A visit to the Moon Audio Web site and on-line store reveals an honest passion for the high end, with a particular enthusiasm for headphones and head-amps and for the bespoke cables to drive them. This is Moon Audio’s specialty—custom, handcrafted cabling for any application from home theater to high-end stereo, as well as iDevices and laptops.
Moon Audio’s top audiophile interconnect offering is the Silver Dragon V2, the successor to the Silver Dragon. It still uses a braided geometry made of eight, solid-core, 99.999% pure silver, 26AWG wires with Teflon insulation. However the braiding has been upgraded and an external shield added to the mix for further noise rejection and durability—handy for lengthy runs across a studio floor. The connectors have also been upgraded; after extensive testing, Moon Audio selected the new WBT Nextgen WBT 0102Ag for unbalanced RCA and the Furutech FP-601 in rhodium for XLR.
It doesn’t take exhaustive listening sessions to understand why Moon Audio cabling has already achieved near-cult-like status. The Silver Dragon V2 (SDV2) slipped into my system without a hiccup. Key among its strengths was the noise-free environment it established—a dark, dead-silent background from which music freely and cleanly emerged. Another key was its smooth, rich midrange— elegant in its neutrality, color saturation, and fluidity. There was a satisfying mellowness to the SDV2’s character—one that didn’t exactly soften transients (there’s plenty of snap and speed to go around), but that did add a measure of overall warmth to the presentation.
Vocals were always unwaveringly positioned in space. Tom Waits’ throaty, barrel-chested voice rumble onstage fully focused, while Renée Fleming’s dark mezzo soared on a thick cloud of air. The lower-mid and bass octaves of the SDV2 also had a distinctive weight and heft that reproduced the resonances of orchestral instruments like bass, cello, and bassoon with a gut-level thrum of authenticity. And as I listened to the title track of Michael Garson’s Serendipity, now a Reference Recordings LP chestnut, I was reminded of the wonderfully raspy attack of the sax and the bell-like sustain of the piano. The Silver Dragon reproduces these concurrent timbral contrasts and dynamic energies beautifully. Its “inside” game is also very good. Norah Jones’ “Sinkin Soon” from Not Too Late [Blue Note LP] proved a feast for the Silver Dragon as it delineated the inner vocal harmonies and the extreme low-level details from the quirky percussion section of this clever tune.
Regarding the SDV2’s top end I held my breath as the Ray Brown Trio launched into “That’s All” from its classic Soular Energy [Groove Note]. This track, in all its acoustic and naturalistic purity, has become a beacon of resolution and detail for me. So why the held breath? Even now my ears remain on alert for the colorations/ distortions I associate with earlier iterations of silver wire. It’s true that current, state-of- the-art silver cabling has largely moved on from the thin, dry, tipped-up treble that this conductor offered once upon a time. But most of the current crop of sterling wires are costly no-holds-barred efforts. The SDV2 is priced quite modestly by comparison.
Nonetheless, it conveyed none of the searing vices from yesteryear—and I began to breathe more easily.
On the aforementioned cut from Soular Energy, the SDV2 did come up a bit shy of the pure, unveiled treble- range openness of reference wires like the Synergistic Tesla CTS and Wireworld Platinum Eclipse Series 7. These cables leave behind very few traces of their own signatures. That said, Silver Dragon captured the delicacy of the piano’s slowly decaying upper harmonics, the intensity of Gene Harris’ lightning keyboard trills, and the top-end air of the brushed snare and cymbals quite realistically. Ray Brown’s bass was rich in dark woody timbre, with a certain creamy thickness to its rotund resonances.
The Silver Dragon was very specific in placement and perspective—each musician positioned clearly and each slightly forward on the stage. What was interesting was to contrast this fairly upfront and slightly flatter perspective with that of the Kimber Select 1136 pure-silver interconnects—a way, way pricier option to be sure, but still an instructive comparison. When I switched to the Kimber (review to come) the performance settled back into the studio slightly, though it was not laid-back in the tonal sense. Micro-information and balances were unchanged; rather, the players seemed less stiffly regimented in lines across the stage, and spatial relationships were better defined and ultimately more immersive. Ray Brown’s bass also seemed to open up slightly as if shifting from an emphasis on tight pitch control to a looser, thicker, more lifelike measure of reverberation.
I don’t begrudge anyone who has the bankroll buying the high-priced spreads. I’ve heard some great expensive cables. And in the same general range of the Silver Dragon there is stiff competition from the likes of WyWires Blue Series and Nordost Purple Flare (reviewed in Issues 235 and 236). These are competitors, however, not dragon-slayers. I’ve got to give it up for the Moon Audio Silver Dragon V2. It’s a David in a world of Goliaths. It defies every expectation for a modestly priced interconnect. To say I’m impressed doesn’t go far enough. You’re just going to have to hear these for yourself.
140 Iowa Lane, Suite 204
Cary, NC, 27511
Price: $500 (RCA & XLR)