In the market for a pair of high-end speaker cables? Paul Rigby reviews the new Black Rhodium Duet DCT++ CS Speaker Cables
Black Rhodium is about to unleash a new range of cables covering most budgets and needs. The Duets begin at the upper end of the budget range and appear in standard and bi-wire formats.
Created and manufactured in England, this 2-core cable includes silicone rubber insulation and silver-plated copper conductors. The ‘DCT’ part of the name relates to the cables having undergone Deep Cryogenic Treatment while the company’s so-called Crystal Sound Process (the ‘CS’ in the title) refocuses the outer skin on the conductor (the area where the majority of the signal flow travels). Glossy heatshinks are also included. The cables are terminated with rhodium-plated universal banana plugs further treated with DCT++ and Crystal Sound and fitted with the Graham Nalty Legacy Range VS-1 Vibration Stabiliser.
I began with Bruce Brubaker’s solo piano piece via his Glass Piano LP and the Philip Glass composition Mad Rush. Immediately, I did notice that the cables were rather bass light but, in fairness to the Duets, if anything, the bass was neat with a great focus and precision, as well as speed and tonality.
Moving to the midrange, the piano benefitted from the same tonal realism which added a level of excitement. The Duets provided a whole heap of space and air to the broad soundstage too. Brubaker is one of the most emotive interpreters of Glass’ works and so he gives the music subtlety and nuance. The Duets were quick to catch these effects, that allowed the piano to deliver a delicate and, at times, fragile performance, playing with silence as much as the music itself.
The most demanding portion of the piece of music was Brubaker’s quick trilling keyboard runs in the higher area of the keyboard which can often create smudging or even a stridency. Not here. The Duets sat on the right side of the stridency fence but were not afraid to take the frequencies right up to the wire, providing a mass of information, while allowing the piano a sense of transparency and clarity that enhanced the Brubaker performance.
Now onto harder rock from the Electric Light Orchestra, from 1971 in fact, during their particularly hairy phase in their career and First Movement.
The result? Well, at the risk of sounding like a character from a Billy Bunter story, “What larks!” With this prog-like combination of rock and classical, the Duets fairly danced throughout the track. I’ve rarely heard this track performed in such a joyous manner. Yes, the deep bass was reduced and so the massive effect of the cellos were not as effective but what you received instead was a speed and focus that provided the entire performance with a spring and a fleet of foot. The introductory picking of the Spanish guitar was bang on, fast and on the money. Each plucked string rebounded back with a real ‘twang!’ while the string section now had the speed to keep up with the guitar antics that pushed the music through, adding a youthful exuberance to the presentation that placed an enormous smile on my face.
The Black Rhodium Duet speaker cables offered one of the most honest performances from a speaker cable that I’ve ever heard. Such was its open and airy nature. I did wonder, at times, if it might wander over the upper mid limit to a more strident playback but the cables never did. Instead, they explored the limits of the available dynamic field, giving the ear a glorious exposition of musical entertainment.
BLACK RHODIUM DUET DCT++ CS SPEAKER CABLES
Price: £1,300 for 3m
Tel: 01332 342233
Good: incisive midrange, clarity, focus, transparency.
Bad: slightly bass shy
David Appel3rd December 2016 at 7:53 pm
Thanks for some great and clearly honest, competent reviews. I seem to hear pretty much what you hear 🙂 and I have now ordered a Sonneteer Orton V to play with a pair of Harbeth SHL5 Plus. I heard this setup with BR Tempest and Duet DTC++ speaker cables at the dealer.. and was sold. My question to you now is (having reviewed both); how much of a difference do you really find between the BR Duet and the BR Quickstep? Are the Duets worth three times retail price?
Again, thanks for some great review!
Paul Rigby4th December 2016 at 12:35 pm
Glad to see that you are taking cables seriously within your buying decisions and budget. For your system, especially, decent cables are a real necessity too. Looking at the components here and extrapolating your inferred budget from that, I would stick with the QuickStep cables which retain much of the personality and approach to music as the Duets and will provide a low noise environment for your hifi chain. When you get to the stage that you really need the Duets (7k amp, 5k speakers, 10k turntable, etc), talk to me and we’ll have another conversation. Please take time to think about shelving, isolation and the mains too: budget permitting, of course.