Review: Michael Wolff Cables

Category: Cables

The latest of Michael Wolff's interconnects are his Dragon series Empress Interconnects. It is identify by a small red Dragon on top of an Empress Wolff logo. I am not sure how many generations this cable has evolved from, perhaps Michael can enlighten us. I did however had a chance to A/B one of his earlier Empress ICs and the newer Empress Dragon series cable.

The differences were actually very dramatic. It was apparent that the Dragon series cable had the same Empress signature, but much more musical.The dynamics were clearer, and the soundstage was wider and deeper. Instruments now occupied more of their own space in layers of detail, taunt bass, and a warm lush midrange. I know, it sounds like a review from an article from a Stereo rag. But this cable is really that balanced. I must mention that it did not have the last word in detail and extension, compared to the Wireworld Gold Eclipse. But hey, the Gold Eclipse cost 3x more, not that cost have anything to do with its' performance, but in this case the cable compared does cost 3x more. Yes, the conductors are silver and both the Empress-Dragon and the Gold Eclipse are not bright and thin, as many would believe from silver wires. And believe me if they were, my Thiels would revel that.

Prior to shipping, the cables go through a Haggerman Fry Kleaner break-in process. I felt the Fry Kleaner took the cable 90% of the way. As I mention to Michael, I used the XLO system burn-in CD track 9, for an hour to finsh off the burn.

I know descriptions of cables and audio gear in general, are subjective to each listener. The only way is to have a listen for yourself, on your own gear. Michael offers a 2 week audition period. The cable has been in my system for couple of months hooked up to my second source, the Classe .5 CDP, which is also plugged into one of Michaels' Source cords.

Needless to say, I am quite satisfied with this cable as well as Michael's professionalism and honesty. If you want to forget about your gear and just listen to music, pick up one of MWs' IC.......put on Pink Martini's - Hang on Little Tomato and ........Enjoy!

The majority of my music collection includes Jazz, Blues, and Vocals. My passion is more on the recorded voice and intimate bands. Some of the recordings used for this review are..........

Jacintha - Jacintha is her name
Rob Wasserman - Duets
Duke Ellington & Ray Brown - This One's for Blanton

Associated gear
Audio Research CD2
Classe .5 CDP
Pass Lab X-1
Pass Lab Aleph 1 monblocks
Thiel 3.6
Gutwire Maxcon power conditioner
Wireworld Gold Elcipse ICs
Gutwire G clef power cords
Wolff Source power cord
I am sure everyone has dealt with big manufactures and companies that offer very little personal service and attention. There is alot to be said for the service and personal customer relations which Mike offers to his customers. Time after time Mike has impressed me with his efforts to assure me that I am not only getting his best cable, but has continued to make sure I have a listen to the latest cable from his lab.
I just had an opportunity to listen, and now pocess one of Michael Wolffs' latest interconnects. Mike has informed me that his new line of cables are labled Michael Wolff like his power cords.
The previous Empress cables, I thought were very balanced and detailed cables. Mike's latest interconnects has a totally different sound signature. The soundstage is huge and layers deep of detailed notes that extend in thier own pockets of space. I always felt everything was a give and take, if you gain some highs you'll have to sacrifice some lows, and so on. Mike's new ICs are as balanced throughout all ranges, the soundstage is huge and the vocals are sweet.
I really havn't gotten excited over an IC for a long time, and really felt I made a friend along the way. Thanks Mike....!
I can fully endorse the sentiments Tubemiser has shared with us above, on both the excellent product and the exceptional level of service provided. I too was an early adopter to the original Grover Wolff Empress cables (both interconnect and speaker) and Mike's latest offerings are in a completely different league. In fact, I've also ordered his latest power cables (both source and gain), which I understand are a sizeable jump up from the originals I'm currently trialing in my system. To give readers an idea of the performance of these cables, I lent a friend my Empress Dragon interconnect yesterday evening and he gave me a call early this morning. "You complete B**tard" were his exact words "you knew it'd beat my interconnect". His existing cable is a nordost valhalla. In the interests of full disclosure, I have no commercial dealings with Mike Wolff other than being a very happy customer.
I just posted this over at Audio Asylum, but felt inspired enough to post it here too:

I have been in this hobby for just about 30 years and the few of you who actually know me, know that I deeply love music. Music helped me beat cancer and I spent a small fortune "giving some of that back" producing live music while living in Chicago.

I have very much enjoyed mixing and matching equipment as we have moved 22 times over the past 25 years ... and finding the best sound in each space. Like some of you, I have owned several humdred pieces of equipment.

I do not often post, but have loved the good parts of what the Internet has brought to this hobby - an ability to quickly share information; a huge database of opinion and data; a chance to "try-on" equipment, cables, etc for fit; and a great sense of comeraderie - and to "meet" many of you! However, this hobby is to be fun ... and so often we lose sight of that.

I had recently completed some nice changes to my system. In a downsize of dollars, but not sound, added a pair of CIA D-100 Class D monos, a Sonic Euphoria PLC and Consonance Droplet CD player to my beloved Gallo Ref IIIs.

Well, I too had been very curious about this Oyaide - Acrolink thing.

As a fan of Michael Wolff's past Carbon Ribbon Source AC cords for my CD player and tuner, I went back to Michael and took a huge leap of faith by having him make me one of his new Silver Carbon Source AC cords with the Acrolink Carbon IEC and male plug connectors for use on the Droplet. I also added the wall receptical/frame/carbon plate (all palladium over gold.)

Now, I know some of the differences are attributable to the move from copper to silver ... and some to the wall outlet, frame and plate, but on my cd player, these differences were pretty astonishing. The background noise floor that I thought to be already quiet, seemed to drop even further. Very small details emerged from this background as never before. All the audiophile goodies were there, but most of all the music was just excellent and more enjoyable accross the board.

Because of this, I decided to take the next step and try a pair of Michael's new Silver Gold Carbon interconnects terminated with the Acrolink Carbon RCA plugs. Yes, I know, it is a disease.

STUNNING. Incredibly dynamic ... yes that PRAT thing is in very strong evidence. The "blat" of brass is very realistic, the "woodiness" of reeds is very present, you can so clearly hear (and almost feel) the differences in guitars and guitar strings and cello and bass just sound so right. Both male and female vocals have never sounded so right.

There is really a lot more to be learned and perhaps, later said here, but for now, I must say, the music has never been more enjoyable. The illusion of the recreation of studio or live music has never been so "real." This is a reminder of those reasons why that this hobby is so much fun!
I bought the Michael Wolff Acrolink Carbon RCA to try something new and different, not sure to what to expect. I own Analysis Plus Silver Oval-in, Harmonic Technology Pro-Silway MK II, Cardas Golden Reference, and Audience Au24.

The Wolff cables are in a league of their own. All the of the above cables had an excellent soundstage, but the Wolf cables had an amazingly deep and a very detailed soundstage. Highly vocal music is stunning in the midrange. The bass is very tight and fast. Highs are very clean and extended. I am now going to sell all my ICs in 3 systems and replace with them Michael Wolf ICs
First, my equipment:

SACDmodded Sony SCD-555ES SACD player
Moth Audio 2A3 amplifier
Senn HD650 with Zu Cable
Grado RS-1

Well, I don’t think I’ve got the talent to do a “review” so I won’t try. Besides, Markl has done an admirable job in covering these cables and giving everyone a quite accurate picture of what to expect. I can only add my thoughts and impressions based on my gear which, outside of the source, differs greatly from Markl’s setup.

Markl's terrific review:

When I first got wind of these cables, I was using the Grover UR-2’s and had progressed up to the UR-4 in my rig. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much time with the third incarnation so I can’t comment on those but to be honest, I felt that the Grover cables offered such a tremendous value as to border on the obscene. For the life of me, I can’t imagine how such wonderful sound can come from cables at that price point but hey, I’m not going to argue with a great value especially when I am the beneficiary! Like Mark, I was very satisfied with the UR cables…..that is until the Wolff offering arrived on the scene.

Going in I was a bit of a skeptic. To be honest, I wasn’t sold on the ability of “wire” to change the sonics of my rig to a great enough degree that I’d be willing to spend over $200 on a pair of IC’s much less the $475 that Michael Wolff was asking. He recognized this and offered to allow me as much time as I needed to really get a sense of what his cables could do and understood my reluctance to jump at this level without actually hearing first. Kudos to Michael for being so aware of his customers needs and wishes! This is what we need more of in this obsession of ours!

When I first beheld these cables, I was very impressed with their build quality and aesthetics. Simply beautiful. One thing that surprised me was the tremendous flexibility of these cables. One of my pet peeves are cables that simply have a mind of their own. They simply do not obey my wishes of where I want them to go and stay. Not a problem with the Wolff cables. Darned good looking and they slip in behind my cabinetry with nothing in the way of an objection. Nice and we’re off to a very good start!!

On to the listening. I’ve got several CD’s which I use as a reference when testing new gear but for some reason, I always seem to come back to a favorite of mine….SRV Couldn’t Stand the Weather. I just know it so well and love it so much that it’s like a best friend that you’ve spent your entire life getting to know and now you seem to anticipate each others every move. So it seemed the proper choice for this “experiment”.

I’d been using the Grover cables for some time and had a very good feel for their abilities and presentation but just to be certain, I spent an hour just enjoying Stevie Ray work his magic with the Grover’s carrying the tunes to my amp. After that, I slipped the Wolff cables into my system and laid back for another round of listening enjoyment. My first impression was that these cables allowed the music to “bloom” if you will. I became even more drawn into the music than before hearing such a different presentation to almost be at the point of feeling like I was hearing this CD for the first time. I know this sound like so much hyperbole but really, I was taken aback as this great a difference wasn’t expected. More body, deeper and more impactful bass…! I was floored. Just to be sure I wasn’t imagining this, I switched back to the Grovers and even plugged in some Magwires that I had at the time. While it was nice and very pleasant, I knew that something was, indeed, missing. Not wanting to short-change either cable, I played this game of cable swap with several CD’s only to reach the same conclusion….the Wolff cables were simply giving me more of what I craved. I’m not saying that the Grover’s don’t do a wonderful job and are just an amazing value but the Wolff cables took it to another level!

Bottom line is that the Wolff cables gave me more depth to the music, more involvement, better bass, better mids and generally more of everything. By far, these are the least fatiguing cables I’ve ever listened to. Just so lush, smooth but in no way “boring”. Mids to die for!! The detail, PRAT, etc..are there in spades! You want to mellow out or get into some classical? Well, the Wolff cables will take you there on a red a totally smooth, lush and emotionally involving way. You wanna rock out? The Wolff cables are more than adept at taking off the white gloves and replacing them with those 9 oz. boxers for a marathon head thumping session!

Never did I imagine that I’d spend this much money on a pair of IC’s but in the end, I was more than happy to pay up as there was no way these cables were leaving my system. Until something comes along to knock them from their perch, they will remain a tremendous addition to my rig and listening experience! Highly recommended and worth every penny!!