ChordMusic the inside story

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ChordMusic the inside story
Thursday, April 21, 2016

Chord has officially launched its most ambitious cable range to date in ChordMusic. First previewed at Bristol last year it has taken until now for Nigel Finn and Alan Gibb to gather enough of this uniquely insulated cable to build both interconnects and speaker cables for the ChordMusic range. The ChordMusic interconnects have the same design and silver plated copper conductors as the Sarum Super ARAY cables but use what Chord has dubbed Taylon, a military spec dielectric that outperforms the PTFE used on the Sarum models. This was made abundantly obvious when ChordMusic cables replaced Sarum SA in a £300,000 system at KJ West One in London yesterday. The system, which consisted of dCS Vivaldi CD transport and DAC, Naim Statement amplification and Wilson Alexia speakers, sounded pretty special with Sarum Super ARAY as you might hope but every time that the Sarum was replaced with ChordMusic the sound became more natural, real and as you might expect, more musical.

Apart from dielectric he only other difference between these two is a metallic external braid atop the two layers of shielding found with Sarum SA, this was introduced because ChordMusic has proved to be more transparent to noise and audibly benefits from this extra layer according to Finn (below). The Taylon dielectric is made by an American military supplier and is sold to Chord on the basis that they don’t use it to make weapons or the like. The only technical reason given for its superiority is that PTFE, which is generally considered the best dielectric available, is not structurally stable with variations in temperature. Chord started looking at very high frequency performance in the late nineties when they discovered the benefits of shielding and these investigations eventually led to the ARAY cables of recent years. It’s Finn’s opinion that Taylon’s characteristics at very high frequencies is what makes ChordMusic so remarkable but he has yet to find an explanation as to precisely why this should matter at audio frequencies.

Naturally this sort of exclusive technology has its price and the ChordMusic retail prices double those for Sarum SA, the phrase ‘eye watering’ being no overstatement. But as Finn put it they do make music as exciting as it was when we first discovered it.

ChordMusic is also the first Chord range to include a Super ARAY speaker cable, something that we can hope might be trickled down into the more affordable ranges in the company’s catalogue. At launch ChordMusic is available as loudspeaker cables and analogue interconnects with RCA, XLR or DIN terminations in lengths of a metre or more. Digital interconnects with either coaxial or AES/EBU configurations are the first to be made available but ‘audio USB’ and ‘audio Ethernet’ will follow, as will mains power cables.
Pricing: RCA – RCA analogue £3,800/1m, RCA or BNC digital £3,500, Speaker cable £1,100/terminated metre/1.5m pair £3,300.