POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 32
Anjou speaker cables
as reviewed by Dave Clark
Pear Cable is no doubt a new name to you (though Carl Hruza reviewed the Anjou interconnects back in Issue 21 and Adam Blake the co-owner and chief designer cable-guru participated in our cable interview back in Issue 30), but they have been around for a number of years making very high-quality cables for the home and automotive audio markets.
Pear Cables are based on the idea that "any successful cable design evolves from two core elements; sound engineering and scientific principles, as well as basic listening tests." You can visit their website (http://www.pearcable.com/sub_cable_design.htm) where they have a lengthy expose on cable design, but in a nutshell of sorts, I can paraphrase this much from their website:
I was sent a 4-foot single run pair and after a short break-in (Adam suggested that the break-in is minimal, but even so I gave them 48 hours on the Cable Cooker and good two-weeks 24/7 of music prior to the audition) and found the cables to be very, very nice indeed. Fit and finish is second to none. High marks for construction and appearance.
Yeah, but how do they sound?
In extended listening sessions, I found the cables' greatest strength to be its PRAT. Simply put these are very danceable cables. Music playing through them results in the proverbial foot tapping scene with the need or desire to get up and move. Great swing and pace—these cables smack that right on the nose big time. In this area, they are simply way better than anything else I have heard prior to their audition.
Compared to my other reference cables (all of differing designs: Kubala-Sosna Emotions, Audio-Magic Clairvoyant 4D, and Dynamic Design Nebulas) the Anjous are very competitive (even at their $2750 for a 3 foot pair, they are right up there with the others). Differences became issues of, well …being different and such, nothing extreme—more of slitting hairs and such. Yeah, the Audio-Magic Clairvoyant 4Ds are more dimensional than the others, the KS are bigger and bolder, the Dynamic Design Nebulas are more refined and smooth… and the Anjous are more danceable.
With the Anjous in the system, the bass was fast and clean with great agility and slam. It went deep with a nice natural punch and growl. Music that goes low did so quite well with the Anjous. Nothing to fault here, but are they as good as the others? The Kubala-Sosna Emotions come across as being a bit more robust, with the Audio-Magic Clairvoyant 4D being even a bit more so, though with them this is more in terms of fullness or bloom, than slam and punch. With the Audio-Magic Clairvoyant 4D in the system the bass is propelled out into the room, while the Kubala-Sosna Emotions do this trick with a bit more finesse and control—they come across as being a bit more linear. Music with the Anjous in the system is closer to that of the Kubala-Sosna Emotions, though it is perhaps a bit less robust and full. With the Anjous the bass sounds a bit more restrained and less visceral. Which is right? Ahh… depends on one's system and how it is balanced. Or at the very least one's system, preferences, and music… remember that there is no absolute.
Additionally, with the Audio-Magic Clairvoyant 4D the system sounded a bit more open; the Kubala-Sosna Emotions and Anjous were about equal to each other in being slightly less open. With the Dynamic Design Nebulas things were a bit smoother while being less up-front and vivid than the others. Which is right? Ahh… depends on one's system and how it is balanced.
In the midrange, if push came to shove, I would say that compared to the other cables the Anjous create a slightly leaner and less full or rich sound. And while they present music a bit leaner than the rest, I am not saying that they are a washed out bleached sounding cable, they are just not as full and rich sounding as the others. Vocals came across with a tad less chest and flesh: thinner with less body, perhaps a tad coarser. Evens so, they do offer a greater sense of speed and agility—the Anjous stress dynamics, clarity, and resolution, all related to their great sense of PRAT.
One could argue that what they are presenting is related to the Anous being more linear than the other cables, or it could be related to their overall design in mitigating problems that Adam and company perceived to be affecting the passing of a signal without any degradation. In other words the Anjous are just telling it like it is.
Truth is, this is all nit-picking as one would never notice these differences (all being to varying degrees and all rather subtle at best) unless they went back and forth between the cables I had in hand. And what sane person would do that? They all work quite well …even the new guys on the block …those upstart Anjous! Go figure that they start off with such a nicely balanced cable.
Through my system, all the cables offered-up a sweet well-extended high-end that was grain-free. Airy and nice. Not much to fault at this price range. They are all extremely competitive, though naturally the Audio-Magic Clairvoyant 4Ds bring their silvery lushness and airey-ness-ness character to the table, while the Anjous and Emotions bring their sense of copper, and the Nebulas that of a blend. I could live with any of these.
As I look back at the expense and effort Pear went into in making these elaborate cables, well …personally, the issue of how something is built falls to the wayside if they do not sound good, and vice versa. The fact that the Audio-Magic Clairvoyant 4D are freaky looking and totally off-the mark in terms of what a machine made cable—like the Anjou or Kubala-Sosna Emotions—have going on inside is a moot point. They got to work and make music that is in balance with my system. After all, we listen to a system and not just a bunch of stuff tethered together with some wire. You never really listen to just a cable, but how it interacts with the rest of the system as a whole. Yeah, cables are components too, so we got to find the right ones to make things settle-in just so.
They are all killer cables within their own right; each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Ranging from the hand to machine made (and somewhere in the middle), silver, copper, or a blend; ribbon, big wide flat ribbon, or stranded-solid; to whatever… they are all quite wonderful, with some having found a place in my system.
Which then leads us to the $64 question: which cable is telling the truth? That is, which cable is right or more correct than the others? With respect to the Anjous, are they any more right or correct than the other cables I own? Like I said above, the issue—or better yet, the problem—is that it is all about a balance of sorts, and my system is balanced with the cables in hand. Meaning I know what they bring (or not bring) to the audio/sonic table to get the sound I want when I want it! Even though they were not the absolute best overall match for my system, I still found the Anjou cables to be a joy to listen to for extended periods. Yeah, I found certain areas to criticize—the reader will read that as having faults or shortcomings, but they ain't really—that made them appear to be not as good as what I have here, but the emphasis is on appears. See, the areas that I found to criticize are minor and are no doubt a result of years spent getting it all just rightly so with my two primary cables: the Audio-Magic Clairvoyant 4D and Kubala-Sosna Emotions. They all bring their own strengths and weaknesses to the party—the problem is at a different party these strengths and weaknesses will change to varying degrees. Heck, they could simply disappear completely, which means that all the cables will be correct or right somewhere and somehow to someone. And of course the idea of someone is paramount, as it is also a matter of taste or preference!
Okay so the Anjous are rather pricey at $2750 for a meter pair, but they are impeccably built, sound quite nice, and should keep you happy for a quite a while. Like anything in audio, you got to listen for yourself, and do it in your system. So if the price is right, give ‘em a listen. Highly recommended. Dave Clark