TARA LABS ISM The 2EX

MJ26.11.2014

Speaker cables

The imaging within the soundstage is f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c, so is the purity and clarity of the sound. I wish every cable in the high end audio industry would image like that. The presence of the performance in your room is palpable, it just is. Being there a physical sense of every instrument including its harmonic envelope, the The ISM The 2EXs could be contenders to the best speaker cables on the planet.

100% reference

Function and form

65%
Ease of use
69%
Sound
90%
Appearance

ISM The 2EX speaker cables can be visual contender for any high-end cable out there. I was surprised that I actually needed four cables to make the connection as the positive and negative runs are separate cables. Their twisted nature and rugged design (in a beautifully looking warm brown sleeve) made them quite dangerous to my equipment – forget about making sharp bends and make sure that your rack supports their weight. Also, if you plan to connect mini-monitors on stands pay extra attention to their stability as pull from the mass of the ISM The 2EX is substantial.

Each channel comprises of 64 RSC SA-OF8N copper conductors in Aero-PE dielectric, 32 conductors for positive and 32 conductors for negative runs. Apart from the geometry TARA Labs focuses on copper’s ultra-purity and homogenous crystal structure. They say that their SA-OF8N (super-annealed, oxygen-free, eight nines pure copper) boasts of a unique, long, unbroken mono-crystal structure that has exquisitely smooth and detailed transfer of frequencies over a very wide bandwidth.

Bass management

Weight
82
Slam
82
Articulation
71

I loved the articulation of singers that together with imaging was something special - choirs are an excellent example. When I pressed PLAY with my favourite ‘cable-testing’ track Gloucestershire Wassail in the player (Loreena MCKennitt, A Midwinter’s Night Dream, Quinlan Road) I had certain expectations but The ISM The 2EX exceeded them.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
78
Air
67
Transparency
80

The pinpoint imaging of voices behind the mikes was surgically precise. The cable mastered relative distances between the singers and, as a bonus, it also depicted relative heights of the singers. Usually I hear this track with the voices coming as if from the same horizontal level – this time I could hear how tall the singer were.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
68
Dynamics
82
Temporal resolution
78

I assume that this happens only in extremely phase coherent systems – one would never heard this magic in DSP manipulated systems where phases are mismatched and shifted. By the clever design TARA Labs have managed to achieve the goal when timing is unified across the frequency spectrum and the system provides crystal clear view of the soundstage not only in spatial domain, but also in temporal domain.

Spatial resolution

Holography
92
Soundstage width
90
Soundstage depth
90

Besides the best from Cardas, Nordost, Audioquest or Stealth, from now on I will heartily keep recommending any TARA Labs cable for audition – no doubt these are excellent cables.

Price as reviewed:56 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Gaia Connections, Praha, tel. +420 286 885 599

Associated components

  • Sources: Van Medevoort CD transport CT460 and DAC DA466, Accuphase DP-78, Accuphase DP-700
  • Amplifiers: Van Medevoort PSQ/CAQ/PAQs, Accuphase A-70
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Krautwire Fractal, Nordost Valhalla V2, Cardas Clear, Audioquest Wild, Audioquest Redwood, Actinote Sonata
  • Loudspeakers: Bowers & Wilkins 802 Diamond, Sonus Faber Guarneri Memento
  • Power conditioning: Nordost Thor (modified)

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