Built to lower the noise floor, Paul Rigby looks at this grandly named grounding cable
Consummate? Despite the fact that this product was named wherever the dictionary fell open at the time (although the grounding wire below this in the range is called Ultimate so maybe Gutwire painted itself into an unfortunate corner on this one), I have always had a soft spot for products that look to target the Ground. Oft neglected by the ancillaries market it has been shown by the likes of CAD and Puritan that proper attention to Ground can reduce a gamut of offensive high frequency noise that will, as sure as eggs is eggs, increase sound quality. The fact that Gutwire spends so much time addressing this issue is one that I applaud.
I have reviewed the company’s lower cost Perfect and Ultimate Grounding cables before on this site. The background to those cables can be broadly applied to this cable too so, rather than repeating myself, I recommend that you click HERE have a quick read of the intro and then come back to this review again.
The slight frustration in reviewing the Gutwire grounding cables is the difficulty in grabbing technical information to provide you with all the information you may need.
Now this situation is not rare. I’ve reviewed many products where obtaining background techie information has been slim to non-existent. Nevertheless, each time I face this issue, the frustration never diminishes. Gutwire realises this, of course. One contact working with the company said, “…as Gutwire have technologies which no other producers/manufacturers utilise, they wish to keep them close to their chests.”
This is understandable. Despite my own selfish interests, there is always a risk of technology appropriation by other companies. I know of at least one small company, an innovator, that recognises it own technologies in another – much larger – company’s product and yet can do nothing about the problem because the large company has heaps of cash that it can spend on fancy lawyers while my contact struggles to pay his gas bill.
Hence, I recognise how annoying a lack of product information can be but, for some, it can be the difference between life and death in business terms.
Nevertheless, I have a job to do so I duly dug around and found that the Gutwire cable does use high quality copper and is covered by Mylar Metallic braid shielding. This particular product apparently utilises lots of conductors, 50% more than the company’s Ultimate model. The Furutech plug was used because of its inherent sonic qualities.
The design also uses rare earth elements such as Germanium to help with the elimination of various noise. More recent additional elements include Amethyst and Binchotan.
So how does it perform?
I began with Nat ‘King’ Cole’s Thanks to You From the album, Love (Capitol). Gutwire’s lower-priced Perfect ground cable lowered the noise floor and opened up the midrange, introducing new-found reverb. The Ultimate cable introduced new found control to the bass, adding mass and strength to the lower end.
The Consummate? It combined the two but added a whole lot more.
I first experienced the changes in and around the central stereo image and the Cole lead vocal. He seemed to have more room. That was the strong first impression. That is, the size of the central stereo image appeared to grow. Cole now had more elbow room which gave his voice greater authority and control over what he was doing. Sometimes, the stereo image can sound like a vertical letter box shape. Where the singer is squeezed and emerges from a contracted space. Here, the Consummate allowed that space to open up, adding a feel of ease and relaxation to the delivery.
This significant feature was then spread over the rest of the soundstage so the upright bass and percussion on the right channel pushed each other over a bit to provide more space for each, allowing more detail to emerge from both. The cymbals having both weight but also, when struck, to hang in the air for a time while the bass improved tonally, providing more form and shape.
Even the barely heard piano on the left channel got in on the act. The fact was that more information now emerged from the piano, extra notes could be heard from the rear of the mix.
Thin Lizzy’s Having a Good Time from the LP, Chinatown (reissued via Back on Black) was next. Yes, the bass was tonally on point, the lead vocal was both husky and adorably textured and the bass guitar was characterful and focused but I was most impressed by the strummed acoustic guitar that exhibited a host of string detail. The strings where plucked throughout the song, tiny metallic sprinklings could be heard across the soundstage. The noise was low enough, the space was wide enough and the accuracy was precise enough to make this one feature a complete delight.
Performance across digital sources was just as good, if not better. My Leema CD and Benchmark DAC attached to my McIntosh CD player offered greater clarity when playing music by The Cure and Peggy Lee along with new found precision in the midrange plus transparency across the soundstage as a whole.
Every time I attach a well-designed anti-noise ancillary to my reference system, I hear an increase in sound quality due to the lowering of the noise floor. Remove the rubbish and, every time, sonics are enhanced. The installation of the Gutwire Consummate achieved that goal and then some. The Consummate took the sound to a new level, certainly more impressive than either of the Perfect and Ultimate cables, as good as they are for the cash. The naturalism of the Consummate cable, the new layering and the improvement in imagery was impressive indeed.
GUTWIRE CONSUMMATE GROUND CABLE
Prices: Consummate Ground – 6ft (1.83m) & Furutech Gold UK plug £1,300. Extra length, £130 per foot. RCA connector is the most popular. XLR, spade, coaxial or clip to order. There is an additional cost of £140 for Furutech FP-601(G) XLR termination.
Tel: 0118 981 9891
GOOD: low noise, layered soundstage, stereo image, midrange delicacy
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