Review: Snake River Audio Cottonmouth Power cord
THE SOUND OF SNAKE RIVER AUDIO: MAMUSHIS AND COTTONMOUTH - REVIEW
A few days ago I received a package from Idaho. What can be so special about receiving a package I hear you think? Well, it contained a Snake River Audio Cottonmouth power cord. Quite a chunky power cord with a nice and shiny skin and Snake River Audio’s own 24k gold plated power plugs. Aesthetically quite beautiful, but how does it sound? I was ready to find out!
With Snake River Audio’s Mamushi interconnects in place, I replaced my power cord by the Cottonmouth, switched on the system and let it cook for a while. What was immediately noticeable, was the absence of noise. Tube amplifiers can be a bit noisy and you pick that up via the loudspeakers. No noise. We were off to a pretty good start.
In the CD-tray was “Got You On My Mind” by William Galison and Madeleine Peyroux. “Back in your own backyard” sounded so very good, made my feet tapping. Madeleine’s voice resembles that of Billie Holiday’s, minus the pain of having been through too much in there. “J’ai deux amours” is one of the best covers of the original version of Joséphine Baker and Jacques Pils. Jacques Pils is not as well-known as a singer, but as one of the great Piaf’s husbands. Still the original version is also quire pleasing to the ears. Of course I always have to try “Flambee Montalbanese”. The different instruments are neatly in place and the baritone sax goes deep. It could be heard as well as felt. And that from my tube system. On to the next CD!
A “Hi-Fi News” sampler with some interesting pieces of classical music. I listened in awe to Shostakovich’s Suite No 1 for Jazz Band Op. 38 as the music was really coming loose from the loudspeakers. Shostakovich’s music has often been criticized as being too chaotic, still all instruments were neatly in place and I didn’t consider this as chaos, no, this was breathtakingly beautiful.
Since great performances deserve an encore, I put on “The Buena Vista Social Club” – Ry Cooder’s Cuban musical reunion of Cuban artists. Quite pleasing to the ear. On certain tracks I could hear some noises (voices, putting down of instruments) in the background as they started or ended their song. I must say that I have great hearing – wish my eyesight was that good too – and that is a great asset when you are reviewing hi-fi. Mind you, I don’t listen to thunderous sound volumes. I like to keep the music realistically flowing.
“Way Down Deep” from Jennifer Warnes’ “The Hunter” can pose a threat to your woofers when playing too loud. The drum was portrayed nicely shaped, no hint of muddiness, and the bass guitar was quick and clean. Quite impressing. “The Well” however was a true revelation. I never heard it sounding as good as this. The bells ringing so clear and clean, Jennifer’s voice free of any compression and the bagpipes on “The Patriot’s Dream” sounding as if the marching band was right inside my listening room. Now that is realism!
On to female and male voices. “Whisper Rap” by Frances Bogart White. On the track “Scarlett Lantern Inn” Frances sounds like she’s nibbling on something or a bit like she just had new false teeth fitted. No offence, but that is how it sounds to me. The music is just surreal sounding. On “Midnite Wire Twister” you really get the feeling of what the song is about. It’s an eerie sound, one that, when correctly portrayed like here, gives me the creeps!
I love a bit of decadence, so I put on some Lotte Lenya. She sings the songs of her first husband Kurt Weill like no-one else does. I picked out two tracks from the CD of Kurt Weill’s “The Seven Deadly Sins – Berlin Theatre Songs”. First, “Seeraüber Jenny” where Lotte Lenya plays the character of Jenny – a maid and a whore who is daydreaming. In that particular song, when La Lenya says: hopla! right after that there is someone who hits a cymbal with brute force. I knew it was going to come, I knew when to expect it, yet it sounded about twice as hard now. Pfew…. “Bilbao Song” was presented very cleanly, although the songs have had a digital polishing. They did a great job digitalizing them.
Time for some Celtic music now! The Chieftains “The Long Black Veil” contains songs interpreted by some of the greatest artists. Ry Cooder’s “Coast Of Malabar” is my favourite and it never ceases to amaze me. Gosh, I just love that song! The sound of the flute and the breathtaking of the musician are quite uncanny. Then the guitar work of Ry sets in and the song just flows along, Ry pulling at his guitar strings, that typical sound of his.
The real surprise of the listening session is maybe not well known outside of Europe. It’s the soundtrack from the French movie “Arsène Lupin”. I was going to pick Holt’s “The Planets”, but after this I was convinced that anything I would throw at the Mamushis/Cottonmouth combination would be played with verve. It starts with “Qui-es tu?”, the only song with vocals on the CD, and then the fun begins. Actually it was more like a musical rollercoaster ride and believe me, you do not want to get off! There are so many nuances in that soundtrack. The music was written by Debbie Wiseman – a great composing job – and performed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Crouch End Festival Chorus. There is such a dark and threatening atmosphere surrounding the music, soft passages gives you some time to breathe, but when the music goes full-scale, it’s as if a violent thunderbolt rips open the dark clouds forming overhead. The soft bubbly bells, the voices of the choir, and then up to an apotheosis like a huge firework on the 4th of July. I just had to fit that in! I got the exact same feeling like when you have been through the whole movie in the movie theatre and as you leave you get this feeling of: WOW! I needed a short break after that to put this to paper.
I still wanted to hear “The Wind That Shakes The Barley” by Loreena McKennitt. Seldom have I heard such an atmospheric and mysterious CD. Loreena’s voice and her harp playing, it’s just perfect synergy. The whistles, the flutes, the Irish instruments create a musical landscape through which you can take a stroll. And I enjoyed that stroll very much.
I can heartily recommend the Snake River Audio Mamushi interconnects as they add so much to the music it sometimes seemed unbelievable. But it’s true. Musical truth is out there and it is known under the name of Snake River Audio. The Cottonmouth power cable adds to that grand performance although I do have a feeling that a Mamushi power cord would simply transform my system. I never thought it was possible to create such excellent interconnects like the Mamushis. And if you want to add a quality power cord, the Cottonmouth is THE one to buy. I’m going to pester Jonny Wilson – the owner of Snake River Audio – to develop a Mamushi power cord.
Let’s do something I have never done before. Let me give some ratings:
Bang for the buck: 10/10
Price/Quality: 10/10 – If you ask me, they are way underpriced for the quality they represent. The bargain of the year!
Bang for the buck: 9/10
Does that sound convincing to you? If you want the best cables for your system and you don’t want to take a second mortgage on the house, you’ll owe it to yourself to try and buy Snake River Audio cables! I have made my choice already. The best? The bestest!
Quicksilver Audio tube amplifier,
Audio Synthesis Passion passive attenuator,
TDL Chiltern studio monitors,
TDL loudspeaker cables.