“Cables have no sound and that’s that!” say the logic-minded technocrats among us. “Cables can affect the entire performance!” say those who harvest their garden herbs during a full moon. This is how religious wars get started. What we do know: Cables have the job of ensuring the signal is transmitted unscathed from the source to the speaker so it’s not compromised by the noise that will undoubtedly be emitted from the radio frequency or power line. Whether or not we can tell apart in a blind comparison all the various cables out there with all their assorted price tags is a different matter altogether.
Doesn’t in-akustik have something for this? The Black Forest–based connection specialist offers many products that can do the same thing as those from other suppliers that charge much more. The best example of this is the current Exzellenz series. Sure, you could find a fabric-coated, quadrupleshielded, absolutely secure plug and a certain rigidity from other manufacturers, but hardly at this price! And definitely not with a solid silverplated copper wire as an internal conductor. None of this can be seen as an esoteric extra; rather, carefully designed proven technology.
For this reason, the Exzellenz cable makes quite an impression without even uttering a sound and before it disappears, with some effort due to its intractable nature, into the dusty realms behind the rack. While the massive internal conductor and dual coaxial construction help prevent high-frequency noise, they also substantially limit the cable’s flexibility.
In the living room there’s enough space among the hard drive, streamer, and amplifier for wide cable radii. After successfully connecting all the devices for an initial check, I can’t immediately say if I can detect an appreciable difference to my own, not-so-inexpensive cables. Let’s forget for a moment the interminable opinions about breakin time and crystalline alignment, the mantras on burn-in process. I just totally stopped thinking about the excellent in-akustik cables for the first four weeks and listened contentedly to music every day. I was only reminded of their presence and their impending return date while taking care of some much overdue dusting. I didn’t find anything lacking in my music during that time, but it wasn’t really my intention to want to hear any differences. A few weeks had passed before I finally found myself curious enough to start investigating if I could actually hear a difference between the individual connectors. Every two hours, I took turns listening to the same track, first with one cable, then with the other. And I was wrong several times when it came to guessing whether or not the cable was made overseas or in the Black Forest. If a difference was perceptible at all, it was that the in-akustik connectors between streamer, hard drive and amp seemed a touch earthier. You actually had to know the piece quite well to detect if the bass rasped a bit more or the snare asserted more presence. Which is a real surprise considering the student-friendly pricing of the cable.
The bottom line: With its Exzellenz series, in-akustik delivers a flawless cable in all critical aspects, provided you exclude esoteric standards for material and surface feel. You don’t always need have the fur of a unicorn and fairy dust to enjoy an exquisite listening experience. Why not give it a try?
Example of prices for LF cables (2 x 0,75 m, RCA/XLR plugs): €100/150 | Example of prices for digital cables (USB 1,5 m, S/PDIF 0,75 m): €50/60