Tempo Electric speaker cables
Just when you think you have your system nailed, dialed in, set for the long haul, complacency loses its hold. I think it's from simply soaking in all the beauty of the music and not being analytical when it hits you. Something is amiss.
Try as you may, you can't shake the truth that's staring you in the face. In my case, it was what I perceived to be a slight reticence in the upper frequencies. The notes were all there, complete with decay, but they didn't have the shimmer or sparkle that I've heard before and desire.
This led to a google search for silver speaker cables and all the usual suspects turned up. What to do? Reread tons of reviews and mission statements resulting in bloodshot eyes. It was when I went a page further than usual that I came upon Tempo Electric. A question on another thread brought back some fellow A'goners who have them and love them. That same thread brought up more silver cable lovers. Having recently gotten some Darwin Silver ICs, I knew the potential that awaited me.
What I liked about the webpage was it's simplicity. A call to Joseph Levy confirmed what I suspected: here's someone with no pretensions and as straightforward as one can be. I ordered a pair.
When they arrived, they were as unpretentious as the website, packed simply and efficiently. Simple in construction but beautiful nonetheless. I opted for the bare connectors and hooked them up. It was not what I expected. If anyone doubts the meme about cable break in, do yourself a favor and try these for three days, since that it was it took for them to settle in (and I had the tuner on 24/7).
At first they were bright and analytical. All leading edge and not much body. Most people would stop right there and pronounce them as such. They were so slanted to the leading edge of notes that I seriously thought them a bad choice on my part. But something told me to wait. As usual, I tried many CDs and it was when I came across a Melody Gardot disc it hit me. Her voice finally sounded right. I've read elsewhere that she has this husky voice and nothing could be further from the truth: I saw her in concert and her voice is anything but husky. Ricky Lee Jones she's not but she has that quality (gift) that allows her voice to rise above the musicians and it's high and pure, smooth and sultry, and these cables came closest to portraying it.
Over my three day sojourn, the cables got better. The body of instruments developed, bass grew deeper and better defined, dust bunnies were obliterated. Clarity gave way to focus, which gave way to coherence. Soundstage now goes deeper due to the added clarity and improved separation of musicians. On one track of a Sarah Jarousz song I now hear a male backup singer singing softly all the way through a song which I never heard before. Before the Tempos, I could just perceive his voice on only a line or two. The improvement was on the order of the Darwin Silver ICs I wrote of earlier (actually raved about), but this was actually on the speaker end of things.
There was also the same result of my having to lower the volume since the music had so much more strength coming through. The shimmering, sparkling highs were there along with that all over strength and clarity that had me lowering the volume. When I started using the Darwins, I went from a 40db attenuation to around 44db and to get the same pressure levels and effect. With the Tempo Electrics, I have it set to 47db-48db with the same results. I can even listen at 50db attenuation and am satisfied but I do like presence over subtlety :-)
That warm, enveloping feeling I got with my Mapleshaed Double Helix turned out to be a kind of roll off of the highest end and an ever so slight smearing that can be described as a tube like effect which romanced the sound. Incredibly pleasant but not as accurate or truthful as the Tempos. I know this will rile some but this is my take on it in the context of my system and let's not forget that I love the Mapleshades. Now that I have a new partner to dance with, the floor is wide open to move about on. There are some new moves to describe.
During the break in process I was anxious for a tonal shift so I went for a seismic shift and removed the flagstone that sat atop the carpet and which I had my maple butcher blocks on. That alone, went quite a ways towards ameliorating the bright upper end. Now that the speakers could move easily on the carpet, I turned them from where they met behind my head to almost facing forward, with a slight toe in and it got better with no loss of the soundstaging that I like.
Now that they've fully settled in I know I've made the right choice. Sometimes simple is best, but as they say, not any simpler. These cables can't get any simpler. Silver seems to be the best way to go and if you can, go bare ends and save on the connectors. I've always thought silver to be good since back around 1990, Stan Warren advised me to go down to the local jeweler and get some silver, some Teflon tubing, and be done with it. Stan had just modded my Philips CD80 (CD90?) after I got his first issue Superphon amp and preamp. I should have listened back then.
I'd also like to add that not all silver sounds the same. I still have my Clear Day speaker cables and though good, they're not in the same league. The Clear Days use (I believe) 24 gauge with connectors and the Tempo Electrics are 16 gauge and are bare ended with 8 gauge Teflon tubing so like the Darwins ICs that I use, air is the primary dielectric. I think the gauge and connectors have to be the issue here. If you have any questions on which gauge to use, there is a simple chart on the Tempo Electric site that breaks down the gauge to use depending on cable length and amp power rating. They're warranted for 10 years and have a money back guarantee.
I have to say again that the natural strength of the music is something to behold and not often enough discussed. The clarity and coherence of these cables, along with the signal strength is really like throwing open a window, revealing a reality that's refreshing. I've yet to tire of them and thanks to their addition to my system, I'm now considering a small sub woofer so I can fully appreciate the full scope of music.
Marantz PM-15S2b integrated amp
Marantz SA-15S2b SACD player
Tonain Labs TL-D1 speakers
OPPO BDP-103 Blu Ray player
Darwin Silver ICs
Cullen PCs for Blue Circle PLC Thingee
Zu Mission PCs for amp and sacd player
Boos Maple Butcher blocks for speakers
and now, Tempo Electric speaker cables
Music that I primarily listen to:
female vocalists : Sarah Jarosz, Stacy Kent, Melody Gardot, Connie Evingson
acoustic: Civil Wars, french acousitc (since I can't understand them voices are rendered like instruments), European jazz
Classical: small ensembles and solo instruments
Pop: Lorde-just that for now
All the best,