A kind of blue? Yes, indeed. In fact we’re looking at a sequel, version two of the company’s Blue mains cable. Paul Rigby reviews…
The Ultra Blue II mains cable is seen as Tellurium Q’s entry-level mains product. Next up from this model is the Black, for example.
I remember reviewing the original Blue main cables way back an being impressed. I seem to recall that review was completed for the UK hi-fi national magazine, HiFi World. Hence, I was eager to see if there was any sign of sonic improvements from the new model.
In appearance, you’d be pushed to spot any difference at all. Except for the badge exclaiming Ultra Blue II, that is. As for technical insights? Don’t hold your breath. Don’t forget that Tellurium Q keep their mouths firmly shut on the basis that, as soon as they tell me their secrets, their competitors will soon read about it and, bang, any sonic advantage the company claim will be flushed down a plug hole.
So, on that note, let’s try listening to the things.
I played both Nat ‘King’ Cole’s Autumn Leaves from Best Of…Vol.2 and a selection of tracks from Barclay James Harvest’s Early Morning Onwards.
I began with Cole and immediately noticed one major difference in terms of this new design, it’s focus and, as a by product of that, its control upon the music. A factor that surpassed the original Blue model from the company, in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.
The Cole track featured a bank of strings which can, on some cables, easily come at you like a bank of fog instead, almost a wall of sound and one that glares at you like a car’s headlights on full beam. What the Blue II cables did was to tidy up the overall soundstage, collecting stray frequencies and collating them into a smaller area. In this case, around the stereo image.
So, instead of a mush of strings you suddenly were faced with violins that sound more like violins. This effect was greater when the brass section entered the fray. Before the Blue II cables appeared in my system, the brass could give you a lumpen effect, with little actual detail on show. Lots of effort and noise but little detail. The Blue II cables introduced focus which meant that, instead of a lump of metal, you got to hear actual trumpets and, what was that? Trombones? Hence, the tonal difference between each instrument was greater which made them easier to identify.
Bass, even on this jazz-based orchestral track, was firmer and took a greater part in the mix while the Cole vocal offered significantly more texture. The passing of air over the vocal chords which gave that gentle, rather cultured rasp from Cole’s vocal sustain offered great nuance.
Turning to Barclay James Harvest, I was impressed by the clarity from the percussive rim shots which were sharp and also precise in execution while retaining that essential metallic profile. Vocals were both open and separated from the backing music. The distance between the two allowed the lead vocal to express more emotion. The accompanying organs and synths, meanwhile, had a slightly fragile and wavering presentation. That is, there was enough information reaching the ear to successfully frame that fragility. When a mains cable not only delivers a mains signal but also allows high frequency noise to enter the hi-fi chain, that fragility can be averaged out, the delicacy largely lost. Not here. The effect was transparent indeed.
In its own price point, the Ultra Blue II mains cables are giant killers. I’ve heard more expensive mains cables which occupy that general price bracket which are very capable indeed, more expensive but don’t reach the same sonic heights. In its own price point, the Ultra Blue IIs offer tremendous value for money. That value is backed by both focus and precision and the attendant tonal realism and transparency. If you’re looking for midrange mains cables, start here and work downwards.
TELLURIUM Q ULTRA BLUE II MAINS CABLES Price: £414 per 1.5m Tel: 01458 251997 Website: www.telluriumq.com
GOOD: value for money, focus, tonal realism, balanced presentation
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