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The Emperor’s new crown
Siltech delivers high performance at a royal price with the new Emperor and Empress cables

The Emperor Crown warranted my attention as soon as I heard its price. I reasoned that, as the most expensive cable I have ever seen/heard, the price may be indicative of its accomplishments as a conductor. First heard connected to the Crystal Cable’s Arabesque loudspeakers at the Montreal Audio Fest back in April of 2009, I was fascinated, curious and a bit skeptical as well. When I was asked if I wanted to review it, I said yes of course, because I had to discover and verify what this is all about.

The two cables under review belong to Siltech’s new Royal Series of cables which they introduced to “make a statement” for the company’s 25h anniversary. For the occasion head designer and principal of the company, Edwin van der Kley, searched through any technology that could further improve and outperform the unique G6 technology already used in Siltech’s cable designs. More about this in the tech section.

Were it not for the unique termination used on the Emperor Crown, it would be difficult to differentiate it from so may others. It is about 25cm thick, wrapped with a black weave as so may others. However, the ends sport a metal cylinder from which a pair of flexible leads emerge. In addition, six solid metal pucks come with the cable to de-couple them from the floor and prevent micro vibrations from diminishing its performance — nice touch.

The Sound

My in-house Wyetech Labs Ruby monoblocks and matching preamplifier (both finished prototypes with a projected retail tag of about $45k) served as my first auditioning system. A pair of Ethera Vitae and a pair of custom made speakers completed the auditioning system. I replaced my in-house Aluminata speaker cables with the Emperor Crowns, although I left the Aluminata interconnects between amp and preamp in place. I hypothesized that it would be easy to ascertain the ECs performance since I am intimately familiar with all other components in the system combination. It was, and here are some of the remarkable results.

Whereas the Aluminata speaker cable reached down into the low frequency domain without hesitation and with razor-sharp resolution, the ECs managed to elicit quite a bit more harmonics above fundamental tones. This made bass more realistic, more gratifying and better suited for hearing its source and its personality.

When I compared the cables’ tonal balance I found little difference as both brands exhibited a smooth musical flow without favouring or omitting any parts within the audible frequency range. However, the ECs managed (again) to provide better symphonious structure to the music, perhaps a bit more articulate in the midrange region. However, no cable known to me can match the EC’s smoothness at high frequencies; the degree of sonic refinement is off the chart.

I wanted to see/hear what this cable can do for lower priced audio gear and tried it with an unconventional system arrangement: a Bel Canto S300I integrated amplifier (around 3K) connected with the above mentioned loudspeakers. Though expecting improvements, I was not prepared for the dramatic results which, in a nutshell, converted an otherwise fine audio system into high performance high-end. This authenticated the value of the cable as a signal conductor of the highest quality.

The Empress Crown interconnects came in brand new and it took a couple of weeks to hear their peak performance. Like the speaker cable, they extracted the music’s harmonic structure across the entire audible frequency range not accentuating any specific part, but highlighting, nevertheless, its capacity to reproduce inner detail, tonal equilibrium, the music’s timbre and hue. I admired the cable’s ability to faithfully reproduce the hard sound of horns, the woody quality of a double bass, the personalities of various pianos, such as a Yamaha, a Steinway or a Boesendofer grand. While the interconnects seem free of any sonic defects or aberrations, I’d also say that they sound neutral enough to fade into the background, highlighting instead the musical signal it is asked to carry.


The Emperor Crown speaker cables are the best I have ever heard in the systems used for the listening tests. Their sonic attribute engraved itself with the combination tried for the listening tests and refined all the important elements for which audiophiles and music lovers strive. The list includes, among other things, resolution, smoothness, imaging, air, texture, body and, most importantly, a very high degree of neutrality, which allows a rather clear audition of a system’s hardware. This is a good thing, though it can be dangerous as the cable exposes all imperfections of speakers and electronics. I like the metal cable supports and careful auditions showed that floor vibration, usually caused by the loudspeakers’ bass energy, does deteriorate resolution and spatial elements, if only by a diminutive extent.

The Empress Crown interconnects’ sonic accomplishments are, to me, not as stunningly obvious, but then again, they should not be as they simply disappear in favour of the music. Used as conductors between amp and preamp, they will show off the quality of these components. Used to connect source components such as CD players, tuner, etc., they will surprise as they convey signal with an organic touch rarely found in cable design.

Siltech's Signature Series Tuning Weight

Emperor Crown Speaker Cable
$39,000 2m/pair (Emperor Crown spade connector)

Empress Crown Interconnects
$17,550 1M/Pair (Empress Crown RCA connector)

♪♪♪♪ Audio Basics Inc.
Vaughan, Ontario
L6A L4L 4G9

Bus. 905-303-9232
Fax. 905 303-8239
Siltech has approached the design for the Royal Signature series of cables by first analyzing all subject matter related to signal-flow technology, and then developing new and/or improved disciplines. Some of the important factors include speed — symmetrical rise/ fall time of a signal, jitter, distortion and microphonics — the mechanical movement generating electrical signal. Other elements of importance were the issues of linear dynamics without compression and micro signal-handling, most of which can be measured objectively with modern test equipment. It should be mentioned here that these tests can establish precise technical data, but do not reveal a cable’s tonal characteristics — the unknown factor determined only by listening test (see main text). However, Siltech’s new technology employs alternative nine-nine metallurgy which includes a Flat Star-quad approach. In plain English, it is the method of construction with unique one-crystal, flat, ultra purity silver ribbons. There are no crystal boundaries from end to end and distortion is basically zero with near perfect low capacitance and inductance. The Flat Star-quad is complemented with flexible G7 silver-gold output leads for the loudspeaker cable and the connections are crimped. G7 SATT treated -SSP005 Am- spade connectors are used as standard termination. Soft silver-gold ensures sound contact with near zero distortion and very low loss with various types of connectors such as WBT, Cardas and others.

Distortion is zero, tested below measurement limit of 0.000003%; speed (symmetrical rise and fall time) is >160000V/µS; microphonics are less then one part of a million below main signal.

Dynamic range is >180dB (there is no linear or non-linear compression of the audio signal from the nano volt range to kilo volt range).

Micro signal handling, defined by nano-step response — no measured absorption. Capacitance is 70pF/m (21pF/ft) from 1Hz to1MHz; inductance (loop) is 2µH (0,6uH/ft); resistance (series) 18mΩ/ per meter.

All in all, the construction is extremely durable and comes with a lifetime warrantee.

The Empress Crown was developed after the launch of the Emperor Crown and much of its technology was employed to build it.

It uses the new Am (Am stands for alternative metallurgy) technology as well as the Super Linear Flat Pair technology. The conductors are positioned in a two dimensional plane which renders superb linear electrical behavior over a very wide frequency range (0 to1MHz). A DuPont Kapton carrier is used connect opposite wires and cancel out any microphonics. The conductors are unique one-crystal flat ultra purity silver ribbons, thus no boundary. Audio distortion is essentially zero. New G7 SATT treated SST RCA connectors are used as standard termination. The soft silver-gold ensures maximum contact with zero distortion and very low loss (special SATT treated XLRs from Neutrik are used for balanced connections).

Distortion including SST RCA connectors is near zero from 0 to 100kHz / less then measurement limit of -160dB (midband); speed at symmetrical rise and fall time is >1000V/µS; microphonics are less then 120dB below main signal.

Breaking-in time is quoted as a couple of weeks, depending on the other terminals. Dynamic range is 160dB (no compression of the audio signal). Micro signal handling defined by nano-step response is zero (regarding measured absorption).

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