Offering a range of…well, I wouldn’t even call them high end, more like super cables from this long standing cable manufacturer. Paul Rigby reviews Tellurium Q’s statement cable design, the Statement
The new Statement range of cabling is for those with a serious budget to spend. These cables are not high-end, they are in the Super class. As a Ferrari is often referred to as a Super Car. These cables are relatively positioned within the hi-fi firmament, to occupy the same heady heights.
Why they are so pricey is an enigma in terms of technology but that’s always the way of it with Tellurium Q. I’ve spoken to some cable manufacturers and you can see that they’ve put lots of thought, care and attention into their products. They are obviously not keen for competitors to know too much about their products because of the obvious temptation to purloin choice features. And this has happened in the past by certain companies, I’m lead to believe. Tellurium Q is one of a few outfits out there that keeps its cards close to its chest.
What Geoff Merrigan, TQ’s head honcho, would say is that, “People assume that to get the best performance the ‘fastest’ conductor – pure silver of something even better has to be used. Which is also one of the reasons for the pointless chasing of nines as I call it i.e. copper to 99.9999999% purity as if that is the single most important factor for a cable! Surprisingly, to get the most natural sound, it is not just about merely conduction. This is the reason, any conductor from any cable manufacturer on this planet will act as an electronic filter and by that I mean that the various frequencies relative to one another get shifted with each material they pass through and are also affected by insulators, geometries, shielding etc. The interesting thing is that materials affect ranges of frequencies in dissimilar amounts. It really is a finely tuned balancing act to make sure that you get a natural, transparent transmission. This takes a LOT more research than people would imagine. Even down to the solder that we use. Not standard by any means for the audio industry and we have tried numerous mixes and diverse percentages of silver in the solder but at the end of our testing and development we find we have a solder with no silver whatsoever (no lead either).”
Merrigan explained that, although the connectors, for example, may look relatively ordinary they do include multiple layers of plating and not, “ …always the material you would expect.” Not only that, “…we specify the thickness of the plating and what has to be in the plating bath and what should not be.”
The company says that this sort of attention to detail is what separates its cables from the rest.
I tested the Statement speaker cables, power cables and interconnects to see how they faired.
What immediately struck me was the presentation of the sound of the Statement cables. Other cables seemed to present voices and instruments ‘end on’. I talk about a Ferrari at the top of this review so let’s go with that as a metaphor to explain what I mean. Other cables deliver music as if you are seeing the Ferrari directly front on. So you see some of the beauty and the lines and the design and the essence of the car but you’re principally looking at the headlights, the front of the bonnet and windscreen, only the tread of the wheels and that’s it. You can recognise it as a Ferrari and you can comment on its beauty but you never get the full experience.
What the Statement does is to present the sound to you in full. A bit like rotating the Ferrari to give you a 3D view. So you see the front and sides. You see the flowing curves running front to back, the sides of the wheels but the tread too, the headlights but how they connect to the wings of the car and run to the doors and so on.
In effect, the Statement provides more information. Full, mature and rich. When compared to the frankly superb Silver Diamond cables (and these are some of the best cables I’ve ever heard, let me remind you) I was absolutely shocked how thin they sounded when compared to the Statements. How bereft of information the were when compared to the Statements and how much the Silver Diamonds seemed to add a sheen of glare. Reviewed in isolation, the Silver Diamonds blow everything else I’ve heard away. Head to head? The Statements make the Silver Diamonds sound like bell wire.
But do you know what? To begin, when I first heard the Statements? I was underwhelmed. I thought they were fine. Nice. Decent. Certainly, in performance terms, no where near the asking price. Not a chance.
Then I lived with them for some time. A few months, actually, and things changed.
This has happened before. It’s not the first time. When I test high end – I mean truly high-end – hi-fi whether it’s a cartridge or a DAC, you sometimes notice that your brain gets into a rut with your usual hi-fi chain and a new piece of super high end kit needs time to reprogram it once more. Mainly because the great hi-fi designs out there don’t shout at you and jump up and down, seeking attention. Really great hi-fi calmly insinuates itself into your life. Mainly because it doesn’t need to scream and shout. It knows it offers quality. So it waits for you to catch up. After a while, new elements arose in the sound, new details appeared, the soundstage was reordered and a balance in the mix emerged that produced a new sense of calm and order. That’s what the Statements did.
I played Nancy Wilson singing the Beatles’ hit, Yesterday. She sang that in front of a full orchestra. The midrange was incisive yet controlled. There was discipline there but lots of fragility. The plucked strings from cellos offered finesse but also an impressive resonance. Wilson’s voice also held a tremor. Her emotional delivery was effective and affecting.
The bass was pretty amazing. It sounded like the best sort of implementation from a set of balanced cables. The bowed results of the cellos were sonorous, deep and vibrant while a resident bass guitar had a bouncy twang that added pace to the music.
The overall presentation was neutral yet, how can I put this, sensible. You felt that the music sounded ‘right’. Nothing irritated here. Nothing felt out of place.
I tried more dynamic fare from T2 and It’ll All Work Out in Boomland and the track Morning.
The Statements took the energy and the dynamic pizazz in their stride. The sense of air in the upper mids allowed plenty of space to be resident between each band member. Hence, each instrument allowed sufficient room for the ear to pick up each and every one easily. That is, you could easily hear the cymbal taps despite the chaotic electric guitar playing right next to it. The guitar never once smeared or masked the cymbals.
I tried other pieces of music to the same effect, Sketches of Spain from Miles Davis plus early Kraftwerk, mit flute. The Statements tackled each genre of music with aplomb, providing a stunning sense of transparency and clarity but doing so a calm and serene balance.
To this point, I’ve been reviewing Tellurium Qs on a semi-regular basis and I can hear a family resemblance running from the very cheapest of TQ cable to the very high end. There are definite and solid sonic improvements, often dramatic in nature throughout the range but there are connections. Each one builds upon the other below. A bit like raising up a pyramid, there are associations that form a solid structure of sound improvements.
The Statements stand alone. They are the first Tellurium Q cables I have heard that do not sound like Tellurium Q cables. This is a new pyramid, in effect. The Statements rewrite the book for cables and, at this very moment, as I write this review, completely stand alone in the market. In sonic terms, the Statement cables are breathtaking and fully deserve the maximum marks’, Golden Groovy award.
TELLURIUM Q STATEMENT CABLES Prices: Power cable: £4,740 for 1.7m Speaker cable £1,740 per single metre RCA interconnect £4,320 per metre pair Tel: 01458 251997 Website: www.telluriumq.com
GOOD: midrange maturity, balanced and neutral presentation, bass presence, tonal realism, soundstage structure
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Origin Live Sovereign turntable
Origin Live Enterprise 12″ arm
Avid Acutus Reference turntable
SME IV tonearm
Van Den Hul Crimson XGW Stradivarius Cartridge
Soundsmith Paua Mk.II cartridge
Icon PS3 phono amplifier
Aesthetix Calypso pre-amp
Icon Audio MB845 Mk.II monoblock amplifiers
Quad ESL-57 speakers with One Thing upgrade
Tellurium Q Silver Diamond cables
Blue Horizon Professional Rack System
Harmonic Resolution Systems Noise Reduction Components
All vinyl was cleaned using an Audio Desk’s Ultrasonic Pro Vinyl Cleaner
Matt17th May 2019 at 5:00 pm
Hi Paul – very interesting review. I’m currently running TQ Ultra Black in my system and am seriously impressed with it, so can only imagine how the Statement sounds.
You said that the Statements stand alone in the market, so I’m wondering if you’ve had any experience of the Nordost cables (Valhalla 2 / Odin 2) both of which make the TQ look pretty reasonable from a cost point of view. I guess a direct comparison, particularly of the “full loom” of each of these with the TQ would be incredibly difficult to organise much less manage, but would certainly be an interesting experiment.
Paul Rigby17th May 2019 at 5:14 pm
Hi Matt – thanks for your comments. I find Nordost a bit on the strident side for my tastes, to be honest. I’ve heard quite a few of their cables and I tend to reach the same conclusions with each listening test. I find that they need taming with about 15 of these things 🙂 : https://www.nordost.com/qrt/qv2-ac-line-harmonizer.php
Matt25th May 2019 at 11:07 am
Thanks a lot for the reply Paul. Much appreciated.
Paul Rigby26th May 2019 at 10:15 am
My pleasure Matt.