Interconnect + speaker cable
+ power cord (cable system)
Tellurium Q BLACK DIAMOND + BLACK DIAMOND + BLACK POWER
Manufacturer: Tellurium Q Ltd
he Black Diamond series is the latest addition to Tellurium Q product lineup. The manufacturer, whose heads come from the pro audio world, thereby offers a really expensive system, contradicting the stereotype that audiophile cable folly is nothing more than idiocy. The fact that the system under review is still relatively inexpensive against some of the audiophile cable stratospheric prices may be a lifeline to Geoff Merrigan and Colin Wonfor to save them from the charge of betraying their pro audio unbelief in cables.
Diamond Black cables have been created in response to requests from the customers who complained that the models from the Graphite series sound too heavy and “fat” in some audio systems, emphasizing the low frequencies. That pushed the two gentlemen to further research and experiments with the configuration and materials used, followed be subsequent auditions. As they write about themselves, they love to take on challenges to learn something new, regardless of anything else that happens.
A few simple words from…
Albums auditioned during this review
After carefully selecting for years my audio system components, cables and accessories in order to hone specific sonic aspects, I have eventually reached a place where I feel happy. It took me many audition hours and even more money. The final effect, however, has more than paid for it. I’m now afraid to change anything in my system, as while I’ve heard better power amplifiers, better CD players, preamps and even speaker cables, each change for the “better” also brought about side changes and it was the kind of “side” that didn’t fully suit me. Hence, although I think about it over and over again, upgrading any of the components is a difficult decision for me, almost a trauma. As a result, my system has been changing pretty slowly, of course taking into account the sheer amount of audio products I deal with. To put this in a proper perspective, let me compare it to the life of creatures, great and small. One of the theories explaining life expectancy claims that every living creature with a heart and circulatory system has a “pre-programmed” number of heartbeats (assuming nothing unexpected happens, like an illness or accident). The classical music lover/audiophile would then be a turtle – a calm, slow moving creature, whose heart does not beat too often. The reviewer such as myself would be more like a hummingbird whose heart beats 500-600 times a minute, with a maximum even up to 1260, which gives him 15 years of life in all. I’m sure that you understand me: my years of auditioning are like “dog” years compared to your “human” years. In the same period, doing tens, perhaps even hundreds of times more listening, and thus changes.
The problems I had to face with assembling my system may be classified into two categories: the problem of sound as such (its quality) and the problem of compatibility. The former is easier to deal with, because a dozen or so auditions and comparisons with what I already have is enough to tell me where I am at. A few control session at Janusz’s allows me even more precisely define the range I refer to. The latter, however, causes no end of problems. Reviewer’s reference system is not only to give pleasure and to listen to music, but also serves as a diagnostic tool. To make it effective and meaningful, it should be compatible with the widest possible range and variety of other audio products. That involves inevitable compromises. It is of course possible to limit its compatibility and to specialize in one type of products. Such choice is mostly rational, as it minimizes these trade-offs. So does Art Dudley from “Stereophile”, focusing on vintage products or those of a similar provenance. So also does Srajan Ebaen of the “6moons.com” fame who favors high sensitivity speakers, preferably with a single full range driver, and who literally loves single-ended solid state amplifiers. I cannot afford such a luxury. Each component of my reference system must be “swappable”, i.e. hooking up any other component I will very likely hear its sound rather than its problems of “fitting” into my system.
No, this is not a fragment of my biography nor is it a review of my reference system. I had to address this problem, however, even if it were to take a large part of the actual review text. Otherwise I would have to devote even more time to explaining the phenomenon of Tellurium Q cables. They partly revealed themselves in my previous mini-review of the Ultra Black speaker cables, but only now did I have a chance to fully look at them in the context of my reference cables.
I found the top end particularly interesting, because while in itself only part of a larger whole and normally not important if not accompanied by something more, like body, texture or weight, it is however key to them all. There was a good deal of treble with the Black Diamond, more than with the reference system, although not as much as with the Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300. Still, that was no brightening to it, not even close. The Tellurium Q simply makes some things, like the cymbals, seem larger and closer to us. An apparently small difference, as the starting point is a strong treble, yet the final point of arrival is completely different. Here we are in full agreement with what’s happening and if that’s the kind of presentation we are looking for (in terms of its type, rather than quality), we will integrate it into something more in our mind.
The comparison of the British cables to the reference cables shows what we have to pay for if we want to get something more. It will be a better sound definition and deeper, more energetic bass. A slightly less exposed treble, but even more resolving and better integrated into the whole presentation. The soundstage will be deeper still. We get all that with the Siltech Double Crown, the Tara Labs Omega Onyx and the Acrolink 7N-PC9500. The price difference, however, is huge; you could even say astronomical. While the Tellurium Q cables are expensive and definitely not low budget, in the world of high-end they are near the entry price level. Their ability to vividly convey the best qualities of electronics, speakers and recordings is as interesting as it is rare. I have so far associated such colorful yet pleasant sounding cables with the weakening of treble and blurring of many annoying sonic features. The Black Diamond and Black Power don’t do that, and they sound refined and simply good, if that word still means anything. Audio journalists, myself included, are guilty of using superlatives too often. We find certain grounds for doing that, as it is part of the process of translating our emotional and intellectual experience into the medium of language. Its side effect is, however, a transition to a higher level of assessment, i.e. losing the sight of basic concepts. We cannot change that as such is the specificity of art evaluation (literature, music, theater, painting, sculpture, applied art and craftsmanship, including audio). For the purposes of this review let’s assume for the moment that it is not so and that this text exists in a vacuum. I will then simply say this: these are good cables that will consolidate any system, bringing out what’s good in it.
The Tellurium Q cables were reviewed as a cable system (set), replacing the corresponding reference cables in the reference system. A separate audition was dedicated to their operation with the Tellurium Q Iridium 20 power amplifier. In the former, the Black Diamond interconnect was used between the CD player and the preamplifier; in the latter it was used to hook up the preamplifier to power amplifier. The Power Black cord was used to supply power to the Ancient Audio Lektor Air V-edition CD player in the former, and to the power amp in the latter. A separate audition involved a system with the Langerton Configuration 217 loudspeakers. The review had a character of an A/B comparison with the A and B known. The music fragments did not exceed 2 minutes, but whole albums were also auditioned.
- Turntable: AVID HIFI Acutus SP [Custom Version]
- Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory ZERO (mono) | Denon DL-103SA, review HERE
- Phono stage: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE
- Compact Disc Player: Ancient Audio AIR V-edition, review HERE
- Multiformat Player: Cambridge Audio Azur 752BD
- Line Preamplifier: Polaris III [Custom Version] + AC Regenerator, regular version review (in Polish) HERE
- Power amplifier: Soulution 710
- Integrated Amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
- Stand mount Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
- Stands for Harbeths: Acoustic Revive Custom Series Loudspeaker Stands
- Real-Sound Processor: SPEC RSP-101/GL
- Integrated Amplifier/Headphone amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
- Headphones: HIFIMAN HE-6, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-300, review HERE | Sennheiser HD800 | AKG K701, review (in Polish) HERE | Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, version 600 - reviews (in Polish): HERE, HERE, HERE
- Headphone Stands: Klutz Design CanCans (x 3), review (in Polish) HERE
- Headphone Cables: Entreq Konstantin 2010/Sennheiser HD800/HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE
- Interconnects: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, review HERE | preamplifier-power amplifier: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
- Loudspeaker Cables: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review (in Polish) HERE
- Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
- Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA
- Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
- Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
- Power Line: fuse – power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m) – wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
- Power Cables: Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, review (in Polish) HERE | Oyaide GPX-R (x 4 ), review HERE
- Power Distributor: Oyaide MTS-4e, review HERE
- Portable Player: HIFIMAN HM-801
- USB Cables: Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SP (1 m) | Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5 m), review HERE
- LAN Cables: Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA (kable ) | RLI-1 (filtry), review HERE
- Router: Liksys WAG320N
- NAS: Synology DS410j/8 TB
- Stolik: SolidBase IV Custom, read HERE/all system
- Anti-vibration Platforms: Acoustic Revive RAF-48H, review HERE/digital sources | Pro Audio Bono [Custom Version]/headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, review HERE | Acoustic Revive RST-38H/loudspeakers under review/stands for loudspeakers under review
- Anti-vibration Feets: Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc/ CD Player/Ayon Polaris II Power Supply /products under review, review HERE | Finite Elemente CeraPuc/ products under review, review HERE | Audio Replas OPT-30HG-SC/PL HR Quartz, review HERE
- Anti-vibration accsories: Audio Replas CNS-7000SZ/power cable, review HERE
- Quartz Isolators: Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4
- FM Radio: Tivoli Audio Model One