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Positive Feedback ISSUE43
Textura interconnect and speaker cables
as reviewed by Mike Peshkin
OK, first I've got to tell you that the John Risch CATV DIY cables are pretty darned good cables. I use them from time to time when I have a lot of equipment running in the system and need extra interconnects. Soundstage is good, imaging a bit better than some IC's, no tonal colors added that I discern. A good cable, better than much of the crap out there, but alas, not as good as "the good stuff."
I was asked by the powers that be at Positive Feedback Online, to listen to some wires. Heck, I listen to anything that isn't a waste of time. Thankfully, I have had very few pieces of gear or wires that I would consider it a waste of time to listen to and evaluate. I love being surprised, hearing things on well known recordings that were never highlighted before.
From the moment I opened the boxes the wires came in I knew they were going to be something special. Imagine an IC or speaker wire with its dielectric sewn on rather than simply slipping it over the wire. The feel and look of this wire is that of a fine suit of clothing… tiny stitching, perfectly even, no skipped stitches, the seams as straight as a sunbeam.
But would they show me the goods, would they allow the sound to be transmitted faithfully? What will be illuminated, put forth on the soundstage of your listening room?
Of course, a question arises. Is it good or bad that a particular part of a performance, a particular instrument, a particular sound the instrument makes is illuminated? Is a larger soundstage a truer soundstage?
One of the more common mistakes a cable has made in my system is spreading the soundstage out across the room along with the loss of imaging information. At first, I am excited and mesmerized that the soundstage is so wide. It is only upon subsequent listening I hear the loss of three dimensions of that soundstage!
But Lordy! When a cable improves soundstage depth, width, height; shows me the images of the instruments and the bodies playing those instruments, I get excited.
I put the Vovox Textura ICs on my CD player, keeping the speaker wires in reserve so that I could hear what the sound changes might be with my TG Audio Silver speaker wires. The ICs were not broken in and yet I heard a purer sound, a wider (just a bit) soundstage, a more brightly painted picture of Neil Young on that stage in Massey Hall. Let me tell you, the CD is marvelous, the LP is even better than marvelous. Neil Young… young! Anger and non-jaded feelings pour forth from your loudspeakers… it is truly a superb recording both for sound and music.
And the Vovox ICs made it even better than before when using the DIY wires. Sort of like "souping up" a car, the sound became more vibrant, more real. The overused line, "I could easily hear the lyrics," is quite true, here… I could more easily understand the lyrics!
Then the Vovox textura speaker wires were put between the Monarchy amps and the Infinity P-FR speakers. I didn't hear much difference between the Silvers and the Vovox, but then they cost about the same… not that performance should have any correlation with price, but let's face it, many times it has! This particular instance proved $ vs. $ equaled great sound.
The depth of the stage, and its width didn't change noticeably. What did change with the use of the IC's and the speaker wires was clarity of voices, but again, that may have been the case of the IC's alone. I did my usual thang of switching things here and there… putting the IC's onto the JMW arm's RCA block after listening through some magnificent silver wires a friend made for me from silver clad copper wire. Better? Nope? Different and good… most definitely?
I'm impressed by the Vovox wires' ability to separate sounds, I can't really put my finger on how it's different from the many cables I play with but I do know I like it a whole lot. Extension of highs and air is what this wire seems to excel at. Not a wire for a bright system but I have to wonder if a dull sounding system would benefit from the resolution. I'd buy this wire in a New York minute if I needed a pair of ICs and a good speaker wire… heck, I'd buy them just because I like what they sounded like in my system… all I need to do is sell some of the other wires!
But I'm a giver, not a seller. I starved selling various items when I pretended to be a salesman; and anyway, I love giving my unwanted things to friends who need them.
I listened to a Mongo Santamaria LP, Up from the Roots Atlantic SD1621 with the Vovox IC's leading to the Hagerman Picollo. Pace, rhythm, all that makes music exciting is revealed… the Vovox doesn't hide faults (did I warn you about that?). Every drumbeat, every nuance of Mongo's conga drums, the texture of the drum skins, the texture of the skin of his fingers and most of all, a sense of separateness of everything that gave this LP the drive that had my toes tapping.
Every drum strike can be heard on this LP, there's no sense of smeared sounds of any type. John Fadis' trumpet sounds clear within the controlled cacophony of the music… this is a record that is based more on rhythm than melody, yet the melody is never lost and that trumpet is revealed, not covered up by the rhythms.
I believe it could be with the wrong equipment, with the wrong wires.
Listening to the Modern Jazz Quartet, Blues at Carnegie Hall on the Atlantic reissue (Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab 1-206) I realized that the vibraphone was, perhaps, clearer sounding than I'd noticed before. Let's face it, any change, when you know your equipment quite well, is going to highlight sounds you never took notice of before the change. Again, this isn't wrong, it's simply different. But different is good, the vibes shimmered.
Playing a Corelli LP from an Everest set the harpsichord didn't have the disturbing tinkle so many recordings have. Or, at least this time it didn't, I had that LP placed on my shelf in a way that I knew I'd played it before (large collection owners know when something is different on their shelves) but I hadn't played it for a long while. I really enjoy Corelli and play various LPs with his music quite often; I'm a chamber music fanatic. If that LP had sounded as good as it did when playing it through the Vovox cables, I assure you I'd remember when I last played it! An Everest… sometimes not the finest sounding LPs, for sure, but then, when they are in fact good, they are very, very good. I would not have heard that excellence through lesser wires.!
I played the Live at Massey Hall LP and was able to see every crease on Neil Young's jeans. Better, I could hear the pain behind The Needle and the Damage Done, revealing the experiences Young had just had while traveling through the U.S. This record may be the finest live recording I've ever heard. I played it with the Vovox ICs, my reference Silver Dragons, and the silver clad wires Win Tinnon, the creator of the fabulous Saskia turntable, made for me. The "Tinnon" wires are unavailable but the Vovox wires are… if I wanted to buy a great wire, and didn't have the ones Win made for me, I'd buy the Vovox wires in a Tokyo minute, which is 4.7 times faster than a New York minute.
I consider wire as merely (hah!) another component, not simply a way to connect the parts of my system. Equally important as the sources and transducers (cartridge/loudspeaker) and equally responsible for the overall sound. The Vovox wires are worth every penny asked for them, they were astounding. Sadly (or maybe happily?) I have a lot of great wire.
They call them textura, which is about as perfect of a description for these cables as anyone could write. Try ‘em out. As I said, they'd be mine if I needed them… they'd be mine if I had a few bucks to buy some extras. Mike Peshkin
From the Vovox website:
Retail: 1m Textura interconnect - $1000 a pair
Retail: 2.5m Textura speaker cables - $1500