I had the pleasure of an extended review period of the Mercury interconnects. They were compared with my normal Chord Chorus and Oyaide why silver interconnects.
The Mercurys were the quietest cable of the three letting through the most detail. They looked beautiful. Solid metal rcas with a spring type action. Good quality tight fitting rcas make a difference, don't listen to those who say they don't. As well as being soildly made the rcas look luxurious in gold. This contrasts well with the black cable. The cable is a nice thickness again adding to the aesthetic appeal.
There wasn't any hint of brightness. I heard sounds I'd never heard before and textures never noticed before. This level of detail with no hint of brightness is difficult to achieve.
These cables are good value at £185. A well known mainstream brand would charge at least double possibly more. Highly recommended.
I have these cables at present - had a brief listen last night to the Reference Mercury.
Clap, could you explain a bit further what you mean by "The Mercurys were the quietest cable of the three"; are any cables 'noisy'?
Mark, I'll not speak for Tristan as he'll no doubt answer, but the S/N noise can and does vary. In single ended mode, the lower the screen impedance, the higher the S/N ration and yes, this can result in a lower noise floor. The Mercury utilises a very low impedance dense braided outer screen which is one of the reasons for its excellent low noise and highly detailed performance.
Ah, I understand what you mean now by 'quiet', increased dynamic range or better information retrieval.
I notice the cable isn't marked for directionality, so presumably the screen is connected at each end and forms the return?
Last edited by YNWAN; 22-05-2012 at 12:02 PM.
I thought there was an arrow on the heatshrink at one end , in black the same colour as the heat shrink.
Ah, so a black arrow on a black background - how did I miss that ;)?
Unfortunately, I have posted the cables on now, so I will never know if I connected them correctly or not!
cables arrived this morning thanks. looking forward to some testing
Look forward to hearing your and Mark's thoughts Darren
Sorry it has taken so long to post some thoughts on my experience:
I'll spare everyone the list of equipment I used and the records listened to - in terms of equipment it is unlikely you own the same as myself (I used the cables between my phonostage and my pre-amp) and I probably didn't listen to the music you like either (tastes vary so much) . The bottom line is that I didn't have any difficulty hearing differences caused by using these cables - but your experience may vary.
In truth, most of my time was spent listening to (and comparing) the Reference Mercury. I did listen to the Fidelity Europa but I'm afraid it wasn't particularly for me. The Europa is a particularly flexible cable and nicely finished in a woven black sleeve and gold plated QED RCA plugs (I was pleased to find the plugs made good contact with the sockets on my equipment). However, I wasn't taken particularly with the 'sound' of the cable itself finding it quite flat in perspective and somewhat bland in terms of tonal differentiation. Music that had previously gripped me with it's subtle interplay lost much of that delicacy and seemed much more 'matter of fact'. In absolute terms the effect I'm trying to describe is quite subtle and in terms of quantity it was all there, there was no issue with the actual tonal balance as such. However, that subtle feeling of being there in the same room with the performers was significantly watered down and, for me, that is an important aspect. I'm told that the performance of the Europa can be a bit system dependant and in this particular case it didn't seem to suit my system/tastes.
On the other hand, for whatever reason, the Mercury was quite a different proposition. At 10mm diameter, this is a significantly thicker cable than the Europa. However, like the Europa the Mercury has a plain black outer braided sheath (which looks very smart), but it is terminated in Cardas RCA plugs which, apparently, have contacts made from rhodium plated silver; the actual body of the plug is gold plated brass and adds a bit of 'bling' (though personally I prefer a more austere aesthetic). I don't know how many people had used these cables before I received them (they looked brand new) but repeated use had seemed to relax the grip of the contact surfaces of the plugs a little and contact on the sockets of my equipment seemed very gentle (too gentle on one where the plugs had to be positioned just so - however, I have had similar problems before with these particular sockets). With regard to the sound; the Mercury has quite a specific character - creamy, or silky, are terms that immediately spring to mind. Vocals have good projection and sound really solid and well focused. An earlier poster mentioned the lack of sibilance and this is quite a striking aspect of the Mercury, sibilance does indeed seem to be suppressed; I'm not sure this is an accurate quality though and, in truth, I would say that the frequency extremes are a touch curtailed. Detail retrieval is good and subtle interplay between instruments is well preserved. However, leading edge attack seems subtly rounded of and ultimately I felt the dynamic range (loud to quiet) was just a bit limited. All this sounds a bit negative but, in truth, I enjoyed the sound of the system with the Mercury in place; instruments and interplaying lines were easy to follow and ambiance retrieval was good. As I mentioned before, vocals were particularly good (really excellent in fact). It is sometimes stated that cables can (or shouldn't) be used as a kind of tone control but I'm not sure that the Mercury could be accused of being such a cable; It does lend a smooth quality to the sound, but high frequencies aren't curtailed as such, it's more as though the whole sound has been covered in single cream .
Last edited by YNWAN; 29-05-2012 at 06:51 PM.
The plugs gripped very tight for me.
Got to say I use the Mercury ICs in my own system and they also grip well. Could it be the sockets Mark?
Well, I did write this:
however, I have had similar problems before with these particular sockets
Last edited by YNWAN; 29-05-2012 at 11:41 PM.
So, Darren, what are your findings?