Review: Ridge Street Audio Poiema Interconnect

Category: Cables

I first heard and wrote a review about the Ridge Street Audio Midnight Silver Edition (MSE) Interconnects and Speaker Cables in May of 2003. This was followed up by a review of the MSE Gen. II Interconnects in August 2003, the MSE Gen. II Speaker Cables in October 2003, the MSE Gen. II Digital Link in December 2003 and the Ridge Street Audio Poiema Speaker Cable in February 2004. Since that time, Robert C. Schult, proprietor/designer, has developed what he considers his most revealing interconnect and speaker cable named Poiema. I have had two pair of the Poiema interconnects in my system for more than two weeks and have been extremely impressed!

I thought the MSE Gen. II interconnects sounded fantastic, I tried to imagine how Robert could improve the sound. Technically speaking, I have no idea what Robert did. However, I can definitely hear what I would call a 10% - 15% improvement in my tube and SS systems when using the Poiema interconnects.

The improvement I heard while using the Poiema interconnects was in the following areas:

1) After carefully listening to my dozen or so audition CDs and a few LPs, I was amazed at the improvement within my system. I noted more bass definition (which was crisper with more focus), additional 3-D imaging left to right as well as front to back, and additional extension and detail as if I was at a live performance.

2) Quieter background, which allows one to hear deeper into the recording. This allows greater details to become more obvious. I noticed richer-sounding and more articulate treble, mids, and astounding bass that I never heard that clearly before.

3) The music sounds even more lifelike, as if I was sitting in the same room with a live presentation. Just as the MSE Gen. II interconnects and speaker cables are extremely smooth, fast, neutral, transparent, and allow one to hear deep within the music and convey the force, speed and robustness of a live performance, the Poiema speaker cables and interconnects do so to a greater extent.

The Poiema interconnects are very well engineered and constructed. They are attractive to look at and are very flexible and lightweight. In addition, they have very easy-to-read, yet non-intrusive, directional arrows and are clearly marked Poiema.

I have owned the interconnects listed below under "Similar products" over the past years and enjoyed them all. Each purchase was made as an upgrade in improved sound to my ears. Obviously, I prefer the sound of the Poiema. The Poiema interconnect are a significant improvement in every area. However, for practical purposes, here are some specific examples:

The Poiema provide a more natural presentation of the higher octaves and timbre as well as clearer details than the Audience Au24, more articulate mids and larger sound stage than the Pure Note Epsilon Reference (I have not heard the most recent Pure Notes interconnect), and better-defined bass and imaging ability than the Cardas Golden Reference. In all case scenarios the entire musical presentation is more "lifelike."

In my opinion, the Poiema will sound great in a good system, but they are not designed to be a coloring device to change the sound of an inferior-sounding system.

In conclusion, I realize that audiophile componentry is system dependent, and what sounds good in one system doesn't always work well in another. In this case, the Poiema interconnects sounded excellent in my tube and solid-state systems, and I highly recommend you give it a try if you're in the market for a new interconnect. I don't think one could lose with a 30-day money-back return policy.

Associated gear
Click to view my Virtual System

Similar products
Cardas Golden Reference IC s and SC.
Maple Shade Clearview IC s
Silver Audio Appassionata IC's and Silver Symphony 48 SC.
Bear Lab Silver Lighting IC and SC.
Granite Audio # 470 IC
Audience Au24 IC and SC
HMS Topline IC and SC (not the brand new ones they came out with recently).
Pure Note Epsilon Reference IC s and S/C.
Midnight Silver Edition Gen. I Interconnects and S/C
Midnight Silver Edition Gen. II Interconnects and S/C
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Hi Larry.

Thank you for the thoughtful commentary and comparisons. Again, I'm glad we're able to bump you up a notch with your music listening enjoyment. As always, your time and efforts are appreciated.

Being that one of your comparisons was with Pure Note's older Epsilon offerings, I thought it flattering that we seem to be an impetus for their Cerulean line. Not too hard to figure out after being made aware of the description of their Cerulean. It's a complete departure from their past designs and too similar to what we've been doing with our Poiema! cabling. I know we've been preferred in the instances I'm aware of where there's been a head to head comparison. As you've posted in the past, wished someone would give you the opportunity to do the same. I know you're a fan of what we've been doing here but only because we continue to earn your respect and business. We've not bought your praise and I know you're loyalties lay only with what your ears tell you.

What makes the Poiema! cabling special is not rocket science, a new found type of snake oil, crystal-less or gazillion-n pure silver. Just some innovative thinking outside the box in terms of materials, materials application and construction that I don't see anyone else in the market doing. I'm supposing that one of the reasons no ones doing what we're doing is because of all the time involved in building our cables from the raw materials on up. For example It takes a good eight hours to build a set of our speaker cables. Who wants to do that!? Regardless, I decided long ago that if we were going to offer cabling that would meet my expectations and that I would personally be content to use over the long haul, the construction process we developed was one of the things we couldn't compromise on. It wasn't a business decision and it's not convenient but it's worth it. And, with 96.5% of our cabling projects finding permanent homes, our clients seem to think so too.

Anyway, as usual, all this. And, so much for my 30 second commercial! Thank You again Larry.

Best Regards,
Larry, how long have you two been sleeping together?
Hi Nurchy.

I know your question was for Larry but I have ask...when did you turn 12? LOL! No need to answer. It dosen't really matter.

I have always called them the way it sounds, truthfully and honestly. I invite anyone to send me any interconnect or speaker cable (etc) and I'll listen to them on my tube and SS system and write up a review.
Best regards…
Larry I don't doubt that what you said about those cables. When you express an opinion, how can you be wrong anyway? I have never seen this cable anywhere else, or even heard anyone else mention it.

My comment was suppose to be a joke, since you sound like a salesman (I don't mean that as an insult) for the stuff. Apparantly your supplier has a more evolved sense of humor. If I hurt your feelings, I apologize. I guess I have lost any interest in Ridge Street Audio cables though.

Where have you been? There is quite a bit of commentary on the net regarding our cabling. I don't think this is exhaustive but, aside from our website, I've compiled a convenient link list on our Circle at AC. Check under the post for "USEFUL REVIEWS and COMMENTARY". You can check it out HERE or not since you've lost "interest". BTW, how can you lose what you never had?

Nurchy, com'on...."Salesman"?, "Supplier"? What's that about? That was either almost slick or not very good humor. If it was humor, try again when you turn 13. If you were trying to be slick, try again when your 15.

Larry's "opinion"? How 'bout "experience". Big difference and I'm betting you know that.

I only use Purist cables so I don't know anything about your stuff, but I'm no longer interested anymore.
I think Pure Note and RSA are owned by the same proprietor. He makes the exact same cables but sell them under different brands and looks. He then get people online to fight over which company's products sound better. This proprietor then sits back, down a few beers, and laughs at us. I am on to you...

I've been looking at silver IC's, and I can't help but notice a pattern that Nrchy delicately pointed out.

Same reviewer.
Same glowing reviews.
Same "thank you for loving our product" "review of the reviewer" by the manufacturer.

Even found the same pattern at AA form "reviews" from 2002; same reviewer, whose only four posts ever were to praise this line of cables.
Same "thank you for your love" remarks by the manufacturer..

I was actually interested in this product, until I saw the pattern. Now, I smell a rat and I am no longer interested.
It generally leaves a bad impression whenever a manufacture feels the need to respond to a review, unless it is to make factual corrections.
When they do so every time... and then become defensive...

Of, now I see the same reviewer AA in 2002 has four reviews here (2004)... two are praises for the same cable... again with the "wow, thank you for proving we are right" bit from the manufacturer.

KP, I've noticed similar patterns with other manufacturers as well, but although some may be suspect, member, Lak, has written enthusiastically in the past about a large cross-section of cable manufacturers. In fact, it was reading one of his positive assessments of Pure Note cables (a company that when I got into this hobby, I knew very little about) that enthused me into purchasing 3 sets. After 2 years, they are all still in my system.

There has also been (it seems) a significant amount of other members here that have shared his views about Ridge Street products which has lead me to look upon whatever liason between him and RS as purely coincidental. His amount of reviews may have hurt his cause a bit though, because we do live in a cynical world and are cognizant of the manipulation that exists in some business enterprises. But then, I can't belittle enthusiasm and passion in anyone—I sincerely hope that those qualities are what his many posts about RS represent.

A manufacturer without enormous amounts of ready cash to invest in advertising must survive on banner-carriers to a certain extent in order to gain a foothold in this transient business of audio. I know I'll praise Pure Note cables, and have done so quite often, as well as manufacturers (whether large or small) of other gear which has performed well for me.

Concerning manufacturers answering their reviewers: I don't know quite how I feel about that yet. Yes, initially, it struck me as a bit over-the-top (“gee, thanks for telling me I have a nice ass and I thoroughly agree with your conclusion—this thong’s for you”). I've just tried to read the comments of other members concerning the product and to pay very little attention (if any) to (some) manufacturer's bravado that may show up in the midst of a thread. The donnybrook that erupted in the “Indra” thread over Bob Crump's comments (a bit of primal, but harmless, chest-pounding that afflicts some males) really got out of hand and became painful to read. Maybe Audiogon will institute codes to identify “cats and mice” in the future.

(The biggest surprise of this thread–so far–is that no one has yet weighed-in on Viggen's salvo above. IS there an exposé looming in the horizon? Who has the rights to the movie? Who'll be playing Robert from RS?)
we do live in a cynical world and are cognizant of the manipulation that exists in some business enterprises

Well, you nailed it. After my post, I surprised myself at what I'd said, as I tend to steer clear of this sort of "consumer advocacy."

My thoughts led me to this:

I find that the community in general (and myself in the specific) is becoming more and more cynical. How many times have we read "the changes were not subtle," "I'd never heard music before?"

And not over gear, but over "accessories" like cables, tweaks, etc.

You'd think by now sound would be transcendental. But no, Version 2.01 is always just around the corner. More clearly transparent, more excitingly dynamic, more revealing of the truth, more excellent. When you have exhausted superlatives, the taken superlatives and multiplied them by other superlatives, where do you go? How much can the language take?

I must admit I have bit of a pet peeve over manufacturers chiming in willy-nilly or coming down on subjective criticisms.

And yet, yes, enthusiasm is so much of this hobby. I often do not join in certain topics, as I'm afraid that saying the something (regardless of any qualifiers) more than occasionally would water down what I say. Now that I think about, most of my discussions regarding audio and the vast majority of my discussions with others regarding music take place over email not on the forums.

“gee, thanks for telling me I have a nice ass and I thoroughly agree with your conclusion—this thong’s for you”
Admit it: visions of Viggen's pebble encrusted strip tease are lingering in your retina.

KP, the audio marketplace is taking its cues from the political and business worlds. Give it enough spin and you can elect anyone or sell anything. (Sometimes both?)

You've been a bad, bad, very bad little piggy for sharing your Viggenoscopic apparition. I'll be suing for emotional and physical damages as I am now in need of extended psycotherapy and large doses of Retin-A to fix the furrows on my face from laughing my rocks off.

Keep up the good work.
I just saw this post and had to respond. Since some folks believe that LAK and I are shills for Pure Note and RSA, the bottom line is these companies are offering fine cables for the money. Try both and decide. In the end the audiophile wins!
Having dealt with Larry aka LAK on a personal basis several times, i would find it hard to believe that he was shilling for this company. My guess is that he's simply sharing his enthusiasm for a product that he thinks works well within the confines of his system. I know others that have listened to the Ridge Streets, both in his system and in another system and they share similar points of view. That is, they really liked the cables and thought that they held up very well in head to head comparisons.

While only God knows what is in Larry's heart, as far as i know, i don't think that he has any vested interest in Ridge Street products. Sean
Hi Sean and others,
Thanks for your kind words. As I’ve stated before, when ever I’ve written a review or made a suggestion in a thread on any product or for that matter recommend any brand it’s ONLY because I’ve tried it and/or own it and it works/sounds very well in my tube and SS system. I have NO other motive other than to pass on information to other audiophiles. You must then decide if there is a desire to demo the product. If one were to search my complete posts on Audiogon (over the past 5 years) you would see that I enthusiastically have written about various interconnects, speaker cables, AC outlets and cryo treatment, until I discover a product that I think is an improvement.
Best regards…
Poiema is amazing xlr Interconnects am 22 years in the hi-end and this is the first real hi-end cable New Testament Greek word translated as "workmanshipthanks bravo Poiema
I find it interesting that when you look at the reviews that Lak has posted, they are overwhelmingly for Ridge Street Audio and they are 100% positive. He's either too enthusiastic about the cables (discounts objectivity of article) or has a vested interest in the company (discounts objectivity of article).

It's good to check sources first.

I’ve said it before and I’ll sat it again. I have no vested interest in Ridge Street Audio, or any other manufacture. Ridge Street, are nice guys that make good products, as many other manufactures do! At the time (look at the dates) I wrote the reviews I felt they were the best bang for the buck that I had found and wanted to share.
I decided to stop writing reviews (in general) because there are many cynical people out there, that don’t seem to understand an Audiophiles enthusiasm for sharing a product that works in their system.
If you looked carefully at my posts going back to the year 2000, you will notice a variety of other interconnects speaker cables and power cords that I used, liked, and recommended.
God forbid if I write a glowing review, because then I must have a vested interest in Plinius, Audio Research, Silversmith, Harmonix, PAD, Jade Audio, etc.!
Have you ever heard any of the equipment that I’ve written a review about in your system?

Those of us that appreciate your time spent on reviews don't always take the time to say "Thank You" - as you deserve.

I too have tried many a cable and what is the best for ones system today isn't necessarily the case next year.

Anyhow, thanks for taking the time and sharing your impressions and time.

It is a shame that others can't take ANY review - here, online, magazine, etc. with a grain of salt.

Talk about hidden agenda's.