Speaker cable – one of the things I avoided reviewing professionally. I was regularly loaned pieces of Monster Cable ‘this’ or Audioquest ‘that’ when these companies were start-ups but I never settled on using an audiophile cable. I experimented with solid core, used some heavyweight QED, but ended up using what was to become Cable Talk 3.1.
With the need to rewire my main system I read around, looking for a ‘non-foo’ solution. This came in the form of two 10m lengths of Van Damme 6mm Hi-Fi Speaker Cable terminated with gold spades by Mark Grant (whose work, presentation and packaging is superb) priced at £158.
To put a TV screen into my sound system I’ve had to re-orientate the furniture in my listening room. This meant I could now cut the cable runs down from 10m to 4m or under. I ordered a new set of Van Damme from Mark Grant which were terminated and supplied within the week for £88. I very quickly swapped out the 10m lengths in the system for the 4m lengths sat back with the same track, same volume setting – and was disappointed – no, quite unsettled – by the change in sound quality. Not what I’d expected. Vocals weren’t in the right place, the whole thing sounded lop-sided, the stereo decided ‘odd’. So much so I thought I’d wired the system out-of-phase or in inverted phase. I checked and the polarity was correct and as before.
Now I know about cable directionality and have always followed instructions when using directional interconnects but never given it much credence. Then the thought struck me…Van Damme is directional. Sure enough I’d got the left channel cable wired ‘backwards’. Quick change round and everything was back to how it should be. I genuinely would not have believed a) it would make that kind and degree of difference and b) it would be a big enough difference to make me think right off there was something wrong with the system. You live and learn…
(Oh! the two 10m length are now doing stirling work in my office system. It was if I’d planned that all along.)