The story where Mark becomes a believer!

Mark Smit, Swedish sound engineer

Mark is a sound engineer with a recording studio in Sweden. Mark unfortunately has a complex impedance problem with his high-end speaker cables: they sound good, but the amps keep overheating and cutting out. He would like to replace his speaker cables with something that sounds as good, but will keep his amplifiers cool. He contacted DR Acoustics for a pair of speaker cables.

This is the story of an engineer and his exploratory journey into the field of cables. The “Sweden Files” will be divided into short reports sent by Mark every 2 to 3 days. Mark is very precise in all his test procedures.

 

Chapter 1

EXPERIMENT: DR ACOUSTICS BLUE MOON POWER CABLES

After I spoke with Daniel Robidoux of the Canadian company DR Acoustics about evaluating their Vulcan Silver speaker cables, he strongly recommended that we audition their power cables as well. Up to then, we had always used the stock power cables that came with our source equipment and amplifiers.

 

I was wrong…

I had personally never believed that power cables would matter very much — after all, there are long lengths of low-cost electricity wiring in our building. I thought that upgrading that wiring would make a much bigger difference than just upgrading the power cord, being the “last” 4 to 6 feet of wire. I was wrong.

DR Acoustics mailed us two “Blue Moon” cables to replace the stock cables that came with our Classé CT-M600 amplifiers. These cables cost $750 USD each… a pretty steep price, one might even say ridiculous or frivolous, I thought. The cables do look and feel super-solid and beautiful, but that doesn’t matter for cabling that is hidden behind our rack… or does it?

 

I was astonished within minutes of listening

Within just minutes of listening to our mastering system with the amplifiers drawing their current through the DR Acoustics Blue Moon cables, I was absolutely astonished. What a huge difference! At this point, I still had our “old” inexpensive speaker cable in place (1.5 m runs of Kimber 8PR to the lows and “simple” QED 79-strand OFC copper to the highs), but despite the weaknesses that I had previously attributed to the speaker cables, I was hearing a hugely improved sound stage and depth.

 

The power cables made our CT-M600s sound better than anything

Detail and precision (and positioning of instruments and voices) was significantly improved as well, to a level that reminded me of our Classé Sigma Amp2 with the Xindak FS-1 cables. In short: the power cables made our CT-M600s sound better than anything I had heard previously, regardless of speaker cable! I would even say that the improvement these power cables made is almost comparable to upgrading the amplifier (although the amplifier upgrade obviously played a huge role in the improved dynamics and “ease” of the music). The improved sound achieved by replacing the power cords was as significant as the difference between the $200 and $900 speaker cables I auditioned. The speaker cables seem to be good at “emphasizing” frequencies, mostly by attenuating others.

With our B&W 802 Diamond speakers, some speaker cables emphasized detail too much (the Supra Sword comes to mind) and some speaker cables seemed to de-emphasize details (the AudioQuest Rocket 88). I had found that the combination of “cheap” Kimber and QED cable had sounded quite balanced, but slightly “unclean” and “smeared”. Upgrading the amplifier power cords, however, even made this cheap (but well-respected) speaker cable sound very clean!

 

With DR Acoustics Power cables, bass was deeper and cleaner

With the DR Acoustics Blue Moon power cables, bass was deeper and cleaner, the background was “blacker”, instruments and voices were more precisely positioned in the sound stage, and “ambience” was significantly more natural. I did not find a track that sounded worse than before, but the difference between high-resolution/24-bit and 16-bit audio files was more significant than ever. Fine details that had remained partly obscured before now appeared more clearly.

 

I decided that we would purchase the Blue Moon cables

One of the best “proofs” that the upgrade really made a huge difference is in the fact that I ended up listening to several albums for nearly three hours in a row non-stop: the music coming out of our mastering speakers was more engaging than ever before. I decided that we would purchase the Blue Moon cables and that we would audition additional cables for our DAC and receiver/pre-amplifier.

 

Mark, Sound Engineer

Sweden

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