I know this will seem like a considerable departure from my usual playing field, but an extremely affordable Litz-wire interconnect from ultra-high-end Japanese manufacturer Audio Tekne, handmade by the wife of Mr. Imai (the designer of all Audio Tekne gear), has come my way and it has all the makings of a genuinely terrific bargain. It is exceptionally high in transparency, low-level resolution, and sheer naturalness from top to bottom (and I'm talking in comparison to the best interconnect I know of, $12k/m Tara Labs Zero). It may not be the Zero's match, but for 4.5% of the Zero's price ($550/meter-pair) it is phenomenally good.
I haven't tried the Audio Tekne speaker cable yet, nor have I heard an entire system wired with ARC-500 (I'm mixing it with a little Zero Black and with Omega Gold speaker cables until I can get the whole Audio Tekne schmeer). But if the speaker cable is as swell as the ARC-500 interconnect we may have one of those rare price/performance breakthroughs in the very area that seems to rub audiophiles rawer than any other. For the time being I can say this: I've mixed and matched many other interconnects with Tara Labs and none of them, no matter what its price, has "fit in" as seamlessly as the Audio Tekne.
Here is the Audio Tekne price list:
ARC-500 all litz wire interconnect with RCA, 0.7 meter=$460.00 pair
ARC-500 all litz wire interconnect with RCA, 1 meter= $550.00
ARC-500 all litz wire interconnect with RCA, 1.5 meter=$650.00 pair
ARC-500 all litz wire interconnect with RCA, 2 meter=$800.00 pair
ARC-500 all litz wire interconnect with XLR, 1meter= $500.00 pair
ARC-500 balance all litz wire interconnect with XLR, 1.5 meter=$575.00
If you're interested in getting information about Audio Tekne interconnect and cable, call or write:
3131 Piccolo St.
Pasadena, CA 91107