Looking for a pair of midrange interconnects? Paul Rigby reviews the Gekko Black Knights
The Black Knight, the company’s second interconnect to use Gekko GAC1 connectors (which allows the cable wires to make direct contact to the equipment’s RCA sockets) is a directional, unshielded interconnect cable made of two twisted solid-core OFHC AWG24 conductors, made in Britain. Each conductor is insulated by thick cotton braid.
“The cotton insulation is the first in its dielectric properties with an exception to air: the Dielectric Constant of Air is 1.0, cotton is 1.3, and Teflon is 2.0. Consequently, the use of cotton insulation, rather than Teflon, further reduces capacitance and inductance,” said the company.
Reportedley, cotton dielectric also plays an important role as a cushion in reducing unnecessary vibrations, “It creates a natural and warm sound that perfectly harmonises with the Black Knight OFHC copper conductors,” the company added.
The two conductors are twisted together and the cable is then covered with two more layers of braid.
For the test, I tried the Black Knight from my phono to pre-amp, from my pre-amp to my mono blocks and pre-amp to CD player.
I began with the phono amplifier and the country ballad, You’re Free to Go via Emmylou Harris from the album, Thirteen.
It’s a funny thing with Gekko cables, this is the second time I’ve ever reviewed a product from the company but, like their earlier Purple Haze, it took all of five seconds to plaster a smile on my face. Why? Because the cables do so much that is right and you really wonder why others can’t do the same.
It’s mostly the combination of ease and detail. Why do these cables sound so effortless? Like a strong man picking up a feather, there is no effort at all here in how the music is produced and presented to the ear but there is also an incredible amount of potential. That is, if called upon, you feel a sense of confidence that the Black Knights could tackle any job placed in from of them.
It’s this composure and assurance that swamps across the music and back to your ears. It’s as if the cables are saying, “Look, it’s ok. Don’t worry. Just relax, I’ll handle this.” And, by golly, they do just that.
Harris’ lead vocal is paced with texture and emotion. If handled badly, she can sound throaty, like a woman with the flu. The Black Knights allow her voice to crackle with a detailed grain while reacting immediately to tiny degrees of effort and intensity.
The strumming guitars also sound ‘together’. It’s easy for these guitars to be separated into their initial attack and then the response. Here, the Black Knights provided a smooth flow that provided a much more musical experience.
The mandolin solo was incisive and focused while the low noise nature of the cable enabled me to pick up that same instrument throughout the song, a difficult task to perform because the mandolin is extremely shy otherwise. Dynamic reach was also impressive as the treble exhibited a fine performance during delicate cymbal taps.
Moving to my monoblocks in the company of Queen and the album, Jazz, I was happy to hear how robust the cables where in terms of conveying dramatic energy of the percussion while retaining the weighty accompaniment of the guitars. I was also happy to see how the cables where able to prevent bass bloom. Cymbals were particularly well translated here – quite a feat in this noisy soundstage. The lead vocal, a performance that often betrayed the rather bright nature of the basic master on my old reissue, was detailed and rich enough to enhance the song and lower listening fatigue.
Onto CD now and Barbra Streisand’s Make it Like a Memory from Guilty. I was impressed with the air swimming around the midrange, allowing her voice to pulse both with a nuanced variation in breathing but also to track her impressive dynamic range.
The later parts of the track, during the rather prog-like orchestral accompaniment (think John Miles’ Music) included an excellent performance, teasing apart each element of the pacing orchestra, as it built and became more intricate in its melodic presentation.
It’s the easy, naturalistic flow of its musical output that makes the Gekko Black Knight cables so elegant and, well I have to add, endearing. That is, the way it handles music makes it very attractive to any audiophile who wants to get the very most from his musical source. The Black Knight will give you all of the midrange insight and bass impact you’ll ever want but it puts this detail together in such a naturalistic manner that you tend to forget the wonderful job its doing. You end up just kicking back and enjoying the ride.
GEKKO BLACK KNIGHT INTERCONNECT CABLES
Price: £450 per metre
GOOD: midrange flow, tonal realism, organic bass, dynamic reach, airy soundstage
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