In this instance, the burn-in was fairly painless. I jotted down in my notes "it sounds like I’ve just put an Audio Research preamp in the system!" And that was cold out of the box. That impression continued as the cables settled in. The midrange was convincing and improved over time. Initial mid bass confusion and some high-frequency haze were rapidly replaced with soundstage information and instrumental texture. The qualities of the cable were readily identifiable in a matter of days and continued to improve as time went on.
With the pairing of the Signal Silver Reference interconnect and the Audio Art SC5-SE speaker cables, there was good synergy. The system gained an increase in midrange detail that extended outwards to the frequency extremes for more information on leading edges, longer decays and a lower noise floor to allow a wealth of low-level information to be revealed. There was a lack of grain and silences reached almost anechoic chamber darkness.
As time progressed, more of the cable’s character was revealed and all on the positive side of the ledger. The sound had not only muscle but also ease. To draw an analogy, the difference between an automobile with a turbo-charged 4-cylinder engine versus a 12-cylinder monster is that while both will accelerate to a hundred miles an hour, the feel is entirely different. As a conduit, the Audio Art SC5-SE cable allows more information to pass through with far greater ease.
This translated sonically in a number of ways. Bass had massive authority not merely in depth but weight and detail. Where applicable, the soundstage was huge but not bloated and reproduced the proportions of the original venue with tremendous localization of instruments, focus and a cushion of acoustical air around each instrument without intruding on cohesion. Separation on massed vocals was wide, deep, three-dimensional and solid.
This combination managed a welcome trick in its reproduction of scale. Call it volume not in the sense of achieving loudness but rather in respect to proportion. For example, instruments in a baroque orchestra have specific limits in terms of absolute loudness. A composer will instead increase the number of instruments to increase scale. The individual loudness does not change but the volume does. This is tough to reproduce but this combination accomplished it with accuracy. The overall impression was one of humanizing the recorded event. Real people were performing, real instruments were creating the sound. ‘Hifi’ was replaced by a more intimate experience of a real event. If I had to choose a single word to describe the Audio Art SC5-SE speaker cable, it would be unambiguous. You know precisely the location and character of everything. Decisions by the recording engineer are obvious. Artistic decisions by the performers are equally obvious.