Chord Signature speaker cable - lost midrange over Chord Epic Twin

I just installed a pair of first generation Chord Signature speaker cables which I decided to change my Chord Epic Twins in my system. My first initial impressions are very mixed and strange. I like the bass from the Signatures a lot lot more. The sound is very warm, smooth and pleasant. However, I also experienced a dramatic drop in the high and midrange frequencies. I liked how the Chord Epic sounded lively and more present, with more sparkle and air. This might be due to the absence of silver in the Signatures, however the difference is really dramatic and it sounds like something might have been broken and the sound balance is not right at all. The cable is second hand so it should be well burned in. Also it looks in a normal condition. I haven’t changed speaker position and I checked every single cable connection elsewhere in the system. Everything is fine. Is it possible that I can experience some improvement in the area of midrange and highs, although the cable should be fully burned in? Another option might be that the electronics might not have been warmed and settled enough, because I have powered off everything due to the switch in cables, however usually when I was with the Chord Epic the sound was a bit harsh and hollow in the beginning and then warmed up, and now with the Signature the initial sound is very warm with excellent bass. Very strange.

Cables may need some time to settle down even though it’s not brand-new. Perhaps give it 2 to 3 days before you do some critical evaluation.

I upgraded from Chord Epic to the latest Chord Signature XL. The Epic is a larger sounding cable with fuller bass and more presence in the midrange (enveloping sound with a warmer glow in the mids). Treble remains fairly similar between the two cables. In my system and to my ears the Signature XL is a more accurate sounding cable but the Epic is still a decent sounding cable - smooth, warm with great punchy bass and good sparkle and air in the treble.

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I kind of doubt, unless really really subtle, that warm up should change frequency response significantly…
It might be simply due to its impedance characteristics that it provides a V response between amp and speaker…
Have you heard it before with more a flat or W response?

Haven’t personally listened to the signatures but silver definitely relates to the character you are describing.
Also I know Chord have changed the PTFE going forward I believe.

@Simon-in-Suffolk You might be correct with your description for having V response. Signatures have 10 AWG and this certainly changes the communication between amp and speakers. I have good bass and highs but midrange is less forward than before. If this V characteristic remains I’d probably have to sell the cable. The Signature XL most probably would better suit my taste but it was out of the budget.

Comparing to yesterday, I find the cable a bit more open today but also the electronics had bigger warm up time today so they also contributed. It might be that the cable shows flaws in the recordings or in the system itself, however I think my electronics and other cables are well matched. In some songs the midrange sounds more open than others but still not so open and forward like the Epic Twins. I also thought that the Epic Twin might have artificially over exagarated some frequencies and even though the sound impresses, to not be so realistic. I’m confused at the moment.

I also contacted Chord and they said the Signature cables has neutral characteristic and as @ryder said, that it may settle in better in my system after a couple of days, even though it was previously burned in. Expecting a change in these circumstances really sounds strange but who knows… I will show some patience and test the cable at least for a month to see how it goes.

Signature XL is surely a more accurate sounding cable than the Epic in my system and to my ears. The Epic sounds larger than the Signature XL with warmer glowing mids and big bass. The biggest difference is in the bass as it sounds enveloping, a full, deep and fat bass(very satisfying actually) in comparison to the lean bass of the Signature XL.

I recalled the moment I switched from the Chord Epic to XL. At first I couldn’t get used to the sound and thought the upgrade was actually a downgrade. The sound became too clean. The midrange doesn’t have the blossom of the Epic and the bass although taut and tight sounds inadequate. The volume of bass was significantly reduced and doesn’t sound full. After a while, my ears got accustomed to the sound, or perhaps the cable has burned in a little (the cables were bought new). Either way I now appreciate the more neutral and uncoloured sound of the Signature XL. The bass of the Signature XL is surely leaner than the Epic bit it is defined and textured. The Signature XL reveals the changes in the bass ie. varying low notes of the guitar etc. much better than Epic.

Having said all that, it is true the Signature XL is expensive and may not represent the best value sound for pound when compared to other alternatives out there. If you are happy with either the Epic or Signature (non - XL) just stick with that. Other cheaper options include Witchhat Phantom to name a few. You can check the cable thread somewhere here on the available options.

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Or you could try NACA5…


@ryder I agree that Signature range might and should be more neutral and transparent than Epic since it is a higher range. You are comparing Epic vs Signature XL which I have not heard but I also find some things in Signature like drums and piano sounding more real than Epic Twin but also I miss some things from Epic Twin like more sharp leading edges, better separation and more open vocals (at least in the current state of the Signatures). I have been using the Epic Twins at least for a year and a half and I might get used to some type of representation that might not be the most accurate. I hope I get along with the Signatures after a while. I remember that during the break in period of Epic Twin I experienced a lot of changes from very muffled and bassy sound to very lean and open sound and this happened a few times till finally things balanced out. Here it is not the same case but still I hope after a week of playing the cables to open up.

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I have a new idea about the differences I find. The Chord Signature is old model and might have been used a lot and have picked quite a lot of dirt. I recall that the plugs were not very shiny and had some dirt marks. Currently I am out of town but I will clean the plugs and see if I have some improvements.

Probably you can share if you have some experience with dirty plugs and how much the sound was degradated by it. This is an area that is not often discussed I think.

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I have not heard the Chord Signature, nor the Signature XL, but I have enjoyed much of the Chord Epic, Twin and later Performance (the predecessor of the current Epic XL), for the last 6 years, and practically agree with the previous comments in that it is a very good cable in value for price-quality-SQ relation.

IMHO is a cable with a certain filter and far from neutrality, which draws a remarkablely overrepresented bass and mids, but at the cost of a noticeable lack of extension in the treble, even being a silver coated cable. This can go well with some systems and bad or worse with others. With my previous Exposure 3010 S2 combo and speakers, it was going very well, as the speakers pulled brightly and the cable helped to control the treble and gave greater presence the low and mid-low; with the current system, totally upgraded over the past year, they have worked well, but the much higher quality of the system and speakers exposed much more the coloration of the cables, with a low and mids somewhat exaggerated but controlled and correct, but now they do with a very noticeable lack of treble extension that did not allow the K6s ribbon tweters to breathe fully and, consequently, also not to the music.

Thus, after many cabala, basically by reviews but certainly blindfold, I decided to carry out the the system last upgrade, swaping the Epic Performance to the TQ Silver Diamond, several levels higher than the Epic, and also than the Signatures, and even than the Sarum T. At first, just straight out of the box, I was also a little confused, so accustomed to the sound signature of the Epic Performances, and it wasn’t too clear whether the issue had been upgrade or downgrade. They now have about 90 hours run in and settlement, and have gone through several phases, one of them with a slight emboting of the soundstage, some kind of overlapping of elements and smearing of details due to the immense sonic scale they introduce, but they are now opening up and showing their pontencial, and I am increasingly convinced of the great, last and definitive upgrade, with a greater extension and precision in the entire range of frequencies.

The Silver Diamonds are totally neutral cables, which, therefore, allow you to listen to the black boxes as they sound and to acces to the master recording intentions, so I would not recommend them for simple systems or for systems with pronounced imbalances, but in quality systems provide that special quality of “put nothing nor remove anything”.

Anyway, I find The Epic Performance very good, with their filter which, as I say, can come in handy for certain systems tending to bright, so I will not get rid of them, and, for the moment, they are well stored in a closet waiting for better times and/or some possible upgrade in any of the other systems in our home.

Personally, I would wait a few days for them to settle to assess whether sound is what you are looking for; If not, you can always go back to the Epic Twins…

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I’m now really experiencing something similar to you: the Silver Diamond is running in and it sounds better and better, so balanced, so neutral, so tremendously controlled, with the bass so articulated, the mids so controlled and integrated, and the treble so widespread and without a hint of hardness, everything so perfect…, that really, at times and with some tracks, especially vocals, I get to miss the forwarded mids and the bulging bass that produces the Epic.

Yesterday I was telling my wife: “I don’t know if I like the sound of Epic Performance more, which makes up very well for the room modes, which pull bright; or the Silver Diamond so neutral and perfect that sometimes it seems like it will steal a little soul from the music. Anyway, in any case, nothing that could not be resolved; but damn the grace, with the money that the Silver Diamond cost me, to have to sell it…”

Anyway, in the end, a little like you: I’ll go on for a period with the Silver Diamond, which is still a hard cable that requires a lot of run in time, around 200 good hours, to see how it ends up settling; but right now, I don’t discard going back to the Epics Perfomance.

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I have cleaned the connectors of my Signatures with isopropyl alcohol and for my surprise the sound became more open, detailed and easy-going. Now everything is more balanced and normal sounding. I believe the dirt on the connectors had a great impact on the behavior I reported initially.

The Epic Twins still sound a bit more edgy and harsh than the Signatures for the moment but I started liking the Signatures more and more. The sound is more natural and realistic for me.


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