Chord Co's X factor

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Chord Co's X factor
Monday, November 5, 2018

Chord Company has upgraded two of its most popular loudspeaker cables, Rumour and Shawline, with the introduction of a new insulation material, XLPE. The move follows the introduction of Taylon as a phase-stable insulation material in the Sarum T and ChordMusic speaker cables. The high cost of Taylon prohibits its use outside of the flagship models but Chord have discovered XLPE, an alternative to PTFE which doesn’t suffer the same phase issues as PTFE and, following extensive listening tests in the Wiltshire factory, the phase properties of XLPE have become apparent, giving a marked improvement over the previous insulation.  

XLPE made its first appearance in SignatureXL speaker cable and has now trickled down into the two new models. The latest cables to gain from XLPE include the new RumourX (below) speaker/installation cable (which replaces the existing Rumour) and the new ShawlineX, (similarly replacing its predecessor). The discreet and install-friendly RumourX brings the advantages of XLPE down to £18 per metre, Shawline’s upgrade to XLPE comes in at £30 p/m.

ShawlineX (top) builds upon Rumour and subsequent RumourX, taking the existing conductor layout and upgrading it with a specially chosen PVC internal jacket to reduce mechanical noise. Further upgrades include a high-density, dual-layer foil and braid shield used in the (more expensive) Chord Epic speaker cable. Like RumourX, the twisted-pair conductors are silver-plated and insulated with the new XLPE dielectric.  ShawlineX’s refinement of RumourX introduces high-frequency shielding. ShawlineX is finished with a 93% coverage metal braid and translucent PVC outer jacket.

The original Chord Company Rumour, launched in 1996 was one of the narrowest speaker cables available at the time (16 AWG), and the company’s second attempt at producing a speaker cable. Apart from cosmetic alterations, Rumour has remained unchanged, now, more than two decades on, RumourX brings the latest advances in technology to this much-loved loudspeaker cable. Previous versions used PTFE insulation (often referred to as Teflon™) and until the implementation of Taylon in the flagship ChordMusic and Sarum T ranges, this was Chord’s ‘go-to’ material; although expensive, PTFE offered the best performance. While Taylon is cost-prohibitive across all of the Chord Company ranges, one version of XLPE (Cross-linked Polyethylene) material looked (and sounded) interesting during testing. When it proved to be clearly better than the PTFE in the original Rumour speaker cable, it was implemented without hesitation and renamed RumourX. RumourX is based on silver-plated OFC conductors in a twisted-pair configuration with XLPE insulation and a PVC outer jacket. It’s narrow gauge (just 6mm) and its high-performance construction makes it perfect for installations and hi-fi systems where a discreet, easily hidden cable is required.