Introduction to Audio Cable Reviews

Every system needs them, speaker cables, interconnects, power cords and even digital cables yet it remains the most controversial aspect of the audio/video world. From the DIY group who makes their own from lamp cords purchased at the local hardware store to the high-enders who swear their system couldn’t perform at their best without the cables costing more than most of their components. The big question is; if the quality of the sound cannot be scientifically measured, can it sound better? Investing in a good quality cable is not foolish, beyond the sound or video quality your cables should be well made, using good materials with sturdy connections. All factors count: the length - sleeve material -metals used, copper, silver, and gold – gauge –resistance - capacitance, etc. Is there snake oil out there, you bet! Hopefully a good review will differentiate those from the honest, value-driven cable manufacturers.

Audio Cables

Wireworld Mini-Eclipse 7 Speaker Cables Review

Wireworld's new Eclipse Series 7 cables depart from previous designs in that the conductors are arranged in a helix as compared to a simple spiral. I tested the Mini-Eclipse 7 in 25 foot lengths to power the rear speakers in my home theater. How did they compare to generic cables? Read our review to discover.

Marc Audio Premium Line RCA Interconnects

Marc Audio started its business of marketing quality audio cables in its on-line store only two years ago. They did not have all of their products available at the time of launch, so we reviewed what they had, as they became available. These included the Reference Line and the Signature Line. The Reference Line is their most expensive cable, but at $870/meter-pair for the RCA interconnects, they are not all that pricey compared to many other cables out there. The Signatures are their mid-priced cables ($549/meter-pair for RCA interconnects). Now, Marc Audio has introduced the Premium Line, which is their least expensive line of cables, at $158/meter-pair. Their construction quality - and more importantly - their performance, belie their very reasonable price, and I think they are one of the best values in cables out there.

WireWorld Gold Starlight 6 Digital Interconnects, Eclipse 6 Interconnects, Platinum Eclipse 6 Interconnects, and Eclipse 6 Speaker Cables

WireWorld makes A/V cables at many price levels, including some that are very, very expensive. While at CES 2011, I spoke with David Salz about his designs, and I was intrigued enough to request some for review. What I received were cables that showed some of the best bench test results I have ever seen in A/V cables. Needless to say, I was very pleased. They are expensive, but life is a bitch when you love quality.

Marc Audio Red Line (Signature) and Black Line (Reference) RCA Interconnects and Red Line Speaker Cables

Marc Audio - Update:  Black Line RCA Interconnects - The Reference Line.

Marc Audio is another new audio cable manufacturer that has just set up shop in October. I received a sample of their first product, an RCA interconnect that is going to be their mid-level line of audio cables, called the Red Line (as of June, 2011, they renamed them as the Signature Line). I thought it might just be more of the same. But, it turned out this one is different, and it is not even their top model. For one thing, it is totally a USA product.

NextGen Copperhead Xtreme HDMI Cables

Ah HDMI. This now commonplace interface has had a storied history of controversy and confusion. Now evolved, it is still far from perfect but at least we A/V enthusiasts are living with it now. The most misunderstood part of the equation has traditionally been the cable. How long can it be and not cause signal deterioration, or even drop the signal altogether? NexGen addresses these questions with their Copperhead Xtreme HDMI Cable.

Kordz EVO, EVS, and EVX HDMI Cables

HDMI cables have two basic issues that are somewhat different than with audio cables, namely that they tend to be much longer, and also, the HDMI connector has turned out not to be very robust. So, if the HDMI cable that came with your new HDTV or DVD player is not doing the job for you, Kordz makes cables that will deliver the goods under any conditions. We review here their pure copper model, the EVO, as well as the EVS which has a thin coating of pure silver, and the EVX, which has a thicker coating of silver.

Argentum Audio Cables: The Mythos Analog Interconnect, Argento Digital Interconnect, Aureus Speaker Cable, and Proteus Power Cable

Sometime in ancient history, when snakes freely roamed the earth without fear that their oil would be disparaged, John Johnson asked me if I wanted to review the complete line of Ultralink/XLO Argentum audio cables. Since I thrive on comparisons, be they of cabling, amplifiers, or sopranos, I welcomed the assignment. (The Argentum power cable is not necessarily just for audio, but we include it as such here.)