SoundFoundations, which is a familiar name to many HiFi Vision (www.hifivision.com) forum readers, is a homegrown audio accessory supplier based out of Mumbai, India. The proprietor, Khuzema Tajir (Ali), who has been providing much needed yeoman’s service to Indian audio enthusiasts by manufacturing/stocking accessories like stands, racks, isolation products etc., at excellent prices is now distributing Mogami cable products.
When considering analog cables for my audio system, particularly the ones transferring audio signals, I tend to think in terms of looms i.e. sticking to one manufacturer for both the interconnects and speaker cables. I believe that this brings much needed synergy to a system rather than a disparate collection of brands which may work against each other. To this end, when I exchanged e-mails with Ali regarding the Mogami based products for a review, I asked him to recommend a loom of 2 sets of interconnects and set a speaker cables. He suggested the Olympus and Apollo interconnects and the Coliseum speaker cables, all based on Mogami designs. Mogami from Nagano, Japan, really needs no introduction having garnered a huge global following for their cables, both by Do-it-yourselfers, and retail customers. They also are a dominant supplier to Professional Audio, and indeed sometimes they are referred to as the “Cable of the Pros”. Ali further explained that the Coliseum speaker cable is also known as the Mogami Reference and the Olympus and Apollo interconnects were formerly known as the Mogami platinum and Gold respectively. The cables themselves were aesthetically pleasing in a functional manner with decent quality termination. The 2.5m Coliseum has spades on one end and banana plugs on the other, and since no directional arrow was indicated I proceeded to connect the bananas to my speakers and the spades to my amplifier. The Olympus has regular Amphenol RCA terminations and the Apollo sports locking RCA’s. Additionally the 12 AWG Coliseum features ‘NEGLEX’ Oxygen-Free-Copper within color-coded PVC insulation.
No detail of break-in time, if any, was provided. I however connected the cables and proceeded to play music for about 10 hours before I sat down to critical listening.
I started off with some female vocals from Diana Krall. In the song California Dreamin’, Wallfower – Verve (24/48, FLAC), the nuances in her husky voice were distinctly rendered and immediacy and presence was very palpable. Soundstage spread of the instruments and their imaging focus was well defined. Next I moved on to Miles Davis’s A Tribute to Jack Johnson – Columbia (24/96, FLAC). The bite and blat of the trumpet from Right Off was immensely pleasurable to listen to, the trumpet sounding smooth and undistorted as Miles hit searing high notes in what I consider one of his best performances ever. More Jazz trumpet from Ryan Kisor’s Power Source – Criss Cross (16/44.1, FLAC). Again I felt that the trumpet rendition was very refined — however having heard this track frequently I felt that high frequencies on the profusion of cymbal strikes from drummer Gene Jackson were slightly polite and muted and the decay was abbreviated ever so slightly.
Next up I listened to Christian McBride’s Conversation with Christian – Mack Avenue (16/44.1, FLAC). The track McDukey Blues, features George Duke on the piano as he plays a duet with Christian McBride on the double bass. These two tonally rich instruments sounded very full and lush, the transients on the upright coming across very cleanly without any fuzziness or smearing. Listening to a Coldplay’s Ghost Stories – Parlophone (16/44.1, FLAC) the track Midnight is punctuated by a synth bass line. The low frequency rendering was electrifying, the electronic bass energizing my whole room viscerally. Overall bass presentation represented by these cables was replete of texture and definition together with adequate extension. Lastly I listened to Peter Gabriel’s UP – Geffen (16/44.1, FLAC). Signal to Noise features acclaimed Qawwali exponent, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. His extraordinary vocal range was stunningly showcased in all its intensity and glory. These cables excelled at reproducing human voices both male and female.
I have a Signal Cable – Silver Reference cable loom, which at a cost of US$350 would be a logical competitor to the Coliseum, Olympus and Apollo2. Right away, one thing was obvious with the Signal Cables and that was better high frequency extension in the form of more pronounced sparkle and shimmer on cymbals. There was more air around the instruments, and imaging was more precise. However on the other end, the Mogamis had better bass extension and they dug deeper, though the texture and detail at this frequency range was similar with both the cables. Both were equally good with midrange; however I felt that the Mogamis were slightly richer in this very important musical span. Overall the Mogamis were tonally darker to the brighter, livelier Signal Cables. Be that as it may, ultimately the preference of either one of these cable looms will be highly system dependant, and I can see the potential of the Signal Cables tipping over uncomfortably to the brighter side in a poorly matched system.
These are excellent cables for both mid and hi-end systems. Their polite nature especially in the higher frequencies will comfortably adapt to majority of systems without offending the listener. The lush midrange and strong bass reproduction enhances their ability further and I strongly recommend you audition these if you are in the market for cable sets in the ₹20k range, or if you want an improvement/upgrade to your current cables.
Sources: Music PC running J River Media Center v19, M2Tech Evo Hiface USB to SPDIF converter with battery PSU and master clock, Oppo BDP-83 blu-ray player used as disc transport.
DAC: Ayon Skylla II.
Amplification: Lamm LL2.1 deluxe Line stage, Symphonic Line Kraft 250 Amplifier.
Speakers: Ascendo C8 Renaissance.
Cabling: Signal Cable Silver Reference IC’s and speaker cables, Audioquest Cinnamon USB cable, Creative Cable Green Hornet digital, Audio Art Cable Power 1 Classic and Shunyata Diamondback power cords.
Power Line Conditioner: Sine 30A.
Room treatment: 6 GIK Acoustics 244 panels, 2 Echobuster Panels, 4 Vicoustics Wavewood panels.
Rack & Stands: SoundFoundations equipment rack.
Listening room dimensions: 14’ x 12’ x 8.5’, speakers placed against the short wall.
E-mail: [email protected]
Coliseum speaker cables, Olympus and Apollo2 analog interconnects
Price: Coliseum ₹12,850 per pair, Olympus ₹8,850 per pair and Apollo2 ₹4,500 per pair