Blogging On Audio
- Written by Hans Wetzel Hans Wetzel
- Parent Category: BloggingOnAudio BloggingOnAudio
- Created: 10 May 2021 10 May 2021
I don’t do cable reviews very often. In fact, it’s been eight years since I reviewed some. I know some audiophiles go deep on cables and tweaks, but I’ve always been a set-it-and-forget-it kind of guy. So while my system as a whole has slowly moved upscale over the years, my hodgepodge of affordable cables from AudioQuest, DH Labs, and Dynamique Audio decidedly does not belong in the mix with my $11,000 Hegel Music Systems H590 integrated amplifier-DAC and $13,999.99/pr. KEF Reference 3 loudspeakers. Then the e-mail arrived: Siltech is updating its Classic Series of cables, and would I have interest in getting some in? Uh, I sure would.
Entering its fourth generation and enjoying its first update since 2008, the Classic Legend Series is comprised of three tiers: the 380, the 680, and the 880. There’s a speaker cable, analog interconnect, and power cable at each tier, as well as single digital (the 380D), USB (the 380 USB), and network offerings to be used across the series. There’s even a Zero Ohm Link grounding cable for analog guys, and all the usual suspects are available insofar as terminations go. I liked the middle-of-the-road 680, and I duly requested a 2.5m-long 680L run of banana-terminated speaker cables ($4899, all prices USD), a pair of 2.5m 680P power cords ($2710 each), and a pair of 1m 680i XLR interconnects ($2275). I also requested a 2.5m 380 USB ($1690). My review of the 680L speaker cables will be published on sister site SoundStage! Ultra soon, so I’d prefer not to tip my hand too much in terms of what they sound like. But here is what I can tell you.
Siltech is serious about quality. Each cable arrives in a dedicated, high-quality blue box with a magnetic flip-up cover. The graphics on the box are high quality. The interior foam is high quality. And then there are the cables themselves. Coming from simple, inexpensive cables, I was impressed with how heavy and substantial the Classic Legends were. This was due in no small part to the use of a proprietary silver-gold alloy across every cable in the series, with both elements being heavier than the proletarian copper with which I’m used to making do. The cables were reasonably thick without approaching garden hose-territory, retaining decent pliability. Terminations were also impressive, with Siltech-made rhodium-plated banana plugs on the 680L, Neutrik XLR connectors on the 680i, Furutech FI-11 Gold plugs on the 680P, and “custom matte silver connectors” on the 380 USB. I place quotes on the latter because, while the USB cable definitely has a large and bespoke housing at each end of the cable, Siltech doesn’t manufacture the actual USB Type-A and USB Type-B connectors.
That final nitpick aside, I was deeply impressed with the build quality of the Classic Legends. Yes, they’re expensive at $14,284 collectively. But closely examining each cable from one end to the other, I could find no imperfections, no gaps, no cut corners. Every cable is hand-built in the Netherlands, and it shows. There’s a 50%-plus jump in the conductor diameter on offer when moving from the 380 tier up to the 680 tier, and another greater-than-50% jump in conductor diameter when leaping from the 680 tier to the series-leading 880. The 380-equivalent cable loom rings in at $9654, while the 880 loom rings in at a lofty $21,444. Since there are different connectors on the 380-tiered power (Wattgate instead of Furutech), XLR analog interconnects (black instead of nickel-plated), and speaker cables (gold-plated instead of rhodium-plated bananas and spades) versus the 680 and 880 tiers, for me, the 680 tier is the sweet spot of the Classic Legend Series.
Did hooking all of this handmade, imported wire up to my system—short of one of the 680P power cords, which is reserved for an upcoming DAC review—change the way my system sounded? It did. Did it improve the sound? It most definitely did, and that surprised me, someone who can be charitably described as a cable skeptic. But this shouldn’t have been a surprise for me. Siltech CEO Edwin van der Kley Rynveld is an electrical engineer who’s worked for multinational corporations Philips and Exxon (now ExxonMobil), and he has multiple full-time engineers on staff, including one with a Ph.D. If you’re looking for pseudoscience and promises of a religious experience courtesy of a power cord, well, there are other companies out there that will have you covered. Siltech hasn’t been around since 1983 by dint of peddling nonsense or shipping products of middling quality. There’s a reason every Classic Legend comes with a leather NFC (near-field communication) tag attached to it: Siltech cables have been counterfeited over the years. Oscar Wilde once said something about imitation and flattery . . .
Siltech’s updated Classic Legend Series may carry a premium price, but they’re undoubtedly premium cables. Find out if they have the performance to go with it by checking out my full review of the Classic Legend 680L speaker cables on SoundStage! Ultra on June 15, 2021.
Senior Contributor, SoundStage!
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