by Venoth Nair
A Step Up in the Right Direction
The best thing about being an audiophile is the ability to constantly upgrade and change a system to give you a more preferred outcome. I use the word preferred here because there is no fixed path one can take in order to achieve one’s own aural goals. Each upgrade has its merits, either by virtue of adding features, performance or simply adding a touch a visual appeal.
Probably the most disputed upgrade path is the one concerning cables. It’s a known fact that when it comes to cables there are always those who are for it and those who are against it. Personally, the thought of cables is akin to that of cutlery when having a meal. It’s not meant to enhance or improve the flavor of the food you consume, but it’s more of a conduit that delivers the food to you without altering its composition, being as true as possible to what the dish should taste like. If you think what I’m saying carries no water, try eating a something with a plastic spoon then try the same dish with a silver one. Taste the difference?
Alternately a terrible conduit can (and will) add unwanted taste which ultimately corrupts the original flavor of the dish, reducing the authentic quality of the meal. The extent of the difference however is a matter of taste. Some boorish person who merely wants to stuff oneself would probably not care at all but the epicurean will immediate gag at the idea of something so unpalatable. See where I’m going with this.
Back to the topic of cables, today I’ve got the Performance 40i and Signature Audio 40 which are both from British cable house QED. Each representing two ends of the price spectrum from a brand that is known for supplying high quality products at rather competitive prices, which in the case of these two cables, are exactly that.
QED’s Performance Audio 40i is a budget cable targeting those with proper entry level components looking to give a little push to up the ante. Superior build quality is the name of the game with these cables which are reassuringly thick (8mm) especially compared too many others of equal stead. Materials are also premium with high purity Oxygen Free Copper (OFC) conductor, Silver plated OFC conductor and Gold Plated Anamate phono plugs to name a few.
The flagship Signature Audio 40 on the other hand, takes the interconnect and goes all out putting in the best possible materials and engineering designs QED has in its arsenal to deliver the absolute best performance achievable from a cable at this price range. Even purely on looks the seriousness of the Signature 40 can’t be missed with its clear jacket showing of the shiny braided metal shielding material made with Silver plated oxygen free copper that glistens magnificently under light. The Silver plated oxygen free copper conductors with Teflon dielectric is arranged in an asymmetrical twisted pair to keep the audio signal as clean as can be.
Unlike the Performance Audio 40i the Signature Audio 40’s phono connectors are Rhodium plated which has superior hardness adding durability to the ends. The Signature Audio 40 phono connectors come with QED’s Analoc technology which ensures a secure connection to your equipment, eliminating the possibility of noise due to improper connections. The built in locking feature works by unscrewing the end which loosens the locking blades before the connections is made. Once fitted the cylinder is screwed back tightening the plug to the connector for a clean and snug fit. Do remember however that in order to remove the plugs safely you need to reverse the process and the phono connector will be tightly secured to the equipment.
In use both cables prove to be an improvement over the “in the box” options with improved dynamics and clarity, polishing up the signal conveying each component’s strengths to the fore. Between the two however the Signature Audio 40 has an obvious edge especially with how it handles details and intricacies. The scale of improvement however is not linear and would depend much on the connected equipment so if possible experimentation is advised. In my test I find that a system with a craving for a little sparkle up top benefits from both these cables, something to consider if your system has such properties.
Either way both offerings here from QED are of exceptional value and would serve relentlessly in any system that it’s thrown into. Generous use of materials, quality build and excellent sound make either of these cables a step in the right direction with the Performance Audio 40i for midrange and entry level systems while the gorgeous Signature Audio 40 will fit perfectly in a premium setup both in sound and looks.
For more information on these cables or other products from QED please contact CMY Audio & Visual Sdn Bhd at 03-2143 9406/2143 4357