Got a chance to listen to the Superconductor interconnects that Marc Mickelson reviewed for SoundStage! in November of '96, and I'm glad I did. Its a different kinda cable no doubt, but as I found out with the TAD Systems Power Purifier, different can be a good thing. I won't dwell on the details, as Mark already has those bases covered; Suffice it to say that it's an aluminum conductor with an Ultra-pure copper cladding, encased by a corrugated copper tube shield, wrapped with a black vinyl jacket. Who'da thunk this would be a combo you'd see so effectively used in a high-end cable?
The Superconductor interconnect, though a bit difficult to work with due to its semi-rigid nature, delivers the goods in excess of it's economical (in my view) price range. The literature that comes with the cables indicate that they have been partially burned in at the factory, but I found that at least 150 hours of constant juice is needed to really bring this cable to life. Late in the burn-in process I also discovered this cable is extremely directional. YOU MUST listen to this cable positioned with the RCA connector end with two bands on it, attached to the source end of business. I've used other cables where this type of marking is actually opposite to this, and I only figured it out the hard way. I was having trouble pinning this cable down; wondering why it wasn't sounding the way I expected a high-end cable to sound. Switched this baby around, and things got to clickin'!
My subjective listening tests showed it to be no contest against AudioQuest Quartz (slightly less in price at $165.00, 1 meter), as the Superconductor throws a more dimensional soundstage, and is better at letting you pick out the details. The JPS Labs cable stands up well against even Cardas Cross, which is my current reference. When listening to the Superconductor, I don't find the urgency to put the Cross cables back in. As a reviewer with a full time day job, a family, and all the associated trimmings; listening time is valuable. There's never enough of it. So if a product isn't pushing all the right buttons with these kind of time constraints, the temptation is to get it out of there as soon as the critical listening session ends. This is not the case with the Superconductor. Critical listening turns to listening for pleasure the moment I switch gears in my head.
I found classical or jazz to be well served by the Superconductor. I particularly enjoyed the solo organ work on Jean Guillou's version of Mussorgsky's "Pictures At An Exhibition" (Dorian DOR-90117), which transported me to the Tonhalle concert hall in Zurich via the Superconductor. Popular electrified music such as Chris Issac's "Wicked Games" (does this one still put anyone else but me in dreamy land?) (Heart Shaped World-Reprise 9 25837-2) displayed the Superconductors ability to resolve the spatial details that evoke emotion out of the music. Bass on the previously mentioned "Something More Besides You" from the Cowboy Junkies was woolly, until I found the best directionality for the cable, and let it cook till it was well done. After those goals were accomplished, the bottom end became distinct, well balanced, and showed a real sense of weight that didn't sacrifice pace. Vocals on both tracks were set forth quite convincingly; natural sounding with no sense of edge or grain. The qualities I've mentioned here are the same ones I value from the more expensive Cardas Cross. While the Cross mates a tad better with my particular system, the Superconductor is welcome to hang out with me anytime.
These are true Workin' Man cables, folks. I'm gonna give them a hearty recommendation as an excellent value for hard earned dollars. If you're in the market for interconnects I'd recommend you plug these bad mammy-jammies into your system and put 'em through the paces. This is the kind of product that you'd hate to learn about AFTER you've already spent your dough.
Click Here for Marc Mickelson's Superconductor Sneak Peek and Full Review