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Legenburg Artemis Interconnects and Speaker Cables

Part II

April, 2007

John E. Johnson, Jr.

 

In Use

Associated equipment in these tests included a Class CDP-10 CD Player, McIntosh MCD201 SACD Player, BAT VK-5i Preamplifier, Mark Levinson No 326S Preamplifier, BAT VK-75SE Power Amplifier, Lamm M2.2 Power Amplifiers, Magnepan MG1.6/QR Speakers, and Carver Amazing Mark IV Speakers.

 

The Artemis obviously have tremendous detail, which was evidenced in one of my reference recordings, "La Peri", by Dukas.

The brass was right in my lap.

There is no shortage of bass impact either, none of which obscured the other instruments which were playing at the same time.

 

In this new (2007) SACD release by Telarc (SACD-60676), we have orchestra and chorus (separately), perhaps the most complex musical signals to reproduce.

In the short "Why Fum'th in Fight", by Thomas Tallis (1505-1585), there is full chorus, and each voice is very clear.

With the "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis", composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) centuries later, the chorus is replaced by full orchestra, but again, each voice - now replaced by stringed instruments from violin to cello - are still individually distinguishable and locatable on the soundstage.

Now, I could go on and on with other albums that I listened to, touting this and that, but it is not necessary here. What we look for in cables is that they let the signal pass from one component to the next, without attenuating the sound. They are not supposed to have any sound characteristics of their own. So, what I am saying about these cables is that I experienced no reduction in the superb quality that I expect to hear from the BATs, the Lamms, McIntoshes, Magnepans, and Carver Amazings that I have in my reference systems.

On the Bench

In bench testing interconnects, I have to use RCA coax to make measurements, since they have two conductors (XLR has three). So, Legenburg sent a pair of five foot RCA cables for these tests ($975/pair). Like the XLR, they have incredible build quality. Here is a close-up photo.

The connector itself is massive. I don't think I have ever seen one this heavy. Notice also that the cable is the same diameter as the connector. So, naturally, they are a bit stiff. I like to use somewhat longer cables when they are thick like this, as it makes things easier when there is extra length to bend around the components in the equipment rack.

So, using the coaxial interconnect, I measured 28.6 pico-Farads per foot for capacitance, 0.5 micro-Henries per foot for inductance, and 14 milli-Ohms per foot for resistance (capacitance and inductance were measured at 1 kHz, resistance at 12 Hz). This is on the low side for capacitance, a bit high on inductance, and about average for resistance, compared to previous cables we have tested.

Measuring the impedance and electrical phase showed that the Artemis interconnect is close to being purely resistive up to 110 Hz, then becomes increasingly inductive up to 20 kHz. (Phase values above 0 degrees indicate inductive reactance, and values below 0 degrees indicate capacitive reactance. Here is a nice article that explains impedance and phase relationships.)

The impedance stays below 0.1 ohm throughout the audible range. When coiled, the cable becomes more inductive (expected behavior with a coil), and the overall impedance stays about the same.

For the speaker cables, capacitance was 35 pico-Farads per foot, inductance was 0.25 micro-Henries per foot, and resistance was 6.8 milli-Ohms per foot. The capacitance and resistance are about average for speaker cables that we have tested in the past. Not the lowest, but certainly not nearly as high as some. The inductance is a bit higher than average, but not the highest.

The impedance measurements showed these cables to perform essentially resistive in the range of frequencies up to about 100 Hz, and then to become inductive above that. The impedance remains well below 1 ohm throughout the audible range, with the highest value being just below 0.6 ohm at 20 kHz. This impedance value is higher than with the interconnects because the speaker cables are more than three times as long.

Notice that the impedance does not change even when the cables are coiled. I tested this possibility since we all tend to coil up the extra cable behind the speakers if they are a bit too long. The Artemis speaker cables have massive shielding, and I suspect this is part of the reason there is no apparent effect of the coiling.

Conclusions

I consider the Legenburg Artemis cables to be dazzling in sound and build. There will be those consumers who say they are not about to pay thousands of dollars for cables, but for aficionados, you should give them a listen when you are in the market. You are likely to be amazed.

 

- John E. Johnson, Jr. -

Copyright 2007 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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