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Positive Feedback ISSUE 15
september/october 2004


luminous audio

Synchestra Signature speaker cables

a follow-up by Art Shapiro


Photographs and image processing by Dave Clark





ESP Concert Grand and REL Stadium II subwoofer.

Convergent Audio SL1 Signature preamplifier and  and Manley Labs Neo 250-Classic 250 monoblocks.

VPI HW-19 IV turntable, Graham 1.5 arm, and Grado Master Reference cartridge. Wadia WT3200 transport and Kora Hermes II DAC, Revox A77 open reel deck, Nakamichi 480 cassette deck, and a Sansui TU-919 tuner.

Nordost Silver Shadow digital interconnect. Monster Sigma 2000 Retro interconnects and Cardas Golden Hex 5C bi-wired speaker cables. Tiff, Marigo, Gutwire G-Clef and Gutwire Power Clef AC, and MIT Z II power cords.

Brickwall PW8R15AUD power filter and dedicated AC lines.


In Issue 14 of PFO (see Luminous), I wrote a rave review of the top-of-the-line speaker cables from Luminous, the Synchestra Signatures. They had proved to be a distinct improvement over my longstanding reference cables, the Cardas Golden Hexlink 5Cs. Given their rather sane pricing compared with many competitors, the Synchestra Signatures are a no‑brainer for consideration by the reader with a relatively high‑end system and an upgrade itch.

Amidst my praise for the sound of these exceptional cables, there was one logistical issue that detracted from my pleasure—the fact that the Synchestra Signatures were not made in a “shotgun” configuration, meaning a bi-wired setup in which both runs of cable are anchored into a single lug at the amplifier end. This meant having to work two separate leads under each of the four connections on the amplifiers. Those who don't have experience with this problem are doubtlessly saying to yourselves, “What a wuss! This poor clown, who can't stick two wires under a binding post, expects us to feel sorry for his plight. My heart bleeds.” On the other hand, those who have faced this issue are nodding knowingly in agreement. Believe me, it isn't fun trying to position a couple of rather hefty wires under each binding post and clamp them tightly without tearing the cables from the adjoining post. Especially in a reviewing situation, in which it is best to swap cables quickly, this really isn't pleasant.

Mr. Luminous, Tim Stinson, was sympathetic to my plight, but told me that sound was not the issue, and that the reason he didn't offer the shotgun configuration was solely because he couldn't find any lugs beefy enough to accommodate two of the heavy Synchestra cables. The cables were so good that I couldn't see this as a show-stopper, so I was eager to purchase a set. I would have bought the review samples, but given the fact that my Manley monoblocks sit on the floor next to my speakers, six-footers were longer than required. The review samples went back to Luminous, along with a blank check for a four-foot pair, in the hope that an appropriate lug for shotgunning might be found, no matter what the cost. If not, I'd survive with separate lengths.

While the review was in progress, Mr. Stinson did more research on the subject, and determined that there was hope after all. It turned out that some Cardas lugs looked promising. He purchased a couple, and managed to obtain appropriately-sized heatshrink to finish the construction. Sure enough, it worked!  As I write this, the world's first pair of shotgunned Luminous Synchestra Signature speaker cables have been sitting in my system for ten days.

I continue to be ecstatic with these cables. Although I'm not naïve enough to say that the difference between my Cardas 5Cs and the Synchestra Signatures is night and day, I can discern an improvement. After the review samples went back to the company and I was again using the Cardas, my audio satisfaction was diminished. The musical presentation was somewhat blurrier and less forceful.  Although I had been happy during the six years or so that I'd used them, there was no question that they couldn't match the Synchestra Signatures in my system. When the new cables arrived, I once again felt that the system had taken a further step toward sonic perfection. As I sit typing to the mellifluous strains of the Eric Korngold Symphony in F Sharp Minor (Delos 3234), only a harsher critic than I could say that the system isn't providing superb sound and a great deal of musical satisfaction.

Does it sound as good, or even different, than it did with the separate lengths of speaker cable that I had for review? Who knows? I no longer have them, but doubt that the difference would be audible. I'm happy, and Tim Stinson, having a source of appropriate high-quality spades, will be able to offer the shotgunned Synchestra Signatures as part of the Luminous Audio product line.

These are great speaker cables, and I recommend them highly. For those of you with bi-wired setups, having the product available in shotgun form is icing on the cake. I suspect that these cables are going to reside in The System for quite some time. Art Shapiro

Synchestra Signature speaker cables
$40 per foot, $40 termination per pair

Luminous Audio
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