Cable Review

Voodoo Cables: Enchanting or a Curse?

Coming to grips with a host of cables types, Paul Rigby reviews a wide range of power, interconnect and speaker cables from Voodoo

Based in Oakland, California, Voodoo is proud of the fact that it doesn’t just produce cables off pre-packed reels of wire and then shove them out of the door. The company proclaims that it gets its hands dirty. Whether that be utilising its own The Cold Fusion cryogenic process or messing about with metallurgy.

Voodoo Cables: Enchanting or a Curse?

I was fortunate to grab a host of cable types from the company to test. They included the Voodoo Dynasty Power Powercord. This hand-built power cable arrives with cryogenically-treated Rhodium-plated Tellurium copper PowerPhase IEC connectors and AC plug. Each of the 8 AWG high-purity Cryo-Alloy conductors is wound in a proprietary geometric design. Each strand within the lay of the conductors is individually insulated with velocity-matched Teflon dielectrics. The Dynasty Power includes a heavy-gauge copper braid shield while the cable body is sheathed with double layers of abrasion-resistant mesh sleeves then treated cryogenically in the company’s custom cold fusion deep-immersion process at -315 degrees Fahrenheit (-192 C) to structurally align and fuse the metallurgical molecular structure of the conductive metals.

 

Voodoo Cables: Enchanting or a Curse?

The Voodoo Dynasty Digital power cable is built with cryogenically treated Rhodium-plated Tellurium copper PowerPhase IEC connectors and AC plug. Teflon insulation is again used along with dielectric insulation to suppress AC noise caused by micro-arcing within the individual strands of the conductors. Heavy-gauge copper braid shielding is present along with that cryogenic process.

Voodoo Cables: Enchanting or a Curse?

…although I reviewed the RCA-termination version

The Voodoo Stradivarius Amati interconnect is handcrafted with signal conductors made of continuous cast pure silver litz wire and solid-core single-crystal silver and copper that have been cryogenically treated. Each conductor is encapsulated in oil-impregnated silk with an air-core Teflon dielectric. The conductors feature a concentric shield of silver-plated copper braid. Termination arrives via cryogenically treated WBT 0152 Ag pure silver RCA connectors. Each pair of Stradivarius Amati interconnects have a unique serial number with a Manufacturer’s Certification of Authenticity.

The Voodoo Stradivarius Amati Edition Speaker Cable provides a 6 AWG conductor geometry constructed with seven discrete conductor groups of high-purity Cryo-Alloy conductors made of continuous cast pure silver and copper conductors. Each conductor group is encapsulated in ISO-grade Teflon air-core dielectric. Cryogenic treatment is featured along with a concentric active silver-plated copper braid shield.

Voodoo Cables: Enchanting or a Curse?

Which is great and rather lovely. I do have one issue with the Voodoo cables, though, the power and speaker cables especially (the interconnects tend to suffer less from the problem). That is their sheer girth. Now the company will say that it does this to reduce the influence of harmful veiling noise and that’s admirable. I understand that the size of the cables reflect the design philosophy and that is an admirable thing. Nevertheless, in aesthetic terms, they look like a cross between a practical joke Surprise Snake in a can and a outlet tube for a spin dryer. That they are cumbersome in practical terms is an understatement. At times, I had to actually wrestle with the power cable when attaching it to my phono amplifier. We’ll get to the sound quality in a moment – which will hopefully balance the design issue, as promised by the company in its design papers – but you will need to be aware of the unwieldy nature of the cables. 

Hi-Fi users with a surfeit of testosterone, though, will love them and will no doubt sling them around their necks, like some audiophile scarf, as they exceed 100mph up lonely country lanes on their Harleys. 

If ever a hi-fi accessory could be banned from the Olympics for suspected steroid use, it would be Voodoo’s cables. But enough about the brawn, what do they sound like?

SOUND QUALITY

DYNASTY POWER POWERCORD POWER CABLE

I decided to go for the most expensive power cable of the two for my initial sound test and began with David Bowie’s Low (1977) and the track Breaking Glass and noticed how the Dynasty Power (DP) cables delivers music to the ear. In fact, ‘deliver’ is an apt word to use because the music appears closer to you. The presentation is involving and personal. This up close aspect of the DPs does reduce focus and precision a touch. After all, it’s only when you have a measure of distance from a subject that an overall picture can be easily attained. It’s such harder to retain focus when you’re in the middle of things. Hence, there may be a reduction of precision but their is an increase in emotion and passion from the DPs. These cables reveal a spirit and intensity that draws you into the spirit of the music. More than that, on a soundstage level, the instruments seem to be bigger and bolder. I was impressed by the sheer solidity of the lead guitar on this track. The sound seemed to be emerging from a wooden body when the DPs were engaged. 

Voodoo Cables: Enchanting or a Curse?

I moved to Don Cornell on CD and Heart of My Heart, a sort of honky tonk pop outing. The DP added real gusto in this track with the very twangy lead guitar powering through the song with genuine electricity, bristling all around it while Cornell appeared to deliver his words with a swinging punch, a big smile and an obvious, generous wink. Nevertheless, the DPs retained sonic discipline, so the ‘echo’ attached to the lead vocal was never out of control. The vocal was never swamped by this EQ effect. 

CONCLUSION

The Dynasty Power is the power cable Spinal Tap use – it’s a cable that turns the experience up to 11. Some might dislike the ‘in yer face’ attitude of the cables and others may yearn for just a bit more detail in the upper mids but others will like the mixture of emotion and passion that delivers music with real feeling. This is a power cable that gives its all.


DYNASTY POWER POWERCORD POWER CABLE

Price: £1,350 for 1.5m

Web: www.mackenziehifi.com

Tel: 07905 362545


Good: passionate delivery, sonic discipline, midrange solidity, engaging mids

Bad: physical girth, price, midrange extension 

RATING: 7


DYNASTY DIGITAL POWERCORD CABLE

I continued with the Bowie track for this lower cost power cable design and was intrigued to hear the slightly more restrained nature of the Dynasty Digital flavour of power cable when compared to the energetic Power variety. The Dynasty Digital is, if anything, the balanced power cable of the two (in terms of its sonic presentation, that is). On the Bowie track, the drums and lead guitar were pulled back a little into the mix, the opposite of the Dynasty Power version, with Bowie’s lead vocal being the dominant fixture here. 

The percussion, while still detailed, was a touch softer and if anything more organic in its personality. Yes, you do not feel as engaged with the musical presentation, less involved maybe but the music does appear to relax a tad. The Digital Powercord cable doesn’t feel it has to try as hard as the Dynasty Power.

Voodoo Cables: Enchanting or a Curse?

I moved to Don Cornell on CD and Heart of My Heart and found a similar situation here too with the Cornell vocal not quite as gung ho or emotionally wound up. His delivery was rather more melodic and tuneful. That is, he seemed to be concentrating rather more on singing than performing while the backing instruments took a moment to breathe and take a view on the song in hand, enjoying the experience rather than motoring along.

CONCLUSION

A more restrained performance from this Dynasty Digital cable provides a well-rounded sonic delivery for this price point.


DYNASTY DIGITAL POWERCORD CABLE

Price: £850 for 1m

Web: www.mackenziehifi.com

Tel: 07905 362545


GOOD: neutral presentation, balanced soundstage, relaxed delivery 

BAD: physical girth

RATING: 8


STRADIVARIUS AMATI INTERCONNECT

This interconnect is the one product reviewed here that doesn’t suffer from a wide girth and is, thus, rather more forgiving in terms of placement. 

Playing the Bowie track, I was impressed initially with the overall balance of the cable. There was no nasty element to the presentation in terms of upper and lower frequencies, no area of the sonic spectrum behaving badly. The Amati did the job and did it without rancour with percussion being organic in nature while the lead vocal had an emotive sense. The fact that the vocal provided a sensitivity in its delivery allowed the ear to be drawn into the performance. 

There was, at the extreme end of the upper midrange, a slight lack of focus here which reminded me of the easy going nature of the Dynasty Digital power cable. Where that sound signature is forgivable at that price point, that was not really the case at this high price level for an interconnect. The restriction of definition was only slight and it mostly occurred around the bass guitar on this track but it was there. I wanted a touch of precision here so that I could hear the bass guitar string being plucked but the Amati insisted on offering soft edges instead which diffused the effect. 

Voodoo Cables: Enchanting or a Curse?

This slight lack of insight around the soundstage was the only issue I had with the sound which, in more general terms was very approachable, laid back and easy going with no immediate vices. The soundstage was open with no threat of listening fatigue.

Turning to Don Cornell on CD, this vintage recording was handed very well by the Amati with Cornell’s voice being controlled yet the detail of his delivery was translated perfectly. The notable echo cheer-infused EQ that sat around his voice was interpreted with aplomb. The backing singers offered a delightful clarity while the often aggressive and rather twangy lead guitar was corralled into a more listenable fashion. 

CONCLUSION

A touch more definition and detail would have been welcome. I would have liked these cables to have worked harder for the money but the Amati remains a nicely configured interconnect with a quite care-free and calming approach to music.


STRADIVARIUS AMATI INTERCONNECT

Price: £2,000 for 1m

Web: www.mackenziehifi.com

Tel: 07905 362545


GOOD: balanced delivery, neutral presentation, easy going mids

BAD: lacks definition, price, midrange extension 

RATING: 7


STRADIVARIUS AMATI SPEAKER CABLES

Playing Bowie again, I noticed that the Amati speaker cables appeared to retain a similar sound signature to the Digital Power power cables. That is, an imminently engaging, right in your face, up close and personal, join-right-in-folks-and-dance-along-type of approach.

Voodoo Cables: Enchanting or a Curse?

Because of this, as in the Power cable, there was a restriction of focus which meant that certain elements of the sound was not translated successfully. This was especially noticeable in both the bass guitar and the gated drum effect which was slightly blown.

Bass had a tendency to bloom just a tad during crescendos but just a touch, nothing destructive. The effect provided a personal touch, adding excitement and engagement to the performance and giving the impression that the music was being played in the room itself. 

Voodoo Cables: Enchanting or a Curse?

As with the other cables in this series, when I played the older recording, Don Cornell on CD and Heart of My Heart, which has series of unruly frequencies that can cause a measure of midrange stridency, the speaker cables did maintain general discipline over the soundstage (except for that bass extreme), keeping control of any thuggish frequencies and allowing the music to flow without undue damage. In that respect, the Voodoo cables are perfect for a hi-fi chain that has sonic edges and bright areas. 

CONCLUSION

There seems to be a theme within these cables and a restriction of precision is at the core of all of them. Some of these cables push the signal a tad to add excitement while others pull that signal back a little bit to promote a more relaxed and easy going reference. That plus or minus emphasis it shifted just slightly before and after a base line that runs as a sonic reference through all of the Voodoo cables. The underlying personality of these cables is basically the same with a generally neutral sonic performance that is both easy to listen to and generally entertaining. If you do purchase any of the above Voodoo cables, you might not be thrilled but you’ll never be disappointed and listening fatigue will never bother you. They provide a welcome neutrality that allows the music to speak for itself.


STRADIVARIUS AMATI SPEAKER CABLES

Price: £3,400 for 3m

Web: www.mackenziehifi.com

Tel: 07905 362545


GOOD: balanced delivery, neutral presentation, easy going mids

BAD: physical girth, price, slight bass bloom

RATING: 7


[Don’t forget to check out my Facebook Group, The Audiophile Man: Hi-Fi & Music here: www.facebook.com/groups/theaudiophileman for exclusive postings, exclusive editorial and more!]

REFERENCE

Origin Live Sovereign turntable

Origin Live Enterprise 12″ arm

Van Den Hul Crimson XGW Stradivarius Cartridge

Koetsu Black cartridge

Icon PS3 phono amplifier

Aesthetix Calypso pre-amp

Icon Audio MB845 Mk.II monoblock amplifiers

Quad ESL-57 speakers with One Thing upgrade

Vertex AQ, Gekko, Black Rhodium & Tellurium Q cable

Blue Horizon Professional Rack System

Harmonic Resolution Systems Noise Reduction Components

CAD GC1 Ground Controls

All vinyl was cleaned using an Audio Desk’s Ultrasonic Pro Vinyl Cleaner

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    peter jasz
    2nd September 2018 at 8:41 am

    VOODOO CABLES: ENCHANTING OR A CURSE? .

    Voodoo (YES) Enchanting (FOR SOME) or a Curse? (DEFINITELY).
    WOW.

    pj

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