The fabulous Silversmith Fidelium Speaker Cable

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by TubeMon, Sep 22, 2020.

  1. TubeMon

    TubeMon Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Monterey, CA
    If I like a product, I tend to hold onto it for a long time.
    Take my stereo gear for instance.
    I’ve had my Hales Signature System Two Speakers for almost 30 yrs.
    I love the sound, imaging and soundstage they produce and I have no intention of ever letting them go.
    The same situation is with my speaker cables; the venerable Straightwire Maestros. But in this case I knew that I would eventually upgrade them.
    Both components have always been a tad bright, even with all-tube Amp, Pre Amp and CD Player on the front end.
    After many years of constantly tweaking, I hit upon a combination which helped alleviate almost all of the glare.
    Namely, a complete front end of ModWright products.

    The only “problem” remaining was a time smearing element to the sound.
    Fast piano and bass notes were not quite up to snuff in their separation.
    Also, if I turned up the volume too much the sound would exhibit a bit of glare and the soundstage would tend to collapse.

    I had long been a fan of Magnan products and currently use their interconnects and AC power cables in my system.
    I’ve been looking for their speaker cable on the cheap for a while now.
    I thought their approach to reducing skin effect signal doubling and phase issues would help in the articulation of fast consecutive notes (or sounds).
    Plus I still had that tiny bit of brightness that needed a final taming.

    I recently stumbled upon a glowing Sound Advocate review of the Silversmith Fidelium Speaker Cable.
    www.thesoundadvocate.com/2020/06/silver ... st-review/
    It actually was one of the finest cable reviews I had ever read.
    There was great detail coupled with a ton of enthusiasm.
    Like the Magnan, it utilized a thin ribbon to reduce skin effect anomalies. Plus, it used no termination products. (a BIG deal as far as I was concerned)
    There were separate + and – leads for each speaker.
    A “U” notch was cut into each cable end to interface with the Amp and Crossover.
    I thought this was novel and highly desirable.
    I called the owner, Jeff Smith and we discussed his cable at length.

    One important item was that the Hales Speaker uses an external crossover with the capability to bi-wire.
    This option was highly desirable to me so I broached this subject with Jeff.
    He strongly recommended that I do so. Although not a deal breaker, the fact I would have to buy double the amount of cables was a bit of a concern.
    Jeff replied two cable runs were not necessary and had a unique alternative configuration.
    Namely, short Fidelium Crossover Jumpers with a simple but effective interconnect device right at the jumper’s midpoint where the long single speaker cable would connect.
    His opinion was that this setup was as good as the traditional bi-wire method.
    So just a 6’ set of speaker cables and a 1’ set of jumpers would be required.
    I ordered the cables and patiently waited for their arrival.

    Upon arrival, I was amazed at the light weight of them, which is understandable since the foil is less than 1/1000” thick and 2.25” wide.
    The actual securing of the cables to an Amp or crossover binding post was a bit of a challenge, but not too bad.
    The cable ends can be bent to fit into tight places, although there possibly are a few binding post configurations where connection would be very difficult.
    Jeff told me that in a couple of months there would be finished adaptors available for those with fully plastic encased binding posts. He has been producing these adaptors by hand for those customers who needed them.

    I turned on the system. No warm up.
    Put my ear close to each driver. Absolute silence.
    With no warmup, I slipped a CD into the player and listened.
    The resultant sound was certainly very different than I was accustomed to.
    Great detail but in a non fatiguing manner.
    A beautifully balanced frequency spectrum.
    Great Highs which were hash free.
    Great tight Bass with accurate pitch and timbre.
    Crisp, clear and sweet Mids.
    Fast transient response, but not etched.
    Very low noise floor. In fact, no noise at all.
    I was excited that the Fideliums sounded so good with no system warmup.
    With about an hour of warmup, I was ready for some serious listening.
    All the attributes I previously heard were present but heightened.
    The soundstage was deeper and wider than I had ever experienced.
    The imaging was pretty incredible.
    Each instrument could be easily localized and followed, without interference from another in the same proximity.
    Really spooky!

    But there was something else that REALLY set this cable apart from anything I had previously experienced.
    The leading edge of each note (or sound) was wonderful, but it turns out the trailing edge and decay reproduction is incredibly super accurate. I mean SOTA!
    IMO, this is the most important quality this cable possesses and sets it apart from all other speaker cables designs.
    Distortions due to skin effect are vastly minimized.
    Because of this, time smear/phase artifacts are virtually eliminated.
    Fast piano and bass notes are truly distinct from each other.
    Low level signals were readily discernable.
    Echoes and decays of instruments was positively other worldly.

    Because of these characteristics, I was able to turn the volume up to higher levels.
    With my previous cables, the soundstage would collapse and the sound would harden up if I pushed them too hard.
    Fideliums showed no such problems.

    In the editors comments from the Sound Advocate review, it was mentioned how accurately this speaker reproduced the sound of a piano. I can vouch for that. In spades.
    The depth and power of the bass notes are just plain ridiculous.
    And the highest treble notes have a real body to them, not thin and tinkly.
    I would like to add brass, drums and percussion to the list of “scary real”.
    And again, that decay...

    In closing, the sound you’ll experience from the Fidelium will be totally different than you’re accustomed to. It’s kind of unnerving until you live with it a while. Nothing stands out. Everything is in perfect balance. It’s KILLER!

    If you click on the Silversmith website there are numerous testimonials from other satisfied customers.
    As you can deduce, I’m 100% sold on this product.
    I cannot recommend Silversmith Fidelium Speaker Cables highly enough.
     
    timind and mreeter like this.
  2. Clay B

    Clay B Forum Resident

    I knew Jeff Smith from his time living in San Diego. We were part of a crew of regulars at a friend’s store called Stereo Design. Jeff is a really great guy. A Naval Academy graduate and seriously talented. And he has cable design chops. He’d would often talk about the ideas behind his designs. I still have some of his early cables and they are still comparable to the best I’ve heard. Well worth anyone’s effort.
     
  3. TubeMon

    TubeMon Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Monterey, CA
    Considering his great servive to our nation, I was honored to give him a great review, which his cable richly deserved!
     
  4. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    As a prior owner of Hales System Two Signatures, I can relate to what you wrote. Interesting that in this hobby there are so many variables to getting great sound. Do you utilize any form of bass augmentation? I remember that the System Two Signatures really benefitted from a great sub, or at least significant bass trapping. Nonetheless, I moved on from the Hales speakers and frankly, never looked back. Glad to hear that you are still enjoying your pair.
     
  5. TubeMon

    TubeMon Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Monterey, CA
    As you say, subwoofers are a must! But the Hales do provide incredible, fast, tight Bass down to about 45 Hz.
    I don't use any crossovers. I run them full range.
    I use two Genesis Servo 12s, in a stereo configuration, located left & right of the Hales.
    They cover the 30-50 Hz range.
    I use a single Revel Performa B-15 located in between the Hales.
    It covers the 10-30 Hz range.
    I get clean, thunderous Bass.

    Is the reason you sold the Hales due to it's Bass response?

    Due you happen to have any extra Hales woofers or tweeters?
    Like to have backups...
     
  6. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    Sorry, I sold all of my spare drivers when I sold the Hales speakers. I think the Dynaudio mid/bass drivers are still available, not sure about the MB Quart tweeter?
    Actually there were a number of reasons I sold the speakers, not least was the fact that Paul went out of business, plus they are way too large for my current room and lastly I felt that the bass and the treble response was too veiled. ( Particularly the treble, which is in not obvious until you hear what is missing with that tweeter!). If you augment the bass, this takes that problem away, but the high frequency limitations still remain. Perhaps adding a super tweeter might alleviate that as well, but I never tried that. The mid bass and general imaging capabilities are quite fine, in some ways I still think the mids and mid bass are superb and competitive today. Paul came out wth an excellent speaker in the Hales System 2 signatures, for their time I couldnt have thought of anything better....today, not so much, IMHO.
     
  7. TubeMon

    TubeMon Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Monterey, CA
    Thanks for your response.
    The problem obtaining the Dynaudio Driver is that Paul decided to use the rarely commercially used, ultra rare, 6 ohm version.
    The 4 & 8 ohm versions are readily available but that doesn't help me!
    I would have to change the crossover circuit to accommodate a different ohm driver.
    And try opening up that external crossover!!!

    Over the years I've tweaked and tube rolled to get the most out of the Hales.
    At this point, I have no problem with the high frequencies as they sound natural (Not etched).

    It's a pleasure to speak to another former owner.
     
  8. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    Interesting, I thought the still available Dynaudio 17w75 mid/bass driver was the driver used in the Signatures. When I owned the speakers, i spoke to someone at the factory who told me to just buy a replacement 17W75 when I needed to replace a driver that might get damaged. Strange that nothing was said about the 6ohm version! I never got around to installing that new driver before selling the speakers, but it certainly seemed to be the correct driver?
    BTW, what shape tweeter do yours have, the square model or the later round version. I used to own the later model.
     
  9. TubeMon

    TubeMon Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Monterey, CA
    If you examine the 17W75 driver, it has a label on it stating the part number and what ohm value it is.
    The 17W75 is available in three different ohm versions.

    I have the square model tweeter.
     
  10. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    I never got around to installing the new drivers. Looks like a good thing, as I have no idea as to what Ohm value mine were. I sold the drivers separately about the same time as I sold the Hales. Does make me question why the rep at the factory never mentioned anything about Ohm values to me...but we are talking probably decades ago when this happened. Guess it was fortuitous I never mounted the new drivers!
     
  11. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    Funny, as we are talking about the Hales speakers, I do remember now that I added a plate to the rear of the enclosure that significantly helped dampen down the cabinet. I cannot remember what they were called, but they stuck to the rear and were about 8" square. These plates definitely helped in the area of imaging focus, and if I remember correctly were quite popular with Hales owners back in the day.
     
  12. TubeMon

    TubeMon Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Monterey, CA
    Are you referring to Tekna Sonic Vibration Dampers?
     
  13. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    Yes, that is them...I hadn’t seen them for many years. I guess the company went out of business, but I really liked them on the Hales. Have you heard them?
     
  14. TubeMon

    TubeMon Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Monterey, CA
    I have one 8" X 8" attached to the back.
    One medium sized one attached to the lower front.
    Two mediums attached to the left side panel.
    Two mediums attached to the right side panel.
    So yeah, I'm a bit familiar with them.
    And yes, they have a subtle, but clearly audible positive effect.

    I'm a fanatic when it comes to vibration control.
     
  15. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    getting back to the OP, I have a local friend who also swears by the Soundsmith Fidelium cables. I have not heard the cable, partly due to the Covid situation, but I am certainly putting these on my radar and I will be more than interested to see how they compare to my current Nordost cables. Only thing I question is whether the connections ( or lack thereof) at the cable ends will work with my current speaker and amp connections...???
     
  16. TubeMon

    TubeMon Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Monterey, CA
    If you contact Jeff, include detailed Pics of your speaker and amp connection points.
    He will likely come up with a solution!
     
    DaveyF likes this.
  17. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    I've been off of the cable upgrade train for a while, focusing on other parts of my system, and have been getting along with some Signal Cable Ultra that replaced a pair of Grover Empress that were too short when I rearranged my system. The Signal Cable is certainly reasonably priced and sounds very nice, but it does give up some resolution to the Grovers. These Fidelium cables look very interesting, so I contacted Jeff and he's sending me a pair of the 8-foot to try out. I'll report back when I've got them installed and settled in.

    JohnK
     
  18. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    Looking again at the connection protocol for these cables, I can see no good way to hook them up to my gear..either the amp or the speakers! I will reach out to Jeff and see what he thinks, but I think adding cable to the mix to try and bring in the necessary spacing is probably going to be problematical...and taking away from the beneficial signal transfer properties of his design. ( IOW, a kludge).
     
  19. TubeMon

    TubeMon Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Monterey, CA
    Good luck Dave.
    Where there's a will, there's a way....
     
  20. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    The connection was actually easier than I thought it would be, even though the cable ends are quite wide. They are more flexible than I thought they would be, and as noted by the OP they can be bent as needed. Connection to my Triton 2+ speakers was no problem; to my PrimaLuna amp it looked to be more challenging due to how close the three positive binding posts are, until I realized I could just remove the knobs, which made fitment very easy. I think if you speak with Jeff you will come to a solution.

    JohnK
     
  21. TubeMon

    TubeMon Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Monterey, CA
    So what were your first impressions?
     
  22. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    I generally wait to form opinions after listening for a while, but my initial impressions are very positive. Also, installation is not currently ideal as I am waiting for some new cable risers to get the cables up off of my slate floor.

    JohnK
     
  23. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    OK, cable risers arrived, I rerouted all of my other cables, and about 75 hours on the Fideliums. I would say they do benefit from some break in. Initially the cables sounded open, with a good soundstage, but over the last few days I've heard improvements in width and depth of the soundstage, and in bass performance; I had to turn the woofer sections down about half a "click" to bring things back into balance from first installation. I tend to listen more for tonality and dynamics than soundstage and instrument placement, and what the Fideliums do really well, as TubeMon noted, is portray the leading edge of notes, the attack, and the decay, and the tonality of instruments. Well-recorded piano is a revelation. Treble, too, is improved, where with recordings where cymbals used to sound splashy and a bit artificial, now sound more like real cymbals. No complaints, and their level of performance is a bargain at their price.

    JohnK
     
  24. TubeMon

    TubeMon Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Monterey, CA
    You try, you'll buy....
     
  25. TubeMon

    TubeMon Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Monterey, CA
    Got around 80 hrs on the Fideliums and they have improved a tad bit.
    The Bass is a little tighter and the Mids are a little sweeter.
    I'm lovin' these cables!

    I've never been a big proponent of significant cable improvement over time.
    I thought perhaps that the Cable/Amp & Cable /Speaker metal interfaces became more "intimate" with each other over time (at a molecular level).

    At any rate, there was a subtle, but decided improvement.....
     

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