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Thread: Sterling Black Mamba speaker cable review

  1. #1
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Central Scotland

    Posts: 253

    Default Sterling Black Mamba speaker cable review

    I have only had the cables installed since Friday so run in is not complete.

    Comparing with Linn K400 or Ecosse ES4.45. The Ecosse cable is a bi-wire cable and I tried it using single runs of either the multi strand or solid core sections. In my current system the sound is cleaner and less prone to sibilance without dulling down the sound (Linn). Soundstage is the biggest improvement more depth and focus to everything with vocals especially being more out in the room and centralized. Bass performance is more defined with less overhang. Initially this can appear as less BASS until you try following bass lines and note the lines are easier to pick out and as a result have more attack.

    The only issue (not really an issue I can find is the battleship build quality of the cable and plugs which require some space behind your rack and place a strain on cheapo binding posts (count the 875 in on that) found on some amps. The 875 cannot take spades only bare and banana plugs but I managed to get a fit so not an issue really.

    One of the best bargains in hifi if you ask me.

    Good honest service from Dave as well.
    Last edited by pwood; 11-03-2010 at 15:28.
    Paul

    Onkyo 875, Monitor Audio RX6 GW,Monitor audio RX centre GW,Monitor Audio BFX rears, REL QUAKE,Arcam CD73t CD ,Russ Andrews Yello mains cabling & PBJ interconnects,Sterling Black Mamba speaker cable.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Central Scotland

    Posts: 253

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    Anyone else that has them care to add their thoughts
    Paul

    Onkyo 875, Monitor Audio RX6 GW,Monitor audio RX centre GW,Monitor Audio BFX rears, REL QUAKE,Arcam CD73t CD ,Russ Andrews Yello mains cabling & PBJ interconnects,Sterling Black Mamba speaker cable.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Hemel Hempstead

    Posts: 1,075
    I'm Steve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pwood View Post
    Anyone else that has them care to add their thoughts
    Hi Paul.

    Have previously posted a similar report you yourself when I first received my Black Mamba's some time back.

    Both the sound and build of these cables really fall into the 'almost too good to believe' or even 'must have fallen of the back of a lorry' value category.

    Your one 'criticism' is certainly true. You could not use these cable with cheapo weedy amps or speakers unless you want the binding posts snapped off or the component to be half suspended from the end of the cables!

    When I think about how similar they are in terms of construction to the Kimber Bi-Focal XLs I used to own, I shudder and the difference in cost!
    Steve aka 'Twelvebears' (it's a long story)
    System: Technics 1210 Mk5, Jelco 750 arm, AT33EV via MF X-LP2 Phono Stage, Oyaide mat and record clamp. SB Touch via Marantz PM-11S1 amp and Wilson Benesch A.C.T. speakers. Mark Grant cables and PS Audio Power Plant Premier mains regenerator.
    (\__/)
    (='.'=)
    (")_(")

  4. #4
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Central England

    Posts: 2,937

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    They have been in my system since 2008 and bettered the rather expensive Chord Epic Twin notably for bass weight and coherence. I believe Anthony TD also uses them in his system.

  5. #5
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Worcester

    Posts: 6,830
    I'm Hamish.

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    I'm tempted because of how dog proof they look
    are you still using yours steve? Could I get a demo of them in my system next week?
    Hamish

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Central England

    Posts: 2,937

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    Yup, I'll bring them down.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Worcester

    Posts: 6,830
    I'm Hamish.

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    Nice one buddy, did you see the tangle mine are getting in? It's driving me nuts! They are completly fine if I pull them out and straighten them, but as soon as I put them back murphy gets tangled in them again and pulls them out, it's enough to drive ya barmy!!
    Hamish

  8. #8
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Sheffield, UK

    Posts: 1,309
    I'm Dave.

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    I ordered some last week and installed them last night.
    I had some difficulties getting them to fit due to their thickness and the fact that they're a bit longer than what I require. I still need to do some tweaking to neaten them up but I've got them working with the spade connectors at the moment. I mainly got them as the NVA LS5 I currently have is now a bit too short since I got a new rack, so I thought I may as well try the Black Mamba as at 2.5M it's plenty long enough for my needs and quite a bit cheaper than an equivalent length of LS5. Plus it seemed to be getting a lot of praise.

    I love the packaging and general attention to detail in the product. Everything looks very well made and has a quality feel.
    I must say though that I don't really understand why the cable had to be so thick as most of the diameter is taken up my extra layers of sheathing. I'm no cable expert but I doubt this helps the sound quality. It just makes the cable more difficult to work with but I guess it will provide some extra protection against knocks and abrasion. I also have a bit of a problem with the connector design as I don't like the idea of the screw on ends breaking the signal path. This must be detrimental to the sound and personally I would have preferred standard fixed spades or bananas. It does however make the cables more useful to a wider range of people, so I can understand why they're there. Also, on the subject of the spade connectors, I like the chunkiness of them and they are a the perfect size to fit the terminals on my amp and speakers. However, as the spades have a shiny polished surface I found it very difficult to get the binding posts tight enough to stop them moving around. It seemed that no matter how tight I screwed down the binding post, the spades still moved around a bit inside. Perhaps the banana plugs will make a firmer contact. If there's ever a second revision of the Mambas, a textured surface to the spades would be a welcome addition to help them grip better.

    Upon first listening to some music through the Mambas my first thought was that I couldn't tell any difference between them and the LS5. After a little more listening I think I may have lost a little bass clarity as the bass guitar in one of my test tracks seemed a bit more muddy and more difficult to follow. Other than that I couldn't tell any obvious differences. I'm guessing the Mambas will improve as they run in so I'm hoping this shortcoming will disappear soon. I guess it's possible that the Mambas are letting a bit more bass though which is interacting badly with my room acoustics. I'm getting some room treatment soon so I'll be able to test that theory out eventually.

    The NVA LS5 is excellent cable and as I've already mentioned it costs more than the Black Mamba. So the fact that the Mamba appears to sound similar shows what good value for money it is. Perhaps it was my frustration at not being able to get them installed as well as I had hoped that clouded my judgement. Or perhaps it was the thought in the back of my mind that they cost less than the LS5 and are made of less exotic materials. Who knows. I did start out with an open mind though and was kind of hoping they would be better than the LS5 so I could save some cash.

    I'll swap to the banana connectors tonight and then let them burn in for a few days before I do some further comparisons.

    Has anyone noticed that their Mambas improved over time in any particular areas? Also, if anyone else has compared Black Mambas against any NVA speaker cables I'd be interested to hear your findings.

    Cheers.
    Stereo System:
    Source: Win7 PC + hiFace EVO + TeddyEVO PSU - DAC: Beresford Bushmaster Mk II + DIY linear PSU - Amp: Icon Audio Stereo 20 SE - Speakers: Wharfedale Opus 3 - Cables: Mark Grant & Anticables - Misc: Belkin PF30 x4

    Surround System:
    Source: Panasonic DMP-BD80 Blu-Ray - Amp: Arcam AVR300 - Center Speaker: Wharfedale 10 CM - Rear Speakers: Eltax LR6.5 - Subs: Wharfedale SW250 x2

    In Progress:
    Lighter Note LDR attenuator

  9. #9
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Worcester

    Posts: 6,830
    I'm Hamish.

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    yes id be interested too, especially as if i buy some they will also be replacing nva cable (all be it ls1)
    Hamish

  10. #10
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Central England

    Posts: 2,937

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    I didn't notice tbh. I guess I was more focused on the rack. Have you put it back up yet?

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