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Model 470 Silver Cable
By Constantine Soo

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Review: Granite Audio model #470 silver interconnect

By:  Constantine Soo


This is a review on a one-meter pair of
Granite Audio's model #470  silver interconnect from Granite Audio (www.graniteaudio.com). It is currently the only interconnect offering from this company. The MSRP is $950 per meter pair.

Components used in this review:
CEC TL1 CD transport, via ST link to Wadia 27, via Granite Audio model #470 (replacing Kimber Kable's KCAG) to Music Reference RM9 Mk II power amp (4 x EL34 per channel, 125 wpc), via Cardas Quadlink 5 to Klipschorns.


Introduction
An audio system is only as good as it's weakest link. It can only perform to the best ability of its weakest link, be it a turntable, CD system, preamp, power amp or speakers, etc.  If you invested substantially into all the components for the sake of a better sound, and here you are again thinking about letting some of your fine components go in favor of yet something new, or even spending another several thousands of dollars on new additions, maybe you should stop and consider the alternative of how to maximize the performance of your existing gears.
The effect and benefit reaped from upgrading to the #470 will be most dramatic and appreciated in a top notch system, because of the garbage-in-garbage-out principle.

While changing or upgrading to different components will change the presentation of one's system, using the model #470 may not bring about a nearly as pleasant an experience. Some components may boost the signal strength to enhance the information being sent through all the way from the source component. Such system using the model #470 might expose more of the intrinsic limitation and coloration of the individual components over the principal beauty of such a system as a whole.


About the interconnect
According to Granite Audio, the model #470 silver interconnect is made from the process of slow drawing, using 99.9999% pure silver, resulting in a single continuous crystal formation in the process.

From my numerous emails with the Company's president, Don Hoglund.  I have learned that this continuous-cast slow-drawn technique creates one single crystal, different from the normal technique in which in any given meter, anywhere from 40 to several thousands of crystals will be formed. In the normal process, with so many crystals created, microscopic gaps exist between each and every one of the crystals, resulting in resistance, thus signal loss.

After the cable is drawn, it is wrapped in a 100% optimized shielding with both continuous foil and silver braid. The connection is completed by a lockable 9mm RCA connector, which has a hard-gold finish over silver, on top of copper. I especially appreciate the lockable connector, in that it can be loosened for disconnection and tightened for stabilization.  Once upon a time, I used the Monster Cable's "turbine" connectors, and the death grip almost tore the very RCA jack off the equipment.  Scary.


Evaluation
At $950 per meter per pair, Granite Audio's model #470 silver interconnects are certainly not cheap; but in my experience, the improvements it brings to a top notch system is comparable to performance from other components of high caliber.

My modest system is not top notch by many fellow audiophiles' standards; but the improvements I experienced will certainly be maximized in a system capable of the utmost in sonic realism.

The strength of the model #470 is simplistic and significant: minimizing signal loss, while preserving a high degree of signal integrity.

The model #470 silver interconnect surprised me of the long-hidden potential of my system. Throughout these years, I'd sold countless equipments in the pursuit of higher sonic realism. I suspect many of us share the same experience, too. As I look back, I think to myself, "maybe I shouldn't had sold my Sonic Frontiers SFL-2...maybe my Krell KSL-2 before
that wasn't such a bad preamp...maybe it was wrong for me to sell off my Audio Research D-76a...". "I was a fool to let you go !"

Right out of the wrapper, the model #470's imaging was at the same par as my KCAGs already. However, my KCAGs was smoother in texture, and was of an half-meter run in length. I was encouraged by such initiation. For the following week, I run the model #470 from my hi-fi stereo VCR's audio outputs to the audio inputs of my MiniDisc recorder.

After the 100th hour of burn-in time as recommended by Don, the first thing I noticed was how much more of the original information from the CD the model #470 was able to send to my Klipschorns. Now, the representation carries distinctive timbres from all instruments in the recordings, rendering the sound so lifelike that each reproduced note of music will not be ignored. Vocals are relayed with an intoxicating  sense of presence. Complex orchestral passages now are being reproduced with the magnificence and glory they deserve. Energetic jazz performances are now given their proper treatment of finesse and sparkle.

In the area of analytical capability, the model #470 is a blessing. Before the model #470, the representation was homogeneous, so much so that sounds and instruments were somewhat chaotic in the space between the Klipschorns. Now, chaos has been replaced by clarity. Localization of all instruments and voices can easily be discerned with different shadings of tones. The portrayal of soundstages is natural and breathtaking.

Microdynamics is where the subtle gets the duly attention it is meant for. Macrodynamics is when the passion gets high, all hell should break loose. Both are happening with outstanding clarity in my listening sessions now in synchronization with the rhythm and pace of the musical beat. The sheer dynamics unleashed from the recordings through my Klipschorns is faithful to a live event. I shall expand on the Klipschorns in a different space and time.

Only one problem developed during my evaluation of the model #470, and that was the elevated noise level produced through my Klipschorns. Considering the reduced signal resistance from using the model #470, this is to be expected. By email, Don suggested that the interconnects' direction of flow be reversed between my Wadia and Music Reference power amp, so that the internal grounding of the model #470s be removed. He was right, the noise subdued; but so much for the 100-hour-burn-in ritual.  So, watch out for the noise.


Conclusion
Audiophiles or enthusiasts like us know well the importance of interconnects and cables. But this aspect had never been more prominent to me until recently. We usually are willing to spend substantial sum of money on upgrading components and speakers; but in the past month, after too many years have gone by, I have finally learned not to underestimate the role a good pair of interconnects could play.

At $950 per meter per pair,
Granite Audio's model #470 silver interconnects are certainly not cheap; but in my experience, the improvements it brings to a top notch system is comparable to performance from other components of high caliber.

All these excellence accorded by the Granite Audio model #470 silver interconnects may not be given a chance to shine through, if one's audio system is not capable of the effortless dynamics and naturalness this pair of interconnects can bring out.
In a totally different setup, the goal of music reproduction might attain to a different standard altogether. Such goal might emphasize on texture of sound, smoothness of timbre, and also atmosphere of performance.

A set of good interconnects should be impartial to signals it transmits. Believing this to be true on the model #470, it should be able to pass on with high integrity the signals given to it by the source components we use.

Model #470 is addictive. Makes you wonder about the possibilities with more of the silver in your system, such as speaker cable. What will happen to the already very 3-dimensional and clear presentation ? That's a BIG question mark with a big price tag attached. And it's a question with an answer often acquired by those of us with more capable financial means. The lucky ones.

My modest system is not top notch by many fellow audiophiles' standards; but the improvements I experienced will certainly be maximized in a system capable of the utmost in sonic realism.

Without the model #470, I couldn't have experienced the excellence of the components and CDs I have. But, being the least expensive member in my audio system (and cheap it certainly is not), it ought to be destined to be eclipsed by my other love affairs, in the likes of my CEC TL 1 CD turntable, or my Wadia 27 decoding computer, or my magnificent and majestic Klipschorns.

The ironic fact is, the model #470's significance cannot be dismissed easily. It makes my entire audio system shine like never before. It sets a stage upon which my entire system is able to really make music.

Never before had I committed to paper my feelings about interconnects in considerable length. Writing under this context has given me opportunity to clarify my feelings about many things. This reviewing process has been good for me and thoroughly enjoyable. I bought my pair of the model #470.

I shall purchase a second pair of the model #470 in the future if I ever come to bi-amping my system.


Aftermath
Who should we be grateful to ? The brilliant minds behind the ingenious engineering of a component, or the fine engineers and talented hands of a run of delicate cable ? After all, both groups of indispensable minds pour in their very best to escalate our state of music reproduction to new heights.

I knew it: we should be grateful to both of the groups. Or actually, we aren't the ones who should be grateful - they rely on our business. Oh, come now, let's talk about music reproduction.

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