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EWA LS80 speaker cables

Discussion in 'audio' started by ex brickie, Jan 15, 2021.

  1. jayjay8

    jayjay8 Active Member

    I bought a pair of LS-25's a month ago from Alan to replace a pair Of Tellurium Q Blacks and after about 36 hours of burn-in of the LS-25's I a tried a couple of tracks and was blown away by the clarity of the LS-25's compared to the TQ Blacks. I then started to get curious after reading reviews on pfm of the LS-40's and was seriously thinking of returning the LS-25's and replace them with LS-40's instead. However, after a couple of days thinking about it I thought what the hell...why not go for the LS-80's instead! I know for a fact that this will probably be the last pair of speaker cables I will buy so why not go for the best! Bye the way, I think Alan ( and Colin) are the best in the business! :D:p
    Megeake2, ABCaudio, CJ14 and 2 others like this.
  2. Rug Doc

    Rug Doc pfm Member

    What will you do when the LS-100 are released?? :D
    ABCaudio, CJ14 and jayjay8 like this.
  3. jayjay8

    jayjay8 Active Member

    I will cross that bridge when we come to it!! Seriously though, from what I have heard from the pfm members who have bought LS-80's I will be more than pleased with my LS-80's! :p:D
  4. Rug Doc

    Rug Doc pfm Member

    Yes Ls-80’s are fabulous. I had a pair here for a while and they rocked.

    I would also recommend the Ic40 interconnect very highly, and the usb cable as essential. These made a bigger difference in my system than the LS80.
    ABCaudio likes this.
  5. jayjay8

    jayjay8 Active Member

    My next purchase is likely to be a a pair of IC40 XLR's to replace a pair of Tellurium Ultra Black XLR's from my DAC to Amplifier.
    ABCaudio and CJ14 like this.
  6. CJ14

    CJ14 Oh not again.

    Bad man foul language yuk.
    jayjay8 likes this.
  7. jayjay8

    jayjay8 Active Member

    Sorry Colin! It will not happen again, I promise! :(:(
    CJ14 likes this.
  8. CJ14

    CJ14 Oh not again.

    No no I will cry to much R&D, boxes of naff attempts , and the maths yuk.
    Want to try some exotic compound's but the cost I could by a Russian second hand yacht. I stick to tractor inner tubes I think .:(
    jayjay8 likes this.
  9. CJ14

    CJ14 Oh not again.

    jayjay8 likes this.
  10. jayjay8

    jayjay8 Active Member

    CJ14 likes this.
  11. peter_964rs

    peter_964rs That's no moon!

    Various albums and Radio Paradise on repeat.

    I had a small opportunity this morning to use a db meter and test tones to precisely level match the balanced and single ended inputs on my amp and switch between them on a variety of familiar tracks. There *is* a small reduction in what I'd call 'brashness' in the IC-40 this morning that is encouraging. However, there is nuance to this test, in that my DAC (Gustard X26 Pro, brilliant btw for the price) was also brash and hard on first install and took a few days to mellow - on the RCA outputs. Now that I'm using XLR, perhaps part of the output circuitry that has been unused has to be run in again and this is the cause. I can't say I'm completely satisfied and in what ways the IC-40 is superior until that process appears to have settled down!
    jayjay8 and ABCaudio like this.
  12. ABCaudio

    ABCaudio Trade: ABCaudio, representing EWA

    Hi Peter

    I am glad they are safely with you. Regarding your question, and without commenting on how audible run-in is, I can only really relay what clients have told me; some say there is just no difference over time, others find the sound changes over anything from a week to three. Any actual changes that occur using a new cable will be dependent on the metals in the plugs and sockets, and the loads across those connections. The fact you have the more unusual Furutech connection means there is even less experience to draw upon here. In general, depending on the system (the variables mentioned above), the answer from Colin is anything from fifteen hours to a hundred...

    As a user of a fairly similar DAC (SMSL M-400), I feel you may be onto something regarding the DAC, too.
    CJ14 and jayjay8 like this.
  13. jayjay8

    jayjay8 Active Member

    I would give it a few more days of burn-in and you should find the "brashness" will reduce even more, especially as you say the XLR outputs on your DAC have been unused. My own opinion on burn-in is a minimum of 50 hours on new cables, but as I say it is just my own opinion.
    Last edited: May 18, 2022
    CJ14 likes this.
  14. jayjay8

    jayjay8 Active Member

    My LS-80's arrived today @ 11am! WOW! Talk about Anaconda! All connected up by 11.10am and currently going through my TQ System and Cable Burn-in CD on repeat! Will wait until they have around 40/50 hours burn-in before I give them a proper listen. HAPPY DAYS indeed! :cool::D
    ABCaudio, cd45123, CJ14 and 3 others like this.
  15. CJ14

    CJ14 Oh not again.

    How does it sound un-run in?
    jayjay8 likes this.
  16. jayjay8

    jayjay8 Active Member

    I really haven't had time to try it out yet Colin! I just left the Burn-In CD on repeat most of the day! Unfortunatly we had a water leak from the toilet basin (burst braided hose tap tail) so Iv'e been busy this afternoon sorting that out & moping up so I haven't had time to have a listen! I will try a few tracks out tomorrow though!:D
    Last edited: May 19, 2022
    CJ14 and johnacurtis like this.
  17. peter_964rs

    peter_964rs That's no moon!

    So after a few days of music on repeat I haven’t detected any further changes in presentation and things have settled down enough for me to opine.

    It’s difficult to be measured in what I write because of the various gushing posts on this thread for EWA cables that make me wonder if I’m going deaf. But, actually, what this means is my existing interconnects are actually superb, at a lower price (a new EWA set seems to be about 50% more than an equivalent SLIC), and whilst the EWA IC-40 is better, it’s not night and day better. But it is very good!

    When I consider the price, both the EWA and SLIC cables represent excellent value at their respective price points. I guess the optimum comparison would be to a well-known and established brand – let’s say Chord to avoid hackle raising by saying TQ ;) – and being able to state ‘it is as good as’ one of the top models of interconnect, one that retails for multiples of the £ of the EWA. That would be best.

    But I can’t do that, because I think the SLIC cables I have fall into the same VFM category, and I bought them and not (say) Chord Sarum, so I can’t do that comparison. Noting that I have only heard top Chord products at shows (I don’t feel like dropping in on a dealer and wasting their time asking for a demo of something that expensive that I’m unlikely to buy) and I speculatively bought the SLIC at a reasonable price I thought was worth a punt, based on a few limited reviews. A bit like EWA, really. Also, full disclosure, obvs I’ll be selling my SLIC interconnects shortly, because I’ll keep the EWA IC-40 interconnects, so whilst I’ll state these are slightly better, it’s up to potential purchasers to decide if I’m bigging up the SLIC for the sale. I’m not, but you can have that thought if you like.

    My SLIC cables are Eclipse C vII and there is a now a vIII. This could close the gap.

    As noted in an earlier post, I’ve replaced the RCA SLIC cables with XLR EWA IC-40 (using Furutech connectors) meaning there is a change in level for which I must compensate. There is also the possibility that differences in sound are just because single ended RCA sounds different to balanced XLR – some will avoid balanced connections because it sounds less rhythmic, less musical, more hifi – and then the balanced connections on my Accuphase amp and DAC were lower use or unused and may have also needed some degree of running in. So it’s not a complete like for like comparison. But the advantage is I’ve been able to connect both cables to the amp simultaneously and switch between inputs and adjust volume remotely to match without shifting my bum from the sofa. The Accuphase tells me volume as a digital readout so I can be precise, too. Then, I’ve also switched cables out in case having both connected at the same time did something (it didn’t).

    Now, on the evaluation:

    TONALLY they both sound very similar, and uncoloured. I would like, perhaps, a smidgen more of a sense of richness from each; am listening to flute and harp in the background and they sound real but just a fraction more tending towards a recording of a thing rather than the thing itself being present. But, if an interconnect is a conduit of what is being sourced and transmitted and reproduced through the DAC/Amp/Speaker chain then the smidgen of richness I’d like could well be lacking in the DAC, the amp or the speaker. The two interconnects sound equally neutral. There is more slam in the bass with the EWA. I’m not sure it goes any deeper though. Midrange and treble response seem the same.

    NOISE: They are extremely quiet. If I whack the volume right up, the SLIC is slightly fuzzier in the background and slightly less quiet, but that’s like a 5-10% thing and might just be the balanced connection.

    DYNAMICS: Here the EWA is superior, both at the macro and micro level. Those dynamics rise and fall faster, with less of a sense of overhang. There is more precision in how that flute I mentioned is mouthed (I used to play flute) you can sense more of the breathing and the pulse of air as the flautist shapes the volume changes in their playing.

    DETAIL: Again, the EWA is superior. I was listening to the cymbal at the beginning of ‘You look good to me’ on Oscar Peterson Trio’s ‘We get requests’, and this has more definition of how it is struck, how it resonates and how it decays. If I were a cymbalist – drummer? – I would find it easier to be able to say what type or manufacture of cymbal with the EWA than the SLIC. It has a more 3D quality to it as well, as if I could close my eyes and find it easier to see. I took notes about a rock track (but didn’t note and forget which one) where the electric guitar ‘yowl’ was better defined and more extended and subtle rather than a mash of sonic assault. Could have been Santana, Knopfler or Prince even. The micro-dynamic detail described above helps create a more believable and nuanced image, not just that I can hear more sounds, but that I can hear how a sound is shaped (eg aforementioned flautist pushing more or less air through their instrument).

    SOUNDSTAGE: There is more image presence and body on the EWA. It feels more real and extends further into the room, and a little bit more behind the speakers and indeed outside of them or behind me even. There may be a fractional increase in soundstage width.

    TIMING: I enjoy both cables. I was rather hoping that the much-vaunted phase coherence of EWA would really come through here, and I’m sure it’s excellent, but I don’t detect anything that makes me think timing is significantly better except to note what I’ve noted above about detail and dynamics and to confirm that all this extra is nevertheless presented in time and in its place in the context of the overall performance. Meaning that timing is of course excellent and my feet tap for both.

    DOWNSIDES: I mentioned brashness in an earlier post and this is reduced but present and in fact when I listen carefully its present in both cables; just that the EWA is slightly more transparent to it. I think it’s elsewhere and I think I know where but won’t muddy the waters in this post with an aside into that. Importantly, I know for a fact that a better product can sometimes unbalance a system and make it sound worse; a more transparent interconnect could (for example) reveal the DAC to be hard and unyielding, or bright. A better amp might control a speaker so well you wonder where the bass, that was previously experienced as full but was in fact woolly and imprecise, has gone. I’m pleased to say I’ve not really seen anything go awry in my system; the balance is still where it was.

    What I’ve wrestled with mostly is the thought that my SLIC cables are worth £x and the EWA cost me £y and is it that much of a difference? Well, in a better and more resolving system than mine with (in particular) better acoustics and no huge wall of windows close to the RHS of the system about which I can do nothing causing annoying first order reflections, the subtlety of the improvements I’ve described could well be more pronounced, and as I improve the system, I’m sure I’ll hear more. The EWA interconnect is a very transparent conduit that does less harm, and at this level differences are hard won! And, if you were considering another mfrs product at £z, chances are you’d be very happy paying £y.

    I currently use TQ Silver ii speaker cables. At some point I will consider replacing them – they were better than NACA5 I was using before, but again with more of a subtle and nuanced improvement than the ‘Oh my God that’s so much better’ statements I keep reading – and might well consider EWA LS-80 at that point J. Ditto for power cables, I’m using Nordost or Puritan cables, if I had the money, I might have tried a Shunyata cord but would be interested in the EWA alternative. Each incremental improvement should improve transparency, and I’m quietly confident the IC-40 will be a fundamental part of that, because it does represent an improvement and is obviously very transparent, well balanced and also well made. I’m happy to keep it in place!

    I hope that helps anyone considering one.
  18. jayjay8

    jayjay8 Active Member

    So, this morning after 12 hours of Burn-in I finally audition my LS-80's. Couldn't decide what CD to try (over 880 to choose from at the last count) but I finally choose the soundtrack to one of my favourite films of the '80's "The Mission"...Ennio Morricone/London Philarmonic Orchestra/Incantation.

    From the first track "On Earth As It is In Heaven" I was astounded from what I was hearing from the LS-80's, the soundstage was vast, filling the room with pure pure music! Above my head, behind me, just everywhere! Almost like a 3D sound (whatever that sounds like). Moving on to one of my favourite tracks of all time " Gabriels Oboe" with its timpani intro, this track is so beautiful and for some strange reason it always brings a tear to my eyes everytime I listen to it! Two more tracks "Brothers" and "Carlotta" the RPO and acoustic guitar...sublime! Then "Remorse" with its oboe and chanting chorus and I presume Incantation thrown in with the mix! Pure magic! The haunting "Penance" would have fitted well in a Alfred Hichcock movie! Then we have the main theme "The Mission" again another fantastic track, just close your eyes and drift away for 2 mins 47 secconds! Followed by "Refusal" the RPO Orchestra and Incantation coming at you from all angles, timpani, violins, trumpets, oboe, flute, clash cymbals and everything else in between building up to a rousing crescendo! Then,"Alone" another Alfred Hitchcock type track (with a touch of John Williams "Jaws" thrown in) the RPO strings, clash cymballs and timpani. The timpani and tom tom's seem to be talking to each other!

    So, to conclude do I think the LS-80's are worth the money? After only a couple of hours listening to them today I would say 100% YES!! With over 50 years experience in hifi I have tried many many speaker cables over the years from Kimber (8TC and 12TC),QED,Chord, Atlas,Tellurium etc etc but I can say without a shadow of a doubt the LS-80's are THE BEST speaker cables I have had the pleasure of trying!
    Thank you Alan and of course Colin from the bottom of my heart. You have made an old man very happy today!:cool::D:D:D:D:D:D
    Last edited: May 20, 2022
    lordmortlock, ABCaudio, CJ14 and 2 others like this.
  19. CJ14

    CJ14 Oh not again.

    Thank you.

    Try "one Night in Paris" by 10cc if the bike bell goes around your head then we have try "Talk Heads" the images are amazing.

    Also this the wind instruments are a shear delight.

    Also have listen to some flash mob.

    You can hear the people moving about all round one.
  20. jayjay8

    jayjay8 Active Member

    Thank you Colin! I will have a listen to them when I get a chance! :D Cant wait to try Mike Oldfield's "The Killing Fields" ...John Barry's "Dances With Wolves" ....Johnny Mathis "I'm Coming Home"....Kraftwerk "Autobahn" ...Michael Jackson "Off The Wall" &"Thriller"...Roxy Music "Avalon" plus Eva Cassidy, Paul Simon, REM and Queen over the coming week! Barring an earthquake that is!! :D:D

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