Audioquest Coffee Digital Coaxial Cable Review
This is a quick user based review on the Audioquest Coffee digital coaxial S/PDIF cable.
My components are:
Cambridge Audio 751BD Universal player
Bryston BDA-1 DAC
Bryston BP25 preamp
Bryston 7B SST2's and NAD C 355BEE amps
Axiom M80 and Monitor Audio Silver RX6 floorstanders
I have owned a 1.5 meter length of the Coffee coaxial S/PDIF cable for approximately 4 or 5 months and payed approximately $425 CDN plus tax at an authorized dealer in Alberta.
Previously I owned a 1 meter length of the Carbon coaxial S/PDIF and that is what I will be comparing the Coffee to in this review.
Out of the box, my first impression was that the Coffee is noticeably thicker and more stiff than the Carbon. No doubt that this is due to the extra layer of shielding and the addition of the DBS system but the cable itself is still easy to work with. The male RCA (co-ax) terminations also make a very snug and secure fit on to the component's female terminals. So go ahead and use a little extra force when installing this cable.
When commissioning it was evident right away that the Coffee was very detailed and open sounding. The extra shielding and DBS worked together to lower the noise floor and allow for more of the subtle nuances and timbres to come forward. The additional silver content allowed the highs to speak with less of a veil and more of a pleasant shimmer. Overall, more attack and a very coherent cable.
Yes, I would recommend this product.
If I had to name a fault on this product it would probably be the price although I feel that matter could be debatable to a certain degree. Although I never had a chance to test the Hawkeye co-ax cable (the Coffee's predecessor from the same price point in the AQ lineup) it seems as though Audioquest is taking a slightly different design approach in their new lineup of analog and digital cables.
The Hawkeye was 100% Perfect-Surface Silver whereas the Coffee is only 10% silver plated copper but has more shielding and noise dissipation. I'm not too familiar with the current market value of silver but perhaps Audioquest is embracing the benefits of effective shielding instead of higher purity conductors? The "Diamond" is now their first all-silver digital cable in the lineup but at approximately $900 for 1 meter it is more than twice the cost of the Hawkeye.