EWA / Elsdon Wonfor Audio: LS-XXV (LS-25) speaker cable test review

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Alan Brown writes .....

Obscenity

My problem with high-end cables is that it's possible to spend truly obscene amounts on them. Obscene, because it seems to me many offerings to the audiophile market are overpriced hype with no real merit.

Well it does seem like that doesn't it? I mean ….. that's the easy stance; the most logical belief to adopt. This being the most easily understood and fiscally sensible for sure. (And at least partially/mostly accurate.)

Elsdon Wonfor Audio – EWA – have produced a new high-end cable range, designed by Colin Wonfor. So what? Well, he is both a chemistry graduate and something of a Power Supply design expert. His previous achievements may be too many to list but some of his more interesting ideas aren't that far from you right now:

They could be in your computer for instance, your TV, your phone, in that airliner leaving contrails in the sky, and certainly in the ISS orbiting a few miles above your head.

He has always returned to his home comforts though – and is perhaps, best known for work in audio design, most notably AC Magnum, Inca Tech, and more recently Naim and Tellurium Q.

He explains that …..

an audio amplifier is, in essence, a power supply; a very fast, tracking power supply. Being something of a bat-eared audiophile, he's produced many fine amplifiers over the years, the best of which are very special indeed. He also built the largest transistor single ended class A (SECA) audio amplifiers in the world. My point is this: he knows something about Hifi, about power supply design and delivery from a verifiable scientific perspective.

Revolutionary cable ideas

CW first demonstrated his revolutionary cable ideas to me when with Tellurium Q – a Company he helped to establish. This was about the time he was designing their well received first-generation cables. Back then, I was honestly shocked at the clearly different sonic characteristics of one cable to the next. This was followed by a concise scientific / engineering explanation as to exactly why it should be so in each case. No hype and no waffle.

His early designs were pretty impressive, as was the thinking behind them. Since CW’s departure from TQ he’s refined his approach. The first new design - far ahead sonically compared to any of his previous designs in my opinion - is the EWA LS-XXV (LS-25) speaker cable.

Those early, pre-EWA designs, good though they are – even today - are in comparison a small event on the much broader 2017 ‘event horizon’.

Everything is bespoke

Unlike other speaker cables available today, nothing in these new designs is available off the shelf/reel - except probably the Z-plugs and solder. The alloys, insulation, and dialectic are all bespoke; all made exclusively for them. Factory tooling had to be developed just to manufacture their cables alone.

The design and geometry of the LS-25 is also completely proprietary as are the materials used - created in one case - with unique properties.

Why do all this for speaker cables?

It’s an uncomplicated and realistic answer in that CW knows both how to do it and why it will make a difference. Simply that.

He explained a few (but for commercially sensitive reasons not all) of his know-how. These include the absolute need to remove as much common-mode noise as possible from the signal. He went on to explain that the cable itself does not generate any noise or RFI, and that they should be as immune as possible to external noise. Please note though that it's how he does this which is really interesting. That said, he certainly wasn't revealing all his secrets to me.

I've listened to his earlier cables and liked them greatly – even owning a pair for many years. The all-new LS-25 is something else though, beyond what I've previously heard. There is a world within music and this is different to what I've previously experienced.

The LS-25 has wonderfully extended bass ….. and more

There is a fullness to the timbre, a shape to the way the bass hangs in the air. The warmth of the bass and the powerful projection that goes with it obscures nothing.

In fact ….. there feels like there is more 'room' in the music lower down. The extra detail this cable projects into the listening space; this being experienced as you would in a real performance environment. By this I mean it’s ….. dynamic, unforced and rich in texture.

The bass images are within the sound-stage and presents themselves in the most convincing manner I've yet heard. The detail, although stupendous, is not analytical; it’s simply experienced as a member of the audience would.

There is a lovely warmth about music via the LS-25. Not too much, but glorious in the same way a beautiful vista is enhanced when experienced in gorgeous early morning light.

And then ….. the strings

LS-25 has a similar strength to many of his previous amplifiers and cables. By this I mean the way strings are dealt with. Whether a guitar being plucked, strummed or strangled, or a violin, a cello or bass, there is a palpable reality to each individual vibrating string, a real presence and projection which punches through whatever the other nearby strings are doing.

What I’m trying to describe is an intimate clarity, a front-row experience of both musicianship and performance which cannot be ignored.

The LS-25 highs simply soar whichever instrument you care to examine, without a trace of harshness or stridency. The sound-stage and the imaging are as good as anything you could imagine. This apparently being a consequence of the LSA-25's perfect phase linearity.

A glorious wave

I would almost describe these as an HD or HDR design. There is so much 'space' within the music that we can wander around and examine it at leisure, picking every detail for scrutiny if you so wish, or letting the rich sonic experience wash over you in one glorious wave.

In my experience, it's rare for any audio component to allow both types of audiophile experience, effortlessly, without compromise yet side by side.

I know, I know ….

Yes, yes ….. this all sounds like rather bold claims for a cable. In fact, some might contend that such a review is a stretch even for an amplifier, far less a wire. If that's you, enjoy your freedom and extra pennies, no worries.

In conclusion

CW, true to form, has proved his point as a chemist and a designer yet again. I urge anyone to listen to the LS-25 for themselves, as all the above is only my personal impressions. I actually use amplifiers designed by him and he’s a personal friend of mine, so I'm hardly unbiased.

But ….. if you share a love of the musical experience then I cannot recommend highly enough that you listen to these for yourself. I think they are terrific, for reasons I have tried to outline above. I also think so because they are genuinely innovative, expensive - because of the way they are made - with a specific remit – which they meet, and then some!

LS-25 is, he tells me, more advanced than any cable he has previously made yet EWA are bringing them out significantly cheaper than the early cables that resulted from Colin's expertise and innovations.

On the other hand, he’s hardly un-biased. The point being … try them. Then and only then can you determine for yourself if they represent true value for you, in your system, in your room and your music. All the rest are, of course, merely words …. and these include mine.

This design demonstrates real progress. I now have to find a way to pay for these, because they’ll not be going back.

Specifications

  • Capacitance 19pf/M
  • Common mode inductance 16uH/M
  • Single conductor inductance 6uH/M
  • Single conductor resistance less than 29mΩ/M
  • Balance inductance (the effect on the Amp) 1.3uH/M
  • Open Circuit Resonance 32MHz into no load Frequency Response DC to 1MHz into 8Ω
  • £276 for the first stereo metre and £150 per extra stereo metre thereafter.

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Please click HERE to access the entire BRITISH STEREO archive

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Hi. To see the growing EWA Archive; part of our regular EWA newsletter, please click HERE

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To visit Colin Wonfor's technical clinic, please click HERE

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Hi. I’m Michael Vronsky - the Commercial Manager here. If you’d like details of where to buy this brand AT SPECIAL PRICES (but only for our members) then please contact me at commercial@hifianswers.com Thanks. Michael.

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