2017 Editors’ Choice Awards: Cables and Interconnects under $1000

Equipment report
Loudspeaker cables,
Digital cables
2017 Editors’ Choice Awards: Cables and Interconnects under $1000

Shunyata Research Venom
Interconnects, $295/1m pr.; speaker cables, $595/2m pr.
The new Venom Series represents fifteen years of Shunyata Research’s ongoing technical innovation and custom-parts engineering. The over-arching goal for this new line was to create products that offer high-end quality and performance at real-world prices. To that end, the company uses the finest available metals in expensive Ohno Continuous Cast Copper. And these speaker cable terminations use the same interchangeable terminals that can be found on Shunyata’s most expensive designs. With Venom cables, you might discover that high-quality cables need not cost a fortune.

WyWires Blue Series
$299/4' pr. interconnect (RCA or XLR); $449/8' pr. speaker
The first WyWires cable reviewed in TAS, the Blue is also one of the most pliable, easy-to-handle cables around. Its sonic signature is energetic, with a potent midrange, plenty of drive, and a slightly cooler, forward tilt.

Morrow Audio SP7 Grand Reference speaker and MA4 Reference and MA7 Grand Reference interconnects
$329/1m pr. MA4 interconnect.; $1399/1m pr. MA7 interconnect; $1499/2m pr. Speaker
Relative newcomers to the cable ranks, Morrow Audio’s wires performed like old pros. Nicely weighted with a solid midrange sweetspot, these wires had terrific low-level resolving power, solid bass, and good soundstaging and dimensionality. The MA4 interconnects were mildly dry on top; the more expensive MA7s spiced things up, adding just a bit more juicy harmonic texture and complexity. Overall this was a cable that defied expectations in its range and comfortably joined some of the well-established notables.

Wireworld Eclipse 7
$450/1m pr. interconnect; $1800/3m pr. Speaker
Celebrating its 20th Anniversary, Wireworld has produced a bargain in its Series 7 Eclipse speaker cable and interconnect. Among Eclipse’s many strengths are a sense of layered depth that brings inner detail alive, a broad dynamic envelope, and an ability to reproduce fine instrumental textures.

Kimber 8TC and12TC
$453/8' pr. interconnect; $688/8' pr. speaker with SBAN banana plugs
Tilting a tad toward the yin, the 8TC has that elusive ability to remain musical no matter what is happening fore or aft, ideally mediating detail, liveliness, tonal neutrality, and dynamic contrasts within a very realistic, holographic soundstage.

MIT StyleLine SL 8 Interconnect and SL 9 Speaker Cables
$499/1m pr. interconnect; $799/8' pr. speaker:
RD always equated MIT (Music Interface Technologies) audio cables with crazy-unreachable prices, but now there’s the new entry-level StyleLine Series. The SL 8/SL 9 pairing offered a very neutral top-to-bottom balance, allowing RD to indulge in the detail-fest that makes the sport of the high end so much fun. Mouth sounds, the sonic signatures of the microphones, the “sound” of the recording studio—all came through clear as day.

Clarus Cables Aqua
$500/1m pr. RCA interconnect; $1520/8' pr. speaker:
Clarus Aqua not only satisfies audio expectations but does so at a reasonable price. It combines innovative conductor technology, ease of handling, and little in the way of sonic sacrifices. With its dead-quiet backgrounds Aqua establishes a sweet, even, honey-soaked midrange, delivered from an ever so slightly forward perspective. Further, its deep low-end brilliantly communicates the rich wood resonances of cello and acoustic bass. A cable that opens new frontiers at accessible price levels.

Siltech Explorer 90 I Interconnect and L Speaker Cable
$500/1m pr. interconnect; $1000/2m pr. speaker
Bringing Siltech quality and cache to an easily affordable price point makes Explorer an excellent upgrade cable for a mid-priced system. Its healthy midrange, fine articulation, and low-level reproduction make it a good deal. Dynamics and bass extension are also convincing. It could be a trifle sweeter in the treble, but few wires challenge it in this tier.

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