Shot in the heart, and they are to blame.
Having just reviewed a pair of 200lb mono amps, the notion of reviewing a couple pair of interconnects was a huge relief for my back in particular. There is nothing in the audio chain that slips into the system with such ease and simple mindedness- true plug and play if ever was such a thing. The fact that they were the follow-up to the Skogrand SC Air Markarian 421 speaker cable Review I conducted some months ago was a huge bonus and proved to be very illustrative.
While light in weight in literal terms, there is nothing lightweight about the performance of the Skogrand SCI Markarian 421 interconnects. These cables are like a crossbow cocked and ready, taking aim at the heart of the state-of-the-art. At $7,550 for a two-meter pair, it is priced as such. For such a young company, this is a very lofty target. While I truly respect the attitude of bravura necessary to achieve such goals, I can’t help but wonder if Knut Skogrand has over reached, shooting for a mark beyond his grasp? Or does the performance of the SCI Markarian 421 elevate to a true reference bulls eye?
If one is so inclined to find beauty in such things, the SCI Markarian 421 XLR interconnects are some of the most beautiful cables I have yet seen. Like the Skogrand speaker wire I reviewed a few months ago, the IC’s are clothed in a lovely patterned silk sleeve, which comes in a variety of colors, covered in a glossy clear jacket. This gives the cables a slightly organic look.
The review period took a bit longer than usual as all sorts of problems with my system ensued. My amp, preamp, a speaker, and a power conditioner all failed at one point or another. Luckily, Pass Labs and Esoteric stepped up with some gear for review and to flesh out my system, for which I thank them. In addition to the failed gear, I had to get used to all the new gear and burn in each component.
Enough complaining. Once all parameters were established, my discontinued Sunny Power 1000 XLR IC’s have served as my reference for 5 years. The Sunny are outstanding and very special in many ways, particularly their way with color and tone. There is a juiciness to the sound that is addicting. I have lived long and happily with them. I hope that the protracted time spent with the Sunny wire illustrates the fact that I do not swap in and out of wire that often- I find something I love, I stick with it. It would take something really special to force my hand into a change.
The Skogrand did not take a very long burn in period as my initial impression would carry through as a common thread throughout the review. My first thought upon hearing the Skogrand SCI Markarian 421interconnects was – were did they go? There was such an overwhelming sense of the absence of –noise, veiling, plumieness or leanness. They don’t explode the soundstage, but neither do they constrict or flatten it. This is much the same character or lack of character as its speaker wire sibling. With this comes a conundrum for a reviewer. What does one write about when there is nothing to write about? I’ll do my best.
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