I have always considered the words “neutral” and “uncolored” too puritanical to characterize the sound of those surprisingly few components that let the sound of instruments come across to us with absolute, uncoated, unenriched directness, which trust the information they receive absolutely. Their sound is simply too satisfying for joyless adjectives.
Audio Note audio cable, while not entirely innocent, enables Audio Note components to deliver the refined and beautiful Audio Note signature sound that many love and admire. I have learned that it’s something most folks don’t want to mess with. Even otherwise first rate line conditioners can screw it up. But for Gilbert Yeung’s electronics and Reynaud speakers, I have found a cable that reveals different virtues. I say a cable, not a line of cable because there is only one “model” and the speaker cable and interconnects come off the same reel: they are identical except for termination. I find that encouraging.
Crimson cable, made in the UK by Crimson (http://www.crimsonelectronics.com), alters my GY/JMR systems’ personality: I have the sense that I am hearing the quality of instruments more clearly. Apparently that’s the kind of thing people who are new to Crimson say about it, whatever gear they’re using it on and whatever cable they come to it from. The tactile quality of the sound, an almost visible sense of timbre, flies out of my Reynauds. Clarity is too modest a term to describe what we hear. Initially I thought it was a tad light-weight, that the Crimson might be trading off weight for clarity — another thing newcomers to Crimson say about it, for a little while. And then we realize, as we’ve learned before, that the clearer bass gets, the lighter it initially seems. A double bass is plucked, a bass drum thwacked, and suddenly it’s all there. It’s just not there when it’s not there. The air around the instruments is clear rather than thick; it’s clear and charged with energy as it is in a great listening venue.
This is cable that seems to understand better where Gilbert Yeung and JMR in particular want to go; and it lets them go there as I’ve never heard before. John Geisen of Wellington Audio, my JMR dealer in Florida, who introduced me to Crimson and who also sells Audio Note (and Quad, Naim, and some other lines), tells me it has the same effect on all of his other non Audio Note gear as well. He too is reluctant to mess with his Audio Note system.
I would say, now that I’ve been living with Crimson in my GY/JMR systems for a while (including use as a digital interconnect) and comparing it with Audio Note Pallas, Lexus, Sootto and Sogon, that where Audio Note cables tend to be more fulsome and weighty (Lexus), more refined and liquid (Pallas, Sogon, Sootto), and harmonically richer (all four), Crimson is clear, fast, immediate, tactile, trim, direct, “naturally warm,’ and airy. As I’ve said somewhere else, Audio Note cable sometimes gives us the sense we are coming to music from the inside; Crimson comes from the outside, capturing the color, details, and textures that live on the surface of instrumental sound, enabling us to recognize them. Crimson is also wonderfully dynamic. I could not have characterized Audio Note cable as especially rich and refined had I not heard Crimson. Audio can be like that. Through contrast, differences can reveal character, though, alas, it is always relative character! The difference between Audio Note and Crimson is something you really have to hear and you really should hear. As I often say about differences of this kind, which you prefer will tell you more about who you are than what “the truth” is. My ears tell me Audio Note cable is the appropriate cable in an AN system if you prefer the traditional sound of that marque and don’t want to risk changing it. But I urge you to at least consider trying some Crimson there, if only to discover what else Audio Note gear can do. I no longer recommend Audio Note cable for Gilbert Yeung and JMR gear. Crimson seems to understand it better at a far more attractive price.
“Crimson cables are excellent. The presentation is so natural and so right. That cable allows all the emotion through without sounding the least bit romantic. In a way, it was a bit like the time I moved from 300b amplification to 45s. The tone is right on – no smearing, no blending, no overhang; perfect. I was worried that ‘clear’ was going to sound analytical, or hi-fi, or tipped-up, or anaemic, or aggressive, but none of that is the case.
Among the astonishing moments last night was listening to the solo in “Dazed and Confused”: I didn’t hear a guitar, or even a guy playing a guitar, I heard Jimmy Page playing a guitar – right there in front of me. This happened many times – for the first time I heard/saw the musician and not just the instrument.
Crimsons also have the ability to get ‘space’ correct. I’m assuming that they do this because they get timing right. I’m also assuming that thick cables and multi-strand cables can ‘get in their own way’ and when they do, one of the things that happens is images and the music projecting from them get sort of stuck at the line of scrimmage along the speaker plane. I was listening to Beck’s ‘Sea Change’ album and I swear there was music wrapping around behind my head. The Crimsons give music freedom in space – and not at the expense of making the music sound ethereal and otherworldly.” DH, Toronto. Customer
Single-Ended Stereo Interconnect Cables with E.T.I./Eichmann Bullet Plugs:
(prices are for a pair of cables and include termination)
0.5 meter:$ 320.00
1.0 meter:$ 360.00
1.5 meter:$ 400.00
2.0 meter:$ 440.00
2.5 meter:$ 480.00
3.0 meter:$ 520.00
Balanced Stereo Interconnect Cables with Neutrik XLR connectors:
(prices are for a pair of cables and include termination)
0.5 meter: $ 457.00
1.0 meter: $ 537.00
1.5 meter: $ 617.00
2.0 meter: $ 697.00
3.0 meter: $ 857.00
4.0 meter: $ 1017.00
5.0 meter: $ 1177.00
Stereo Loudspeaker Cables with M.C. banana connectors or E.T.I./Eichmann spade connectors.
(Prices are for stereo pairs, double price for biwired)
6 feet: $ 486.40
8 feet $ 535.20
10 feet: $ 584.00
12 feet: $ 632.80
15 feet: $ 706.00
20 feet: $ 828.00
25 feet: $ 950.00
30 feet: $ 1072.00
Amherst Audio has decided not to carry Crimson’s excellent line of electronics any longer as demand for it has shifted to other products to the extent that it makes more sense to direct interested customers directly to the importer, Austin Hifi. www.austinhifi.com