I already conducted an in-depth review of the LessLoss power cables. As this is a continuing review in our collaboration about a system approach, this time my focus is on interconnects and speaker cables.
So far, this is now almost a full LessLoss cabling system, and I have to admit my high likings. The synergy is great and has been confirmed by a few of my sharp eared friends: my system plays really well. No, I’m not trying to advertise an ego trip, but, finally, I've come to tangible results from literally years of searching, matching and demoing. There is nothing more satisfying than the yearning for a late night listening session without anything else but pure music.
There are still some possible details to be refined and slight changes waiting to be addressed, but overall I’m ready for my daily dosage of musical bliss without much frustration.
The path taken by the LessLoss approach of completeness is finally making itself evident. There are many ways to describe the motion of sound that comes from the pure musical veins of the LessLoss labs, but to summarize: it is captivating, with the sense of pace and flowing and simply sharing the sublime openness of the music that seems to float out of the micro particles of Anchorwave cables.
I won't go into the wrestling and war of the brands in this review. The whole reason of our experiment in testing is to bring out the pure function and effortlessness of the whole. We spend countless hours and nerves while matching the components of our desired audio systems. What if there is a recognized and proven synergy among single branded cabling products? Yes, there were explorations in that regard in the past, but to what degree and with what results? It’s easy to toss everything just into one drawer, stick a label on top of it and say, "this is a great sounding set of cabling for everything." This is not my interest and I have strong doubts that those are the aspirations of any serious music lover and audiophile.
Staying within the bounds of my interest as well as many of yours, let us see this as collaborative effort into experiencing something for our mutual benediction. I’m revealing things as they go along and thank God so far everything is going in the right direction. This listening does take time and effort from my side and as you requested in a few dozen of emails, I’m sharing my findings with all of you as I go along.
The Depth of the LessLoss Universe
Every cable manufacturer strives towards one simple goal, and that is a complete and unaltered sound reproduction. Now, how this is implemented depends on each manufacturer's philosophy and design.
We already discussed a few points regarding building materials and all the things that can affect the quality of sound reproduction. Like it or not, we even find some little hidden universe of new truths each year or decade. So what can we do with them? It’s up to the skill and imagination of manufacturers to implement those slight changes into fully operational products. In our case, cables, that can bring out the best of the science and latest state of the art.
Louis Motek and LessLoss spend quite some time testing and developing their line of cables. Considering microvibrations and exploring their effect on the sound, they’re using approaches that would certainly fall into the sci-fi category just a few years back, like the concept of a nano particle bed, for example. But we’ve seen the usage of nano technologies more and more at every step of our lives. So why should high-end audio lag behind this trend?
The cable industry has undoubtedly advanced during the last decade. While industrial cable manufacturers strive for the integrity of signal and prevention of signal loss at longer distances, audiophile cable companies’ goals tend to be different. We’ve seen that those who are up to speed with these changes are moving towards different goals. Today, measurements have gone into quite insane proportions where they’re showing almost perfect results. These days you can freely go and invest a fortune into cables which would provide those “miracles” while implementing some proprietary real-time cryogenic method. The industry already offers this type of solution, but the pricing is out of this world. And is a cryogenic refrigerator really still a cable? What does your girlfriend say?
What should be of importance leads a clever cable manufacturer towards using the latest technology only if finding concrete benefit in the resulting sound quality. I’ve seen, explored and listened to a vast array of audiophile grade cables from the budget priced on up to ones that would blow anyone’s bank (especially with a cognizant girlfriend). With the current offerings, it is easy to become bewildered by all the choices. Sometimes it seems like everyone and anyone is making cables :). As with every other component, one would hope this would be an exact science that should be in favour of pure music and nothing else. It’s not always like that. Many cables are clearly overpriced and clearly overrated. It’s a bold statement, I know, and it won’t win me many “Likes” on Facebook, but a fact’s a fact. What kind of science, manufacturing pedigree, or unique claim can one make by hooking up a largely available OEM cable cut from industrial length 100m spools with some sort of connectors (‘esoteric’ or regular ones) and label it with a stiff price? This is nothing but a disservice to the whole high-end audio public and everyone who’d otherwise like to call himself an audiophile, but can’t, because he’s (perhaps rightfully) too embarrassed! It’s one thing to offer affordable cables, but to merely attach a company logo and put mass-produced OEM cables into a new outer skin is more (or is that less...?) than just lame. It is an insult to our intelligence.
Anyhow. I love sound philosophy and innovative technical solutions behind products, but even more, I’m thrilled when they produce actual, obvious sounding results.
It seems to me that the LessLoss Anchorwave speaker and interconnect cables both represent a direct extension to something I would call “skillful design poetry.” Even when compared to some rare upper echelon high-end cables (wooden crates for cables, anyone?), both cables in the Anchorwave series confirmed my findings. These are more then just well thought-out cables. They are contemporary arrays of harmoniously carved products from a designer that deeply respects and obviously understands both technology and music.
A few of my colleagues who own Shunyata Research, MIT, Argento and Nordost were surprised by the capability of pure music flow that these LessLoss Anchorwaves provide.
These days we have to admit we are on the verge of history where the old giants are being questioned. What is the real value and how far can we go with the price/value ratio in high-end audio? Don’t get me wrong: I do respect the quality, the sound, the technology, and the know-how we can find with some of the “leading” cable manufacturers. But what is happening? Some of these manufacturers are coming very close to being perceived as high-priced luxury labeled high-end lifestyle products. While there still could be noticable differences between their final performance, this performance gap is clearly narrowing each year. From the perspective of us audiophiles, this can only be a good sign.
Importance of cables
There are many schools of thought when it comes to building a sound system. But what is the most important part? What should be set up and invested in first? Where do you start?
Some maintain that cables are the last part of system matching. “Mating” is one of their favorite words. I’m not sure I can agree. How would you even know the capabilities of certain electronic components if you cannot get to their full potential? With mediocre performance from cables, you’ll only get a hint of what might be possible. You’ll be “matching and mating” for quite a long while, and will the “marriage” be happy? Be careful to use your own logic and do keep an open mind to take wise friendly suggestions. Cables do matter, and they are one of your best friends to help keep you on the path to audio heaven.
The musical inferno
I like audiophile recordings for testing out products “under the scope,” but there is nothing more revealing at times than regular studio albums. There are still numerous albums from the past century that sound not only good, but very good. Most of the time this is on vinyl. It seems that mastering engineers didn't get it right with most of the CD counterparts, since most of the same albums on red book media sound terrible.
It was wonderful to pull out Sade and let her create an almost enigmatic atmosphere with ever seducing vocal and intimate music. After all these years, I’m still intrigued by the share power of carsima, that some band or musicians can carry. Music is not simply a transcription of the notes and finely organised words, but something that clearly transcends mere mortal understanding of technical terms. It’s the flow of sublime energy. This is why we can so happily let ourselves into an almost alpha state. Thank God that instead of television, when it comes to music, we’re the ones that get to discover, discern and define the material of our entertainment. These are real needs rather than just pastimes.
I would go even further and call music listening a culture. It’s among one of the greatest activities mankind has established and there is a constant need of public cultivation.
When we’re talking about pure energy flow of emotions and about motion of sound, there is a need of synergy. But we cannot stop at synergy. We should pin point and describe the most important things that make a healthy working audio system. As mentioned before, for non interrupted musical language connection between the individual components in our audio system, cables are crucial. Not as a last touch, but as an organic part of the system.
To crawl into the analogy universe; as the veins are important for our bodily structure and functions, so are the cables in high-end audio system. We can rant, speculate, talking about mystification as much as we want, but at the end of the day, these are the facts. Measurable and recognisable by ear. Period! I’m sick and tired of constant attacks about high-end cables (and other) nonsense. Simply don’t bother to waste your time and rather spend quality time listening to more music. I would only leave you with one question. Why would you spend stupendous amounts of money on your car tyres, bicycle upgrades, computer parts, etc? Performance aside?
LessLoss Anchorwaves in combination with LessLoss power cords perform without constraint. Liquid and transparent could be the word, but I always tend to find musical terms and language that hopefully better transcribe my perception and feelings.
These days I’m not chasing any wow’s or triumphs. Often products that instantly overwhelm you don’t tend to hold your enthusiasm for a long time. If we’re looking for any given accent, then it can be an attempted remedy for poor performance or certain undesirable character of one of the other components.
High-end has come far with its revival in the 80’s. Both tube and solid state can today be transparent and natural. You might pay the premium price to get the best sound in solid state, while there are quite a few more affordable options within the tube camp, so you’ll still have to be quite picky.
The LessLoss Anchorwaves deliver immediate performance. With the substantial rotation of cables that are constantly passing through my demo room, both the interconnects and the speaker cables clearly showed their large potential. I'm happily reporting having gone through a definite upgrade path when adding them into my system chain. My critical demand for unaltered signal transmission was more than amply addressed. Being more then picky, when I'm deep into my late night sole analogue listening, they become more than just my best friends. LessLoss becomes a clear audio window into my favorite music recordings.
When you find yourself with a pending upgrade schedule for your cabling needs, do not make the mistake of passing up on these two. They are more of a necessity than an option if you ask me. For my most demanding listening I can freely speak out and name them as my highest recommendation among the few. Even further, they are exactly what I wanted and need them to be, in sync with the DFPC cables and in the direct service of my passion for music.
Mono and Stereo ultra high end audio magazine
All rights reserved, November 2011