Diamond is the flagship cable in the growing WyWires lineup. Visually, Diamond projects an understated elegance with textured black-mesh jacketing over its silverized underlayer. At each end, its signal conductors are collected in polished carbon-fiber tubing where they exit into high-quality terminations. Diamond is easy to manage; it’s neither python-esque in girth nor overly stiff. Construction quality and appearance are first-rate.
Internally, WyWires characterizes its premium cable as a Litz-wire, air-dielectric design. The conductors are tiny, individually insulated strands of ultra-pure copper. The actual number and gauge of braided strands is determined by the application, in keeping with a proprietary formula that considers voltage output as a primary variable. WyWires use what it considers the ideal insulator—air—but rather than suspend the conductors in free space like the vaunted Tara Labs Zero/Omega of yore, WyWires lightly wraps them in organic cotton which is then encased in a larger diameter PTFE tube, thereby further isolating the conductors.
Alex Sventitsky, president of WyWires, plays the contrarian in some aspects of wire design. The entire lineup, for example, is unshielded, except for phono and digital cables. His belief is that conductive shields tend to smear the signal, and that RFI/EMI are generally non-issues in most homes today. And because of the implementation of very-small-gauge conductors, the phenomenon known as “skin effect” (the tendency for signals to travel along the conductor surface) is virtually non-existent.
Diamond was not the first WyWires cable I’ve encountered. I reviewed the company’s entry-level Blue Series in Issue 235 and found its performance ridiculously good, both sonically and value-wise. However, like any cable built to a strict budget, it had its limits: Its sound veered slightly to the cooler side of the spectrum with perhaps a hint of dryness and minor glimpses of added sibilance.
The Diamond, on the other hand, is a cable of ultra-wide expressiveness. Its sound is settled and calm, fast but not twitchy or brittle, and utterly devoid of histrionics. In tonal character it edges toward the warmer side of the spectrum but only by a breath. It does not offer a forward-leaning presentation like the Nordost Frey 2 (reviewed in this issue), but it doesn’t flinch from piercing sibilances or hard-rock sizzle or flesh-eating dynamics, either. Its approach embodies a softer sell that grows ever more multi-faceted, musical, and transparent when Diamonds are partnered with a system wherein the all the sonic stars are aligned.
As I cued up Doug McLeod’s “Mystery Train” from Come To Find [Audioquest], Diamond’s mellower, stress-free balance was immediately evident. This cable defined the bass-drum cue with precision, capturing the texture and timbre we perceive as the heart of the note—the interval between transient attack and resonant decay. Diamond revealed in this recording a depth of focus and layering that was exceptional—attributes it carried even further with classical music.
Listening to the WyWires I was struck by an almost Technicolor tube-like saturation that revealed a greater sense of nuance in vocal performances, particularly when it came to air and body. As I cued up the title track to Jennifer Warnes’ Famous Blue Raincoat, a record I have heard countless times (but never as transparently as on the latest Impex vinyl reissue), the sonics were spotless with warm, natural sibilance. Even ordinarily aggressive keyboard transients were fully integrated into the performance and seemed to melt into each note. This was further demonstrated during Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue [Columbia/Mobile Fidelity], where horn and percussion transients were quick and clean yet still part of an unbroken fabric of sound. Likewise, during tracks from Sonny Rollins’ Saxophone Colossus LP [Prestige/DCC] the same easy resolution prevailed, with the sax depicted in a warm pocket of air and the backing piano conveying remarkable low-level articulation. This recording created moments of incredible intimacy wherein I could almost feel each breath rushing over the reed. It’s easy to forget that although this is a monaural recording, it still manages to communicate such large doses of space and atmosphere. The WyWires deserves some credit for this superb reproduction.
Far and away the strongest areas of Diamond’s sonic performance were dynamic flow and depth of focus—traits that reasserted themselves every time I cued up an orchestral recording in a venue with lots of reverberant life. When I recollect favorite concert hall performances, it’s not memories of cut-crystal details or hyper-discrete images that I walk away with. Rather, it’s an indelible impression of the dance between music and venue, shifting and shimmering between the micro and macro, the air and harmonics vibrating like a tuning fork in the acoustic space. It’s where I remind myself that I’m an audience member and not a microphone, and that my ears (and eyes) perceive the sound of a live orchestra differently in person than through a stereo system. In that way, the WyWires was powerfully persuasive in its unassuming and composed naturalistic balance. As I journeyed through the solar system of Gustav Holst’s The Planets [LSO/Previn: EMI], I savored the widely varying dynamic and ambient shifts that occurred between the grandiose brass and percussion of the “Saturn” movement and the truly spacey “Neptune” section, where twin harps and celesta are featured at their most delicate and ethereal. The famously slow fade from the offstage women’s chorus was truly the stuff of a musical space odyssey. This was where one realizes that Holst was not just musically representing the planets in this piece (now-demoted Pluto was yet undiscovered), but the infinite blackness and emptiness of space beyond our world. And it was this wide degree of ambient expression that the WyWires got so right.
My experience in the world of wires has shown that as you moves up through a given brand’s lineup, you hear a progressively greater sense of calm and openness. More than one designer with whom I’ve spoken believes it’s the reduction in timing/phase non-linearities in the treble range that helps accounts for this more collected and composed sense of musicality. My own observations with WyWires Diamond certainly support this theory. Diamond is a cable for connoisseurs—the lucky few who savor their music through high-end systems of dazzling resolution and transparency that can extract the delicacies and delights these wires are capable of producing. As with any item that bears the diamond name, you’ll need to bring your checkbook. But I promise you, with this gem, you won’t be sorry.
SPECS & PRICING
Price: Speaker cables $7995, 8′ pr.; interconnect cables, $4495, 1.2m RCA and XLR per pr.
16501 Sherman Way, Suite 120
Van Nuys, CA 91406
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