SKOGRAND SCD BEETHOVEN 2.0 USB CABLE REVIEW


I do believe, that the “dangerous” topic starter; namely high end audio cables is no longer of atomic proportions as it was few years back. It seems to have passed the slippery slope territory. Then again, perhaps not entirely…

Somehow I don’t bother anymore to be involved in the awkward discussions with the “unbelievers” and simply practice a quite from the Thomas Gray’s poem: “Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise." when it comes to the topic of high-end audio cables impact.


Anyhow, slowly, but surely the industry and most of the connected parties are embracing the importance of the proper cabling in the high-end audio systems. With the progression of the digital audio in past decade, we moved from usual upper echelon cable paraphernalia (SPDIF cables included) to the ethernet and USB cables. Yes, imagine!

I can understand, that for quite few of the people, that already had a hard time accepting the sheer high-end audio cable momentum in our beloved industry, will certainly have even more shocking reaction the the subject matter points towards the high-end digital audio cables. In this particular case to the USB cable… 

The ball is out, so let the journey begin…

SKOGRAND SCD USB CABLE 


Knut Skogrand managed to push forward his Skogrand Cables venture in just few years time with a lighting pace. I was among the first who wanted to fulfill my curiosity, when he started out and I’m more then glad I’ve lurked at these bespoke cables creations. From the very beginning Skogrand Cables radiated with very different musical aura and the yearly progressions are exploring the uncharted territories of ultra high end audio cable segment with quite daring sonic explorations.


In very short time Knut managed to create little ultra high-end cable imperium, that is growing by each year and winning over more and more audiophile’s & music lover’s hearts/minds.


Like many small high-end audio boutique manufacturers, Skogrand Cables “phenomena” didn’t just happened over night. Yes, Skogrand Cables did made their mark upon the market in a very short interval, but this was a result of Knut Skogrand’s tireless efforts. Along with his Norway’s highlands contemplations, you’ll see Mr. Skogrand on practically every major high-end audio show, demonstrating his cables in one of the active systems. He takes his business venture very seriously.


So what makes Skogrand Cables SCD 2.0 USB so different. Let us firstly look at the technical side. SCD 1.00 dielectric constant cables implements 4 x 24AWG Ultra Pure OCC solid core copper wires. They are individually shielded and all signal wires are also individually suspended to float in the air. This extends from connector to connector, while spiraling each other.

There is also second outer shield, that covers all the wires, so this creates triple shielding layers. Cross linked polyolefin dedicated air conduit covers are joined with the final translucent cover.

As with all the Skogrand cables, Beethoven SCD comes wrapped with a unique, hand made silk sleeve cover, that are coming from a special place in Asia. This gives the cables luxurious and very different feel, then we’re used to with most of the high-end audio cables. And as with cotton, the silk it seems to be used for more then just the pleasant aesthetic propensities…  

Skogrand Cables Beethoven SCD 2.0 USB ensure 90 Ohm dual data transfer characteristic impedance.

MUSIC


Paco De Lucia - Entre Dos Aguas

Rio Ancho (or more popular Mediterranean Sundance), is perhaps less pompous, then sparkling and crackling firework like, live version of the song on the legendary album “Friday Night in San Francisco” with Paco De Lucia, John Mclaughlin  Al Di Meola, but its still an emotional bomb, with a bit more subtle momentum. 

Paco De Lucia fingerpicking and complex playing calls for the extremely fluid and potent transducers and the same rule apply for both analog and digital cables. 

Skogrand Cables Beethoven SCD USB cable has proven to perform even above usual stratospheric USB crowd. Sheer musical density and massive encapsulated energy were transmitted as a highly potent signal package, delivered to the end with an impressive amount of information. 

As written before, even for me, the sonic difference was unexpected and of no small proportions. Not only when compared to the generic USB cable, but with much mightier and heftier priced cables going from flat bland to the SCD’s bursting energy impact. 

Paco De Lucia’s signature overlaying notes rendition really took off and never stayed hidden behind the invisible (slowing) layers, so evident with the usual array of USB cables. Skogrand SCD push forward ability relayed closer to the De Lucia’s inner momentum and have managed to make the onerous process of signal transfer more seamless task. 

Gibonni - Mirkal


Whole album marks Gibonni creative endeavor with a special aura, but especially “Libar Od Mojega Duga” performed by my favorite guitar duo Vlatko Stefanovski and Miroslav Tadić is a timeless, pure emotional injection.

The unmistakable portion of balkanian DNA, so expertly and subtly rendered by Vlatko and Tadić is out of this world. One the system where everything is set right and in balanced way, this track should bring goosebumps and leave a lingering feeling.  

Its not even funny how much of acoustical anchor points and “emotional” attributes can be taken away with mediocre USB cable. As heretical as this might sound to some of the audiophiles, the difference is not even funny. Despite dealings of what is commonly seen as the generic transfer of zeros and ones, there seems to be much more going on, that we can grasp on the surface.  

No, the whole thing doesn’t belong to the realms of voodoo science or alchemist dealings, but until its fully understood, it surely belong to the esoteric plane.


So what do you do with something, that it cannot be simply digest with the cognitive side of the brain like lateral prefrontal cortex. Well, in past few years even scientists are leaving some of the phenomenas’ conclusions to the emotional regions like the midcingulate cortex and the anterior insula. Even documented. So, we should at least be entitled to some portion of similar “objectiveness”.

So basically, you cannot measure everything, but still you can measure some things to an extend, that is not subordinated to the typical mechanics.
  
Skogrand Cables Beethoven SCD USB cable could be labeled in similar way. Yes, we have some of technicalities explained, yet its hard to pin down the exact logics of whats happening with the digital signal from computer/network player when SCD is in play. In the end, sonic result stand out strong enough on its own, that discussions are pushed back, to the lesser degree of importance :).

SUMING UP


The competition is still trying to figure out what Knut Skogrand is secretly cooking in the Norwegian highlands and how exactly is he melting the “irons”.


There is something unapologetically organic in the way that Knut Skogrand’s cables convey the signal and most bafflingly, the same “phenomena” follows the USB cable sonic trait. Yes, basic logic operate with zeros and ones. Yet…

I’ve tried Skogrand Cables Beethoven SCD USB cable in quite few different setups and even melted few of the most hard coded “non believers.” There were no long hours A/B testings needed. The difference was more or less instantly evident.

With usual cable suspects, like signal and speaker cables, there are little underlaying logic objections in form of the conductivity, impedance matching etc. These are the attributes well known across much bigger cable industries, then our niche high-end audio. 

With “data” cables things are a bit more “complex” or complicated one could say. But, then again the massive technical foray and millions of dollars being spend for the the cable improvements each year in the medical, military, signal transfer  industries etc. surely calls for the contemplation and a bit more open mind.  

As with the complete line of Beethoven cables, the SCDU Beethoven USB cables seems to be the only cable line in the world that implements a 1.00 dielectric constant. This for sure adds to Knut Skogrand remark of what makes them: “the fastest and most precise signal conduits in the global market with the least disturbed and most complete signal transfer obtainable.”

The underlaying trait of all Skogrand Cables I’ve tried so far is organic flow and Skogrand Cables Beethoven SCD USB cable is no different. 

Beethoven SCD USB has managed to establish an interesting bridge between my Mac computers and my selection of reference/testing DACs - MSB Technology Select II flagship DAC, Totaldac d1-six with server option DAC, Aqua Acoustic Quality Formula DAC, Aries Cerat Kassandra II Sig DAC and Nagra Classic DAC (with Analog Domain Dac1).

The difference, or better to the impact was distributed across all the DACs, to a lesser or bigger degree, but with the same gestalt. 

Skogrand Cables Beethoven SCD USB cable remains in the same award category as with my previous review - The Upper Echelon Award. 

I wonder what’s coming next in the Skogrand’s exotic cable portfolio…

Matej Isak


PRICE


1m = USD 11,000.00 (0.25 m increments retailing at 2,500.00 USD each)

TECHNICAL 

  • 4x24AWG Ultra Pure OCC solid core copper wires individually 100% shielded with signal wires individually suspended to float in air from connector to connector while spiraling each other.
  • Second outer shield covering all wires. 
  • 3 x 100% shield layers total.
  • 24k gold connectors.
  • Silk sleeve cover.
  • Cross linked polyolefin dedicated air conduit covers and total cover.
  • Perfect 90 Ohm dual data transfer characteristic impedance.


CONTACT


SKOGRAND CABLES
Kongsvegen 320, 
Oeyer, Oppland, 2636
Norway