By WL Low
Those of you who knew me back then, I mean way….. back then, when I was still enthusiastic about the automobile and the daily driving experience, would probably have called me by my nickname, Silly Willy! How did that nickname come about?
At a time when everyone else was spending money making their cars go faster, I was the only silly fella spending money on bigger brakes, suspension strut bars and numerous other stuff that just didn’t make the car go faster. Hence, the nickname as I had spent the most money on my car, and it was never the fastest in the drag race. Silly, right? Not to me, I didn”t see it that way, I never wanted the fastest car off the line anyway. My aim to modifying cars was to achieve the most well balanced behaviour all round. So most things were never really about being the fastest, it was more about the over-riding confidence of knowing that the very powerful car would not turn around and “bite” me around the corner or when the going got tough. It was more about having refined control and predictability, of measured performance over raw speed. So what has the automobile story to do with this Wywires Gold AES/EBU digital cable review?
Well, how about the silly audiophile who spends lotsa moolah on cables? Some already consider me as being one, since my JPS Aluminata AES/EBU digital cable cost nearly as much as the Bryston BDP/BDA-1 combo individually! However, as per my car modifying motives, I see cables as equipment offering improved transmission and refinement, as accessories that allow the main equipment that they’re linked with to perform at its best.
|Wywires Gold AES/EBU digital cable; close up of the Xhadow plug.|
I am sorry for the long-winded introduction, but let’s get back to the subject that matters here, i.e. the Wywires Gold AES/EBU digital cable on review.
I was pretty impressed by the value to performance ratio of the Wywires Silver AES/EBU digital cable when I reviewed it. The Gold series cable seen here looks pretty much the same, lightweight in build and neat if non-extravagant dressing, plus those lovely Xhadow plugs attached at both ends. This cable is very bend-able too, compared to my super stiff JPS Aluminata.
I found this cable to offer pretty much the same kind of sonic characteristics as the Silver tested earlier, but only with more of everything that matters – more bandwidth, more dynamics, super fast (Lite Speed!) transients, deepest bass extension, higher highs and the blackest of black backgrounds, and most importantly, noise free too. All these hi-fi performance parameters bring the Wywires Gold AES/EBU digital cable right up on par with my JPS Aluminanta reference.
The Wywires Gold is tonally neutral, with just enough laid backness to take it away from being clinical. There are enough areas of performance that should ensure the Wywires Gold standing head and shoulders above what I think are some of the best digital cables (one being the JPS Aluminata, the other being the Wireworld Platinum Starlight) available in the market today. What the Wywires does really well over the other cables is its ability to project a huge walk-though sound stage, with solidly anchored imaging properties, and yet does it all with the correct scale as intended in the recordings. The Wywires are really great for re-producing big orchestras, with highly realistic mid-hall vantage point of view from my listening position. All that with more than enough reflected and deflected ambiance as sonic cues in the atmosphere of the recording hall. Even re-playing smaller ensembles and other small system friendly music such as girl/guitar and piano, especially with hi-res music files, the music is always captivating and enchanting. I keep hearing little details usually buried deep in the mix, in an organic and naturally presented fashion, as opposed to that rather “obviously highlighted” fashion that the JPS does so. Despite the fact that the JPS was actually considered pretty natural sounding previously, which was why I made it my reference for the longest time.
If PRAT is your thing, then the Wywires also has them in spades. There’s also an effortlessness in the way the Wywires present music, as opposed to the tensed and ready to spring manner of the JPS. Neither character is bad, it’s just a question of just what your system needs. Horses for courses, really. While the Wywires was in my system over a two-month period, I never found myself returning to my Linn LP12 turn table. My Linn just sat idle for 2 full months, which has never happened before. I think there’s something in the performance of the Wywires gold that makes digital music sound complete and satisfying, that I no longer yearn to take refuge from digital in vinyl.
|That’s all ye” get for ye” money! The cable, a certificate of authenticity and an invoice in a plastic zip bag.|
Just as I was about to embark on this review, I called James (of AV Designs) to enquire about the retail price of this Wywires Gold AES/EBU digital cable, and was surprised to hear him say RM3,199.00 for the 1.5 meter length review sample. I thought I heard wrong, because I was expecting the Wireworld or JPS kind of pricing (which is nearly double!) due to the impeccable sonic performance of the Wywires, which stands head and shoulders above the other two!
Now, sonic considerations aside, I’d like to keep this Wywires Gold AES/EBU digital cable, just to look less silly in front of other audiophools.
Wywires are sold by AV Designs, contact Tony or James at 03-21712828.