"Highly recommended for systems that lean towards the bright side, or those that need more warmth and harmonic richness. And you know what? About 90% of the systems I've heard fit that category."
 
Specifications:
Gauge: 10 AWG Single Crystal Copper and Silver Rhodium spades
Price: 8 foot set (4 wires) - $2000

Address:
Harmonic Technology
13200 Kirkham Way,
Unit 100
Poway, CA 92064
Telephone:
858-486-8386
Fax:
858-486-6633
Email: info@harmonictech.com
Website: www.harmonictech.com

 
 
Associated Equipment:
Analog Front End
Digital Front End
Amplification
Loudspeakers
Cabling
Accessories

 

Harmonic Technology Magic™ Woofer Speaker Cable

"Tweakers Paradise"

8 March 2003

Marshall Nack

Harmonic Technology hit the audio scene with an inaugural stable of winners back in 1998. The Pro-Silway interconnect and the Pro AC 11 power cord sounded as good as anything available at the time and had real-world prices. And, like most of the guys I knew, I acquired a full complement of these wires. HT followed up with the Pro-Silway MkII upgraded interconnect and the Magic power cord. These products made a stir in the press and were also well received in the marketplace. The Magic power cord was considered by many to be the best available, period. I felt that way then and still do today, still using several in my reference system. The Magic power cord was the first in a proposed line of statement wires, and was priced accordingly: $1500 for a 6' length. Not priced for everyman, but to HT's credit, the price is the same today.

Zoom up to the present and HT's current offerings. There is now a full line of Magic™ (One) cables. There are two speaker cables: the Magic Woofer and the Magic Tweeter. The names come from HT's recommended bi-wiring configuration, which has the Magic Tweeter on top and the Magic Woofer on bottom. Where bi-wiring is not an option either wire can be used full range. The Magic Woofer is a beefier version, and is HT's prime recommendation for speakers requiring mono-wire configuration. My EgglestonWorks Rosas are not biwire capable, so I opted to review the Magic Woofer cable.

Physical Description

The Magic Woofer is made of massive amounts of 7N (99.99997%) pure silver and 6N (99.9997%) pure copper, bundled into conductors of varying gauges. These refined metals are smelted using HT's patented low temperature "OCC" process, which gives it the characteristic single crystal structure. The varying gauge conductors are configured in a geometric design that HT calls Balanced Field Geometry that is claimed to be optimized to help reduce inductance and capacitance; a good thing, I suppose. The positive and negative conductors are in physically separate sleeves, so this mono-wire configuration has a total of four individual cables. The cable is flexible, not particularly heavy or of wide diameter, and conventional in appearance. Pigtails extend some 5" from the casing. The positive (red) pigtail is thinner and more flexible than the negative (black) one, but neither presented any connection issues. Other than that, the cable has the high-quality construction we've come to expect from HT.

Installation

While installation presented no problems, I did have some difficulty getting a handle on the sound of the Magic Woofer due to an unusually long break-in time. You get a fair idea after logging 75 hours, but only after maybe 200 hours did the treble reach it's final extension.

Back to Basics: Setup
Some History

For the longest time I've wanted to pull my speakers further away from the sidewalls. In general, speakers benefit from as much free space as you can give them. I had tried this before. What you get is not so much better image focus but more natural boundaries around instruments - more air, and a more relaxed presentation. However, there's always a decrease in the lower register as you move away from a reinforcing wall. The bass would disappear and the tonal balance would move up into the treble. I couldn't afford to lose any bass, so eventually the speakers wound up back in their original locations just 15" from the sidewalls.

The Present

The Magic Woofer cable transmits more bass energy than any speaker wire I've encountered. So, with the Magic Woofer One in place, I repositioned the speakers further out from the sidewalls with a little more toe-in, and got drastically better results. By making slight shifts in the distance from the sidewalls I was able to dial in just as much bass as I needed to bring this band into alignment with the midrange and treble. I wound up with the speakers about 19" out, not a huge change from the initial 15", but, I tell you, every inch was audible. The byproduct of this process was the sound acquired the air and image qualities mentioned above. Now that I had a taste of this effect, I mentally put it on my wish list because I wanted more of what just happened. What a difference proper setup makes!

The Sound

What I heard in the new setup was an ultra smooth and subtle mid-range frequency response. Tonal shadings were remarkably fine as one progressed through this area. The mid-range was relaxed, very natural, and on the warm side with all the harmonic richness your heart could possibly desire. Performance in this area was excellent.

Bass was now articulate and punchy, with enough energy to support any kind of music. The low register was musical and had overtones and tonal complexity. Once again, I found performance in this band to be natural sounding and excellent.

Treble was sweet and adequately extended, if not as extended as some wires that I've heard, and maybe not as neutral as some others. There wasn't a hint of grain or glare.

Overall, the frequency curve was very smooth, linear and warm, with minor treble coloration. Arrival times were coherent. In other areas, soundstage dimension and imaging were rock solid and stable. Detail retrieval was first class.

The presentation was relaxed and non-fatiguing. It was actually more along the lines of being ingratiating, sweet, a bit forgiving: the opposite of analytical. So you'll be able to play those less than perfect records incubating microbes in that dark corner.

There was always a sense of control present. The Magic Woofer kept a tight rein and prevented crescendos from distorting or changing character. Pianissimo passages also maintained the same sound quality. Interestingly, this control didn't get in the way of dynamics, which were impressive and certainly benefited from the extra weight of the low end. But maybe the control thing was partly responsible for a slight lack of suppleness or flexibility in the treble. This is the one area I can criticize as being "merely" very good, and if you didn't have competing wires handy you'd never notice the lack.

The Magic Woofer is a quiet cable and not just because of its low noise floor. It may sound less "exciting" than some other cables for the very fact that nothing calls attention to itself. Rather like a fine wine in its balance, proportion and strong foundation.

Conclusion

The sound of the Harmonic Technology Magic Woofer speaker cable was warm, harmonically rich, full-bodied, dynamic and a little dark, similar to the famous Magic Power Cords. In sum: it was musical. This is one of the great speaker cables. It mated excellently with my tube amps and I imagine it would complement solid-state designs at least as well, if not better . However, because of the ample bass capabilities, it may not be suitable for everyone. I was able to get the bass to work well for me by adjusting speaker position.

Highly recommended for systems that lean towards the bright side, or those that need more warmth and harmonic richness. And you know what? About 90% of the systems I've heard fit that category.