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TEO Audio Liquid Cables Review

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The cables

In this review, I worked with three variants of the Liquid Cable Splash Interconnect and with Liquid Speaker Cables.

The appearance of the Splash, Silver Splash, and Splash Reference Interconnects were similar, and have slightly different appearing woven nylon jackets as well as arrows indicating signal direction. The speaker cables are also directional, as indicated by the terms “amp” and “speaker” on the shrink-wrap sleeves at the terminations. Perhaps you might wonder why a liquid cable might be designated “Silver”. The Liquid Cables use a solid conductor on the negative leg of the cable and the liquid conductor on the positive leg of the cable. Thus, more subtle variations on sound can be obtained through varying the conductor material of the negative leg.

While on the topic of the sleeves at the terminations of the speaker cables, a word regarding their length and stiffness is in order. I presume the longish (about 5”) very tough, inflexible sleeves are meant to protect the joint where the plug meets the capillary containing the conductive liquid metal. After all, who wants a flimsy connection that eventually pulls out or breaches, allowing a eutectic blend of metals to spill? Neither does TEO; they make sure the joint is neigh unto unbreakable from normal handling. However, this can present challenges when connecting these cables to amps or speakers. The speaker cables themselves are somewhat flexible, but less accepting of coiling over a short distance to turn the spade or banana to insert it into the amp or speaker. As the banana plugs feature a molded right angle connection to the cable they often cannot be spun in a 360-degree arc to attach them. Similarly, the spades are not flat and in line with the cable, but rather have an approximate 30-degree fixed angle, causing the stiff collared termination to protrude outward more than most cables would.

When they are spun to position them the cable will coil to a degree and is not flexible enough to lay flat with a coil introduced. Consequently, at times the cable will present a loop hanging suspended in the air.

If you must have absolute flexibility and plan on bending the cable at extreme angles, then the Liquid Cable may not work well for your application. With the longer, stiff collar there are also fewer ways to attach the spade or banana than anticipated. If the amp or speaker is in a tight space, for instance a shelving unit with a back allowing only a few inches of space between the amp and interior wall of the cabinet, or the component is not at the end of the shelf to allow the cable to hang directly downward from it, the cable would have to approach the connection point from the side, at approximately the 4 O’clock or 8 O’clock angles. In some instances because of these physical idiosyncrasies I connected the cables from an upper approach versus beneath the component. It matters little to me in my dedicated room if a cable has a loop, or if two cables emerge from the back of the component upward versus downward. TEO could help customers by adding a few images to the website showing these features such that customers could assess the feasibility at a glance.

Pertaining to aesthetic matters, I strongly suggest if you have issues about the appearance of cables which might have an airborne loop or emerge from above the back of a component that you get over it, because should you not be able to handle such minor perturbations, you will have rejected a cable much finer sounding than the one you would buy in its place. But again, as a matter of practicality, if you are considering TEO cables be sure that you can have a good amount of connection space, both vertical and horizontal, at the back of the component or speakers for attachment of the cables.

Having said this, I consider these to be niggling issues unworthy of serious condemnation of the product. Far better for a cable with a liquid conductor to feature a firm grasp on the termination than a flimsy one. In addition, these are not obtrusive, fat as fire hose “wires”; to my sensibility they are thin enough so as not to arouse ire from WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). The stiffness of the speaker cables’ collars does, however, lessen their potential length, and this should be considered when placing equipment. They may be sold as 4’ or 8’, but they do not always span a gap as do more pliable 4’ or 8’ cables. If you tend to stretch your speaker cables to their limits, bending them at the end to reach a post, you will want to add perhaps a foot to the standard length of the TEO speaker cables so as to not be disappointed when you try to hook them up!

TEO prefers to use WBT terminations, so the interconnects as well as banana posts turn to tighten. The RCA terminations should have been universal, but they weren’t. I would imagine that in better than 99 out of 100 occasions there would be no issue, but an incompatibility can occur. It should be noted, however, that the two instances where the WBT plugs did not work were both involving RCA adapters, in the first case Audioquest 1 to 2 splitters, and the other in conjunction with a 75 Ohm BNC adapter being used for a SPDIF connection. It could be that these adapters are the problem and the WBT connector perfectly fine. I do not believe customers have great cause for concern, but TEO should be aware of this on the outside chance that an incompatibility could conceivably occur.

The prongs of the WBT spade connector are smaller and may not be wide enough for larger diameter speaker posts. The spades were too small when I attempted to use three pairs of Liquid Speaker Cables with the Legacy Whisper DSW Clarity Edition. This was disappointing as I dearly wished to hear the entire speaker wired with the Liquid Cables. As it was, I had to resort to trickery with a mismatched set of cables; a bi-wire pair of Clarity Organic Speaker Cables for the Bass and Treble, and the banana terminated pair of Liquid Cables for the Midrange.

But, knowing how radically the Liquid Cable alters the sound I contacted Cardas to acquire a set of 8 single plug banana adapters so that the Liquid Cables could be used. This enabled the other two sets of Liquid Cables to be implemented, thus providing a consistent loom of TEO speaker cables. Mind you, this is anything but cheap; we’re talking serious money. However, the results are undisputable, the improvement of a nature that verifies both the technology and cost structure of the cables.

Immediately noticeable was a surge in cleanness, fullness, richness and dynamic impact suppressed by the Clarity Organic speaker cables. These are mighty fine wires, these Clarity cables, but again, in comparison on a variety of speakers and systems none of the aforementioned cables could keep up with the quixotic blend of liquid employed by TEO.

The Legacy Whisper is not marketed by Legacy Audio as a speaker with prodigious LF, yet I heard subwoofer-like impact from them. I enjoy the bouncy, upbeat feel of the group Swing Out Sister, as they usually have a strong, driving bass line to propel the songs. It has taken a long time and many changes to approach the impact of a subwoofer with this stacked 15” open driver array of the Whisper. I have had powerful amps such as the Pass Labs X600.5 and extreme quality preamps like the VAC Signature Preamplifier Mk2 pushing these speakers, yet they were not able to elicit a sensation of a larger subwoofer.

Lately, I have returned to Class D to see how it is developing, and I have been astounded at the strides made by this technology. I predicted about three years ago that Class D would supersede Class A and A/B, and it is underway, the transition is already in effect. My assessment is that certain Class D designs are already ahead of Class A and A/B. Within five years, I predict, Class A and A/B will become anomalies, relics of a previous era of technology. Class D will assume the throne of SOTA amp sound, and will crater the price point for entry into that level of sound quality to the jubilation of audiophiles everywhere!

I have already heard in my room the first example of a true SOTA Class D amp, the Red Dragon S500, two of which I have running in Mono mode. Using the Pascal module, this little wonder has, without disrespect to the many fine amps I have previously reviewed and owned, laid waste to the entire field of them. Combined with the Exogal Comet DAC, under review, a pair of S500 is capable of crushing power, providing force I have never experienced in the bass of the Whisper. We are talking exceptionally clean bass, fabulously well rounded and taut, extremely easy on the ears, and gratifying in how simply the bass line can be followed.

This Nth degree of performance can be lost through one tactical error, the use of a speaker cable with a hard conductor. That may sound unkind to all the makers of lovely cables, but it is the only proper assessment in my experience. Use of any hard wire would kill the intensity of the performance, but the Liquid Cable releases it. It’s that simple. I suspect that at this juncture those beset by adherence to the Cheap End, Mediaphilia or Pro/DIY are not too pleased with this assessment. However, my job is to report on performance, not make people happy based on their preconceptions.

As an aside, if you ever wish to hear the influence of a particular cable in real time, obtain three pairs: two identical pairs and one alternate pair. Swap out one of the identical pairs for the alternative pair and you will hear significantly altered music. Most of what you are hearing is the innate difference between the two pairs of cables. You will hear a similar difference between cables with any speaker.

At that point you need to determine which of the two is preferable to your ears. I suggest conducting the test on all speaker post pairs, whether the speaker is bi-wired or tri-wired. You will likely find your ears strongly preferring one brand rather than the other. In such a fashion, you can move toward the sound you desire by acquiring the “winner” of such comparisons.

Consider that I have done this with several cables each year for over fifteen years. In all this time I have sought a reference cable which increases definition and detail, but not at the expense of richness and tonal accuracy. Yet, the TEO Liquid Cables take another step that every one of the solid conductors seem incapable of achieving; they are the closest I have heard to a system requiring no cables at all, as though the components are integrated into speakers directly. There is zero sense of a “transmission”, loss, or diminution of quality that, in comparison to the liquid conductor, every solid conductor suffers.

6 Responses to TEO Audio Liquid Cables Review

  1. alan trahern says:

    Of the course, the 800# gorilla lurking in the corner comes in the form of the equally ballyhooed High Fidelity magnetic conduction cables, lavished with, I think, equivalent lofty praise, by your colleagues JNR and FC (check me on this). Both are “technology” based and both have been pronounced “the best” by the respective reviewers. To put it mildly, I think your readers would be well served by some kind of comparo if such a thing is possible.

    BTW…any sign of the Joules?

  2. Brian Walsh says:

    Doug, let’s not forget where you found out about all of these goodies 🙂

    My new website should be live in a day or two. It’ll knock your socks off!

  3. Alan, Brian,
    God’s Joy to you gentlemen,

    I did notice the review of the magnet wires – oops, perhaps I should distinguish between such and call them by their proper name, magnetic conduction cables. 😉 They sound mildly interesting, however I must admit that I am skeptical of applications of magnets on wiring. In every instance I have seen the introduction of magnets, it spells a loss for the signal, as the magnets filter the signal. I do not see how the magnetic conduction system can avoid this.

    However, though I have at times been skeptical, I do try to hear a technological application before rendering a final verdict. So, perhaps a listen to the conduction system is in order…

    Regarding the Joule White 3 speakers, which I affectionately stole a moniker from someone else, the “Perfect Joule,” they are here. I received them about two weeks ago, then promptly left for a trip to Ecuador with a side trip to the Galapagos Islands. Upon my return I built the first system with this speaker outside of Vapor’s listening room. I have many changes which have occurred recently (several months), and there has been a new reference system (components) established. I plan on updating the community on each step as I write articles.

    For now, a tantalizing thought – I am circling back to Class D amplification! Revisiting it I have found a new level of reference sound with both panel and dynamic speakers. The TEO cables are exquisitely revealing of such changes and perfect for extreme builds like the Joule White 3. Yes, the speakers were worth the wait. Owner’s review forthcoming.

    Brian, I don’t rightly recall where I was when I first heard TEO cables; at a show or your fine dealership. I am very grateful that Taras from TEO took the time to collar me at AXPONA 2014 to intrigue me with the Liquid Pre; that got me started down the reviewing path to the Liquid Cables. Indeed, you have some beautiful gear to showcase the TEO products, and you deserve applause as you brought some lovely gear to my home to hear. You introduced me to the Exogal Comet, for which I’m grateful. I look forward to seeing the new website.

    Douglas Schroeder

  4. Rick says:


    Did you have any opportunity to compare the IC models slightly above Splash that have larger dia conductors (SPDL), or the Standard, which has triple the size conductors in the SPDL?? If so, what did you find? Also did you have an opportunity to try the lower cost speaker cable (SPDL)? And again, if so, what did you find?? Thanks!

  5. lloyd smith says:

    It has been over a year now. Perhaps it would be interesting to do an update on the latest TEO offerings?

  6. Mike says:

    Yes, an update would be great, especially since they’ve come out with a “budget” offering interconnect called the GC = Game Changer.

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