"For the interconnect cables, I upgraded the outer sleeve from cotton to pure silk which gives a clearer and tonally more natural presentation. My former silver conductor is replaced by a more dynamic but transparent high-purity copper. This has been implemented in a combination of different gauges within a new geometry which gives a much lower resistance/impedance together with low capacitance. Finally, I have adopted Klei pure silver RCA plugs with WBT silver solder as the new design was becoming rather complicated to build with the previous Xhadow plugs.


"The speaker cables saw similar changes, with the outer cotton upgraded to bronze fabric like the power cord. This both sounds clearer and also blends more harmoniously in homes especially with wooden floors. The conductors are upgraded in similar fashion to the interconnect, seeing a combination of gauges and great care to minimise electrical interaction between individual conductors and polarities. This new design allows more easily for internal biwiring and given the considerable performance benefits that often accrue, I have made this a standard feature using a combination of spade/banana plugs to accommodate changes to single-wired speakers." Point your browser here and here for specs of each cable. For this review I was sent a set of Panatela Reserva interconnects, speaker cables and one Corona Reserva power cable which I alternated with a Grand Corona on my amp and DAC. Mark had also supplied his Panatela USB some months prior. As per usual, I reviewed the Reserva interconnects and speaker wires as a system or loom. Hence no sonic check list for each individual cable. Mixing and matching cable brands is a complete waste of time in my opinion, with far too many variables to reliably assign any sort of traits to a specific cable. I also prefer to stick with the same brand in power cables. USB and Ethernet cables are a different animal altogether. They don’t seem to exhibit the symbiotic relationship like interconnects and speaker cables but then again, I’d stick with a single brand if possible because that’s generally how the designer uses them.


Out of the box I thought the Reserva cables beautifully appointed in their soft earthy bronze sleeving and top quality connectors. These are wires that will definitely induce obsessive stroking and fondling. I freely admit that I couldn’t keep my hands off. It’s been my experience that connectors have a far greater influence on sonics than most folks would expect. I’ll even go so far that they might be the key factor in a cable’s sonic character. Rest assured that Mark has tested pretty much every connector available, be it AC, RCA, spade and banana, and selected the optimum matches for his wires. I have seen far more expensive cables that didn’t have the build quality or attractiveness of the Reserva.


The Reserva spade-terminated speaker cable is internally biwireable. So it features short banana-terminated flying leads at the speaker end to connect to the tweeter binding posts. For speakers with a single pair of binding posts, just insert the banana leads into the binding post and attach the spades as normal. If you upgrade speakers to biwirable ones, you won’t need to purchase another set of cables. I used the Reserva in biwire mode. My only niggle with the cables was that the flying leads of the speaker cables could be a tad longer. My audiophile OCD kicks in when I see cables sitting at right angles. (Sablon Audio has since addressed this and all cables now ship with longer leads). And the interconnects didn’t have left and right channels color coding. Again more a case of my audiophile pickiness than any serious flaw. The Panatela USB uses the now familiar dual-cable design; data in one, power in the other primarily to prevent interaction. As noted previously, if you play music via USB, toss out the no-name standard computer emporium leash and get something built to a higher standard. It wasn’t even close swapping between Belkin and Panatela USB. More depth, more space, more transparency more resolution - more everything except detail-robbing haze which all but vanished. As do many other audiophiles, I suspect that the secret behind observable differences in USB and Ethernet cables is how each design addresses the low-level noise inherent in computers/servers.