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May 2018
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Superior Audio Equipment Review
Skogrand Beethoven System Cables
A phenomenal system of cables!
Review By Rick LaFaver

 

Skogrand Beethoven System Cables Review

 

  I've been listening to speakers cables for a long time, this one has sort of taken me out of my usual listening rhythms, and posed a real challenge for me. One of the things with listening to a speaker cable versus listening to a new amplifier or speaker or DAC is the subtlety of the difference between one cable and another, especially at the high end of the speaker cable market. Another thing I try to avoid as a reviewer, is allowing the newness of a product to gobsmack me in the face and all of the "better" I am hearing is just "different" and not good or better. For this review I took a pair of cables I love and have become very familiar with in my system and started by writing a review of them (this will come soon) I placed scores (1 to 10) on some of the critical things I listen for from cable to cable.

Air: the perceived space an instrument has in a soundstage, are you getting that magical silence in all the corners of the sound stage (if the recording is made that way).

Micro Dynamics: the apparent dynamics within a note or syllable in music such as inflections in a voice, this is critical in bringing the emotion of a performance through a recording.

Shimmer: The sustain of the highest audible octave in a recording (violin, cymbals, piccolo etc.).

Speed: The apparent space given between high dynamic passages and the important negative space between the notes.

Soundstage: Width , Depth, and height of the soundstage. Is it at the max you've ever heard it?

Overall system synergy: How things do you like about your system? How many do you hate? If you have a great reference system, a 10 is basically impossible here because everything should already basically stand on its own merit.  A 5 would be amazing, a 10 would be some sort of holy blessed cables that make the system somehow sound better than the sum of its parts.

Engagement: How hard is it to separate out the component from the music? A five would be totally Sterile a 10 would be "wait, what are cables again?"

Musicality: Hard to really define, but does it bring any more or any less out of your favorite recording? Five would be a baseline of tapping your toes, less than that would be pulling you out of a recording, higher than five is moving towards that rare goosebumps- hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck standing-up-first-time-you-heard-"Freebird" experience.

After assigning these scores, and taking my notes and impressions...I totally forgot about them. Closed the notebook, forgot where I put it, smeared coffee in my ears, listened to white noise for a week (sarcasm.)

 

Skogrand Beethoven System Cables Review

 

I installed the new set of cables and let them marinate in my system, and just get cozy. Almost to the point I forget they are there, to the point where not only have I listened to them...I have even cleaned them a few times. I have lived with these cables, all of the newness is gone. We are out of the honeymoon phase and just quietly asking each other about work from across the dinner table eating left-over meat loaf.

Truly want to thank Skogrand for allowing me the time to really go through my process and live with these cables. It has been a truly enlightening experience. It has allowed me to take my limited acoustic memory and subjective expectations out of the equation and really just judge the cables on their own merit.

You may be screaming to yourself, "but the system was different, you didn't control for volume, this isn't ABX, you might have moved your speakers between tests, weren't the songs different?" and to you I say, "Ya... So what?" Do you have some elaborate ABX randomized switch in your system? Do you always listen to the same five songs? Do you take out your SPL meter every time you listen to a track? If you answered yes to all of these questions, I am sincerely sorry, if not let's get on with it.

 

Skogrand Beethoven System Cables Review

 

Fit And Finish
I know that the true value in a cable is the sound, and this comes from the quality of the transmission materials, the quality of the shielding, and the quality of connections and build quality of the cable overall and Skogrand Beethoven doesn't slack in any of these categories. The cables are constructed of continuous case Ohno solid core single crystal 24 AWG 5N copper wire. Each wire is scanned to look for grain borders to ensure the quality of the copper cores. Each cable is then covered in 3 layers of shielding where the 3rd layer is suspended from the inner layers of shielding to prevent any microphonics. The cables are then wound and terminated with your choice of connector. I have searched around all of the major wholesalers to look for the source of their connectors, and it looks like they have a spec'ed out version of a WBT connector (this is all supposition but they are great connectors regardless.)

With the technical designs out of the way on to the audio jewelry element, and the Skogrand doesn't let down there either. The cables are covered with a super high quality Silk Brocade outer cover with a beautiful gold or silver inlay that really looks beautiful with Skogrand's copper logo. These will fit great with a high style super high end system. Truly top notch style and build quality, maybe a bit tacky for some peoples taste or those that think the cables in a system should be understated. As many of you know solid core extruded copper wire is very rigid, so make sure you plan for a little extra distance to make the smooth swooping curve from one component to another.

 

Skogrand Beethoven System Cables Review

 

Victor Wooten - Funky D
Victor Wooten, hell, you know who Victor Wooten is as you're reading Enjoy the Music.com. This is one of his recent tracks from his album with his buddies Dennis Chamber and Bob Francesschini. The album TRYPNOTYX is full of micro and macro dynamics with a huge sound stage and the full range a funk ensemble can deliver. Funky D has quickly become one of my favorite tracks to test cables with. If anything is even the slightest bit congested it will be obvious with this track. The micro dynamics of these cables are phenomenal and they deliver that JesNes Se Quois of musicality with aplomb. Keep me tapping my toes even through multiple listens on this track. Really a shining example of what copper can deliver.

 

Skogrand Beethoven System Cables Review

 

Amon Tobin  - Stoney Street
This track from the ever experimental Amon Tobin is not just a great test of a speaker cable but will show you were your speaker are letting you down as well. Starting at about the one minute mark there is a sub-sub bass baseline that you will totally miss with distortion of a low quality cable or an incapable speaker. My Vapor Audio Cirrus and the Skogrand Beethovens really expressed their system synergy on this track prompting me to go above my standard 5 out of 10 score and bump them up to an illustrious six. I might even go seven. They really just let these already very capable speakers deliver just that next gear that I have been looking for more than any cables I have had through this system so far. The sound stage is infinitely deep and layered with synth tracks, live instruments and environmental sounds each occupying their own strata within the miles deep sound stage. If you haven't experienced this track on your system, do yourself a favor. If I had one criticism, the highs on these cables are ever so slightly congested.

Alabama Shakes - This Feeling
This mellow hit from the usually dynamic power ballad band is a great track. The song sounds as intended with a subtle dynamics even at very low volumes. The cables don't let down the sound stage in the slightest. This tracks sounds so good that it is really hard to draw the line between critical listening and just sitting back and enjoying the track. This is one of the reasons I gave the Skogrand Beethoven setup a 9/10 for engagement. I really can't find many weak spots in these cables across any genre of music.

So I guess, on to the conclusion...

 

Skogrand Beethoven System Cables Review

 

Conclusion
As you might expect from a high end single crystal set of speaker cables with the level of fit and finish as the Beethoven's these cables are nearly perfect for a set of copper cables. The only real place where they are lacking is in the highest octaves, they don't quite let the top end of the acoustic spectrum breathe the way a set of high end silver cables would .I do overall like the sound signature of the cables, but for better overall system synergy in my system I might replace a critical path like the RCAs with a set of silver cables to let the high end breathe just a little more. With a set of silk dome tweeters this barely noticeable but with the RAAL in the Cirrus black that last luscious bit of shimmer is missing. The micro dynamics are on par with the best I have ever heard and this is likely a combination of a self-noise of near zero and a ton of speed.

This is one of the most important parts of my listening experience as they really allow the music to have the emotional impact you want from your favorite tracks. These cables do absolutely nothing to hamper the soundstage or engagement to your music through your speakers and get top marks in these categories, driving their overall musicality score as well. As I said they are missing something on the top end, but are still very good so I gave them a system synergy rating of 6/10 if they had a piece somewhere in the chain that allowed just a little more shimmer in the high and let them breathe just a bit more, they would be even better, knowing that on this scale a five is very good.

 

Skogrand Beethoven System Cables Review

 

I could strongly recommend these cables to anyone in the market for a set of cables in this price range, I might make some tweaks off an all Skogrand system in my personal reference setup just because the RAALs are so revealing, but overall this is a phenomenal system of cables. I look forward to seeing what I said about the Kimber Cable and Russ Andrews setup I have been running. You can look out for a review of those soon now that I can let myself out of the vault.

 

 

Tonality

Sub-bass (10Hz - 60Hz)

Mid-bass (80Hz - 200Hz)

Midrange (200Hz - 3,000Hz)

High Frequencies (3,000Hz On Up)

Attack

Decay

Inner Resolution

Soundscape Width Front

Soundscape Width Rear
Soundscape Depth Behind Speakers

Soundscape Extension Into Room

Imaging

Fit And Finish

Self Noise

Value For The Money

 

Specifications
Type: See manufacturer's Website
Two 1-meter SCI Beethoven RCA pairs $19,000 each
One 2-meter SCI Beethoven RCA pair $22,000 each
Four 2-meter SCAC Beethoven power cables $18,000 each
One 3-meter SCD Beethoven USB cable $17,000 for 2-meter
One 3-meter SC Beethoven speaker cable pair $25,000

 

Company Information
Skogrand Cables
Kongsvegen 320
Oeyer, Oppland, 2636
Norway

E-mail: info@skograndcables.com 
Website: www.SkograndCables.com
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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