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Lance A. aka Chopper 87 on the forums

This is not an attempt to claim that I have uncovered the state-of-the-art speaker cables at a miraculously low price. First, I am not convinced that Audience’s Au24E top-line cable system would sonically displace or equal the best of the accepted SOTA cables available. Second, the Audience may not cost $12,000 per two-meter pair but a standard 2.5 meter length still costs more than $1,500/pr.

So what’s the point? First let me make it very clear that I still own almost every cable pair—six pairs in the case of my OCOS speaker cables and many other well-known brands from Van Den Hul, Vampire Wire, MIT and many other highly respected versions—which I've ever bought that sell or sold in the $1 to 3K/pr price range. There’s no real need to identify all their names because until the Valhalla came along, who’d remember names (I like those Vikings). Regardless, I continuously strove to find that special ‘golden’ cable which would finally and dramatically outperform the best in my growing stable and still come in at less than $3,000/pr. I wasn't kidding. I really do have a drawer, shelf and closet full of speaker cables. I even still have the first pair of 'high-end' speaker cables Noel Lee of Monster Cable sold me. Those are sonically vintage in every bad way imaginable. If you do not believe in sonic cable evolution, take a listen to these early Monster Cables. You'd change your tune in a hurry.

Now it’s approximately thirty years later. I still have all of my cables, my now vintage Monster cables are yellowing and I have a room full of speaker cables that are quite good, up to date and often as big and heavier than a garden hose. Why do I keep trying and buying more? Their literature all talks and shows so much advanced and pretty science. They must sound even better. Right.

Except that this time I got either lucky or ran out of other cables to try. I had somehow read a white paper going into intricate details describing absolutely nothing about the new Audience AU24 cable line. These were even skinnier than my OCOS and I used triple runs of those to get the job done well. Guess who just had to buy a pair of Audience from his local high-end audio dealer? Me. Of course these dealers are very rare nowadays and we try not to get too close to them lest we spook them - very dangerous, that.

The box that this 2.5 meter pair of Audience Au24 speaker cables came in was small and very lightweight. It didn’t feel any different when the cables were removed. That was the last time I made fun of those cables. They came to me at about the beginning of my long-term open baffle/widebander driver evaluations. Their ability to add general refinement and ease to my test systems was much needed. They presented not just more refinement and nuance but mandatory predictability in clarity and speed as well as an increase in top-to-bottom dynamics that none of the wires in my heavily invested rats nest could duplicate. I don’t know what amazed me more, that I had finally found a cable that managed to put all of the cable reviewers’ description clichés in one sentence or that they looked like nothing at all.

During the past three years I have listened to and evaluated several less and more expensive speaker cables. Of course I just had to try that inexpensive single core (long unfinished coat hanger) wire and numerous DIY wires. All were more of the same but someone always did get my money. By early 2010, I had concluded that the Audience AU24 speaker cable not only sounded wonderful but did a substantially better job of making the end of my listening room behind my open baffles disappear. This had been and would continue to be my reference speaker cable for all future listening sessions and evaluations. But they were so damned and unimpressively skinny.

Then it became 'E' time. For the first time in 30 years, I was quite satisfied with my speaker cables. The Audience AU24 can be had all day long for under a grand for a 2m pair. After living with their detailed refinement for three years, I'd stopped looking. Then I read about the damned E. What the hell was E and why would I want it? I read that Audience cryogenically treats this cable sans connectors, uses a special new cable mesh shield that doubles the diameter and attractiveness and finally employs a very special proprietary method for attaching your choice of cable ends to the AU24 E. Here is the cool part. You can buy a brand new pair of Audience AU24 E speaker cable from your local Audience lot today or like so many before me who were fortunate to realize the exceptional sound and value of the original, upgrade any length of the regular AU24  to E for $300.

My wife couldn’t give a rat’s ass about my audio kit but the new cosmetics of the mesh cover alone made the upgrade worthwhile. I had read a paperback review whose reviewer claimed to be in possession of all of the speaker cable deities including Valhalla. When he compared the Au24 and AU24E speaker cables with cables costing more than the Valhallas, he claimed to have heard an obvious upgrade from the Au24 to the E.  He described the latter as having a very similar sound to the original but moving itself a bit closer to the clearly superior upper-tier cables like Valhalla. I think another experienced reviewer/writer also from a print mag a number of years ago preferred the regular Audience AU24 to Nordost’s then top-line speaker cable. Yes, I still have that magazine issue.

Since I am not a paid reviewer, I have little to no potential motivations to influence my opinions. However, it is not and never will be my intention to purposely undermine those who must tread carefully. So, having lived with my reference Au24 and Au24E speaker cables for a while, was the previous and most recent reviewer correct in characterizing the E version as a step closer to the big boys while continuing to retain much of the original flavor and characteristics? Going in I believed that the most recent descriptions comparing both Audience speaker cables would likely be right on the mark. After all, they both are Audience AU24 speaker cables. However, it did not turn out that way. The earlier reviewer had claimed a strong family resemblance even though the E version was superior. Had I not known better, I’d have sworn that a completely different and substantially upgraded cable had been placed in my system. The E version made my regular AU24 sound a bit strident, grainy, flat and tonally less rich and dense. There was a surprising loss of air accompanied by a reduction of that nice lit-from-within touch that my best open baffles and compression driver systems have in spades.

The thing is, these all were qualities I’d previously described for the Audience AU24 already. After my encounter with the Feastrex D9e-II 9” field coil drivers, I definitely appreciate now that there are levels or degrees of quality one does not realize are possible until experienced. Then one’s paradigm is shifted forever. Admittedly the AU24 E did not go quite as far as the $42,000 Feastrex drivers did to drive this point home.  However, in my opinion and system the AU24 E speaker cable is so much better that I would have given it a completely different name. Perhaps Thor. Regardless, the E version is substantially better than the original and the thousands of AU24 speaker cable owners should send theirs in for upgrading. Keep in mind that the re-termination process will shorten your existing cable by a few inches.   

Audience website