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Positive Feedback ISSUE43
bolder cable company
Nitro Plus AC cable, Nitro speaker cable, and Summit interconnects
as reviewed by John Zurek
Bolder Cable Company products have been on my "to do" list for at least 5 years, since the first time I ran into Wayne Waananen at the RMAF in Denver and heard his products. Although we talked several times about a review, it never happened. My interest in Bolder was revived when Lou Hinkley of Daedalus Audio told he was now using Bolder cables to wire his speakers. Hmm—got to call Wayne. The deal was sealed when I found out Wayne was a VMPS dealer (VMPS also offers Bolder Cable internal wiring as an option). I called to see if he could not only give me a few tips to help me set up some newly acquired RM30s (with Larger Sub and 1000 watt plate amp), but also bring along some of his cables for a PFO review. If you follow VMPS you know that these speakers require some serious tweaking before the fat lady will sing—and really sound like a fat lady. Positioning, mid and treble controls, bi- and tri-wiring, bi-and tri-amping, putty pinching for passive radiators, the list goes on. All this fine-tuning can be somewhat daunting to someone who's never even owned a sub. Besides, why not learn the art of VMPS tweaking from an expert?
Once Wayne got to my place it took him about an hour to dial it all in. There was the putty pinching first, then after that, adjusting the all-important mid/treble balance followed by swapping out some wires with—you guessed it—Bolder cables.
Since the new Dayton sub amp was the only lonely stock-equipped AC cable piece I had, we used one of the Bolder AC cables on the Dayton HPSA 1000R sub amp. As Wayne predicted the sub's overhang seriously diminished in level. Next we replaced the speaker cable from the Dayton amp to the sub with the Bolder Nitro. Sweet! Ladies and gentlemen, a new sub has arrived straight away with more presence and definition, and less congestion. There was a cleaner, more coherent reproduction especially in the lowest octave. Maybe there is some merit to this subwoofer thing?
Finally the important adjust for the Parametric EQ on the sub amp. After all this, we sat down and heard a decent presentation, although I already knew some further tweaking was in the cards. Using two of Herbie's Audio Labs spikes I raised the front of the RM 30s about an inch after factoring in a thick carpet. This gave the soundstage more height while adding a bit of warmth. When all the tweakage was accomplished it was time for music. After a few days getting used to this new setup, I began to experiment with the Bolder cables Wayne had left.
All the Bolder cables looked similar save for their top-shelf terminations, and all utilize a proprietary amalgamate of copper and silver with Teflon/air dielectrics. Getting a gaggle of new high-quality cables laid in my lap is akin to the kid in the candy store. What to taste next? I'm thinking ‘bout the Bolder AC cables on my Bel Canto mono blocks.
First, wrestle the anaconda-like PS Audios out of the IEC sockets on the amps and then pull the plugs from the PS Duet sockets. The Bolder AC cables were super-easy to work with compared to the very stiff PS Audio product. And when the current started to flow? Voila! A bigger, (sorry) bolder presentation that was truly involving. It was as if you'd suddenly had a better proportioned room, treated your existing room, or upgraded your amps. Dynamics leapt out, while textures seemed more organically rounded. Altogether an easier, less-fatiguing palate of sounds. One AC cable came with Oyaide terminations and one with WattGate. The difference? After listening for a few days I decided WattGate was clearer, more dynamic, and more extended at the frequency extremes; the Oyaide seemed very neutral and smooth and did not emphasize bass or treble. Both sonically a hit a slightly different flavor. I favored the Oyaide-terminated cable for amps and the WattGate for sources.
After the killer AC cables, I decided to see what the Bolder speaker cables could do to for the all-important mid-high panels of the RM 30s. These cables are made from four conductors of 14 AWG NITRO silver and copper, yielding a total of 11.5 AWG for each leg. The wires are arranged in Star Quad geometry and are terminated with nicely appointed Furutech spades. The speaker cables followed the lead of the AC cables. After all, they seem to use the same conductors.
After switching off the Bel Cantos, I removed my Acoustic Zen Satoris and quickly connected the Bolders which are easy to work with. After a brief warming up I put my on ears and heard details in the all-important midrange, but also in the extremes of highs and lows that were clearly absent before the Bolders' insertion. The soundstage seemed to go higher towards the ceiling. Both the mids and highs smoothed out and became less fatiguing. Keeping the Bolders in my system for a few days resulted in a consistent mid-range transparency I've never been lucky enough to achieve in my room. It was scary-good and when using high quality recordings, voices were as purely chaste as I've heard. The dynamics soared out of the music and produced swift, leap-out-at-you transients when coupled with the RM30s.
Next, I listened to the Summit interconnect with WBT NextGen connectors. This is the top of the Bolder interconnect line and employs different materials and geometry than any other Bolder Cable. Built from a base of .9995% pure un-insulated solid core silver, there are two separate runs encased in two hollow Teflon tubes which are carefully twisted about each other. Two runs of .9999 % pure solid core copper are then inserted into two more Teflon tubes and twisted about the silver wiring. The bundle is covered with a flexible braided shield which uses a small capacitor to isolate RFI and ground out EMI from the main conductors. One of the best wires I've had the pleasure to use, the Summit is aptly named; besting some of my much more expensive interconnects. Again, dynamics were as amazing as I've ever heard a cable convey. A lucid liquidity combined with the essence of no cable at all was my impression. It conveyed the music, not the sound. The Summit walked that fine line between being that of an analytical or that of a romantic-lush sound. It essence it had neither quality, this wire just communicated.
I love small audio companies that not only outperform the big boys, but because of low overhead, provide their product at a sensible price. Bolder Cables is the perfect example. In my system they went head–to-head with some much more expensive products and either held their own or flat-out kicked butt. Although Bolder's power, speaker, and interconnect cables each have their own merits, and undeniably shine as individual performers, the real enchantment comes when used as a team. In my mind, a set of the Bolders is equal to a total system upgrade and when you consider the kind of scratch it would cost to upgrade each component in your system vs. a set of these cables you're way ahead! Great products. Absolutely, positively recommended. John Zurek
Nitro speaker cable
Nitro Plus AC cord
All cable prices will be raised on June 1, 2009 10-15% to reflect increased costs.
The BOLDER Cable Company