Review: Monster Cable Z1 Speaker cable
MonsterCable Z-Series speaker wire is good for the money.
I don’t consider wire a component, and I think people who listen to wire (instead of music) are wasting their time. Still, we’re all tweakers at heart, and even I’ve been through a few sets of cables in the past few years. (Mainly because I needed longer/shorter runs, so I figured why not try something new at the same time?)
I’ve used Kimber 4PR and 8PR (single wire); Audioquest CV-6 (biwire) and home-brew RadioShack Megecable bi-wire cables. Any of them would have been just fine. But there were indeed VERY minor differences between them. The 4PR and 8PR were natural sounding but a bit dark; the CV-6 was clear and lean-sounding; and the Rat Shack cables were smooth and less detailed, but with surprisingly excellent soundstaging.
By comparison, the Monster Cable wires remind me of Monster’s interconnects in the sub-$100 price category, which I like. They’re warm but pleasant, with deep, though not extremely well-defined, bass. They also exhibit a sweet midrange. If there’s a drawback, it’s that the Z-Series wires rob the highest highs of some air and sparkle.
If you believe that some manufacturers treat wires as “tone controls,” then in the case of MonsterCable, their characteristics make perfect sense. After all, MonsterCable products are generally sold in a mass market environment. As such, the equipment they’re likely to be paired with ($149 home theater receivers) could probably use some ‘sweetening.’ Monster speaker wire and interconnects are very forgiving in this manner without robbing higher-end gear of its performance potential.
In retrospect, the best value of all the wire I’ve used is the Kimber 4PR and 8PR. Radio Shack MegaCable, especially in bi-wire configuration, isn’t far behind. But for $74.95 a pair, these thick, well-constructed wires do the job basically as well as anything. And they’re more durable than most. Maybe if my system cost $10,000 instead of $4,000 I’d be tempted to spend more. But it doesn’t, so I’m not.
NAD Monitor Series 3400 integrated amplifier with MM/MC phono section
NAD C521i CD player
Rega P2 turntable (with P3 glass platter)
Shure M97xE phono cartridge
ProAc Tablette 2000 loudspeakers
MonsterCable Z-Series 10’ speaker cable
Audioquest Diamondback interconnect
MonsterPower HTS2500 Power Center
AudioQuest MC cartridge demagnetizer
Record Doctor II record cleaning machine
Sennheiser HD580 Precision headphones
Sony ProAudio MDR-7506 studio monitor headphones
KimberKable 4PR, 8PR single wire
Audioquest CV-6 bi-wire
RadioShack MegaCable (16ga., twisted pair for bi-wiring)