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TEO Audio Liquid Cables Review

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The sound of liquid

As to the sound of the three interconnects, I found them to be quite close in sonic character, as might be expected. All three clearly stood above solid wire conductors in terms of performance, but as to the nuances of their sound I leaned toward the Silver Splash as my favorite. The others did not collect dust during the review period, as every opportunity I had for more than one set of interconnects I reached for another pair of Splash cables.

Inserting a TEO cable is a bit akin to placing a new component in the system, for they convey a sonic shift unlike any other cable I have used. It is difficult to explain how much grunge is inherent in use of a wire as it is ubiquitous in audio connections; indeed, they are the only kind most audiophiles have ever heard.

Definition, Decay, Dimensionality; these are all words used as an attempt to capture the sublime structure of good sound. One informal measure of how well a cable reveals a recording is how much of the ambient noise comes through in playback. On lesser systems and with lesser cables the background seems black, silent. However, if the sound quality is stepped up several times that “silent” background is anything but silent! An example of a live recording in which background noise is only revealed by exquisite equipment and cabling is “Jazz Variants” by the O-Zone Percussion Group. I have played this piece the last few years with nearly every system I have established, and for good reason. The quasi-symphonic character of this large percussion band shows itself in the volume of space, that is, the sound of movement of air, captured in the recording. The instruments are spaced generously and capture nearly the entire usable frequency range, from triangle to tympani, as well as the dynamic energy of each.

Prior to the insertion of the Liquid Cables, Jazz Variants presented a sense of the space, or a gap, between instruments in the recording, but after their insertion the sound of the space became audible. I mean by that the sound of moving air being picked up by the recording, a seemingly innocuous element, but one that gives structure to the band. Just as the universe has a lot of space punctuated by celestial objects, so also a listener has a new appreciation of Jazz Variants as the space interconnecting the band’s instruments is revealed. Instead of seeming individual percussions emanating from the speakers, the entire web of sounds links up to form a whole. The difference is gratuitously satisfying!


Another top performance

I keep a running diary of reference systems. Every time I establish a new best with a speaker system I catalogue the system as my new reference rig. There is no backward movement, no capitulation, and no retreat. My reference rig with any speakers must move ahead in terms of absolute performance and enjoyment of listening experience, with no exceptions. There have been a handful of times when this goal has been thwarted by the combination of gear on hand, perhaps a preamp which is less than perfect, or a source not as extreme as the last. But in short order the progress is restored and the reference resumes its upward torrid pace.

The Kingsound King III electrostatic speaker has been a most rewarding transducer, one of my favorite speakers over the decades. As might be expected the TEO Cables have been instrumental in that speaker capturing another spot in my diary of sound. Every sort of component has been privy to upgrading the performance of the Kings in a most dramatic fashion, except cables. Even the best wires have been for the most part sideways moves, not radically upward moves – until the Liquid Cables. Here, at last, is a cable propelling the King III to a new peak in performance.

Recall the seemingly unpretentious rig I used with exhilarating results with the Legacy Whisper? I obtained the same stunning performance with the King III as well. The Exogal Comet combined with the Red Dragon S500 amps in Mono mode, bi-wired via two pair of Liquid Cables to the King III opened up new vistas to me. Electrostatic speakers seem to have an ineffable quality such that when put with any combination of gear good sound will result. Actually, there is poor ESL sound and terrific ESL sound, the range between the two being as great or greater than with dynamic speakers because ESL speakers capture so much minutia of the music, so much intimacy.

Most listeners would not describe ESL sound as “flat”, but that is what an ESL fed by a wire can sound like. While the ESL with a good wire might sound “3-D”, the Liquid Cables make the ESL sound holographic. One way of describing such an effect would be to imagine a “time machine” in which recordings seem more recent as they improve in playback. I enjoy hearing nostalgia bands from my teen years, groups like Boston, Kansas, and Heart. No one would mistake their recordings for audiophile productions, but an audiophile system has the capacity to “time warp” their sound.

The Liquid Cables are extraordinarily adept at reanimating the band from the time of the recording. The typical struggle with older recordings is that the voice and instruments are so compromised that they don’t sound much like we know they can sound. Liquid Cables bring back Boston’s electric guitars with intensity, Kansas’s keyboards with passion and Heart’s beautiful rocker chicks’ voices in a way that makes me able to for a moment forget I’m hearing a 30-year-old recording through a set of dead electronics. The emotional connection is made such that music seems closer to living than being memorialized. For me the acid test is the thought, “Wow! I never knew they were so good; I would have loved to have gone to one of their concerts!” That is what I feel when the Liquid Cables are in the system; I’m living the dream of what ultimate sound can be like, even though it’s 30 years later.


Performance for which cost is irrelevant

This cable is not for everyone, not because of performance but purely because of cost. It is for everyone who demands the ultimate in sound quality and where price is secondary. If you purchase the Liquid Cable, you have selected an authentic cost-no-object conduit. If I had the means I would buy three pairs of the Liquid Speaker cable and appropriate pairs of interconnects to outfit any system I build. I would ensure that all speakers, even the tri-wired Legacy Whisper DSW, would receive TEO treatment.

I entreat well-heeled listeners to heed my advice; these are “bucket list” wires. They are not for those who must have product recognition, but for those who insist on the very best performance, the very best sound quality, the very best audiophile experience, and the very best recreation of the musical event. Just as the one-percent use products that many have never heard of, so also those with TEO Liquid Cables will be in the one percent, those with the absolute finest audiophile cables. Not only do I exuberantly recommend TEO Audio Liquid Cables, I recommend them with condolences to anyone who spent their big money on a different cable.


The truth about premium products

When my sister and I were young children, often when my father wished to relax his back he would lay on the floor, offering us the opportunity to climb on top of him and urge him to play with us. He developed a game we called “Elevator Monster,” which required the use of imagination. My sister and I would envision us entering an elevator at the lobby floor, and dad would count off the floors, “First floor… second floor, and “eventually saying,” The elevator stops. The door is opening…” The anticipation was whether the monster would be on that floor. If not, he would say, “No monster,” the door would close, and the elevator would continue on either up or down as we wished. Every so often, the door would open, he would shout, “Elevator monster,” then wrestle and tickle us. There was, of course, much anticipation in our minds if the elevator made it to the top floor.

Consider Popularity and Technology to be two elevators that occupy the same Audiophile lobby. If you wish to ascend in terms of performance, you will want to ride one of them. From the perspective of the lobby it is only a guess which one will take an audiophile higher. Popular gear tends to sound very good, or else it would not be popular (But, this is influenced heavily by advertising). Gear known for offering a technological advantage likewise can reach lofty heights, although many advertised technological advantages are questionably efficacious. To be sure, the popular gear tends to tout its technology, and the technology is promoted as the next big thing.

My experience is that technology trumps popularity, regardless of price point. On average the most well-loved, promoted and costly gear is simply not the best one can find. I tend to pay less attention to the cost structure of a component and more attention to the technology employed. Consequently, it is not unusual for me to find gear which is cost-wise a fraction of a more popular design, but which is advanced such that it outperforms the more well-known and costly component.

I have seen this decision to “ride the technology elevator” pay off handsomely in system building. Breakthrough products often appear at reasonable price points, and at that level they already challenge in many respects the reigning technology. Within a few generations of improvements, covering perhaps 5-10 years, the new technology often replaces the old. However, the audiophile community typically takes another ten years before the new technology reaches critical mass and becomes the new norm. I have found superior advancements in digital playback in terms of files vs. CD’s, in amplification through recent breakthroughs in Class D amplifiers, and now in cabling as a result of liquid conductors. I am not tempted to switch elevators in search of the most popular products.

Recently, Tom Cruise gave advice to Jimmy Fallon of the Tonight Show what to buy to set up a top gun audio system. Some of the most high profile names in audio such as Magico and Synergistic Research were mentioned. These men seemingly chase the most recognized and promoted names, the ones with big bling, the ones which are among the most costly and are impressive to discuss on national TV. This is a move by people who crave popularity as much or more than the technological result, that is, performance. Having heard many such systems with these and other high bling devices, I assure you they are not always so wonderful, and certainly not assured to sound as good as the price tag. It is assured they make for good boasting! One can ride the Popularity elevator straight to the top floor with such lofty products!

I would love to tell you that all popular gear, whether economical or extravagant, performs in such a fashion that you can be guaranteed a peak experience when you spend lavishly, but it simply is not so. Systems must be built well, not merely expensively, and in that regard the technology employed is a dominant influence. It does not matter how much you spend on a cable with a wire conductor if it is inferior technologically to a liquid conductor. Just as there are some who will never be convinced that cables make any audible difference, others at the other end of the spectrum will never be convinced that a relatively less expensive alternative such as TEO will outperform a nose bleed priced cable of different constructions and technologies. So be it, it’s their money. But you need not ride the Popularity elevator to the top floor of cost in components in search of the best sound- unless your priority is to satisfy yourself or others that you have the most distinguished product. You do, however, need to ride Technology elevator to the top floor if you want to find the best sound. That is the elevator I seek to ride and suggest you ride as well.


Technological breakthrough

The TEO Audio Liquid Cables are the finest sounding wires I have discovered in a decade of reviewing. I usually conditionally endorse expensive wires, as the exorbitant cost is difficult to justify. Considering that currently I am listening to a rig which uses the Exogal Comet DAC at $3K (review in process) with upgrade power supply, a pair of Red Dragon S500 Class D Amplifiers (owner’s review forthcoming) in Mono mode ($4K/pair), and the speakers of my choice outfitted with TEO Liquid Cables. With each change of speaker system using the same components I establish a new reference for reviewing. The indicators are obvious – the Liquid Cables are the best, period. No B.S., no exceptions, no qualifications, no reservations. The Best!

Liquid Cables are not for the intractable DIY’er, the cheapskate, or the individual who does not appreciate the finer experiences in life. They are for the extremist who demands not merely the most popular, but the best performing. If you are that audiophile extremist, you need them.

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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