A few years ago, my good friend Jason asked me to break in his Audience frontRow cables. I’ve been through so much gear, it’s been a blur but I believe it was frontRow speaker cables. I compared it to Audience SX and maybe a few other cables.
I know Audience says frontRow doesn’t take you to the front row of the performance hall but to me, it did feel more forward then SX without sounding bright. I didn’t like frontRow anymore then SX, it was just a different presentation especially in the midrange and highs. Just beautiful realism and perfect tonality. Completely world class. Where I did think frontRow was an improvement over SX was in the bass. Just more solid and tactile like what I heard out of Cardas Clear Cygnus but even better. What I love about the Tellurium Black Diamond is it’s coherence and tunefulness, full of PRAT bass. That is what frontRow gives you, better bass but compared to the Black Diamond, I think throughout the highs and mid-range, there is just more realism, micro-detail while staying completely organic.
A few years later, frontRow speaker cables are back in my system and everything is as I remember. They will become my new reference. My interconnects are all Audience SX except between my Auditorium 23 Standard Step Up transformer and my phono preamplifier where I use Auditorium 23 interconnects.
Speakers used were Q Acoustic Concept 500 speakers:
Pink Martini “Amado Mio”: Real presence in China Forbes beautiful voice. Cymbal splashes completely real with perfect decay. Piano strikes tactile that are so real. Horn is fat and in the room. Harp plucks delicate.
Anette Askvik “Liberty”: real texture in Strings, horn so sweet and in the room, Annette’s voice just beautiful. Little micro details effortless.
Marian Hill “Differently”: bass hits hard, big and so tuneful. Synths have real a real dynamic presence that seem to pop out with realism. Just paints just a beautiful soundscape and nothing harsh.
John Rutter “Pie Jesu”: Completely realistic separation of voices and you feel like you are truly in the performance hall with a big bold dynamic of soundscape. You are in the performance hall and feel the echos of the space. Violins sound so sweet with texture.
Cyndi Lauper “Time After Time”. Bass tight and deep. Synths have real dynamic presence, not washed out. Fantastic PRAT and just terrific that transports you back to the 80s.
Dominique Fils-Aimé “Birds”: upright bass plucks perfectly realistic, tangible in the room. Separation from Dominique and her backup singers just so beautiful. Bass portrayed on FrontRow so realistic, nothing hyped or artificial. This cable just stays so organic and real. All instruments just sound so tonally correct.
The Strokes “The Adults Are Talking”: nothing anemic about this playback. The bass guitar just makes your foot tap like crazy and your head just starts bobbing. You just gets lost in the music and want to sing. What is better then that? I’ll stop right there folks.
To conclude, I want to place blame where it is deserved. My friend Rob is a complete cable junkie. It is all his fault! I like to call him “the cable guy” and he can be quite the hoarder. He even treasures his old PS Audio prototypes like they are gold. Him being a huge Audioquest fan, it all started off when he talked me into trying some Columbia interconnects into my system. The rest of history! Columbia led be to Water, Earth, Fire then on to Cardas, Triode Wire Labs, Auditorium 23. Okay, maybe I tried a few of those before I met Rob so maybe I was already addict waiting for my next hit. Now I must have these frontRow cables. They will be mine!
Digital sources: Aqua La Voce S3 D/A processor; Sony X77ES CD player, Melco N1Z Digital Music Server.
Analog sources: Vinyl: Thorens TD-124 (STS Full Renovation), Schick 9.6” Tonearm, MusiKraft DL-103 Cartridge, Auditorium 23 Standard Step Up Transformer, Zesto 1.2 Phonostage. Reel to Reel: Technics 1500, Sony TC-399, Teac X-10 (Parts), Erhard Audio Nina II Tape head preamplifier. Cassette: Nakamichi Dragon
Preamplifier: Linear Tube Audio MZ3 (Headphone Amp, Preamp, Integrated Amp)
Power amplifiers: David Berning ZH-230.
Integrated amplifiers: PS Audio Sprout 100
Loudspeakers: Q Acoustics Concept 500, Graham LS3/5, Rogers LS3/5A 11 ohm, KEF LS50.
Cables: Digital: Shunyata Venom, AudioQuest Vodka (Ethernet), CAD Audio USB II (1.1m, USB), Tellurium Black Diamond hf Digital (S/PDIF). Interconnect: Audience SX, Auditorium 23. Speaker: Unknown (help me place), Tellurium Black Diamond, Soundsmith. AC: AudioQuest Hurricane High Current, Triode Wire Labs Digital American, BPT.
Accessories: Sanus UF30 & Linn 24″ loudspeaker stands; Lovan, VTI, custom babinga equipment racks; Ayre Acoustics Myrtle Blocks; ATS Acoustic Panels, IsoAcoustic ZaZen Isolation Platforms, IsoAcoustic Gaia 3 Isolation Feet; IsoAcoustics Speaker Stands, Herbie Pads, AudioQuest Niagara 3000 Low-Z Power/Noise-Dissipation System and AudioQuest Niagara 1200 Low-Z Power/Noise-Dissipation System (Tape components). Headphone Amplifiers: Violectric V-181, AudioQuest DragonFly Red v1.0 USB Digital-to-Analog Converter and USB Adapter. Headphones: Sennheiser HD 598SE, Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear Headphones.
Room: 12′ (system wall; width), 20′ (partial wall serving as 58” tall back record wall); 36′ (total room; depth).