By definition, an audio cable of any description is doing a poor job. As a transmitter – rather than a creator – of musical signals, all any cable can do is either add or subtract things it shouldn’t. Many supposedly ‘best’ cables end up adding blooms and peaks that – while many find sonically attractive – are simply imposing their own stamp on the music. Cardas is one of the few cable companies that strive to do as little damage as possible. Clear Cygnus is arguably Cardas’ most affordable ‘do no harm’ loudspeaker cable to date.
Sitting between Reflection and Sky (which sounds like a pretentious 1980s album) and replacing Clear Light, Cygnus uses 4× 15.5 AWG pure copper Matched Propagation conductors in a quadaxial construction, using Cardas’ distinctive Golden Section Litz layout. The cable itself is 1.7cm in diameter and shares the blue Alcryn jacket, aluminium strain relief, and pressure forged, solderless copper connectors. Clear Cygnus can be supplied bi‑wired, too.
There’s a consistency to Cardas’ sound quality. Clear Cygnus is a cable that produces an honest and unforced sound, with a soundstage as free and open as the equipment allows, and a dynamic range that is as good as you’ll find at this price and beyond. There’s a sophistication to the performance that belies Clear Cygnus’ price; not over-refinement or sophistication at the expense of energy. Instead, Clear Cygnus has extended high-frequencies that never shout and never get in the way of the music. It’s only when you hear what so many others do, that you begin to realise just how rare that is.
Regrettably, a lot of audiophiles are stuck in the instant gratification/‘shiny things make it all better’ phase of their audio journey, trading long-term listening for short-term excitement. Their cables often help reach that ‘shiny’ goal at the expense of how music should sound in the real world. Clear Cygnus is therefore the first step into a more musically grounded world. If you try Clear Cygnus against many of its more forward-sounding peers, the oddest thing happens; your first impressions are of a cable that sounds almost rolled off, but your brain quickly recognises this as an intrinsically more balanced approach. Spend a couple of hours with Clear Cygnus and swap back to the original cable and what you once thought ‘musically exciting’ sounds hard, bright, edgy, and forward. What’s worse, those feelings you now have toward your original cable do not soften over time. The Cardas Conversion Course has begun, and you will find yourself drawn to a sound that is more about flow and elegance than edge-of-the-seat frenzy; a more ‘cygnine’ sound, if you like.
I’ve been using Cardas Clear (power cords, interconnects, and loudspeaker cables) for as long as there have been Cardas Clear cables, primarily for that effortless, do-no-harm performance they deliver. Clear Cygnus takes that Clear sound and makes it far more affordable, sacrificing nothing in the process unless you are planning to skimp on cables for a truly top-end system. If you are an audio grown-up and want a sound that’s less forward and immediate, but without sacrificing performance elsewhere, Clear Cygnus is the right choice.
Price and contact details
Price: From £1,080/1.5m pair
Options include: Spade connections, 4mm banana plugs, bi-wire variant
Manufactured by: Cardas Audio
Distributed by: Audiofreaks
Tel: +44(0)208 948 4153