Publisher Profile

Silent Source Interconnect, Power, Digital and Speaker Cables Review

By: |

Going The Right Direction With Interconnects

The beautiful design ethos was also shown in the Balanced and Single Ended Interconnects which, unlike those of many popular brands, are not directional. Directionality of interconnects is one of the “tweaks” which has in most cases failed my Law of Efficacy; it simply does nothing or next to nothing. I have regularly tried reversing many brands of directional interconnects in systems ranging from $20-80K and the effect is not impressive. I suggest one focus one’s attention on more worthy pursuits, and I applaud Frank for being direct about this aspect of performance. Newbies and geeks can easily become immersed in such things as directionality to the signal when there are far more important matters involved in system setup.

The Balanced (XLR) plugs are sourced from Xhadow with modifications and the RCA plugs incorporate reinforced polymer material which appears a bit like graphite, the intent being to lower connector metal mass while offering a tight fit. Silent source starts with a stock product and juices it both internally and externally until it bears little resemblance to its original state. You have heard of component modding? This is cable modding, and it is very impressive to behold both visually and sonically!

Frank is a big believer in isolating the conductors of speaker cables, so the Left and Right signals of the speakers are physically separateThus, when a pair of Silent Source speaker cables is ordered one receives four cables, two with white markings (Left) and two with red (Right). While this is not an absolute necessity for top end sound, I cannot argue with the results as these were at the peak of performance among the speaker cables I have used in all my years of reviewing. Again, one sees the same machined glossy black metal terminations as found on the power plugs. The cables are directional; a small white or red dot indicates the connection to the appropriate speaker post.

One frustration connected to the design of the speaker cables was the smallness of the spade jewelry quality spade terminations, as they were not able to be slipped onto the huge posts of the Legacy Audio Whisper DSW Clarity Edition. Binding posts can vary from 5/16” to 3/8” to ¼” so care must be taken that your speaker’s posts will accept the Silent Source spades. It appears to me that the Silent Source spades are compatible for posts up to 3/8” thick, but they are so tight that they have to be wiggled into place. If in doubt, contact your speaker manufacturer and Silent Source. I did not notice degradation in sound using the Banana terminations, so that may be the best option if in doubt about your speaker’s size of posts. However, also be aware that some amplifier binding posts, such as those on Pass Labs, do not accept Banana terminations. Do your homework and avoid disappointment.

The Music Reference Digital Cable is the most ordinary looking of the lot, perhaps passing as a stand in for many thinner, high quality S/PDIF cables with fine plugs. It has the expected flexibility and build quality as the other Silent Source products. I found it to be on the reserved side, eschewing extreme detail for non-fatiguing sound.

Whenever I have a set of cables from a manufacturer I will fairly early on establish the digital link I will use, either the proper Digital cable, or a single RCA interconnect acting as a digital cable. I pay fairly little attention to the voices clamoring about 110 Ohm vs. 75 Ohm and the supposed destruction of the signal by use of an interconnect in the place of a S/PDIF cable. As I let my ears decide the quality of the link fully half the time I end up using the interconnect. The digital link, similar to the power cable on the source, vastly influences the outcome at the speakers, and consistently superior results were obtained in using a single The Music Reference Interconnect. What kind of superior results? More resonance in reeds, richer tonality and purer treble as opposed to using the Digital cable, to name just a few. This is not to say that The Music Reference Digital Cable is poor; it simply is not as good as a digital conduit as The Music Reference Interconnect. I cannot speak to the AES/EBU version as I did not have one for comparison to the XLR interconnect.

Silent Source Speaker Cables

No Cable B.S. Zone

I often ask cable makers to discuss their perspective on Break In, but I have not been too impressed with most of their answers as they usually amount to a nebulous demand for a lengthy period of time to cause an unspecified amount of change to the cables and the system sound. I have yet to meet a manufacturer who offered that the audiophile has a predominant role in the perception of changing sound in a new or updated system. Supposedly it’s always the cables, the components, etc. which change, but little credence is given to the listener getting familiar with the system. If the component or cable was changing that much, then why should I want it, as any component which can have its sound altered that much should be considered suspect! If an electronic component can’t be made stable and reliable in its performance above all, then how can one have confidence long term in its operation?

I found Frank’s response to my query about break in refreshing, “I always hated the, ‘hundreds of hours,’ break in cited by many manufacturers. It drove me crazy trying to hear improvement with each listening session, so we set out to solve this with Silent Source. Our cables will improve with time. However, they are, ‘instant gratification,’ right out of the box… we do shows with new cables.” Precisely! It is fairly a waste of time to obsess about burn in. I adjure that Frank is right; the cables had better sound superior from the get-go or they are not all that good! If you don’t like how new cables sound, send them back, because even though you will adapt to their sound, they will not get much better sounding!

4 Responses to Silent Source Interconnect, Power, Digital and Speaker Cables Review

  1. dave morasco says:

    Why are there no prices for the products in this review (Silent Source Interconnect, Power, Digital and Speaker Cables Review)? I have seen others reviewswith no prices shown as well.

  2. Philippe PERROT says:

    Hi Doug, you prefer Reference interconnect to Digital Reference. Have you find a better cable that Silent Reference interconnect, for a drive to Dac link? Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Popups Powered By :