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Loudspeaker cables

Prizes (in Norwegian crowns):
8400 NOK/2 m (about 1100 EUR)
16 000 NOK/2 m (about 2100 EUR)
29 000 NOK/2 m (about 3800 EUR)

Manufacturer: Skogrand Cables SC

Knut P. Skogrand


Country of origin: Norway

Text: Wojciech Pacuła
Photographs: Wojciech Pacuła
Translation: Krzysztof Kalinkowski

In the introduction to the description of his cables, the owner of the company Skogrand Cables SC, Mr. Knut P. Skogrand (at the same time we have resolved the mystery of the company name) writes:
“We use the absolute purest Single Core Crystal (SCC) and Ultra Pure Ohno Continuous Cast (UP-OCC) Copper.”

And then:

“Our cable build is one of a kind. We have developed unique frameworks for our solid core speaker cable leads that lets them float almost completely in air - hence the SC Air name. The leads connect with the framework materials - respectively virgin Teflon and 100% pure silk (Centaurus A and Markarian 421) - for less than 1% throughout the cable length.”

Strong words and a lot of self-confidence. However Knut seems to know, what he is talking about – this is backed up with very good reviews of his cables and testified by many satisfied clients.

We received three cables for testing, except for the cheapest Air Intro: SC Air, SC Air Centaurus A and the top SC Air Markarian 421. I asked for this set to see how the sound changes when moving stepwise up the cable ladder – they have quite similar setup and are based on exactly the same conductor – ultra pure copper made in the UP-OCC copper, cast in a special process (instead of stretching), due to which the unique crystalline structure of the metal is set. Instead of many small crystals we have singular, ultra-long crystals.
Those three cables differ by some details. Both runs of the cheaper cables are led together – the hot and cold wire are twisted together, while in the more expensive models the runs are separated, in their own tubes, connected with a common external coating. On the whole length of the cable there are elements from balsa wood, which operate like a damper. The ends are coated with heat shrink tubes, not the ordinary ones, but made from polyolefin (a kind of polymer) highly valued by, for example, Acrolink. The banana plugs are gold plated, with low amount of metal, short sleeved ones. The two cheaper cables are covered with a PTE mesh, while the most expensive one with a special, semi-transparent tube containing silk – the company calls it “Pure Silk Brocade Cable Sleeve”
The company page describes the mechanical and electrical properties of balsa wood and pure Teflon (“virgin PTFE”). 99% of those descriptions is not understandable for me, and almost nothing is usable – I am not a chemist or physicist… But maybe you have more to tell about that.
It is worth mentioning, that the cables come in beautiful casings – plastic, hermetically closed. This is how every high-end product should be packaged and sold!!!
On 07-12-2011 the exchange rate to Polish zloty is 0.5797 and for example 29000 Norwegian crowns is 16811.30 Polish zlotys. On the manufacturers web page there is also a currency converter – Polish zloty is included there. Please remember to add customs fees and transportation costs to the price.


A selection of recordings used in the test:

  • Cold Cave, Cherish The Light Years, Matador Records/Hostess, O:E9212J, CD (2011).
  • David Sylvian, Sleepwalkers, P-Vine Records, PVCP-8790, CD (2011).
  • Dinah Washington, After Hours With Miss “D”, EmArcy/Verve, Verve Master Edition, 760562, CD (2004).
  • Jean Michel Jarre, Téo&Téa, Aero Productions/Warner Bros, 2564699766, CD+DVD (2007).
  • Marilyn Moore, Moody Marilyn Moore, Bethlehem/JVC, VICJ-61467, mini LP, K2HD CD (2007).
  • Melody Gardot, My One And Only Thrill, Verve/Universal, 1796783, CD (2009).
  • Miles Davis, Seven Steps To Heaven, Columbia/Sony Music/Analogue Productions, CAPJ-8851, SACD/CD (2010).
  • Nosowska, 8, Supersam Music, SM 01, CD (2011);
  • Radiohead, The King of Limbs, Ticker Tape Ltd., TICK-001CDJ, Blu-spec CD (2011).
  • Wes Montgomery & Wynton Kelly Trio, Smokin’ at the Half Note, Verve, 2103476, Verve Master Edition, CD (2005).

Japanese versions of the discs are available on CD Japan.

SC Air Markarian 421
One of the most popular way of creating an audio system is matching the individual components in such a way, that one component corrects the flaws, or unwanted characteristics, of the others. For example – we have expressive, slightly bright loudspeakers – to temper their character we use a rather warm, but for sure not analytical amplifier and a neutral sound source. Eventual corrections are done using cables. This makes sense and is successful. But only until a certain level. Because when we go to the level, we call high-end, this method does not work anymore. In high-end nothing can be “improved” by another element in the sound path, we can only worsen things. In every good system each component supports the others, harmonizes with them and allows them to present their assets.
This is the reason, that each time I am testing loudspeaker cables I bow before the people from Tara Labs – the cable used by me, Omega Onyx, shows each time, what a cable should, and what it shouldn’t do. I am not telling that this is the best cable in the world – this is not about that. There is nothing like “being the best” – there can only be a “high class”, and the rest depends on the preferences and the used audio system. But I tell you, that this is an incredibly universal cable, one of the best I know, and for sure the best I had in my system. Even the top Acrolink did not sound so well, so neutral (in the best meaning of the word).
This is the reason, that I was highly interested in what the SC AIR Markarian 421 did to my system. Its timbre is very close to the Tara Labs, it sounds with a full bodied sound, with saturation of all subranges, without sharpening of anything. Its character is slightly soft and dynamically tempered, but this does not influence the perception of what is happening in front of us, in contrast of what we could have expected. Its most characteristic elements are the silky treble and slight favoring of the reverb of the sound – especially in the mid- and lower octaves. This results in the impression of the mentioned softness, but also of a large volume of the sound. There is no trace of dryness, but we also cannot talk about any surplus.

Tempering of dynamics is a part of the reverberation process – the attack is not punctual, hard but also not softened. It is just that the attention of the listener is concentrated on that what is behind the attack, on the body and the “tail”.
This is very nicely audible with live recordings, like with the disc Smokin’ at The Half Note Wes Montgomery, where the guitar, as well as the rhythmical section of the Wynton Kelly Trio had lots of air behind them, it was also not flat (vividness!). But this was more than only vividness – more than just the shapes, nice transitions between the instruments and their inter-communication. I had all that with the Norvegian cable, but this was also accompanied by the natural acoustics of the event. Live recordings showed that best, but also studio recordings, like the voice of David Sylvian from Sleepwalkers, or Dinah Washington from the monophonic disc After Hours With Miss D, especially the instruments accompanying her were natural, alive and breathing. The last from the discs I mentioned showed also that, what I was talking about in the beginning: the treble with this cable is very silky and slightly withdrawn. This does not lead to darkening of the sound, this is not about that – we just get something like a delicate “pillow” before the “pins” of the recording.
I mentioned also large volume – this is something what happens, when the lower midrange and bass are strong and full. And this is the case here. Yet the lower bass is slightly rolled, it does not reach that low and with such dynamics as with my Tara. This can be heard best with electronics – Jarre, Radiohead, Nosowska and Sylvian. Nevertheless I cannot deny the impression, that the Norwegian cable does something “good” in my system, also on the bass. It is just coherent – something that is usually lacking. The exchange of the Tara Labs Omega Onyx to this cable did not hurt. The modification of the sound was minimal, despite the audibility of everything I just described. Taking into account the colossal difference in price, I have to bow before the constructor of this cable.

SC Air Centaurus A
The cheaper cable from Skogrand Cables is not at all “cheap” in the sense, that it does not sound cheap. It shares a certain DNA with the Markarian 421, although the sound is different. This is still a very full sound, with long reverberations and coherence. It is velvety, smooth and internally complicated. Those are not cheap tricks.
But its perception will be different. Its sound is much more dynamic and expressive, what will be better for most systems. The sound is live, open, although still smooth and deep. The sound seems to reach lower, but only due to the fact, that its medium range is a strong rhythmical base. Like I said, this is an open sound, because the treble has a lot of energy and is not withdrawn. It is also not so velvety and three-dimensional as in the more expensive cable, but we got something else in exchange for that.
This is a good, well-mannered sound. Slightly different than in the most expensive cable, but still within the same idiom. Dynamics, smoothness, energy – those are the characteristics that describe it best. Although it does not cost a fortune it sounded very good and interesting in my system.

SC Air
The cheapest cable in this comparison, SC Air, turned out to be very interesting. It was clear, that this is really the cheapest cable for the tested pool – the shapes were smaller, less refined and the bass did not go as far down as with the more expensive cables. But I spend most of the time with it. Why? Well, because the fact, for not so much money we get a very good, well balanced sound. Its character mimics to a large extent what I heard with the Centaurus A – smoothness, coherence and balance. The thing is, that here I also got something of an excitement. I cannot respond why, but this was the cable that made me reach for yet another disc to verify the “what”, “how” and “when”…
With the Air we get a dynamic sound, which is at the same time controlled. It is not about dampening, but something like “controlling” everything. Here is no “desinvolture”, despite the fact, that we do not feel any constraints. This control without its signs results in an interesting sound. I’ll repeat – the Centaurus A and the Markarian 421 are much better, clearly more refined (especially the second one). But it is the inexpensive Air, which pumps as much blood into our veins, as is needed to get excited.

The Norwegian cables have one clear, common characteristic: smoothness. And this is audible in the cheapest and most expensive cable and will define the way those cables cooperate with electronics and loudspeakers. Paradoxically the most expensive cable seems to be most quiet, least dynamic. But this is because it is most well-mannered. In refined systems it will deliver depth, large volume, 3D imaging, etc. In slightly worse systems, or not well designed ones, it will seem dull. There I would rather listen to Centaurus A or Air. And it is the last cable that seems most interesting to me. It has all the main characteristics of the most expensive one, although in respectively smaller proportions, and it sounds more vivid, more dynamic and more energetic. I liked that!


The Skogrand Cables were tested in a A/B/A sequence, where the ‘A’ (reference) and ‘B’ (tested cable) were known. The listening session was composed of 2-minute sound fragments and exchange of the cables. Beside this I listened to some full discs using the tested cables.
The three cables were tested using the amplifier Soulution 710 and loudspeakers Harbeth M40.1 and also with the amplifier Hegel P-30 + H-30, which turned out to be a very good partner for the cables. The Air cable was also used with the Castle Howard S3 loudspeakers – also a very good match. All cables were playing in my system for two days before the tests. Also they were delivered to the test burned-in. The Real Sound Processor RSP-101 from the company SPEC to the loudspeakers, which is counteracting the electromotive power of the loudspeaker voice coil – I wrote about that HERE - was also connected to the loudspeakers.


  • CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air V-edition, review HERE
  • Phono preamplifier: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE
  • Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE), Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE
  • Preamplifier: Ayon Audio Polaris III [Signature Version] with Re-generator Power Supply
  • Power amplifier: Soulution 710
  • Integrated amplifier/headphone amplifier: Leben CS300 XS Custom Version, review HERE
  • Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
  • Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro; 600 Ω version, review HERE, HERE, and HERE
  • Interconnect: CD-preamp: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300 (article HERE, preamp-power amp: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
  • Speaker cable: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review HERE
  • Power cables AC (all equipment): Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300
  • Power strip: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE
  • Stand: Base; under all components
  • Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD, Audio Revive RAF-48 platform under the CD and preamplifier
  • Pro Audio Bono platform under Leben CS300