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Interconnect + speaker cable


Manufacturer: TARA Labs, Inc.
Price (at the time of the test):
• interconnect RCA/HFX: $6995 / 1m
• speaker cable: $12,000 / 2 x 2.4m

Contact: Davon Scott | 716 Rossanley Dr.
Medford, OR 97501 | USA


The tested product was supplied by: TARA LABS

he Evolution line by American company TARA Labs stirred the audio-cable world, also in Poland. Reviewed by me in my reference system, and then assessed by the members of the Cracow Sonic Society, left an unforgettable impression, which led to awarding it with the 2016 Statement Award from "High Fidelity" - the highest distinction we offer.

Far from the stereotypical "neutrality" allegedly to be featured by top-high-end products, they presented the world of recorded music at its best. The word that was repeated most often during the listening session was "beautiful". Not every system will be suited best with such a sonic character and not every listener needs it. But those for whom this is the only possible direction, were very, very happy. In order to take advantage of knowledge obtained when developing Evolution and even more expensive Master Evolution lines, Tara Labs has prepared the Muse series that is less expensive than Evolution but more costly than 0.3.


It's not a coincident that the name TARA Labs is spelled with capital letters – it is an acronym for: The Absolute Reference Audio. Currently company's headquarters are located in Medford, Oregon, and the firm is run by Mr Merrill Bergs. It was founded in 1984 by Matthew Bond, theoretical physicist and electronic. He built his first cables already back in the 1970s to improve the performance of his own audio system. The first commercial product with TARA Labs logo was the Phase II cable.

Throughout its whole history, TARA Labs has always used their own solutions. For example, solid-core wiring was used from the beginning. In 1990, the first "floating" cable was presented, ie with a shielding that was connected only on one side. Soon after, the cables received “boxes”, that allowed user to decide on high-frequency energy - their "descendants" are HFX stations. Two years later, solid-core rectangular cross-section cables were introduced, which were renamed RSC - Rectangular Solid-Core. In 1999, company presented the Zero interconnected, that as dielectric featured vacuum instead of air (at least according to company's materials).

Muse Series

This time the company itself points to this feature that we recognized with the Evolution series - all the other tests I know seem to steer clear of it - the manufacturer clearly says the purpose of their efforts was primarily the MUSICALITY:

In a world of audio cable articulations, high frequency extensions, low capacitance, and expansive sound staging, TARA Labs introduces a new cable series with a phenomenal characteristic. And all you need is just one word to describe it: MUSICALITY!!!


They explain this decision with their knowledge of the expectations of music lovers. They divide them into two categories: “those who crave to hear every detail possible of the musical instruments playing. And those who want to close their eyes and imagine they are sitting right in the middle of a live orchestra, while the musicians play music around them.” However, they finish this statement with a conciliatory (as if this division was to actually divide fans): "The Muse Series audio cables offer an opportunity for an audiophile to have it all! Muse cables offer audiophiles both these worlds."

The construction of the Muse begins with the precise measuring, machining, and cutting of TARA labs proprietary materials. Beginning with our 99.999999% (8N) pure rectangular solid core copper conductors (RSC Gen2) that are super-annealed, oxygen–free, mono-crystal, and frequency-tuned. This is a rare case, except for the ultra-limited Acrolink series, of using copper of such extreme purity. For Acrolink conductors are made by Mitsubishi Materials Industries. The conductors are then hand-polished and coated in our proprietary liquid dielectric to prevent oxidation before inserting into PTFE Teflon lumen air tubes.

The interconnects can be connected to an external floating ground "station" called HFX ("High Frequency eXtended"). It is very nicely finished. It's made of an aluminum block with powdered minerals placed inside - similar techniques are used by Acoustic Revive and Furutech. It aims to reduce RF noise. We connect the shields of the left and right interconnects to the "station" as well as the ground of the device which the cables are connected to. Muse interconnects are available as balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) cables. These cables are stiffer than the Evolution ultra-flexible cables.

The speaker cables look like the top Evolution model, ie in each channel there are two separate runs - for the minus and the plus. They are finished with gold-plated copper BSM connectors, in which one may mount either bananas or spades. Each cable is made up of 72 separate wires. The large cross-section of cables does not result from the conductive material used in them, but from the efforts to minimize vibrations and their effect on conductors. In each run, three smaller cables were connected, twisted and covered with a black mesh. In fact, they look almost identical to the Omega model from the past.

I reviewed Muse cables as a set. I compared them with two other sets: Siltech Triple Crown and Acoustic Revive Triple-C. I performed this test in two systems. In the first of them the interconnect connected Ancient Audio Lektor AIR V-edition CD Player's output with Ayon Audio Spheris III preamplifier, and the speaker cable Soulution 710 (solid-state) with Harbeth M40.1. In the second system the same CD Player and speakers were connected using Muse with Kondo Overture II.

Additionally I tested the interconnect together with Ayon Audio HA-3 headphone amplifier, comparing it with Crystal Cable Absolute Dream. It was an A/B/A comparison with known A and B.

TARA LABS in High Fidelity
  • AWARD | STATEMENT AWARD 2016: TARA Labs EVOLUTION SERIES – interconnect | speaker cable | power cable
  • KRAKOW SONIC SOCIETY, meeting #103: TARA Labs  EVOLUTION SERIES – interconnect | speaker cable | power cable
  • TEST: TARA Labs EVOLUTION SERIES – interconnect | speaker cable | power cable
  • TEST: TARA Labs OMEGA ONYX – speaker cable (POLISH)
  • TEST: TARA Labs The 0.8 – analog RCA interconnect
  • KRAKOW SONIC SOCIETY, meeting #67: TARA Labs THE ZERO – analog RCA interconnect (POLISH)
  • TEST: TARA Labs VECTOR 1 – analog RCA interconnect | speaker cable (POLISH)

  • Recordings used for the test (a sele- ction):

    • Anita Lipnicka, Vena Amoris, Mystic Production MYSTCD 244, CD (2013)
    • Carmen McRae, Torchy!, Decca/Universal Music Group (Japan) UCCU-9633, SHM-CD (1955/2008)
    • Carol Sloane, Hush-A-Bye, Sinatra Society of Japan/Muzak XQAM-1031, CD (2008)
    • Dominic Miller & Neil Stacey, New Dawn, Naim naimcd066, CD (2002)
    • Polish Jazz Quartet, Polish Jazz Quartet, Polskie Nagrania „Muza”/Warner Music Poland, „Polish Jazz | vol. 3”, Master CD-R (1965/2016);
    • Sohn, Tremors, 4AD/Hostess CAD3403CDJ, CD (2014)

    Japanese issues available at

    It is remarkable how close the designers of the Muse cables got to what they achieved with Evolution series. At the same time, however, the sound we receive with the lower series is so different that, I am convinced, there will be the systems in which such performance will be better, more synergistic. How is it possible to achieve such effects when only a few variables are available, or how is it even possible to model the sound using parameters that are difficult to define and measure - I do not know, it's pure magic for me. But that's how experience and proper sense of what's right manifest.

    TARA Labs in the Muse series have achieved an effect of richness, fullness that even in the top Evolution series did not manifest in such a strong way. This is the fullness based on emphasizing the mid-band, and above all the vocals, while maintaining high resolution and vibrancy of the sound. I heard it right away as soon as I played the Anita Lipnicka Vena Amoris .

    I play it at the end of my meetings with readers during the workshops called „Audio Tour The Pologne 2017” (POLISH). It was recorded in course of eight days at the London studio by Greg Freeman in a large part on the so-called “hundred”, that is, with all the musicians playing in the same room (except for John Porter's guitars). With Muse, it sounded warm, dense and magical. The final track Comet starts with a silent prelude on a vibraphone - the reviewed cables slightly warmed it up. The same happened with Lipnicka's voice, whose timbre was slightly lower than with both, the reference cables and the Evolution cables.

    Interestingly, all the subtleties building the atmosphere of this song, like the tiny reverb on Lipnicka's voice, as the layers of her voice overlapping the basic voice, like the synthesizer and - finally – the vast space, all this was reproduced in a perfectly clear way. It is so, and we have become accustomed to it, that for the warm sound we pay with a loss of details. Here the amount of small elements that we understand as "details" was not very big, it is definitely not a "highly detailed cabling system". But I did not seek for them at all, I did not miss “hyper-detailed” sound at all. I heard a lot of information that build up something more than just “detailed” performance./p>

    Muse delighted me with the tone, depth and weight of the sound. This is definitely this type of cable that completes the system, fills the cracks in the sound that user may not even be aware of, but after trying TARA one shall find out that something was missing without them. In order to be fully convinced of that, let's just listen to Dominic Miller and Neil Stacey. The material released by Naim Records is one of the few that at that time was recorded using the patented True Stereo system. True Stereo – just a reminder - is a variation of the recording method using a single stereo microphone and recording the signal directly onto a stereo analogue tape; It was created by Ken Christianson.

    This material featured a deliberately manipulated reverb. Rush Hour starts with two guitars recorded with a very closely placed microphone, with an emphasized lower part of the band. Right afterwards, however, we enter a huge space where one of these guitars truly breathes. The Muse cables presented these changes clearly and with ease, have not muddled anything, nor simplified. Although they sound in a warm way and it is the lower midrange that plays a key role, everything else plays an equal role in building the message - even though it's a half step behind what matters most.

    While filling in and emphasizing, Muse preserved a great perspective. Unlike other cables that build sound on similar base, the tested cables perfectly, remarkably present the perspective. When on the Torchy! album the voice of Carmen McRae is big and presented in front of the band, with TARA it remains in place, but it is bigger. The cables do not push forward the warm, large sources on the listening axis. On the other hand, when on Hush-A-Bye Carol Sloane in Guess Who I Saw Today is placed quite far away, with a rather hard reverb, with Muse she stayed right there - quite far, without pretending that she sings here and now. In both cases, however, the vocals were velvety, warm and natural.

    From the Triple-C Acoustic Revive cables and all others slightly contouring sounds, with more solid instruments' bodies, Muse differs with a more general approach to the material, as well as with the amount of treble. There is less of high tones, and the attack, edges, etc. are more sophisticated. Because not every elements and not all the time are energetic, the various music is better differentiated. The top Siltech cables are more “raw”, more resolving, and deliver a more even frequency response. But with Muse everything is beautiful, good, one can say "natural".

    Also spacial presentation, the imaging of the instruments are excellent with the Muse, and at the same time very specific. These cables smooth out brighter elements. They have a good resolution, so the differences are not blurred and the sources of sound are not approximated, but they are presented as denser. Despite the equally large distances, equally large soundstage, all elements seems more inter-connected. The size of the soundstage is smaller than Evolution, but it is closer to what we mean by "neutral". More expensive cables show a huge space in every direction, which reminds of what can be heard with Kondo amplifiers. Although extremely attractive, this presentation is slightly enlarged. In this respect Muse sound more like, much more expensive, Siltech Triple Crown system.

    With the tested cables one gets a combination of warmth, density, and good resolution and differentiation. The upper treble and the low bass are less pronounced than with the Evolution and even less than with the two reference cable sets. The older TARA Labs Omega speaker cable, which I used for years, was, if memory serves, a bit lighter and showed more dramatic changes in dynamics. It sounded a bit more raw, and therefore more neutral. Muse join everything together, so that the strong passages between loud and quiet fragments are less marked. Also contour is not a priority here, so I would recommend it for a dynamic, accurate electronics. Although, I honestly admit, with the very warm Kondo Overture Pm2 amplifier these cables created a stunning presentation, emphasizing advantages and minimizing the downsides. This is a very particular case, an exception really.


    Among the sonic qualities of Muse cables described by the manufacturer on his website the ones I most agree with would be the "exceptionally low background noise" and "outstanding musicality." The latter is a blurry term, understood rather intuitively. But listen to the Muse and this term will come to you immediately, whether you know exactly what it is or you just "feel" it.

    These cables offer a warm, rich, dense, organic sound that encourages listening to more and more music. The presentation with them is extremely “humane” and sophisticated. The most important is the midrange, especially its lower part. Below and above this part of the range everything sound OK, but - just as with "musicality" – it takes but a moment to come to this conclusion: the vocals are remarkable! It seems obvious that TARA Labs focused on richness and density of the sound. Although the Evolution series has something very special about it, Muse does not fall far behind it. In some system Muse might be the preferred choice.



    - 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