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Skogrand SCI Markarian 421 Balanced Interconnects Review

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I’ll start with the bass.  This has always been the most colored part of my system due to the side firing bass drivers of my Lansche 4.1.  While outstanding in pitch and speed, there has always been a slight disconnect from the rest of the spectrum.  With the inclusion of the SCI Markarians, the bass became much better integrated. Shedding a few pounds around the mid bass (I’m working on the same thing) the presentation became more textured, nuanced and had greater leading edge precision.  Imaging in the bass also improved, integrating into the soundstage more, with less of the sound hanging around the bass drivers.

The midrange, ah the midrange.  Here the steadfast silence offered up was encapsulated by a black background that could truly startle.  Instrumental outlines snapped into deep focus, more sculptural than pinpoint, the body of instruments were captured with greater resonant energy thus gently expanding the image as dynamics increased.  This energy gave even greater life to the music, and the system ended up being that much more engaging.

Once heard, it is impossible to deny the truth told in the mid band.  Voices sounded just so believable: tonally correct, with just the right amount of chest and throat to ground vocals while the perfect amount of high frequency energy allowed the voice to soar.  Listening to Eva Cassidy from Songbird, she always holds back till it’s time to really let it go, when she does just that.  The lack of edge or glare allowed her voice to expand without hitting any kind of dynamic ceiling, avoiding that spot where added edge forces the ears to shut down.

The treble was passed along with extreme fidelity.  There was nowhere to hide up there if the recording was nasty.  On the other side of the coin, I enjoyed the treble presentation on more of my music because I really heard the truth in those moments.  There was more detail, more energy, more focus to keep the ears keen.

The Skogrand IC’s are the perfect tool to assess the associated gear.  Its deadeye neutrality and silence are the ideal backdrop to where the music is going and what the sound has to do with it.  In contrast to the Sunny, it showed the Sunny to have a fatter mid range and some stray bass energy, less rendered space, among some far more subtle, though less interesting differences.  Accessing the Pass labs XA200.5 amplifier along with the Esoteric K-07 CD/SACD player was a snap, and a joy due to their outstanding performance.  The Skogrand Interconnects revealed all the subtle and not so subtle aspects of each component, allowing me to hear them performing at their fullest.

At the end of the review period, I came into possession of the Kaiser Kawero Classic loudspeaker.  With the Skogrand wire in the system, I cannot over state the drama that ensued.  This speaker just floored me with its driver/crossover/cabinet silence and textural purity, to a level that I have never lived with.  The big Sunny HSW-15 speaker I own comes to within a whisper, but Kawero strikes me as even quieter, and that is were the Skogrand again showed its strength, in allowing the components to speak solely for themselves.

Skogrand SCI Markarian 421 Balanced Interconnects


More and more, the term reference gets tossed around like an old football at a Thanksgiving get-together. With all the declarations of “Reference,” it has gotten tougher to really separate the ultimates from the also-rans. Yes, it is true I have not auditioned all the competition in the price point occupied by the Skogrand  Markarian 421.  That said, I have been around the block enough to recognize what is truly special.  The Skogrand Markarian SCI 421 along with the Skogrand SC Air Markarian Speaker cable are the finest examples of what a high end wire is supposed to do — get out of the way and allow the electronics, speakers and ultimately the music to shine through as completely rendered and unadulterated as possible. Music breathes, dynamics come and go with utter dexterity and that insanely low noise floor allows for all sorts of high definition rendering of fine detail and space.

Yes, the reference speaker wire and interconnect pool has grown, well, it has actually over grown.  I can however confidently proclaim the Skogrand Markarian SCI 421 among the best of the best.  Give them a try, and you may well have to redefine Reference for yourself.

2 Responses to Skogrand SCI Markarian 421 Balanced Interconnects Review

  1. Tim Lemon says:

    I’m sorry, but if you were blindfolded in a proper controlled situation you would not be able to tell the difference between these cables and a pair of £10 ones bought from Maplin. I’m a life long audio enthusiast and it fills me with a mixture of anger and sadness when I read all the hype and lies published about cabling in general.

  2. I recall when I was first starting out with audio and I had changed my interconnects and forgotten about it. When I next listened to my system, I was struck by the difference in sound quality, but was at a loss to identify what happened. Then my dealer told me that I had changed my interconnect. That was the opposite of “confirmation bias” since I was NOT expecting to hear any difference.

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