Wire World Cable Technology – Platinum Eclipse Series Cables
Wire World Cable Technology – Platinum Eclipse Series Cables
Truly magical cables
Throughout my many years of involvement in high-end audio, I have had numerous opportunities to audition a wide variety of products including electronics, analog and digital playback systems, speakers and different types of accessories. Additionally, I have had the good fortune to try any number of cables from different manufacturers including interconnects, speaker, digital cables and power cords as well.
Typically the arrival of most components to my home, such as electronics and/or various types of accessories, are delivered by either my friendly UPS or FedEx delivery agent and I can easily handle these by myself. However, when it comes to speakers, they are typically delivered by a freight company and requiring lots of muscle (and often skill) to navigate large, heavy shipping crates or boxes, and the occasional coffin like containers, around to the back of my home to avoid having to navigate stairs to the lower level.
So it was with great joy when cables from Wire World arrived in fairly lightweight and medium sized boxes. In fact, a full suite of the Platinum Eclipse series cables, including interconnects, digital and speaker cables. Each set of cables was packaged individually and in professional jewelry case-like containers. The cables were very flexible and quite easy to work with, especially when it came to installation. Anxious as ever, I could hardly wait to get everything out of the box and inspected for any possible damage during transit. My initial thought was to go full bore and put all cables into my system at once. However, I tempered my enthusiasm and decided to do this in a more orderly manner. I also kept in mind comments made by David Salz, head guru/designer at Wire World, when he advised that the benefit of hearing the full sonic signature of his cables would best be served by installing incrementally but also in a relatively short time span.
With this in mind, the interconnect cables were first up for installation. With these cables installed and after only about a day of continuous signal processing – there was a definite and distinct difference from my long-time reference cables. Nothing dramatic but clearly a difference. As such, my initial reaction was very positive and this is just the beginning. Later with the digital cable installed, and some additional break-in time, similar differences were observed compared to my reference digital cable. With continued listening along with putting my reference cables back in for quick comparison– clearly what I was hearing impressed me considerably even though fundamentally, I wasn’t anxious nor quite ready to give up on my reference cables. As such – I decided to allow the Wire World cables additional time for further conditioning before making any final judgments on their overall performance – particularly on a comparative basis. Truly my reference cables weren’t chopped liver, are highly regarded in the industry and have provided me with hundreds/ thousands of hours of listening enjoyment.
With a quick check back to the folks at Wire World, I was assured that there would not be a long drawn out and disruptive break in period required to get these cables performing at their highest level. In fact, I was further assured that these cables would actually start to come into their own in a reasonably short period of time. The only caveat and advice received was that once the cables were installed and properly dressed – it would be best to try and not physically disturb them by either taking them in and out or possibly moving them around. This was so noted and I basically followed this advice.
Later I installed the special bi-wire speaker cables and allowed them time to break in with music signal running through them. Additionally, I elevated them from my carpeted floor with cable lifters as well. In a relatively short period of time, these cables were producing noticeable changes compared to my reference cables and to my ears – the overall experience was very rewarding. In fact, I was so impressed that I simply forgot about anything other than allowing myself to enjoy the new and improved sound of my system. From there I started pulling out many of my longtime favorite recordings that I hadn’t listened to in quite some time only to be impressed with the revelation of many subtle and hidden sonic treasures that I was essentially unaware of during earlier listening.
FURTHER OBSERVATIONS & GENERAL IMPRESSIONS
In the past, I’ve had opportunities to install Wire World cables in my system with the results always being consistently positive. In fact, despite the many years that have passed by, I still have very fond memories of their earlier Gold Eclipse Series III+ cables with their strong presentation through the bass region, as well as providing beautiful music through the critical midrange and upper frequencies. But that was then and this is now. Putting the newer Platinum series cables into my system brought back a flood of those positive memories but the really good news is that I was quickly elevated to an even higher order of critical listening almost instantly and it was clearly evident that these newer cables were truly something quite special.
I am also well aware of how sometimes initial impressions can be misleading – either positive or negative. Fortunately, with these cables and as the cables fully settled into my system, the sound improved and became even better. The dreaded long break-in time required with many cables I’ve experienced previously, just wasn’t there. In fact, judging from this experience – Salz was right on target and after reaching a certain level of performance, I really didn’t notice any further change in the overall sonic performance of these cables. What I was experiencing was very impressive and also quite thrilling.
Much of my critical listening with these cables was done with the truly outstanding and superbly high resolution YGA Anat Studio speakers in place. The combination of Wire World interconnects, digital cable and speakers, along with my reference electronics, produced such an enhanced level of clarity and overall resolution that it was instantly obvious that subtle musical nuances had become clearly more noticeable and in a very musically involving way. In addition to the heightened sense of resolution – the entire sound field had become quieter, more open with instruments (and vocals) floating in space and across the stage appropriately positioned. I also want to make the point that what became obvious, to my ears, wasn’t simply a matter of improved detail, clarity and resolution but a noticeable diminishment of smearing. At first it was hard for me to put my finger on exactly what was happening. However, after repeatedly going back and forth, I became aware that what was happening was the elimination of subtle traces of veiling and ever so slight masking. This was clearly noticeable especially with the interconnects but then as I moved to the digital cable and finally the speaker cables – I knew for sure that the Wire World cables were responsible for thins noticeably improved sonic performance. At that point – I was hooked. Beyond this, imaging was spot on with superb three dimensionality including width, height and depth as well as accurate placement of all musical sounds on the stage.
Bottom line – these cables provided a kind of special magic that I really wasn’t prepared to experience. Without question – these new Wire World Platinum Eclipse cables were at the heart of these improvements with the overall the sound possessing enhanced refinement and finesse that helped give reproduced music a more convincing and authentic sonic character. For some additional workout and auditioning, I also installed these cables in a completely different audio rig than my reference system. The results were not only highly satisfying – the sonic performance level of that particular system was enhanced well beyond anything subtle or marginal in terms of sonic improvements. In particular, and similar to the experience in my reference system, the overall level of musicality was quite compelling. Once again, overall transparency, cleanliness, clarity, resolution and dynamics rose to heightened levels of improvement and without any negative sonic attributes.
In terms of the performance in the lower frequency range – these cables provide a superb deep bass response that is wonderfully tuneful, powerful, dynamic, tight and with excellent articulation. In my system, bass performance was also enhanced by having a greater jump factor in dynamics. Interestingly, this was clearly evident even with the upper module of the YGA speakers which is designed as the midrange/ tweeter section of the Anat Studios. Initially I listened to this section along, and without the powered bass module. The Wire World bi-wire speaker cables connected to this section helped to create a performance level that was well beyond my expectations. Bass was produced with excellent clarity, authority, power and dynamics. Additionally, Wire World graciously supplied me with long runs of the Platinum Eclipse interconnects for connecting to the powered bass module of the YGA speakers. Similar results were experienced with an improved integration of powered bass module and the midrange/tweeter module. The sound was now seamless, coherent and a complete full range sound.
Listening to any number of great acoustic bass players, such as Christian McBride, Ray Brown, Charlie Haden just to name a few, provided superb rendering of this wonderful instrument. Similarly, with hard struck drums – the dynamic impact was powerful, clear, taunt and with solid control. Dropping these cables into an alternate system including the Ascendo C8 Renaissance loudspeakers quickly confirmed what I had been hearing with the YGA speakers. With the Wire World cables in place, the Ascendo’s overall performance was elevated in such a manner that it was all giggles and grins for those present to witness for themselves. Bass from these smaller speakers was even more complete with improved impact and dynamics. And although the bass didn’t necessarily extend much lower than with other cables, the overall quality through the bass region was improved to such an extent that it actually felt like there was not only better bass but even more to listen to and appreciate.
Much the same sort of effect occurred through the critically important midrange and higher frequencies. Essentially, the sound was more open, clear, extended and with superb resolution and detail. Along with this was a more open soundstage providing enhanced layering and solidity of images along with a holographic presentation of the performers. Vocals in particular were rendered in a truly killer fashion with the ability to very easily discern the slightest change in how a singer fashioned their mouth for certain types of enunciation of words or phrasing. This may seem like overkill but for what I heard – it simply heightened the illusion and made the performance just that much more convincing. A great example of this is Mary Stalling’s sensational singing on her recording titled Manhattan Moods. My favorite selection on this CD is “You Go To My Head.” Here Stalling’s voice is wonderfully present with luscious shades of organic nuance. Along with her voice, there is an outstanding harmonica performance that adds to the sweetness of the sound. Listening with the Wire World cables in place, this particular selection was elevated to a higher level with sensational clarity and clean, clear vocal renderings. Similarly, much the same effect was experienced when listening to Diana Krall’s CD titled Only Trust Your Heart. On this recording, Krall’s voice has a certain magical tonal quality that even though sounding really good before, with the Wire World cables in place, it was just that much more thrilling. Switching to a more robust type recording and something with lots of extraneous sounds added to the mix, I put on the Temptations recording titled Phoenix Rising. This particular recording has nicely done reverb with layers and layers upon layers of sound. Due to the enhanced transparency and noticeable elimination of smearing with these cables in place, the overall sound was spooky good. Being able to distinctly here each of the vocalists in the mix was a real treat and made the music total fun to listen to. Fortunately, with all this apparent enhanced clarity and resolution, at no time did the sound seem thinned out but instead had a solid tactile quality. Needless to say – this is a difficult challenge where sometimes cables can either take away or add to the sound. In the case of the Wire World Platinum Eclipse series cables – the tonality presented itself with a high level of neutrality and coherence across the full audio spectrum. No peaks, no valleys. Sounds at the upper frequencies were highly extended, open, clear and with outstanding clarity and articulation. Cymbals shimmered and floated along with other percussive sounds such as triangles. Overall there was an effortlessness that gave the high frequencies a sense of ease along with excellent dynamics.
DESIGN APPROACH – TECHNICAL OVERVIEW
First thing I observed was the noticeably light weight of these cables. Additionally, they were all quite flexible and very easy to use. In the case of the speaker cables – their design was a basic flat ribbon type configuration. From a weight and size perspective, you quickly realize how easy these cables are to work with. The interconnect and digital cable were a piece of cake and whether XLR or RCA connectors – their connection to various components in my system was a breeze. Due to the design of the speaker cables, they too were very easy to work with. Essentially, I used cable lifters to keep them elevated off of the carpeted floor for the purpose of minimizing potential static build up or other.
According to the website, the design construction of the interconnect employs Wire World’s trademarked DNA Helix Design with conductor materials featuring six nines high-purity silver (i.e., 99.99997% and Ohno Continuous Cast design). Additionally, the interconnects are terminated with special molded carbon fiber connectors (i.e., RCA) and feature tubular silver-clad oxygen free copper contacts utilizing a silicone rubber tension band to produce the lowest contact resistance available. The XLR connectors also use nickel-free, silver-clad contacts. The speaker cables employ the company’s trademarked Diagonal DNA Design consisting of flat conductors within the cable’s trapezoidal profile. For full description and greater appreciation of what all goes into the design and construction of these cables – I recommend you check out their website for details.
Based on my time and experience with these superb cables, I believe the Platinum Eclipse series represents Wire World’s finest cable offering to date and is a truly significant accomplishment. The virtues of these cables are numerous and clearly obvious. My highest praise goes to David Salz for his ongoing research and continued pursuit of developing truly innovative, state-of-the-art cable products. Listening to recorded music with this latest series of cables from Wire World in my system has been a wonderful experience and truly an eye (ear)-opener.
Cable Types & Prices:
Platinum Eclipse interconnects, RCA/XLR, 1.0 meter, $2995.95;
Platinum Eclipse Bi-wire speaker cable, 2.5 meter, $16,499.95;
Platinum Eclipse digital cable, .5 meter, $1,100.00
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