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Glen Wagenknecht
Financial Interests: click here
Sources: Audio Space CDP 8A CD Player
Wyred 4 Sound Music Server & DAC-2
Preamplifier: Audio Space Reference 2S
Amplifier:Bel Canto 200.4
AV Receiver: Pioneer Elite SC-25
Main Speakers: Apogee Duetta Signature, Paradigm Servo 15 subwoofer
Audio Space AS-3/5A
Stands: Charisma Audio Function Stands   Target Stands
AV Speakers: JohnBlue M3s
AV Subwoofer: Paradigm PW-2200
Desktop Audio Speakers: Swans M200 MkIII
Desktop DAC/Pre Headphone Amp: DA&T U-2
Cables: Audio Art SE cable loom, JPS Labs Ultraconductor 2 speaker cables, Madison Audio Lab E3 Extreme 1 Interconnects/Extreme 2 speaker cables, Signal Cable Silver Reference interconnects and speaker cables, digital optical and coax cable.
Resonance Control: Solid Tech, EquaRack Footers, Weizhi Precision Gold Glory footers, Boston Audio TuneBlock2 footers, Audio Exklusiv Silent Plugs, Audio Exklusiv d.C.d. Base and d.C.d. Footers, Superspikes, and Black Diamond
Powerline conditioning: Exact Power EP15A, Noise Destroyer power filtration
Accessories: TrueHarmonix Black Magic CD Mat   Herbie’s Super Black Hole CD Mat
Main Room size: 12' x 17'
Home Theatre: 10.5’ x 16.5’
Review Component Retail: SC-5 Classic biwire speaker cables w/bananas $380/8’/pr; IC-3 Classic interconnects w/RCA $130/1m/pr; Power 1 Classic with Wattgate 5266i/320i plugs $230/2m

Back to the classics: The Audio Art Cable SC-5 IC-3 and Power 1.
Ah the classics.
Bach, Mozart, IC-3, SC-5, Power1. It’s been a while since Audio Art Cable emerged into the audio marketplace in 2005. In those years the young company took advantage of the Internet model and a combination of on/offshore manufacturing to offer aggressively priced quality cables that demanded comparison to financially more ambitious competition. Audio Art Cable earned a solid reputation and numerous awards for high-value product then. But time marches on. The original pricing has of necessity followed the economic upward curve and the original IC-1 has been gracefully retired, leaving the IC-3 as the starter interconnect in the line. In 2010 the higher priced Special Edition versions of the IC-3 interconnects, SC-5 speaker cables and power cord launched to establish a new high-value benchmark for the next financial tier. And what became of our pioneering old timers? The cables that founded the company once touted as “budget reference” were renamed the Classic line. After 7 long years it was time to dust off historical accolades and see if these once proud products were still feisty contenders.

Having lived with the ‘hot-rodded’ Special Edition offspring as one of my staples, this was my first opportunity to finally meet the parents. To refresh myself about the differences between the Classic pieces under review and my familiar SE loom, I contacted Mr. Fritz at Audio Art Cable for the details.

Q: When describing the Classic vs. SE series of cables, is it essentially the same materials but better connectors? Or is there more to it?

A: Yes, hot-rodded versions per se. The cable product used in Classic and SE is the same although the SE version of the SC-5 speaker cable uses a double run of our silver-over-OFC-copper conductors per side. The connectors on the SC-5 are not proprietary but high-quality parts and materials. The spades are gold-plated copper, dual stepped for ¼” and 5/16” binding posts. The bananas are gold-plated brass with a very durable spring system that maintains its elasticity for a very long time even if used repeatedly. The SE versions upgrades to a choice of Furutech’s cryogenically treated and demagnetized OCC copper FP201 spades or FP202 bananas in Rhodium or gold plate. The connectors on the IC-3 are an Audio Art Cable brand produced to our spec, i.e. milled from solid brass core with a high-quality gold plate. The SE advances to the silver-plated OFC copper Sound Connections Xhadow precision RCA or XLRs.

As to the "or more to it", the answer is twofold: 1. Upgraded solder. We switch from a good-quality Kester brand solder in the Classic series to an “audiophile-grade” high purity Cardas Quadeutectic for all IC-3SE and SC-5SE joints. 2. Upgraded jacketing with Techflex FLEXO-PET. This material is braided from 10 mil polyethylene terepthalate (PET) monofilament yarns. The advantages are an exterior more resistant to chemical degradation, UV radiation/fading and abrasion, all of which protect and toughen the PVC outer underneath while adding a smart set of threads to the look and feel of the cables. Current Classic power cables have also been improved from the original exterior, coming standard with the Techflex sleeving all set for the rough and ready life they’ll face on floors, behind racks etc.

Q: I’ve noticed that you’ve added two new higher-priced power cables under the Classic banner. I know they're not under review here but it begs the obvious question whether the Power 1 SE is a hot-rodded Classic? What are these other two new cables? To the casual observer, they all seem quite similar. What are the differences and why the variations?