The Entreq Konstantin 09 Cables, Page 2
Getting Down to Listening
My listening room is 23’ wide by 20’ deep with 8’ high ceilings and a concrete floor covered with a Berber carpet. My equipment sits in a massive audio/video cabinet (104” wide, 30” deep, and 78” high), with the exception of my BAT VK1000 mono amps which sit on Osiris amp stands. My Escalante Design Fremont loudspeakers flank the cabinet, 10’ apart and 4’ out from the wall. My seated position is about 10’ from the front baffle of the speakers which are toed-in about 5 degrees.
I began my listening by re-establishing the characteristics of my reference Stealth Audio Petite Dream speaker cables and GS 50-50 interconnects, Argento Serenity and Virtual Dynamics Nite II power cords. I listened to a wide variety of music and re-visited the notes I had made about what those cables were doing in my system. This provided me with an opportunity to once again appreciate just how good these cables are and know how good the Entreq cables would have to be to supplant them.
Once I had gotten the measure of my reference system it was time to take all of the cables out and install the Entreqs. Now before I played the first tune I knew that the result would be a mixed bag, after all, the cables were made to order and had not been fully broken in. The First disc I listened to was Clifford Jordan’s Live at Ethel’s [Mapleshade 56292]. Track 1, “Summer Serenade,” sounded a bit soft at the upper frequency extremes but boy, talk about a soundstage! It was wide and deep and well defined. Side to side spacing was very good. The same could be heard from track 2, “‘Round Midnight.” Kevin O’Connell’s piano playing sounded nicely detailed and you could get a great sense of the venue.
The next disc I played was Voices of Concord Jazz: Live at Montreux [Concord CCD22246-2], a two-disc set of wonderful live, jazz vocal recordings. Disc one, track 7 is “A Day in the Life of a Fool,” by Monica Mancini. Mancini’s voice is simply mellifluous and the Entreq cables render it with a surprising amount of detail despite not being fully broken in.
Getting Down to Earth
I spent the next week or so just playing music, mostly from my Magnum Dynalab DT-5 tuner, in order to make sure that the cables were sufficiently broken in and ready for more intense scrutiny. I had a few listening sessions with some friends but it was during my own private late-night listening sessions that I was able to form some solid opinions.
The first and most important thing that I can say about these Entreq Konstantin 09 cables is that they allowed my system to perform as quietly as I have ever experienced. A big reason for this is another of Per-Olof Friberg’s thoughtful design touches. Friberg understands the negative effects that can be caused by electrical anomalies such things as static and magnetic fields on an improperly grounded system. So he developed an External Earth Drain System (EEDS) which allows you to connect your system to a good Earth point, away from your system. The EEDS is comprised of short copper wires that connect positive (+) and negative (-) speaker cables and a long wire that connects to an external ground location. In my case that ground was a metal heating duct. I can’t comment on the science that goes into this design but I can tell you that the effect it had on my system was phenomenal. I’ve always come to accept that there would be some level of audible noise from my system because I was using a tube preamp or because my amps sit close to a carpeted floor. But the Entreq cables have allowed me to experience the joys of a quiet, properly grounded system.
Now that my system was completely wired with (broken in) Entreq Konstantin 09 cables and the system was properly grounded, I was ready to get into some serious listening. I have always been a huge fan of 70’s funk music, and that of course means “the Godfather of Soul,” James Brown. Now while James when penning some of the greatest lyrics of that era he was also responsible for putting together one of the best R&B bands ever, the JBs. The JBs were a virtual all-star band of some of the best black musicians of that generation. The JBs featured the likes of William “Bootsy” Collins, Fred Wesley, and of course the legendary Maceo Parker. One of the JBs’ seminal tunes was JBs Monaurail. This was the first tune that I listened to from the disc “James Brown’s Funky People” [Polydor]. The horn section led by Wesley and Parker is stellar. They produce a … well, funky drive on this tune that simply can’t be described. These days this type of sound could only be reproduced on some type of computerized loop. The Entreq cables rendered this tune so naturally that I was completely taken aback by how wonderful this horn section was. Another track from this disc was “Same Beat,” which actually is a repetition of the same bluesy beat but infused with the wild wailings of Wesley on trombone. Man, this is fun music to hear when reproduced through a system wired with such detailed and highly resolved cables.
I wanted to focus on the different aspects of the Entreq cables so I began by listening to some female vocals. Joyce Cooling’s CD, Revolving Door [Narada] was just what the doctor ordered. Track 5, “I’ll Always Love You” not only features Cooling’s wonderful vocals but also her splendid guitar playing. The background of this recording is winter cold quiet, allowing the performance to be upfront and pristinely defined. Upper frequency performance through the Entreq cables provides an exceptional level of detail and musicality. More proof of this came from guitarist Al DiMeola on Kiss My Axe [Tomato RD 79751]. The title track is not only a showcase for DiMeolas lightning quick guitar playing but also features a tremendous amount of slam and deep bass. My room, concrete floors and all, shook noticeably on this tune. The Entreq cables did an excellent job of defining the space within the properly sized soundstage that the musicians occupied.
Finally, I went back to the Clifford Jordan disc because I wanted to hear one of the live recordings that I heard before the cables had been broken in. Listening to the opening track, “Summer Serenade” again, I went back to my initial notes to see if things had changed. Boy, had they. The softness that I previously heard was now gone and the music in those upper frequency extremes was fully realized. The sound wasn’t bright, mind you, but I didn’t feel as though there was any information missing either. Soundstage height and depth seemed more expansive than before and the overall character of the music remained natural and very satisfying.
Before I conclude this review, I need to also mention the impact of the Entreq accessories that I mention earlier, the Vibbeaters and AC Wraps. The Vibbeaters are leather bags filled with a combination of copper-based sand and metal that helps minimize magnetic fields and absorbs vibrations. They are meant to be placed on speakers or electronic components, not unlike other devices such as VPI Bricks and Shakti Stones. I primarily used them over the transformers on the amps of my main system but they also did wonders for a pair of Master Source Model 20M stand mounted mini-monitors that I am currently using in my other system.
The AC Wraps are sort of a dual function tweak. They are 6” x 6” leather pads filled with the same compound as the Vibbeaters that can be used to shield any cables that are lying on a floor from vibration and magnetic fields. But they can also be used to wrap around AC cords where they are connected to the components. Overall, I found these tweaks to be a solid enhancement to my system, as combining them with the benefits of a properly grounded system lead to an overall reduction in background noise and noticeably quieter operation. The result is more music in a realistic space.
Per-Olof Friberg is to be commended for producing such marvelously executed products and using natural materials in the process. I also can’t thank Lennarth (whoever he or she or it may be) enough for finding me on the web and introducing me to these wonderful products. There are many wonderful cable products in the marketplace these days, many of which have graced my system. As I mentioned earlier, if the Entreq cables were going to supplant my current reference and make an impact in the crowded audiophile cable market, they would have to be very special products. Special is exactly what the Entreq Konstantin cables are. Highly recommended and a sure-fire bet for this publication’s highest honor, the “Most Wanted Component” Award.
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