'Audience AU24se RCA-terminated interconnect cables'

($1190 a pair)

MARK: 90/100

Audience's President and CEO himself, John McDonald was so kind to have me sent a pair of his brand new interconnect cables named AU24SE which are said to be a couple fo step forwards in comparison with the recent 24 ones. The cables are one metre long and elegant, still don't look fancy or thick like current fashion seems to require and I perceive it as a proof of concreteness towards a result.
The first surprise is actually not positive as the cables distorted the signal with cracks when connected between my Arcam 8SE CD player and my Exposure 2010s2, which is by amped in team with an Exposure 2010s2 pre-amp. After rechecking that the cable direction was correct as indicated on them, cleaning all the contacts again and receiving no improvement I decided to have them tested at my loyal local high-end retailer, where no fault at all was present during the hearing session and no explanation was given to me by a 30-year-old pro in this field. Dumbfounded, I got desperate and saddened on my way home thinking what was wrong with my system that had no problem with my previous cables (by Ixos and Cambridge Audio for the record). So I decided to make a final test by connecting the pair of Audience cables between my bi-amped system and bless me!
Even with the hardest CDs, vinyls and tapes to reproduce (because of a poor recording or an old recording when the technical means weren't today's) the difference in better was remarkable with no need of a break-in time: I am not only referring to clarity, but especially to timing, detail precision and capacity of rendering the instruments as one where once sounded a bit separate and coldish; as if it weren't enough the pauses were pure silence exactly as they were meant, the attacks sounded much more incisive, and what's more the drumming and the guitars were depicted way faster and 3D-like than my previous cables! I played Pop, Electronica, Ambient, classical music, and of course Rock and Heavy Metal; well, the response is that this orgasm of extremely paced and vivid sonic infos can be assured in all genres as I guarantee you that delivering heavily compressed Rock at such high-quality levels is no easy task at all; Rock and all its derived sub-genres are decidedly the most difficult genre to be reproduced because of their pppp's and ffff's, speed, overcrowded frequencies, and the unique way their tracks are microphoned during the recording, compressed in the mixing and cut in the mastering.
The bass notes, often hidden in my old listenings of the same records now analyzed, came out where present, the cymbals sound so delicious and realistic, the depth of the drums and all the particulars that were a bit confused in the mix appear now distinct, focussed and as punctual as a tax assessment!
There were some albums that I didn't like too much (just one or two songs, while the rest sounded repetitive and trivial) that seem so richer and ALIVE now that I doubt just a complete contact cleaning may be the reason. Indeed some cymbals were more in the face before but now they sound back, in other words at the very exact level where they were originally conceived to be in the mixing engineer's intentions; I have clearly noticed a soundstage advancement of mids and lows, yet at the same time the super-highs that only a super-tweeter was thought to be able to deliver are now available for everyone's enjoyment. Overall balance is the key word to describe them, even at low sound levels in order to ensure plesant night hearings.
These new cables have been manufactured with a new RCA plug, whose center pin is made of a tellurium-copper alloy, whereas the cable itself is the same as in the Au24e and can be upgraded with a $220 difference, which will have them back just a tad shorter. Yes, the cables can be costly to many, being around $ 1,000 (a one-metre pair), but the fact that you don't have to tribulate to get rid of your old set of presumably-expensive-back-then cables is a sign of respect to the customer that is rarer and rarer nowadays.
C14500, the tellurium-copper alloy that Audience uses in their SE connectors, is 99.492% copper, 0.5% tellurium, and 0.008% phosphorous. The use of C14500 has become relatively common in high-end electrical connectors, and compared to the other choices, it looks awfully good: It has 93% of copper's electrical conductivity, along with mechanical properties similar to those of brass or beryllium-copper. With a machinability of 85%, it's easily and inexpensively made into complex shapes. Most tellurium-copper contacts are plated with silver or gold, but without the nickel interlayer. Because there's no interlayer, and the conductivities of the plating and the underlying alloys are very similar, the discontinuities between the two are very small. One of Audience's design goals is to minimize the creation of eddy currents, which are caused by just such physical or electrical discontinuities. The smaller electrical discontinuity between tellurium-copper and the gold or silver plating reduces the formation of eddy currents, which is the path to lower the noise floor and improve low-level linearity, detail, and clarity.
My very subwoofer shows less signs of fatigue now and has me intervene in the settings less often then before when changing an album or a source.
The only fault I could find was the mysterious reason why my CD player didn't like this cable (I suppose because of a pin contact that somehow doesn't work properly with these cables). Another proof that cables are not all the same and they can really be detrimental or bettering depending on many factors, intrinsic and not.
I haven't had the occasion to give a listen to the Audience One loudspeakers yet, but for the moment I am very satisfied and proud of this new entry into my system that I just can't stop playing CDs one after another; and to think that I still haven't given the speaker and power chords off the same company a try!
With Audience's cables audiophiles quickly stop thinking about the sound; the music captures the listener and speaks for itself.

MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - January 10th, 2014

Audience, LLC
120 N. Pacific Street #K9
San Marcos, CA 92069
(800) 565-4390