The other night my chum Anthony Cordesmann, who regularly reviews for TAS, sighed when I mentioned that a new set of Transparent cables was headed my way. He said that he used to “fight” against the notion that cables made a difference but ultimately had to capitulate. The sonic differences are simply too palpable to deny them.
Enter Transparent’s new line of Generation 5 Opus cables. I’ve used the company’s Opus line of cables for several years and they mated very well indeed with the Wilson XLF loudspeaker. But nothing ever sits still in the audio world and other companies kept moving ahead. The original Opus line is about fifteen years-old. So as near as I can tell Transparent decided a few years ago that the time had come to revitalize its lines. One result is the new Opus line (which includes a Magnum Opus line that is even pricier than the Gen 5 one and is said to offer even more performance).
Needless to say, I was more than a mite curious to see just where Transparent had headed with its latest effort. Obviously cables take time to break in but their fundamental attributes can often be discerned pretty quickly. In the case of the Gen 5 line it was readily apparent that Transparent has not abandoned its house sound but markedly improved it.
I don’t want to commit hysteron-proteron, as the English teachers say, and say more than is warranted before listening awhile to the Gen 5 line. But my initial impressions were so positive and powerful that I’m eager to give a heads-up. What impressed me first and foremost was the relaxed and refulgent and elegant sound that the cables transmitted. The cables did not call attention to themselves with any razzmatazz. Quite the contrary. They conveyed an even silkier sound in which the treble region calls less attention to itself than previously. Put bluntly, it’s much better integrated. At the same time, the entire presentation has a much more colossal and dynamic character to it. Here greatly enhanced bass definition is easily apparent. On cello or double bass or grand piano there’s just a lot more nimbleness and presence to the instruments cavorting in the nether regions. Haze and murk are banished.
Transparent’s designer Josh Clark will drop by to elucidate the new technology behind the cables and to listen to my stereo. Already I can say that the Gen 5 cables have already taken my stereo to a new level of sonic reproduction both in terms of resolution and musicality. In a follow-up blog I hope to offer further insights based on Clark’s observations.