The Clarus Crimson Audiophile Cables are investigated by Howard Milstein
As has been pointed out appreciably many times right here at the Sound Advocate, no vicinity of the high-end can be greater complicated than cables, where competing designs offer a welter of strategies that purport to furnish the choicest transmission of the audio signal.
Clarus, a company established in Orlando, Florida in 2011, provides a solution that is both practical and sophisticated in its top-of-the-line, Crimson series of cables. Instead of having some fire hoses winding around your equipment, these are discreetly endowed and reasonably flexible cables with impeccable terminations. However, they are not inexpensive!
President of Clarus, Joe Perfito allowed me to evaluate a full loom of his cables for a virtuous period, and I got a good handle on their construction and particularly, each cable’s sound character.
Although initially, all of the Crimson Kabal together may undoubtedly extract some exciting “electricity” to implode from your loudspeakers, as they settle down and into working order, the loom informatively introduce a subtlety and precise amount of audio definition to the mix– increasingly grabbing your attention. The appearance and particularly the sound of these wires turned out to be uncommonly refined and intensely musical. I must not forget to mention the Clarus power cables and mains cords which are included here as well and when in use, were uncommonly silent and a wonder to inspect and use.
The Clarus cable lives up to its Latin name by being clean and luminous, and I have rarely experienced many cables with sound quality as singularly pure as these cables.
These products are thoughtfully designed using the best materials available and they should provide a lifetime of enjoyment for the end user. I also like that the braided jackets are all matching with a red and black aesthetic.
The conductors are all formed from PCOCC (“Pure copper Ohno continuous cast wire”). This high-purity copper material is hot rolled as opposed to being cold formed. This patented extrusion process results in a larger molecular grain structure than you see from other extrusion techniques. This is a quite expensive material that is widely recognized to have properties very favorable for use as audio conductors.
Clarus uses this wire in varying cross-sectional shapes and gauges for each specific use. They provide some additional details beyond this most basic description. Internal insulation is Polyethylene and the outer jackets are a woven fiber material. As mentioned, the jackets were an almost perfect match among the cables which is not easy to accomplish as some of the cables are assembled in different factories. PCOCC (“Pure Copper Ohno Continuous Cast Wire”) is employed to produce all of the conductors.
Instead of being cold-made, this high-purity copper material is hot-rolled. In contrast to previous extrusion techniques, this proprietary extrusion method produces a bigger molecular grain structure. It is well recognized that this expensive material possesses characteristics that make it an excellent choice for use as audio conductors.
For each unique application, Clarus employs a different cross-sectional form and gauge of this wire. Outside of this most basic description, they offer some additional information. Polyethylene acts as the internal insulation, and woven fibers make up the outer jackets. The Highest Quality control is most obviously employed with these cables,
Essentially, I was given a pair of Crimson speaker cables, balanced and unbalanced interconnects, a really fine pair of digital audio, 75 ohm (RCA) interconnects which were 1m in length from the CD Transport to the DAC, 3 source power cords to power conditioner and last, but not least, two high current mains power cords. All of them were built and finished with exceptional detail, beautiful packaging cosmetics, and good flexibility. The cables themselves are a showpiece for the eyes indeed.
Joe preferred that I use the loom in full to see how the full system sounded as a family—which I did; thereafter removing and replacing each piece singularly with my known reference cables within the audio test equipment setup. Ironically, having recently reviewed so many audio cables as of late I was not a bit skeptical (and always hoping) that these new wires may introduce some upgraded standards of sound quality to the listening sessions. And in many ways, they did.
SET UP AND SOUND
I started this endeavor with the full loom of cables employed in my current system, which included the Audio Note CD3.1x/2 transport out into the BorderPatrol SE-1 DAC, or the Mojo Audio Mystique X. The Crimson interconnects were inserted into the Pass Lab XP-12 and onto their XA30.8 power amplifier. Speakers used here were the recently introduced and quite excellent Harbeth compact 7es-3 xd’s. Analog records were played on my modest, yet trustworthy Audio Technica Lp-7 and the distinguished ZYX Bloom 3 mc cartridge with step-up. (Reviews forthcoming).
To say that the initial musical reproduction was less than excellent would be sacrilegious, to say the least. The cables and conditioner were “lightning fast” on musical transients and full-bodied in the midrange and lower treble. Many CDs and 16bit music files sounded gorgeous with a lush bloom to the full orchestra, pop groups, and the singers themselves. I was particularly taken with how the cables reproduced exuberant air around all instruments while keeping the middle range quite even and natural sounding.
Vocals on opera and pop were decidedly engaging and the soundstage kept itself wide and deep with the above Harbeths in use. The fundamental musical attack of these cables was second to none, even to the point of maybe, becoming a “tic” up in its extreme treble response. This was in comparison to my Audience Studio One Cables. Nevertheless, the sound was captivating with most of the program sources used.
As each part of the loom was slowly replaced except for the speaker cables, I would characterize their sole reproduction qualities as generally smooth, acoustically accurate and quite “enticing” in the mid and treble, and with an immense bass character.
I did notice, as mentioned above, on my particular system, a most minute bit of high treble “excitement”, particularly with string instruments. Inevitably, this varied with different program sources. However, the soundstage was very accurately open and had extremely good locational imaging, especially with classical orchestral performances and well-recorded centrally focused pop vocals. Their midrange sonic naturalness was quite exceptional and profusely intimate sounding; a fine performance indeed!
INTERCONNECTS and SPEAKER CABLES
The listening tests found that both the speaker cables and interconnects were barely injecting any of their sound into the resultant reproduction quality. Classical pieces, particularly violins were sometimes maybe a touch brighter in the very top high frequencies than what I was used to with the Audience Studio 1’s and particularly when heard against the Inkakustik Ls-4004 — while admittedly, the latter speaker cable is approximately the same retail price
Acknowledging the above, it was still quite rare that these cables and interconnects were ever caught out with any “ragged” edges (recordings notwithstanding) and the cables were intuitively engaged in a singularly high quality of sound reproduction that kept begging one to keep listening to any music you can grab. They offer a kind of distinct “transparency” that dig quite deeply into the recordings themselves. This was quite surprising in that the sound was so intense and cleanly focused yet once again, very, very neutral overall.
Not surprisingly, the- balanced audio (XLR) 1m from the Preamp to the Power Amp was tried between my Pass Labs XP-12 and XA 30.8 with truly excellent results. They exhibited very similar characteristics to the RCA connectors while giving an extra bit of smoothness and overall solidity to the fully connected component marriage.
I was quite enthralled when using the speaker cables and interconnects in the above system, though I cannot adamantly say that they can make me forget the effects of the Audience and Inakustik cables I currently use.
However, it was the Crimson 75-ohm RCA digital interconnect and their high current power cords that truly stood out from this cable loom! When the slightly rigid yet wonderfully constructed digital connector was put into my system, I noticed a great abundance of “Clarity” (no pun intended) and distinctly engaging sound quality to all the music programs I played. Though tonality was increased, nothing was out of place or sharpened on the tonal characteristics of the music.
Yes—vocals and orchestral tonal perception was honed up by a sliver, but this was delivered with a natural authenticity and fully even response—with an acoustically neutral sound quality that immersed me in the music. The digital connector inevitably “blended’ in gregariously with the full system. This cable was so musical that it has stayed in my system till now! Arguably, the Crimson digital interconnect and the below power cables were the highlight of the full cable loom.
As for that power cable, here Clarus introduces another great cable; namely their top-of-the-line HC-060 Hi-Current Power Cords. I fastidiously exchanged them with one of my references, the Inakustik-AC-2404 Reference Air Power Cord and immediately noticed a generous amount of silence on each start and stop transient of each musical note, along with outstanding noise elimination in the background. (You could hear a pin drop!). A gorgeously “silent” background was observed. I will not say that it outed the Inakustik, by any means, but it equaled it in performance. Indeed, these power cables were another highlight of the complete series of wires.
In sum, the entire line of the Clarus Crimson Cables is quite special. Although theoretically, they work tremendously and synergistically with many component systems, some may find that individual cables may work better in certain setups ultimately than the full loom, but this in the final analysis, this is quite subjective, without a doubt! These cables are somewhat expensive, so if you don’t have all the funds at the moment for a complete loom, try starting with the prodigious digital RCA cable and its mammoth power cords. You will be exceedingly impressed with the sound quality. Highly recommended.!
The System: Loudspeakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 XD loudspeaker ~ Quad ESL-63, vintage Spendor BC1 ~ Digital: Mojo Audio ‘Mystique’ X DAC ~ Border Patrol DAC SE-I ~ Innuos Zenith Mk.3 server/streamer ~ Audio Note (UK) CD3.1x/2 Analog: Audio Technica LP-7/ZYX Bloom 3 mc cartridge Amplification: ~ Pass Lab XP- 12 preamp ~ Pass Labs XA30.8 power amp ~PS Audio M1200/ ~ Cambridge Duo MC/MM ~ Cables/ Conditioners: Inakustik AC-3500p power station & LS-4004 speaker cables, AC-2404 reference Air Power Cord ~ Audience Studio 1 interconnects, speaker cables, Clarus “Crimson” 75-ohm digital spdif / power cords/ Audio Art 1 e” AC Power Cord
PRICING ~1 Meter RCA ~ $1740/pair / 1 Meter XLR ~ $2,370 / 1 Meter Coax Digital~ $720 each
6 ft. high current Power Cord ~ $3,000 each / Speaker Cable ~ $5,760 – 8 foot pair.
Longer sizes available!
CLARUS CABLE (Gordon J. Gow Technologies. Inc)
6448 Pinecastle Blvd. Suite 101
Orlando, FL 32809
888-713-7333 / 407-447-2277 voice
WHERE the MUSIC BEAT meets the AUDIOPHILE ELITE !
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