Cable Review

Ultra Blue II Speaker Cables From Tellurium Q

Looking to upgrade your budget speaker cables? Paul Rigby reviews a possible contender, the latest version of the Ultra Blue IIs

Tellurium Q has a range of speakers cables out and about, nowadays and all colour-coded and tweaked. 

As ever with the company, they keep tight lipped in terms of technical details but that’s ok. It’s the sound quality I’m really interested in, to be honest. 

These Ultra Blue II speaker cables sit just above the Blue II cables but just underneath the Black II designs in the company’s expanding speaker cable range. 

That’s reflected in terms of price, of course. If, indeed, you have a lower-priced suite of cables, let’s say you have something between £0 and £100, then the Ultra Blue II designs are an obvious possibility for those looking to upgrade. 

Should you? Let’s find out.

SOUND QUALITY

I began the sound tests with Ennio Morricone’s orchestral soundtrack on the Cinevox, Metti, One Sera a Cena.

I wanted to hear just what you’re paying for here. The difference from a budget-level design to the next rung up the ladder should be a noticeable one so I drafted in my QED 40i speaker cables which can be had for around £90 or so for three meters from Amazon. So, roughly half the price of the Ultra Blue II designs then. 

Of course, the Ultra Blue II cables should be superior but were they and, if so, by how much? The QEDs offer great value for the price. 

Comparing the two was instructive. What I heard from the Ultra Blue II cables that I didn’t get from the QEDs was a sense of maturity. A rich palette of tones. A depth of detail. 

What really got me here was a sonic element that you tend not to really notice on this track. That is, what struck first was something I normally couldn’t hear too much from he QEDs. That was bass. 

Ultra Blue II Speaker Cables From Tellurium Q

This is an orchestral track, not hard-core techno. Bass is a supporting player and not the star of the show. Yet it’s critical to the entire show because it provides a bedrock that the mids and treble lay upon. Done well, bass on this track thickens the sound. Like a good gravy. 

So while bass never dominated via the Ultra Blue IIs, what it did was add extra bulk and a rich layer that swelled underneath the music. This added a sense of body to the music as a whole. A body that was largely absent from the QEDs. Perfectly understandable because of the QED’s price point. This is the sort of thing you’re paying here. You’re paying for the right to use the Ultra Blue II cables. 

What the Ultra Blue IIs do is, in many ways, what the Audiolab 6000A does for amplifiers. Adding bass to balance and the sound, integrating bass neatly into the music while never allowing it to dominant or become an independent force. Bass adds a ‘sense’ of power here. 

The mids and treble also felt richer here. The amount of new detail though was the most significant aspect of their presentation. The guitar strums added new detail. Again, there was a rich depth here. An insight to the resonance created by the guitar body. A sense that this instrument was more than a set of strings, there was wood and metal around them. 

Ultra Blue II Speaker Cables From Tellurium Q

I was also interested to hear the control in the upper mids and treble. Both the triangle and guitar during high-note plucks verged on the edgy via the QEDs but the Ultra Blue IIs added width and depth to these areas which meant that any edgy feeling receded, reducing listening fatigue. Dynamic reach also appeared to be extended, something that was noticeable during the ride cymbal sequence. 

Vocals were infused with emotion. The wordless lead vocal exhibited little vocal catches that hinted at unspoken sensations. The Ultra Blue II cable’s focus and precision helped to reveal this area. 

I then plugged in a pair of similarly-priced cables, the Python IIs from TCI and continued listening to the Ennio Morricone LP.

What the Ultra Blue II cables did here was to open up the midrange offering a massive amount of new detail into the soundstage. Remember that bit at the beginning of Sound of Music? Julie Andrews twirling around like the good’un on top of that mountain and even managing not to get dizzy and fall over? That sense of uplift and joy? That’s what the Ultra Blue II cables give you. They are full of air and space. Full of emotion in the upper areas of the soundstage. There is a real sparkle from these cables that drags you deep into the music itself. That is, the music tends to connect with you very easily from the Ultra Blue II cables. 

Ultra Blue II Speaker Cables From Tellurium Q

Bass too manages to separate itself from the rest of the frequencies. It never becomes dull or lacking in form. The Ultra Blue II cables give bass a sense of solidity but they also push that frequency away from the mids and treble. It never gets too close so there is a sense that ok, there’s the drums. Then there’s a space. Then there’s a guitar. That doesn’t always happen in cabling. Especially at this price where bass can become an amorphous blob, stuck to the mids like Blu-tack and just as sticky. 

So do the Ultra Blue II cables provide value at this price point? Absolutely, yes. 

But why buy the new Ultra Blue II cables when you might be able to get a good deal on a pack of second-hand Ultra Blue I cables? Wouldn’t that be the best of both worlds? Well look, if you can get yourself a good deal on a pair of Ultra Blue I cables then sure, go for it. They are fine cables.

In fact, I brought in a pair and did an A-B. A face off between the Ultra Blue I and Ultra Blue II cables, just to see what the comparison offered. 

I thought the originals provided an equally impressive bass. Great support, excellent separation from the rest of the soundstage. A sense of strength and solidity and a fine momentum during the musical sequences that kept uptake pace. 

Ultra Blue II Speaker Cables From Tellurium Q

What the Ultra Blue I cables couldn’t handle though was the dynamic range. The new Ultra Blue II cables seem move use on further, extracting impressive amounts of newly found information. That is, where the Ultra Blue I cables topped in terms of detail extraction, the Ultra Blue II cables kept going. Again, the Ultra Blue II had that inherent sparkle in its delivery. An extra zip and flourish. Greater finesse, if you like. 

That was down to the newly found detail that added character to the brass section body to the bank of strings and a rich nature to the backing harmonies.  Frankly I just enjoyed listening to the Ultra Blue II cables more than the Ultra Blue I cables. Simple as that, really. 

I then flipped to rock and a CD version of Thin Lizzy’s We Will Be Strong from the LP, Chinatown. What really hit me here – amongst the raucous noise – was the detail from the steaming acoustic guitar. It was never drowned by the thumping percussion, strong bass guitar or wailing lead guitar (a Snowy White presentation, on this LP). The acoustic was almost delicate. Fragile even. Yet the acoustic guitar was wholly present. Never masked, its detail was on show for all to hear. 

Around this particular highlight, the Phil Lynott vocal was infused with silky portent. Full of threat that ran alongside his trademark precision. He knew how to hit the letter ’t’ at the end of a lyric sentence, for example, and these cables where right there because of their inherent precision and focus. So the lead vocal never felt fuzzy or muffled, it was right on point.  

Despite their technical prowess, these cables also know how to party. This rocking LP demands body movement and the Ultra Blue II cables certainly encourage the odd hip flick and head nod. 

So I partook in a smidgeon of that. Within reason that is. Nothing too flamboyant. I am English after all <lifts chin towards the sun>.

CONCLUSION

It’s all very well spending lots of cash on hi-fi boxes but that doesn’t always produce better sound. Sometimes the outlay does enhance the sound but not nearly by much or in the right areas. The support components allow the main components to fly. If they are not good enough though, they will drag your hi-fi back.

There’s nothing to worry about here with the Telurium Q Ultra Blue II cables. They not only give you a solid sonic upgrade from sub-£100 cables but they perform wonderfully in its own price point and show the original Ultra Blue I model a clean pair of heels, for example. 

Frankly, if you’re ready to take the plunge and move up from your sub-£100 speaker cables to around £200 then the Ultra Blue II cables should be first on your demo list. They are, in a word, superb. 


TELLURIUM Q ULTRA BLUE II SPEAKER CABLES

Price: £198 for 3m

Tel: 01458 251997

Website: www.telluriumq.com 


GOOD: open and airy mids, strong organic bass, treble finesse, broad soundstage, low noise

BAD: nothing

RATING: 9


[Don’t forget to check out my new Patreon Page at www.patreon.com/audiophileman, for exclusive postings, giveaways and more!]

REFERENCE

Pro-Ject RPM 3 turntable

Funk Firm Little Super Deck

Audiolab 6000A amplifier

Trichord Dino phono amplifier

Spendor A1 speakers

Tellurium Q cabling

Blue Horizon Professional Rack System

Harmonic Resolution Systems Noise Reduction Components

Air Audio AC-2K Balanced Transformer

Russ Andrews RF Router Mk.II

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Richard Pike
    24th July 2021 at 11:41 am

    Hi Paul, There are many who are sceptical about subjective tests of cables ,amps etc as everyone’s hearing Is different and of course age of the listener comes into play as well. To counter this Is there a way to test various cables ( level matching is an important factor) to see whether the signal inputted is the same as the output signal from a cable? Ideally you don’t want cables distorting ( colouring) the original sound as if someone has a sonic preference wouldn’t a graphic equaliser be a better option as it may need to be adjusted for different recordings.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      24th July 2021 at 12:07 pm

      Hi Richard – to me, the very subjective nature of sound in terms of one’s hearing that you mention, is the very point of this site and my core philosophy towards the entire hobby. It’s why I recommend listening before you buy. It’s why I dislike machine testing in reviews, why tests based on the same are always suspect, never tell you the whole story and are irrelevant to you as an individual and why I note that my reviews/advice can only ever be a guide. Part of a larger portfolio of your research (at least I hope so). No more than that. So no. In a word, no. So don’t “counter” it. Embrace it. HiFi and music itself is a subjective topic. Not objective. It’s emotional. Not logical. That’s my view. That’s my stand point and that’s what you get from me and my scribblings. 🙂

  • Reply
    Dermot
    24th July 2021 at 3:16 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Your reply to Richard above is spot on. I too tried to do some ‘countering’ with an equaliser, albeit a properly designed transparent type. While it worked extremely well I felt after a while that it just killed the whole subjective Magic of listening to music. So I removed it from the system. Needless to say the emotional Magic returned. It’s something you just cannot explain in logical terms to anyone musically inclined. So I embraced it and kept my mouth shut until now. Thank God there are people like you out there who understand. I’m not crazy after all 😱

    Now to my response to your wonderful review:
    I currently use a pair of Titan Audio Styx’s in my valve/tt/vintage transmission speaker system. Upgraded from Atlas Hyper 2.5’s which I still use in my other system. Would upgrading to the Ultra Blue II only be a sideways step? Also the company’s statement below has me slightly worried as I would consider my system as slightly on the ‘warm’ side. To me your review says otherwise. Please enlighten me 😊

    Blue Family
    “Warm and forgiving for systems with a slight edge or for those who like a more smooth laid back presentation. Blue and Ultra Blue are especially good for AV and home cinema.”

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      26th July 2021 at 1:46 pm

      Thanks Dermot 🙂 As for the cables, the Titans are excellent for the cash. I’d look at the TQ Black II cables for a worthwhile upgrade I reckon: https://theaudiophileman.com/black-ii/
      And ignore what Tellurium Q say about those cables. They don’t know what they’re talking about. They only made them 🙂

      • Reply
        Dermot
        2nd August 2021 at 12:39 pm

        Thanks Paul! Appreciate your advice and humour 😊

  • Reply
    Alex.
    25th July 2021 at 7:55 pm

    Hi Paul ,
    I’m one of those who bought the Tellurium Ultra Blues for €100, – on eBay and I do not regret it at all. Of course, a comparison between the old Ultra Blue and the second generation would be interessting, but where does one stop grading up, especially beginners?!
    What in five years time, when the Ultra Blue III hit the market and outperform the “old” two’s?

    Alex

  • Reply
    Nikos
    18th September 2021 at 9:27 pm

    Hello Paul,
    There are no too many reviews available about ultra blue ii and due to your English “nature” 🙂 I waa a little bit sceptical at the beginning. Although, the way you ‘ve presented this cable-product was one of the reasons to exceed my budget and buy it. Everything you’ve described is true. This cable is outstanding for my budget System (rega brio, dali spektor 2). I’m convinced now that a good cable is without doubt an important chain in a hifi, and ultra ii is a really good cable! Thanks and greetings from Greece!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      19th September 2021 at 12:49 pm

      Ahh, that ‘English nature’ of mine will be the death of me, Nikos 🙂 Many thanks for your feedback, much appreciated. Beautiful country too.

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