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POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 17
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ps audio

xStream Statement speaker cables

as reviewed by John Zurek

 

 

 

 

JOHN ZUREK'S SYSTEM

LOUDSPEAKERS
Thiel 3.6.

ELECTRONICS
Cary SLP-88 Preamplifier, PS Audio HCA-2 Amplifier, and a Lehmann Audio Black Cube phonostage.

SOURCES
Cary 303/200 CD player and a VPI HW-19 /AudioQuest PT6/Benz Micro Glider.

CABLES
John Dunlavy Reference, Acoustic Zen MC2 interconnects, Acoustic Zen Satori speaker cables, and Silver Audio PowerBurst AC cords.

ACCESSORIES
Headroom Supreme headphone amplifier, Sennheiser HD 600 headphones, Argent Room Lenses, VPI HW-16.5 Record Cleaner, Monster 2000 power conditioner, Standesign racks, Vibrapods, Sonex panels, and AudioPrism Quiet Line filters.

 

I seem to change interconnects often, but while once I find speaker cables I like, I tend to stick with them for a long time. I haven't found a lot of speaker cables that fill the long-term bill, but the PS Audio xStream Statements definitely do. The Statements are gorgeous—audio bling-bling, and I love it. Not only are they beautiful, but like all the other PS cables I've reviewed, they are heavy and well-constructed. They come with two sets of detachable spade connectors and two sets of banana connectors, all of them machined from solid high-copper-content material, then polished, gold plated, and polished again. I love this too. No matter your connection preference, you can have it in a matter of moments.

What's inside this large-diameter wire? To quote the PS Audio website: "Our ultimate expression in a single wire configuration is the Statement xStream.  This beast is based on 6 gauge construction, has nine (count them!) solid core conductors wrapped around a heavy rope lay of Multi-strand and painstakingly hand terminated with high purity silver bearing solder." I've got to hand it to PS Audio for the way they explain the philosophy, construction, and performance of their cables. More than any company, they go the extra mile to give you information. It gives me confidence that the company designed and built these wires from the ground up, as opposed to the companies that merely buy wire and connectors and stamp their name on the product.

The xStreams are available in a bi-wire version, but since my reference speakers are Thiel 3.6s, I had to settle for the single-wire configuration. Jim Thiel is solidly in the no bi-wire camp. Which camp am I in? Whichever sounds better.  I've heard great designs of both types, but I trust the designers' wishes and go with their recommendation. That said, the bi-wire xStreams are one of the most impressive looking (as in large) speaker cables I've ever seen. Maybe some day I'll change reference speakers and listen to them.

How do these heavy blue behemoths sound? The looks are a plus, but if the sound wasn't top notch, the looks would mean nothing. Somewhat typical of high-quality copper sound, the xStreams are not overly analytical, but do not lack detail. They are just an itsy-bitsy touch warm, but not too much so. They are easy to listen to, without losing the bite of triangle strokes or the magic shimmer of cymbal overtones. The xStreams render lower frequencies almost like a really good solid-state amplifier. I heard great slam and punch, but with accurate and full tonality across the lower spectrum. Frequencies in the 25-60Hz area were particularly nice. Mids had just a touch of warmth. Highs were extended, detailed, smooth, and without etch. The cables threw a wide, convincing, and deep soundstage, very akin to that of my reference Acoustic Zen Satoris. Their inner resolution was accomplished, although it could get slightly muddy at low volumes. While these cables worked well with all types of music, I really liked them with  electric music with synth bass or punchy drums. On the other hand, I can't fault the way they portrayed orchestral and chamber fare. They were very convincing and very pleasurable, making long listening sessions easy on the ear.

Quibbles? Only one. I originally hooked up the xStreams using the banana terminations, but for some reason they did not mate well with the WBT connectors on my PS Audio HCA-2 amplifier, and one broke off. I then switched to the oversized spades, and never had a problem.

I've reviewed PA Audio's Statement power cables and interconnects in the past, and while the power cables are definitely the studs of the stable, the interconnects and speaker cables are pure thoroughbreds. Who would have thought a company mostly known for its power regulating products would become a major player in the cable market?

Do I recommend this beautiful speaker cable? Absolutely! Not only do they sound great and look great, but real-world audiophiles can afford them. They do tend to be slightly warm, so I would probably not put them in a system that leaned in that direction. At the price, the xStreams are a stellar value. If I were the competition, I'd be scared. This is a class act. John Zurek

PS Audio xStream Statement speaker cable
Retail: $799 (2-M pair)

PS Audio
web address: www.psaudio.com

 

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