Cable making is like dicks and opinions: everyone has its own!
So, every tiniest town has a cable maker and the cliche is quite common - i.e. sometimes a retired or semi-retired gentleman in his sixties who's milking friends and friend of friends' wallets...
The thicker, the bulkiest, the better, usually... as a macho-oriented market diktat: if not being the thicker and most expensive cable, costing $$$$ it cannot be good enough!
If and when you have a chance to inspect inside an exotic, expensive cable, the surprise is... no surprise, at all: parts coming from plumbing, tailor, electric or automotive industries... never, ever any proprietary parts searched and auditioned, only hypes and bulkiness and high price tags to impress the wealthy gonzos.
The above is sure a pessimistic point of view, a possible scenery, but shit happens, and I'm aware of it as I saw the above with my own eyes.
... and ears?
What about sound?
As a rule of thumb, sound changes are audible also on short-runs, despite what some people is saying and same cable changes its sonic footprint depending on where it's used in a given system...
Nothing new under the sun, don't you?
I own several premium cables and still have a plethora of fine wires in my stable: Isoda, VdH, XLO, Cardas, Actinote, Mundorf, KLEI, Yamamura, Audio Consulting and... CM2/Musto.
Silver wires, since I established my Gotorama system, are my cables of choice, used in KLEI superb RCA plugs and signal and speakers wires, both cryo-treated, by Audio Consulting of Switzerland, the very best.
If going silver, copper cables should not be mixed, possibly... so, full silver cabled system is paramount for best sonic results... or so...
Litz is the most similar sounding cable to silver ones and I wisely and sparingly mixed this material with silver, to get just a tad of warmth: I only use Litz in digital domain - i.e. among disk-transports and DACs and line-stage preamp, all using great KLEI plugs.
Litz is clear, yet natural sounding: unboomy, yet beefy and rich both harmonically and emotionally.
Silver is about the same: surprising and involving, highs and mids are extremely detailed and smooth, but never veiled or too romantic.
Sounding right with both small and large scale music, electric, electronica, acoustic, jazz, folk or classical, everything should - and it does - click right and easy to the ears.
Again, nothing new from yours truly... the lingo and hypes are the usual BS... you know.
Enters Andrea Musto, a friend from Udine, Northern Italy, and his CM2 company: he's making audio goodies of highest quality in small quantities, using local artisans and utmost care for details.
A consummate audiophile and a golden eared gentleman, Mr. Musto is also a curious, skilled DIYer who began several years ago to twist and fiddle and twist cables as a passion and out of necessity, being chronic as an unsatisfied customer of industry made products, cables in primis.
Some years ago he mixed his knowledge of DIYer and his passion for music and using best available raw materials and some voodoo - i.e. 6N and 7N silver wire from Singapore, carbon fibre from UK, black tourmaline powder from Australia, silk flakes for the dielectric from China and some proprietary lacquer he found somewhere, he was in business.
Cable-making workmanship is purest, humble, unashamed home brewed while being soaked in Andrea's beloved classical music: time consuming, someway boring activities performed with old-time, by-hand work in an unstressed, friendly homely workshop.
Andrea is not exception: he annoyed to death;-))) friends and friends of friends, as per above mentioned cliche, you know... begging for a trial, looking forward for a deal... maybe.
Hard work only partially alleviated by its part-time side job nature, an alternative to Mr. Musto daily job, actually.
A couple of years ago I had a "Yuko" 80 cm long, bespoke made cable, to be specifically used as an umbilical between Mayer's line and phono stages, as I also was looking for something more.
Andrea twisted and twisted and after about one month he delivered an impressive snake about 6 cm in diameter: this arc-shaped cable is something almost laughable and an eye-capturing thing in my whole system - more than Gotorama's horns - and sure a conversation topic, much more impressive thinking a minimalist AWG 20 (1 mm) 7N Solid silver cable is used throughout, well hidden inside the Yuko, itself.
Why such a monster-like, embarrassing size?
Silver solid wire is turmaline-powder coated by hand and stabilized with a lacquer, and soft silk flakes are used to stuff the inside of large outer fabric tube, making dielectric - de facto - more physically airy than usually found in mass made, well-packed, stiff audiophile cables.
Mr. Musto is an accomplished judo-practicer since his boyhood and he uses judo-scoring japanese words to describe the class of merit and the sonic excellence reached by his creations.
Yuko entered in my system and... what happened?
Nothing and everything... a no-brainer and an addictive adding, as I immediately recognized The Sound of Music as supremely right... no way, the on-loan cable was purchased, pronto.
Every aspect was improved and enhanced vs. my previous references: Yamamura and XLO Reference Phono, namely.
... and Yuko was thereafter part of a complex system called Gotorama.
Yesterday, I got a visit from Andrea Musto who had in his briefcase an already broken-in cable, his last creation: Wazari, again using AWG 20 silver cable, this time a 6N wire and again Furutech RCA plugs, less bulky and extreme in appearance vs. my beloved Yuko's.
Me and the maker, himself, began a tandem-tasting, you know... same gain level and disc and track, plug & play the cables in same system position and repeating the procedure again and again...
The Wazari sounded - always used between Mayers' - less beefy and full-bodied on mid-low, yet a ton of improved detailing appeared from recording venue and musicians moving themselves in front of the mikes.
Wazari proved to sound surprisingly well and like its bulkier brother - my own Yuko - so neutral and not homogenized and able to differentiate among track and track of same disc, telling if mike positioning or recording venue was changed and the like.
A truly nice performance.
When back to Yuko (the BIG one), the Anthony Bailes' theorbo piece played with Wazari in place was easily forgotten, as it is part of my sound and Gotorama and DNA.
Swapping again to Wazari, it was 100% clear the clarity and airiness were someway improved, maybe at the expense of a lightness which makes the newer cable more sensitive to recordings quality, yet never becoming razor-like; the listening of my reference 45 rpm Sarastro's La Verite du Clavecin was proofing the excellence of the performance with an extremely difficult, yet superb recording.
A quality or a shortcoming being so recordings sensitive?
It depends: for the mature audiophile I am, this is cherry on the cake and a much appreciated challenge to find the balance between the Yuko's awesome body & detail and Wazari's detail & air.
What I did next was so easy to be lapalissian: I swapped again to Yuko between Mayers' and linked Triad K241 MC transformers and WE 437A Mayer's phono stage, replacing my old, trusty XLO Reference Phono.
Immediately the balance slightly but well audibly tilted on lightness of Wazari, yet keeping the Yuko full-bodied, so detailed and beefy sound: just that ounce of more I felt as possible when only tasting the Wazari, alone.
An XLO Phono Reference will be for sale, soon.
Andrea Musto's cables, his honesty, care for details and MOST OF ALL, sheer musical bliss obtainable with his wires, the above mentioned Yuko and Wazari, well... are truly a rare find, these flawed days.
When sharing my impressions during and after our listening, yesterday, in my studio, Mr. Musto briefly talked about his next level of excellence which will be possibly called Ippon, another judo-scoring term, meaning a full point of excellence.
The very best.
A good idea, indeed as... also my Wikipedia search confirmed the progression... Yuko, Wazari, Ippon.
... but I nonetheless suggested to my pal a less exotic name and milieu... silly me ;-)
Jokes apart, believe me... it will sure prove worthwhile contacting Mr. Musto at andrea<DOT>musto<AT>mustocta<DOT>it if searching/seeking for the ultimate, bespoke cable.