Warming up to silver clarity
Model: Silver Clarity Cu series interconnects
Price: RM300 per 1.1 metre pair, terminated
For further details, call Kenny Che (Tel: 012-289-7059).
THIS should be an interesting comparison, I thought, when I plugged the Malaysian-made Silver Clarity Cu series interconnects into my system right beside the resident American-made Alphacore Micro Purl Silver. Both use ribbon conductors instead of round wires and the construction methods have similarities, so it was going to be fun finding out just how theyd shape up in the square off.
According to the Malaysian inventor of the Silver Clarity Cu interconnects, Kenny Che (who also designed the Silver Clarity speaker cables reviewed a year ago in AudioFile), a silver alloy ribbon conductor measuring 0.1mm thick by 1mm wide is the preferred choice; 13 of these ribbon conductors, which are made of 99.5% silver and 0.5% gold, are used to carry the signal while two are for the return.
The two sets of conductors are covered with a PE (polyethylene) dielectric and twisted. Nylon fibre filler is used beneath another jacket of PE. The exterior is a nickel-plated copper netting to cut down on RF and EMI interference. The new model has this netting inside the jacket, Che said.
The intrepid inventor added that he spent about one year to develop the interconnects which, by the way ship, measured at 1.1m. Why? I tried various lengths and 1.1m sounded warmer, Che said.
He is not sure about the electrical parameters except that the impedance is low and the alloy ribbons are sourced from England. The plugs are Taiwanese; fixing the interconnects can be a chore if youre not used to WBT-styled connections you have to loosen the plugs by unscrewing the outer casing before plugging them in and tightening them.
A word from the competitor
Meanwhile, the Alphacore Micro Purl Silver interconnects contain two 50 microns thick by 2mm wide signal carriers made of 99.99% silver placed on each side of a copper ground plane. The three-layer sandwich with polyester terapthalate dielectric is twisted and embedded in transparent high-grade tough polymer.
The twisting enhances electromagnetic (EM) and radio frequency (RF) shielding and Alphacore claims that this construction method negates the need for copper braiding, the normal approach taken by cable manufacturers to protect signal-bearing wires from external magnetic fields and RF.
Alphacores website also claims that solid conductors eliminate galvanic strand interaction while the active dielectric is limited to the micro thin film separating the conductors, greatly reducing stored charges and tribo-electric noise. The geometry ensures unsurpassed low series inductance, virtually eliminating high frequency roll-off.
Ches interconnect is theoretically likely to suffer from strand interaction because the ribbon conductors are twisted together without being individually insulated, effectively making it a multi-ribbon wire.
One wonders what he means when he says that his interconnect sounds warmer, because it can only mean that the electrical signal has been attenuated. Current (no pun intended) theory in cable manufacturing is that any interconnect, no matter how well designed, will attenuate an electrical signal and the best cable is no cable.
Ah, but the proof, is in the listening, as always.
Can you hear me with clarity?
A-B listening sessions using a Marantz 63KI, Arcam DiVA A65 and Mission Cyrus 2 amps, and Tannoy Revolution R3s with Goertz MI2 Veracity speaker cables revealed the differences in sound quality between the Alphacore and the Silver Clarity.
The former created an open soundstage and there didnt seem to be any reining in of the sound, especially in the treble range. Music simply flowed naturally, though the bass could have been slightly better.
With the Silver Clarity, the soundstage was narrower, but the depth was surprisingly awesome. With classical and choral works, the impression was that the orchestra and choir were placed in a deeper stage.
However, the music suffered from a lack of bite because the upper mids and highs were rolled-off. There was no sting to cymbals, violins and the high notes of the horn section. By rolling off the upper-mids and highs, the sound became warmer. This raises questions: How accurate is this? Does it sound natural? If hi-fi is about the accurate reproduction of music in real life, then the cymbals and tambourine should sound like they ought to, not toned down. Just listen to how expensive high-end components like Krell and Mark Levinson can reproduce the sound of such instruments without hurting your ears.
This was where the Alphacore which picked up some awards recently shone. The American wires opened up the sound and there was greater clarity overall.
Also, the Silver Clarity seemed to emphasise sibilance on some female voices. But these Malaysian-made wires do have some strong points the bass was strong and went deep while midrange was commendable.
At RM300 per 1.1m pair, the Silver Clarity Cu interconnects are affordable and should be able to tame bright-sounding budget equipment, and is worth an audition.
Pros: Commendable mids and bass performance for the price; deep-set soundstage; affordably priced.
Cons: Rolled-off upper mids and highs mean a lack of bite in the music; can sound closed in at times.