In High-End all components are important: source, preamplifier, amplifier and speakers. But there is something without which their value is nothing. In High-End system speaker and interconnect cables should have great characteristics minimizing all outer effects influencing the signal.
Article from Russian magazine "DVD Expert", 10'2009
In High-End all components are important: source, preamplifier, amplifier and speakers. But there is something without which their value is nothing. In High-End system speaker and interconnect cables should have great characteristics minimizing all outer effects influencing the signal. Such qualities are inherent in top range reference devices which are durably manufactured and cost a lot. One would think "what's the use of thinking about price if we speak about High-End"? But it's always a pleasure when the product has good quality with a reasonable price. The same concept has the Russian cable manufacturer "TCHERNOV AUDIO". In January issue of DVDXpert of 2009 we made a group cable test where you got acquainted with CLASSIC IC Interconnect cable. It made a big impression on us and won the battle. "Cable which is not there" - that's how it was valued. In fact it sounded precisely with great dynamic range fully uncovering system's components potential. Now we have an opportunity to step on to the reference level. We had a speaker cable TCHERNOVAUDIO REFERENCE SC with spades from the amp side and "bananas" from the speakers' side along with two pairs of interconnects TCHERNOVAUDIO Cuprum Reference IC with XLR and RCA plugs. Our goal was to add to a system composed of a source, a preamp, amplifier and speakers with a full set of reference cables. Also we wanted to compare them with other cables, so we took CLASSIC IC of the same brand, which we already knew.
Speaker cable TCHERNOVAUDIO REFERENCE SC is quite a massive construction with 2.5 cm in diameter with decorative nylon black sock. Both ends are fixed with heat-shrinking tubes. In spite of dimensions we can see only 2 insulated white and red color wires on both ends. On one end we have Banana Plug REFERENCE G plugs ("Banana" plugs) with a copper drain wire in transparent insulation. On the other end we see Spade Lug REFERENCE G plugs ("Spade" plugs). The plugs are made from high refinement copper and are 10mkm gold plated, outer side is from brass with decorative Channel Deep Black coating. Main conductors are complex twist multi wires with 5.5mm² diameter made from die cast rolled wire. While copper refining the BRC technology was used (Balanced Refinement Conductor is an adjustment of admixtures in metal to make the proper use of it). Wires are insulated with porous Teflon tapes without thermal processing and high pressure PE tube and are twisted together with thick cotton strips so that the construction has proper shape and density.
Then we see a bandage from copper strips as a braid. Over the bandage we have a screen from wide copper tapes with a drain wire (we saw the end of it near Banana Plugs), then - thick braid of copper threads ensuring mechanical rigidity of construction and extra screening. On top of it all we have a combined PVC and polyurethane elastomer jacket.
Interconnect cables TCHERNOVAUDIO REFERENCE IC (both XLR and RCA) are made using the same technology as the Reference speaker cable. The same nylon decorative sock, heat-shrinking tubes with the signal direction arrows and beautiful brass plugs with copper contact group plated with gold. The difference is in the inside part of two cables. Conductor here is 1.13mm² with multi-layered porous Teflon insulation only, and Kevlar threads are added in the copper braid.
The connection of interconnect cables was easy - plugs are handy, but one should think about reasonable distance from the rear wall due to their dimensions and heat-shrinking tubes which do not let the cable bend. Take into account that connectors on the speakers and amplifier are close to each other so the spades might be in touch. In case of bi-wiring (in fact we used it) we were given bridges with spades made from the same cable to connect unidirectional terminals of the speakers. After connection of all the cables we let the system for 2 weeks for a burn-in and only after that started our listening session.
First of all we noted from the start the sound changed for better in comparison with Classic cables. We didn't listen attentively on purpose so we found this based on comfort of listening. Secondly, we compared Reference interconnect cables with XLR and RCA plugs. There was some difference in some kind of simplification of sound and some loss of detail while using RCA. Though we may think this is due to peculiarities of connection in this particular system. We saw roughly the same results between CLASSIC XLR and RCA interconnects. However we underline that even there is some difference between the two, both of them ensure the highest sound quality and bring in little change into the signal.
Thirdly, we made a thorough test of complex connection of the speaker cable and two balanced interconnect cables, both CLASSIC and REFERENCE. Here we had a big surprise. Classic cables which we evaluated so high took their place at last. Yes, these are high-quality cables which possess a good quality/price ratio, but still they are a bridge between entry and high level products. It's a good choice for many systems and will be good for most of sound lovers. They were good also for us, but... REFERENCE cables showed that the money invested in their development serve not only for outer beauty and admiring of construction.
Our system literally revived – we noted improvements in details, dynamic range, articulation and preciseness of bass. Sound became dynamic and due to increase in details of sound picture it seemed the volume was a bit higher. All the small details made the sound more transparent and aerial. All the above gave the sound filigree refinement. Putting back CLASSIC didn’t disappoint us, because their good sound is good for us too, but the uncompromising qualities of REFERENCE cables remained.