Slinkylinks. Sounds like a child’s toy, doesn’t it? These cables do not sound like toys, but they do have a “slinky” look and feel: smooth and shiny, and packaged in small metal cans. In fact, what I received from the New Zealand-based Slinkylinks’ owner, David Irvine, was a “Slinkyzone Pack” containing two cans with a pair of $500 RS1100 interconnects in each, and a box with the $525 S1300 3-meter single-wire speaker cables. The cables are somewhat stiff which kept them pressed against the insides of the cans as if they were being spun in a centrifuge. Both the packaging and the fit and finish of the cables are very well done and suggest that the sound may also be of high quality.
The interconnects use Eichmann Silver Bullet plugs and are constructed from four strands of 6-nines pure silver wire. The gold-plated banana connectors on the speaker cables are tubular metal that initially gave the impression of being too lightweight to make a good connection. However, looks can be deceiving. They always fit firmly into the 5-way binding posts on my amps and speakers and always made tight and secure connections, even after repeated insertions and removals. The banana plugs’ large contact area also assures very low resistance connections.
From the Slinkylinks Web site:
“1. All Slinkylinks conductors are 96% insulated in air
2. All Slinkylinks cable uses 99.9999% pure silver conductors
3. Metal content is minimized to reduce harmful capacitance distortion”
After about 300 hours of break-in, before which the sound can be forward and a bit hard – normal for silver cables – it was time to listen. The interconnects and speaker cables share a very similar sonic signature, so I will simply discuss the sound of Slinkylinks without referring to either the speaker cables or the interconnects individually. After seeing the packaging, handling the cables, and reading the accompanying media release, I was expecting good sound.
I wasn’t disappointed. After the break-in period (it is great to have a tuner for this task) I was treated to many hours of enjoyable music. My cables of direct comparison during this review were copper Placette and PS Audio Resolution Transcendent interconnect cables, and PS Audio and Audience Au24 speaker cables. The Transcendent interconnect uses two 18 gauge silver conductors, where the Slinkylinks use four 0.25mm (approximately 30 gauge) conductors. It is fun and interesting to read different manufacturers’ descriptions of their cables, how they are constructed, and why their cables sound better than everyone else’s cables. On the PS Audio site, they assert that “thin wire gauges of silver…lose a lot of information in the bottom end. This makes some solid silver cables sound bright and edgy; but in reality, they are simply missing the lower end of the musical spectrum.” Comparing the Transcendent to Slinkylinks, I found that there was some validity to PS Audio’s assertions, although the degree to which the RS1100 interconnects may have been suffering from the thinner wires was usually quite minor. Even though the RS1100 is more immediate and forward than Transcendent, I would not call Slinkylinks cables “bright” or “edgy” in the least. Those terms are too extreme.
The “Slinkylink sound” can be summarized as nimble, dynamic, and detailed. There was a high level of musical involvement overall. The cables’ low level resolution, especially in the midrange and treble, often presented new levels of meaning in familiar music. The subtle nuances of female voices were often revelatory. These cables dig very deeply into each and every note and unfailingly offer harmonic information that many other cables either suppress or ignore completely.
The performance in the mid to upper bass was excellent, with very high resolution and dynamic ability. The very low bass was a bit less powerful in direct comparison to the Transcendent’s full and rich bass, but much more similar to the Placette interconnect. The midrange and upper frequencies have a light, airy feel with great snap and clarity. As we expect from silver-based cables, there is no grain. The ability to differentiate the various cymbals in a drum set was amazing because the individual resonant character of each cymbal was readily apparent. This is a very difficult test of the cable’s characteristic distortion which the Slinkylinks cables passed with the highest honors. I remember that the very expensive Nordost Valhalla interconnects were found to be lacking on this important test.
The Slinkylinks’ presentation of sound staging was also excellent, with terrific image placement and stage depth. Fine detail in the farthest corners of the stage was always present to a remarkable degree. Likewise, the ability to “see” individual performers near the front of the stage was exceptional. This is also indicative of superior lateral imaging which precisely defines the boundaries of individual performers.
The Slinkylinks cables, both interconnect and speaker cable, are fine performers. In my system, I preferred the relatively warmer sounding PS Audio cable, but the Slinkylink cables performed at a similar level of quality overall. If you are looking for a high performance cable that combines complete freedom from grain and high resolution with notable clarity and minimal distortion, the Slinkylinks cables are definitely recommended.
Overall Rating: 9 LPs
Link to Slinkylinks
Thank you for your very fair and favourable review of our Slinkylinks RS1100m Silver RCA Interconnects and S1300 Single Wire Speaker Cables. Our driving force has been to set the music free of cumbersome cabling and over priced options. Your review is very encouraging as it appears that we are achieving our goals.