Chord Sarum Tuned ARAY USB, from £750
“This raises the game; it sounds really detailed and coherent and it does that Tuned ARAY trick of turning what was already very good into something that just sounds so real and musical. I could listen to this all day.”
The Tuned ARAY Sarum interconnects meant that we had to sit down and re-think our views in the performance of the equipment we use in our Demonstration room. The USB version is every bit as dramatic; used to carry a signal from a laptop to a DAC, the Sarum Tuned ARAY USB cable transforms what was already very good into something very special indeed. Like other Tuned ARAY cables, this encourages you to listen, it encourages you to search for your favourite tracks, it encourages you to stay up late.
The improvements aren’t limited to high-resolution music either. WAV and Flac files sound incredibly good and even MP3 gains a musical rightness that lets you hear past all the flaws that makes MP3 such a poor format for a music lover.
So do USB cables make a difference? Oh yes, and the Sarum Tuned ARAY USB raises the bar to a whole new level. If your computer is becoming the place you keep your music, you need to listen to a Tuned ARAY cable. It’s the difference between hi-fi and music, and that’s a big difference.
The Sarum Tuned ARAY USB is an adaptation of the technology that we've used so successfully on the Sarum (analogue) and Sarum Digital Tuned ARAY cables - but with critical changes. The micro polished silver-plated signal conductors are still solid core but the impedance differs from the analogue and digital Sarum versions. Foamed PTFE is used as insulation and the same extremely effective combination shielding that is fitted to the analogue Sarum Tuned ARAY is used.
Two of these cables are used for the signal path, and an alternative shielded cable is used for the voltage carriers and the Tuned ARAY conductor. This means that every cable within the Sarum USB is separately shielded. The separate conductors are carefully twisted and the terminations are made with a high degree of precision, critical to the cable's performance.
Quality USB plugs are hard to find. In the end we could only achieve the level of performance we wanted by modifying and then gold-plating, with two microns of 24 karat gold, our choice of connectors.External strain relief and reinforcement is fitted and this avoids unwanted compression of the signal conductors (profoundly important to the performance of digital cables)
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It’s the Tuned ARAY effect again. The Sarum Tuned ARAY USB is every bit as profound as the other Tuned ARAY designs. Such coherent and involving music from a MAC Book truly surprised us. If this is how you’re going to store something as precious as your music, then you need to get a listen.