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VH Audio Spectrum Interconnects

Image: VH Audio Spectrum Cu Interconnects

I considered posting a formal review, but opted for a normal post.

VH Audio has a new single ended IC design, and two versions to choose from. The new Spectrum interconnects are extremely flexible and lightweight cables. The use of a low mass dielectric material (AirLok) is obvious when the cables are held in one's hand.

It’s available both as a copper version Spectrum Cu with WBT NextGen Cu rca’s, and a silver version Spectrum Ag with WBT NextGen Ag rca’s. To my ear as placed within my system, I prefer the copper version Spectrum Cu. I now use two sets of Spectrum Cu interconnects, one set placed on a Museatex DAC, and the other set placed between an Aragon preamplifier and a Bryston power amplifier feeding a pair of B&W Matrix 805's. I'm very pleased.

Spectrum Cu (copper version):

The copper version from the get go have more PRAT, a lowered noise floor, and a greater sense of refinement vs. my DIY Pulsar/Xhadow interconects. However, they both have a similar house sound, and I'm very pleased with that impression. There is a certain lovely beauty that's conveyed by the copper Spectrum Cu. There seems to be a musical quality that is rather sweet and ethereal, even. I will say firmly that the gestalt is one of more acoustic than electronic, and that just might be the greatest compliment one can bestow towards a cable's merit. The top end shows very crisp detail, and the bass goes deep. They image very well, and offer an excellent soundstage presentation. The gestalt is very transparent. I can’t detect any RFI/EMI issues due to the unshielded design.

The copper version Spectrum Cu's bass articulation is substantially better than that of the Pulsar, which is one of that cable's strong points. While the Pulsar does much better in the bottom end than many IC's I've heard, the copper Spectrum Cu is a bass champ, especially when used on both source and pre-to-power connections. I feel the copper Spectrum Cu is best when used in tandem with another copper Spectrum Cu downstream. I certainly like the copper-copper Spectrum Cu combo better than the copper-silver Spectrum Cu/Ag combo within my particular system.

While also being a very nimble cable, the Pulsar has a small measure of bloom (a somewhat more diffuse sound) and I believe I can hear the cable's solid FEP dielectric effect as compared to the extremely uncolored copper Spectrum Cu's AirLok dielectric which sounds quicker and more transparent in terms of it's sonic signature and lowered noise floor. The copper Spectrum Cu sounds more dynamic and detailed, both macro and micro, and tonal shadings are far more apparent with deliniation of spatial information also being truly superb. Transients are firm and natural without etching. Harmonic information has a spot-on clarity and there is no hype or coloration involved in what the copper Spectrum Cu presents. I must say that the copper Spectrum Cu's performance is in the same "AirLok family" as both the VH Audio litz speaker cable and the AirSine power cord are, and should please those who appreciate that sonic signature, or lack of sonic signature being a better description, in my opinion. I love it and it's a keeper.

Spectrum Ag (silver version):

I have found that solid core pure silver IC’s are not my cup-o-tea, so the following opinion is biased, and should be ignored by those who dig solid core pure silver IC’s. So, I gladly agree to be viewed as being skewed in my silver IC POV:

My first impression is that the two cable version's presentations are (in a certain way) more similar than different (but significantly different sounding, they are). The silver version Spectrum Ag has a softer overall sound, and is smoother (if not too smooth) in the treble. There is a complete lack of etching in the leading edges while still offering great detail, which is a much sought after quality to some folks who choose the presentation of silver cables. There's more bloom in the midrange, and a softer sounding bass which does not seem to go as low or present with as much authoritativeness as the copper version does. The silver version also has a certain liquidity that is more pronounced than what the copper version offers, although the copper version does have a rather fluid sound. The copper version sounds “faster” and more transparent to my ear. The silver version Spectrum Ag has a rather pronounced silver sonic signature at first listen, but this is not a bad thing (per se) since that's why many folks enjoy silver cables. Often, silver is said to have a sonic signature while this point is not often made regarding “copper wire”. Perhaps this is because copper is the touchstone material we all "grew up" with, so we don't know of anything else to judge copper's sonic signature with as a reference point (other than often considered "warmer" sounding than silver, true or not).

In my solid state system; I consider the copper version Spectrum Cu to sound more vivid from a spatial point of view, with a more dynamic and firm presentation. The silver version Spectrum Ag sounds more lush and tube-like (perhaps), while still being of high resolution and great musicality. Don't get me wrong; this is a great sounding silver cable with excellent performance qualities. My less than rave opinion could very well be due to my specific components, system, and listening tastes, and may not be what others find to be true. Maybe it's similar to the tube vs. solid state debate. Perhaps it's a matter of flavor. Some solid state guys think tube gear to sound euphonic, while some tube guys think solid state gear to sound sterile. Who's right? Again, perhaps it's a matter of flavor (no correct answer).

Again, I feel the copper version Spectrum Cu to be more vivid, faster, and less euphonic (subjective opinion). I feel the copper version to sound more transparent, with the silver version having a more pronounced sonic signature (albeit in a good way). The silver version is a very sweet sounding IC with a "gorgeous" sounding presentation, but I can't get over the fact that I find myself listening to the cable rather than the gear that feeds it. Silver IC fans will likely beg to differ, and that’s way OK with me, guys :-)

Yet (in defence of silver IC’s), I find it interesting that many folks consider a silver IC to sound hard and/or harsh. I've not found this to be true, as silver tends to sound softer and "cleaner" than copper, and any harshness would likely be due to a poor design or problems upstream. Anyway, while silver IC’s are not my cup-o-tea, the presentation (to my ear) may have something about it that I'm overlooking due to perceptual conditioning. Within an all-silver-cabled system this factor might be less apparent, as I've read that a silver cable is best used when all cables in the chain are silver. I don't know how true this is.

Cheers, Duster

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Topic - VH Audio Spectrum Interconnects - Duster 13:25:30 11/22/05 (12)


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