Neutral and relaxed but with some added gravy. This cable is very colourful and has a rich bass. It is not the most refined nor the most crisp sounding cable but it is plenty detailed and seduces with its luxurious sound. Compared to Transparent Ultra though, this cable falls short in air, openness, fluidity and agility. But then again, the Transparent is 4 times its price...
Analysis Plus Silver Oval XLR Interlink
Not unlike the Solo Crystal Oval but with a lot more air in the treble, a more forward character and a leaner, better articulated bass. Still, I wouldn't call this cable better than the copper version because its forwardness doesn't make for better dynamics. Rather, it is dynamically more restrained than the copper version that sounds freeer. Its soundfield is also more confined to the speakers and there's less flow and character making the silver version also slightly more analytical. It's missing some of the copper version's inviting colour and warmth. That said, it is still a fluid performer and you'd be hard pressed to find a more detailed cable at the price.
Cardas Golden Reference XLR interlink - 50cm version
Faster and more nimble than Golden Cross this cable is neutral and detailed but still very musical. This cable is absolutely not dry or otherwise clinical. Nor is it over-creamy or slow but the transients are ever so slightly rounded off compared to older Cardas cables such as the Hexlink Golden 5C. It is a cable that will suit a wide range of systems but I would't use it in overly warm/lush systems.
Cardas Hexlink Golden 5C XLR interlink
Very different from the Cardas house sound of late. Literally all other cardas cables sound very different from the Hexlink. The Hexlink was the top of the line before the Golden Cross and is still a remarkable cable but its character has to match your setup and taste. It is very fast, open, bold and dynamic while maintaing a natural balance. The cable is very good for acoustic music and Piano has never sounded better. It does lack the last nth of air and fluidity that newer Cardas cables offer.
Cardas Golden Cross Speakercable
Comparable soundwise to the CG interlink. Seductive and easy to listen to for hours at end. The sound is royal, fluid, well-defined and refined. Detailing is never in doubt. But this cable has rounded off transients, just like the interlink, and its livelyness is compromised. Analysis plus and Transparent manage to sound more dynamic while maintaining a relaxed presentation.
Cardas Quadlink 5C XLR Interlink
Drier and less colorful than Golden Cross but more rhythmic and lively. The Quadlink makes an excellent balans between speed and detail on the one hand and fluidity and refinement on the other hand. Essentially pretty neutral.
Harmonic Technology Pro Silway Cinch interlink
Very silky and open treble, airier than the truthlink but the bass is still very relaxed and the cable still lacks attack and enthusiasm. The soundstage is also a bit flat and hangs to the speakers. Transparent for example, offers a comparable balance but is more agile and nimble as well as offering a totally free floating stage. Analysis Plus (both silver and copper) are also better at this but don't offer the fluidity nor the relaxed "analog-tubey" feeling of the Harmonic.
Harmonic Technology Truthlink Cinch interlink
Very much reminiscent of the pro silway but less accomplished in the treble where it is very smooth but also slightly muted and lacking air. In analytical setups though this cable could be perfect as a digital antidote.
Kimber pbj interlink Cinch/XLR
Very detailed, highly neutral and fast/rhythmic but arguably slighly dry and thin. Nevertheless, compared with other cables at this price it performs admirably and is the natural choice as a first step-up interlink. Sounds the same used in a cinch or balanced XLR configuration.
Nordost Red Dawn XLR interlink/Speakercable
On the one hand these are exceptionally neutral and refined cables. On the other hand I find them flat, grey and unspectacular. Both speaker cable and interlink share a similar balance and are not very much unlike Kimber pbj and 4TC albeit less exciting because Nordost is so very refined. Also Rhytmically and dynamically I find Nordost to be the lesser candidate, holding back in relation to Kimber. But Kimber is much more rough and nowhere near as refined.
Siltech MXT New York Cinch interlink
Even this very affordable interlink sounds much like other Siltechs: neutral, musical, well articulated and with pretty good detail.
Transparent Super XLR interlink
Just like all Transparents, the Super has a silky smooth balance and is very spacious. Not everything about this cable is great though. It can be quite slow and in the wrong system the sound can even get muddy if your source has a weak output stage. If you want the plus sides without the downsides, go for the Ultra.
Transparent Reference XLR Interlink
This is an extreme cable, and it will not fit every setup. But if it fits, boy, this cable is magical. The sound is comparable to that of the Ultra, but grander, bigger in all dimensions. The room is simply filled with sound. The cable in question is a non-XL version and is compared to the Ultra XL so it may not be entirely fair. Despite this, the differences are clear and mostly in the Reference's advantage. The Reference is so much more velvety, lush, creamy and luxurious that it's hard to go back to Ultra that sounds grey in comparison. The downsides of the Ref: it's slower in pace, slightly darker and is even more relaxed so your system really has to be up to scratch, otherwise you'll end up with a muddy sound. And then there's also the importance of having a robust output stage in your source, otherwise this cable can start to sound very undynamic and restrained.
A well-balanced cable that falls somewhere between Cardas and Transparent soundwise. It has Transparent's musicality and unforced presentation and a hint of Cardas Bass-fullness and directness. Its transient response is slightly softened, the bass slightly fat and it is topped off with some creamsauce but it's a nice sauce. A cable for musiclovers if not for the analytical-minded.
van den Hul The Second XLR interlink
This cable is special because it doesn't use any metal such as silver, copper or gold as conductors. Instead it employs individually coated carbon fibre. Indeed the resulting sound is anything but metallic, showing no signs of edginess or other defects often associated with metal conductors. In fact it has little sound of its own, making for a bland presentation in some setups as it can lack colour or attack. Its highs are very nice though: open, airy and silky. Mids are unforced and natural but dynamically maybe a tad restrained and the least well developed part of this cable is the bass which however deep, is a bit woolly and lacking power.
Cardas Golden Cross XLR Interconnect
Relaxed and seductive; a cable that encourages listening for hours at end. Fuller and warmer in the bass and mids than Golden Ref, also more creamy in the treble and more colourful compared to the old Hexlink Golden 5C and the newer Quadlink 5C but the CG sounds somewhat less enthusiastic and dynamically more restrained. It is not however a shut-in cable; its detailing is actually very good but this cable may ultimately be slighly too creamy for its own good.
MIT Shotgun S2 XLR Interlink
This interlink has a completely different character than the Terminator 2 speaker cable. You'd think that there is a MIT house-sound but after comparing moe MIT products it seems as if the entry level products are more smooth and the more highend products ever more precise. This goes for the Shotgun interlink too. It is very tight, fast, precise and dynamic but also dry and tonally flat. It could do with some more colour and fluidity.
van Damme Hybride silver/copper bases interlink (with LOK cinch connectors)
Very transparent with a completely unforced and fluid midrange and treble. The mids and highs remind me of Cardas Golden Cross. The van Damme is also very good with microdetails and even though it has tight and articulate bass, it presents the entire sound in such a relaxed fashion that for some tastes it can be too mellow. This is a cable for refined tastes, not for rock-enthusiasts.
Belden RG59 coax based analog Interlink (with LOK cinch connectors)
Open, redelijk gedetailleerd en snel. Rustiger en minder strak, maar voller van kleur dan AA IL-Type 2. Belden RG59 is de meest neutraal-natuurlijke en muzikale versie RG59 kabel verkrijgbaar. Deze kabel is heel mooi in balans en zit klankmatig tussen AA IL-Type 2 en Type 1. Kortom: een goede instapkabel om de algehele kwaliteit van uw weergave een zetje te geven, zonder daarbij overboord te gaan.
XLO reference Cinch interlink
This cable reminded me of Kimber and Nordost. The XLO is also somewhat thin, flat and lacking character while it is not tighter or more detailed than Kimber pbj. It is however, just like Nordost, more refined and has more gentle and silky highs but overall I found this to be an unexciting cable.
Wireworld Gold Eclipse Cinch interlink
In spite of expectations there is no harshness whatsoever in this pure silver cable. Instead it is very refined, silky, smooth and also well-detailed. It has nice, deep bass and a natural, neutral balance. It is however not the most dynamic cable around and the soundstage doesn't extend much outside the speakers compared to Transparent Ultra and Analysis Plus.
Mogami AES-Interlink (tested with Gold Neutrik XLR's)
Compliant with very strict broadcast norms, this cable is extremely neutral, very refined and very detailed but not too tight or too controlled. It is neither hard nor cool and actually still musical. in combination with Neutrik Gold XLR's this cable makes for a very fine AES EBU cable that is hard to beat at any price.
Kimber Tonik based Interlink (used with LOK cinch connectors)
This is (sort of) the affordable follow-up of the well-liked pbj. Its sound is somewhat comparable but different in some areas. The bass is less tight, the highs more fluid and resolution is a notch down but the entire presentation is more relaxed, making this cable the better choice in more open or analytical systems.
Synergistic Research Designer's Reference XLR interlinks
This cable was compared to Cardas Hexlink Golden 5C, Cardas Quadlink 5C and Transparent Ultra XL, all XLR cables. It has some really strong qualities such as a very firm yet tightly articulated bass and a lively and well pronounced mid (Cardas Hexlink Golden 5C-alike). It has very good control and transients are clean but this control also extends to the highs, making them dry and even a bit coarse. There's also a lack of air compared to the other cables. Overall a lively, well articulated cable but too rigid for my tastes. I left it connected for days to a playing source but this didn't change much. The missing air could be caused by oxidized connectors (age) but still this would be a strict cable, best suited for bringing clarity and control into a system that needs it. For well balanced systems it may very well be too much. both Cardas Quadlink and Transparent Ultra were more lightfooted, airy and more refined while remaining dynamic and speedy.
FIM Gold Series XLR interlink
This is an interlink. But you cannot imagine how stiff this cable is until you hold it in your hands... If your component is a lightweight, chances are that it'll float in free air when you've connected these interlinks. You really have to pre-bend them into the right shape befor connecting. This interlink probably also uses solid core conductors. But enough about their physicalities. How do they sound? In a word: lively. Very lively. In fact these are the most dynamic and "live"-sounding cables I've come across. They even beat Cardas Hexlink in this regard. The sound is very present. They articulate immensely well, and they make alle music very rythmic and well defined as well as having very solid bass. The downside is that depending on the rest of your system, the sound can also become too controlled and even slightly dry. Especially the high frequencies lack the kind of airy refinement that Transparent but also Cardas Golden Reference and even Cardas Quadlink do offer. These cables present the music in a more breathing and organic athmosphere.
This review boggles me. The cable was in my system as a guest. A friend was considering buying it but heard a few downsides in his system so we listened to the cable in my setup too. It was compared to the Transparent Ultra XL XLR interlink. Admittedly the Siltech had to make use of Cardas XLR adapters but the resulting sound was much worse that I knew what could be caused to these adapters. The thing is, these adapters, if anything, reduce bass power and weight slightly. They don't add nor subtract brightness and certainly don't dull the sound. What I heard was completely opposite of what you might expect from this Siltech cable though. Even compared to the Transparent, which is on the forgiving side of neutrality, the Siltech sounded flat, small and even less refined. The Siltech's strong point could be considered its neutrality. Nothing stood out and nothing was amiss. It had good detail and was never agressive. But it always sounded slow, didn't image much outside the speakers and somehow just sounded rhytmically impeded. It simply failed to sound engaging. The same things were noted in my friend's system (where we didn't use the adapters). Sure it wasn't bad, but for its price we expected much, much more. If anyone feels that this is not right and wants to set the records straight by compare a Siltech XLR cable to the Transparent, you're more than welcome to contact me!
Heaven's Gate Ultra Silence XL Music Link
Wow, these cables are seriously heavy. The can easily lift a lightweight cd player off its feet. No kidding. They reminded me of the FMJ cables visually and I expected the same sound signature. But not so. In fact, they sound more like the Synergistic Research loudspeaker cables I once tested. Their character is summed up easily like so: Smooooooooth. Take a Transparent Ultra XL interlink and compare. All of a sudden the Transparent sounds dry. (which it really doesn't). Then, compare it to an older Transparent Reference XL interlink. Still, the Transparent sounds lighter, quicker, more dynamic, but also drier. This is a first for me. My Transparent Reference interlink has always been the most fluid and smooth cable I had heard. It is in fact so smooth and relaxed that it doesn't work well in many setups. But sure enough, the Heaven's Gate goes beyond this. What you get is a cable that makes everything sound good. Over-produced and dry Pro-Tools studiorecordings? No problem, with the Heaven's Gate they sound creamy and full. So, we've established that this cable is full, smooth, creamy and forgiving. It also sounds big, although not quite as big as the Transparents. It also doesn't articulate that well and its treble, although again very smooth, is not as airy as the Transparent's. But that's to be expected with such a smooth cable. Additionally, it was felt that the frequency curve had a distinct dip in the midrange, making the cable essentially a loudness cable. This is a cable with a lot of character. That's fine, if you can accommodate it. Just be warned that this is not a neutral cable. Quite the opposite: it adds not a spoon of gravy but pours the entire bowl over the music. But it really is nice sauce indeed.
Cardas Golden Reference XLR interlink - 4 meter version
From memory, the 50cm pair I had years ago sounded faster and more precise. Whether this is really the case or not I cannot confirm. What I can say is that the Golden Reference now sounds much fuller, warmer and smoother than my resident Transparent Ultra and Reference cables. With the latter already being too smooth for some, I'd say that the Golden Ref is almost as smooth as the Golden Cross, and should be placed in the very warm sounding cables category rather than the suggested "reference" neutral camp.
Very nice cables that walk a fine line between warmth and smoothness on the one hand and detail and openness on the other hand. They are not the world's most articulate cables, nor do they focus like the best out there, but they are very forgiving as well as utterly musical. Like the interlink, I feel that Golden Ref is very close in sound to the Golden Cross. The latter may be even smoother, but there is a definite family character.
Lush and luxirious sounding interlink that still manages great detailing and speed. It is a lot more refined and more articulate that the Super. I've used Transparent Ultra in several setups now and all friends that hear it want it. The Ultra is the sweet spot for Transparent in that it provides a lot of what the brand has to offer while still being somewhat affordable. The Ultra works well in many setups but fares less well with sources that have a weak output stage. The cable needs some driving. If you feel that your Transparent cable sounds too undynamic and too restrained and smothered, you may well have a mismatch on your hands. If your source has a robust output stage, your system has sufficient resolution and you're in need of some sohistication, this is THE cable to have. Now superseded, second hand still a very good buy.
The cinch version sounds different from the XLR version. This is confirmed in 3 different setups: the XLR is more spacious and relaxed, the cinch is more forward and less airy.
Transparent Reference MM XLR Interlink
It seems that Transparent have chosen a different route with the introduction of the MM series. The new MM sound still recognisably have the Transparent house sound but less so. It could be that the lush richness and that creamy, room filling soundstage are actually side effects of the filtering used and that Transparent is now striving for a more neutral character. The new MM's are more detailed, forward and neutral but less cuddly, luxurious, spacious and less creamy and ultimately for me in my setup: less magical. There's still Transparent magic, but less so. Now you can have a portion of Transparent magic and still have excellent dynamics, transients and speed. This newer cable is much easier to drive than the older XL technology so source matching should be less of an issue.
Extremely fluid, smooth and relaxed sound with incredible resolution. Voices are entirely natural and float freely between the speakers. Even more smooth and liquid than Transparent Ultra XL. Still, it isn't perfect because there's a distinct lack of drive and dynamics in the bass and lower midrange, being definitely less exciting than the Transparent Ultra XL. Can achieve near-magical results when combined with dynamic, fast components but can be underwhelming in already smooth setups.
Very thick cable with comparatively even thicker OFC conductors (1.2mm). Not the easiest to terminate, but if you insert and solder all three conductors simultaneously, then it's doable. Soundwise full, smooth, organic and relaxed but with less treble fluidity and air than many other cables. Lots of drive and bottom power but not best for refinement. Also very slightly grainy but this gets better with continued use. Good value for money nevertheless.
Extremely fluid, smooth and relaxed sound with incredible resolution. Voices are entirely natural and float freely between the speakers. Even more smooth and liquid than Transparent Ultra XL. Compared to the earlier model, there is much-improved solidity in the bass and a stronger, more acoustical midrange and more presence. Still, it isn't perfect because there's still a slight lack of drive and dynamics in the bass and lower midrange, making it less exciting than the Transparent Ultra XL or Cardas Hexlink Golden 5C. However, the cable can achieve truely magical results when combined with dynamic, fast components.
Silky, airy treble and an overall very refined and luxurious sound. This cable makes listening to music (as opposed to listening to your system) easy. The XLR version is airier and more subtle than the cinch version. If your system can handle this cable (has enough resolution and speed to begin with, as well as a source with a robust output stage), it's difficult to find better.
Great value: natural, open, articulate yet smooth sound, free from harshness. An excellent balance between organic fullness and transparency. Can sound restrained both dynamically and spatially, but this is compared to cables costing many times the Paris' price.