Review: Zentara Reference II Bi-Wire Speaker cable
I believe that all reviews are system dependant and are meant to give the reader a general idea of what can be expected and to shed some light on a product that you may not be familiar with. I am in no way affiliated with any manufacturer or any business associated with audio equipment. I am an independant artist and music lover who also enjoys nice equipment,that's all. Please excuse any spelling or grammar errors as I will do my best to be clear and concise.
In my last speaker cable review I ended up choosing the AVt-1 bi-wire cables because to me they sounded the best in my system and that's what really counts. When I sold the Boston Acoustics E-100s and started trying other speakers that were more neutral and resolving it became clear that the MITs were colored. The highs were still light and airy but a little rolled off,the midrange warmer than neutral and more forward,and the bass a little loose and exaggerated. All of these attributes worked great with the E-100s but just didn't cut it with a more open and resolving speaker.
Shortly after getting my new BG radia 520i speakers I started looking for a speaker cable that would let them show all that they have to offer. These speakers are very resolving and very open. Most owners and reviewers have stated that these speakers will show any weak link in the system and I would have to agree. They don't plumb the depths either but I have never been disappointed with what they do offer.
After trying out all of the cables in the Similar Products list below and not being satisfied I read the Positive Feedback reviews of the Zentara speaker cables with much interest. I sent off an email to get more information and was pleasantly surprised to get a reply just two hours later from Mr. V. Neng Kue. He was in Germany at the time but would be home in two days and said if I gave him my phone number he would call me when he got home. Two days later he called just as promised. Even though he had just returned from Germany he was willing to spend plenty of time on the phone discussing everything I wanted to know and even some things I hadn't though of. I found that I had a lot in common with Mr. Kue, the most important being his approach and desire to achieving the best sound possible. By the end of the phone call we were on a first name basis.
We agreed that the Reference cables looked like what I should try in my system and that they would be shipped out to me in three days time. Three days later I received the tracking number and two days after that I received the cables. I hooked them up and they sounded pretty good right out of the box. I know from experience that cables need to settle in after being hooked up cold so I put the Isotek "Full System Enhancer" cd on track 2 to repeat and noticed something as soon as it started. Even with what might be refered to as test tones I could here a smoothness and extension to the sound I hadn't heard from these speakers with other cables. Fifteen hours later I turned it all off and let the system rest for a couple of hours. When I turned it back on and started playing River:The Joni Letters by Herbie Hancock I was immediately shocked by the coherence from top to bottom and the beguiling sound.
My listening went on for many hours as I discovered that my speakers were now throwing a taller,deeper,wider soundstage then with the other cables. They now seem to have a more powerful better defined bass and with smoother more extended highs. I could now hear details in the bass that just weren't there before. The sound is much more open and yet defined but also posses a density of tone and texture that I had not heard in my music before. Everything emerges from a blacker background with every little bit of spacial information presented in a natural and flowing manner. I discovered that where there used to be silence between notes there is now a longer decay and more room ambiance. There is more "there" there and more "music" in the music. My speakers have also taken on a much more continuous coherent sound between the drivers allowing the sound to blend much better between the woofers and ribbons. This all may make you think that my system sounds clinical and sharp as a scalpel now but just the opposite is true. All of this has helped my system to sound more musical in a way that I had never expected.
I realize that this is attributing a lot to speaker cables but I had done this exact same test in the exact same way with the five other cables listed below and not had these results. The Zentara Reference II BW speaker cables have brought about what I can only describe as "synergy" to my system. Everything is so resolved yet free flowing with density of tone and texture for the first time in my system. I had been considering buying a subwoofer to add definition to the bass but the bass is so well defined and with every little nuance exposed I no longer feel the need.
One of the bigger surprises in all of this has been how my system now sounds better with compressed music also. Pandora through the Oppo sounds so much better now with much more space and decay present. The music still sounds compressed but definitely better.
I had been emailing Mr. Neng Kue along the way with questions and comments. He always responded promptly with the exact answer I needed plus some. Neng treated me with great respect,humor and friendliness always suggesting he call me and talk. To say I was surprised to be treated so well would be an understatement.
To sum up, these cables are fantastic in my system and I will not part with them! Now I just need to start saving up for the matching interconnects to see what they may bring to the music.
Magnum Dynalab MD90 fm tuner
Oppo BDP-95 universal blu-ray player
Ayre AX-7e integrated amp
Bohlender-Graebener Radia 520i loudspeaker
MIT AVt-1 bi-wire
Nordost Heimdall bi-wire
Kimber BiFocal XL bi-wire
PS Audio xStream Resolution Reference bi-wire
TDK Super Accurate Cable CA-QL601 double run bi-wire