High Fidelity Cables -- A revelatory experience
While I was working on the introduction to the Merrill Teranis review thread at
I must have head the High Fidelity CT-1 power cords on the back of my mind when I wrote:
“Sometimes we find audible magic by a serendipitous leap of faith which lets us overcome some aprioristic skepticism that otherwise prevented us from even auditioning an electronic component, a speaker, or a set of wires. On other occasions, a sudden hunch suggested we might have hit pay dirt from the very beginning, but more often than not, uncovering the magic that a component is capable of generating requires steadfast patience to allow the device to blossom through proper break-in.”
I freely admit that my discovery of Rick Schultz’s High Fidelity Cables was a serendipitous one. These wires which forced me to reach outside my technological comfort zone… A traditionalist in my own way, I have spent the last couple of decades seeking wire products that bring me closer to the joy of music by minimizing any magnetic effect and EM fields through a wide variety of design strategies, and by the application of ever purer forms of exotic Copper strands. And yes, while I have encountered more than a few disappointments on my quest, I have also become incredibly fond of less than a handful of renowned cable brands and designs that fit my sonic ideals of a goldilockian musicality, where extension does not mean humps in any particular frequency range, where neutrality means that rich harmonics reveal themselves throughout the spectrum, where micro detail is subtle and does not turn into o brittleness, and where authority is not a different word for bombastic. Finally, where I easily sink into my listening seat to enjoy music for hours, instead of tensing on the edge of my couch in a quasi fight-or-flight state of mind.
Hence my now abandoned skepticism that a line of cables which departs from the more typical engineering path, with EM fields and permanent magnetics becoming key components of the solution set, instead of being technical banes--ultimate causes of untold nasties to be vanquished and nullified, had any chance of sounding mildly acceptable to me, let alone inducing my newly found audible nirvana.
When my friend Harve Messlin (Fplanner2000) suggested giving Rick Schultz’s unorthodox creations a fair try, I remembered that Igor Stravinsky in his Poetic of Music reminds us that “By its fruit we judge the tree. Judge the tree by its fruit then, and do not meddle with the roots.” Thus, I took a dose of Stravinskian philosophical medicine, and so heeded Harve’s recommendation and decided to evaluate the High Fidelity CT-1 cables.
With hind-sight, I now feel that before my happy decision to try out Rick’s wires I might have resembled the zoo visitor in Stravinsky’s parable, who shakes his head in bewilderment when leaving the enclosure of a humped camel, and then exclaims: “It isn’t true!”
Of course, camels are very much "true" animals. They do not care a wit about our preconceptions: the unusual ruminants sport single humps in Africa and the Middle East, double humps in central Asia, and no humps at all in the dwarf South American species.
Likewise, the unusually-looking High Fidelity CT-1 power cords are not only real and finely constructed, but are progressively revealing themselves to be… Simply astounding performers.
When I opened each shipping carton, I discovered a CT-1 power cord locked inside a battle-ready valisette by an industrial-strength plastic tie. The US made thermoplastic custom case, filled with high density foam, is also kept shut by a pair of robust flip latches. I am quite confident that any High Fidelity CT-1 cable protected by its valisette, would handsomely survive even the angry ejection through the glass plate of a high-rise apartment window, inevitably followed by its high-G impact with the cement side-walk far below. Such highly incomprehensible action would most typically performed by a righteously indignant non-audiophrenic spouse, accompanied by: “What, $2,375 for a 1.5M power cord... You just got to be kidding… That’s almost as much as my divorce lawyer will cost YOU!”
Unlatching the CT-1 valisette reveals an unusually-constructed yet elegant power cord: three independent, and slender silvery cables--one for positive, one for negative, and one for ground--emerge from the black Delrin shell of the massive custom connector at each end of the cord. A gleaming wire mesh supports the conductivity of the magnetized solid conductor core of each flexible cable. Conductors are fastened to a cylindrical structure of powerful syntherized neodymium permanent magnets which buried into the connector shell at each end of the PC. Conversely, in ICs, the mesh does not carry current. Instead, the mesh is electrically floated, and acts as a Faraday isolationg cage for the solid core conductor.
In the next instalments of this review, I will discuss a bit more the “Magnetic Conductivity” technology underlying High Fidelity Cables products, and then chronicle my listening of these wires, starting with the CT-1 power cord and the CT-1 digital cable--An experience that continues to be… Quite revelatory, as I progressively apply them to my system: Esoteric X-01 player, Rowland Aeris DAC, the charming Merrill Teranis stereo amp under review, and my massive Rowland M925 monoblocks fed into Vienna Acoustics Die Muzik speakrs.
Meantime, you will find more information on all High Fidelity products on Rick Schultz’s web site:
With a discussion of the High Fidelity unique technology at:
Hi Fidelity Cables
901 N McDonald Street
McKinney, Texas 75069
Toll free: 1-844-348-6292