After about a week of listening to the speaker cables, I’m pretty much in agreement with your assessment--very fine review, sir! My system is a four piece system with an active crossover at 220 Hz, biamped (Lamm ML-1s on the top and Sonogy Black Knights on the bass) with bass down flat to about 20 Hz in room, and excels at soundstaging and layering of depth. I have for several years used a tri-wired speaker cable made for me by a member of our audio society (K-Works is the name he does business under) which is a copper litz wire, using separate legs for the positive and negative runs, some ferrites to block RFI (but not overdone), and a gel-like insulation for the wires to minimize the effects of vibrations. This cable is perhaps a little lean tonally, but pretty much neutral, revealing, very quiet and very good dynamically, with excellent bass extension; it has beaten out a lot of other, costly cables in my system, and is relatively inexpensive.
When I put in the Kubala Sosnas, I used the Emotion for the satellites and Expression for the bass. As they broke in, I liked the dynamics and soundstaging very much, and the richness of the cable’s tonal balance, but I felt that they were a little fat in the bass and rolled in the highs. The break-in cured the latter concern; when Joe Kubala (who lives nearby) and John Ruttan (who was kind enough to lend me the cables) came over last night to listen, they quickly switched another set of Emotions in for the bass in place of the Expression, and that did the trick. If you do biamp with these cables, I would strongly advise using the same level cable for each—while the overall sonic signature is the same, the better lines are better at the frequency extremes and more refined, and the difference is noticeable. The one thing about these cables that I’m not sure you mention enough is how good they are at unraveling complex orchestral pieces without any hint of congestion, and how extraordinary they are at reproducing the most subtle of dynamic and tonal changes. Little things that bring out the, yeah, I’ll say it, emotion of a performance. Another strength of the cables is retrieval of ambient detail evenly over the whole frequency spectrum—too many cables get the high frequency ambience right but not the mids or the lows, but this one gets it all superbly, and very naturally. I’m very impressed with this cable. And while I think you’re right that it does make some badly-recorded discs sound better, I don’t think I would call it a sonic band-aid or a tone control by any means—I gave it my worst recordings and they sounded like what they are.
I’m now listening more seriously to the interconnects, and there it’s a closer call. I principally use NBS Omega, which I have preferred in my system over Siltech Compass Lake, Nordost Valhalla and others, together with the K-Works Phantom interconnect, a close match to the NBS at 1/5 the price, a real bargain. In this comparison each cable has its strengths and weaknesses, though the weaknesses are minor and quite frankly at this point it’s a toss-up as to which I like better. I’m going to do more listening this weekend with more of the Emotion interconnects (Joe and John left me with a 30 foot run for my pre-amp to crossover, and we’re getting one more meter pair to be able to do an all Kubala-Sosna run from source to speakers) to see how they compare. I will note that the NBS Omegas work very well with the Kubala Sosna speaker cables, a good match.
The front-end components used here are a Jadis JP-200MC preamp, a Lamm LP2 phono stage, Forsell/dCS/Audio Logic digital (redbook), Jerry-Ozment and Kern-modded Sony SCD 777ES SACD player, Basis Ovation with Debut platter, bearing and vacuum upgrade/Graham 2.2/Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum analog rig.