Analysis Plus Oval Nine speaker cables have been the most consistent item in my system for well over a decade. The Oval Nines are thick and heavy copper cables designed for the most efficient transfer of energy from high power amps. As time went on, my system has evolved and scaled down from the 125 watt Magnum Dynalab MD208 and 308 discrete receivers with Magnepan 1.6 or Marten Miles 2 floor stand speakers to the 75 watt Bel Canto C7R receiver and KEF LS50 stand mount speakers. Recently, I contacted Analysis Plus to hear their offerings of equal or better performance in a leaner package. Soon afterward, a roll of Silver Oval 2 appeared at my door.
Silver Oval 2 cables are constructed of hollow oval woven silver tined copper conductors encased in a shield and clear sheath. My 8 ft. pair came terminated with bananas. The cables are directional and labeled on each end for amp or speaker.
I usually set up an item for review to break in with several days worth of FM hip hop and pop music before commencing with note taking of familiar material. However, because I felt reasonably comfortable with the Analysis Plus sound, I decided to listen to some old nuggets to get a quick first impression. I anticipated the transparency, timing, and tonal accuracy of the Oval Nine but with the next level of refinement and cohesion. I seriously underestimated the abilities of the Silver Oval 2 and was riveted to my seat for the rest of the afternoon and late into the evening. After a month with the Silver Oval Twos, the sensation has not subsided.
First of all, the subtle lingering awareness that one is listening to a recording rather than an actual musical performance simply vanished. Veteran Latin Jazz conguero and bandleader Poncho Sanchez recorded Conga Blue in 1996 with his idol Mongo Santamaria. From the first track of the CD to the last, music burst forth from the speakers with unbridled speed and transparency. Musical images were clearly outlined across a sound space that seemingly spread out way beyond the physical dimensions of my living/listening room. Individual instruments sounded alive and present. The more I listened the more aware I became of the art of arrangement. If you love how sax, trombone, and trumpet each play different notes of the same chord in harmony, you will appreciate the utterly convincing attributes of Silver Oval 2.
Next, I cued up "Bumpin' on Sunset" and "How Insensitive" by Wes Montgomery from his 1966 LP Tequila on Verve. My mint condition 1991 Japanese pressing sounded superb with my attention drawn to the long flowing lines played by Claus Ogerman's sublime string section. Another very familiar LP revealed rich rewards. Bobby Matos Heritage Ensemble self-titled 1988 debut on Enclave Records (ENCL 8801) is sadly no longer in print. Side one offers some of the finest performances of Latin Jazz on vinyl. I was astonished at the space and coherence of images coming off the spiral groove. Cymbals sounded so brilliant, airy, and dimensional like they were cleaned and polished just before the tape rolled. In fact, the one-inch aluminum dome of my KEF LS50 garnered ribbon-like levels of transparency and extension. Notwithstanding, bass also benefited from greatly enhanced depth and cohesiveness. Fifth cords sound keenly defined and grounded as if the musician's left hand on the neck of the instrument was twice as big as his right hand plucking the taut strings.
"Nimrod" from Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar as performed by Sir John Barbirolli and the Philharmonic Orchestra is a glorious piece of music. My reissue of the 1962 recording in Hi-Q Records (HQLP039) sounded like I was seated perfectly in the middle of row G. I could easily discern layers of strings and follow the interplay among the different sections of the orchestra. Then the swelling climax filled the room with majestic harmony like breath from heaven.
Eric Alexander is a tenor saxophonist who has recorded many albums as a leader and sideman since reaching the podium at the 1991 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. His 2010 CD Don't Follow the Crowd on High Note Records features a transcendent rendition of Henry Mancini's "Charade". The quartet formed a roomy arch of sound behind the plane of the speakers. Eric's sax burnished with a reedy bite and warm brassy glow in equal measure. I absolutely love this tune and the Silver Oval 2 felt like a straight line from the output of the C7R to the pleasure points in my brain.
Finally, the song "Hello" by Adele has been much parodied but there is no denying the splendor of her once in a generation voice. The song's message of reconciliation across time and distance is deeply moving and relevant to this listener, and judging from her sales and streams, millions of others too. Silver Oval 2 removes all the fine micro haze that comes between listener and this supreme recording.
In closing, the Analysis Plus Silver Oval 2 certainly rank among the finest cables I have heard in this context or any other in my experience. Their overall effect was that of a major source component upgrade like a new amp or DAC. In a real world system like mine, $1224 for silver speaker cables is a definite luxury. I would most likely advise anyone in a similar situation to upgrade to a better source, amp, or less ambitious cable form Analysis Plus with change left for music. However, if you already own a stable of thoroughbreds and have a nagging feeling that you could be closer to music, I urge you to check out Silver Oval 2. You may find yourself appreciating your music collection all over again just as I did. Why let NASA have all the fun?
Positive Feedback original review here.