Review: Jade Audio Reference Interconnects Interconnect
Jade Audio Reference Interconnects - A star is born!
When I received the Jade Audio Reference interconnects, I was impressed. Very impressed. The cables are professional looking, enrobed in a shiny black carbon fibre jacket, silky to the touch. What makes these interconnects so imposingly looking are the Bocchino Amaranthine RCA-connectors. The Amaranthine's make the likes of WBT and even Furutech cheap looking. These are serious high quality connectors and quite heavy. They don't look bulky but extremely refined. So now I have summed up the aesthetical assets of these References, it was time to hook them up and do some serious listening.
The References impress straight away, but give them a few days to be able to release their full potential. Jennifer Warnes' "Famous Blue Raincoat" sounded more powerful than ever and now I understand the deeper meaning of Leonard Cohen's quote when he describes Jennifer's voice as "Her voice is like the California weather, filled with sunlight. But there's an earthquake behind it".
Bass notes have real authority, palpability and weight. The plucking of the bass is clean and utterly detailed. Never does it become boomy or woolly. Another thing the References excel in is the portrayal of detail. Details are presented so very tangible, it sometimes caught my full attention. On some recordings you know that there are instruments in the background and you know when to expect them, but the References just shove them further to the fore. Some sound effects like the sound of the baritone saxophone keys clicking on a piece from Shostakovich's "Jazz Suite" seem to emerge out of nowhere, which is uncanny. On live recordings there is this huge soundstage and the References manage to capture this very well with a room-filling sound; open, wide and airy. On the better live recordings they create a walk-through ambience. With opera and operetta they simply amazed me. For once the soprano didn't sound like she was running out of breath; the tenor accompanying her didn't sound obtrusive like this is often the case. There's just this perfect synergy between the two voices and the orchestra. A great feat! Great orchestral works are projected equally well without sounding thin or shrill. Jazz, Blues, whatever music you throw at the References, they just do a perfect job. Billie Holiday sounded just as desperate as ever on "Strange Fruit" while Janis Joplin gave away a heart-wrenching rendition of "Me and Bobby McGee".
So by now you must be very impressed. I certainly was. But the best was yet to come! I just had to pick the "Three Blind Mice" CD from my collection, imported from Japan, 24kt gold layer, and started with "Aqua Marine". I never heard that bass go so deep without becoming woolly, but when I played the "Misty" track, the sound of the piano just blew me away. I could have sworn the piano was right there, in the middle of my listening room. The pianist's fingers skillfully sliding over the ebony and ivory keys. Phew... Saint-Saens' "Organ Symphony" is one of my favourite recordings. How I enjoy Saint-Saens' musical genie. Now I enjoyed the limited edition recording even more thoroughly. Just plain awesome. Ravel's "Bolero" can sound quit boring on some systems. With the References, every instrument was clearly distinctive and it kept me listening attentively right up to the apotheosis. Amazing stuff! Bizet's "Carmen" and Gounod's "Faust" were played with aplomb, the triangle sounding not overly bright but easy on the ear. No sound of listener fatigue, au contraire, it just whetted my appetite to listen to some more.
The music of live concerts in different venues can often sound distant and disembodied, but the References handled this really well and you just get immerged in the music. Of course I had to do some late evening listening too. "Invitation to the Blues" on Jennifer Warnes' "The Well" sounded just as it should be. Clearly articulated, every instrument in place. The bass lines on "Some Cats Know" by Mary Coughlan had me drawn into the song.
You simply have to try Bach's "Toccata and Fugue", but do warn the neighbours first! This is just divine, and that's an understatement! Ketelby's "In a Persian Market" is a wonderful track with lots of changes in tempo and it sounded as gorgeous as ever. "'Appy 'Ampstead" made my feet tap spontaneously.
I love sitting on a bench amidst nature and listen to the birds' chants. I have a recording with easy listening music that just flows along against the singing of a plethora of birds. The sound of the cuckoo is very lifelike, but at a certain point in the recording, a woodpecker's drilling is heard. The woodpecker however, just doesn't sound convincing to me. Not like I heard its hammering performance in the woods. I thought it was a flaw in the recording. Not so! With the References the woodpecker just drills a hole into the soundstage.
No matter what you throw at the References, they just perform. They really shine. It's all there; tight bass, sparkling highs, liquid midrange and the list goes on... Great performances deserve an encore, and the Jade Audio References deserve an encore, and an encore...
Summing up the sound of the References: these must be one of the best interconnects out there at a realistic price. I would even daresay they simply are the best! They offer lots of oomph, a midrange that you can find only with the best tube amplifiers -- pure liquid gold -- and aesthetically they simply look like a million dollars. The Bocchino Amarantine's are "to blame" for this too of course!
Just when you thought you had purchased the best interconnects for your system, along come the Jade Audio Reference interconnects. What can I say that sums up all of its qualities? The next phrase springs to mind: A star is born!
Quicksilver Audio tube amps, Audio Synthesis Passion passive attentuator, Audio Synthesis Transcend CD-transport, Audio Synthesis DAX-2 d/a converter, Thorens TD-250 record deck with SME309 tonearm and Dynavector Te Kaitora Rua mc-cartridge, TDL Chiltern loudspeakers, Castle Winchester loudspeakers.