|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.
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
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
| MODELS & PRICING
|Emperor Crown Speaker Cable
$39,000 2m/pair (Emperor Crown spade connector)
$17,550 1M/Pair (Empress Crown RCA connector)
||Audio Basics Inc.
L6A L4L 4G9
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
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/
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).