One of the great things about sharing a stable with a legendary title like
The Absolute Sound is that it gives us access to a whole new roster of writers.
So it's an enormous pleasure to welcome our first contribution from Anthony H. Cordesman, one of the most respected and longest standing
audio commentators in the USA. With a penchant for leading-edge technology, more than 30-years reviewing equipment, including spells at
Stereophile and Audio as well as TAS, has left him with an enviable depth
of experience and a uniquely balanced perspective. You can read his views on the EMM Labs CDSA-SE player on page 40.
Meanwhile, a rather lower key demonstration than we normally stage,
this at the Bristol Show, produced no less staggering results than we're used to. Aiming to compare the sonic and musical impact of connectors,
we employed a mixture of genuine, high-end and high-priced WBT phono plugs and speaker terminals, standard lightweight phono plugs and fake
WBT clones from the Far East. The phono plugs were all mounted to Chord Co. Cobra cables, at the same time and by the same person. The speaker
terminals were mounted in parallel on the back of a set of Audio Physic Virgo V loudspeakers, as described in my column in this Issue. Ringing the changes
we were able to elevate or completely destroy the performance of the demonstration system
— and not just in terms of hi-fi performance. Using a simple voice and guitar intro with
sparse drum and bass backing, in the worst case, the relationship between the instruments,
the vocal phrasing and inflexion, the naturalness of the instruments was completely
dismantled, rendered tinny, disjointed, grainy and brittle. I'll be writing it up in full for the
next issue, but for the moment take this on board: don't under-estimate the influence of
even the most prosaic parts of the signal chain. Things are not always as they seem...