If you have never had the privilege of doing business with the people at Audience let me begin by telling you that starting with John McDonald — the president of the company — you will never find nicer people to do business with. They produces a wide range of gear: loudspeakers, power conditioners, and a full range of cables.
Still, when I think of Audience, I think of cables and power conditioners. I have always been a fan of the cables because of their wonderful organic sound and for their physical thinness and flexibility. I owned and used the original Audience Au24 cables in my reference system for over 4 years; a long time for an audiophile, especially a reviewer. I reviewed them back in 2007 for Dagogo. At the time they replaced in my system the wonderful Nordost Valhalla cables.
My Audience cables were very coherent and natural sounding with a smooth but never boring sound. I was impressed with how smooth they could sound and yet they never smeared the sound; they were warm yet they let you hear every detail. Still, they never sounded overly etched or overly warm.
I have spent more time lately reviewing cables than I intended too, but some of these cables are just so good that I felt the need to write about them. Having said that, I feel the need to go back to a few works I wrote six years ago about cables.
A Word about Reviewing Cables
Before you read my reviews, you need to know that I have rules about cables. I have been an audiophile long enough to remember when we hooked everything up with free wire you were given when you purchased your equipment. The interconnects came in the package with the electronics and I remember the salesmen walking over to a spool of 10 or 12 gauge lamp cord and asking how much speaker wire you wanted him to cut off for you. These speaker wires and interconnects may not have been the best sounding, but they were flexible and easy to hook up.
That may be where I started, but I have been down a long road with cables, I remember owning some of Bob Fulton’s cables, Monster Cables, Mark Levinson’s silver cables, plain old Romex, Home Depot some color or other, Audio Quest, Meitner, Van den Hull, Nordost (including Valhalla), Virtual Dynamics “Nite” series, and others I can’t recall (right now I own High Fidelity Cables’ CT-1 Ultimates). Some of these wires were thick enough to be water hoses; some were heavy enough to lift a light weight preamp or CD player up in the air. Worst of all, some had connectors that were so heavy they broke the bind post off the speakers or amps.
So here are my personal rules for cables.
• I no longer will fool with wire that is so thick and stiff that it can break the connectors on the back of amps and speakers.
• I will not use wire that is so heavy and stiff that it will turn over a pair of monitors or lift a preamp up in the air.
• I will not use wire that has connectors that are so large they may damage my equipment.
• I will use interconnects with locking collars if nothing else is available, but only after an appropriate amount of ugly complaining. What a pain!
Well, that covers that. You are free to use any cables you want, but I want to promise you there are great cables at every price point from companies like Audience, Audio Note, Auditorium 23, and Shindo — just to name a few — that do not make such senseless demands on you or your system.
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