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Audience Audio Au24 SX Loudspeaker Wires


High End Audio, It's Just Probable

Francis Vale

There are those who love to measure audio wires for certain things. They see that the measured stats between different sets of wires ring up as being equivalent. So hey, these tested wires are all identical. Thus, their gospel: you will hear no audible differences between this pair costing 10 cents a foot and this one costing hundreds of bucks for just twelve inches.

But their measures tell you nothing about what’s happening in the quantum realm, which is just so far from ordinary existence and conventionally preached belief.

The quantum is the realm of the probable, not precision convictions. It is a truly bizarre world that defies rational explanation.

There are reports that sometimes when setting up the famous double slit experiment that shows light and matter act as both classic particles and waves, that, based on the experimenters’ mental intent in designing the experiment, the universe obligingly rearranges itself to give them their intended result.

This is like playing roulette, first imagining the number you will soon bet on, and voila, you score that 10. The gotcha? The double slit experiment also shows those objects are neither particles nor waves; they are in a strange third state, a quantum state consisting of some of a wave and some of a particle, and how this strange beast will operate at any instant is probabilistic, and far from being certain. (BTW, a good argument starter is saying a photon, or an electron is just an excitation of a quantum field, and not a particle.)

So next time you imagine a future roulette number, will luck be a lady again? Probably not.

Einstein bet his reputation that quantum entanglement was so much humbug, “spukhafte Fernwirkung!” -- spooky action at a distance! More accurately, a “spooky remote effect.” Unlike the atomic bomb, though, he bombed on this one.

It was Niels Bohr who finally showed this quantum paradox was the real deal in the 1960’s, more than 30 years after Big Al dumped shade on it. Quantum entangled atoms can instantly know another’s state, even when spread apart from one another by a whole universe.

Does the quantum cross over into our classic reality?  Ever have an MRI exam? Your exam and its results are based on quantum spin states and the water in your body, and more specifically, the MR (magnetic resonance) effect on your hydrogen nuclei.

And as computer chip designs shrink to 7nm to 5nm and beyond, quantum effects are emerging as a widespread and significant problem.  Computer chip designers must now factor in quantum effects on chip operation and its consequences. And the quantum bothered list goes on.

So, essentially, in classical physics complete knowledge of the past allows computation of the future, but in quantum probability given complete knowledge of the past, we can make only probabilistic predictions of the future.

If you can’t stomach the idea that deep down all of nature is working like the spin of a mad casino wheel, you, like Albert Eisnte, will just reject my quantum argument, so OK, stop reading here.

But if you can grudgingly acknowledge that existence might simultaneously operate in two quite different realities, you are probably a candidate for the high-end audio club.

High-end audio crusaders are continually in fevered pursuit of a listening epiphany. And because the current zipping down the audio wires is a stream of electrons the bizarre behavior of the quantum is also very much at play in the hunt. All electric charges are quantum objects, e.g., electrons.

The electron’s conduction in a material cannot be explained without quantum mechanics. Any charged particle moving past an observer will look to that observer like an impulse of an electric current, and a steady flow of such particles will look like a steady electric current. Sounds like an illusion to me.

It also sounds like your high-end audio quest to accurately capture once and for all the subtlety of a piano key strike, a cello string pluck, a jazz breath crossing a reed, or a particular vocal cord aria by using probabilistic electrons is more of a Don Quixote in need of a Sancho Panza.

I also had been tossing the unforgiving dice in a search for concrete solitons after one of my stereo rigs went through some system changes. The previously miraculous sound coming from the Ta’Us horn loaded loudspeakers went abruptly AWOL. These floor standing speakers were from a UK company by the name of Impulse (since defunct). The Ta’Us are as unforgiving as a constipated prison guard. If the incoming signal steps out of line even a little bit, expect extreme audible punishment.

Each Ta’Us speaker accommodates triple terminal connections for all its drivers. And I had long ago tossed the Impulse supplied terminal bridges. I always dove in for the full-on three-way experience.

I had been using a custom-made set of wires terminated in a triple split at the speaker end. This speaker cable arrangement had worked its magic on numerous audio equipment iterations, but not on this latest setup.

After much changing of things about, it was time to cast a quizzical look at those tried-and-true speaker wires.


But what wires to replace my erstwhile and trusted companions? I previously reviewed the Audience Au24 SX XLR connectors, which had offered up remarkable audio results.

So, I gave Audience a shout. They were gracious enough to send along a pair of their Au24 SX loudspeaker cables, along with Au24 SX jumper wires to tie together the 3-way Ta’Us terminals.

IIn went the wires and their many jumpers, not knowing what to expect. Especially after all the hassles I had been through trying to get great sound again from those impatient floor standers.

Bang. I felt like one of those medieval church supplicants, who, in one beatific, stained-glass lit moment, had their long-beseeched prayers answered. By any measure, it was a true audible resurrection. The Impulse speakers sprung back to full spectrum life. 

The previously muddy bottom now was as tight as a church mom’s disapproving lips. The midrange sermon, previously sleep-inducing, had got the congregation’s feet a tapping. As for the highs, even atheists’ prayers were being heard on above.

Most makers of great high-end cables have a special sauce to make their wires sing.  In the instance of the Audience SX speaker wires, it doesn’t stop at using OCC (six nines) copper, high quality XLPE dielectric insulation, and tweaked geometry.

The company also double cryogenically treats all its SX family of cables in its in-house cryo lab. Each component part of the cable is individually treated, then, after the cables are assembled and tested, it cryo’s the completed cable. Audience call this process CRYO².

When Audience cryogenically treats its cables, in addition to improving transmission of audio signal, they are altering electron behavior, which is inescapably quantum. The characteristics of cryogenically treated wire with untreated wire have been scientifically compared.

In one study example, it was observed that when the cooling period is increasing, the hardness, electric conductivity, wear resistance, and surface microstructure of the treated wire have been improved. (“A study on cryogenically treated molybdenum wire electrodes”, Myilsamy, et al, 2021)

One of my go-to system checks for reviewing new gear is Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong from their eponymous 2-disc Mobile Fidelity set.  One track in particular, Autumn in New York, is magic when done right. Prior to putting in the Audience wires, this cut couldn’t get past Newark. The Audience cables leapt over all the get to NYC tolls and placed Ella and Louis right in front of me. Sweet.

Up next, A Meeting by the River. This 1992 album is by Ry Cooder and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and recorded by Water Lily Acoustics. It is an improvised, collaborative work that features Cooder on slide guitar and Bhatt on the Mohan veena, a stringed instrument created by Bhatt. There is a track on it, Ganges Delta Blues, that starts with both artists tentatively plucking about where this music is going. Then bang. They find their collaborative groove and rip. The Audience wires gave Cooder and Bhatt their full, whole-body shaking due. 

Another gem. Starting out as an indie pop singer, then morphing into a jazz composer prodigy, Jihye Lee, from South Korea, has been compared with the likes of Gil Evans and multi-Grammy award winner Maria Schneider. Lee’s 2021 album, Daring Mind, is her big-band opus that makes an epic cross Pacific trip on the wings of the Audience wires, from bebop to 21st-century rhythm-bends to harmonies that evoke the best animal spirits of Schneider. One track in particular, Revived Mind, slams it all together.

Lastly, Lizzo’s bass crunching track, About Damn Time. Oh, Lizzo, via the Audience wires, your fab-u-lous, down low lust would arouse an octogenarian priest. Yes. Your thankful contributions are gladly accepted.

The Audience wires further allowed my system’s Rogue Audio Stereo 100 tube amp, whose basso profundo cross-dresses as a transistor to have a full-on runway experience. This wonderful rogue’s performance was artfully staged and managed by a Schiit Audio Freya + preamp that just begged to have its four tubes rolled, which they oh so very much had been in matched electro-harmonix gold.

As I listened, I sometimes speculated if, just maybe, these extraordinary Audience electrons were quantum entangled with an audio system on a planet spinning away somewhere in the Pleiades, and me and Zork were, in all probability, simultaneously enjoying the same wonderful musical illusion.

 

21st, The VXM Network, https://vxm.com