DH Labs Silver Sonic Air Matrix (561-745-6406; $195):
These interconnects’ claim to fame is the use of a foamy-like dielectric that is at least 60% air. Actually, DH Labs is very careful to point out that the Teflon matrix dielectric they use is not a foam, but a carefully constructed non-random array where air is the primary contact for the silver plated, high purity conductors used inside. With this interconnect I preferred to go with the arrows between the preamp and amp, with them reversed from source component to preamp. But it was close here, and I could see a system voiced differently than mine preferring an opposite orientation.
At less than $200/meter, this is the sonic value of the group. These are good sounding interconnects! Totally unexpected was the high frequency clarity. Cymbals truly sound like cymbals with these interconnects in place, and the image/tonal density is right there with the finest I’ve heard. Which results in a sound that can be big, bold and powerfully balanced, while still getting the smallest nuance delicately right. Hey, this is a good interconnect! Faults? There must be some, or I’d like these better than the ($650/meter) Triphazers, right? Minor drawbacks are in the bass and lower treble. The bass is present and room filling, speakers seem to have an extra half octave of low frequency grunt. I like that, but under strict appraisal it’s a little indistinct – big and bold, but a little lacking in complexity. It is not loose, no way. I wouldn’t like it if it were loose. It’s just a little off, while still being better than many, especially if you like energy down deep.
In the lower treble, just above the superbly focused and organically robust midrange, is a minor highlighting. And while I’m not convinced that some aural trickery (a tiny resonance perhaps – the conductors are silver plated) isn’t going on here, the highlighting, which can cause a very slight sibilance with “sss” sounds, seems almost perfectly natural due to the weight of the mids and lower mids and the way everything balances out. Then again, maybe it’s right and the Matrix has merely opened a new window on the performance that I hadn’t looked through before. We’ll see. This is interesting, if only because the mids and lower mids are so noticeably lacking in grain and hash – liquid with abundant detail. This interconnect successfully unlocks a wondrously complex and rich world of tonal colors. They pass the ambiance of the original performance without clouds or haze.
Out of the pack, this is obviously the value product, and as things presently exist, an audio sleeper of major proportions. If I couldn’t listen to the Triphazers, I’d pick these over all the others. The DH Labs Air Matrix is simply that good – Highly Recommended.