Looking to upgrade your speaker cables? Paul Rigby reviews Tellurium Q’s upgraded Black cables called…wait for it…the Black II
If you are enhancing and improving your hifi then, it goes without saying, the inherent quality of the music spewing from it, should be better than before. That’s a ‘given’.
That is, there is more musical information to access and listen to.
Trouble is, the same old range of interfering noises that comes from your house, electrical equipment, wireless kit, mains and more seeks to mask and subdue that enhanced sonic information. Good quality accessories can eradicate this harmful noise. Cables – good quality designs, that is – are one of the most important accessories you can attach to your hi-fi chain that fight noise.
As I’ve said on many occasions, one of the main purposes of cables – apart from transporting the audio signal efficiently – is to help remove that noise. Be aware of this when you see naysayers attacking the very nature of hi-fi cables and why they are necessary.
In terms of technical background and an explanation of the technology in and around the Tellurium Q cables themselves…don’t bother to ask because the company is not in the habit of giving much (anything) away. It’s all rather hush hush.
Although it would be nice to know the make up of the cables themselves, the essence of any cable is the sound quality. So, let’s segue to…
I began the sound tests playing a selection of the 80s minimalist synth/post punk outfit, Bizarre Unit, combining vocals, sparse early synths with organic instruments.
I was most impressed by the lowering of the noise level which affected all of the sonic frequencies. This had the initial effect of improving the focus of the music. Hence, the stereo image was very strong. The accumulation of music in this area added to the rich layering of the presentation.
The electric rhythm guitar was next on my ‘notice’ list. Because of the lowering noise, this decidedly metallic yet bouncy guitar sound provided a lively and elastic rendition that added new life to the music.
I was probably most effected by the distinctive and sharp lead vocal. With the Black II cables in place, I found the the lower noise actually enhanced the reverb that was attached to the vocal, adding both space and air to his performance but also adding a slightly other-worldly aspect to this stark and slightly robotic presentation.
Bass, meanwhile offered a focused performance. Many cables, at this price point, provide a rather bloomy bass effect which makes the bass sound more like a cloud of noise rather than a single instrument. The Black II added precision here.
The female backing vocal also enhanced its apparent femininity, being softer, lighter and rather fragile in effect.
I then switched to Tellurium Q’s own original Black speaker cables to see if the new ‘II’ variants had improved on the first generation.
I moved to the jazz vocal of Gogi Grant and the track By Myself, from the 1960 LP, Granted It’s Gogi on Living Stereo.
The differences here revolved around midrange insight plus bass focus and precision. Here, the upright bass offered a springy and more characterful representation that added, well, groove or, more aptly perhaps, swing. This rhythmic enhancement encouraged you to tap your feet, put it that way.
Grant’s own vocal performance also offered greater insight, adding a textural detail that gave the delivery a more evocative feel.
Percussion, meanwhile, had a greater impact with a higher ‘shock’ value when each drum was hit while cymbals offered a broader splash when they were hit, giving the percussion a more important place within the mix. The surrounding brass, finally, featured a clean, rather shiny and brassy performance that added pizazz during crescendos.
The lowering of inherent and sonically damaging noise creates a generally improved suite of sonic frequencies that will serve any audiophile looking to upgrade from budget cables very well indeed. As you can see, even those of you who own the original Black cables should take a serious look at the new Black II cables.
TELLURIUM Q Black II SPEAKER CABLES
Price: £324 for a 3m pair
Tel: 01458 251997
Good: low noise, enhanced detail, focused midrange, bass impact
Origin Live Sovereign turntable
Origin Live Enterprise 12” arm
Transfiguration Proteus cartridge
Leema Essentials CD player
Icon Audio PS3 phonostage
Aesthetix Calypso pre-amp
Spendor S3/5R2 speakers
Vertex AQ cabling
Black Rhodium Salsa speaker cables
Tellurium Q Black speaker cables
Harmonic Resolution Systems Noise Reduction Components
All vinyl was cleaned using an Audio Desk’s Ultrasonic Pro Vinyl Cleaner
Dave hattey26th May 2017 at 10:20 pm
Reasonable price too. Similar to Nordost White lighting series.
stuart welby10th September 2018 at 7:28 pm
What a load of old rubbish! Nasty Taiwanese cable, re-badged.
kents4th May 2019 at 7:38 pm
hello tell me please best buy qed xt40 bi ware speakers or this tellurium q single wire and reproduce bass in that instalation with qed bi ware or tellurium single wire better? thank you
Paul Rigby5th May 2019 at 9:58 am
Hi kents – just to be clear, you have a pair of speakers that you can run as bi-wired and you would like to know if you should, while utilising QED XT40 cables or single wired via the Black II cables? I would say that the Black II cables have the edge in terms of a direct comparison. As for the bi-wire question? I personally believe that the jury is out on bi-wire. I find that it depends on you and your hi-fi. If you want to go bi-wire, I would encourage a demo, ideally a home demo if you can find a friendly dealer.
Stein25th August 2019 at 11:30 pm
How do these cables compare to nordost white lightning?
Paul Rigby26th August 2019 at 3:03 pm
Hi Stein – I find Nordost cables a little edgy and clinical for my liking. Although you might enjoy that presentation.
Paul4th October 2019 at 1:30 am
How do these cables compare against Chord Epic speaker cable ?
Paul Rigby4th October 2019 at 8:10 am
I like the Epic cables and used them in my system for a time. On balance, though, I’d probably go for the Blacks in terms of midrange insight.
Pete21st January 2020 at 1:03 am
I’m thinking about changing to Tellurium Black 2. I’ve used Chord Odyssey for years, and while all the other componentsin my system have upgraded around this once highly regarded cable, now I can hear clearly what has been holding my sytem back for years!
Am I right in thinking Tellurium Black II would give me better high frequencies, hopefully free of glare and grain?
Paul Rigby21st January 2020 at 10:39 am
Hi Pete – indeed, that’s right. I love them and I’m sure you will too
Garry13th March 2021 at 8:32 pm
You need some space between your speakers or the mids can get confused with Black2.. There is a magic with the QED XT400 that I was using before. On swapping them after burning in the Tellurium I prefer the XT400 as it is less forced. System is Audio Note OTO SE line with Audio Note ANZ Hemp speakers. Front end is a Well Temered Simplex Tutntable with audio note ISIS interconnects and a Classic Black Cube phono stage. Thanks for the review. Some good points.