We’ve been in contact with Devon Scott Dicker, TARA Labs President of sales & marketing for a long time, and I’ve heard TARA Labs cables on multiple ocassions but not until recently I’ve had a chance to finally try their highly revered high-end audio cable.
I was able to choose the line to my liking and of I’ve went for of the top-tier models, the Muse series; TARA Labs Muse Interconnect w/HFX ground station system and Muse Speaker cable.
Over the decades, TARA Labs has perpetuate the artistic craft of handmade high.end audio cables and as you can read throughout the review they’ve made a lasting impact in my reference system.
The Muse w/HFX Ground Station
Here are the official highlights of the Muse XLR interconnects:
- RCA (“Torque-Lock”) or XLR termination
- All PTFE Teflon air dielectric spacers and center tube
- Twin axial-design features RSC Gen2 conductors using Aero-PTFE dielectric
- HFX Floating Ground Station System
- Extremely open and detailed
- Expansive 3 dimensional soundstage
- Exceptional low noise floor
- Superb musciality
- 8pF (cable capacitance measured in picofarads / pF)
The Muse XLR interconnects have been engineered from the ground up and are envisioned to deliver an exceptional audio experience. They are meticulously crafted to offer a seamless blend of technical excellence and a passion for unparalleled sound quality.
With a keen focus on audio fidelity, the Muse interconnects excel in providing superb high-frequency extension while preserving intricate low-level ambient and spatial information resulting in a listening experience free from distortion and listener fatigue, complemented by a remarkably low noise floor and laser-sharp imaging.
To achieve this level of performance, each Muse interconnect undergoes a fine crafting process, starting with precise measurements, machining, and cutting of TARA Labs’ proprietary materials. The core conductors are crafted from 99.999999% pure rectangular solid copper, which is super-annealed, oxygen-free, mono-crystal, and frequency-tuned.
To further enhance the signal purity, the conductors are carefully hand-polished and coated with the brand’s proprietary liquid dielectric, preventing any oxidation. These conditioned conductors are then inserted into PTFE Teflon lumens air tubes, ensuring optimal signal transmission.
TARA Labs technicians apply painstaking hand-crafted construction techniques, ensuring that each Muse interconnect meets the highest standards of quality and performance.
As the crowning touch, every Muse interconnect comes equipped with TARA Labs’ legendary HFX floating ground station system. This addition further enhances the cable’s ability to preserve signal integrity, resulting in an even more immersive and engaging listening experience.
The Muse Speaker Cables
As with The Muse w/HFX Ground Station, here are the official highlights of the Muse XLR interconnects:
- BSM (with interchangeable Spades and/or Bananas)
- 144 RSC Gen 2 conductor per channel
- 8+ gauge conductor runs
- Positive/negative run for each channel
- Positive/negative conductor runs are 72 conductors each
- Extremely transparent and neutral
- Midrange and vocals are life-like with realism and presence
- Increased sense of warmth and richness
- Vivid and detailed imagery
- Musical, elegant and refined sound
The Muse Speaker Cable follows the same cutting-edge design as TARA Labs Muse XLR interconnects but with a few additions.
The use of PTFE (Teflon) air-tube technology, in combination with a trio of helix Rectangular Solid Core® conductors, elevates this cable far above expectations. A staggering 144 Rectangular Solid Core® conductors per channel, surpassing the gauge of a mere 6-gauge conductor while delivering the high-frequency extension and linearity akin to a 32-gauge conductor.
Despite all the marketing blurb, high claims, and manufacturers’ promises, it’s not exactly easy for any high-end cable to remain faithful to the original recorded material and guide the listener through the labyrinths of melodies, harmonies, and narratives.
Yet, some cables can do exactly that, and TARA Labs Muse cables seamlessly intertwine with melodic lines and bring the music out of the “controlled environment,” making the listening experience both inspiring and enticing.
As always, here are a few reference albums that clearly point out the virtues of TARA Labs Muse XLR interconnects and speaker cables.
AudioNautes Recordings AN-2302 Ultreia! Sur la route de Saint Jacques de Compostelle Polyphonia Antiqua Ultreia! might not be well known, but the way reverberations, echoes, and the sense of three-dimensionality are captured makes Ultreia not only a hidden reference since the ’80s but also sets the highest standard for how to encapsulate these attributes.
Ultreia! is another analog gem captured by Pierre Verany in 1982 on tapes with lacquers cut by Scott Hull at Masterdisk. This beautiful set of music, in the form of a medieval liturgical drama, reflects the long march to Compostela undertaken by a group of pilgrims.
The very essence of AudioNautes Ultreia! jolts an instant inspiration for listening to records and TARA Labs Muse cables easily weave a spellbinding tapestry of contrasting emotions, immersing the listener into pure vivid colors and allowing the sensation of atmosphere and recorded venue to be sensed and deciphered at once.
Something is spellbinding in the absence of distortions, brittleness, or forced dynamism, and with Ultreia! there are no annoying sibilants or forced dynamic peaks associated with Baritone and countertenor vocals when the analog replay system is up to the task.
Bombarde, Percussions, Shawm, Psaltery, Carillon, guitare sarrasine, and organ have no harshness, and on top of embracing these qualities, TARA Labs cables let the instruments materialize with genuine weight and shape, as well as further allowing the subtle reverberations, decays, and delays to unfold fully, as it should on a reference level, but it’s not that often achieved.
The sheer speed of attacks reflects the very same experiences as listening to live medieval instruments. Never fierce, the notes cut through the sonic cloth with ease and density, unlike many similar recordings, echoing deep into submarine depths.
Muse cables render full, natural-bodied instruments, and a life-like overlaying of notes in the absence of artificial overflow.
A rare encounter not only for recording but also for audio cables to deliver such a sublime reproduction.
Audionatues AN-2301 Gunilla von Bahr Solflöjt is a terrific sounding BIS Records fully analog recording with lacquers cut by Scott Hull at Masterdisk, celebrating its fiftieth anniversary in 2023.
The music was recorded by Robert von Bahr in 1977 using two Sennheiser MKH 105 microphones and a Revox A77 recorder with 15 i.p.s. Scotch 206 tape, capturing a beautiful set of sun-flute baroque music played by Gunilla von Bahr (1941-2013).
TARA Labs Muse cables have shown that when the cables permit the signal to flow with full extent and speed, the music is neither stripped of its primaries nor is the complexity decreased. Many high-end audio cables fail to faithfully render the music, making it sound faux and wrongly scalable.
TARA Labs cables brought out the ghastly realistic crazy overtones of Solflöjt, making the soundscape evolve beyond expectations, with an almost eerie impact.
Muse cables perfectly mirrored a remarkable crystal-clear presentation, filling the room with impressive holographic presence and lightning-fast transients that reflected the lifelike nature of the flute, harp, organ, and harpsichord, each taking their designated places, forming a realistic three-dimensional placement.
TARA Labs cables perfectly nested a sheer drama and the mood of Solflöjt, letting delays hover in the sonic sphere with feather-like lightness and lighting speed, creating much-needed harmonic density.
Even at low-level listening, the Muse cable duo ignited remarkable detail and density, laser-sharp pin-pointed notes with utterly fast attacks and unrounded leading edges.
The bird-like singing flutes underpinned by the extraordinary presence and warmth of the organ sway the listener in a romantic narrative, and TARA Labs Muse cables continued to deliver a splendid lyrical and engaging reproduction, as with previous albums.
Solflöjt represents a genuine time capsule, and as someone with a particular soft spot for medieval music, this album transported me back in time when I had the privilege of singing in a choral ensemble while performing in some of Europe’s most fascinating natural acoustical venues.
Audionatues’ Solflöjt engages in mystique, entraps the senses, and TARA Labs Muse cables contrived to reveal unexpected harmonic richness. That alone is a feature worthy of all the high praise.
AudioNautes (AN-2103) Aco Bocina Mediterranean Feeling, mastered by Miles Showell and pressed at Austrovinyl, is another remarkable album published by the tireless audio connoisseur and enthusiast Fabio Camorani.
This limited edition numbered (500 copies) HQ-180-gram premium vinyl LP features a high-gloss gatefold of premium quality, as is customary with everything published by AudioNautes.
Aco Bocina’s masterfully played mandolin recording was sourced from the “Direct From Original Master Source” series, and Neumann VMS 80, Neumann SX 74, the iconic Neumann SAL74B amplifier, and the famous Studer A80 tape machine were used.
The brilliantly sounding songs flow with one-of-a-kind fluidity, and Bocina’s playing inspires an utterly persuasive theatrical encounter.
Accompanied by the subtle yet ever-present Alberto Guareschi on double bass and the wizardry of Alberto Guareschi on fretless electric bass, this outstanding record was captured in 2004 at the Bibiena Theater in Mantua, Italy.
With TARA Labs Muse cables, the exuberant bursts of awe are perpetually repeated throughout the album, and an enticing narrative unravels and unfolds with each note, exhibiting unsurpassed dynamism.
Mediterranean Feeling is a dynamic vibrant triumph that needs to be heard to fully comprehend the majestic sound of analog and to hands-on experience how closely it can replicate the impact of the master tape.
As with previous albums, Muse cables handle everything splendidly without ever getting in the way of the remarkable sonic interaction.
Lorin Maazel & The Cleveland Orchestra Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition / Night On Bald Mountain (180G LP) needs no extra introduction.
By many aficionados, it is regarded as one of the best recordings Telarc has ever done. The 1980 recording of Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, performed by The Cleveland Orchestra and conducted by the legendary Lorin Maazel, solidified Telarc’s status as the eminent classical audiophile recording label.
Craft Recordings’ reissue was mastered from the original Soundstream tapes by Paul Blakemore, cut by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound, and pressed on a 180-gram LP at Optimal.
Pictures At An Exhibition/Night On Bald Mountain is not a romanticized recording by all means. It showcases what an analog front end and an associated high-end audio system are capable of.
This iconic, tour de force recording comes with all the sheer drama and charming playfulness and superbly curated narrative, unveiling storytelling marvels at its best.
Craft Recordings’ reissue is a splendidly crafted release, pushing the system to its end and truly showing the end-game dynamism that requires a perfectly calibrated analog front end and matching system to show its full potential.
It will present its virtues even on a modest analog-based audio system, but in a well-balanced high-end audio set-up, this is as good as it gets when it comes to handling the timbre, tone, and color properly balanced and not scattered by the dynamism. It’s utterly hard to achieve this with vinyl, but this particular release is nailing it.
TARA Labs Muse cables furthermore cemented their standout ability to convey dynamism, never at the expense of sounding fierce or forced. They simply disappear just performing their task expertly, but not ever pushing at forte their signature.
Pictures At An Exhibition/Night On Bald Mountain lets you step intimately close to the conductor’s spot, experiencing intimate interactiveness and a sense of how the conductor is exposed to the unreserved orchestra projection.
The majestic horn timbre, tone, and pure rawness of The Cleveland Orchestra were again faithfully rendered by TARA Labs Muse XLR interconnects and speaker cables.
A remarkable dramatic impact and Technicolor-like crux of Craft Recordings Telarc reissue were tracked easily, allowing the everchanging tempi to be followed spot-on.
This particular release and Muse cables in action touch you right where it is expected the album to leave a mark.
It’s never easy for any system nor the associated audio cables to reproduce the juxtaposition of orchestra wholeness and the distinct individuality of instruments when in focus with the distinction. This is something that even some sky-high-priced high-end audio cables struggle with.
Yet, the TARA Labs Muse potent cable double-decker revealed layers of depth, unraveling the musical encounter that is not easy to forget, as the recording itself.
Many cables, regardless of the price, act with self-effacing phenomena. Muse cables dare to differ, leaving a lingering and lasting effect on the listener. They are akin to delving into the actuality of the music rather than projecting the sum of analytical parts.
Another unique quality of Muse cables and a pinning at the hall of fame remarks.
Craft Recordings re-release of another Telrac classic, Lang Lang, Yuri Temirkanov, & St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30 / Scriabin: Etudes highlights the debut of Lang Lang’s orchestral recording.
This reissue from Craft Recording Telrac features Lang Lang’s interpretation of Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30 with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic from the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in 2001, as well as his solo performance of a selection of Scriabin’s Etudes.
This 180G 2LP vinyl reissue was mastered from the original Soundstream tapes by Paul Blakemore, cut by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound, and pressed on 180-gram LP at Optimal.
Lang Lang is a lens to focus on, uniquely representing the piano as opposed to the orchestra. TARA Labs Muse offers a soulful rendition and a submissive aural spectacle where the listener is confronted with an immense, harmonic musical energy that lingers in space with a sense of limitlessness of the listening horizon.
Some high-end audio cables come by default with placidity. On the contrary, the TARA Labs XLR and speaker cables offer a plenitude of vitalizing elements, relishing what feels like an infinite stash of delicacies, and emanating deep, resonant echoes of the piano and orchestra in the acoustical space, intimately mimicking the real-world acoustical nodes.
Too often, engagement with high-end audio cable paraphernalia feels like an unfinished conception from a world of abstractions, reducing reality to
Quite oppositely, TARA Labs Muse cables offer a terminus, an impressively high level of proximity, and close-knit parallelism to what’s happening in reality.
TARA Labs Muse XLR and speaker cables were not conceived to scope for quick aural spectacles, but to let experience music at its fullest. Muse cables engage with a much livelier, more profound, less artificial, and truer rendition of Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3 In D Minor, Op. 30 / Scriabin: Etudes, where piano notes are not mere sketches but a factuality. Despite sounding like the most effortless thing to accomplish, this can be quite a daunting task for any of the audio cables.
The Craft Recordings Telarc reissue greatly encapsulates lively, passionate, and highly engaging moments of Lang Lang’s illustrious career, and TARA Labs Muse cables were a spot-on medium to deliver these unique moments at their fullest at any time, filling the sonic canvas vibrantly and potently reflect the atmosphere of the Lang Lang performances.
The modern fallacy that cables don’t matter, based on unsound arguments, is easily debunked with TaraLabs, and it is already apparent that their performance surpasses expectations.
TARA Labs cable products are meticulously crafted; they are not just detail-oriented but serve the music for what it is and pass all the necessary checks with flying colors, backed by years of expertise.
Unlike even some higher-priced high-end audio cables, TARA Labs Muse XLR interconnects and speaker cables don’t scatter the music; instead, they reflect the dexterity of carefully and meticulously crafted cables by bringing the music to life with full force.
TARA Labs cable duo does not attempt to placate any particular auricular preference, and it instantly shows if the high-end audio system has untapped potential.
The music stands out with the intensity needed to portray the full-scale sonic delivery, offering an out-of-the-box aural vector projection and unique spatial detachment ability that results in a larger soundstage, immersing the listener in an unparalleled experience where every detail has its rightful, non-artificial place in the sonic sphere.
The Muse XLR interconnects and speaker cables easily provide the needed musical information and proper frontage for interactive communication with the music, escaping the mere sounding approach and strange aural lingo imprint associated with many high-end audio cables, regardless of the price.
The transients of the music notes can easily intrigue, enchant, and still reveal the music in a non-pulsing way, sweeping away the listener at once.
TARA Labs cables also make a clear distinction between an audio cable and a high-end audio cable, offering an evident and substantial difference between the two in their ability to indulge in the music and deliver tons of aural interest.
Any high-end audio product worthy of designation should establish a profound connection with the music, and this is where the Tara Labs Muse cables excel, establishing a unique nexus.
Tara Labs Muse cables are aloof from the smoothing of the music in any way. They come with a unique potency and ability to transport listeners to the realms that make high-end audio so special.
Acoustical nodes, sonic cues, and patterns that map the music and sound are too often daringly juxtaposed. Not with TARA Labs cables. They simply take the listener on a journey through musical content embracing what seems to be confronting qualities.
TARA Labs’ prowess shines brilliantly across the entire audio spectrum. The exquisite mid-range and deep bass weight remain neutral and also in connection with high frequencies. Something that is not easily achievable regardless of price point.
Muse XLR interconnects and speaker cables reproduce melodic lines with ease, offering excellent high-frequency extension never at the expense of upper-echelon low-level spatial information, all while remaining fatigue-free.
No matter the genre, Muse cables draw one into endless enchanting soundscapes, but be prepared to step a step (or two) deeper into what seems to be familiar music realms.
Considering how TARA Labs Muse cables reproduce music and engage listeners, they are an easy recipient of the 2023 Mono And Stereo Editors Choice. ❖
- Muse Interconnect w/HFX ground station system- $7,495
- Muse Speaker cable – $14,500
TARA Labs, Inc.
716 Rossanley Dr.
Medford, OR 97501