Review: VeraStarr SILVER REFERENCE statement silver Speaker cable
When a pet chewed one of my interconnects, I took a chance on a Verastarr Silver Reference interconnect that was getting enthusiast Audiogon reviews. I was shocked by how much it improved the sound of my system, and bought another Verastarr cable. I hadn't been thinking about buying new speaker cables, but the surprising quality of the interconnects made me wonder what the VeraStarr Silver Reference statement speaker cables would be like. There's a your money back guarentee if you don't find them to be the best speaker cables you've ever heard, so I decided to find out.
George Cardas says good speaker cables can take up to 300 hours of playing time to sound their best, so I started running them around the clock and listened every evening. These cables would probably sound great right out of the box to somebody who has used only mid-quality cables. Right off, there was a sense of spaciousness in the whole field of sound beyond what I’ve heard before in my system. But for the first few days the overall sound came nowhere near the quality of my reference Stealth TR silver cables. After 3 days of constant play the bass and midrange opened up, but the high frequency extension was still limited. After 5 days, the treble opened up too. Easily noticable jumps of improvement happened every day out to 10 days of constant running. By then, the sound was fabulous.
A lot of high-end audio gear tips either toward highly detailed and transparent or toward full-bodied and lush. I like equipment that does both at once, like Koetsu catridges, or JM Lab Utopia speakers. The VeraStarr Silver Reference speaker cables are like that: they're at least as detailed as my Stealth cables, but with fuller bass, a more lush midrange, and a huge soundstage. The overall sound is startlingly natural.
My taste in music is eclectic, so I used different kinds of music to listen for different aspects of the sound. I used the Mobile Fidelity SACD of Patricia Barber's recent Nightclub album more than any other in testing the cables. It's great for evaluating the overall sound because it has everything. The bass is so big I had to turn down the subwoofer. As the cable broke in and the midrange opened up, Barber's voice became both fuller and sweeter. Later, the cymbals on the drumset became more and more vivid, ringing with the complex harmonics of real drums.
One of my favorite tests for "right there in the room with you" presence is Analogue Productions 180 gram pressing of Waltz for Debbie by the Bill Evans Trio recorded live at the Village Vanguard in New York in 1961. This is about as good a recording as I've ever heard. Evans' piano sounds completely natural. The double bass and drums have a prominent place, testing the quality of both bass and treble performance. You can even hear in the background the clinking of glasses and bits of conversation from people at tables near the stage. With the cables fully broken in, this record was like a time machine putting me in the live audience.
Going loud is a great test for distortion of any kind, and that calls for Rock and Roll. Cheaper Kimber cables I've had, and even YBA's best Diamond cables, had a "volume limit" where the sound got much less enjoyable beyond a certain level of volume. I discovered this was a speaker cable issue when I got Stealth TR cables and the "volume limit" went way up. With the Silver Reference cables, all the glare disappeared. I blasted away on the recent AcousTech remastering of Cosmo's Factory by Creedence Clearwater Revival and Neil Young's lastest album, Are You Passionate? No matter how much I turned up the volume, the sound only got louder, not worse.
The one thing my system has never been able to play as convincingly as I would like is full orchestral music. I have a comparatively small listening room, with comparatively small speakers, and always assumed these were the limiting factors. But it turns out cables are a significant factor too. Playing the Sheffield Lab record of excerpts from Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev after the cables were fairly well broken in was a revelation. The "sense of spaciousness" that the Silver Reference cables had right from the start is exactly what was needed to create the sonic illusion of hearing a symphany in a large concert hall.
These cables made the kind of improvement in my system that drew me into listening to dozens of old favorites because they all sounded new and better. Their downside is their cost, but I consider them, and the Silver Reference interconnects, the best audio purchases I've ever made in terms of sound improvement per dollar. Needless to say, I don't plan on taking advantage of that money back guarentee. These are the best speaker cables I've ever heard.
Marantz SA-1 SACD player
VPI Mk IV turntable with SME5 arm and Koetsu Rosewood Signature cartridge
YBA 1 High Current Amplifier
YBA 1 Preamp with seperate power supply
JM Labs Mini-Utopia speakers
REL Storm III subwoofer
PS Audio Power Plant
Kimber, MIT, YBA, Stealth heard in my system. Many others at dealers.