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Interconnect + speaker cable


Cardas Audio

Manufacturer: CARDAS AUDIO, LTD.
Prices (when reviewed):
• interconnect – 1199 PLN/1 m
• speaker cable – 2199 PLN/2,5 m

Contact: 480 11th St SE
Bandon, Oregon 97411 | USA


Provided for test by: VOICE

he American company Cardas Audio is a specialized manufacturer of audio cables. In addition to these they offer various accessories, such as: connectors, sockets etc., and from time to time also in-ear headphones. Their price list is dominated by products in medium and higher price range, though they never aspired to the "most expensive brand in the world" title. Within Cardas' portfolio one shall find also series of products for music lovers, who some time ago started the adventure with audio and now want to move forward without spending a fortune on cables.

Pricing of their products is a subject to the economic calculation and does not rely on matching the pricing to the competitor's. It might be easier for them since they design and manufacture their cables and connectors. Both the cables, bare wires and plugs are eagerly bought by other manufacturers, who use these to build their own products.

As we'd mentioned many times before, Cardas Audio, based in Bandon (Oregon), named after its founder and CEO, Mr. George Cardas, has its own patent - literally and figuratively - on how the cable should be built. Both material of conductors and dielectric are important, but equally important is their configuration. Mr. Cardas assumed that the best way to achieve the goal would be to use so-called "Golden ratio".

Golden Ratio is a special number found by dividing a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is also equal to the whole length divided by the longer part between the proportions. It's be derived from a Nautilus shell that was used for company's logo. It's been known since Ancient Greeks who used Golden Ratio in their architecture. The ratio of the width, height and length is approximately 1: 1.6180339887. It is often symbolized using Greek letter φ (phi).


The latest addition to the Cardas Audio catalog is an inexpensive series called Iridium. Checking the price list tells us that it is the second least expensive series, apparently it is supposed to replace the older series Microtwin. The only cheaper series there is the Crosslink.

Iridium interconnect's built is based on the configuration using Golden Ration called star-quad with four Litz conductors. The cables are shielded. As a result of these choices, the diameter of this model is slightly larger than the one of other Cardas inexpensive cables, but despite this, due to the choice of materials, they are extremely flexible.

Iridium interconnects are terminated with Cardas GRMO RCA plugs, but also a balanced version with Neutrik XLR connectors and DIN to RCA phono version are available. The GRMO connectors, that are relatively expensive, are used in several Cardas lines, such as: Clear Light, Cross and Quadlink. This is a male RCA plug made of non-magnetic material, i.e. eutectic brass, rhodium over silver plated. It features a brass gold-plated cover.

The speaker cables are terminated with CABE banana plugs, also produced by Cardas. These connectors are made of brass and nickel plated. The CABE is a two-piece banana plug. whereby the gold section screws into the silver section (banana plug end) and the wires are soldered to the plug. Both the interconnect and speaker cable are made of Cardas copper wires and shielded using twin axial construction. A tape impregnated with a selected PFA (perfluoroalkoxy polymer resin, or a fluoropolymer) and conductive carbon are used as dielectric, and from the outside the cable is protected by a layer of cured thermoplastic rubber (TPR).

The cables look very neat and are extremely flexible, which helps in their arrangement. The company materials read that the Iridium cables offer "rich midrange with strong bass and smooth treble... (and) performs like a product costing much more."

The Iridium cables were compared to the Acoustic Revive Triple-C set, also featuring copper conductors. For the test I used inexpensive but very interesting Rotel CD14+A14 system, and also Luxman D-05u player, working in my reference system. Test was based on A/B/A comparison. First I compared interconnects, then speaker cables and finally whole sets.

CARDAS AUDIO w „High Fidelity”
  • TEST: Cardas Audio CLEAR REFLECTION – interconnect + speaker cable
  • TEST: Cardas Audio EM 5813 Model 1 – headphones
  • TEST: Cardas Audio CROSSLINK 1I, CROSSLINK 2S, TWINLINK – interconnect + speaker cable + power cable (Polish)

  • Recordings used for the test (a selection)

    • Andrzej Kurylewicz Quintet, Go Right, Polskie Nagrania „Muza”/Warner Music Poland 4648809, „Polish Jazz vol. 0”, Master CD-R (1963/2016) );
    • Ella Fitzgerald, Like Someone in Love, Verve/Esoteric ESSO-90143, SACD/CD (1957/2016) w: 6 Queens of Jazz Vocal, „Master Sound Works”, Esoteric ESSO-90143/8, 6 x SACD/CD (2016)
    • Jean-Michel Jarre, Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise, Columbia/Sony Music Japan SICP-30956, BSCD2 (2016);
    • King Crimson, Live in Toronto, Penegyric/WOWOW Entertainment IECP-20252/253, „King Crimson Collectors’ Club: Special Edition”, 2 x Ultimate HiQuality CD (2016)
    • Novika, Tricks of Life, Kayax 013 CD (2006)
    • Pet Shop Boys, Super, Sony Music Labels (Japan) SICX-41, CD (2016)
    • Peter Gabriel, So, Realworld/Virgin SAPGCD5, SACD/CD (1987/2003)

    Japanese CD editions are available from

    The affordable Cardas cables won't disappoint anybody. These are cable, which successfully combine the features required at any price level, but also those that are a must for a true high-end product. This is, of course, only a beginning of the road, not the end of it, so compromises made by the designers are clear. As in any good product, they serve as means to achieve something more, a "greater good", if I may say so.

    The interconnect turns the temperature of presentation up, delivering a very good dynamics. It should please anyone who likes the sound of live music and who misses this familiar unfettered "impact" when listening at home. It will not be transferred in 1:1 proportion from live event, obviously, but the impression that one takes away from listening to the music using a system with Iridium interconnect will be very positive.

    This is a cable, which in addition to the good dynamics presents a well-balanced frequency response - of course, for its price level. In absolute terms one could indicate the rounded and slightly warmed up upper midrange, as well as emphasized mid-bass. Thanks to its “activity” and richness sound "carries" us easily through following albums. In my opinion it is a great advantage of this cable, because in this price range, that suggests Cardas will probably work with components from maximum 6000-7000 thousand zloty range, such “voicing” will come handy if not even necessary. Most of these devices have serious problems with a purity of the midrange and usually deliver not particularly rich performance. Cardas shall work out these issues without a sweat.

    If I had to indicate how it may change the sound of the system, I would think it makes bass guitar and double bass sound more powerful. Not by much, but still. But it shouldn't cause any shifts in tonal balance, as, for example, in the Mercy Street from Peter Gabriel's So it did not change the proportion between voices, that was set by the producer. For this track Gabriel recorded (at least) two vocals - high and low-pitched - and in the first part of the song the first one dominates, and in the next the second one. Cardas did not try to focus my attention either on quieter "background" of the low-pitched vocal at the beginning, nor used it to dominate the second part.

    The Iridium interconnect does not “close up” the treble. It is powerful, beautiful, and not rolled-off. I think there is a little, but still, change in this area compared to previous Cardas cables that played a rather warm treble. The new interconnect offers also proper richness of the sound and slight emphasis is the lower part of the band, but without any consequences; I could only hear more clearly the slight roll-off of the upper midrange. It will not change the tonal balance of the tracks, which themselves sound rather "high-pitched", such as some recordings on the Kurylewicz Quintet Go Right album. In turn, with slightly “dull” albums, such as Pet Shop Boys Super Iridium rounded too powerful attack, smoothed the treble, preserving the remnants of the dynamics of that recording.

    The speaker cable offers performance closer to the classic sound of this company's products. It has a rounded upper treble and lower bass, so that listener's attention is focused on the midrange. One can better understand the idea behind the Iridium series when listening to both, IC and speaker cable, together – the Iridium set delivers rich midrange and bass, but without “closing up” the treble. It offers a very good dynamics and prefers the events in the front of the soundstage. The latter element is pushed a bit back by the speaker cable but the interconnect pushes it back closer to the listener. In both cases, the more important are the direct sounds - compared to my reference cables reverb is shortened and quickly extinguished.


    Cardas Audio is a very competent, trustworthy manufacturer. The Iridium line to some extent continues the course taken by American brand a long time ago, because it delivers powerful, rich bass and a slightly withdrawn upper midrange. But it does not close up the treble like other Cardas wires do and delivers an excellent dynamics. It will be a great complement to any system that thrives on timbre and dynamics. It will calm down systems that are slightly too “rush", but will not cause those on the darker side of the spectrum to become “muddy”. It will add some color and vigor to them. One should also note that these are particularly flexible cables and not too heavy, so they will work very well also with small/light devices.


    - Turntable: AVID HIFI Acutus SP [Custom Version]
    - Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory ZERO (mono) | Denon DL-103SA, review HERE
    - Phono stage: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE

    - Compact Disc Player: Ancient Audio AIR V-edition, review HERE

    - Line Preamplifier: Polaris III [Custom Version] + AC Regenerator, regular version review (in Polish) HERE
    - Power amplifier: Soulution 710
    - Integrated Amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE

    - Stand mount Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
    - Stands for Harbeths: Acoustic Revive Custom Series Loudspeaker Stands
    - Real-Sound Processor: SPEC RSP-101/GL
    - Integrated Amplifier/Headphone amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
    - Headphones: HIFIMAN HE-6, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-300, review HERE | Sennheiser HD800 | AKG K701, review (in Polish) HERE | Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, version 600 - reviews (in Polish): HERE, HERE, HERE
    - Headphone Stands: Klutz Design CanCans (x 3), review (in Polish) HERE
    - Headphone Cables: Entreq Konstantin 2010/Sennheiser HD800/HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE

    - Portable Player: HIFIMAN HM-801
    - USB Cables: Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SP (1 m) | Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5 m), review HERE
    - LAN Cables: Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA (kable ) | RLI-1 (filtry), review HERE
    - Router: Liksys WAG320N
    - NAS: Synology DS410j/8 TB
    System I
    - Interconnects: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, review HERE | preamplifier-power amplifier: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review (in Polish) HERE
    System II
    - Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA

    System I
    - Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
    - Power Line: power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m); wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
    System II
    - Power Cables: Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, review (in Polish) HERE | Oyaide GPX-R (x 4 ), review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Oyaide MTS-4e, review HERE
    - Stolik: SolidBase IV Custom, read HERE/all system
    - Anti-vibration Platforms: Acoustic Revive RAF-48H, review HERE/digital sources | Pro Audio Bono [Custom Version]/headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, review HERE | Acoustic Revive RST-38H/loudspeakers under review/stands for loudspeakers under review
    - Anti-vibration Feets: Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc/ CD Player/Ayon Polaris II Power Supply /products under review, review HERE | Finite Elemente CeraPuc/ products under review, review HERE | Audio Replas OPT-30HG-SC/PL HR Quartz, review HERE
    - Anti-vibration accsories: Audio Replas CNS-7000SZ/power cable, review HERE
    - Quartz Isolators: Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4

    - FM Radio: Tivoli Audio Model One