity and build quality can make a huge difference. Silver is vastly superior to copper in conductivity in low voltage applications. Hours-long, computer-controlled cryogenic treatment enhances molecular structure and lowers noise floor for better dynamics. Darwin Cable Company relies on an industry leader that meets military specifications.”

  • Air Dielectric: By suspending the wire in an oversized Teflon-like tube, the Darwin Cable Company says they eliminate the veiling introduced with coated wires. “ANYTHING that touches the wire diminishes the sound,” Bender said. “Even quality dielectric in close proximity to the wire will diminish performance.”
Bender notes the original Darwin concept evolved by subtracting “the mistakes” most manufacturers make. “First, you have to identify the elements that detract from cable performance and to what degree.” Bender said. “We are fanatical about building a cable with the least amount of compromises possible. The Darwin Ascension has been voiced with a unique selection of wire and tubing as well as other dielectric improvements. The cable requires significantly more build time.”

Lastly, and most unusually, the Darwin team sent out Ascension prototypes to a group of trusted audiophiles for feedback before finalizing the design. I personally had have not heard of this unique strategy -- a form of crowd sourcing in high-end audio? An interesting concept that may have its day!


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