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Transparent cable Music Link Super - interconnects

A bridge over troubled waters

[Italian version]

Product: Transparent Cable Music Link Super interconnects
Manufacturer: Transparent Cable - USA
Approx. price: 450 US $ per meter (US price, ask your local dealer for details)

[Transparent Music Link Super]

Almost one year ago I tested the Tranparent Music Link interconnection cable, which is one of the most affordable cables of the Transparent catalogue.
So let me avoid repeating once again the philosophy of Transparent Cables since you can read it on that previous review or directly by visiting the cool Transparent web site.
The Music Link Super is far more expensive than the Music Link Standard so my expectations were quite high. The cable is nicely built and, despite the fat section, it is very flexible and easy to install. As any other Transparent cable it makes use of the well-known Transparent Network, a quite big and heavy box which is meant to optimize the performance of the cable.
Thanks to Luca Natali, the Italian distributor for Transparent Cable products, I've been able to listen to this cable for an outrageously long period of time...so I've tested it into different HiFi systems (3, at least) both on digital and analog players, preamps and power amps etc.

A bridge over troubled waters

I can hear you saying "Is it really worth the money?", a pretty useless and nonsense question. I'll tell you a story that will try to find an answer to your doubts.
I have a friend, an audiophile (OK, I have even "normal" friends :-) ). He helps me from time to time with listening tests, evaluating some product on his budget-oriented HiFi system, something around 2,000 bucks, maybe less. He often complains about the poor sound of his system, especially when he listens to my reference set-up. So he's always struggling to find new products that can improve the performance of his HiFi components.
Normally, when I need his opinion, I lend him a product without telling him both the price range and my opinions on the sound. So I'm pretty sure that when he hears something I've already heard we can't both go wrong: different listening room, different ears, different system...call it a scientific approach :-)
So I decided to let him test this Transparent Super. A couple of days later he calls me on the phone asking me the current price of the cable because he was definitely willing to buy it, given the astounding difference it made to the sound of his system.
The price was such a sad surprise for him! (please consider that the Super is more expensive here in Italy, because of taxes etc.). Of course spending 500 $ for a cable when the whole set-up costs 2,000 $ sounds pretty illogical.
So there he was, sad and astonished at the same time :-)

Now, if the Super was able to make such a difference inside a budget-oriented system...you can imagine how does it sound when matched with hi-quality components. I'll try to tell you something about it.
First of all the Super sounds very tonally balanced and neutral with a well extended and powerful bass range. This is the first thing you say when you connect the Super to your system. As days go by you start to understand that the Super is also extremely refined and clean: never too warm or too cold it sounds naturally precise and detailed in the highs. For example, voices flow through it with ease, full-bodied (male) or delicate (female) as they should always be.
It is not too analytical though it does offer a good amount of detail.
The bass range is deep and very linear, in the sense that there are no reinforcements nor "weak" spots. To state it in few words, one of the best bass ranges I've ever heard.
The feeling I have when listening to my fav Music through this cable is that the sound flows through it without effort as it was, dare I say it, "liquid". An impressive performance. That's why I subtitled this review with "A bridge over troubled waters" (Simon & Garfunkel).

Dynamics and soundstaging

The effortless sound of the Super is the main responsible for a very natural dynamic performance: though not explosive, it can follow the energy patterns of every kind of Music without sounding harsh or compressed. It doesn't matter if the amount of energy transferred is large or tiny...the Transparent Music Link Super will trasfer it to your speakers without adding or subtracting anything of its own.
Subtle variations are offered with precision and harmonic richness that make the reproduced sound so natural.

One of the main forte's of the Super is its ability to create a surprisingly wide soundstage, though. The depth of the image is very good, too, and it reminds the BIG sound of hi-end preamps and power amps, if you know what I mean.
The players are well focused though the contours are not of the pin-point kind, so the 3D scene the Super creates is amazing but not hyper-realistic. It never collapses even during very complex tracks.

Some advice

This cable is directional so, please, install it following the arrows on the cable and on the Transparent Network.
Some break-in is necessary, too. Its flexibility allows the Super to be placed almost anywhere where fatter and stiffer cables become a pain in the neck.
Obviously, though it can bring some new life even into a budget-oriented HiFi system (as we've seen), it founds its natural place between high quality components, it doesn't matter if solid state, tube-equipped, digital or analog. A good cable sounds good everywhere anytime.
If I understand well, the owners of a Super cable can easily upgrade to Ultra, Reference and Reference XL series cables with ease. Just visit the Transparent site for details.


It's pricey :-)
Jokes aside, it is a pity that such a good sound doesn't come cheaper and, alas, the cheaper Music Link interconnects do NOT sound this good.
They are not so tonally balanced and detailed like this Super.
The RCA connectors are easy to use, offer a quite firm (yet "gentle") grip on the RCA females so your preamps amd power amps (and your fingers too) will thank you for this.
But, considered the price range of the Super and its overall performance, I'd have preferred some sweet WBT connectors of the "locking" type.
From a sonic point of view, just to play devil's advocate here, the Super, in my humble opinion, still needs a bit of extra punch, both in the bass and in the mids.


OK, the Super doesn't come cheap but the sonic performance is astounding. And no, Virginia, there is no way to get such a performance buying cheaper 150/200 $ cables.
The Transparent Cable Music Link Super is simply amazing, need I say more.
Please give it a try if your HiFi system is "good enough" (let's say around 6,000 $) or if you are willing to discover what a high quality cable can do to your system.

A warm thank you to the guys at Audio Natali for having sent us this cable for reviewing.

© Copyright 1999 Lucio Cadeddu - http://www.tnt-audio.com

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