POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 24
Silver Reference interconnect and speaker cables
as reviewed by Ed Morawski
I recently reviewed the Opus 2 cables at the low end of the VooDoo line, and came away with a great appreciation for Bruce Richardson’s design abilities. The Opus 2s are an astonishing value, and left me wondering: If Bruce’s $150 interconnects sound this good, what could he do at the upper end of his line? When I asked him, he said, "There are two things you should know: One of the many benefits of deep-immersion cryo treatment is that it shortens the break-in time. In a month or so of average listening, the Opus 2 will mellow out considerably. The Opus 2 and the Reference are the same in tonal balance, but, as with all of our cable, harmonic resolution and dynamic control is increased at each product level. Smoother response, greater refinement of detail, more balanced dynamics, are the audible result of the higher harmonic resolution of the Reference and Ultralinear lines."
Bruce offered to send me enough Silver Reference interconnects, Reference speaker cables, and Tesla 2 power cords to hook up my entire system. A week later, the cables arrived and I anxiously installed them in my system. I began by replacing all of the Opus 2 interconnects with the Reference ones. My system for this review consisted of a Musical Fidelity A308 power amp, a BAT VK-3ix preamp, a Musical Fidelity A308 CD player (used as a transport), a Tri-vista 21 DAC, and Olympic Audio loudspeakers. It was immediately apparent that Bruce had nailed these cables—harmonic resolution and dynamic control were improved, and the sound was smoother, with greater refinement and more balanced dynamics. It was like Bruce had walked into the room and tweaked the system. Bass, mids, treble, detail, transparency, and airiness had all improved. The soundstage was wider, higher, and deeper. Everything was stepped up a notch, even—interestingly enough—the volume. Although the volume setting on my preamp had not changed, the music was louder. One nice thing is that we are still talking about reasonably priced cables. A one-meter pair of Silver Reference interconnects goes for $400, and an eight-foot pair of Reference speaker cables is $700.
I was so struck by the increased bass, I had to find out which cables had caused it, so I took out all of the Reference interconnects, restored the Opus 2s, and installed the Reference speaker cables. The speaker cables improved the bass quite a lot. When I then swapped back and forth between the Reference and Opus 2 interconnects, there was a noticeable increase in bass weight and definition with the Reference cables. One of my prime test discs for bass control is Keiki Matsui’s Deep Blue. I could barely stand to play the title track on my earlier systems because the bass was so uncontrolled and bloomy. Over the years, I have improved my system to the point that I can appreciate this track. The VooDoo Opus 2s passed the test, but the VooDoo Reference cables gripped the bass and held on like an 800-pound gorilla! The lows were held in iron control, while the highs soared into space.
As I did with the Opus 2 cables, I tested the Reference cables with Mirabilis by the Mediaeval Baebes. On "The Lament," the increase in resolution, while slight, was noticeable. On "Umlahi," the voices were very sweet and full-bodied without being overdone. "Come My Sweet" was dynamic, almost explosive, but very musical and pleasant to the ear. On "Temptasyon," the Baebes sounded even more airy and dreamlike than they had with the Opus 2 cables. As with the Opus 2 cables, the drums on several tracks had a very organic, satisfying, hollow sound, but with the Reference series, the bass seemed much deeper and more complex, with sharper leading and trailing edges.
I listened to all of my favorite recordings over the next few weeks, and in not one case was there anything to complain about. In fact, the VooDoo Reference cables made every single disc sound better in every way. It is the rare component that doesn’t compromise the sound somehow, but with the Reference cables, the more I listened, the more I liked them. Their smooth musicality, coupled with their ability to bring out the tiniest details, suited my tastes exactly. Of course, there are other cables that compare to the VooDoos, but not in their price range. I can recommend the Opus 2 cables in a system that retails in the $3000-$10,000 range. The Reference cables will satisfy the needs of a system in the $20,000-plus range, for a down-to-earth sum of around $1500! They represent real savings without any compromise in sound quality. The VooDoo cables have to be one of the best values of the year (maybe of any year), and are one of my luckiest finds. Ed Morawski
Silver Reference speaker cables
Silver Reference interconnects
Ed is currently involved in the manufacturing of Olympic Loudspeakers.