Adam Bettencourt a review on IC-5 cables.
I have just received this lovely Email and Alan has put it so well, thanks Alan.
Adam Bettencourt a review on IC-5 cables.
Elsdon-Wonfor Audio seem to be taking over my music system! With the addition of interconnects to the range it’s possible to have everything EWA, barring source and speakers, and I just received two pairs of EWA IC-5 interconnects, sleeved in electric blue with silver plated locking RCA Phono plugs. I’ll try to explain what they do in my system, but I’ll talk mostly in terms of what I think you’ll hear in your system as well, rather than discussing the personal and subjective matter of listening to music. That’s up to you! After a while playing in the system on background music and TV duty I sat for a first ‘serious’ listen. I’m familiar with and a fan of the EWA house sound, which I'd sweepingly summarise as “turbo charged class A warmth and imaging, with huge bass impact and lightning speed”. Some products major on the Class ‘A’ warmth (most notably the SECA amplifiers) while others are speed and detail freaks. All have proved magically good but the real art occurs when they are combined. Where does the EWA IC-5 fit into the range them? I need to explain by building on a previous experience: I’ve had EWA LS-25 loudspeaker cables for a while, which are capable of stupefying bass impact and of projecting a 3d image that feels so solid one could drill a hole and a hang a picture on it. These qualities jump out at the listener really quickly. On further listening subtleties become evident, which should be properly attributed to the amplifier. The cables though, allow the amplifier to project minutiae and filigree textural details well into the soundstage where they are distinct and palpable. This is the sort of detail you only (usually) hear in a high end headphone setup. Yet here it is, large as life and hanging right in front of you. So yes, the LS-25 are very good, and the IC-5 build (and build) on this foundation. First thoughts on the IC- 5 interconnects then: Imaging and treble, without a doubt. The top end shines and projects like I’ve only heard in live settings, particularly with percussion and cymbals. Brass and woodwind instruments really show their character, rasp and timbre as well. It’s of interest to note that the treble never becomes remotely ‘hot’ or harsh at even extreme volume, which I thought was a rare quality. Imaging (which was already very pleasing) is more notably deep front to back and apparently taller. Instances where an instrument might appear from outside the speaker’s boundaries are now common. The image remains constant as a monument regardless of volume and seems intact even when sitting seriously off axis. However it’s the presence of the image, it's impact which is just something... else. I’m talking about the power projected right from the centre of the image. How to explain?.. By way of illustration, imagine a large planar speaker all the way across in front of the listening position, literally metres wide. Now if such a thing could image correctly, it would project most powerfully at the listener, from left, to centre, to right, and do it seamlessly. That sort of projection is what the IC-5 have bought to my system across the width between the loudspeakers. Musical impact from the line between the loudspeakers to the listening position is stunning, and is uniform in strength from left to right. That presence and bold presentation, at lower volumes, is a treat. More interesting is what happens at anti social volume. When playing loud (90dB ish and above), I was able to hold my fingers out in the air and feel it vibrate. At the same time I carried on a conversation with someone next to me without either of us raising our voices at all. That’s part of what makes the presentation so good in my opinion, which in turn allows extended listening without the slightest listener fatigue. There’s a lot of musical atmosphere presented here as well, vivid recreation of the recording venue. Patti Larkin’s The Cranes is most evocative and dripping in details; the impact of a strummed, plucked or brushed string and it's timbre, the sustain and delay, the slight tremolo and the intricate timing subtleties Ms Larkin strokes into her guitar. It’s emotional, enough to draw a listener right in, as if for the first time ever with a high end music system. There’s undoubtedly more to come from the EWA IC-5 cables. I’ll need time to get used to them but I’m already very impressed. These are cables which are not bright in their presentation, nor particularly warm, but stunningly detailed and beautifully open. In any system (best thought of as a single circuit) cables and matching them will be best conducted personally rather than by strength of the opinion of others. In my system, which is filled with EWA designs and earlier work by Colin Wonfor, the IC-5 have found a new home.