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  1. #1
    Acc shut see Purité North
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    Epiphany Acoustics Atratus Interconnects

    Zoologists amongst you will recognise the latinate specific epithet atratus as attaching to dominantly black species of animals whose close relatives are much lighter in colour, hence the Latin name for the black swan is Cygnus atratus Twenty centuries ago it denoted "in mourning", and thus the naming of the sombre gold and black robing of Epiphany Acoustics first offering on the interconnect market is explained, though I must say they have little to be glum about...




    Epiphany Acoustics is a small independent audio company whose portfolio currently encompasses some distinctive wood-trimmed solid state headphone amplifiers and DACs, though I am told plans are afoot to grow this range as new products are developed.

    This review comes about as the result of their spotting my reviews of Mark Grant cables and rising to the challenge by offering me the chance to try the cables for myself and see if their claim to superior performance is substantiated. This post is my first impression, and I intend to follow it up when I have the chance to spend time listening with the cable between different components of my system.

    The Atratus Interconnect enters the fray as a foo-free product. It is based on high purity copper conductors and dual-screening, and it uses beautifully polished and engineered - but otherwise wholly conventional - RCA plugs. These interconnects are extremely flexible, with a gently "damped" feel, and the finely woven sheathing is far classier than usual at their high-value price point of £40. Construction is excellent.

    The Atratus' first challenge has been to try to oust Cambridge Audio's formerly top-of-the-range Studio Reference silver-plated interconnects - which happen to be one of the longest-serving pieces of equipment in my system. These currently connect my Denon TU-1800 tuner to my Unison Research C5P valve preamp.

    Despite the Cambridge's long residence, I've long had my doubts about silver-plated cabling. Like many I was "stung" both aurally and financially by QED's "Silver Anniversary" speaker cables - some of very few cables I've heard make a significant difference to the sound of a hifi system, and sadly, one that was for the worse. Plating copper with silver involves an intermediate layer of nickel, and bringing dissimilar metals into contact sets up a minute electrode potential; thus, though I have no evidence for it, I've long wondered if this may be why plated conductors seem to sound slightly different to all others in an audio system?

    OK, I digress, but the Atratus' avoids this in any case. I placed them in the system as described, and being something of a cable sceptic expected little or no difference. So I was pleasantly surprised by two immediate and lasting impressions: the sound was subjectively warmer and less grainy, and the bass more prominent and articulate. None of this has come at the cost of other areas of musical performance, and unlike another reviewer, I have certainly not found the cable to be "genre dependant"!

    These differences are by no means "night and day" - no cable with reasonable LCR values can wreak such magnitude of change - but the sound was different by a subtle degree which on a subjective scale I'd compare to the final coat of polish in woodworking. Furthermore, the changes are ones I find beneficial to my listening: coarseness and brightness are too often mistaken for "fidelity" and "detail" in audio. The Atratus interconnects take you a little closer to true fidelity. For that alone, this set will be staying in my system.


    Should anyone wonder I must emphasise I have no connection to Epiphany Acoustics of any kind.


    churz, sod

  2. #2
    100% Analogue YNWAN's Avatar
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    Hmm..very interesting; I also wrote a review of the Atratus a few weeks ago:

    http://www.hifiwigwam.com/showthread...rconnect-cable

    I can't say I have found it particularly warm sounding though.
    Last edited by YNWAN; 04-05-2012 at 06:50 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by YNWAN View Post
    Hmm..very interesting; I also wrote a review of the Atratus a few weeks ago:

    http://www.hifiwigwam.com/showthread...rconnect-cable

    I can't say I have found it particularly warm sounding though.


    Ah, interesting how similar some of your subjective impressions are. But in describing the cable as warmer, this is in comparison to the rather dry, bright sound of the Cambridge; overall the sound is pretty neutral as I would hope.

  4. #4
    100% Analogue YNWAN's Avatar
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    Yes, I see - I guess that is the very issue with subjective reviewing - as you say, inevitably when one compares anything it is 'compared' to something else. Just as you compared the Atratus interconnect to the Cambridge, so I compared it to the interconnect I had previously been using.

  5. #5
    Super Dooper Wammer def's Avatar
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    I tried and liked the Epiphany also. One of only a couple of cables that in my system come close to the clarity and neutrality of the Anticable interconnects, I've tried many highly rated and far more expensive interconnects and been disappointed. There are a couple of interconnects that I feel do it better but they are way way more expensive. For the price they're a bargain

  6. #6
    100% Analogue YNWAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by def View Post
    There are a couple of interconnects that I feel do it better but they are way way more expensive.
    Can I ask what they are and in what areas they show improvement?

  7. #7
    Super Dooper Wammer def's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YNWAN View Post
    Can I ask what they are and in what areas they show improvement?
    PM sent rather than start a war

  8. #8
    100% Analogue YNWAN's Avatar
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    Many thanks

  9. #9
    Super Wammer JANDL100's Avatar
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    I wrote a review of this cable for the Hifi Pig webzine - coincidentally simultaneously, and totally independent of, Mark YNWAN's review. The similarity in the sonic characteristics of what we both perceived was truly startling.
    Life's too short for boring hifi!

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    Super Dooper Wammer robin's Avatar
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    bring them to me bake off paul, let the rabble have a listen
    django pre leak st 20 tannoy 15" MG s

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by robin View Post
    bring them to me bake off paul, let the rabble have a listen
    Willdo Robin - tho' an unsubtle reminder won't go amiss nearer the time: I could forget stuff at Olympic standard...

  12. #12
    Super Dooper Wammer robin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by earlofsodbury View Post
    Willdo Robin - tho' an unsubtle reminder won't go amiss nearer the time: I could forget stuff at Olympic standard...
    django pre leak st 20 tannoy 15" MG s

  13. #13
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    Round 2: Atratus vs Mark Grant G1000HD

    With my Unison Research Unico CDE having more than one set of outputs to allow me to connect-up to the UR C5P pre-amp, on-the-fly comparisons of cables are relatively easy.

    Or so I thought...

    In terms of attaching things and switching between them, sure - no problem, but in practice there proved to be VERY little difference between these two cables. Or rather, first impressions were - "Oh yes, the Atratus are warmer, this will be easy...".

    But listening to Hellwood's well-worn "Fireworks Factory" left me with an unsettling sense that something wasn't different and I was missing what it was...


    This review isn't going well so far is it? Clear as mud? Sorry about that, that's cables for you.


    Anyway, I to-and-fro'ed for a while and began to get a handle on things: the Atratus are bloody good cables - bass depth, slam and tonality are great, they're supple and unconstrained and I really like them - they're every bit as good as the MG's, but to be fair, no better... Here was where expectation bias was kicking in. My own and others' impressions had left the suggestion in my mind that the Atratus were somehow subjectively "warmer" or "darker" than some other cable choices. This led me to expect a touch of bass emphasis, but there is none. It's spot-on.

    Listening to voices, however, differences in the vocal area began to tease-out. They're not large, but the Atratus have an uncomplicated simplicity of delivery that makes enunciation clearer and cleaner, something which can be very helpful if you take a voice as ragged and lisping as Johnny Dowd's and then multitrack it at different levels! By comparison, the more expensive G1000HDs try to deliver more analysis, which, as anyone familiar with the vagaries of dynamic range compression and CD artifacts will know, is something of a mixed blessing.

    To seek a little more understanding of effects in higher frequencies I dug-out Colleen's "The Golden Morning Breaks", and selected track 3, "The Heart Harmonium". The whole album is vividly reverberant, and has a straight-off-the-desk brilliance and verisimilitude - full of tape noise, ground-loop hum and tape-splice glitches. On a second rate system it is frankly, unlistenably bright. As I hoped, it was here that the largest difference between the two cables became evident: the Mark Grant's have an in-your-face ruthlessness in delivering every last shimmer and sting alike; in contrast the Epiphany Acoustics cables take a gentler, less ruthless path, sparing lacerated eardrums in the most impressively discrete way imaginable.

    The Atratus are no Van den Hul "The First" - i.e. they are NOT a £40 tone control. The difference is extremely subtle: I had to listen repeatedly, at very high volume in a system that is not backward in coming forwards in the mid to high frequency range to spot it at-all. The difference does not in my opinion lie in lower resolution - you will not miss anything using these, except, perhaps some HF hearing damage.

    What you will gain is an appealing sense of grain-free ease combined with honesty and all-round musical believablity. These are tonally accurate cables, and ones that suit extended listening in resolving systems at high volumes.

    There are no "ifs" or "buts" from me either - at £40 these are all the cables you will ever need unless you have a cost-related OCD issue. Yes, they are that old cliché: a true audiophile bargain. I mean it.

    My set are staying - and that is the best endorsement I can give any item of hifi equipment

    Epiphany Acoustics Atratus page is here, if you're interested you can purchase them directly online.

    Churz, sod.
    Last edited by earlofsodbury; 16-05-2012 at 04:06 PM. Reason: typos... ...and gibberish.

  14. #14
    Wammer Epiphany Acoustics's Avatar
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    Cheers for taking the time to write this, Paul. Much appreciated and glad you like them!

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