Wireworld always seems to end up on my short list of preferred speaker cables and interconnects. The reason? The line embodies uncolored sonics year in and year out. If we can agree that every wire (every component) leaves something akin to fingerprints on a pane of glass—a smear, a smudge that impairs transparency and resolution—Wireworld, in my experience, has consistently left fewer traces of itself than most others. Actually, as weird as this may sound, Wireworld wires never seem to be actively doing much of anything—except making music, and a whole lot of it, as I discovered with Wireworld’s latest, Platinum Eclipse. (The flagship now carries the Series 7 moniker in celebration of the firm’s 20th Anniversary.)
Beyond its newly refined cosmetics, Platinum Eclipse represents the summit of Wireworld’s current thinking. When I reviewed the entry-level Equinox and mid-priced Eclipse (Issue 238) Wireworld’s David Salz discussed Series 7, and his remarks regarding its improvements bear repeating here. He describes a developmental process that began with “the discovery that most audible differences among cable insulation materials are caused by spectral variations in the noise they create. Furthermore, that noise is modulated and therefore amplified by the electrical energy of the music signal. This discovery led me to focus on custom-blending composite insulation materials specifically optimized for sonic purity.” The result of that effort is Wireworld’s Composilex 2 insulation technology, which dramatically reduces triboelectric noise (note: static electricity occurring through friction is an example of triboelectric noise) at the interface between conductor and insulation. “Additional improvements were garnered from new versions of Wireworld’s DNA Helix conductor geometry, which channel more electromagnetic energy and therefore more music, than the previous designs.” The new geometry is the most obvious visual difference compared with the flat-profile of the cable’s immediate predecessor.
Platinum Eclipse Series 7 (PE7) uses heavy nine-gauge OCC Silver conductors (interconnects are seventeen-gauge OCC Silver). The speaker cable is as stiff and unwieldy as the interconnects are supple. That stiffness made me reconsider my choice of the delicate banana terminations used for my review samples. I would opt for the more robust spades if these were mine.
Over the years I’ve found that when a system is paired with Wireworld cabling—entry-level to cost-no-object—the distinctions are not (initially) obvious. It’s not a sense of “lights on” in the treble or “fasten your seatbelts” in the bass. Platinum Eclipse, for all its technology and (let’s face it) awesome cost, is not about hype. If there is one phrase that describes its character, it would be relaxed but ready. PE7 is first about balance and about uncovering the bundles of inside activity that animate a great recording. These include the details, dynamic gradations, and harmonic nuances that were preserved during the recording/mixing process—and the higher the playback resolution the better (LPs especially).
At rest, there’s an underlying silence to this wire that creates something akin to a glassy expanse of deep black water—a motionless landscape waiting in anticipation of the micro-ripples of music to begin. Listening to Malcolm Arnold’s English Scottish and Cornish Dances I could hear the ever-present hall sound reverberating behind every note and filling every pause and musical rest. Or the crackle of the far upstage tambourine that rockets down the center section of the London Philharmonic orchestra, its reverberation flaring and fading into the soundscape. The point is that it’s the sheer silence of these cables that provides the launching pad for all that comes later.
Tonal balance is essentially neutral with just a suggestion of midrange warmth and a top end that at first blush can sound slightly shaded, but in fact is not. I’ll return to this point further on. Most importantly PE7 possesses a uniform palette—there are no color shifts across the musical spectrum. Rock-steady, its sonics don’t ripen in one octave and then narrow or bleach out in another. And these include the frequency extremes where such discontinuities manifest most audibly. When I listen to Joni Mitchell singing “A Case of You” as I recently did in my evaluation of the Ortofon Quintet Black cartridge (review in this issue) I don’t want to hear splashes of treble harmonics and air decoupled from the fundamentals of the vocal. This is all too common in cables that miss the mark. But Platinum Eclipse’s overall response is continuous and smooth. At the other extreme, its bass response is as open, well defined, and complex as its treble, imparting body and air proportional to the demands of the music. For instance, listen closely to the final smack of the bass drum during John Williams’ Liberty Fanfare [Wilson Audiophile].