JC -
Many cable manufacturers emphasise cryogenic treatments. This is apparently not the case for you. What is your position on this topic?
RC - That's another illustration of my lack of interest in marketing because some parts of our connectors do undergo this treatment as do some of our conductors. It helps to get better overall performance but it's not in my opinion what should be showcased as it is just one detail within the entire manufacturing process.

JC - Can you explain in a few words what the operational principle is of the so-called progressive shielding you implement?
RC - We have performed so many tests that demonstrate the pros and cons of shielding for home audio applications. Our goal is to provide the best of both worlds: the highest benefits of shielding without its disadvantages. That's the idea behind progressive shielding. This technique consists of partial polarisation, specific geometry and different kinds of shields which vary according to the cable's length. We believe that our hybrid shield concept avoids the sonic harshness of traditional solutions whilst insuring perfect protection against outside interferences.

JC - After so many years designing audio cables, is it still possible to improve your products? How do you manage to so frequently refresh your offering?
RC - What can I say? That's my job. Being an audio enthusiast since the age of 16, it's clearly not an issue for me to keep on searching for new paths and possible upgrades. Obviously it's not easy every day to reach satisfying results but processing in small steps and subtle upgrades, it's still possible to advance with positive results. A key factor in our design is our ability to test the impact of small changes across a wide diversity of gear that has a sometimes different tonal balance and sonic fingerprint. When the results obtained with a large sampling of recordings begins to suggest a higher versatility in different systems, we can consider it an improvement over previous designs. In fact, auditions during the whole development stage are a key factor of success.

To provide a more precise overview on the Eureka range, it's important to look at a few specs. Like with the previous Lumina series, the conductors are made of pure long-grain copper. They are organised with a symmetrical geometry inside an asymmetrical dielectric whose primary constituents are high-temperature silicone and PVC said to preserve long-term quietness and natural sonics. Esprit's connectors still benefit from 40-micron silver plating to be significantly thicker than the usual 3 or 4 microns of many competitors and not incur a treble rise or loss of energy. Soldering includes mechanical crimp pressurisation for best long-term results. Esprit's copper exhibit very low impedance and capacitance for maximum silence and bandwidth. Compared to my previous Lumina loaners, the RCA interconnects are made of over 2 x 1'600 strands for a pair over the 1'120 of Lumina. The diameter of the long-grained copper strands is also bigger.

The Eureka speaker cables use 2 x 6'482 strands quite comparable to Lumina but the diameter of each strand has increased to 0.08mm. Conductor geometry and shield architecture evolved as well. The shielding is reinforced with an Ultralife Lithium battery of 10-year life expectancy for all Eureka and Lumina range models. The capacitance for a 3-meter pair is 150pf or a rather low 25pf/m compared to other high-end rivals which was already the case for the Lumina speaker cables. As Richard said, the end result is produced by the entire architecture and not by a few measurements. Low capacitance mainly interacts with a loudspeaker's impedance behaviour and the related amplifier stability across the bandwidth. It also impacts the quietness of sound by avoiding potential harshness and brightness. Of course the quantity of copper also plays an important role where higher densities create more serenity, control, energy and bandwidth.

Sound. The Eureka loom provided me with the same organic DNA as Lumina had. There was no doubt over a kind of Esprit fingerprint with its very dense smooth texture devoid of any artificial treble brightness. As with Lumina, my impression was close to the most expensive Cardas with a higher degree in tonal neutrality where the American cables slightly emphasize the mid frequencies. That was definitely not the case with Eureka which delivered that kind of tonal saturation for the entire bandwidth, providing perhaps a higher degree of realism without losing or masking information. In that sense, they compared to silver competitors like Argento but with more grip and authority if perhaps also a duller perspective. Compared to Lumina, Eureka delivered even more tonal diversity and saturation. That in fact was the most impressive feature of Eureka. I was able to distinguish even more diversified tones within big string or wind ensembles. It's curious to realise that sound engineers can capture so many subtle details from a symphonic performance which most of the time you don't hear when you attend the live event. Usually the darkness of the venue acoustics give us a false idea of the genuine flavour* of massed winds or strings where the Eureka cables bring one closer to this reality.

* One might argue that the "genuine" sound Joël describes relies on discrete spot microphones for different instrumental sections. That's not what a concert goer hears even in the first row. We only have two ears. It's only recording trickery which normally uses far more than just two artificial ears and then, at the mastering console, selectively adjusts gain to create an 'idealized' recorded orchestral sound. Simple two-mic symphonic recordings are rare but Kavi Alexander of Water Lily Acoustics for one has cut some to more closely approximate what a human listener would have heard during that performance. - Ed

During my time, the most impressive component of this loom were the interconnects. They provided me with perhaps 60 or 70% of the sound improvement related to the cable change. That was the most noticeable improvement since Lumina. For instance, Mahler's 3rd Symphony sounded remarkably varied. It starts with a modified theme from the fourth movement of Brahms' first symphony with the same rhythm but many changed notes. Ivan Fischer's reading for Channel Classics is particularly useful to highlight the echoes with the Brahms quote. The solo tenor trombone passage sounded copperish and could not be confused with a trumpet despite the distance. Eureka gave the trombone its natural brightness plus a sweet density but also provided a lot of weight to the orchestral mass. Many tonal nuances in the lower mids were completely obvious. The double bass had more colours and weight than over my usual Grimm TPM or even Coincident Speakers Technology interconnects. It's a rather realistic achievement when you are familiar with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and know that the relatively small number of members produces very colourful and specific timbres. In fact I was able to distinguish each instrument whilst the Grimm TPM provides a more global orchestral mass. This timbre diversity was even more obvious in the "Tempo di Menuetto" and "Comodo Scherzando" whose orchestration evokes alternately an abundance of fragrances, the colours of the flowering moors and wind caressing one's face. Mahler later said that it was "the most carefree page he had ever composed, carefree as only the flowers know" which contrasts with the violent forces of the first movement.