I also greatly enjoyed the Au 24 SE’s rendering of space and depth. The overall perspective is a bit laid-back, with the presentation taking a step behind the speakers. Concomitant with this relaxed perspective is tremendous depth, expansiveness, and holographic imaging. Instruments within this space are beautifully delineated and defined, surrounded by a richly reverberant field. These qualities were particularly vivid on the 176.4kHz/24-bit Reference Recordings files. Although I’ve heard these recordings many times, the Au24 SE revealed an even larger and more dimensional spatial perspective.
The Au24 SE’s bass is spectacular. The bottom end is extended and powerful, but what makes it so satisfying is the Au24 SE’s warmth and richness through the midbass and upper-bass. This quality provides a solid tonal foundation for midrange textures, which partly explains the density of tone color mentioned earlier. The Au24 doesn’t bleach or thin the upper bass and lower mids, a quality that contributes to this cable’s warmth and texture. Think of a bass clarinet’s rich “chocolatey” timbre and you’ll have a good impression of the Au24 SE’s overall character.
Despite the laid-back spatial presentation and tonal warmth, the Au24 SE is not lacking in resolution. All the fine details are there, but presented in a subtle rather than hyped way. It’s the type of presentation that doesn’t sound highly resolved at first, but the more you listen, the more you’re drawn into the subtleties of the musical performance. The Au24 SE’s resolution is achieved by revealing nuances of expression, not sonic fireworks. It’s a sophisticated and refined sound that fosters an intimacy with the music and encourages long listening sessions—always a good sign.
Frankly, there’s nothing to fault in the Au24 SE. Many USB cables—as with everything else in audio—force you to make trade-offs; this cable has better resolution while another may have greater smoothness and ease. The Audience cable seemingly does it all; it is convincingly superior in every sonic criterion. The Au24 SE is priced at the very top end of the scale, but if you want a no-compromise USB cable, look no further.
SPECS & PRICING
Type: Dual-conductor USB cable
Price: $895 (single connector); $945 (dual connector)
120 N. Pacific Street, #K-9
San Marcos, CA 92069