I was a good boy last year and Santa decided to reward me with a new set of speakers (more of that in the coming days). My outlaws thought I was a good boy too as they stuffed a Christmas card with some cash and told me to buy something nice. I'm not sure if speaker cable can be classed as nice but it is what I bought!
After doing some research I settled on the Chord Rumour X cable as it gets very good reviews and is reasonably priced at around £20 per meter...but it isn't £20 is it? It is £20 then there are plugs for the amp end and plugs for the speaker end. As I'm going the extra mile to upgrade to award-winning cable I'm not going to skimp on connectors now, am I? So each end is fitted with Chord Ohmic banana plugs at £18 a pair.
So the £20 cable costs £56...and I need two, by the time I'd placed the order my reasonably priced upgrade had cost £112. Good thing I got free postage and packing or I would need to sell a kidney to buy a couple of meters of copper.
Anyway, how do they sound? The short answer is excellent. I did a before-and-after using my current speakers and my go-to records ('A State Of Flow' by Ishmael Ensemble and 'V' by The Horrors) comparing the old Chord Clearway cable I bought 5 years ago and the brand new Rumour X.
I can't say I heard a night and day difference but I put that down to the quality of the Clearway to start with and the lack of real run in time.
Talking of run-in time, Future Shop where I purchased the cables offer a 'burn-in' service where they will connect your cable to a Nordost Vidar Machine for up to 96 hours which will apparently "neutralise charge that builds up around the cables and the insulation, provide a very wide band and deep conditioning into the conductor core which produces changes in the way signals pass through the metal and ultrasonically condition the surface of the conductors". Quite.
I'm sure on ultra high-end HiFi all that may make a tiny difference, but on my set-up, with middle-aged ears, I think it would be wasted. There was a nagging doubt in my mind though and, as it was a free service, I decided to request a solid 24 hours blast on the Vidar to satisfy my curiosity. I'm sure after a few hours of real music I will hear more of a difference, as I did with the Clearway.
I'm hoping that in time I will hear a "detailed and dynamically expressive performer that’s unusually surefooted when communicating rhythmic drive" which has "a greater sense of openness about the sound and a little more subtlety in the way it renders dynamic nuances" as What HiFi describes it. For now, I'm just happy that they sound really good.