The Sound Connections Xhadow RCA was used in this review. One small caveat. The solid construction of the connector also comes with a requisite increase in diameter. Spacing of the RCA inputs on your components might be an issue. In my system only the electronic crossover was a problem but it’s something you should be aware of and check. The recommended minimum 100 to 150 hours of break in time was definitely a minimum in my case and I found that the cable continued to evolve well past that mark. If your experience mirrors mine, patience will be required. It is a good time to mention that Audio Art offers a cable break in service at a nominal charge for those impatient enough to prefer optimum sound now rather than later.
Fresh out of the box there was much more upper midrange energy for high contrast but the midrange through lower midrange was recessed. Male vocals gained articulation but lacked body. Bass slam was tremendous and dynamics accentuated. The burn in on this cable occurred from the outside in. The midrange was last to blossom and it was a long wait. And so, emerging finally from a cocoon of break in, how did our interconnect butterfly perform?
The cable exhibited tremendous articulation, offering almost electrostatic detailing coupled to the kind of sheer drive and power which are certainly not electrostatic characteristics. Soundstaging was handled with precision of placement. Hall detail, reflections, proportion all were in ample evidence. Bass was tight and detailed, with remarkable control and delineation of pitch. When the midrange finally settled in, it had great transparency, with vocals and instruments surrounded by a generous amount of air, all fine characteristics for any cable looking to demonstrate a desire for pedigree. And then the cable played its strong suit.
Dynamics! Yes the noise floor was low and yes, it conveyed the scale of very soft to very loud. What was unexpected was the ability to communicate instantaneous shifts in loudness with such effortless and often breathtaking control. It allowed music to breathe with dynamic life. This did not merely entice but dragged you into the music in spite of any protestations. That capability enhanced everything it touched, from subtle emotive inflections on solo pieces to the heights of symphonic power, from the sultry ebb and flow of jazz to the raunchiness of rock. If there’s a dynamic pulse to be found in a recording, this cable is going to find it.