Empress and Michael Wolff cables

Category: Cables

Grover Huffman has been building cables for members of Steve Hoffman’s forum for some time and has now embarked on a joint venture with Michael Wolff, who builds power cords. I decided to try Michael’s Source cable and the Empress interconnects.

First, the power cord. Michael makes two models: one for source level gear, another for power amps. I got a cable for my Grover linestage; I had been using a power cord built by a local audio shop. The improvement was enormous. It was on the level of changing the linestage. I had been a little concerned about some brightness in my system, but the power cord removed a lot of it. Music now had a more natural top end so that concerns about edginess evaporated. Bass lines were cleaner and sounded deeper, and everything sounded more fleshed-out. This degree of improvement surprised me. It made the Beatles 1 CD listenable - a little tilted up, but not painful anymore. Michael believes that a lot of edge is actually RF effects on the signal, and he may be right.

The Empress interconnects arrived and they went into the system. The improvements were of the same character, just cumulative, so I could hear deeper into the performance and everything sounded more natural. What struck me this time was that transient information was filled out more - a guitar attack revealed the make up of the chord and not just the sound of the attack. Vocals were also more revealing. I was impressed.

The drawback is that these cables are costly. But again, there are more expensive cables out there. Luckily, I haven't cable rolled much since discovering Grovers, and never in the stratospheric price range. These cables seem to be reasonable priced when you see them, feel them and hear them.

Michael Wolff's site address is below. Click on his Ribbon Source link to get to the other links. There is also a link to Empress cables.

The balance of the Empresses is similar to that of the Grover SR IIs (which some of you may be familiar with), as both are very neutral, however. I feel there is something more going on in the midrange of the Empresses. Asside from superior smoothness there seems to be a greater tonal accuracy as well. The first time i heard Patricia Barber's voice using the empresses, I immediatly detected a new organic palpability/intimacy to it. There was a certain intimacy to her voice that I previously had not exprienced--it was as if I could feel the moisture of her breath.

I think also that these cables do a wonderful job of effortlessly imaging/reproducing a soundstage. The Grover SR IIs are really great at it, but there is a noticeablly superior overall coherance to the Empresses, and I have never heard imaging this precise before.

The resolution, speed, decay and airiness of these cables is remarkable as well. The best I have heard in, period.

Also, I think the extra smoothness goes a long way with these cables. The Grover SR IIs were already super smooth cables, but with my Musical Fidliety a308cr, badly recorded CDs were almost unlistenable and I was seriously contemplating moving to another source (ie. Meridian or Naim). With the Empresses everything sounds wonderful. I honestly have no complaints. I don't know if these cables are imparting a signature (actually, I kind of doubt it) or are just doing a better job then any other I've heard of getting out of the way, but I have reached a greater level of digital satisfaction then ever before with them in place...

Bottom line, the SR IIs are excellent cables and IMO the best value I've encountered, but if you can afford it and demand the best Empresses are them.

I liked these enough that to sell off my Bogdan Silver Spirit References, and am awaiting the delivery of a second pair of phono edition ones for my low output moving coil setup. When funds permit I intend to explore the entire line.
I recently purchase a biwire pair of the Empress speaker cables. I have only had them about two weeks and although they are not yet fully broken in they seem harmonically well balanced, not emphasizing any frequency range at
the expense of others. They have dimension and clarity, and let all the
width and depth on particular recordings come through as engineered. They
mate well with my Pass XA 160's, which are a little fussy about cables. I can recommend these as excellent cables, equal or better in performance than megabuck cables. And they have yet to reach their full capability, which I would guess would be after 150-200 hours.
It took me 10 tries to finally find the right ic for my system, and the empress is the one. I'm working on a review right now, but for now I'd like to say I agree with gophers comments having compared the same two cables.