Shunyata Research Venom Interconnects and Speaker Cables

No Snake Oil

Equipment report
Categories:
Loudspeaker cables,
Interconnects,
Digital cables
|
Products:
Shunyata Research Venom
Shunyata Research Venom Interconnects and Speaker Cables

How do the Venoms sound? After living with these speaker cables and interconnects in my reference system most of the time for several months, I found both to be very natural, open, and dimensional. In other words, in much the same way that Shunyata’s designs strive to keep distortion out of the signal path, its cables get out of the way of the music. The Venom speaker cables and interconnects offer a reasonably neutral palette with pleasing delicacy of detail and rich, warm harmonics. To borrow a favorite expression from JV, they are quite gemütlich and sweet, without glare or etching. Some might find them a touch polite dynamically (I don’t), but that’s a matter of personal taste.

On some harder-hitting indie rock tracks such as the title cut from El Vy’s Return to the Moon LP, at times I longed for just a little more transient impact, which occasionally prompted me to turn up the volume a bit (not a bad thing with El Vy), and the midbass was nice and full though not the very last word in definition. Backgrounds were quiet, however, and I never noticed any upper-midrange glare. A listen to the Mobile Fidelity LP reissue of Special Beat Service from The English Beat played back as pacey as you please, with crisp, clean-sounding percussion, full of the lively snap and energy that define ska. Palpable images of sax, trumpet, and vocals emerged sounding very natural and wonderful.

On a different note, a listen to Khachaturian’s Masquerade Suite (RCA Living Stereo LP reissue from Analogue Productions) revealed the majestic sweep, scale, and dynamics of the full orchestra, from forte to pianissimo and beyond. Strings sounded gorgeous, particularly in the second movement, conveyed with a silky smoothness, a sense of ease, and a natural sweetness. Woodwinds, especially oboe, were also quite realistic. Sure, I have heard harder-hitting transient response from snare and cymbals, but the presentation was far better than respectable—especially given these friendly price-points. I was pleased.


Perhaps what’s struck me as most noteworthy is that when compared to several far more expensive cables I’ve had in my system the sonic differences didn’t prove to be nearly as stark or glaring as I would have expected. Naturally, most of you won’t be pitting cables in this low-to-mid three-figure price category against those retailing for well over five figures, but my point is that, even if you do make this comparison, Venom’s cost-to-performance ratio is remarkable, as is the line’s lifetime warranty.

Based on my experience with the Venom cables and interconnects, the line exemplifies the company’s primary focus on developing products with an eye to maximizing quality while striving to get to the lowest possible retail prices. It’s unusual for a cable in this price range to contain Ohno cast copper (OFE 101 certified), for instance, but the high-grade materials and build-quality seem to have paid off handsomely. These lovely-looking and -sounding cables are easy to handle, easy on the eyes, and, most importantly, easy on the ears. As such, the Venom wires would be welcome additions to any system, whether for the hi-fi newbie or any audiophile on a budget. These offer hard-to-beat value—no snake oil here!

Specs & Pricing

Price: Interconnect, $295 1m/pr.; speaker cable, $595 (custom lengths also available)

SHUNYATA RESEARCH
26273 Twelve Trees Lane
Poulsbo, WA 98370
(360) 598-9935
shunyata.com