Have you noticed that founders of companies producing audiophile equipment are often educated in a completely different direction? Some are electrical engineers or professional sound engineers, but a racing driver brought Naim devices to life, a sociologist founded Enerr company, and a clarinetist is responsible for Musical Fidelity brand.
Theoretically anyone can set up a factory of audiophile cables. The only question is whether it will function properly. Buying plugs and wires from external suppliers, linking them together and decorating with your own emblems is something completely different than actual production of cables from scratch. That is how the Albedo works - a company founded by Grzegorz Gierszewski, who was trained as a goldsmith. Of course his cables aren't made from silver rings, but silver is a conductor material used in all models. Wires can have rectangular or circular cross-section, wide or thin ribbons are also used, but there can be no compromise when it comes to the manufacturing process.
That is why the company is not an assembler, but a true manufacturer, where the cables start their life in the form of silver granulate which needs to be melted at the proper temperature, cleaned and shaped. Every cable passes through a series of machines, before it enters the phase of installation, insulation and final assembly. Over the years the founder of the company created a real laboratory for comprehensive silver processing. Melting is done in the most high-tech induction furnace with argon shield, which prevents oxidation of the raw material. Changes in the internal construction of Albedo cables can be started by the introduction of a new machine or new materials that could act as a dielectric or vibration damping. That is why these cables gradually evolve, and models with the same name made ten years ago are different from those you can buy today. The last big change was the reduction of the capacity of almost all models, which was associated with optical slimming of cables. And probably this is not the end. I am sure that if the opportunity to purchase some plasma soldering or ultrasonic cleaner for silver appears, Albedo will use it to raise standards once again. No, sorry - the ultrasonic cleaner is already working in the workshop.
Design and functionality
Already the company's approach is impressive, isn't it? It is not surprising that the wires also look seriously. I know them quite well, especially the Geo, because it has worked in our editorial reference system for two years. It is one of my favourite interconnects, not only because of the sound performance, but also flexibility and lack of heavy cans and screw-plugs. These elements look good on the pictures, they can also give pleasure to people who install them once or twice, but they generate troubles with frequent changes of devices. Therefore I warn you that I am emotionally involved with the Geo. If anyone believes that long term use of cable means that the review will not be reliable, they may close the page now and go watch a TV series.
The new Flat One model is foreign to me. I knew the older version, but it was so long ago that the model produced now has to be treated as a different product. From the outside these two wires differ only by the colour of the jacket underneath the outer protective braid. The Flat One model is dark red, while the Geo is grey. Both interconnects are very functional. Although they can not be bend too hard, under normal circumstances nothing bad should happen. Plugs are decent, but not too large. They can be plugged to a device comfortably, even if the sockets for the left and right channel are close to each other. Both cables are available in RCA and XLR version. This is good news for owners of devices with balanced jacks, though the cables with such connectors are noticeably more expensive.
Before listening I advise you to forget about the stereotypical performance of silver cables. People used to think that they offer fast and brighten sound with lots of treble and tight, quick bass. Such reasoning can be confirmed if we compare the ordinary copper wire with the usual silver wire. Albedo is doing so many different things with this metal, that the final sound is not entirely within the limits of the standard divisions. If I plugged the Flat One not knowing what's under its jacket, I would bet on copper. In fact it's a cable with a very balanced and pleasantly smooth sound, with the perfect tonal balance and natural timbre. Low, medium and high tones live together in harmony. The band does not have any holes or obvious deviations, in addition it is very well bonded. The Flat One offers a sound that can be called analogue. Music flows together with the cable and makes a one piece with it. Interestingly, we do not need to pay for this with slowdown or warming. Some pleasant element is noticeable, but it doesn't sound like cheating. It is rather a kind of smooth handling of sounds, not an artificial heating of the atmosphere. With the cheaper interconnect we get treble and detail in the relevant quantities, but nothing here is done with brute force. There is no nervous atmosphere, the sound is just so... Beautiful. We find a lot of this nice character in the Geo, but I can immediately hear its superiority. Mainly in areas such as dynamics, lucidity and stereo imaging. Geo offers more tight and practical, but still natural and well balanced sound. Maybe some will even think that this model is too clear and uncompromising, but for me it's a perfect blend. In my hi-fi system I had the Air I, Air III and Versus speakers cables by Albedo.
I loved these wires for their musicality, smoothness, extremely volatile space and the ability to show all the advantages of connected devices. However sometimes I felt the lack of craziness and courage to get closer to the thin, red line and show that they are able to work even with the wildest music. And I thought just about this when I heard The Geo for the first time. This cable is not afraid of a challenge, does not hesitate to hurt the ear a little when the record forces it to. The Geo has the smoothness, perfect tonal balance, great sound stage and natural timbre, but it is also a little pert and ready for action at any time. Its sound is fast, clear and aerated. So maybe it has a little more of a typical silver character, or perhaps it's just a bit braver. Anyway, for me it is an almost perfect mixture. I am not saying that Geo is the best interconnect in the world. I have used much more expensive cables offering deeper bass and so on. But the Geo is incredibly versatile - suitable for all the music and all the equipment. It has witnessed so many speakers, source and amplifier changes that I lost count, and I still don't want to get rid of this cable.
Build quality and technical parameters
Flat One and Geo are analogue interconnects for audio systems. Construction of Flat One model is fully symmetrical and without shielding. Silver ribbon is a conductor here, and air insulation can overcome the dielectric capacitance. The silicone hose with an outer wrapper in maroon colour protects the wire. The RCA version has connectors with reduced resistance, covered with a thick layer of silver. Optionally you can order a rhodium-plated connectors made of beryllium copper. XLR version is equipped with a rhodium-plated connectors.
Tin with silver is used to solder the ends. Silver conductor with rectangular cross-section is used in the higher Geo model. The silicone hose with an outer wrapper in graphite colour protects the cable.
Naim CD5 XS, Naim NAC 152 XS Naim NAP 155 XS, Sevenrods ROD4, Enerr Tablette 6S, Gigawatt LC-2 mkII, Audioquest NRG-2, Ostoja T1.
Two great wires confirming the artistry of the company. The Flat One is more analogue and smooth, excellent for long listening sessions. The Geo has more courage, gives a superb dynamics and resolution, though still remains natural, sustainable and enjoyable. Some time ago I decided to stay with the Geo. Why? If you have heard of Tool, you know for sure that many albums of this group were very similar.
The first track from the last album begins similarly, but suddenly there is a strike of energy. And that is the way Geo sounds - the main idea is still the same, but there is just much more energy and substance. A perfect mixture? For me - yes. And please do not say that this review is subjective, because I warned at the beginning.