ZenWave D4 RCA and XLR interconnects review

Is there any end to the high-end audio cabling? For some this might be a nightmare and a subject of endless debate. For me,  luckily no :). After all the years and all the cables in the testing loop I’m still enthralled by the new cables coming in and out sometimes even on the weekly basis. Yes, there are heck a lot of products being just cleverly packed with the rebranded conductors and with the instant hefty prices tucked on top. On the other hand the so called cable revolution is brining along some of the very interesting and intriguing soulutions :) to explore.

My practical experiences led me to certain conclusions. Here is one… There is something more going on with custom alloys and special conductors. With the abundance of wiring non healthy chunk of them sounds very similar and of little difference, not really justify pricing or being worthy of highlighting. These days one can too quickly accelerate into the crazy stratosphere where even basic interconnects can cost as much as a very good car. So reality check is always needed. 

ZenWave moves on the the other side of the fence. When D4 RCA and XLR interconnects got in for a review I’ve got a feeling that something different might occur. Why? Neotech silver/gold alloy signal wire, ZenWave own OEM product for a start!


David Cahoon, the founder of ZenWave Audio been into high-fi audio since he was a child and greatly enjoyed the do-it-yourself (DIY) aspect of the hobby. He built his first cables about 20 years ago and have continuously been improving them since then. He have a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and before he got his degree David owned a welding and auto shop. He always been a hands-on guy who likes to do things by himself. 

“The cables ZenWave builds are neutral and accurate, with the goal of achieving the highest fidelity possible without introducing any harshness or glare that could cause listening fatigue.” David do this by employing the best designs combined with the best materials possible.

“We build high end cables using the best parts available from Neotech, Furutech, WBT and Duelund. Our cables are hand built in the USA. We are upfront and honest about what goes into our products and believe we are offering the best value in cables available today. Our goal is to offer cables that perform at an extremely high level for a reasonable price. Most cable companies’ products are 3-5x the price of ours for a similar quality cable, although most companies do not offer a product that is competitive with our highest end cables at any price.”

“The audible result of using OCC wire is a cable that adds no harshness, grain, or other undesirable artifacts that cause listening fatigue while maintaining the fine detail present in the music. UPOCC copper has much less warmth and far greater detail than regular copper. The UPOCC copper litz-type wire used in the power cables, speaker cables and some of the interconnects more closely resembles the performance of silver but without any harshness and with better tone. UPOCC silver has absolutely no harshness, grain or “thinness” of tone associated with lesser purity silver while retaining all of the fine detail present in the signal.”


The custom Neotech silver/gold alloy signal wire is David own OEM product! He keeps the details secretively in order to protect ZenWave intellectual property. Alloy wire has been manufactured before yet ZenWave is the only one made using the Ohno Continuous Casting (OCC) method. This process as ZenWave proprietor declare promises a far superior wire to normal drawn wire. 

Neotech is the only company licensed to produce Ohno Continuous Cast (OCC) wire. Furukowa recently discontinued their OCC wire production and has switched to a new technology that is less expensive but inferior to OCC. The wire and connectors used in many of ZenWave cables are made of Ultra-Pure OCC (UPOCC) copper, silver and/or silver/gold alloy. The purity of UPOCC metals is estimated at 6N (99.9999%) or greater purity. 

“Those who claim greater purity than 6N are “estimating” purity levels and cannot prove their claims as it is beyond our ability to measure. UPOCC cast metals are a single crystal of metal, with no grain boundaries. This eliminates distortion caused by electrons jumping gaps and navigating impurities in the atomic structure, resulting in a wire with measurably improved conductivity. UPOCC copper has been measured at about 3% greater conductivity than IACS (International Annealed Copper Standard).”

Two of the wires David use are ZenWave OEM products, made exclusively for ZenWave by Neotech. The first is a 14 gauge, cotton-jacketed, litz-type UPOCC copper wire. ZenWave have the same wire in 20 gauge as well. The litz construction eliminates skin effect and allows greater resolution in the mid to high frequencies vs. conventional wire. The second is a 26 gauge UPOCC silver/gold alloy wire used in interconnects and speaker cables. The details of this wire’s metallurgy and construction are kept confidential. Both the 14g copper litz and 26 gauge silver/gold wire are for sale by the foot for DIY’ers.


So how to judge any high-end audio cables properly? Well, the best way is always to get the fool cable loom and exchange it with current system cabling selection. When this is not possible, then I’m always trying to avoid simple A/B quick insert and to instant judgmental phase. For me, the best way is to install new cables in the system for few weeks, let them settle in and then start with critical listening and notes. After the first initial period cables under the loop goes out and the reference ones are being reinstalled. Then, its time to write down remarks leave them for prolonged time to play and return again to the the cables under the review. Yes, lots of listening and time… Tell me about it!

It does takes serious efforts and commitment, but anyone being exposed to the numerous cables learned more or less about the their subtle nature. Like with anything in high-end audio chain they need their own time to settle in and getting their portion of electrons :). Not stepping over to esoteric part, but conductors of all sorts as mandatory needs to be left in their given position and without any moving or bending. Other industries learned about this long time ago. Our niche, sadly takes everything at its own tempo and too often reject the healthy injection of objectivity… 


Few of the familiar and trusty worthy albums and tracks, that can give any product run for their money…

Buddy Guy & Junior Wells Alone and Acoustic

There are many recordings of this mighty blues duo, but Alone & Acoustic comes as one of the most intimate and vibrant recordings that this two bluesman’s jointly recorded.

Buddy Guy mostly plays 12 string guitar and Junior radiant and vibrant phrasing adds a unmistaken layer of passionate impact. One can really easily feel the strong friendship between Buddy And Junior in their play. 

There is no hidden agendas when musical flow should be upfront. The lack of flow is at once upfront with the mediocre transfer of energetic potency. D4 interconnects acted with unmasking force and in absence of usual constraints.  

Montreux Alexander The Monty Alexander Trio Live At The Montreux Festival

Always a great reminder how well live jazz music can sound. Infested with remarkable performance shifts and musical epiphany, Montreux Alexander can really reveal what any transducer is capable of conveying. ZenWave duo neither acted as a energy barrel waiting to explode (to often connected with many cables) neither as a reservoir of fake condensed nature. It was a great surprise to observe the musical flow of proportions not really evidented usually despite the high-end audio pricing. Here ZenWave D4 XLR and RCA interconnect exclude with the articulated and fundamentally different impact. A surprise, being noted and written down many times in my listening remarks.

01 Leopold Stokowski & RCA Viktor Symphony Orchestra - Franz Liszt/ Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 In C-Sharp Minor

Movement, tempo and scale. On the virtual plane we can imagine morphing phenomena of grand orchestra energy flow being electrically transmitted via cable medium. In the reality there is no physical measuring instrument to calculate this. Classical orchestra as mandatory “travels” like a coherent sound cloud. It acts as a whole and not junction of dislocated and disoriented particles, that is to often connected with the contemporary audiophile mind set. Those being often exposed to live concerts will probably level much easier with the given analogy. Nothing act as sole factor, but more of harmonic wedding of the potent parts. A lot of proper high-end audio reproduction is closely connected with time constraints, translating into the smallest nuances of recreational focus points. 

Time domain can be to quickly broken and this resolves with the generic sense of scale, where one is likely smitten with other detail focused attributes rather then proper, potent ones.

What ZenWave D4’s was capable of establish translates to no nonsense act of lucid vibrancy. Unmasked and non trivial act of believability, that still lingers on. Its never easy to reflect closely with overarching principle, yet ZenWave interconnect stepped out of non dominance and exuberated in sort of a sonic victory.

Frank Zappa - Apostrophe

You want to get some dopamine in most perplexed and mind twisting way while stile keeping the sense of R & R? This is the fines mind blow you can get. Frank’s eighteenth studio album was released in 1974, but still carries fully impacted, pure rawness up to this day and its almost impossible to match. Especially the Apostrophe track. ZenWave D4 conveyed with ease the spirit of Zappa and I could crank up the album title song without any compressed side trays. Apostrophe is a song to go when one needs to expose any shortcomings of the signal transfer and D4 didn’t stand in a way, but let energy transfer embarks the grandeur amount of this masterpiece. Lock and load… Instantly!

Why such variety of genres? I really wanted to hear how D4 would perform across different sonic materials in order to ensure a proper “stress” and learn more about the dynamic impact and D4’s ability to render the music. 

Sum up? Silver lining indeed and sort of waking call!


ZenWave D4 interconnects comes as a very different performer with its own set of attributes and sublime glare free ability to convey the music articulated and tangible. 

To get silver as conductor right is by no means easy. Many have tired over the years and with little practical success on the ultimate plane. Ad hoc silver brings its own signature that from my experience creates more of the problems then workable sonic solutions. One can be quickly seduced by its intrinsic nature, yet in most cases the imprinted character on solitude standing fails. Here is where combination with other precious materials comes in. 

ZenWave Silver/gold alloy holds some unique propensities. Where silver typically looses the believable tone and timbre this particular combination resolves with instant recognizable natural “voicing”. There is certain light feathered easiness, unusual and not really usually manifested at this price point. 

ZenWave D4 RCA and XLR interconnects represent unique and very different approach at what I dare to call down to earth pricing. We’re forbidden to lurk into the exact compound of the conductors, but thats more then understandable. David wants to keep his investment protected and I have no objections.

ZenWave D4 has proven, that taking cabling to the next level is possible even by the small, boutique manufacturer. David could easily crank up the prices, yet he kept the sense away from floppy clouds. Zen all the way!

There is something just about right with the way D4 cables sounds like. Zen in Zenwave stands for calm, natural and stressless transfer of audio signal without typical negative attributes one can easily and instantly hear with so called typical high end audio cable.   

ZenWave XLR and RCA interconnects serves the music without imposing its own language onto the audio material whatever the context is.

In the era where anyone and everyone see high-end audio as a great exercise of trusty human nature, ZenWave brings performance, subtleness and music as forte. 

Text: Matej Isak


RCA Plugs: Mundorf/WTB Nexgen RCA plug with silver/gold alloy and platinum plating.
XLR Furutech FP-600 Series with gold plated female and rhodium plated male
Signal Wire: Custom Neotech UPOCC Silver / Gold Alloy (OEM product, exact wire is not disclosed). 4 x 28 gauge wires per cable
Ground WIres: Neotech UPOCC silver with teflon insulation. 6 x 26 gauge wires per cable


RCA Plugs: Mundorf/WTB Nexgen RCA plug with silver/gold alloy and platinum plating
XLR Furutech FP-600 Series with gold plated female and rhodium plated male
Signal Wire: Custom Neotech UPOCC Silver / Gold Alloy (OEM product, exact wire is not disclosed). 4 x 28 gauge wires per cable
Ground WIres: Neotech UPOCC silver with teflon insulation. 6 x 26 gauge wires per cable



phone: 303-437-4581