|Stager Silver Solids Interconnects Review|
|Home Theater Accessories AV Cables|
|Written by Andre Marc|
|Tuesday, 08 November 2011|
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I realized after a few minutes of listening to music with the Stager cables installed that this was going to be an interesting review. First, they sounded great cold (out of the box), with no extended “burn in” which many audiophiles believe is necessary to let the electrical properties of a cable settle. No matter what you believe, I was pretty astonished, based on their modest appearance, how much musical information and tonal beauty was coming through. In the distant past, I have fallen prey to initially judging cables on appearance. Those with fancy, colorful jackets, logos, and intimidating, mythological names often would predispose prospective buyers into thinking they were getting a superior product. I have been over that for a long time now.
Once I established that I was dealing with a cable that was not to be taken lightly, I sat down for extended listening sessions. The recent Radiohead album, King of Limbs, is a very intricate work, with interlocking rhythms and live instruments mixed with electronica. I was knocked out at the size of the soundstage and how all the interlocking parts were clearly discernible. I also enjoyed tremendously Shelby Lynne’s brand new self-recorded effort, Revelation Road. Her vocals are the centerpiece, as always, and the self-composed material is strong. It is a very nicely recorded album too. The arrangements are sparse, with a sprinkling of guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards. The Stagers were spot on in rendering the tonality of Lynne’s voice. Having seen her live, up close, and un-amplified, I can vouch for it.
I can say the same for another recording I have been using as reference for the past few months or so, Lisa Hannigan’s Passenger. I thought the Stagers actually produced rounder, and more voluptuous bass and sweeter treble than I had been used to hearing. This continued with every album I chose, and no matter the source. For instance, the 96 Khz, 24 bit download of Wilco’s newest album, The Whole Love, sounded crazy good, despite being a bit over compressed, with some of the most realistic sound I have heard in my room.
Interestingly, the Stagers made my tube amp sound more like a tube amp than ever before. I had a similar thought when I reviewed the Audience aDeptResponse power conditioner. I mean this in the best possible way. Midrange textures were to die for, and there was a beautiful harmonic richness. On top of this is all the musical detail you could wish for. Decay times were long, transient attacks were quick off mark, it was easy to hear the various musical layers in good recordings.
I used the pair of Stager Silver Solids terminated with XLR between the Bryston BDA-1 DAC and the McIntosh MA6600 solid state integrated amp. I heard the same results as with single ended cables. On the new Miles Davis Quintet four disc box set, Live in Europe, 1967, Davis’s sublime band was spread across the stage, with surprising presence for such a relatively primitive recording. Backgrounds were dead quiet, even through headphones. According to Marc Stager, the XLR terminated cables also make for a great digital interconnect. He was right, they performed beautifully in the function between a CD transport I currently have in for review and the AES/EBU input of the BDA-1.
We often assume that audio gear priced for the “budget” crowd is somehow colored, or veers away from neutrality, although maybe pleasantly so. It is rare that an inexpensive amplifier, speaker, or cable can actually seem like it is recovering more musical information than far more expensive ones. But I have to say that is what I heard with my own ears with the Stager Silver Solid interconnects.
I have come to believe that interconnect, speaker, digital, and power cords are essentially components in and of them selves. When choosing a cable for a specific application, I don’t see why you would use any less care than when choosing speakers or electronics. Marc Stager is so sure you like these cables, if you can out your prejudices aside about how insanely reasonable the prices are, that he offers a 30-day money back guarantee. I can't recommend them highly enough. So much so, I am buying several pairs for my self.