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

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

Moon Audio Silver Dragon V2
$625/1m pr.
The V2 version of Silver Dragon, Moon Audio’s top audiophile interconnect, uses an eight-wire braided geometry of solid-core 99.999% pure silver with a Teflon insulation. Connectors are top-notch—WBT Nextgen or Furutechs. Sonically, Silver Dragon is a model of smooth, rich midrange response—faithful to the real thing in its neutrality, color saturation, and fluidity. There’s a satisfying mellowness to its character—one that doesn’t exactly soften transients (there’s plenty of snap and speed to go around) but does add a measure of overall warmth to the presentation.

Synergistic Research Tesla LE REL-spec Reference Subwoofer Cable
Pricey but potent, these inspired subwoofers cables are specifically optimized for REL subwoofers and include the REL-specified Neutrik connectors. They improved the inherent musicality and pitch precision of the Britannia B3 in every instance. The lower noise floor yields more detail, an enhanced sense of space, and expanded ambience retrieval. Three models are available: Element Copper, Element Tungsten, and Element CTS.

Cardas Clear Light Interconnect and Clear Sky Speaker Cables
$692/1m pr. interconnect; $900/3m pr. speaker
Designed and superbly made in the U.S.A., these fat Blue Man Group-blue cables are the first rungs of Cardas’ top-of-their-line Clear Series. RD found them suitably impressive both sonically and physically. Aural impressions included good detail along with a touch of added warmth, which could be welcome in many setups.

Crystal Cable Next (Headphone)
For those with state-of-the-art personal listening gear, the ultra-thin and light Crystal Cable Next makes a perfect complement. The shimmering strand oozes quality and, as the name implies, crystal-clear sound. The Next allows volumes of timbral, rhythmic, and spatial information to flow through it. Decays seem to go on forever and bass notes are as taut as a stretched rubber band. Crystal Cable’s Next will show you just how much you’ve been missing from your favorite set of headphones.

Crystal Cable Micro Interconnect/CrystalSpeak Micro Speaker Cable
$850/1m pr. interconnect ($700/add’l meter); $2500/2m pr. speaker ($900/add’l meter-pair)
Clean, composed, and transparent, the jewel-like Crystal Micro cables offer an open soundstage where images snap into focus and music is conveyed with a turbine-like smoothness. Even some softness in the bass and a bit of forwardness in the treble don’t diminish one of the most transparent cables NG has heard. Unique splitter rings allows easy change-out of terminations or bi-wire upgrades.

Harmonic Technology Magic Link Three
$900/1m pr. (RCA); $950/1m pr. (XLR)
With improved clarity and articulation over Harmonic Tech’s more affordable Pro Silway line, the Magic Link Two interconnect consistently yields smooth, extended highs, a delightfully full and natural midrange, and solid bass. You may find other pricier interconnects that excel in one specific area or another, but when it comes to overall system synergy, this is one cable you’ll be “wearing” like a favorite pair of shoes.

Analysis Plus Silver Oval-In
$962/1m pr.
Silver Oval’s balance is as neutral as they come, with a breathtaking level of micro-dynamic nuance. The other factor going in this interconnect’s favor is its very low noise-floor—a quality that boosts and broadens dynamic range in every octave. Analysis Plus keeps providing further evidence that the sonic gap between reference cable and its more affordable rivals is closing fast.

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