Manufacturer: TELLURIUM Q Ltd
didn't expect Geoff Merrigan, Tellurium Q's CEO, to offer a new flagship model so quickly after the release of the Ultra Silver. It was/is an excellent cable and it came from a company that has quite a stable portfolio, that does not have to use any and every novelty that comes to the market. They have a reputation to uphold, a reputation based on the scientific approach to designing their cable with a focus on phase distortion. I can only guess that something must have happened that made Tellurium Q release next model shortly after remarkable Silver model.
As usually with Geoff we won't know what that was. Geoff keeps it to himself, as always. I was amazed how much he told me when I prepared my Ultra Silver review – usually he says nothing or he refers to company's website, where one can read a bit about product's philosophy, about how company gets with their products where it does, but without divulging concrete information on materials, technologies, conductor's geometry an so on. OK, one might find out after careful read that mat finish of contact areas turned out to offer lesser performance than a polished one, as the former involves materials that degrade performance (more HERE).
From the letter I received I understood that the name of the new line of Tellurium Q products came rather from the final sonic effect, than from a material these cables were made of. This is a short fragment of this letter:
The Silver “family” is characterized by sound normally attributed to silver cables. […] We initially prepared pure silver connectors and we compared them with connectors having various thicknesses of silver plating. We found out that connectors thickly plated with silver outperformed not only thin-plated, but also pure silver connectors. Based on our experiments, we determined the optimal silver layer thickness that guarantees the best sound. Forgive me, but I will not reveal our findings so as not to make work easier for our competitors… The cables with pure silver connectors just sounded muted and muffled, at least in comparison with the connectors that we have used in the cables that you have got for the test. It is not what experts would expect.
As you can see this cable sports a copper wire heavy silver-plated with silver-plated connectors. What's a difference between Diamond and Ultra – remains unknown.
Recordings used for the test (a selection)
Reference – a key word
‘Reference’ is defined by Słownik języka polskiego (Polish language glossary) as ‘usually an opinion about somebody who applies for a job, informing about one's qualifications, attitude and honesty’. So giving someone a reference means issuing an opinion on him, one assumes it's appreciative one. The word is often used in the same context in technical texts – a reference meaning: recommendable, or simply “the best one”. But one might use also a bit different meaning – in audio we use well known devices/system as reference for other ones we need to assess – reviewer's system, in this context, becomes a “reference system”.
Each reviewer builds his system so that it becomes his “reference” for all other devices/systems that he needs to assess. This gives them a starting point, something to compare reviewed items to. I do realize that we tend to emphasize some differences, exaggerate them to make things easier for Readers to understand. Obviously we need to keep it under control not to get too much out of proportion. And what happens when we compare product A with B, it is not a blind test, A is our reference product and B is under review and we find out that B could easily replace A in our system? That's sort of philosophical question and there is no one “right” answer to that.
What we can do is to try to pint out differences between them – in this particular case to tell you about differences between Tellurium Q Silver Diamond and Tara Labs Omega Onyx speaker cable that I've been using for 5, maybe even 6 years now.
The differences are mostly minor, with one of the cable taking the lead for some of them and the second one for others. The reviewed cable is the only one, except for two top Siltech models, Double and Triple Crown, that I could replace my Tara Labs with and, while realizing that in some aspects it offers slightly worse performance, still be happy due to those aspect where it outperforms my cables.
Silver Diamond delivers an amazingly rich, dense sound. Obviously these two features are attributes of all Tellurium Q cables I know, but obviously to a different extend. I think that with this cable focus on these sound features really came to a full fruition. OK, I can't know whether this is IT, whether this is Geoff's the last word in these aspects. It is possible that he will surprise us some day with an even better product. Let's not forget that for some time Tellurium Q believed that they wouldn't be able to offer even better products than Silver line… But they obviously managed to achieve that and what we get is an incredibly rich, full, natural sound.
Anyway – richness and fullness of the sound, two wonderful features of my Tara Labs cable are what I lack mostly when reviewing other cables. And even if some of them can offer that it comes at a cost of speed, resolution or dynamics. There are many cables that render beautiful, palpable phantom images and wonderful timbre. But they have problems with dynamics, with soundstage – they bring presentation closer, too close to the listener taking part of phantom images bodies and loosing part of soundstage depth.
Silver Diamond does a fabulous job presenting large, palpable vocal and the accompanying acoustics. When it comes to a recording “massacred” by a producer, who compressed sound, brought closer to listener everything presented in the depth of the soundstage, a good system with these cables will show us that quite precisely. But, as any other high quality, refined product, it will also show us what exactly happened, and what this producer intended to achieve in this way. In other words it will do both – show the intention of music's producer and the means he used to achieve it. That translates into the full musical spectacle that includes all the elements: sound, techniques used in its production, and the result – the music.
It is even easier to achieve as Tellurium Q’s cables never show any harshness in an upper midrange (nor in treble in result). It is important, because at the same time sound is very resolving and very well differentiated. Each recording has its own character, its own “climate” - not only the one related to the music itself, but also to its recording/mastering/production, and even particular release. And yet it is also a very open sound. Tellurium Q never tries to show a nicer version of the recorded sound, no rounding or smoothing of the sound, no “soft” edges and so on. The upper treble is vibrant, crisp, and that's where Siltech and Tare Labs are able to show even more information, something of an “aura”, but the differences are really, really small. Tellurium Q was the only speaker cable I knew that could compete in this aspect with the best performing cables.
I couldn't detect any shifts in tonal balance – sound always seemed “normal”, meaning the way I expected it to. I think that most people when comparing it with other cables will find its sound bit richer than with others, like it adds some weight to the sound. I also thought so at the beginning and spend a considerable amount of time listening to recordings where any sort of coloration would have been obvious and unwanted – I mean ones with vocals and piano. And I found out that Silver Diamond added absolutely nothing. It was all about natural richness and density of the sound, and about above average number of information delivered in bass range. It might sound “richer” than other cables simply because these others are not able to deliver comparable richness and as much information as Tellurium Q can. Not even my Tara Labs, although it comes really close.
Everything that happens in front of us is perceived as presented a bit closer to us, like these elements carried a bit more energy than the others. There is a lot of energy throughout the whole range but there is also an impression of a full control of everything that is happening. What we get is a well controlled presentation with a lot going on within but that is also very coherent. It's like the way music is supposed to sound comes from the recording and the system, but Tellurium Q cables are there to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Comparison with the best cables I know, Tara Labs Omega and Siltech Triple Crown clearly proved that Silver Diamond is a remarkable product. Both Tara and Siltech deliver bit more information about acoustics of the instruments, about musicians' technique. These are tiny differences showing us that these cables are slightly more resolving. On top of that Siltech Triple Crown adds something I haven't heard with any other cable – and absolute inner-calm and top refinement. Tara offers slightly better dynamics and resolution.
Treated as it is, without any comparisons Silver Diamond speaker cable will delight every music lover, every seeker of a remarkable sound. It offers everything one might expect from a highest quality cable. Dense, rich sound, resolution and selectivity and outstanding bass range. Soundstage has great depth which allows recording made in such a way that sound surrounds listener, like the ones by Waters and Kortez – to sound spectacular. Since we are talking about a company with “technical profile”, that treats expensive products with a large dosage of distrust, such a great performing cable should not have happened. And yet – here it is. RED Fingerprint.
Due to their design Tellurium Q cables are pretty stiff. Since inside there are two thick runs of conductor separated with a dielectric this cable bends only in one direction. If there is no other choice it might be easier to twist this cable rather than bend it.
Silver Diamond has this very solid look. It sports a classic, black sleeve with aluminum elements “closing” the opening where two wires come out of the sleeve. These cables come with solid silver-plated banana plugs. One might order them with silver-plated spades too. It's internal design makes it a bi-wire cable but it can be ordered with single connectors.
Cables come is a cartoon, lacquered box – it looks nice but it is obviously only a necessity and not an element that would create an additional value for this product. With cables comes a bonus – A system enhancement CD.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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