The Tellurium Q cable company is making some strong forays into the cabling market. This is Mono & Stereo second review and world first exclusive review of Silver Diamond Speaker Cable.
It has been just a few weeks since the fantastic Tellurium Q Black Diamond speaker cables were reviewed here at Mono & Stereo and now I`m sitting in disbelief caused by the new Silver Diamond speaker cables which exhibited a massive performance leap. Is it really so much about the phase distortion as Tellurium Q wants us to believe? Well, maybe they are really onto something but although I would love to find out, this is not something I would like to ponder about - endlessly; the end effect is what really matters and this even if the real reasons will forever remain mysterious… but I`m getting ahead of myself.
How Tellurium Q® was born ?
“One afternoon at a recording studio in Somerset, Geoff Merrigan, who was there because he was the studio’s business advisor started a conversation with the studio owner and a technical electronics expert. As there was a strong interest in science and technology they started talking about the system set up and sound quality relating to, and influenced by the various electronics. There was a bold claim that the cables were causing problems in recording quality. Both the studio owner and Geoff took the stand point that a cable is just a cable and all it needs to do is transmit a signal and enough power, end of story, surely? An hour later after discussing the fundamentals of signal transfer theoretically in a standard cable’s construction and why exactly that caused problems. It made absolute sense and Tellurium Q® was born on a leap of faith. The new company invested heavily in R&D and non-standard tooling to bring about the first cable, Tellurium Q Black. Thankfully it exceeded expectations and in the UK there was an immediate uptake with a small handful of dealers who were prepared to use their ears.”
Things that the Tellurium Q team says on their website might not contain specific information in regard to their cables but still, there is a wealth of interesting and useful information:
“What people do not realise is that to get the best performance in a cable you actually have to be prepared to compromise between a number of factors.
Stepping back further, you even need to ask what exactly is a “signal”. An electric current is not a bunch of electrons entering a wire at one end, zipping through and popping out the other end. No. It is more like the Newton’s cradle toy where a wave of impacts go through the swinging balls quickly while the balls themselves move very little. Even this analogy is a world away from what actually happens, though. Of course the electrons work their way through the wire. Just not very quickly that is all.
When you understand what a signal actually may be and can model the way it is likely to behave and how this “wave potential” is affected and then what function that signal has to fulfil, it is then time to do a bit of a balancing act. This is between, for example, capacitance, inductance, accurate transmission (not just material “purity” as many think) and high speed transmission (which in itself involves a whole host of lesser criteria). It is this fine tuning process that can lead to some surprises in choice of materials that is REQUIRED for the compromises to work efficiently and effectively. What we do a little differently is that we skew the balancing act to take into account phase accuracy to give a recording correct timing reproduction. In a nutshell, that is how we at Tellurium Q®get the results we get. We believe that we put more into research and development than any other company as a percentage of our profitability and we have no reason to stop doing so. Research is our passion and our customers are the beneficiaries of this.”
If you think about it, all of the above makes A LOT of sense. The Tellurium Q company obviously plans every detail ahead; they know how various materials and shapes behave and can simulate the outcome in regard to the signal transmission but still, at the end - listening takes place to verify their foresight.
Silver Diamond Speaker Cable
“The Silver Diamond are the cables that we were not sure could be made (although we hoped that they would be possible).
If you read through the “Our Focus” section on this web site we talk about the fact that any cable from any manufacturer is an electronic filter whether you want it to be or not – that is just a fact of life. Being a filter any cable causes relative phase relationship issues for the signal. We have taken our research and development that was outlined in “Our Focus” and just tried to push the concept of a neutral filter as far as we thought it was possible to give you a highly transparent, natural and “real” presentation.
So what’s different? Well compared to the Black Diamond, which was our award winning multi-product of the year cable, the Silver Diamond has even better bass definition, improved detail and a more extended top end (without any harshness) and something else which people are finding hard to define simply because they have not heard it before. As one of the first people to hear the cable said there is a “certain rightness” to the sound and that is because we have got closer to achieving our goal in cable development and signal transmission than ever before and you can hear it. Perhaps an analogy would be to talk about the Black Diamond as HD image quality whereas the Silver Diamond gives you 4K Ultra HD quality with 3D effortlessly thrown in for good measure.
This cable behaves differently to our others needing a run through of track three from our System disc to properly embed it before listening on a new system even when it is run in – almost like conditioning the system to make the most of the cable’s abilities. It may sound a bit strange that a system needs to be tuned up or put in tune to get the most from this cable but the cable is something quite unique as you will hear if your get the chance to listen to a system using it.
We are very proud to have this cable finally crowning our ranges.”
They have sort of nicely described their top speaker cable model but let me put it this way: their description doesn`t even nearly do all the justice to what this cable is all about.
Is this a high end audio journey or something else?
The situation is not clear because the whole high end audio “movement” has become a circus in many ways; affordable (good sounding) components, luxury valuables, countless “me-too” (useless) products as well as highly original products which also happen to push the sonic performance boundaries - they all can be found under one (very flexible) term: high end audio. Every approach is good and valid, it all depends on one`s taste. Really?
Has this term lost its meaning, like the term high fidelity once did? It seems so.
How can all of the above represent high end? An END is an END and you cannot go beyond it. An 1k integrated and the 100k power amp are both high end audio? No, I`m not trying to imply the price should be the real indicator of the quality, no, not even nearly but we really need to introduce some “law`n`order” here (I`m being half-serious here :-)).
One thing is for sure, this chaotic situation is perhaps the driving force behind “high end” audio BUT… I doubt the end users welcome it, quite on the contrary, they are becoming increasingly more confused (even depressed) and all this because the high end audio has (seemingly) decided to abandon the sound of real live music as its reference and is giving us fake substitutes. Almost everyone compares one system to another; rarely anyone seeks resemblance to the live sound and by “live sound” I mean the sound of live, unamplified instruments and voices. Yes, they can still be heard here and there, just go and make some effort in finding them. Perhaps even one of your kids plays an instrument but you never took this as an opportunity to put yourself “under the spell” of live music.
I know many classical concerts are supported by public address systems nowadays but real live music can still be found and when you experience it - it will awaken you - there`s no other way to put it.
Yes, it sounds absurd to even think that audiophiles (unlike music lovers) have little or no experience of how live instruments and voices sound but the proof, sadly, is in their system`s sound and…I know many of them personally and they`re just NOT concert-goers, for whatever reason. Audiophiles which also happen to be music lovers are pretty rare “beasts” these days.
And while it is completely understandable that not everyone can afford a lifelike sounding system, many of those who can, sometimes seem to have bad luck in recreating a sound that is reminiscent of a live musical event - even with stratospherically priced equipment. And the same goes for many manufacturers; they just wanna join the party even though they have “nothing to say” - which is quite sad.
Of course, that was a generalisation; many of them still have both: the ears, knowledge (sensibility) and the means to ensure truly lifelike sound reproduction quality levels - thankfully.
Why such a long rant, you may ask? Well, I have just stumbled upon a speaker cable that I`m very tempted to put in a class of its own - but I won`t because what we have here is “just” a product that raises the bar of what’s achievable in this field - they`re true SOTA (state of the art) speaker cables and although they`re not cheap, they don`t cost a fortune either. In general: we should try to reserve the term SOTA only for truly outstanding products (regardless of price) and the Tellurium Q Silver Diamonds just happen to be one of them.
The Tellurium Q Silver Diamond experience
Let me begin by saying that the Tellurium Q Silver Diamonds are able to perform the most difficult of tricks: to sound extremely transparent (more so than ANY other cable so far!) AND also incredibly smooth. Usually, you get one or another feature but almost never both at the same time. I believe this is in great part due to the fullness and scale they exhibit across the whole spectrum.
Next thing: the amount of energy these cables pass through is astonishing. I remember vividly how enchanted I was by the overall energy levels of the some of the latest high-end cables; they really stood above the rest of the pack in many other regards too like the unforced, natural transparency, resolution of the tinniest details, natural tonal colors, lower midrange weight (authority), low bass extension, upper bass slam and control, etc. The Many of these brought back the essence of what lively music reproduction is all about, sounding decidedly non-hifi if you will. For example the excellent Swiss made VOVOX Textura Fortis speaker cables were another attempt in this direction, sounding very dynamic, powerful and involving but what would you say if I told you the Tellurium Q Silver Diamonds go beyond the many other very expensive cables in almost every regard? The music they reproduce sounds so immediate, natural and self evident - it`s hard to believe! BTW, the Tellurium Q Black Diamonds were great but the Silver Diamonds are on an entirely different level! I was shocked by the naturalness these cables produce and I firmly believe they transmit the musical signal with much reduced distortion levels, judging by the sound of familiar music material. These cables are able to preserve the natural tone like no other in my experience.
Vocals: eerily lifelike! The openness and the presence of the vocal range are PHENOMENAL!!! All vocals, be it male or female also have incredibly natural body and tonal colour (these two are much related) and sound so REAL and immediate it`s frightening - at times. The sibilants were handled in an extremely natural and refined way, no annoyances here.
The presence of the acoustic instruments is staggering and they all possess a lifelike tonal colour palette. I know all this sounds kind of overly enthusiastic but I have made many comparisons and not only with some other very well regarded speaker cables and have always come back to the same conclusion: the Tellurium Q Silver Diamonds are something really SPECIAL!
Compared to other top speaker cables they somehow manage to sound extremely full across the WHOLE spectrum AND also more detailed than any of them. Extreme resolution, authority and no harshness? How is this possible? I don`t know and I`m completely baffled.
Compared to the the Tellurium Q Silver Diamonds, other cables show weaknesses like compressed dynamics, lack of natural colours, lack of resolution, lack of transparency, lack of bass depth, punch and control, lack of micro dynamics, lack of authority, higher distortion levels, many other shortcomings.
It was hard to concentrate on the sound and analytically observe its characteristics because I was so drawn into the music performances that it left me speechless. The music was communicated on the deepest emotional level and one I have not experienced before.
Familiar albums that I thought I know really well (and also those of average recording quality) just sprang to life in unimaginable ways. Example: Kelly Sweet - We Are One (2007). Her voice sounded much fuller and more REAL than ever before. It is my firm belief the Silver Diamonds did nothing to “improve” these recordings but rather that other cables do too much harm to them.
Same story with Gianmaria Testa, Altre Latitudini album, his voice (and the instruments) also sounded more real than ever before but this is otherwise an excellent recording. Yes, I know, I`m repeating myself but I really want to make it clear what these cables do to the music.
Great recordings sounded even more real. Example: Lekverk - Everyday (2010). The intro tune “In the mood” showed astonishing holographic capabilities of the Tellurium Q Silver Diamonds; the synth was displayed in front of the left speaker and was placed precisely about 1 meter left of it, close to the window. The 3D effect was sensational. It was very easy to follow the musicians on the virtual soundstage; the separation of the instruments was fantastic and the impression they were all in the room with me, was very authentic.
Classical orchestrations just shone in every conceivable regard: the tone and timbre were gorgeously rich, the separation and layering of the instruments were outstanding, the airiness of the recording venue, the overall holographic presentation and just plain sonic majesty - a truly exciting experience.
Before I finish, one musical recommendation: Veronika Harcsa (born October 8, 1982) is Hungarian singer, best known internationally as the singer of the Hungarian jazz band Bin-jip and Pannonia Allstars Ska Orchestra.
She is one of my favorite female singers and I just love her “Red Baggage” album (2009), here, the song “Make it last”:
Veronika`s live performance of “You Don’t Know It`s You”:
Let me conclude with the following thought: the music reproduced through the Tellurium Q Silver Diamond speaker cables was a pure revelation - even after repeated listenings and numerous comparisons. I just couldn`t stop marvelling at the performance levels they brought to all music material.
In my view, the Tellurium Q Silver Diamond speaker cables represent a major achievement in the realm of state of the art loudspeaker cabling. The way they manage to combine phenomenal resolution, transparency and natural tonal colours, while sounding extremely analog and coherent, top to bottom, is almost unbelievable. They sound incredibly unforced, vivid and dynamic at the same time. Listening to the music reproduced by the Silver Diamonds also proved to be an Emotional Tour de Force!