The Absolute Sound review|Siltech Royal Double Crown Interconnects and Loudspeaker cable



Date: 2023-08-30


Siltech is located in the Netherlands, where it began manufacturing audio products in 1983. They include the Siltech SAGA System amplification, which was reviewed by Jonathan Valin in 2014, and the mighty Symphony loudspeaker, introduced in 2021. But the company is probably best known for its interconnects and speaker cables, both for their hefty price and stellar performance. Its chief designer, Edwin van der Kley Rynveld, who invented a unique silver-gold alloy in 1997, enjoys a high reputation in the audio industry. When Rich Maez, formerly of Boulder Amplifiers now the American distributor for Siltech, suggested that I review its new line of cables, I was more than game.

The packaging for the Royal Double Crown Series that I received, one step from the very top of the line, could hardly have been more striking—the dark blue boxes containing these gems were festooned with large golden royal crowns. The aristocrat of cables? After prying the boxes open, I discovered a passel of fairly hefty-looking interconnects, speaker cables, and power cords, whose construction looked to be meticulous. The cables are well shielded—a dual-layer insulation of DuPont Kapton and Teflon coupled with a Hexagon air insulation is supposed to lower inductance and capacitance. Nestled inside all this shielding are Siltech’s S10 monocrystal silver-wire conductors. The connectors are constructed from pure silver, as well. The build-quality appears to be impeccable.

What did the cables sound like? Abandon all preconceptions about silver cables being harsh or rebarbative or bright. Fiddlesticks. Those days seem to be long past when it comes to the top audio manufacturers, who employ silver for its speed and purity. Whatever annealing process Siltech is employing—and it’s clearly an excellent one—right out of the box the cables sounded darned good. Indeed, the Royal Crown cables produced a lustrous sound that was difficult to forget. Instruments emerged from about as black a background as I’ve ever heard. Forget that. It was obsidian. Take the Scottish Fantasy by Max Bruch played by Joshua Bell with the venerable Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, an enchanting orchestral work that I’ve been listening to quite a bit. Through the Wilson WAMM loudspeakers and darTZeel NHB-468 amplifiers, it was a supremely velvety sound. Not like the infamous “Dockers” term that my new colleague Michael Fremer likes to use as a disparaging word for equipment that’s too relaxed and mellow, this was something else altogether—refined, rich, and rewarding. The first movement, which is based on the song “Through the Wood Laddie,” was a real pleasure to listen through the Siltech cables. They conveyed the sonority and sheen of the string section with marvelous fidelity, allowing Bell’s rubatos to emerge with tender poignancy. Throughout, there was no hint of any stridency in the treble. Instead, there was a lifelike quality to the sound. It was almost like the inner glow of tubes, except that there was (gulp) nary a tube in the system.

The soothing character of the Siltech was all to the good on “hotter” recordings such as Count Basie’s classic Chairman of the Board, released in 1959. This kick-ass recording was one of the late David Wilson’s favorites–a showstopper, loaded with nifty numbers such as “H.R.H.” and “Segue in C” that are guaranteed to highlight the impressive qualities of a good full-range stereo. One of the fun things about this recording is that the songs often begin with Count Basie plunking away, quietly accompanied by a bass, then the rest of the orchestra joins in, one by one, until the joint truly is jumping. Such is the case on “Segue in C”; the Siltech cables easily handled the tremendous dynamic surge on this number. Also impressive was the panache with which the cables locked down the various sections of the orchestra, ranging from the muted trumpets on the far right to trombones on the left. All nuances and details were fully apparent, including those in the bass line. Indeed, I would be remiss if I didn’t single out the bass performance of the Siltech cables for special commendation.

Put bluntly, they laid down the law right from the moment I inserted them. John Giolas of DAC manufacturer dCS in Great Britain recently visited me to listen to the new Vivaldi Apex CD/SACD gear in my system and introduced me to James Blake’s album Friends That Break Your Heart. Giolas and the album did not. Nor did the playback on “Famous Last Words.” Right from the outset, the Siltech cables almost seemed to plunge into the sonic depths, delivering a kind of deep propulsive character to the synthesized bass. Immediately apparent, as well, was the creamy sound of the treble. Blake’s falsetto sounded ethereal, and female vocals were just a hint more detailed than I am accustomed to via the WAMM.

Adding in the Siltech power cable only intensified these attributes. On the Proprius recording Cantate Domino, I was taken by the deep bass these cables helped to produce on the song “O Helga natt.” The sound became even warmer and more fulsome. The sense of refinement and palpability also went up another notch. They also go deep into the hall—on “Silent Night” on the Proprius recording, the cavernous sound of the church was overwhelming. If I had to describe the cables in plain stereo equipment terms, it would be as a single-ended-triode sound.

The composure and tranquility of the Double Crown cables probably won’t appeal to listeners looking for more razzle-dazzle or sizzle. These cables are in another realm altogether. There is something more than a little spooky about the level of detail coupled to the refinement they offer. On Murray Perahia’s imaginative recording of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata for Deutsche Grammophon, for example, the cables supplied a kind of rhythmic stability that made it even easier to follow his use of the piano pedal. Ditto for a Rolf Smedvig recording for Telarc with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra of Torelli’s Trumpet Concerto. Once again, I heard the uncanny rhythmic solidity of trumpet and orchestra with unprecedented accuracy. There was no sense of slippage. The notes popped out of the piccolo trumpet. The transient attacks, in other words, were dead on. On the Berlin Academy for Ancient Music’s recording of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos for Harmonia Mundi, the precision of the rhythm rendered the accents of the string instruments instantly comprehensible, again to a degree that I’m not sure I’ve hitherto experienced. It gave the much-beloved third concerto, for instance, an urgent character that swept along everything in its path with total musical conviction.

The absence of grain along with the superior bass control and image solidity of the Royal Double Crown ensure that it ranks among the aristocrats of high-end cables. It may not have the same supersonic speed as the Nordost Odin 2 or the heft of the Transparent Magnum Opus, but it brings its own set of virtues to the table. Nothing is brummagem about the performance of the Double Crown. Quite the contrary. These cables deserve every accolade that gets showered upon them. Anyone looking for performance fit for a king would do well to consider them.