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Clarity Cable Organic Interconnect, Speaker, Digital Cable Review

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Clear winner?

How does Clarity Cable stack up against some of the other products on the market today?

Partway through the review a new set of components arrived from INEX Innovation, a company which uses some unorthodox methods of audio signal treatment. INEX is focused on the use of fiber optics in its cables but has branched out to create the Photon Preamp A200, claimed as, “the world’s first analogue audio laser photon preamp.” The somewhat dully named Monoblock Power Amplifier which accompanies it makes for an exciting pairing. The proprietary Amplicable line featuring the Photon Link, Photon Digital, and Photon Amp cables performed in less than astounding fashion. Learning that there was an upgraded line of these cables, I sent for an received them. These utilize two power leads on the interconnects versus just one, which were a marked improvement.

As is the case with many newer technologies the Amplicables were not as refined as the ubiquitous solid wire conductors of the Organic series. The Amplicables, while very clean, seemed less capable of grasping the extremes of the music. Dynamics, soundstage, timbre, as well as the weight or presence of the mid-bass and bass were less evident with the optic cables. For instance, in use of the Amplicables Larry Carlton’s electric guitar had little snap and the vibration of the strings was difficult to discern. Cymbals sounded somewhat muffled, as though an attenuator had been added, which caused the cymbal strikes to be nearly buried in the mix.

The Clarity Cables were distinctly improved in this regard, allowing for not just the snap and vibration of the electric guitar strings, but delineation of the cymbal decay following the drumstick strikes. Even though softly struck the cymbal was never overwhelmed by the rest of the performance.

Clarity Cables brought a welcome improvement for the INEX preamp and amps, such that initially I was disappointed in them, but when the Organic series was inserted into the rig my opinion turned quickly! The change was so dramatic that it reversed my belief about the INEX components such that I now see them as commendablesolid state designs. This was a case where Clarity cables were more acceptable to my ears than proprietary cables for components.

The truth about cables is that if an audiophile is using a mid-quality cable, in terms of its capacity to lay open the music’s detail and get the tonality correct all other components will be adversely affected. The degree to which those components can be hindered is substantial. Some audiophiles change everything but the cables – a big mistake. It’s more work and more expense to conduct in home testing of cables but a product like Clarity Cable immediately demonstrates why it is worthwhile. You don’t have to wait on these cables; they’ll show you instantly what superior wires sound like.

No nonsense, no network

Higher end networked cables did not fare much better against the Organic line. While there was a more “established” sound to be expected with metal conductors in the MIT Oracle and Max products I used, they were less distinct, less precise and less involving than the Clarity Cable series. I have used various types of “enhanced” cables over the years including the older Tice Audio, Audioquest DBS and brands with RFI blockers etc. None of them has bested a good straight wire in terms of clarity and timbre, much less the Organic series.

There is a push to customize cables these days through adding passive electronics and controls to set impedance, elevate clarity, etc. I find this to be akin to adding a speed governor on an engine; it doesn’t let the engine open up, it hinders it. I find over time that my initial fascination and excitement about this particular development in cabling is wearing off. The straight copper and silver conductors are cleaner, less damaging to the signal. If I rankle a few brows, so be it. My ears detect too much signal degradation when extra devices are added to the cables.

One of my favored brands of cables is Wireworld, which also eschews add-ons to the cable. Wireworld was the most incisive cable I had used until the Clarity Cables arrived. It is simply a fact that Clarity wires are cleaner, more distinct. They may be too distinct for those who are seeking a heavily tubey, syrupy sound. If you would rather have less definition and more warmth, then I would suggest adding one piece of Clarity product at a time to see the influence. In such cases a few power cords or a set or two of interconnects might be your perfect result.

When I first obtained the Organic series and Vortex power cables for review I simply was not accustomed to such extreme precision, and I initially swapped in a few other power cords or a set of interconnects to ratchet down the detail. But over time, as I have dialed in the most pleasing tone I have reintroduced Clarity products until now once again the system is consistently Clarity from first power cord to speaker cables. I simply couldn’t live without the precision and finesse.

There are other times when I receive a truly bright sounding piece of gear. At those times I have found benefit in mixing Wireworld and Clarity Cables slightly. If I want a bit more diffused and warmer sound I outfit the rig using mostly Wireworld and a touch of Clarity Cables, perhaps the power cords or one set of interconnects. When I set up my reference rigs for my most critical listening with optimum definition and tonality I use the Clarity Cables. These two options serve very well, because occasionally I work with a speaker or component pitched toward the high end. If using tubes in the amp(s) or the Eastern Electric Minimax DAC, which has both a tube and replaceable Opamps, I can adjust the result while keeping the entire Clarity suite in place. If, however, these options are not available to me and I still have too much brightness I will seek to soften the result with a mix of cables. In the end, though, I seek to not relinquish any precision and try to keep the Clarity Cables in the rig.

“House Cleaning”

I recall a while ago seeing before and after images of restoration of the Sistine Chapel. The renovation of this masterpiece by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was marvelous! Time had fairly smothered the vibrancy of the artwork with a dull, milky white layer which dulled the colors – being indoor and on a ceiling they had not faded, but coated! Yet, hundreds of thousands of visitors thought it was the best that it would ever appear. Art restorationists found a way to lift the film and recapture the vividness of the images. The result was superlative, the majesty of the artwork clearly on display. Pardoning such a crass comparison, installing Clarity Cables in a system has the influence of stripping away an acoustic “film,” a layer of specious sound which retards the result rather than enhancing it. When one hears music through their system with this layer removed it can be quite a surprising experience, especially if it was assumed the system was performing at its peak. I had said previously a mediocre cable hinders the entire set of components, but the better cables enhance the entire set of components. While enhancing the complement of components and speakers I assemble, the Clarity products allow the music to touch my soul in a more direct way, just as the renewed Sistine Chapel meets the eyes more beautifully.

It’s not about notoriety

I know that I could build a lot of notoriety by using the more recognized cables on loan indefinitely, but I would not be happy bypassing what I hear as distinctly superior sound quality. I’ll sit with the relatively (for the time being) unknown Clarity Cables because they get me that much closer to SOTA sound. I thought initially that I would utilize both networked and non-networked cables in systems I build, but I found that I consistently reverted back to the non-networked. As long as the Clarity Cables have been in my possession the networked cables sat, so I returned them. The Clarity Cables, however, are earning their keep every time I assemble a rig. Wires which are demonstrably cleaner, clearer and more tonally accurate in system after system are cables I reach for and advise others to do likewise.

Manufacturer’s Comment

Thanks so much for the review.

We would like to let readers know that, upon customer request, we provide either the standard size Cardas copper spade connector or the larger 9mm spade that Douglas reviewed. Thanks very much to Douglas for the kind words and to Mark Hampton and Robert Spence for their help and endless listening.

Melissa Owen
Clarity Cable

3 Responses to Clarity Cable Organic Interconnect, Speaker, Digital Cable Review

  1. Bob Stark says:

    To Doug and/or Melissa,

    I have a very nice system, and I just bought a Vapor Audio Joule Black 2 set of speakers. They sound very nice and were tweaked to get the most realistic sounding music from the most music by the first owner, a professional musician.

    I also have a pair of VMPS RM40 BCSE MLS speakers. They are highly detailed, but can be a bit too much on poorly recorded music. For sure, the Vapors offer a more solid bottom end with great texture and potency. Doug, you are right about most philes having mid level cables. I have the double Teo ICs you recommended at Axpona last year. I know that the sound will improve with each level of Teo I upgrade to. The speaker cables I am using are Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme plus a same set of jumpers. This allowed my RM40s to play deeper and made a nice improvement to the overall sound. I’m sure the Clarity speaker cables would do even more than the double Teos did for the ICs. I have no doubt that the transparency of the Vapors would make a giant leap up in quality at all frequencies. Doug, I know you also have a set of Joules and know what fine speakers they are. How big an improvement would the Clarity cable be over the CTGE I have?

    Thanks for any insight you may give,

  2. Bob,
    God’s Peace to you,
    You have some beautiful equipment, and I’m sure the sound is captivating.

    In response to your inquiry, since I have not used the Cerious Technologies cables I cannot state how they would compare to the Clarity Cables. Also, there is not an easy point of comparison between interconnects and speaker cables. One simply cannot know the degree to which interconnects will change the sound relative to how much any given speaker cables can change sound.

    I do know the Clarity Cable Natural Speaker cable has a wonderful set of attributes and has been superb with many speakers. It seems to strike a very difficult balancing act between precision/definition and warmth/tonal richness.

    Finally, when you are working with mixed sets, you are doing your own “cooking”, so to speak, and have departed from the manufacturer’s house sound, which may be good or bad. So, I’m afraid you are traveling a path I have not walked, and thus cannot give you a definitive answer.

    However, I am gratified to hear that the Schroeder Method, the double IC with the TEO cables, has been a positive experience for you. It has been very successful in my system with different cables and components.

    Douglas Schroeder

  3. James Romeyn says:

    Bob Stark,
    The planar mid range in your VMPS RM40 have a significant peak @ 1k Hz. I can’t recall the exact magnitude, but IIRC it’s between 3 and 6 dB. I’m quite sure this peak is associated with your statement: “…can be a bit too much on poorly recorded music…”

    An appropriate xo designer might be able to soften or flatten the above described peak by modding the OEM xo, but the cost is unknown. Brian Cheney eventually flattened the peak using a Behringer DSP/xo.


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