Once Every 15 Years: My Speaker-Cable Change

If you've read my reviews closely over the last 15 years, you might have noticed one relatively important thing: my speaker cables rarely changed. I received a set of Nirvana S-L speaker cables for review in 1997, and I bought them shortly after that. Since then, I'd wager that they were in my system for at least 90% of the reviews I've written. They have been my reference speaker wires.

Nirvana S-L

That's not to say that I've lived in a vacuum. During that time I have had plenty of other cables sent to me; it's just that there were none that I liked as much as the Nirvanas. Why? The S-Ls really have no sound of their own, which makes them ideal to connect any speaker to any amplifier. They’re also durable, so I can put them on and take them off as many times as I want to and not fear breaking them. They're fairly flexible too, which is important since I often have to snake the cables around all the gear that's on the floor around here. The only downside to the S-Ls is that they're a little ugly -- their black jackets don't make them lookers. When sound is key, though, that's a small price to pay.

Siltech Classic Anniversary 330L

But that changed when Siltech's Classic Anniversary 330L speaker cables came in for review in late 2011. When I reviewed them, they seemed just as durable as the Nirvana wires, they were more flexible, and, most important, their sound was better -- just as neutral as the S-Ls, but even cleaner and clearer. They also worked just as well with the various amps and speakers that I had at the time. Finally, they were quite a bit more attractive than the Nirvana S-Ls. All told, they were better, so I knew right then I should consider making them my references.

But I didn't upgrade to them at the time, simply because I didn't have any spare cash to buy a set. This year I did, so I contacted Siltech Cables in the Netherlands and ordered a set terminated with bananas, my preferred connector choice. On March 31, 2013, I installed them in my system. Will the Classic Anniversary 330Ls live here for as long as the Nirvana cables did? Time will tell -- 15 years is a long time. On the other hand, I didn't expect the S-Ls to last in my system that long.

Below is a small gallery featuring these new reference cables that you'll see mentioned in my upcoming reviews.

Doug Schneider
Founder and publisher, The SoundStage! Network