ChordMusic cable – the latest news from Nigel Finn

ChordMusic cable – the latest news from Nigel Finn



What feels like a long time ago now, we did something we had never done before and played a prototype cable at the Bristol Sound and Vision show. In fact we had a whole raft of new products to play but we included the prototype cable because, in truth, we felt it was one of the biggest steps forward that we had ever heard.

That prototype cable was a very early version of ChordMusic. Since then, we’ve researched, refined and developed the cable to a point where we feel that what we are producing is a truly spectacular new cable.

The changes to the prototype played at Bristol are many and all have added to the overall performance. That first prototype demonstrated just how much the material used to insulate conductors influenced sound quality: it used a unique new insulation material called Taylon®. Up until this point, we’d used what we considered to be the best insulation material we had found, PTFE in all its forms: gas foamed, air-spaced and solid. Taylon® behaves very differently to PTFE and one of its critical differences is that it is phase-stable at typical room temperatures.

In terms of its internal construction, the cable we played at Bristol was below the design specification of the cable we had designed and ordered. The conductor configuration though was identical to the Sarum Super ARAY, so the people at the demonstration were hearing Taylon® and just what a profound effect it had on the performance of the system.

Read the show report from The Audio Beat, which will give you an impression of just how much it genuinely impressed.

Since then and after much experimentation, we’ve stayed with the conductor configuration developed for the Sarum Super ARAY and we have used the same precision machined PTFE plugs as well. From here on though, things have changed – the construction of Tuned and Super ARAY cables use multiple shielded conductors and that means the only option is hand assembly. Precision cutting and stripping machines are used, but the actual termination and conductor configuration can only be done by hand.

Mechanical damping needed consideration.  We use techniques developed for the Sarum Super ARAY, but with the ChordMusic we have gone a step further and applied a constrained layer of mechanical damping to the conductor grouping. It’s a time consuming process but with a cable as transparent and neutral as ChordMusic, the improvements are easy to hear. It brings greater focus and solidity across the frequency range which is particularly noticeable in the higher frequencies. Cymbals sound more natural than we’ve heard before, with a real sense of the complex timbre they produce and how that changes depending on the way the cymbal is hit. We added an external metallic braid to further improve mechanical damping and HF noise isolation before the final braided cover is fitted. The reason for all of this is transparency and neutrality. The Taylon®, combined with Super ARAY technology, means we’re breaking new ground and removing what sounds like the last layer of cloud obscuring the musical landscape. Every one of those additions has made the view still clearer.



The Sound Of Music

We’ve been building cables for thirty years and in that time learned a lot about the behaviour of different materials – enough to be able to recognise that different combinations of conductor and insulator change tonal characteristics of a cable. Some of the changes are minor, others more significant. We want the colour to come from musical instruments and voices, not from cables!  In fact, there is a whole list of things that we don’t want cables to do.

What our cable designs are about is balance. The balance is carrying as much information as is possible, but without affecting the coherence – at its simplest, the rhythm and timing. Curiously, the less attention you pay to timing and coherence, the easier it is to hear more detail. The problem though is what value can you put on a piece of music without the movement, the rhythm and the feel that the musicians played it with?  Therein lies the passion, the connection and sometimes the magic.

That want for music that communicates has always been at the heart of The Chord Company – it produced firstly, Tuned ARAY and then Super ARAY technologies, both of them unique and both setting new standards in cable performance. They did two things. First of all, they showed that an awful lot of hi-fi components were much better than people realised. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, they showed just how good 44.1 kHz really was. We were truly surprised at just how good CD could sound.

So right now, ChordMusic is connecting our Dem Room system together and it’s connecting my system at home together. How good is it? When something’s right, it’s right.  With music, you know it from the opening notes and never has everything I’ve played sounded so right.  Never before has everything I’ve played sounded quite so real.

Working within the hi-fi industry can be frustrating, challenging, difficult and on occasions – like the other evening, listening to St Dominic’s Preview by Van Morrison – completely wonderful!

Nigel Finn




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Chord Company chordmusic nigel finn roy gregory sarum super aray taylon the audio beat

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