Instead, what they do is release the sound from the granularity and hashiness that we have become so used to, we take for granted. The Siltech cables remove that ‘electronic’ sound between recording and listener to an uncanny level. There’s a purity to the sound that you will struggle to find elsewhere to the same degree. Yes, it’s like the music is direct-injected into the loudspeakers, but that isn’t an uncomfortable process. In fact it’s extremely alluring and enticing. The electronics just doing their job without extra obstacles is hard to step away from.
I’ve got this far in the review consciously not citing musical examples or specific components that either benefit or fail to thrive with the Classic Legend. There’s a reason for that. I’m acutely aware of the fact that these SIltech Cables designs are universal in their appeal and performance, and their goal is to bow out of changing the signal as best as possible. So when talking about specific tracks, I was finding myself describing the music rather than the cable’s effect upon that music. When making notes about compatibility, I was writing more about the devices. And on it went. I guess that point about ‘neutrality’ applies just as much to the description of the cable as it does to the performance of the cable. If my job is to talk about how something sounds, and this is a fine example of not having a sound, then I might as well write about the last piece of music I played (‘Alexander’ by Sevenn) and what I played it on (a Primare I35 into Audiovector R1 Arreté). In fact, for all the impact it has on how the Classic Legend unpacks a signal, why not describe my favourite tea mug (Periodic Table of Swearing) too? The Siltech Cables work uniformly in letting devices communicate with the minimum of artefact.
That all being said, there was one specific interaction that did surprise me; the network cable. It surprised me because although I’ve heard differences in Ethernet cables before, I wasn’t so convinced the sonic disappearing act would be significant in a packetised data transfer system. But, in fact, it made a big difference. Once again, that difference was about reduction in artefact between the two devices, but the size of the sonic ‘fist’ getting out the way was large.
I’m not a cable sceptic, but I’m willing to play one for this paragraph. This could be the cable that challenges the preconceptions of such sceptics, primarily because these cables are so rooted in good engineering. They aren’t sold through the medium of psychobabble or pseudoscience, and their performance makes a good case for itself. Ultimately, if that healthy scepticism has scabbed over into unhealthy cynicism, no amount of hard science or observation will change your mind, but those approaching the whole cable ‘thing’ from a position of genuine questioning scepticism will likely be more swayed by Siltech Cables and Classic Legend than they might care to admit.
There is a distinct ‘good, better, best’ as you move through the numbers; 880 is better than 680 which is also better than 380. And better in this context means ‘successively less intrusive from an already minimally-intrusive foundation’. The size of 880 is getting quite ‘snakey’, albeit not in a ‘Boa constrictor after a good lunch’ way. I’d consider 380 as the default position for high-end entry level irrespective of price, while 880 is the preserve of the big hitter systems. In listening, I feel the 680 is in the Goldilocks spot within the cable range, and it’s certainly the one I returned to the most.
If there is a shortcoming to the Classic Legend, it’s more a reflection of listener’s demands than its performance per se. Despite repeated ‘they aren’t tone controls’ protests from practically everyone in the business of audio, consciously or otherwise people do treat cables as filters and tone controls… and when you try a cable that doesn’t play that game it shows up just how unbalanced such a system’s sound can get. Some will never be able to draw back from that unevenness in their system, whether as a sonic ‘sunk cost fallacy’ or through learning to like that unevenness. However, even here, those who actively choose valve amplifiers because they like their tonality (especially those who seek out valve amps with loads of second harmonic distortion to ‘warm up’ the sound) would still like the cables connecting those two devices to be as neutral as possible in my opinion. Which would mean a lot of listeners might think they want a cable to act as a filter, but when they hear one that doesn’t they will be swayed.
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