Lozzo Atestino near Padua looks like a typical provincial Italian town, with a castle, piazza and plenty of churches. It doesn’t appear to be the sort of place where you would find high end cables being manufactured from raw materials, yet this is where Comar S.r.l. who make the LA Sound range of cables is based. Unlike the majority of cable companies in this business LA Sound actually manufacture their own cables, there are a few others that do this but it’s very few. The video on their website has close ups of smelting metal, wire being fed off spools, tensioned and undergoing various processes. It doesn’t give anything away save the fact that they are doing it themselves.
Their motto is Silver Beating which refers to the silver and alloys thereof used to make four ranges of audio cables with interconnect, speaker, digital and power models in each. Of these Corium with its lavish gold finish is the top dog and Titan the top CuAg or copper/silver alloy model. The latter have 16, 21 and 23 gauge solid core conductors made from OFC copper and 99.99% (4N) silver. The unbalanced RCA interconnects have expanded polyethylene insulation and double shielding consisting of a semi-conductive layer and a metallic stocking. The RCA plugs have silver plated pure copper contacts and non-magnetic bodies. Titan EVO1 speaker cables combine two gauges of solid core conductor with Teflon insulation and can be supplied with banana or spade connectors in silver coated copper or pure silver. The chunky Titan Power EVO1 cables are made of the same CuAg alloy and have twisted and shielded conductors with the latter connected to the ground terminal on the source end to prevent EMI, like the interconnects the terminals are in silver plated copper.
The Corium models form LA Sound’s luxury range with hand printed leather sheathing and bright gold plating on all metalwork, not to mention very substantial build quality. They are made with 4N purity silver solid core conductors, Teflon and expanded polyethylene insulation and shielding as per Titan. The RCA EVO1 interconnect is constructed in the same way as the Titan save for the leather braiding and gold plated plugs, there is also a Phono version for turntables with an external ground connection. Corium speaker cable combines 16 and 21 gauge silver conductors with the same termination options as Titan. LA Sound’s top power cables are twisted and shielded with Teflon dielectric on 16 gauge silver conductors, the terminations are in copper with a 10 micron silver coating.
Unusually LA Sound offers its speaker and power cables in different cross-sections, for instance with Corium EVO1 you can choose between 4, 6 and 8mm conductor sizes while the Corium speaker cables add a 10mm option to this. The company found that the larger the cross section the better the low frequency extension, which is not entirely surprising except possibly in power cables. It does explain why the S6 power cable and S8 speaker cable are are a bit of a handful to install, the Corium cables seem a little easier to dress than their nylon sheathed Titan counterparts.
Starting with the Titan models the various cables were introduced into the system in place of Townshend Fractal F1 cables that are generally used, in the first instance EVO1 RCA was put between the DAC and preamp and from there to the power amp. This brightened the perspective slightly and produced a tight, clean sound with a good sense of pace, plenty of detail is resolved by these interconnects which makes dynamic and tonal contrasts very clear. Adding S8 EVO1 speaker cable to the recipe with its silver plated spade connectors and inflexibility proved a challenge but once it was in place there was a distinct increase in openness and an impressively articulate presentation that allows the band to swing pretty hard and lent the tone of brass and bass guitar alike a shine that was very appealing.
Image solidity was also very strong with voices projecting well and rhythm sections delivering power with a visceral intensity. The way that Miles Davis’ horn is rendered in front of you on the track So What (Kind of Blue) was particularly appealing, it’s tonally bright but subtle and expressive with it. John Coltrane’s saxophone has a strong, rich tone and just enough edge and power without any hint of grain or harshness, the second sax (Cannonball Adderley) is effortlessly fluent and engaging. Another sax player in Ornette Coleman (Change of the Century) also sounded superb despite (or because of) the ancient nature of the vinyl being played, the timing being particularly strong which helps you to delve deeper into the more challenging waters of his oeuvre.
The Titan cables are particularly vivid, fast and precise which means that they don’t get in the way of the music regardless of how dense or intense it gets. They bring out the body and depth of all the elements in a piece, be they voices or instruments, and reveal that there is space between these different sources which allows each to express itself more easily. Adding the Titan S6 power cable to the DAC with a (basic) US to UK plug adaptor on the wall did wonders for the bass and further improved both image precision and dynamics. If anything it was the depth and character of the vocal image and the way that subtleties within it were revealed that was most impressive about the power cable, but further listening made it clear that the image overall had got wider and taller which allowed any variations in this area to be much easier to appreciate.
Moving from the Titan S8 to Corium S8 speaker cable did something that rarely happens, it brought out variety in the pitch and tuning of the various instruments, exposing layers of fine detail that were previously masked. There was also more power in the bass despite the fact that both cables have the same 8mm conductors, and more controversially that Corium is pure silver, a material not usually associated with improvements in the bass. Yet there was clearly more weight and bloom to low notes and that made for a much more substantial and powerful overall sound. Corium takes what Titan serves up and unveils significantly more detail, it does this largely by reducing background noise or dropping the noise floor so that the quieter components of each note are made clear. There is a gong in the background of Laurie Anderson’s Gravity’s Angel (Mister Heartbreak) that sounds precisely like a gong on Titan but offers up more harmonics and reveals the variations in the way its struck on Corium, it’s not a subtle difference to be honest. You have to pay a high price to enjoy these fine details but it was ever thus in high end.
Switching in Corium EVO1 RCA in place of the Titan makes the tone of each instrument that much purer and cleaner, again this probably comes down to noise floor reduction. Once again the gong offered up more of its overtones and space appears between the instruments in the mix. You become more aware of the backing vocals and the way that they are being sung yet this doesn’t detract from the overall musicality and balance of the piece. I love the sense of presence that it delivers with a nice recording, Kenny Burrell’s Guitar Forms on vinyl really sounds fabulous with full scale and impressive dynamics for its vintage. At this stage I tried the Titan power cable on the power supply for the turntable and despite already having a pretty serious cable on it already was rewarded with a leap in energy and liveliness, the timing becoming tighter and more compelling.
Wrestling a Corium power cable into the same component increased the sense of the musicians being in the room quite markedly, the body to instruments and voices was enough to raise the hairs on the back of my neck. This was true across the tonal and dynamic board, with timing taking on a locked in perfection that is in another league, it really did bring the sound to life in no uncertain terms.
These two ranges reveal that LA Sound knows how to make serious audio cables, they may be based in almost rural idyll but by building cables from the ground up they have proved that geographic location is no barrier to serious high end sound. The Titan models represent great value even at their high prices and Corium shows just what the best cables can do if your wallet and system are up to the job. LA Sound have put Lozzo Atestino on the audiophile cable map, no doubt about it.