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XT5 Mains Cable From QED

QED re-enter the power cable fold with the demure-looking XT5, Paul Rigby reviews

It’s been a while but QED is back in the power cable game with the XT5, a cable that looks very ordinary indeed. Nothing flashy here, just a black plug with a black cable and black adornments. It looks relatively meaty sure but there’s not much else to say in aesthetic terms. 

XT5 Mains Cable From QED

Of course, the business is all happening within as the bespoke X-Tube technology – more familiar in the company’s speaker cable ranges – has been tuned for the XT5. 

XT5 Mains Cable From QED

To keep the noise down, as it where, QED also features a ferrite-impregnated inner jacket.

XT5 Mains Cable From QED

And that’s yer lot, really. It’s a fairly straight-forward, copper-based cable with an external dimeter of 11mm and a few QED fancies within but again, the build is pretty straight forward too. 

So how does it sound?

SOUND QUALITY

I began with prog and the sublime track, Lies from Camel’s Nude, a record that rightly wallows in the progginess of English prog. A heady brew. And before I go on I wanted to pay my respects to a band who would dare to release a record like this in 1981 when most prog bands were being stoned to death on street corners by hoards or rampaging punk vigilantes. Kudos all ‘round.

XT5 Mains Cable From QED

More power to them and more power from the XT5 which infused the soundstage of this track with plenty of air and space. It directly benefitted the guitar of Andy Latimer. His electric lead was able to roam and wander at will and the QED was able to provide the necessary space for him to do just that. 

Latimer enjoyed sustaining his guitar notes, wanting them to fly and glide. The XT5 allowed that to happen.

XT5 Mains Cable From QED

For percussion, the drums were punchy and direct. The foundation to this track was strong while the bass pushed the music forwards at a fair old clip. The momentum of the music was urged forward by the strong bass.

I did feel that the QED added a touch of upper midrange pinching to enhance lead vocal diction but to also add a fine embossing effect to the detail. There was a hint of compression in this area. 

XT5 Mains Cable From QED

Now just let me confirm right now that I’m not saying that the XT5 was bright or edgy at all, in any way. What I am saying is that the mids were lifted a touch to add emphasis to the detail. I’ve heard this effect on album mastering. For example, the first remastering of the Beatles catalogue to CD added a slight midrange emphasis to bring out all of the detail. That’s what QED is doing here with its new power cable. 

XT5 Mains Cable From QED

That is, detail was stressed and accentuated by the QED which which meant that low-end weight wasn’t really there during the Hammond organ solo. Bass was solid but the low frequencies never really played and dwelled in that place. Bass was more hit and run. Percussion did provide more impact though because that area was honed to a tee.

XT5 Mains Cable From QED

You could also hear the effect in the cymbal taps. Treble was excellent here, there was nothing offensive to behold although you could, once more, hear a slight emphasis that encouraged shy detail to emerge from the rear of the mix. This lifting of the upper frequencies was subtle and amounted to a nudge here and there so, although it moved the music away from the balanced and strictly neutral, some listeners might not hear it. Many will enjoy and even prefer the effect. 

I then turned to CD and Geoff Keezer’s jazz outing, Turn up the Quiet and the track, Stompin’ at the Savoy from 1997.  

If anything, the XT5 suited the detail and the upper midrange demands of jazz better than the relatively raucous chaos of rock as individual piano notes were highlighted across this track. Upright bass was tracked too of course, bass was certainly present and abundant but the precision of the bass string plucks were perhaps emphasised over the resonant nature of the after effects. 

The sax was also playful. It fairly skipped and darted as the QED easily kept pace with the explicit and particular nature of the arrangement.  

There was space and air in the soundstage too. Jazz often enjoys the contrast in tempo and tone found when space is integrated in the mix and the QED was able to effectively track those effects with aplomb.

CONCLUSION

It may look a little reserved in its appearance but the QED cable will dig out shy information residing at the back of the mix and offer it to the ear. So you won’t miss a thing with the QED. 

Working well with rock, perhaps even better with jazz and classical, the QED is an effective performer that points out all of the detail on your records and does so with a sense of efficiency and style. 


QED XT5 POWER CABLE

Prices: 1M – £149 ; 2M – £169 & 3M – £199

Website: www.qed.co.uk


GOOD: detail, information retrieval, bass impact, spacious soundstage 

BAD: midrange lift

RATING: 7


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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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6 Comments

  • Reply
    William Hawkins
    10th November 2020 at 1:38 pm

    hi, Paul, thanks for this.

    I remember your review of the Titan Nyx cable, which was also favourable. I am looking for a mains cable for my 6000CDT transport (still loving it!) and, probably, my Heed Abacus dac that you pointed out to me. Which of these mains cables do you think would benefit me most?

    I enjoy mostly classical and jazz/vocal but do also rock out sometimes.

    I am concentrating here on my sources due to budget but will be replacing my amp (Roksan Kandy) mains lead at some stage. Or should I be doing that too now and to hell with the extra cost?

    Many thanks in advance.

    I enjoyed your integrated amp vid, by the way.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      10th November 2020 at 1:56 pm

      Thanks for your kind words William. What’s your budget for the cable?

  • Reply
    William Hawkins
    10th November 2020 at 3:48 pm

    sorry if this is a duplicate reply but I think I fluffed the last one an hour or so ago.
    Thanks for your response anyway.
    Both the Nyx and the QED câbles are a good price for me. However, if you have something else in mind, say, up to £150 and there are significant improvements to be gained, then I am all ears.

    If I do have to decide which I should update first (cd transport, dac or amp) then which one should be first etc?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      10th November 2020 at 3:56 pm

      From the source downwards, William. CD Transport/Turntable/etc, then DAC, amp, etc. Andy, the Nyx is a good’un.

  • Reply
    William Hawkins
    10th November 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Very much appreciated, Paul.
    I’ll let you know how I get on with this.
    Keep up the good work!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      11th November 2020 at 9:45 am

      Thanks William 🙂

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