Nine of the most wildly expensive speaker cables

Each of the following nine elite speaker cables is a paragon of audio construction and aesthetics.

By Alexander Lamascus 19/04/2017

It’s no surprise that audiophiles will pay top dollar for high-end loudspeakers and stereo equipment. But it may be shocking to learn the extreme prices hi-fi aficionados will pay for cables.

Believe it or not, some pairs of loudspeaker cables cost more than an average house in some parts of the country. But the necessity of high-end audio cables is not without controversy; a simple internet search will turn up many opinion pieces that doubt the efficacy of cables in producing a discernible improvement in audio fidelity.

These detractors point to a lack of double-blind testing and scientific support for some claims. Believers, on the other hand, cite their subjective experience when swapping out cables. However, one thing is for certain: Each of the following nine elite speaker cables is a paragon of audio construction and aesthetics.

AudioQuest Tree Series WEL Signature

AudioQuest is well-known for its high-end loudspeaker, USB, and HDMI cables, and the Tree Series WEL Signature speaker cables occupy the top rung of its offerings. Each cable is composed of 16 solid-silver conductors arranged in a double counter-spiral geometry, with each strand guaranteed to have a flawless surface.

The cables use foamed-polyethylene for the dielectric, and a multi-layered carbon-based sequence of components acts as a noise dissipation system. Prices start at $US12,200 (about $A16,100), and go as high as $US76,800 (about $A101,370) for a 6-metre pair. (audioquest.com)

Nordost ODIN 2 Supreme Reference

Nordost is one of the more well-known audio-cable companies in enthusiast circles. Many of its popular cable models are flat, allowing them to be run under carpets easily, although most audiophiles prefer to display their unique curves and coils in plain view.

The ODIN 2 Supreme Reference cables are created using a proprietary Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene (FEP) extrusion process, which allows the individual conductors to use air as its main dielectric rather than some other material.

Each individual wire is wound with FEP for additional separation. The cables cost roughly $US30,000 (about $A39,600) for a 1-metre pair; additional 50-centimetre stereo increments are around $US4000 (about $A5280). (nordost.com)

Cardas Clear Beyond

As its mollusk shell–like logo implies, the principle behind Cardas products lies in geometric patterns. The golden ratio — a mathematical principle that reflects a wide range of natural and manmade structures — guides the construction of the wiring inside Cardas’s loudspeaker cables.

The Clear Beyond, the company’s flagship model, is built with Litz conductors, which use a multitude of tiny strands of wire bound together to form larger conductors. The cables contain the best of every technology Cardas is known for, some of which are patented to George Cardas, the company owner. Cardas fans can expect to pay up to $US13,490 (about $A17,800) for a pair. (cardas.com)

MIT ACC 268

As its name implies, cable manufacturer Music Interface Technologies (MIT) refers to its products as “interfaces” to distinguish them from just another set a fancy set of wires. This elevated aim is most apparent in the ACC 268, MIT’s $US80,000 (about $A105,600) flagship model.

The large console box in the centre allows the listener to adjust the articulation of the signal sent to the loudspeakers to accommodate for room conditions, gear changes, or software choices.

The circuitry also includes provisions that allow a listener to adjust the sound energy produced by the loudspeaker. Just don’t ask how they do it; it’s a trade secret. (mitcables.com)

Shunyata Research ZiTron Anaconda SP

Shunyata Research, a U.S. manufacturer of cables and power-conditioning products, offers its reference-grade ZiTron Anaconda SP speaker cables at a relative bargain: from around $US4000 (about $A5280). The company has pledged to tie its product’s prices to the real cost of its materials and the research involved in developing it, rather than charging a premium for its proprietary goods.

One of the clearest advantages of Shunyata products are its STIS interchangeable terminals, a modular system that allows the user to switch between banana and spade connectors without sending the cables to the manufacturer for re-termination. (shunyata.com)

Kimber Kable KS 6068

The name of the product might be unassuming, but the Kimber Kable KS 6068 loudspeaker cables are some of the most exclusive, ultra-high-end cables available. Kimber Kable, a U.S. company known for its braided cable designs, has produced this no-holds-barred product that is very large, and very extreme in specifications.

Its price tag is probably the most incredible feature of all: Set out to purchase a 9.1-metre pair, and you will end up shelling out about $US82,000 (about $A108,240). (kimber.com)

Skogrand SC Beethoven

Norwegian cable manufacturer Skogrand names all its cables after famous composers. It is fitting, then, that its SC Beethoven cables are named after the man who is considered by many to be the greatest composer who ever lived.

The company’s $US22,000 (about $A29,000) cables (for a 2-metre length) command a premium because the copper wires and inner framework used in their construction are scanned to ensure that every component is free from imperfections.

Aesthetically, the SC Beethoven models stand out from the pack thanks to their patterned silk sheathing, which is strikingly different from their competitors and perhaps a bit easier to integrate with a room’s existing aesthetic. (skograndcables.com)

Stealth Audio Cables Dream V14

When the word “Dream” is included in a product’s name, the bar has already been set rather high. And while the Dream V14 is not Stealth Audio Cables’s flagship (which is twice its price), it delivers exceptional performance for a more reasonable $US13,700 (about $A18,080). The inner design of the cable consists of four layers of copper wire and four layers of silver wire separated by Teflon insulation with a conductive core.

The model also offers some unusual benefits, including solid-silver connectors as well as a sliding “tuning collar,” which moves up and down the cable to affect the properties of the signal traveling through it, ultimately changing the sound. (stealthaudiocables.com)

VooDoo Cable Stradivarius Amati

The VooDoo Cable Stradivarius Amati loudspeaker cables feature a complex construction with five separate groups of conductors. The cables use a variety of materials for sheathing, shielding, conducting, and dielectric, including silver, copper, and Teflon.

One of the cables’ defining features doesn’t involve actual voodoo, but it comes close: They are cryogenically treated at −315 degrees Fahrenheit to realign their molecular structure to provide less resistance. A 3.65-metre bi-wire pair will set you back $US4400 (about $A5800). (voodoocable.net)

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How To Make the Ultimate Hangover Cure

Is this the ultimate cocktail to know by heart?

By Belinda Aucott-christie 29/05/2024

The Savoy in London, a beacon of luxury and opulence, holds a significant place in British history as the nation’s first luxury hotel. It was a haven where the affluent sought to experience a taste of royalty. Interestingly, it was within these grand walls that the alleged liquid remedy for hangovers, The Corpse Reviver, was born.

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Due to its medicinal qualities, this cocktail has passed into drinking folklore, making its recipe a right of passage for any lush.

The Corpse Reviver is aptly named for its life-affirming qualities and claimed ability to knock a hangover on the head.

It’s reassuring to know that the dreaded hangover was such a cause of social consternation in the late 1940s, that it demanded a creative response from Savoy’s hotel bar staff. We’ll drink to that.

Adding to the Corpse Reviver’s allure is the mystery surrounding its creation. Was it the ingenious work of Savoy bartender Johnny Johnson or the creative genius of Joe Gilmore? The exact timeline of its inception between 1948 and 1954 remains a tantalising enigma. 

It’s a zesty, slightly sour hangover cure with a cheeky touch of absinthe shining through. If your hangover is very bad, add a little more syrup to the mix.

To make, take a cocktail shaker and add equal parts dry gin, triple sec, lemon juice, and Lillet Blanc (3/4 of a shot each). 

Add a tiny dash of sugar syrup and absinthe, shake all ingredients with ice until very cold, strain and pour into a chilled coupe.

Garnish with a chic lemon twist and say cheerio to your hangover. 

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ThirdHome Arrives Down Under

The global home-swap club targeting Australia’s millionaires.

By Belinda Aucott 24/05/2024

Wayne Shealy made his name developing resorts from New England to the Caribbean, and shifting more than $3 billion in luxury real estate. In 2010 he started ThirdHome to let luxury homeowners leverage the empty parts of properties in their portfolio to enjoy better holidays. Billed as an exclusive community of ‘neighbours’, ThirdHome now facilitates swapping second and third homes for the super-wealthy.

Wade Shealy, CEO and Founder of ThirdHome, a luxury home-swapping membership program. THIRDHOME

While the glamorous international portfolio spans illustrious private residences, including castles, ranches and chalets, it has been extended to private islands, pieds-à-terre, safari camps, wineries, boutique hotels and yachts.

Turin Castle in Forfar, Scotland. THIRDHOME

Purpose-built for people who own at least two residences and have homes to spare valued at over $2 million, all applicants are vetted and assessed, before being allowed to join. With a global portfolio across 100 countries and 2500 destinations, Shealy is now focusing on Australia.

“We’re super excited for the next chapter of our Australian journey,” Shealy says, from his horse farm outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee. 

“We know there’s an extremely healthy appetite for Australians with second homes wanting to become members, who love to travel and want to enjoy exclusive access to the world’s more exceptional stays for a fraction of the price,” he says of his motivation for extending the network Down Under.  He notes that by cleverly utilising the downtime in their own homes, they can fund extravagant trips they may have never dreamt possible. Doing so in a gated community that values trust and respect.

Château De Vézins in Loire Valley, France. THIRDHOME

The spirit of sharing drives the sservice, with ThirdHome members acquiring points in the system each time they open their doors to others. This makes it a self-regulating community backed by solid technology and vigilant management that keeps applicants A-grade.

“Our members are house proud and guest proud,” he adds. “They want the guests to have a great experience.”

Learn more about membership and the rules of engagement here

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Art for Investment

A new private gallery in Sydney helps collectors enter the secondary market.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 24/05/2024

When Art Basel opens next month in Switzerland, it will do so with fresh power under its wings. In 2022 the global art market totalled $67.8 billion, showing 3 percent year-on-year growth*. This year, art topped Knight Frank’s Luxury Investment Index, with prices rising by 11 percent over 2023. According to most reports, art is now a positively appreciating asset class. By comparison, the values of rare whisky, classic cars, handbags, and furniture fell.

This raises the question of how to invest wisely in art and ensure the sound provenance of your investment. Jesse Jack De Deyne and Boris Cornelissen from A Secondary Eye are here to help art collectors. Conceived as a private gallery with rotating exhibitions, the space is designed to help serious investors confidently buy and sell.

“We offer access to some of the finest works entering the secondary market in Australia and operate with a stringent provenance framework in place,” says Jess Jack De Deyne from the company’s top-floor space overlooking leafy Queen Street in Sydney’s Woollahra.

De Deyne and Cornelissen opened in May with a presentation of rare works by Rover Thomas, the late East Kimberly artist who represented Australia at the 1990 Venice Biennale.

Rover Thomas, Desert Meeting Place, 1994 natural earth pigments on canvas.

De Deyne specialises in Indigenous Australian art and comes to Sydney with a background as a Director in an Aboriginal Arts Centre and working for a leading auction house. Cornelissen is a former contemporary art specialist from Sotheby’s in London and Hong Kong.

“We are most effective when a prospective client comes to us with a specific artwork in mind,” explains De Deyne. “They may have recently been to Canberra to visit the highly regarded exhibition of Emily Kame Kngwarreye at the National Gallery of Australia and there is a specific period of the artist that they are drawn to. Through our contacts, we may be able to help source available related works that would not necessarily appear at auction.” 

Though A Secondary Eye was founded in 2020 in Brisbane, De Denye says the larger pool of collectors drew them down to Sydney. The new gallery’s private aspect seems to be a key selling point for the duo, who prize discretion and private sales. 

Rover Thomas, Lake Argyle, 1994 natural earth pigments on canvas

“Whereas auctions are publicly advertised, a private dealer can offer a work discreetly to a handful of clients without over-exposing it. And we can also present works in a more considered way through curated, high-quality exhibitions that tell the story of each work.”

While some may be intimidated by entering the art market, these art dealers say exposure to the art world is key to unlocking its potential. “Take the time to attend art fairs, exhibitions and auction viewings. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for advice. With time and experience, you will learn what you are drawn to and how the offered prices sit relative to other works in the market.”

In an art world overflowing with rules, customs, and jargon, De Deyne is quick to clarify the key difference between dealers and advisers for newbies. 

“An art dealer helps collectors buy and sell artworks and therefore has a commercial incentive in selling a work. The best art advisors work independently, often on a retainer, and don’t profit from the transaction, which means they can give their clients honest advice. 

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“We work in a niche area and ultimately attract people who share our interests. Art collectors, particularly on the secondary market, often follow the art, rather than the person selling it.”

Follow A Secondary Eye here for future exhibitions. 

*According to the 2023 Art Market 2023, authored by Dr. Clare McAndrew, Founder of Arts Economics and published by Art Basel in partnership with UBS

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Watch of the Week: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph

Roger Dubuis unveils its innovative chronograph collection in Australia for the very first time.

By Josh Bozin 21/05/2024

When avant-garde Swiss watchmaker Roger Dubuis revealed its highly anticipated Chronograph Collection halfway through 2023, it was a testament to its haute horology department in creating such a technical marvel for everyday use. Long at the forefront of cutting-edge design and technological excellence, Roger Dubuis (pronounced Ro-ger Du-BWEE) is no stranger to such acclaim.

Now, fans down under will finally get a taste of the collection that made headlines, with the official Australian unveiling of its Chronograph Collection. Representing precision engineering, extraordinary craftsmanship, and audacious design, this collection, now in its fifth generation, continues to redefine the chronograph category.

Roger Dubuis Australia welcomes the Excalibur Spider Collection to the market, featuring the exquisite Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph, as well as the Excalibur Spider Revuelto Flyback Chronograph (a timepiece made in partnership with Lamborghini Squadra Corse). Each model speaks at lengths to the future of ‘Hyper Horology’—watchmaking, as Roger Dubuis puts it, that pushes the boundaries of traditional watchmaking.

Roger Dubuis

“Roger Dubuis proposes a unique blend of contemporary design and haute horlogerie and the Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph is the perfect illustration of this craft,” says Sadry Keiser, Chief Marketing Officer. “For its design, we took inspiration from the MonovortexTM Split-Seconds Chronograph, while we decided to power the timepiece with an iconic complication, the flyback chronograph, also marking its come back in the Maison’s collections.”

The Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph is bold and flashy—a chronograph made to be seen, especially at its 45mm size. But Roger Dubuis wouldn’t have it any other way. The supercar-inspired watch is certainly captivating in the flesh. Its multi-dimensional design reveals different layers of technical genius as you spend time with it: from its case crafted from lightweight carbon to its hyper-resistant ceramic bezel, black DLC titanium crown, open case back with sapphire crystal, and elegant rubber strap to tie the watch together, it’s a sporty yet incredibly refined timepiece.

The new RD780 chronograph calibre powers the chronograph, a movement fully integrated with two patents: one linked to the second hand of the chronograph and the other to the display of the minute counter. The chronograph also features a flyback function.

The complete set is now available at the Sydney Boutique for those wishing to see the Roger Dubuis Chronograph Collection firsthand.

Roger-Dubuis

 

Roger-Dubuis

Model: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph
Diameter: 45mm
Material: C-SMC Carbon case
Water resistance: 100m

Movement: RD780 calibre
Complication: Chronograph, date
Functions: hours, minutes, and central seconds
Power reserve: 72 hours

Bracelet: Black rubber strap

Availability: upon request
Price: $150,000


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Thanks to NETGEAR, the First Quad-Band WiFi 7 Mesh System Has Arrived

Elite WiFi performance for your whole home.

By Robb Report 30/05/2024

There’s no denying that in today’s era of technological innovation, home living and entertainment have reached unprecedented heights. In fact, modern home technology is so advanced that we can now enjoy futuristic comforts at the touch of a button (or the flick of a switch).

But one caveat to overcome before enjoying such modern perks: you need ultra-fast Wi-Fi to feed internet-hungry devices, especially when our dependence on Wi-Fi will only grow. Enter, NETGEAR’s latest Wi-Fi technology, set to change the performance of your whole home.

NETGEAR

The NETGEAR Orbi 970 Series Quad-Band WiFi 7 Mesh System is the first of its kind in the category of Wi-Fi technology, unlocking the extraordinary power of WiFi 7 (with 2.4 x faster speeds than WiFi 6). The Orbi 970 Series elevates what most households love, like streaming movies in the highest possible quality, linking wireless speakers throughout your home to play concert-quality music in every room, and gaming like a pro without any lag or drop-outs. But the Orbi 970 Series will also drastically improve your workflow, from email and colleague chats to taking Zoom calls and more.

Leveraging over 25 years of NETGEAR engineering innovation and exclusive patented technology, the Orbi 970 Series will service all of today’s needs, as well as tomorrow’s—in a country like Australia, where internet standards lag behind the rest of the world, residential multi-gigabit speeds will become a godsend. With unparalleled performance based on cutting-edge, patented technology, the Orbi 970 Series will continue to grow with its users, especially as our homes get “smarter”; relying on technology, such as the Orbi 970 Series, will be paramount.

And design doesn’t have to be compromised, either. Wi-Fi might not necessarily be the sexiest topic out there (very few Wi-Fi routers exist that you could call “design-drive”), but the Orbi 970 Series changes that. Thanks to a new sophisticated design, the Orbi 970 Series is elegant enough to blend seamlessly with your home décor.

Netgear

Best of all, thanks to a one-year NETGEAR Armour included with your purchase, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your family and your home are protected with an automatic security shield across your connected devices.

The NETGEAR Orbi 970 series Quad Band WiFi 7 Mesh System retails for $4,299. To learn more, visit the website here.

 

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