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Snake River Audio Cottonmouth Signature Series Cables Review

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When I review I use two methods typically to assess cables. Initially, I replace the original incrementally with the newer set, perhaps working from power cabling on through to speaker cabling, listening to each change. Later, I return to entire sets, swapping them out with systems to hear the effect. My ultimate approval tends to fall toward use of complete sets, but incremental substitution can be enlightening. In this particular case, consistently I preferred a mix of Snake River Audio Cables and Clarity Cables to either brand’s entire suite. These brands worked together wonderfully! Cable makers want to hear that their cables slay every other wire out there, but I would be misleading to say so if that was not my experience.

I conducted several mixed set comparisons, doing inverse wiring schemes to see if I could hear a propensity toward superior sound with one brand in particular positions in the system. I found it difficult to isolate the general benefit of placing one or the other in a particular place. Strangely, it seemed not to matter as much which mixture I used and where I used them together, but that I used them in conjunction with each other. The sonic character of both of these wires together combined their strengths and eliminated any potential pitfalls. Dynamics were slightly improved over either brand, and likewise definition/detail was elevated without a significant increase in stridency. Tonally I found nothing to quibble over, and there was an admirable solidity and weight to instruments and voices.

I found there to be a rare symbiosis between Clarity and Snake River cables which I have not encountered previously even though using many, many brands. This is the first time I have encountered a mixed set of cables as being superior to two brands’ entire suite, no matter the speaker used. I have worked with dozens of brands and sets of cables, so this is quite unusual. Consequently, I am forced to an unusual conclusion; I would strongly recommend that buyers mix Clarity and Snake River cables. While neither company scores a total win, they both end up gaining the benefit of symbiotic sales.

I need to be clear about this; I am not suggesting that willy-nilly matching of odds and ends cables is a preferred method of wiring a rig. I am also not suggesting audiophiles “read between the lines,” and pick my “winner,” because I consider both Snake River and Clarity cables to be winners. I have run many rigs with Clarity Cables and recently ran several with Snake River and obtained excellent results from both. As they are both of approximate valuation to outfit a system, I am not inclined to declare a winner at the expense of the other.

If Jonny is not blowing his top at my finding, he may catch a potential manufacturing tip – adding more copper. The addition of more Copper to the Gold and Silver matrix may prove a boon to the Boomslang, or any other Snake River Audio Reference Series product. I’m not telling him how to make his cables, I’m just saying…


Enter the Silent Source Reference cabling, which was the heavy hitter at multiples of the cost of these others. For comparison, consider the prices of a single power cord, all 2m in length: Clarity Cable Vortex at $750, Snake River Cottonmouth Signature at $1,395 and Silent Source “The Music Reference” at $2,985. A casual observation is that Snake River is approximately twice the price of Clarity and Silent Source is approximately twice that of Snake River.
However, when it comes to speaker cables at 8’ length, what does the price comparison show?

Clarity Cable Organic Speaker at $3,000; Snake River Audio Cottonmouth Signature at $1,895; Silent Source “The Music Reference” at $13,500. Note that the Silent Source speaker cables are individually finished positive and negative conductors. What is one to make of this? It seems that when it comes to outfitting an entire system, Clarity and Snake River are somewhat at the same price level, while Silent Source has quite a different pricing structure.

Both of these cables fell short of the suite of Silent Source offerings. While multiples more costly, the Silent Source cable is notably more refined than either Clarity or Snake River – but you will pay dearly for it. The Silent Source cabling is impeccably built and exudes a very strong aura of pride of ownership, with bespoke quality plugs and such soft, supple exterior that is nearly silk-like to the touch. The question is, are you ready to pony up tens of thousands for that silky sound and feel? I will be blunt; for those who are in a position to spend unlimited funds on cables, I would send them to the Silent Source products. But that is a vanishingly small percent of audiophiles. The rest of us have to live in the real world, the world which Snake River Cables inhabits.


Having consistent results between Clarity and Snake River, I recommend the following course, starting with consideration of how many power cords you need. If WAF was a strong factor, I would buy Snake River power cords to be placed where the eye catches glimpses of them, and Clarity Cables where they can be hidden. I would apply a similar WAF principle to the speaker cables. For some, that will mean a nearly all-Snake River loom, and that’s great! For others it will mean a mixture, which is more suitable to their situation.

I would mix the interconnects such that if stronger dynamics and more prominent treble was desired I would put in one more Clarity set of ICs than Snake River. I would reverse it if I was unsure of having too much treble presence or desired a more laid back sound. If stridency is an issue, or you are afraid that the treble will be hard to tame, then overload on the Snake River Cables and perhaps go with a full set.

4 Responses to Snake River Audio Cottonmouth Signature Series Cables Review

  1. Roger says:

    Thanks for the review. I have been considering a used Clarity Clear Focus power cord, described as “very neutral,” so finding this review was very useful in confirming my understanding of your earlier reviews of the Vortex and other Clarity wires. Those latter definitely give the sense that you’re more a “sound” (clarity) and “event” guy vs. “music” or tonality/timbre first, myself being of the latter kind (that clarity you describe used to be referred to as “clinical”). It’s tricky putting together an enjoyable system with the former characteristic, so I’m not surprised that with time and experimentation you’ve opted to mix in some warmth. A major part of my approach derives from the perception that acoustic instruments and human voices by and large have a natural warmth.

  2. Bill says:

    You did not say how you mixed them. Clarity on your Pass amps, or VAC ? Snake river power cord on your DAC ? Which combo worked best on the VAC preamp ?

    Coincidentally, I use a Clarity Focus power cord on my computer power supply, and a Boomslang AES digital cable from Weiss converter to DAC. It does sound very good. A Clarity cable Red was not so good on the DAC after hearing a Bybee-Furutech power cord on same DAC. Excellent sound. But the Bybee-Furutech was not very good on the computer power supply. It is quite a job getting these cables right. I feel sorry for guys that buy “looms”.

  3. Bill,
    God’s Joy to you,

    Mixing the cables to suite one’s preference would be a more personalized thing. I did so many mixes with them on different systems I do not recall that particular configuration. But, mixing them did consistently yield the best result.

    Looms of cables can be superb and preferable in many instances. Not all mixing of cables is efficacious, but one will never know until actually comparing looms, then mixtures of cables. This is often more time consuming and costly, so most audiophiles will not do so, even though it is the best way to assure the system reaches its potential.

    Doug Schroeder

  4. Douglas Schroeder says:

    The EXOGAL Comet and Ion with HyperDrive are FANTASTIC with the Cottonmouth Power Cords!!!!

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