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Silver smoothie

What, an interconnect review, finally? Yes, dear readers, SUJESH PAVITHRAN, in a rare moment of desperation, tangles with some silver wires

CABLES, interconnects, accessories, tweaks ... now, why don't we write about them more often in AudioFile, you ask? Because, after one of us is done with a piece of hi-fi or AV gear, there's just so much time left for a quick breather before moving on to the next subject on the rack. Any detour from a well-planned system, as say a cable review would entail, and there goes the schedule ....

TIME FOR A WHIPPING . . . the Sonic Art Silver promises good sound and sterling silver.

Of course, some of you may insist that's no excuse, so here are some brief thoughts on a pair of interconnects that, incidentally, is not directly available at any local outlet. The revenge of the harassed hack, you think, and you could be right. Anyway, read on ....

Sonic Art Audio Systems is a 10-year-old Australian company that makes a limited range of loudspeakers and cables/interconnects, the latter for both commercial and domestic use. There are also a couple of esoteric valve amps in the stables, about which you may read more of in the future, but that's another tale.

The Silver range of wires comes in various configurations and lengths, but we'll limit ourselves to the basic, metre-pair of RCA-terminated analogue links, simply called the Sonic Art Silver Analogue Interconnects. I was loaned a pair by the owner of Sonic Art during one of his visits to Malaysia.

The brochures make much ado about the use of silver -- a high-end choice -- in all the wires. Silver-plated connects are common, but the Silver uses sterling silver, saturated into "6 nines" copper. Each conductor, designed to be perfectly round, is 0.77mm in diameter and each cable features four individual multi-strand cores, insulated with MilSpec Teflon, and shielded with silver braid ... all this, made to US military grade.

Each finished run is further shielded with white Teflon and RCA-terminated, although there's an XLR option. Note that Sonic Art is a firm propagator of the controversial theories of cable direction and settling in.

I tried the Silver connect in a variety of situations, using the pair both as source-amp and pre-power link; my resident Ixos 101 Silver Bullet and Nordost Blue Heaven provided comparisons, both being around the price range.

Clearly, the Silver is a very carefully thought out piece of work -- it isn't as forward as the 101 nor does it exhibit any of the top-end grain of the Blue Heaven. Instead, there's a languid, unhurried air about this interconnect.

The lower frequencies are very musically coherent -- not cavernously deep but taut and articulate. Vocals and the midrange sectors sound a tad dry but full-bodied, so you find the singer possessing more realism, the instrumental projections more subtle than the other wires.

The Silver is pretty focused too, tidying up the soundstage, and almost magically centering the lead instrument at just the right spot. Despite the somewhat relaxed presentation, the Silver doesn't lose out on detail or resolution.

The connects work very well in near-neutral systems with just a tinge of the animal in them, settling any background congestion and allowing instruments to breathe a bit more spaciously. While the 101 can "shout" in certain systems, the Silver is more in control of the proceedings, without losing sight of the inherent nature of the recordings.

All in all, a pretty neat piece of work, and if you're looking beyond the norm -- that is, what's common here for this price -- then you may want to gamble on the Silver ... and no, I'm not lending the review pair out to anyone.

Model: Sonic Art Silver Analogue Interconnect

Price: AUD$220.00 (RM600) per metre pair, excluding shipping

Available online at www.sonicartaudio.com For enquiries, call Sonic Art offices/distributors in:

Australia / Sonic Art: info@sonicartaudio.com

Singapore / Ambient Acoustics: +65-63342568

Malaysia / Millenium HiFi +60-3-92838171

Thailand / Factor HiFi +66-1-285-4774

Hong Kong / SKYSOUND ASIA: Tel: +852 25272755

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