Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ansuz Signalz Interconnects

Ansuz Signalz POM, Aluminium and Ceramic Interconnects

L-R : Signalz Ceramic, Aluminium and POM

Metal sleeve on the Signalz Ceramic. It is not fixed and slides freely up and down the cable.

Excuse the strong user marks on the Signalz Ceramic, this cable was a demo set from a dealer and likely had to put up with many audiophiles with anger management issues.

Ansuz Acoustics is Raidho's sister company. While Raidho is busy making a buzz with it's speakers (and deservedly so), Ansuz concentrates on accessories, such as mains distributors and treatment devices as well as power cords, interconnects, speaker cables and vibration control footers.

The interconnect range starts at the bottom with the POM, followed by Aluminium, Ceramic, and Diamond at the top.

Visually, Ansuz interconnects are quite ordinarily looking and simply packaged. They are quite stiff, and when bent, maintain their shape. Despite this, they bend easily, and are very light. Compared to the monstrous interconnects I've had to manage in my audiophile life, the Ansuz is easy to handle and to put into place. Measured on my very basic LCR meter, the above cables had inductance values below the threshold of my meter (which admittedly doesn't say very much), while capacitances values were a very manageable 100 pF to 130 pF for 1 meter lengths.

The official list prices in North America are :-

POM - USD 1,600 per meter pair
Aluminium - USD 2,800 per meter pair
Ceramic - USD 4,800 per meter pair
Diamond - USD 14,000 per meter pair

With prices not to be sniffed at, expectations are also similarly high. The Diamond Signalz was not on test here, not that I could afford it !

The POM and Aluminium were brand new and were burnt-in on my Hagtech Frybaby for more than 150 hours. Although the Ceramic likely saw plenty of service given its battle scars, I put in an additional 48 hours of burn-in, just to be on the safe side.

I hooked up the Ansuz cables between my Cary CD-500 and my Conrad Johnson preamp. I listened to each cable a few days, before switching between one of its siblings, or a Nordost Frey and an Acrolink 7N-A2070. After forming some initial impressions, I repeated this cycle. One thing was certain after successive cables changes - Ansuz Signalz cables have a distinct sonic signature. The most striking quality is a warm and illuminated midrange glow, without sounding too syrupy. This is coupled with very wide soundstaging, and a bloomy sound that adds a liquid and organic texture to instruments and voices.

The POM lacked bottom extension compared to the rest of the cables here. Although it had a pleasing sound, it was obviously obscuring low level detail. Although this is Ansuz's entry level cable, it is frankly a little bit underwhelming given it's price tag.

In comparison, the Aluminium brought big gains in bass extension and control. Detail retrieval was much better and top-end extension was above average. I also noticed that this cable tended to add a bit of extra body and texture to piano, as well as brass and percussion instruments. Image sizes also appeared a bit larger than life. There is certainly a bit of artistic licence at work here, as normally dry studio recordings appear more lively than usual.

The Ceramic takes the Aluminium and adds far greater detail, focus, and leading-edge snap. In comparison, the POM (and the Aluminium to a lesser extent) sound a bit lazy. This is probably where you need to start off to get a true taste of the performance of Ansuz cables.

The law of diminishing returns obviously did not apply to the Ansuz cables on test here, and each step up was a significant improvement.

How do the Ansuz cables perform compared to the Nordost and Acrolink ?

The Nordost Frey and the Acrolink 7N-A2070 both have the edge over the Ansuz cables in terms of noise floor and background blackness. The Frey has deeper bass (albeit drier), and better retrieval of micro-detail, while the Acrolink has both superior resolution and high frequency extension / refinement.

Despite being showed up by the Nordost and Acrolink in the above areas, the Ansuz Aluminium and Ceramic were overall easier to listen to, with an addictive midrange, texture and more organic bass.

If you are looking for interconnects that are able to dissect recordings, and can instantly tell you about the quality of the recording (or the lack thereof), these cables are unlikely to please.

However, do you like cables that sound great with your good recordings, while flattering your poor recordings ? Do you prefer your system to sound beautiful rather than be true to the recording ? If your answers to both questions are in the affirmative, then Ansuz is worth further investigation.

Due to their unusual tone and presentation, a home audition would also be recommended before purchase, especially given their not insignificant price tags.

A word of thanks to Giraffe Signature, the local distributor for Ansuz, for supplying the cables on test here.