Switching to classical, I played the "Siciliano" movement of one of Bach's harpsichord concerti with Richard Egarr, Andrew Manze, and the Academy of Ancient Music [Harmonia Mundi 907283/4, 2002]. With the Conductors, the violins sounded appropriately sentimental and plaintive, with plenty of audible air and hall acoustics. The harpsichord benefited from this extra clarity in the way its lovely tone floated through the air. I could even hear how each pluck resonated within the instrument. Returning to the Oval Ones, the impact of these details was reduced. The violins blended into each other and felt less moving because of it. The tone of the harpsichord was fuller but did not exhibit the same resonating effect. Because the Conductors didn't try to alter the sound of the source equipment, they didn't seem to get in the way of the recordings.

Just to make sure that I wasn't going to miss the added warmth of the Ovals, I played one of my favorite early music recordings, Musica Sacra directed by Rinaldo Alessandrini and sung by the Concerto Italiano [Opus 111 30150, 1996]. This a wonderful recording of the music and motets of Monteverdi. I played the "Adoramus te" for twelve voices with their beautiful Italian enunciation of the lyrics, giving the music a suave air. The choir sings "Have mercy on us" so divinely that they must have been forgiven on the spot!

The Conductors revelled in the brilliantly articulated consonants and the way the voices intertwined in the complex weave of harmonies. Sibilants were more sharply defined without sounding annoying. The Conductors also provided a more accurate picture of the placement of the singers in the spacious-sounding acoustic. The Conductors took this recording, and with it my equipment, to another level.

Audience powerChords - The Strong, Silent Type
I have not heard the Analysis Plus Oval 10 power cables recently enough to make a complete comparison with the powerChords. However, I can say that the powerChords offered backgrounds that were as quiet as I remember the Oval 10s. When I removed my reference Shunyata DiamondBacks and connected the powerChords, I heard the quietest background levels of any power cables I've yet had in my house. This neat trick already worked with the Complete integrated and CD player and became very obvious with the more revealing BVaudio separates.

When I played the song "Mahk Jchi" [Mahk Jchi, Original Vision Records, 1994/1997], I could hear more space around the voices of Ulali and the drum and bells weren't as deeply buried in the background. The powerChords also allowed the more analytical BVaudio equipment to expose the flaws of the recording with greater clarity. The singing was still as beautiful as a bird in flight, but I was now more aware of the mixing technique used to separate the voices in the soundstage. When I switched back to my Shunyata Research cords, I realized that those details were still there, but the powerChords had actually removed yet another veil from my system.

Next I tried "Blackbird" from GRIT by Martyn Bennett [Realworld 25512 2003]. The singing of Lizzie Higgins has a sincerity that commands attention and the electronic and acoustic arrangements enhance this song without sounding out of place. For me, this recording has the effect of stepping out on sunny winter day when the air feels so fresh as to make me feel giddy and light-headed. The powerChords did not interfere with this feeling of exhilaration. The pulsing synthesizers and heavy beats sounded appropriately edgy and more visceral than I heard with the DiamondBacks, which lacked the potency of the powerChords. For further comparison, the Audio Magic Xstream power cables encouraged more bass than the DiamondBacks, but neither of these cables had the controlled and balanced presentation of the powerChords. The powerChords were as brilliant in the highs as the DiamondBacks without limiting the lower end. With the Xstreams, the beats sounded better than the voice. With the DiamondBacks, the voice sounded better than the beats. The powerChords combined the best of both worlds!

Great comedians have the ability to deliver the punch line no matter how many times you've heard the joke. Their manner makes the joke. I recently saw My Favorite Brunette, a 1947 screwball comedy starring Bob Hope. His lines are as corny as Kansas in August yet his delivery tickles your funny bone. Bob Hope plays a photographer of babies who becomes involved with gangsters and winds up on death row. One scene finds him trying to escape the mobsters. He runs up to an apartment but finds the front door locked. Old apart- ment houses used to have buzzers with speakerphones. Desperate, Bob starts pushing all of the buzzers and repeatedly shouts, "Hi honey! Joe's here!" Immediately, the door is buzzed open by dozens of women who reply, "Hi Joe! Come on up!" It's funny alright, but the true hilarity is all in Bob's delivery of go-get-'em desperation.

With the equipment used, the Audience Conductors and powerChords delivered the musical punch line every time. They even beat out my reference interconnects and power cables - I hate when that happens! This might be another reason why some audio reviewers disdain cable reviews. They might hear something better and feel forced to reinvest in new wires. The Audience power cables offer accuracy and musicality beyond their really simple appearance and affordable price ($379/6ft). If the trickle-down claims hold true in reverse, it would certainly be interesting to hear how much better the Audience Maestro and Au24 cables could sound. However, audiophiles on a budget can be assured that these cables won't leave them shortchanged. Like the Chinese astrological Ox, these cables speak little but they do so eloquently while inspiring confidence. To hear music with this much clarity and refinement is more than worth the asking price. I urge fellow audiophiles on their journey to greater musical heights to arrange for a demo of the Audience Conductor interconnects and powerChord power cables.

During my previous reviews of the BVaudio P-1 preamplifier and the Outlaw Audio M200 monoblock amplifiers, I kept returning to the powerChords to make each component sound its best without altering its inherent character. The powerChords made the most of whatever I connected them to and really shone with the neutrality and transparency of the BVaudio gear. These cables are the most expensive ones I have reviewed so far but offer a level of refinement that encourages such a balanced response from my components that they clearly must be considered very high value. I hereby raise my recently emptied Pilsner glass and salute the powerChords as the best of their kind I've heard until now.
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