The Q-10 loudspeaker cable ($185/6' pair) is based on similar construction methods as the T-14 but features a four-conductor multiple gauge/conductor array - two 12-gauge and two 14-gauge silver-coated OFC copper conductors wound in a single jacket with advanced winding geometries designed to control those pesky magnetic fields that result when current passes through a conductor. The dielectric is extruded PTFE Teflon. Q-10 can be employed as a single-run cable or internally biwired. Or if you prefer to have your living room floor resemble a snake pit, you can empty your wallet further by externally biwiring or even tri-wiring.

The Q-10 was definitely more durable and pliable than my JPS Labs cables and I experienced no difficulty in maneuvering them about my system. These forest-green cables were quick, lively, detailed, with solid and weighty bass extension. The treble range was well delineated but without grain or unnatural brightness. "Tonal neutrality" was the term that surfaced most readily as performance was consistently uncolored from the bass up into the treble region. I certainly didn't detect any of the glare or hardness that some associate with silver-coated copper wires. Images were not bunched together in the center nor were they clustered around the speakers. My JPS Labs Ultraconductors were warmer and by comparison rolled off. The Ultras slightly obscured subtle details like fingers sliding up and down acoustic guitar necks, or the sounds of picks plucking or striking strings. But I thought the Q-10's slimmer competitor still was musical. For systems that stray a little to the bright and edgy side, the Ultraconductor would probably be the better choice. If transparency blows wind up your kilt, the Q-10 will be more to your liking.

The Air Matrix ($195/1m pair) interconnect straddles the middle ground between the BL-1 ($99/1m pair) and the upscale Revelation ($350/1m pair) and is constructed with high-purity silver-coated oxygen-free copper and surrounded with a proprietary air-Teflon matrix insulation consisting of 60% air. The dielectric constant of this foamy-looking material is only 1.4 which is closer than most to the theoretically ideal dielectric: A high-torr vacuum. Propagation velocity is 84% unlike Teflon which is only 69%. As a result, DH Labs claims excellent bandwidth beyond 17 Gigahertz.

The Air Matrix struck me as being excellent value for the sound on offer. It exhibited tonal purity across the spectrum while treble frequencies were exceptionally clean and articulate. Cymbals shimmered more realistically and the sound of wood hitting metal was uncannily real. Images were well delineated and the excellent retrieval of spatial information created a more open and airy soundstage. The midrange and bass regions were robust and solid without traces of unnatural emphasis, bloat or overhang. Compared to the Revelation and Superconductor+, I thought there was a touch of glassiness in the highs, most notable on strings. Mind you, it was quite subtle as I only became aware of it after repeatedly swapping it out with the more expensive cables. Furthermore, this aberration disappeared when solid-state amps were replaced with tube equipment or the Audio Zone combo. I suspect a small degree of untoward component interaction. In comparison with the AudioQuest Quartz and Ultraconductor, the Air Matrix had greater dynamic ability and clarity, allowing a more live feel to music playback. Notes flowed and decayed more naturally through the Air Matrix. The Superconductors were superior in relaying the sheer physical punch of music, a wee bit more dimensional and offered a slightly quieter and blacker background. But the Supers were tonally also a little darker.

The Revelation ($350/1m pair) is DH Labs premier interconnect. Each of its six interwoven conductors is insulated in an air-spaced, tape-wrapped version of the Air Matrix dielectric. This attractive cable is covered with a blue, silver and black woven fiber jacket and terminations are DH Labs Ultimate RCA connectors. The Revelation was a considerably stiffer animal than the Air Matrix but still not nearly as difficult to handle as the Superconductor. It could be easily bent and twisted to fit in all but the tightest spots.

The Revelations beat the Air Matrix by sounding a little more refined, smoother and dimensional. They also possessed a beguiling silkiness that was quite intoxicating. Compared to the Superconductor+, the Revelation presented an airier soundstage with greater high frequency detail without sounding the slightest bit bright or edgy to let me hear more of the recording acoustic. However, the Superconductor+ possessed greater slam and bass extension and also sounded a mite louder. Music via the Super emerged from a darker background and had greater kick in the bottom end - but the highs were a tad rolled off. The Revelations were more linear and truthful, offering greater insight into the treble range. This was readily noticeable on massed strings where they simply shimmered as they do in the concert hall. Now mind you, these differences were subtle and required lots of swapping to identify. I don't think the Revelation is necessarily better than the Superconductor+. I think it ultimately depends on partnering equipment and your listening preferences.

If your system errs towards the bright and edgy, the JPS Labs cables might indeed be a better match. Of all the interconnects, the Revelation impressed me the most. They drew the most detail from recordings without ever sounding unmusical or clinical. They didn't highlight any portion of the frequency range in an unnatural fashion and offered excellent three- dimensional soundstaging.

Digital connection duties were conducted by a 1m length of D-75. The center conductor is solid silver-coated copper insulated with foam Teflon dielectric. The return/shield is a two layer design with 100% aluminum/Mylar and a heavy braid to keep ground resistance low. The braid is wound in such a way as to minimize signal reflections and timing errors. The D-75 is terminated with DH Labs coax connectors for maximum signal transfer. Claimed performance is beyond 2 Gigahertz. This translates into a SOTA digital cable that retails for a mere $75 for a 1 meter length.

I've never really believed that digital cables make much of a difference. After all, we are only talking about moving 0s and 1s from one box to another. What could possibly go wrong? On its own, the D-75 sounded fine. I could not detect anything amiss. The resulting sound was smooth yet extended and dynamic. I did not sense any temporal laziness or the addition of any edge, grit or brightness. It wasn't until I compared it with Monster Cables' IDL 100 that I was able to get a firm grip on the D-75's sonics. The difference between the D-75 and the IDL 100 was simply enormous. The Monster Cable was barely listenable now. The sound was gritty and excessively bright and hard. Music sounded disjointed and even vague compared to the D-75. It was a relief to pop the DH Labs cable back in. I was quite surprised to hear such a difference from two similarly priced cables. Perhaps I was hearing timing errors or signal reflections caused by the Monster Cable? Indeed, this was not unlike what I recall from CD players back in the mid-late 80s; a tonally discombobulated, gritty and hard sound. Digital cables sound all alike? Me thinks not.

The Power Plus ($200/6ft) AC power cord is constructed with three twelve-gauge multistrand, high-purity copper conductors woven together to reject noise and cancel intra-conductor interference. The cable's geometry is designed to lower system noise by preventing interference from surrounding electromagnetic fields . The cable's insulation is said to reduce coloration and improve transparency. The terminations at both ends are high-quality WattGate connectors and the outer jacket is a black and white plastic mesh to gussy up appearance. Although the Power Plus is quite thick and bulky, it was extremely pliable and posed no routing problems. Compared to stock power cables, the Power Plus was considerably more dynamic, open and transparent, with an accompanying reduction in glare and high-frequency hash. Bass response plumbed the depths greater than the generic cords and with enhanced solidity to boot. A comparison with the Wireworld Aurora III was quite interesting. The Aurora was darker and attenuated more noise and glare.

The midrange with the Auroras was slightly more prominent, even a little lumpy. The soundstage was set a little further back for more of a mid-hall view. I got the sense of music being a little shut in with the Auroras - as though the walls and ceiling had slightly closed in. The Power Plus, while not offering the same degree of noise reduction, sounded more dynamic and open. Music breathed easier and the leading edge of notes and their following decay was better realized. These characteristics were noticeable on digital gear as well as amplifiers.

Music playback via the complete DH Labs loom was energetic, quick, clean, transparent, and tonally neutral without any overt highlighting; just like live music! John Zorn's Masada Guitars (Tzadik TZ 7171) was incisive and thoroughly engaging without sounding unnaturally bright or hard. Each musician's guitar was a palpable presence indicating top-notch image density. The pluck of guitar strings, the subtle sounds of fingers sliding up and down necks, the resonance of guitar bodies and the air and space around Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot and Tim Sparks was far better realized than with what I had used before. Timing precision was exceptional - I couldn't detect any blurring or fuzziness which, in my book, is an indication of temporal problems with amplifiers, digital, speakers or cables.

The vibrant and energetic playing of Vivaldi's La Stravaganza [Channel Classics CCS SA 19503] by Rachel Podger and her fine Polish companions made for exciting edge-of-seat listening. With my Ultraconductors, the snap and drive of this great disc was somewhat more subdued and slightly more distant. While the DH Labs cables resolved more inner detail and spatial information than my Ultraconductors, the presentation was certainly not strident or analytical. It still was easy to relax into the music.

With the DH Labs cabling, I could sink deeper into the dense mix of Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot [Nonesuch 79669-2] and unravel the complex strands of this story of a mind teetering on the edge. At least that's what it sounds like to me. On more uptempo tracks, the propulsive force of bass and drums was a notch more dynamic and exciting compared to the Ultraconductors. Substituting the Air Matrix for the Revelation added even more finesse and silky smoothness, while imaging and soundstaging became a modicum more dimensional. Together, the Revelation and Q-10 made for an exceptionally dynamic and live-sounding pairing that offered extended frequency response and uncanny retrieval of musical details. The JPS cables, while offering slightly more extended bass performance, tended to round off the top end. If you are after the snap and excitement of live music, the DH Labs cables will certainly get you closer.

To summarize, the Air Matrix is a terrific cable, majoring in clarity, smoothness and dynamics. The Revelation at almost double the price is another fine cable that provides a somewhat more open, liquid and silky sound than the Air Matrix. The D-75 is a no-brainer and beats the pants off standard-issue digital cables. The Q-10 is an exceptional value considering the full, robust, yet dynamic and transparent sound on offer. The Power Plus blows away stock cables and delivers cleaner power to equipment to provide more punch and clarity for enhanced music playback.

In an age of $10,000 cables with dubious scientific claims and questionable value, DH Lab's Silver Sonic line will come as manna from the heavens for many a frugal 'phile. If you are a music lover on a budget looking for affordable cables that will relay all the musical goodness from your discs without screwing up the sound, put DH Labs on your list. I was very impressed with their collective performance and modest price - so much so that from now on, these fine cables will constitute my affordable reference "cable system". They are seriously good value and worthy of your close inspection.

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