Devore Fidelity Silverback review - on A23 cables:

Just a word, actually two, about these speaker cables: buy them. Whatever else you purchase for your system this year, do yourself a favor and purchase these speaker cables. They are the most balanced, natural yet revealing speaker cables I have ever owned or heard. They are at home in every system I have ever heard them in - regard-less of price. And by high-end standards, they are not just a bargain but a steal.

Jules Coleman,

Jeff Day on Omega speakers:

For cables I used a Nirvana Transmission Digital Interface between transport and DAC, Nirvana S-X interconnectsbetween DAC and preamplifier; Nirvana S-L interconnects between preamplifier and amplifiers. My usual Nirvana S-L speaker cables between amplifiers and speakers weren't a particularly good match with the Omegas. Instead I used a very interesting pair of LS Auditorium 23 speaker cables ($880 for a 2.5 meter pair) designed and manufac-tured by Keith Aschenbrenner in Germany. Keith handcrafts the LS cables rather than cutting 'em off a roll. The cable consists of two different (and secret) twisted leads with differing cross sections wrapped in a soft green outer cotton sleeve. Beryllium copper bananas terminate both ends. Germans consider Keith their Tube Pope and resident audiophile guru. Besides his Auditorium 23 business, Keith is also known for his large collection of Klangfilm,Westrex and Siemens gear. In case you haven't already guessed, the 23s are designed specifically for tubes and high efficiency speakers. Jonathan Halpern of Shindo USA is smitten enough by them to have become the US im-porter. The LS cables are somewhat expensive in the context of today's $749 Omega/Skylan combo but they did sound very good indeed. The LS cables allowed the Super 3s to develop a warmer and more natural tonality than the Nirvanas while maintaining a sense of speed & transparency, excellent detail recovery and a huge billowing soundstage.

Jeff Day,

Giant killers and heebie jeebies

Up until now, I'd had the Luminous Audio Synchestra Signature speaker cables in the rig so I replaced them with the Auditorium 23 speaker cables. I don't know much about those except that they are manufactured in Germany and sold by Tone Imports in NYC. For $880/2.5m/pr, they are true giant killers, producing a coherent, dynamic, ear-friendly transmission that is unobtrusive and musical. The Synchestra Signature cables held their own but it was a close call. The 23s were more revealing, with greater bloom and less etch. The Massive Attack track had a better sense of depth and dynamics, sounds popping out of blacker space. Bass drums had more resonance, vocals were more present and tactile. I don't know if these judgments are absolutes or if it is just how these German cables operated in my system with my listening preferences. All of my gear is very revealing and neutral save for the BAT amp, which tends toward the warm end of things. If a cable is tipped up or etched, I automatically hear it in my small room. That was my problem with the Omega Mikro cables: extremely musical and transparent but lacking true bass and warmth. When they shouted, my head started to hurt. If you can read between the lines of my personal jargon, you hopefully will understand my listening Jones and better comprehend my biases and interests - for better or worse.

Reviewer: Ken Micallef

Soap Bubbles: Their Colors and the Forces that Mold Them:
PHY +PHY +Auditorium 23

After a number of days and CDs with the Auditorium 23s back into the mix, I hit on the PHYs' somewhat elusive quality that was causing a subtle and relative uneasiness. While their somewhat shy bass had been obvious but not particularly bothersome, the PHYs control the music - hold onto it, shape it some and only then release it. This isn't a restriction in dimension or scale and it's certainly subtle and difficult to get hold of but what it amounts to is less sparkle.

One of the most effervescent recordings I own is Kulanjan by Taj Mahal and Toumani Diabate [Hannibal HNCD 1444]. This album was recorded live over a few days with one or two takes per song and the energy can be infectious. Toumani Diabate is the world's premier kora player (the kora is a 21-stringed lute/harp) and Taj plays one of his steel-bodied guitars on the entire recording. They are joined by a group of Malian musicians all playing traditional instruments. The kora can send its notes into the air to reverberate unlike Taj's dobro which projects its sounds from a steel body - controlled and restrained by comparison. That's part of the beauty of this recording, the interaction of these distinct and beautiful sounds and the way each instrument deals with the plucked or strummed string. On the track "Atlanta Kaira", a single kora opens and is soon joined by the other musicians and finally Ramatou Diakite & Kassemady Diabate on vocals. "Kaira" means peace and happiness and from the opening notes of the kora, there is no doubt that the listener is going be treated to a celebration. Does the PHYs' control ruin this party? No - and I doubt that without the Auditoriums as a reference, one would be left wanting. However, within this context, that last bit of sparkle and abandon is held back. It's as if you've finally had that perfect soapy bubble detach from the wand but then it never breaks. Wow. But soon enough, you realize part of the fun is in the pop.

Spinning Percy Grainger's In a Nutshell (EMI 7243 5 56412 2 9) with the PHY/Auditoriums, you are immediately struck by the emotional qualities of this recording. The performers are given more space, a deeper and quieter stage to perform on and effectively have sounds emerge from silence and resonate in a very natural way. The juxtaposition of Grainger's tuneful percussion set against the more traditional instruments speaks more about a place and mood. My only complaint is that these two pieces, Debussy's Pagodas and Ravel's La Vallee des cloche, are only just over 5 minutes apiece and with the PHY/A23s, I'd be tempted to stay within them longer.

What I've come to realize is that the Auditoriums are largely responsible for that uncanny representation of the place in the recording. Spatial cues between performers are so palpable that you can actually listen in to the performance. The Auditoriums also provide more bass heft than the PHY speaker cables while holding onto the PHYs' detail and differentiation, something the Nirvanas did not do. Inserting the second PHY interconnect imparted a more subtle change than the first but a change for the better none the less. A bit more air and detail, another layer of haze removed, more of the music revealed. As a system, the PHYs deliver all the details and the A23s supply the bloom.

Michael Lavorgna