For the last couple of months I have been using the excellent Paradox Audio Balanced interconnect (XLR) which marvelously stood the test of time.
Tore Magnus Wilhelmsen founded Paradox Audio early 2010 in Oslo, Norway. He has over a decade of HiFi and home theater experience and has worked for several years on audio calibration. The range of cables that Paradox Audio offers is quite broad but all cables seem interesting and very well made.
Paradox Audio has a simple philosophy: “We believe the performance of an audio cable is determined by the conductivity of the materials used, and the craftsmanship with which it is built. Our cables are handmade to perfection with the finest quality materials available, utilizing pure gold, and silver and copper. Other high end cable brands spend time developing theories and technologies that have nothing to do with reality, at Paradox Audio we simply use the laws of physics when making what we believe is the best high end audio cables in the world.”
-“Free and green shipping.
-We only use 100% recyclable materials when shipping your cables including free shipping worldwide.
-30-days money back guarantee and lifetime warranty.
-All our products are handmade in Norway and we take great pride in our work. All cables come with a lifetime warranty on the audio performance.
-We know that matching is crucial to any HiFi setup and it usually takes time to make up your mind about new components. If you have any regrets or concerns within the 30 first days after purchase you can use our 30-days return policy for a full refund.
True audiophiles - incredible personal service.
We at Paradox Audio consist of pure HiFi and home theater enthusiasts from Norway who puts great effort and passion into our products. The founder Tore Magnus Wilhelmsen has spent years with audio calibration and has had a passion for sound all his life.
Our great desire for true sound reproduction truly shines through our products ensuring that you get the best available equipment on the market. To ensure this we offer you the best personal service in the market, both before and after the purchase of your next high end audio cable.
High End design.
Design is an important factor when choosing a set of high end audio cables. Countless of hours go into designing each of our cables giving them the ultimate high end look while still maintaining our incredible handmade craftsmanship.
Customized product and design.
We can customize a high end audio cable entirely. If you want different colors, lengths, terminations, designs, sizes, active contra passive shielding or maybe both, we can
manufacture it. We can make changes to our current products or we can design an entire cable from scratch after your criteria’s making it totally unique just for you with your preferred label or name.
Incredible performance - Minimal signal loss.
Paradox Audio cables is capable of extremely high current transfers due to our incredibly low resistance which will reduce any signal loss to an absolute minimum making your speakers sound crystal clear and free of distortion, they will bring out every little detail in instruments and give you the ultimate feeling of being at a live concert in your own home.”
Paradox Audio - Balanced interconnect
These balanced interconnects supposedly have a very low capacitance and inductance. They came equipped with Furutech XLR connectors. One cable was black and the other was white. The description goes like this:
“Balanced XLR audio interconnects with double shielding and incredibly low capacitance and inductance. Made with the purest of copper and connectors of rhodium plated tellurium copper, it has the same conductivity to pure copper but with much higher hardness and shown oxidation resistance. Each connector is housed in a carbon cover and the cable is wrapped with an exclusive braided sleeving and double shielding (both active and passive) making this interconnect truly worthy of the most expensive of high end setups with extremely low distortion and signal loss enhancing crystal clear sound.”
Conductors: 4x26 AWG (4x0,22mm) Extremely pure copper 99,99%
Carbon housing with rhodium plated tellurium copper. Tellurium copper: 99.5% copper, 0.5% Te and 0.008% phosphorus
Layers of PVC, PE and ultra thin SFRS covered with thread. Double shielded with aluminum foil, copper mantel and bicoupled copper wires. All wrapped in an exclusive braided sleeving. Double shielding - both active and passive.
Dimensions: 8mm OD
Resistance: 0,0119 Ohm pr/ft
Inductance: 0,13 uH pr/ft
Capacitance: 4,61 pF pr/ft
Availability: Sold in set of 2. Color and length upon request.
I wonder why they haven`t specified the R-C-L parameters per meter?
Paradox Audio - String Theory MKII speaker cables
These speaker cables came in 4 meters length which was kind of unfortunate since the majority of cables came at 2.5 meters length. The longer speaker cables have higher series resistance and hence higher power loss, however, Paradox says:
“Our new and improved “String Theory MKII” high end audio cable with bigger conductors and a bigger construction. Did someone say bigger is better? The conductors have been improved to massive 6 AWG which makes the cable capable of higher current transfers resulting in a deeper and more detailed sound characteristic. This cable will improve your listening sessions with a more silent and a truly transparent soundstage.
Terminated with your choice of banana or spade plugs.”
4x9 AWG (4x6mm) or 2x6 AWG (2x12mm) 99,9% POFC.
Double layer of special PVC, conductors wrapped in special PVC.
Measurements: 18,8 mm OD
Resistance: 0,0004 Ohm pr/ft
Inductance: 0,21 uH pr/ft
Capacitance: 3,9 pF pr/ft
Max current: 101 Amps
Availability: Color: Black, White, Black/Silver
Length: Custom made upon request
Type: Single wire, Bi-amp/wire
The Paradox Audio String Theory MKII speaker cables look massive in their appearance and seem very well made. On one side they were terminated with banana and on the other with spade lugs. These cables are quite heavy but are easy to handle due to being flexible.
Series impedance test
I have run a series impedance test of the Paradox Audio String Theory MKII and compared it to TelluriumQ Silver Diamonds and Skogrand Beethovens. These measurements should not be considered as a laboratory grade or anywhere “absolute” but they should nevertheless provide some relative, interesting information. They are also not meant to be an open invitation to the theoretical battlefield which usually extends forever.
The ear should be the final judge in assessing the individual cables` sonic characteristics and the overall effect they have on the system`s sound as a whole.
Since the series resistance behaves proportionally, according to the length, the oHm values would be somewhat lower with shorter runs of speaker cables. The Paradox Audio String Theory MKII speaker cable showed 23.44 mohm at the measured 6 Hz frequency. The inductance at 40 kHz was 4.26 μH which was higher than with either Skogrand Beethoven or TelluriumQ Silver Diamonds but as already said, the Paradox Audio String Theory MKII speaker cable was almost twice the length of the other two. Inductance increases the impedance in the high frequency spectrum and hence the high frequency losses, so it should be kept at minimum if we want “open, transparent highs” but it also must be considered in relation to the relative series impedance.
The sound of Paradox Audio String Theory MKII
I have performed some comparisons with the aforementioned speaker cables and must say that the Paradox Audio String Theory MKII speaker cable fared quite well in comparisons to these reference grade speaker cables.
The overall sonic character was very relaxed with good transparency levels. There were no annoying artifacts like hardening of the presence range or either overly bright or muted high frequency spectrum. Tonally, the String Theory MKII speaker cable showed good balance and well evolved harmonic structure. The high frequency spectrum was reproduced very smoothly but a bit less resolved than the Skogrand Beethoven. The differences were of course even bigger in regard to the TelluriumQ Silver Diamonds but the Silver Diamonds will make life difficult for many, more or less expensive cables.
In the upper and lower bass the Paradox Audio String Theory MKII speaker cable showed a slightly softened overall characteristic. The bass extension was good but if anything, I would have wished for a slightly more controlled and punchier upper bass. Still, all that being said, it was good and most likely would be improved with a shorter cable length. I really regret the String Theory MKII wasn`t delivered in shorter length but..who knows, perhaps we will soon have the opportunity to try their top speaker cable, the Colossus.
The sound of Paradox Audio - Balanced interconnect
The Paradox Audio Balanced interconnect was one of the most surprising finds recently. This interconnect is amazingly transparent, resolute, extremely well balanced and possesses an incredibly wide frequency range.
I remember vividly my amazement upon listening to the familiar music material and being surprised by the wealth of information hidden in the recordings. The openness of the high frequency spectrum and at the same time the totally unforced nature of this region left me speechless. The soundstage was very airy, giving an excellent impression of the recording venue, its dimensions and acoustic qualities. The Paradox Audio Balanced interconnect somehow manages to pull the trick of sounding extremely transparent, colorful, dynamic, coherent and neutral - simultaneously. With these virtues it manages to portray an astonishingly lifelike and believable sonic picture which on top of it all completely seduces the listener on a deeper emotional level. The music sounds very immediate but anything but cold, analytical or mechanical in nature.
Instruments and voices are reproduced with power, body, authority and fantastic micro-macro dynamic shadings. The holographic presence is very pronounced and gives a spectacular view of every performer on the virtual soundstage.
One of my favorite songs, the Gian Maria Testa ‘Na Stella (Altre Latitudini) was rendered with phenomenal lifelike attributes. The piano sounded full bodied and also very refined - no sign of a cheap, twangy quality exhibited by many lesser cables. Gian Maria`s voice sounded extremely natural and relaxed, with uncanny lifelike presence.
Kitty Hoff und Forêt-Noire – Weißt Du Noch is another of my favorite tracks and here it was again reproduced with vibrant, lifelike sonic qualities that just reminds the listener that “Thou Shalt Not talk but listen to DIVINE MUSIC!”
Choir and organ compositions were a joy to hear; the separation of indivdual singers was just impeccable and there was not a hint of muddying or dynamic compression in sight.
Same could be said for big orchestrations, the sound possessed explosive dynamics and was highly resolving. The soundstage was extremely layered and expansive in all three dimensions. The tone/timbre of the strings was immaculate and very harmonious.
Even after a few months of constant use, I am still astounded by the overal performance levels of the Paradox Audio Balanced interconnect. During that time I have also tried it in other systems and compared it with other well regarded XLR interconnects but the Paradox Audio Balanced always managed to surpass them in every regard.
The Paradox Audio is a relatively new company that is making some serious efforts on the cabling market. Their String Theory MKII speaker cable is certainly worth investigating and offers very good sound quality. I have a feeling it has even greater potential in shorter lengths but this still needs to be verified.
As for the Paradox Audio Balanced interconnect, this cable is absolutely fantastic performer in every regard and is highly recommended to anyone who seeks a cable that can do it all: reveal the tiniest of the details in all recordings and also sound incredibly musical and involving. Excellent job, Paradox Audio!
Phone: (0047) 41 48 66 67