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For a brief spotlight on Taras Kowalczyszyn's association with Ken Hotte as the senior partner in Teo Audio -- his name literally translates into son of Czech smith -- " it began almost two decades ago when on a dare, we built a speaker. It turned out to be a rip-roaring success and then one thing led to another. By the time we were done, we had prototyped 8 speakers. During this period Ken also worked to develop a screen paint that is currently being manufactured/marketed by his company Goo Systems (the images we see of a shuttle landing at Edward's Air Force Base are on a Goo screen; the colored backdrops of a Cirque Du Soleil shows are made with Goo products; and the list goes on which the Goo Systems site delineates quite nicely).

"My day job during this same period was in the acoustics, noise and vibration control field. I did yeoman work in industry, commercial and residential projects as well as product development. But the special highlight of my career in this field was the work I have done in the entertainment industry and with two major industrial research facilities here in Kingston. On the entertainment end of things, I have worked on about 44 major film or TV productions wherein my major responsibility was to turn warehouses into soundstages that could accommodate sync-sound (sound that is recorded "live"). We have worked on venues that were up to 10,000,000 cu.ft. in volume and have in several cases produced the requisite reverb times in less than 12 hours (the standard break-in shooting schedules and often the only time we can work on set).
"My other 'highlight' was just as exciting though in a different way. In the research facilities, I would often work with very sensitive instrumentation that would require special noise control solutions and in some cases custom-made anechoic chambers. What I've learned from this experience is that audio equipment in many ways is similar to the instrumentation I was working on. For instance, I found that in terms of care and maintenance, turntables and electron microscopes were not that different. So I made huge improvements in the quality of music reproduction with my existing system by simply treating the stereo as if it were lab instruments (and quite oddly in the reverse direction as well)."

On to the cables. Exactly as announced, they showed up in an innocuous cardboard box imprinted Hazmat Pac by its maker. Inside copious amounts of shredded paper
sat three plastic-sealed, twice bubble-wrapped Pelican cases. The cables themselves proved nicely flexible, professionally finished and without apparent 'seals' or whatever expectations their sludge-filled nature might have predicted. Of course the heat shrinks hide the actual junctions at the Eichmann Bullets and
spades. To the eye, there's nothing to suggest that this skinny black cable is anything other than yet another 'normal' audio wire. Producing sound as soon as they were plugged in validated their proof-of-concept existence with a splash. To get the most telling comparative read, I assembled an ultra-resolution system of 20 x 32-bit DAC digital source into Esoteric's 'activated passive' C-03 preamp into the FirstWatt F5 into my customary Acoustic System Tango R speakers. The only valves in this chain were the JJ ECC99s of the APL Hifi-modified Esoteric UX-1's now transformer-coupled class A output stage. While arguably not the harmonically richest component combo, the linearity and noise-floor behavior of these electronics makes them my best for ultimate magnification purposes. As I did anticipate having to perhaps split hairs, the more resolving power the merrier. Comparative cables were the ASI LiveLine links as the best in my stable. Having been given to understand that the liquid cables benefit from a physical settling-in period similar to the Cerious Technologies designs, I avoided rushed plug'n'play comparisons.

As it turned out, no hairsplitting was required. Swapping complete cable looms, listener focus shifted from the leaner, lither, energetically more lit up tight timing cues and on-string metal action of the LiveLine to a more velvety, texturally richer, temporally somewhat more stately and laterally larger presentation which emphasized perception of the sustain portion of tones rather than the immediate transient rise.

If the key word for the LiveLine sound is energy, for the Liquid Cable it's mass. This cable sounds tremendously weighty. This isn't an isolated function of added bass. The tonal balance between either wire set is very similar in fact. The LiveLine's acoustic center might be a mite higher (or the Liquid Cable's lower, impossible as these matters are to determine conclusively). But that is not the overriding determinant of the differences. The major difference is how one cable sounds fast and focused, the other voluptuous without turning slow. It's far more a shift in gestalt -- what the listener hones in on -- than frequency response graphs. The liquid effect reminds me very much of the textural change a premium tube preamp can make. Without things getting loose per se as though abdicating control, the feel of them relaxes. They get more elastic, more buoyant, more willowy. And creamier. Definitely creamier.

Very literally then, with the Liquid Cable loom, the all-transistor system described above did not require 'valve help' to be fully persuasive to a tube fossil like yours truly. The cable itself performed the equivalent enhancements. Which begged for insertion of my Yamamoto A-09S 300B champ to try a like-meets-like math. As expected, that particular element intensified, albeit not detrimentally to anything else. The tone fruits simply got riper still.

To be sure, intuitive parallels to walking through water with all the resistance and drag that conjures up do not apply to Teo Audio's conductor slurry. The signal does not sound bogged down, struggling or rolled off. It's simply not overtly fast as the LiveLine is. It has more girth and sounds more relaxed. Considering the LiveLine's top spot in my personal cable pantheon, I had to admit that Brian's enthusiasm was well founded. Ken Hotte's chemical cocktail really does the business. Interestingly, separation down into harmonic shifts from bow twists and other such fine actions suffers no real obscurations. It's simply not the focus of the liquid sound.

When it comes to potency of the mass/texture effect, the speaker cables, more expensive as they are, are also sadly senior to the interconnects. Perhaps that's because the 'current-tunneling' process intensifies with larger currents. Be that as it may, where the LiveLine cables sound dimensionally big (by depicting lots of open space), the Liquid Cable's largess refers directly to the tones rather than that which contains them. But let's catch up. When a writer deals in such semi intangibles rather than hard-core measurement stuff, you already know that the component under discussion must have aced the usual bass-mid-treble trinity. Otherwise remarks on transgressions or specifics would have been made. Superior designs ought to attend those basics. If they do, they really warrant no further mention. Check. That's expected. From such a perspective, the Liquid Cable despite its outré ingredients is no oddity or fringe dweller who hypes one obscure sonic aspect while neglecting vital core standards to come out heavily specialized and lopsided.

One usage condition of the speaker cable concerns their stiff 5-inch ends. Your amp's binding posts either have to clear the shelf so the cables can connect vertically and hang off; or they have to be mounded angled as above. That's true also for the speaker ends of course.

With these cables, wooden sticks, foot stomps, string power plucks, struck triangles and other steep impulses display no evidence of skewing or blurring yet incisiveness is not at the fore of the Liquid Cable sound. You can concentrate on those aspects to find them very much present but, it's not the key attraction. What takes no deliberation whatever to hear is the image density or weightiness of all the tones from top to bottom. It's something transistors usually struggle with so what an antidote this Gallium, Indium, Tin mixture is. Cheers. On a very basic level, it makes things sound beautiful. Instead of adrenaline energy or transcendental transparency, it's a valve-type sound without the glowing bits. Zero maintenance be praised.

Liquidation Sell
Certain tube gear is sometimes described as sounding liquid to distinguish it from mechanical dryness. Smoothness factors into that equation as well. And true to that, Teo Audio's cable does sound liquid. But to my ears and in my system, the core quality really is weightiness - of colors, images and their subjective density. Some cables have slam, others are lit up. Some are propulsive, others suave. This one is - well... heavy man if you allow a slip into street lingo. Heaviness usually connotes ponderousness. Or even darkness as though vitality and motility had died. Not this. This heaviness is what audiophiles pursue with more powerful amplifiers; playing back louder; or adding subwoofers (the right kind set up properly). Adding subwoofers when no apparent bass is present acts like an injection of black. Everything gets richer and deeper. Ditto for more amplifier muscle or higher SPLs. They increase the mass, groundedness and density of the playback. That's the Liquid Cable's heaviness.
This effect is cumulative and the speaker cable does more than the interconnect though neither is subtle.

Far from cheap, the Liquid Cable has a very demonstrable sales pitch. What it does is real, attractive and not of the sort you need tweezers, bifocals or other hairsplitting tools to discern. The cable itself is very wieldy and flexible and only the rigid ends of the speaker cable require some accommodation in how they're attached. Finances we've already covered and the HazMat issue is a non-issue now that Brian & Co. have mastered the ship protocol. Unlike vacuum cables which might eventually loose their vacuum, the slurry or ooze inside Teo Audio's cables isn't watery and waiting to leak or spill. The readiness whereby the cable bends proves that the innards aren't stuffed to bursting. Common sense predicts that shy of outright abuse, this design should wear and age well. Who woulda thunk that the silvery stuff inside kiddie thermometers can make an audio cable? And not just any cable but a very very good one. Live and learn. And listen!

PS: Brian advised that this cable has a 'warm-up' period just like electronics that were turned off for the night. Needless to say, my amps too morph a bit, with the FirstWatt reaching thermal optimization after about 20-30 minutes, the Yamamoto somewhat sooner. Hence I was not able to determine what if any role the cables' 'waking up' contributed to this normal process. If their coming on song exceeded the electronics, I can't say that I really noticed it. My assumption then is, they do their business within the same time frame as the electronic stuff to where best sound is reached about a half hour after firing up the rig. No cause for audiophile anxiety then...

Quality of packing: Hazmat approved, i.e. stouter than normal for cables.
Reusability of packing: Pelican cases indefinitely, the outer cartons a few times depending on shipper handling.
Ease of unpacking/repacking: Easy.
Condition of component received: Perfect.
Website comments: Information extremely marginal. Needs work.
Human interactions: Brian is prompt and enthusiastic.
Pricing: Very high particularly for speaker cables but given the state of this sector, not completely silly money yet.
Application conditions: Think of the Liquid Effect as an infusion of small-signal valve textures. That's a fair approximation and helps you assess whether your system might benefit from it or not.

Teo Audio website