Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

Attention to Detail: Crystal Cable

It's as sad as it is surprising that too many people at hi-fi companies don't "get it" when it comes to selling. They charge exorbitant prices for their products -- sometimes in the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars -- yet their packaging and presentation are more appropriate for something being sold at Costco or Walmart. Can you imagine buying a Rolex watch and having it handed to you in a dirty, cheap cardboard box or the equivalent of a Ziploc bag?

Gabi Rjinvel

Crystal Cable is an exception to that rule, and I think that has mostly to do with their president, Gabi Rjinveld (shown in photo above, which was taken in March 2013 at Salon Son & Image in Montreal). Gabi was born in Hungary, but now lives in the Netherlands with her husband, Edwin Rjinveld, and their four children. Edwin is the founder of Siltech, a sister company also making audio cables, and the chief designer for both brands. I have Siltech speaker cables, which I wrote about in March.

A few key factors set Gabi apart: she possesses a keen understanding of how to interact with people from different nations, which helps to explain why you can find Crystal Cable sold in so many countries around the world, and she knows how important product presentation and appearance are. Gabi also has the common sense that comes from being a woman with fine tastes -- she simply knows that any expensive product shouldn't be delivered in a cardboard box or plastic bag, since that would diminish its perceived value, which is a simple concept that zooms over the heads of so many men in the hi-fi business.

I've known Gabi and Edwin for several years now, and I respect their abilities tremendously -- Gabi's unique brand vision and interpersonal skills along with Edwin's technical talents have allowed them to make Crystal Cable a wire company known for beauty, style, presentation, and performance. So when the time came to replace my aging interconnects, I turned to Crystal Cable for the combination of things the brand offers and purchased three sets of CrystalConnect Standard Diamond balanced interconnects for my review system. Two of the sets I mentioned when I wrote up the EMM Labs DAC2X piece last week -- 2m lengths for use between source components and a preamp. The other pair is 4m long for use between a preamplifier and amplifier. Standard Diamond sells in the United States for $1450 for a 1m pair, and then the prices go up from there depending on length. Certainly not inexpensive stuff.

When I got the cables, I wasn't 100 percent surprised with what I saw -- well built, high quality, and distinctive looking. I knew all that beforehand, which is why I purchased them. But what surprised me a little bit was the attention to detail that I hadn't noticed before: the soft texture of the bag encasing them, the matching of the silver-colored embroidery and drawstring, a Certificate of Authenticity card, and engraved serial numbers on the stainless-steel collars (the certificate and the serial numbers are important, since fake Crystal Cable wires have shown up in the marketplace over the years). And when I looked closely at them, I found the cables' appearance to be extremely attractive, which has a lot to do with the silver-gold conductors, clear insulation, top-quality connectors, and shiny collars. They might only be cables, but just like a Rolex is really just a watch, they're presented in an appropriate way for their prices. This, in turn, gives them heightened appeal and increased pride of ownership. These might seem like insignificant things to some people, but I think the majority of buyers appreciate the extra details, particularly given the not-insignificant prices that these cables command.

Since Crystal Cable presented their product to me as something more than just cables in a cardboard box or plastic bag, I decided to do likewise and photograph what I saw in a special way as I unpackaged them. The shots are in the gallery below. Consider this a great example of a hi-fi company selling high-priced goods with the clear understanding of how to do it right.

Doug Schneider
Publisher, The SoundStage! Network

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