Thursday, February 25, 2016

Audience Really Hits It's Stride With The AU24 SX Cables

Audience has really been on a roll over the last 12 months. The release of the Ohno series of interconnects and speaker cables blew my mind with their musicality, huge soundstage, and most of all great prices. These are THE cables to beat in the sub $500, heck sub $1000 range. A must try for the budget conscious audiophile.


The Clairaudient 1+1 V2+ speakers were another marvel. The purity of music emanating from this small, single driver, crossoverless speaker is truly addictive, and has recently acquired a huge fan base. I predict the 1+1 V2+ will reach audio legend status.


And most recently the AU24SX line of cables. This is the replacement series for the AU24 SE line of cables that has earned such a great reputation and many awards. Spoiler: The AU24 SX absolutely crushes the AU24SE. It's not even in the same league...
AU24SX Balanced Interconnects - A true differential balanced cable.

The Anti Garden Hose Cable

One thing I have always loved about Audience AU24 cables is that they were never massive, inflexible behemoths. Usually, a low mass design = a low mass sound. Somehow the Audience AU24 turned this convention on its head by never sounding thin, or bass shy. The AU24 SX continues in that tradition.

Au24 SX are all six nines pure copper, and all sport a higher quality XLPE (cross linked polyethlyene) jacketing . The geometry has been tweaked a bit as well. 

The Au24 SX speaker cables are a heavier gauge than the previous Au24 SE. That being said, they are by no means thick cables. They retain their slim and flexible nature. Although not quite as much as the SE, the sound is well worth it.  In comparison to the SE, the SX speaker cables are more relaxed yet more dynamic and have a richer tonal palette.
AU24SX RCA Interconnects Have a new, solder free termination.

The RCA connectors on the AU24 SX RCA interconnects are a new proprietary solder-free design. And the AU24 SX XLR interconnect is a whole new true dedicated differential cable designed from the ground up solely for balanced circuits. 

Listening

The AU24 SX crushes the AU24 SE. It is not even the  same cable, both literally and figuratively. I will use the AU24SE as a comparative reference from here on out.

Balance - The tonal balance was even, with more extension and clarity on both extremes. The highs sparkled more, but in a way that didn't draw attention to them. They were nano-crystal clear with no grain or grit. The highs were so clear it reminded me of certain tweaks I would apply to speakers to attain such detail. The Music Serums, and Stein Speaker Matches could bring one this type of clarity in the highs, now this level of clarity was attained with the AU24 SX alone.

The bass had more clarity, speed and impact as well. It went deeper too. All of this led to a more natural presentation.

Soundstage & Imaging - Impressive, as with the Ohno cables. Tons of bloom around instruments, a bigger sense of the venue and acoustic spaces. Decays lasted longer, and the cable seemed significantly quieter. Much like a television with higher contrast and deeper blacks, more low level resolution was revealed by the higher contrast.

Dynamics - Big jump factor here.  Macro and microdynamics benefitted from the AU24 SX

Musicality/Flow - THIS is where the biggest difference made itself known. There was less haze, lower noise better freqency extremes, but what this all added up to was a sound that was more musical, organic and involving. 

Conclusion

Many cables can equal the AU24SX in frequency extension, dynamics, tonal balance, and resolution. What separates the Audience AU24 SX (and Ohno to a lesser degree) is the clarity, flow and organic nature that reproduced music takes on when played through these cables. Very few cables can do all of this (Skogrand, High Fidelity come to mind), and all of them cost a lot more than the AU24 SX.

The life of music, what brings it from "yes I recognize this song/composition" to what makes you stop everything else your doing and just listen, is different for each of us. For me and from the culmination of my experiences, what takes music from sound to a soul satisfying experience is
the smallest of details rendered in a way that flows organically. The Audience AU24 SX cables made me stop and listen the way only a few other cables have. I have heard a lot of cables in a lot of systems. To my ears, the Audience is the value leader in a category of very high performance cables. For those who are looking for top-tier cables, and possibly looking to get off the audio merry-go-round. You need to hear these in your system.



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