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One way to keep manufacturers vigilant are critical listening sessions. In Japanese hifi magazines photos of such sessions show groups of very attentive listeners gathered in rooms often jam-packed with equipment to assess the merits —or not—of certain audio-related parts. That same earnestness one encounters at hifi shows around the world whenever Japanese visitors enter a room. Audio is very serious business to them. One Japanese company that endorses this view to the fullest is Nanotec Systems. With a background in nano tech based on manipulating matter on atomic and molecular scales, the company uses their knowledge in the field to further cable sound quality. While nano technology is still young and associated with high tech (which it is, thus high prices) Nanotec proves that clever application can reduce costs whilst providing the same or better results.

What’s their trick? Rather than using expensive cable conductors like a gold-silver alloy à la Siltech, Crystal, Mundorf et al, Nanotec resorts to high-quality copper which they soak in a colloidal liquid of gold and silver nano particles. It sounds simple but there’s much research behind it. Using an alloy of pure gold and silver nets a corrosion-free cable with low impedance and low inductance across the audible bandwidth. The drawback is that such wiring isn't readily available and gets more and more costly as purity figures increase. Manufacturers of cables using such an alloy are forced to order large upfront quantities to substantially burden their operational budgets. Copper is far cheaper. It's also readily available in OFC and high ‘N’ purity without the need to heavily preinvest. However copper corrodes over time. Contrary to silver copper, tarnished copper is a poor conductor. This compromises sound quality slowly but surely.

Nanotec counters copper's natural oxidation by soaking their strands in a non-synthetic oil of oxygen-binding properties strong enough to undermine corrosion. To add known sonic advantages of a gold/silver alloy, Nanotec add to the natural oil a mix of nano-sized gold and silver particles. Their extremely small size means they stay suspended in the oil – and that state is called a colloidal. Voilà.

One could expect that once an effective gold-silver colloidal was developed, the company would lean back and focus their attention elsewhere. Not so. Nanotec keep developing new ratios for their secret sauce and test it through formal listening panels. Today they offer a wide range of cables from power cords to interconnects to speaker cables each with different conductor geometries, dielectrics and colloidal particle ratios to customize performance to specific tasks.

The most recent development is an interconnect baptized Music Strada #207. As the denomination implies, the #207 is a dual-core cable where each lead consists of 7 OFC strands 32mm in diameter and of course soaked in a gold/silver colloidal. Here the #207 exploits a less dense liquid than earlier interconnects. Each conductor is insulated in a polyethylene sheath subsequently sleeved in conductive PVC. Both leads are next wrapped up with pure cotton strings as vibration absorbers. Shielding is provided in two ways. A drain conductor of 7 strands of untreated 0.12mm OFC sits between the cotton strings and a surrounding copper-foil shield. Finally the outer sheath of green PVC gives the 6mm diameter cable its distinctive forest look. Nanotec designates the #207 as a multi-purpose cable. It can be used as an A/V interconnect, microphone lead, instrument feed or anywhere else a shielded flexible cable is needed. With the outer sheath’s guaranteed thermal resistance up to 90º C, even automotive use is included.