DENVER (PTA) — This all stems from sitting down with Audio Envy at two different audio shows (T.H.E., CAF), a summer long conversation about cables, and an ear-opening A-to-B demonstration that had to be witnessed by myself and a trusted cohort.
It all begins at T.H.E. SHOW 2019 in Long Beach, California where I moseyed through the marketplace looking for something interesting to write about. Inspired visually by the purple-PVC display of Audio Envy cables, I approached Captain Payne (the founder of Audio Envy cables, and yes that is his real name) and asked him, “What’s new?”
Captain’s answer: “Our innovation, and 350 prototypes.” Which wasn’t a direct answer about what was at the show, but more about what the company is doing from day-to-day. After looking through a healthy stack of white-papers and sell sheets, it’s evident that competing cable companies are taking note of what Audio Envy is (and has been) doing, and I’ll just leave it at that.
Captain Payne is more than a cable-man, he’s also a bass guitar player and from within that passion, he also became obsessed with cables. Experimenting on his own, as a musician and recording studio designer, by developing cables in search of creating new ways to “manipulate” and “open-up” the sound.
The Audio Envy mission was born from Captain Payne’s need to create a detailed presentation of music that leaves nothing of the music behind, and does not fatigue on the listener. This is done by “achieving a perfectly (or better) timed cable that doesn’t require excessive (or any) treble EQ to make up for high frequency latency.”
This issue even goes back to recording studios where as Captain puts it, “Low quality cables in the recording rig harbor congested electrons that gather in the cable, creating peak resonances which are then subsequently EQ’d out due to their harsh sound. If at the recording end this problem was handled properly, possibly a kinder and gentler world we would be.”
Fast forward to Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019 where I take another stroll through the marketplace, find the Audio Envy booth to explore the product line again, and sit down for my second on-ear-cable-demonstration. This time with my trusted friend, Jameson “Doctor Golden Ears” Mourafetis.
The latest Audio Envy SP7 speaker wire caught my eye, as it is billed as “the answer to those in search of an accurate tonally-balanced bass.”
Across everything that Audio Envy does, it’s all about “high velocity.” As Captain says, “Some of the highest VOP (Velocity of Propagation) measurements we can get period are found in our cables.” Which in laymen terms is a velocity more closely represented by the speed-of-light than my own 40-meter sprint time.
Insulating materials for Audio Envy cables are as I am shown are: extremely lightweight, and assuage as much interference as possible. “Though lighter weight insulators can be delicate, they also induce less distortion.”
There are many recording studios that use Audio Envy cables, but two that really have gone whole-hog with Audio Envy products is Keller Studios in Fort Collins, Colorado — which uses nearly to 3,000-feet of Audio Envy branded cables throughout their studio recording system.
The other recording studio that uses Audio Envy cables throughout is The Blasting Room (also in Fort Collins, CO) which was built in 1994 by the collective efforts of three bands: Descendants, All, and Black Flag.
Previously at T.H.E. SHOW 2019 where I first sat down for an Audio Envy cable A-to-B listening session that used on-ear-monitors to deliver an isolated (as it is precise) listening experience as possible. The comparison was between “good cables, and great.” Where the differences were turned out to be mind boggling good. The improvements seemed vast.
At the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019, I tapped the talented ears of my friend Jameson Mourafetis (a true head-fi and DAC guru based out of Chicago) to be a necessary second opinion to confirm or deny what I was hearing. As we listen I took note of my friend’s expressions. Looking over at Jameson’s facial reactions as he dialed the switch box back-and-forth between headphone cables was all I needed to know that what I heard in LA, and now in Denver was not a fluke.
For me it was better transients, better timbre, and more insight. Along with that “more open” sound that fooled me into thinking the space allotted for sound inside my head just got bigger and wider. Overall, this Audio Envy experience was destroying any skepticism I had about cables, along with destroying every cable demo I had ever laid ears on.
One of the highest performance ratios per dollar that I have tried in my system of any gear,,, has been Audio Envy’s signal tech. So no worries there on getting your moneys worth😉
I tried the demo too. Its legit! same improvement in fidelity when I took AE Cables home. By the way.. Congested electrons that gather in the cable creating peak resonances… Energy is transferred via electrons and the voltage pushing the frequencies can vary depending on the medium… It’s a different way of thinking, and perhaps could be said in different ways, but it not B.S. to an experienced electrical engineers as myself.
Electrons get clogged? Cable myths are mindbogglingly silly. I’ve working in data communications for decades, mostly copper – everything seems to work, no clogging. What physics class did I miss?
“low quality cables in the recording rig harbor congested electrons that gather in the cable creating peak resonances”. Right… doesn’t sound like BS at all…
I’d love to have the disposable income to disect cables. They have to be the biggest ripoff in audio considering the materials vs cost. I’d bet that we’d find fairly common wire under the nice dressing. Claims of esoteric could be exposed. One of the biggest problems with cables that have a “sound” is they’re equalizing the signal. Many “audiophiles” refuse to use tone controls, yet they’ll spend thousands on a cable that changes/alters the sound? Whether it is an improvement has to be called into question. Another issue is that there are variances in cable gauge claims. I’ve had 12 gauge cables from various manufacturers that are visibly different. This changes the resistance and can alter the sound, but may be more accurately said to alter the volume level. Regardless, I don’t trust any segment of the industry that charges exorbitant amounts for small, minute changes, and doubt most of the claims that speaker cable builders for improved transference. I use the term “builder”, because I doubt they manufactured the actual copper, shielding, shrink, connectors or engineered the strand count, shape of the strands, or the type of metal being used. Roger Russell has a good article that addresses cable claims in an article he wrote and has some references to tested exotic, expensive wire vs standard lamp cord of the same diameter. Basically, if you have more money than common sense then it probably doesn’t matter, but no all of us hear improvements just because a cable looks nice, or costs as much as a new car. Putting that money into components, or buying different speakers are much more effectively ways to change, or improve your system.
What ever happened to operating near the knee of the curve which should protect against any law of diminishing returns infractions…
… Including the last comment.
You hear a difference and it’s worth it to you, hey its your money. Who are we to tell anyone any different. If your happy listening to whatever system you have, a cellphone on up, hey enjoy it. It’s supposed to be all about the music and your enjoyment of it.
NO BS here. Listen to the demo that is all one needs to do. If one cannot hear the difference choose another hobby. Over 350 prototypes measured and blind tested means something. BTW not priced out of ball park either. We now have another great cable besides Triode Wire Labs.
I’d suggest you get a electrical engineer on board, preferably a very experienced one, so as to not be duped by the obvious confidence game Audio Envy is running.
Uh huh. Must be a con game. There are dozens of cable companies in high-end audio, and all of them are lying. For decades. Yup. That must be it.
Just about everything mentioned here is total BS.