CARDAS Cross

MJ09.02.2009

Speaker cables

The Cross represented a milestone in the Cardas's portfolio and soon became one of the best selling cables in audio. It takes you only few minutes of auditioning to understand why. In the early era of sterile digital sound it arrived with analogue warmth, rich colours, and the sense of being seated in the most comfortable seat of an opera auditorium, with a galss of wine in hand.

Function and form

95%
Ease of use
48%
Sound
85%
Appearance

Teflon dielectrics, PVC jacket was replaced by PU in the newer versions of the Cross. Capacitance 34pF, inductance 0.11uh, 238 wires inside.

Note: During this review a set of an interconnect and a speaker cable was auditioned. The performance evaluation was put in the context of other Cardas's cables; we encourage you to read their reviews to understand the performance differences.

Bass management

Weight
58
Slam
50
Articulation
58

George Cardas claims that resonant behavior of a conductor or a strand is the reason for performance gaps in many cables. Each and every strand in a cable has its own ´sound´ due to microscale vibrations and ringing. Two or more wires of the same mass and tension are supposed to have common mechanical resonating points and share the same note. Two or more wires or bundles of wires, differing in size, each have their own resonant points. When combined, wires find new points of interaction, creating another note.

There is a solution - create a multiple strand conductor, where the individual strands share no common mathematical node or resonant point and layer them to cancel the noise they each create. In so called golden section stranding, derived from divine ratios (Fibonacci sequences), the individual strands are arranged so each strand is coupled to another, whose note or sound is irrational with its own, thus nulling inter-strand resonance.

Cardas cables also employ a unique stranding method where strands diminish in size towards the interior of the conductor. This design is called Constant Q Stranding and it allows each strand of the cable to share the load equally. All George Cardas's cables use OFC copper - actually Cardas Audio is one of the few manufacturers that draw their own conductors from copper rods instead of outsourcing the wires from elsewhere like most competitors do.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
50
Air
48
Transparency
48

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
30
Dynamics
45
Temporal resolution
40

The wood is woodier and the brass is brassier through the Cross, if compared with the cheaper Crosslink. I almost can see lipstick on a singer's lips. The Cross is not that dynamic like more expensive Cardas's s cables but it shows a sense for comfort and joy. The sound is a bit darker, with very black background, but - compared to the more mature Neutral Reference cable - also a bit veiled and compressed. Still the details are there and it is up to your ears to decide if the level of transparency is enough for them or not.

Spatial resolution

Holography
64
Soundstage width
70
Soundstage depth
68

The imaging of the Cross is good but the Cross misses a bit of the ambience that makes the upscale model, the Golden Cross, even better. Also the soundstage was slightly upfront.

Overall, it is a cable with its own sound signature which is quite prominent. However, this departure from neutrality is quite addictive during prolonged listening.

Price as reviewed:26 200,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Excelia HiFi, Chrudim, tel. +420 724 00 77 44

Associated components

  • Sources: Carat C57, Meridian G08
  • Amplifiers:  Carat A57, Meridian G02, Mark Levinson No. 432
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Krautwire Fractal, Homegrown Audio DNA, the whole family of Cardas Audio cables
  • Loudspeakers: Focal JMlab Diablo Utopia, Revel Ultima Studio2, Revel M22

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