Nix the Nyx or Not? Paul Rigby wonders if this budget mains cable is up to scratch
The Styx – a mains cable that I much admire – is considered to be the company’s entry-level mains cable but the Nyx can almost be considered entry-level too…sorta. So, if not exactly entry level, the hallway behind the front door. You’re standing on the Welcome mat, say. Nearly entry level.
It’s also supposed to move up a rung in the sonic ladder. That’s the idea.
As the company says, it provides, “…a high current cable between the Styx and Tyco. The Nyx is essentially a Styx on steroids.”
So Titan has it, the Nyx offers more than twice the number of conductors and double the current delivery properties. In terms of rejecting noise (which in itself is a major part of sound quality in a mains cable), there are shields that protect it from EMI/RFI interference.
On one the end is a Wattgate-style plug (a nice addition for the price). On the other end of cable the USA and EU get a matching cylindrical plug. In the UK the company decided to upgrade the plug over the standard Styx 13A plug.
In fact, one that you will see on £400+ Nordost cables. It offers, according to Titan, a, “…more secure connection.” It also helps to, “…block out wireless interference much better due to the watertight type seals and thicker housing.”
The whole lot has been hand made in N.Ireland, “…we haven’t outsourced this to China to save costs…” confirmed the company.
So how does it sound?
I played both Nat ‘King’ Cole’s Autumn Leaves from Best Of…Vol.2 and Early Morning from Barclay James Harvest’s Early Morning Onwards.
I began with Cole and noted the introductory bank of high-pitched strings that introduced this song. The difference between this cable and the Styx, as capable as the Sryx is for the price, is the extra information that the Nyx provides. In comparison, the Styx hits its head up against a glass ceiling, the dynamic reach of the Nyx is so much greater. In practical use, this means that the Styx sounds a touch harsh at the extremes of the upper mids, in purely relative terms, while the Nyx, featuring greater capacity, is far more relaxed and informative while the soundstage is much wider so there is further air for the cables to work within.
I also noticed that the Cole vocal was richer and he was seemingly more relaxed. The space he worked in was also enlarged, broader to be exact. It was almost as if the soundstage was stretched out. Like pulling on an accordion, where the bellows unfold, the soundstage unfolded to provide space but also room for extra detail to emerge.
Similarly, the bank of plucked violin strings, mid song, found a suite of reverb tails for the first time, aiding tonal realism in this areas while, during brass manoeuvres, it was easier to discern the difference between the trumpet and the trombone.
Finally, the bass – relatively subtle on this orchestral track – was more focused. The dual upright bass and percussive strikes could be better differentiated from the Nyx.
Turning to Barclay James Harvest, the open and airy nature of the cables continued, enhancing detail through a boost in clarity. The percussion was notable in offering both a focused and an informative feedback.
The bass provided a beneficial precision while the band was pleasingly spread across a broad soundstage, promoting space in between each instrument. That is, you never felt that instruments were elbowing each other. The latter can provide muddy, overly busy sound. Not here, the clarity from the Nyx remained constant.
For an ‘entry-level’ mains cable, the Nyx is pretty darned impressive. The performance is notable for its desire to provide more: more information, more clarity and more musical maturity. Well made and easy to install with an impressive performance level, Titan Audio has a winner on its hands.
TITAN AUDIO NYX MAINS CABLE
Price: £100 for 1m
GOOD: clarity, focus, detail, design, low noise
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