I would like to start this review with an apology to Joakim Juhl, the owner and chief designer of Oephi cables. He very kindly sent me a pair of the Lounge loudspeaker cables back in early August, followed shortly thereafter by a pair of the Lounge RCA interconnects. Now here we are in mid-November and I am only just getting around to writing this piece. I do normally try to turn my reviews around rather more promptly. Without boring you with the details I had an accident at home, which dislocated my right foot through 180 degrees and snapped my right ankle. The subsequent hospitalisation, surgery and recuperation threw a complete spanner into my plans for the third and fourth quarters of this year. It necessitated turning our lounge (which is also my listening room) into a studio apartment, or bedsit as we used to call them. A single bed had to be brought in and all the furniture re-arranged, the upshot of which was that I could not actually have reached my hi-fi system even if I was able to move. Happily, things have improved greatly and the room is being restored to its primary purpose, and I am sufficiently mobile to hobble about again.
With that out of the way, let me get back to my primary task, to report to you on the aforementioned cables. It was way back in early 2021 that I first wrote about Oephi, when Joakim sent me samples of his Immanence loudspeaker cables and his Transcendence RCA interconnects. You could can read my review here. To summarise, I found them to be an absolute revelation.
The Lounge range is the company’s more affordable offering, but still has the Oephi hallmark of a loose outer sheath and good quality hardware at either end of the cables. They were easy to fit and both sets of cables are flexible enough to be used without the spring effect which can bedevil many cables on the market today. Compared with the very chunky Immanence cables that were here last year, these are very slim and discreet.
I fitted the loudspeaker cables first and connected them to the four Ohm outputs on the Primaluna EVO400 integrated amplifier and then to the binding posts on the Gershman Studio II loudspeakers that were guests in my system at the time.
Lounge speaker cables
If you go back and read my last Oephi review, you will see that the Immanence cables absolutely blew me away. It would have been unreasonable to expect the same visceral response to these much more affordable stablemates. However, I can report that the sound issuing forth from the Gershmans was absolutely delightful, full bodied and very balanced across the whole extended frequency range. Bass was punchy and tuneful, the midrange rich and realistic and the higher frequencies had an airiness and grace which was most beguiling. Spoken word programmes sound very believable. I think that the strength of the Lounge cables is that they do not try to impose a character on the sound, but rather get out of the way to allow the listener to hear what the rest of the system components are doing and above all simply to enjoy the music.
As I was at this stage pretty much chair-bound during the day, my listening was pretty much confined to streaming via an Auralic Aries Mini connected to the ESS Sabre DAC in my Yamaha CD-S3000. I have built up a big library of hi res albums in my ‘Favourites’ folder on Qobuz, some are new albums but many are old favourites which in normal times I would have played on vinyl. My usual review suspects such as Love’s 1967 classic Forever Changes, Paul Chambers’ Bass On Top, Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks and many more were played from start to finish and sounded really enjoyable, as did the CD quality albums I played from my Naim UnitiServe.
Towards the end of my immobile phase a friend came and boxed up the Gershmans for me and replaced them with my own Harbeth C7ESXDs. The Lounge cables were fitted and I was able to continue with my armchair explorations. The different sound of the two sets of loudspeakers was easy to hear and reinforced my impression that the strength of the Lounge design is its ability to step aside and allow the listener to hear the amplifier and speakers with nothing added and nothing taken away.
Lounge interconnect cables
At long last I reached a point where I could move around the room unaided, and was able once again to play some records. After almost three months of inactivity I wanted to get the LP12 and Gold Note PH10/PSU phono stage warmed up and playing again. Once that was done I swapped out the installed RCA cables ( an expensive pair from a well respected brand) and plugged in the Lounge RCAs. I thought that given the significant price drop that the Oephi pair might sound a little disappointing compared with their predecessors, but I could not have been more mistaken.
From the outset, the music poured from the Harbeths in the most delightful way. I once again felt that the Oephis had stepped aside to let me hear exactly what my favourite source could achieve. For example, the 50th anniversary pressing of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s Deja Vu flooded into the room with startling realism, grabbing my attention completely, with the spell only being broken by the click from the run-out groove after the last notes of Woodstock faded at the end of side one. Since then I have taken huge delight in reacquainting myself with many albums in my collection, and the sheer joy of it is hard to describe.
What Joakim Juhl has achieved with these affordable cables is highly commendable. They are, in a really good way, totally transparent, neither adding nor subtracting anything from the source. These are not the cables to buy if you are trying to rectify a perceived shortcoming in the components in a system. However, if you are, as I am, happy with your choice of equipment these well made and competitively priced cables should be the perfect choice and will give many years of listening pleasure.