By WL Low
There seems to be 3 surefire ways cables are marketed nowadays. First and the most profitable route is to offer state-of-the-art performance with a just as “SOTA” retail price to match. The next is to offer the best audio performance to price value ratio in the budget sector. The last way may well require the most delicate balance of offering true high end audio performance accompanied by a fair retail price that reflects its quality and intended market positioning.
I think Wywires are attempting this very delicate balancing act. They are not exactly a new brand in high-end circles, but they now have an official retailer in Malaysia, in the form of AV Designs. Wywires gained fame by winning “Best Sound Of Shows” at various audio and hifi shows, in partnership mostly with TAD electronics and speakers. In my book, if any cable is good enough for TAD, it certainly won’t be short on audio quality performance, as we already know how super transparent the TAD electronics and speakers can be, and would certainly expose the weakling in their midst.
The Silver range is Wywire’s intermediate range, as there’s an entry level Blue range below and the more expensive Gold Signature range above. I’d also like to caution that the Blue range isn’t cheap nor the Gold Signature range super expensive. All I can say is that Wywires” pricing is refreshingly sensible to reflect their audio performance levels. How many cable companies can resist from pricing gluttony nowadays? Since we are on the subject of pricing, the Wywires Silver AES/EBU (also available as co-axial) Digital cable retails for RM$2,355 each.
|Terminated on both ends with Xhadow XLR plugs. The Xhadow plugs do not have the usual clip lock like the industry-standard Neutrik, but they do grip the panel sockets very tightly.|
The Wywires are refreshingly lightly built too, with non-flashy dull grey braiding and terminated at both ends with the superb locking Xhadow XLR plugs. There’s very little form that performs no function. This philosophy extends to the packing too, as all one gets is a QC Authentication Card and the cable itself inside a clear plastic ziplock bag.
I plugged the Wywires Silver in between my Bryston BDP/BDA-1 digital media player & DAC combo, in place of my usual reference, the 3 times more expensive JPS Aluminata AES/EBU digital cable. Now as all things high-end in audio, the JPS does not represent a 3X gain in sound quality, compared to the Wywires. Instead, I find that the Wywires silver is a cable that’s nearly as capable as the JPS, which is still the superior cable, in the context of my system. Why so, you may ask?
Well let’s get a few issues out of the way, the Wywires present a tad more forward (not to be mistaken for immediacy) sound staging properties compared to the JPS. I found its highs slightly less liquid, as if the last ounce of “moisture” around the high hats and cymbals had “evaporated”. Having said that, the Wywires are still harmonically rich, with woody decays and reverbs from string instruments like piano, violin and cello being well reproduced. Playing one of my recent favourite CD rip titled Hit Man, featuring David Foster & Friends is a good example. I could hear deep into the sound stage of the concert, and the bass response of the Wywires Silver is punchy and propulsive, with deeply satisfying solidness that very few cables can match. The tonal quality of the Wywires certainly falls into the neutral band and the level of transparency is high, but the JPS Aluminata is more transparent, only because it could reproduce the most minor of musical details, and make them easily discernible. Not that those details are not there on the Wywires, you just need to listen more intently for them.
The other areas such as noise floor, transient and dynamic response are a strong suit of the Wywires and seemed to rival the JPS, which seems unfair, only because the later is 3X more expensive. Like I said, high-end audio at this point had crossed the threshold point of diminishing returns. It’s not if the Wywires Silver can rival the JPS Aluminata, but rather how close in audio performance the former can get to the more expensive cable at one third the investment, and the answer is probably a no brainer!
|This is the first Hit Man concert, featuring David Foster & Friends, available on Blu-ray and DVD plus CD combo. It”s a great concert recording, with great visual colours and details on HD and the CD of the concert is just as well recorded too. The package offers great entertainment value.|
While listening to the David Foster & Friends CD, which features so many excellent artistes, I most remembered Catherine MacPhee doing The Prayer, a duet with Andrea Boceilli, I got goose bumps when they’re both doing their fortissimo towards the end of the performance. On this performance, Catherine not only served as eye candy, but the sexy lady can certainly open her lungs and sing her heart out, at times eclipsing the highly-rated Andrea Boceilli (as pictured below). Like I always said, if any hifi equipment can give its listeners goose bumps and be emotionally engaged by the music playing, then it’s a worthy component or consideration, at any price.
|Catherine MacPhee performing The Prayer, a duet with Andrea Boceilli. I never took her seriously as a singer until after this performance!|
I know for certain, that Odiosleuth is considering the Wywires range of cables for himself, as he now has the full range of Wywires Gold Signature cables for his evaluation. They cover power cords, interconnects and speaker cables. Now what makes the Gold Signature range so special? They all have Jack Bybee’s rather controversial Quantum Purifiers attached.
As if I’ve not been tempted enough, the good guys at AV Designs have decided to up the ante, and thrown at me the ultimate challenge, in the form of the Wywire Gold Signature AES/EBU digital cable, which in pricing is more than equal to my reference digital cable.
Stay on for another digital cable battle!
Wywires is sold by AV Designs, contact James or Tony at 03-21712828.