August 1, 2009

Abbey Road Reference Speaker Cable Review.

This is an old post of ours in the blog we previously contributed to.

I like Abbey Road Cable's product philosophy, "We don't just sell cable - we sell authentic sounding music".

The Abbey Road Reference speaker cables came in relatively plain packaging that does the job of protecting it's content and some product leaflets inside. Like the packaging, the cables are well built with high quality bananas terminated at both ends. Everything is business like and has that very British understated feel to it. So no fancy cables shields or shinny metal/wooden collars and over built connectors.

The moment I plug the subject speaker cables in to my system, in place of my usual Straightwires Maestro II, I noticed two very distinct advantages. The clarity of sound and sheer transparency of the cables totally caught me off guard. The tonal quality exhibited is very even with no highlighting or spotlighting of any particular area. Sound staging and imaging is comparable to my defacto cables. So far, so good, but over the next two weeks of regular playing time, the sonic results are exactly the same as the first time! This is a hard cable to run in, I thought.

So I built a cable cooker(that will be another story for another day) to do just that, cook the cables for 24 hours. After the cooking session, the cables sounded a little more musical in the way music flowed thru it and presented from the loud speakers. However, another event took place and made me realised something else. I had a change of power cords, which for now shall remain mysterious (at the request of the manufacturer) for my CD player and phono stage.

With this change, the sound suddenly took a quantum leap forward, like as if the system took on a new lease of liveliness. Macro and micro dynamics are now more fleshed out than ever while the overall clarity and transparency mentioned earlier is still present. The highs, mids and lows are all presented truthfully, no sweetening, no blooming and no extra "air" to beautify the sound. I would have to say that I do find the cable's bandwidth to be rather ordinary for what is seemingly a product carrying the "Reference" tittle. Perhaps I expected more?

Just to confirm what I heard, I swap the Starightwires back in to the system, and it was clear to me, that the Straightwires do add a little mid range bloom and "air" in the highs to colour the sound a bit! Also coming back to my thoughts on the earlier paragraph about the power cords change, The Abbey Road Reference speaker cables were clearly doing their job, and very well too, by highlighting the short comings of the previous power cords and the advantages of the new ones. This means poor front end equipment matching, auxiliary or otherwise will be exposed ruthlessly.

True to it's studio/pro audio genes, the Abbey Road Reference speaker cables are like an instrument in the path of a precision sound monitoring system.

James of AV Designs, told me that the "truth" sometimes can hurt, but as I found out the latter, the "truth" if hurts initially, is a good thing. Because once you know something is amiss, take the necessary steps to identify and rectify the issue, then finally, you'll find that "truth" can indeed be beautiful too! The final question is, can you or your system, handle the "truth"?

The Abbey Road range of cables are sold by AV Designs, tel:03-2171 2828

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