My encounters with Wireworld cables date back at least fifteen years. Throughout that period a common thread has connected each and every one of them—from Wireworld’s blue-plate offerings to its lofty flagships. I’d describe it as a midrange authority and stability, an overall musical authenticity that speaks volumes. The Wireworlds were the antithesis of audio showboating—they simply sounded honest.
Was this to everyone’s liking? Probably not. Frankly, a fair share of audio enthusiasts still look to cables to satisfy or ameliorate larger systemic issues that Wireworlds weren’t designed to address. Cables, as if we need to be reminded, are not tone controls. They polish rather than re-finish. To a modest degree they can, however, increase frequency extension, illuminate and refine resolution and transparency, and clarify harmonics. We don’t or at least shouldn’t look to cables to “fix things” in a system, but in some instances and with the help of your own listening acuity, they can assist in diagnosing issues that need fixing. Sermon over.
Wireworld positions its Silver Eclipse Series 8 (SE8) in the upper middle of its vast lineup. Employing OCC-7N silver-clad copper conductors throughout, it’s the last rung before the pure-silver conductors of premium offerings like Gold Eclipse (4N silver) and Platinum Eclipse (OCC-7N silver, Issue 196).
Compared with its Series 7 predecessor, SE8 interconnects use a larger number of strand groups—an increase from twelve to sixteen—and thicker-gauge wire, climbing from nineteen to eighteen gauge. Silver Eclipse loudspeaker cable increases strand groups to forty-eight from thirty-two, and thicknesses from ten gauge to nine. Wireworld’s proprietary low-loss Composilex insulation material has been upgraded, as well, in both interconnect and speaker wires. In both instances plug contacts are silver-clad OFC. I used Wireworld power cords throughout my evaluations, and Platinum Starlight 8 SPDIF and Ethernet where applicable. Quality of construction was superb. (I cannot recall a single failure of a Wireworld cable over the years.)
At first blush, Silver Eclipse conveyed the familiar sturdy, stable sonic signature that I’d come to expect from the brand. But in other ways, there was a distinct difference. Where previous mid-priced Wireworld product seemed to project a slightly darker, damper personality with more forward imaging, Silver Eclipse was quicker off the mark, more extended at the frequency extremes, and more transparent overall. In comparison to Equinox and Eclipse Series 7 (reviewed in Issue 238), Silver Eclipse 8 threw open a wider door of extension and articulation that rather easily, uh, eclipsed Series 7.
When I cued up Joni Mitchell’s “River,” I heard the familiar piano and Joni’s vocal as more forceful and articulate, with greater inner detail—which can be both a positive and a negative. By that I mean the cable was not as flattering as I’ve found the aforementioned Wireworld cables. It didn’t round-off or roll key frequencies in either the presence range or the treble. The more aggressive, attacking side of instruments like trumpet and violin sounded more fully exposed. Basically, SE8 was more revealing of the reality of a recording, warts and all.
During the Manhattan Jazz Quintet’s cover of “Autumn Leaves,” Silver Eclipse touched all the sonics bases, led by an impression of deep placid quiet that underpinned the natural ambience of this acoustic recording. Cymbals had more bloom and liquidity. There was a terrific amount of kickdrum snap and focus, better pitch definition from the acoustic bass, as well as a welcome addition of rhythmic bounce. The air and space around images seemed to widen rather than collapse. Most importantly, the speed of leading edge trumpet transients and the impression of air and bloom around them were more accurately reproduced. The soft background piano punctuations on Harry Connick, Jr’s performance of “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” were nicely laid into the mix; Branford Marsalis’ sax was resonant and reedy. Even the focus and timbre of the closing finger snaps and the fingerboard action radiating from the acoustic bass were captured with greater clarity.
Changing things up a bit, I set aside the Silver Eclipse speaker cable and enlisted the help of my ATC SCM50 Active towers to run SE8 XLR interconnects through the system. In comparison to my reference Analysis Micro Golden Oval XLR interconnects, leading vocal transients and piano cues during Norah Jones’ “Cold Cold Heart” were a little more pointed, and a bit quicker, through SE8. Her vocal on “The Nearness of You” possessed a breathier, brighter accent. The Micro Golden, by contrast, was a bit darker, warmer, and more solid in the lower mids.
Easily the biggest sonic surprise was how strongly SE8 knocked on the door of the top-tier models I’ve previously reviewed, including some of Wireworld’s own offerings. Throughout this evaluation, the question that kept occurring to me was whether David Salz and his team at Wireworld might have made this cable and interconnect too good. Since I had a set of older flagship Platinum Eclipse Series 7 RCA interconnects on hand to run between the dCS Bartók DAC and the Aesthetix Mimas integrated amplifier, the opportunity to compare them with SE8 was available. (Note: Platinum Eclipse uses OCC-7N solid-silver conductors as opposed to the silver-clad copper of Silver Eclipse.) Indeed, during the “Gigue” from Martin Zeller Bach Cello Suites, the Platinum Eclipse conveyed a slightly fleshier and fatter signature compared with SE8. Piano recordings had a stronger feel for the player’s dynamic touch and the tactile impact of the piano’s felt hammer off the strings. Silver Eclipse was just a notch less articulate and slightly cooler and harder on transients. To its credit, however, it very nearly summoned up the same musical contrasts that Platinum routinely called forth. With Enrique Bagaria playing Haydn’s Sonata No. 47, Platinum and SE8 both managed to call out the specific timbre of each note with uncanny assurance. On a warm naturalistic track like Ana Caram singing “Girl from Ipanema,” Platinum had a breath more top-end air and low-level nuance, but still, often as not, these cables finished in a near dead heat. For now, the folks at Wireworld can breathe a sigh of relief. Platinum Eclipse Series 7 still maintains its musical edge, but Silver Eclipse 8 has certainly closed the gap for all but the most state-of-the-art applications.
In the final analysis, when we upgrade audio cable we demand that it not only extends current system performance but also supports the next stage of component upgrades. Silver Eclipse certainly allows for a lot of growth. That said, you don’t need to read between the lines to gather my fondness for Silver Eclipse Series 8. Even with the weighty track record that Wireworld brings to the table, SE8’s performance elicited musicality of an order that exceeded my expectations and at a price that might strike terror into fancier offerings from outside the Wireworld ecosystem. This was true excellence and musicality in every regard.
Specs & Pricing
Price: Interconnects: $700/1m; $1200/2m; Speaker: 2m $3100/2m, $4500/3m
6545 Nova Drive, Suite #204
Davie, FL 33317