Atlas Mavros Speaker & Interconnect Cables
2nd December 2014
You could see Atlas’ Mavros cables as laughably expensive pieces of wire or you could see them as the keys to opening up your current hi-fi to reveal its true potential
Here, we will look at the range’s interconnects and speaker cables.
The Mavros speaker cables feature a microporous PTFE to increase signal velocity. The speaker cable was tested with Rhodium plated locking 4mm plugs, though spades are available on request. Each speaker cable is provided with a serial number that is etched onto the plug.
The Mavros interconnects use a microporous PTFE dielectric together with OCC copper conductors. ‘Ohno Continuous Casting’ (OCC) has one grain in about 700 feet of conductor, so the audio signal travels through a continuous conductor instead of traversing grain boundaries. The copper itself is of the highest purity; equivalent to 7N or 99.999997% pure. The RCA plugs are Atlas non-compressing, solder free Ohno Continuous Cast types.
Testing the speaker cables first, I ran the classic ballet suite, the Nutcracker on CD via my two box Densen B-475 and hooked up a set of Tellurium Blacks as a reference. Even on this restricted format, you could tell that the Mavros was something special. A super smooth midrange saw strings glide across the strong, well-constructed soundstage offering total confidence that no control would be lost. Mixing a solid bass with deliciously incisive detail, which kept the ear busy and alert.
Turning to a bit of high resolution prog and Caravan on vinyl, I was nothing short of astounded. Where to start? I could talk about the attack of the acoustic guitar strumming that almost bit at your ears or the tight, efficient, measured bass. I could even opine about the superb vocal definition where vocals projected with a calm confidence. Then there was the wide soundstage and the instrumental separation that allowed each instrumentalist to express themselves with a great sense of clarity
Onto the interconnects and starting with the Nutcracker, through the Densen B-475 and Chord QuteHD DAC, the Atlas cables offered a welcome lucidity to the overall presentation.
Strings flowed but they also informed. There was a great deal of emoting within the sweeping artefacts that offered insinuation and gesture. Bass was informative and almost provocative in nature, providing a potential for power.
Moving to Caravan on vinyl, there was a calm assuredness about the Mavros. They don’t perform ‘big’. These are not cables that try too hard to impress. They just allow the music to flow naturally. Bass was forthright and strong with a power that was solid and mass heavy while the vocal performance was clear and distinctive.
The conclusion is interesting. Speaking purely on sonic terms, the speaker cables are one of the truly great cable designs currently on the market. This is the best set of speaker cables that I’ve ever heard. Truly genre defining.
As for the interconnects? What is remarkable about these cables is how much detail is presented without having to ramp up the upper mids to bright levels. The confidence of the cables, in terms of presentation, is quite remarkable.
Fine and dandy but…there is one issue I have with both sets of cables. They are brittle. Brittle with a qualification but brittle, nevertheless. This review is based upon long term usage of around a year and I’m a journalist. That fact is important because I review and swop hi-fi equipment in an out of my system, constantly. During this time, cables are bent, crushed, squeezed, wobbled and generally abused. After about seven months of constant use, one of the Mavros interconnect cables snapped off. After 12 months, one of the speaker cable connectors snapped off. Not good, especially for products costing so much.
A general hi-fi user would not be manipulating the cables in the same way that I would. In fact, most users would plug them in and never touch them again. So, in the real world, this brittle nature shouldn’t be an issue. What I have to say, though, is that I have reviewed and used dozens of cables over my career from competing manufacturers and the Atlas were the only cables that snapped.
That said, is this a back-handed compliment? Atlas prides itself on the purity of its copper and the like. Maybe this brittle ‘feature’ is proof positive of that?
ATLAS MAVROS SPEAKER CABLE
Tel: 0800 731 1140
£1,700 FOR 3M
Good: tremendous focus, tonal reality & sonic definition
ATLAS MAVROS RCA INTERCONNECT
£850 FOR 1M
Good: bass grip, smooth mids & neutral presentation