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SignalCable Silver Resolution Audio Cables

Give Your System Wings to Fly

Frank Alles

 December 2004

              


In many cases in the past, I have tried expensive cables in my system. My experience has been a mixed blessing in that while many of the high-priced cables excel in certain areas, they also have some intrinsic characteristics that dilute and detract from the big picture of sonic excellence. It is rare that I’ve come across a cable that I felt made across-the-board improvements in every parameter.

Earlier this year, I had my first experience with the SignalCable line of cables and wrote a very enthusiastic review of their copper-based product line. A few months later, SignalCable introduced their new top-of-the-line Silver-Resolution (SR) series and my hopes were high that these high-purity, silver-based cables would outperform their copper-only cousins.

The Silver Resolution speaker cables started out using pure silver conductors exclusively; and my feeling upon first hearing them was that their overall balance was somewhat bright and bass shy. But, shortly after their introduction, the model was changed to include a certain ratio of high-purity copper conductors in addition to the silver. This version achieves a much more neutral balance and has other advantages as we shall see. Owners of the early, pure-silver speaker cables may choose to have their cables updated by SignalCable for a very reasonable fee.

SignalCable charges extra to terminate the SR speaker cables with either spade lugs or banana plugs. However, they tin the ends with special WBT solder at no extra charge; this “non-termination” likely yields the best performance. I experimented briefly with different combinations of terminations, but not long enough to make definitive judgments. I feel this is a good area to save some cash if your binding posts will accept heavy-gauge bare wire. Please note that you can order each end terminated differently according to your system’s needs.

My present copper-series SignalCables are definitely wearing very well over time. The longer I live with them the more I’m convinced of their virtues. The copper-based models provide a high degree of harmonic integrity, detail, and focus, while the Silver Resolution series provides a bit more detail, clarity, and extension at both frequency extremes. The sound is quite natural and well-balanced with either series. To be able to buy premium quality cables with pure silver conductors starting at only $189/pr. for the SR interconnects and $319 for the SR speaker cables should set audiophile toes to tappin’ long before they begin making music.

My Audio Physic Experience

          

When I installed the Silver Resolution speaker cables on my Aragon 8002 amplifier with the Audio Physic Virgo II speakers, the difference was like going from a $2,000 amp to a $10,000 amp in an instant. The jump in clarity and resolution over my previous MIT Zapchord cables was exactly that profound.

Little details and musical nuances came out of the haze and were now discernible. Lyric comprehension improved and the bass extended deeper. In the treble, there was more air and, well, resolution. I could hear greater complexity and depth to high-frequency sounds and this appeared to increase the layering and dimensions of the soundstage. Midrange details that were not as clear with other cables came into focus, which in many cases led to a better understanding of the artist’s intent.

Next, I inserted the Silver Resolution interconnects into the Virgo system. The SR interconnects are supplied with Eichmann's Silver Bullet RCA plugs or high-quality silver balanced XLR connectors as the standard termination.

In truth, I didn’t know what to expect. I was already quite happy with the sound of my system. But as I began listening, I noticed was that the bass was more extended; and on the Virgo system, this improved its slightly anemic character and provided a fuller sound that had more punch and slam. I also noticed improvements in the area of immediacy and focus. Tunes from the soundtrack of Dead Man Walking (Columbia CK 67522) became more palpable and intimate. The bite of the guitar and clarity of vocals improved, which may be related to improved high frequency performance.

The VMPS Don’t Lie

Later in my evaluation, I got the idea to do some experimenting with the Silver Resolution interconnects in my other reference system using the VMPS RM 30 speakers. First, I installed them on the Rega Planet CD player. In that position, the SR cables provided considerably more bass, which made for a heavier balance. Since the VMPS speakers tend toward bass heaviness in my room, this was not a desirable outcome.

So, I removed the SR cables from the CD player and put a single set between the preamp outputs and the equalizer inputs (that’s right, I use an equalizer to tame a bass node – get over it!). Magic began to happen. With my previous, all-copper SignalCable conduit, I was satisfied with the sound quality on many recordings, but on some recordings I was hearing a kind of metallic "twang" somewhere in the high frequencies that I was having trouble pinning down.

With the Silver Resolution between the preamp and the EQ, the extra twang or ringing disappeared and the midrange became smoother and more musical. The highs also benefited. I was hearing more high frequency air (extension) and percussive sounds like finger snaps, hands clapping, and so on, sounded more distinct and natural. Luckily, the quantity of bass stayed approximately the same, although it seemed to sound a bit more "correct" and the pace and timing improved slightly. I found myself wanting to tap my toe and I even got up to dance around a bit. The type of heaviness I had experienced with the SR cables on the CD player was not in evidence.

SMILE!

Further proof of the improvements surfaced while playing Brian Wilson presents Smile (Nonesuch 79846-2). I had initially played it a few days back, but for whatever reason it grated on my ears a little more than I would have preferred. This prevented me from really getting into the piece and enjoying it like I should have. After the cable swap I played it again and now I finally "get it." For the first time I understand why many folks consider Brian Wilson a creative genius. The complexity and layering of the vocals interwoven with various acoustic instruments and unique percussion is very gratifying, emotionally. It kind of makes your brain say “Ahhhh.” Smile is Brian’s masterpiece and it was a very moving experience for me to hear it with the system sounding so authoritative and convincing.

At this juncture I had tried many cable combinations in the VMPS system, which included InnerSound and Full Spectrum Audio interconnects in addition to Signal Cable’s own Analog Two cables. My best result, so far, was the combination of the Analog Two’s with one pair of Silver Resolution interconnects between my preamp and equalizer. This suggests that it’s hard to predict which combination(s) will yield “magic.”

A prudent approach, especially if you already own the Analog Two’s or the Double-run, Single-wire speaker cables, would be to buy a pair of SR interconnects and/or SR speaker cables, and then do some experimenting to see if you would like to add additional pairs. As I noted in my previous review of SignalCable’s copper series of wires, the odds of hitting a synergistic combination within the SignalCable family are high. Experiment, it’s well worth the effort!

Newsflash: This Just In…

Well, you audiophiles know how it goes – another day – another tweak! Sometimes when you hit a certain level of performance you don’t want to change anything for a while. But today (Wednesday) is my day off and I couldn’t resist my urge to play with the SR cables in the VMPS system a bit more. This was inspired by my recent experience at the Oro Valley Jazz Festival/Art Show that I attended the previous Sunday, October 24.

At the jazz festival there were many talented acts, but I got a real kick out of a band of roving jazzmen called “The Inevitable Jazz Brothers.” The IJ-bros. are a 3-piece ensemble featuring Dante Rosano on trumpet, his brother Marco on baritone sax, and brother-by-jazz, Evan Dain, playing banjo and high-hat. My family and I heard much of their un-amplified acoustic repertoire from the short distance of about 15 feet on a perfect-weather day at the foot of the majestic Pusch View Ridge Mountains, surrounded by small tents filled with all types of creative artwork. (Eat your hearts out!) To make a long story short, I bought their first CD, which is available at http://cdbaby.com/cd/ijbros. Thanks guys!

When I got the CD home and popped it into the Planet, the sound I heard did not compare very well with what I had heard live. In fact, I e-mailed Dante to say that while I loved the concert, the CD must have been “poorly engineered.” Dante, being a gentleman of jazz, humored me and graciously thanked me for my criticism.

Okay, so now it’s Wednesday and I’m in the experimenting mode. Just for fun, I installed a second pair of Silver Resolution interconnects between my equalizer and power amp. Suddenly, The Inevitable Jazz Bros. CD sounded amazingly lifelike and was clearly closer to my live experience. This was great. Next, I briefly tried the Silver Resolution speaker cables. While the bass grew deeper and plumper, somehow the immediacy of the midrange had diminished a bit. My conclusion was that for whatever reason, the VMPS enjoyed a better synergy with the copper SignalCable speaker wires than with the Silver Resolution (though the SR clearly sounded better in the Virgo system).

When I reinstalled the copper, Double-run, Single-wire speaker cables, the killer midrange and highs returned, but I found the bass had diminished slightly, which robbed the new Cake CD of some impact. Remembering that the SR interconnects on the CD player had previously increased the bass, I then removed the Analog Two’s and reinstalled the Silver Resolution.

That was it! As soon as the music began to play, I knew the bass was back, as articulate and dynamic as ever. It also seemed that the midrange and highs became slightly smoother and that the soundstage grew deeper and wider. The sound field tended to envelope the listener to a greater extent, and the instruments contained therein sounded dramatically (pinch-me) real. Referring back to Brian Wilson’s Smile, it became apparent that this was the best configuration overall. The smile on my face began to broaden when I heard the exact positions of the multi-layered vocals and the clean instrumental transients that the Silver Resolution delivers so effortlessly. Add to the list neutral balance, wide bandwidth, and improved dynamic range, and you have all the ingredients to a very compelling musical illusion.

Summing Up

By now, it should be abundantly clear that SignalCable’s Silver Resolution series of cables are VERY special in terms of the outstanding level of performance they are capable of delivering. I had great success with the Silver Resolution interconnects in both of my reference systems, while my results with the Silver Resolution speaker cables proved more difficult to pin down. They truly sang with my Audio Physic Virgo II speakers, though their performance with my VMPS RM 30s was not quite as convincing. Since SignalCable offers a 30-day, in-home, money-back guarantee, there is little risk in buying and trying their products. Frankly, I’m blown away by their extremely authentic music reproduction. I may not require that new super-amp after all. Highly recommended!

                          ________________




SignalCable
Signal Group Inc.
89 Oakridge Road
Pleasantville, NY 10570
Tel: (917) 957-8508
website: www.signalcable.com
e-mail: sales@signalcable.com

SignalCable Silver Resolution Speaker Cables
Specifications
THE CABLE DESIGN
• 6 (4 silver+2 copper) conductors, Total of 80 5N Pure Silver strands and 40 High Purity Bare copper strands
• Insulation for each conductor - thin wall Teflon tube
• Shield - braided 5N Silver Plated OFC
• Outer Jacket - Teflon Tape / Polyvinylchloride
• Effective gauge size per channel - 12awg
• Geometry - Internal Twisted, Cross Linked
• ELECTRICAL CHARACTERISTICS
• Nom. Capacitance - 18.5 pF/ft
• Nom. Conductor DC Resistance - 18.3 Ω/1000 ft
Nom. Inductance - 0.13 µH/ft

Prices and Options
• Per Pair Standard Length (6 feet) with Tinned (with WBT Silver solder) Bare wire termination
• List Price - $319.00
• Each additional foot - $30.00
• Add $40 for Standard Terminations
• Add $40 per pair for bi-wiring
• Price for a single cable (for one channel) is 50% of the per pair prices
• Standard Terminations -
• Spades (direct silver plate, fits 1/4" and 5/16" posts)
• BFA banana Plugs (no additional charge)
• Custom terminations also available


SignalCable Silver Resolution Interconnects
Specifications
• THE CABLE DESIGN
• 4 conductors, 80 5N Pure Silver strands (each channel)
• Insulation for each conductor - thin wall Teflon tube
• Effective gauge size per channel - 21awg
• Shield - braided 5N Silver Plated OFC
• Outer Jacket - Teflon Tape
• Geometry - Internal Twisted, Cross Linked
• ELECTRICAL CHARACTERISTICS
• Nom. Capacitance - 18.9 pF/ft
• Nom. Conductor DC Resistance - 20.3 Ω/1000 ft
• Nom. Inductance - 0.12 µH/ft

Prices and Options
• Per Pair Standard Length (2 feet) -
• List Price - $189.00
• Each additional foot - $20.00
• Price for a single cable (for one channel) is 50% of the per pair prices
• Terminations -
• Eichmann's Silver Bullet RCA Plugs (Single Ended)
• High Quality Silver XLR connectors (Balanced)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Villetri

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luminous Audio

SignalCable Silver Resolution