Posted in: Hardware Reviews by Archive Authors on March 3rd, 2004
River Cables is another one of the new breed of online only, high quality lower cost cable manufacturers that have started popping up over the last few years. A huge difference between River Cables and the other guys is that they are the only company to individually certify all of their cables before they ship them out and they even include nifty “birth certificates”, pretty cool. Lets not also forget that they offer a 30 day Home Trial, if you are not happy with the product then send it…back, sounds pretty good to me.
From a technical experience standpoint River Cables is a new company formed from what was Sound & Video who where a broadcast cable manufacturer. What does this mean for you, well chances are pretty good that the TV program you are watching, or the movie in your DVD player and possibly the music you own was at some time passed through one of their cables. The broadcast industry is also a lot more rigid in their demands and expectations then your average couch surfer so quality control is going to be very tight. So when it comes to cables it seems that these guys should know what they are talking about.
Features and Build Quality
The first thing you notice when you pick up these cables is that they are very substantial. Employing a unique design that gives you the low resistance of a standard round speaker cable but the flexibility of a flat wire these are some very well made speaker cables. The engineering behind the cable uses a number of smaller round cables of very high quality and extremely fine copper wire in a casing that puts the positive and negative wires above and below each other. This topology gives you a cable with very low resistance and little to no electrical interaction between the positive and negative lines.
Did I forget to mention that the cables is also the equivalent of an 8.5 Gauge cable even though it looks smaller and is far easier to handle then the 10 gauge that is normally in use in my system. The 3 meter pair that I received where terminated with a unique banana jack, once the jack was inserted you turned the barrel to spread the tip of the cable inside the binding post to ensure a tight and trouble free connection. The banana jacks where the only part of the cable that I had an issue with, they worked fine but they had somewhat of a cheap feel to them.
So first let me step up and say that my personal opinion on speaker cable has been for a long time that it does not make a substantial difference in sound. As soon as I plugged these cables in and turned the system back on I new I was in trouble. There was an immediate change in sound that left me scratching my head a little and doubting my beliefs. I allowed the cables to run for a couple of weeks before I sat down and started to listen. What I did find when I sat down to listen was that my speakers suddenly sounded completely different then before. Gone was the slight bit of mid bass boominess that I had grown used too along with the slightly harsh edge on the treble side of things. What I heard in its place was a very open, smooth and balanced sound. The soundstage had gained an incredible amount of depth and focus that had not been present before this. Imaging was pinpoint accurate and voices and cymbals just hung in the air in front of me.
Wait something must be wrong, I removed the cables and connected my old wire and sat down to listen again. Once again the change was immediate and very apparent; there was a huge difference in sound between the cables. This experiment continued on and off for the next 6 weeks as I had to be sure that I was hearing everything that I have described and low and behold it was true. Every piece of music I threw at these cables sounded better then before. This is the first speaker wire that I have ever heard that stopped me in my tracks and changed a long standing opinion. Very Impressive!
River Cables obviously knows what they are doing and has an unabashed success on their hands. Put aside all the techno talk and just enjoy the best sounding speaker cable that I have ever heard. Factor in that it is competitively priced in comparison to other high end manufacturers and I don’t know if there is a better bargain in the audio world today.