Tellurium Q Black Diamond Speaker Cable Review
An introduction to what Tellurium Q are capable of
The Tellurium Q Black Diamond Speaker cable make no mistake about it is a Reference quality speaker cable, its a cable capable of allowing a pair of speakers to sound absolutely incredible with a very natural, dynamic and expressive sound. In my time with them they didn’t give this amazing sound up easily and it wasn’t until the final hour that I started to experience their true potential. It was a lot of work, some side ways thinking and the addition of some phenomenal accessories that got it there
Built like a High End Speaker Cable
The Tellurium Q Black Diamond have a real sense of “high end” speaker cables about them, they are large, heavy, stiff and have some nice visual touches such as the above photographed cable outer sheath metal ends. The cables have a high build quality, the spades and the banana plugs are also very high quality, the latter having a clever rotating collar that expands the plug to make a tight connection. There is not a focus from Tellurium Q here on adding “bling” to the cables, I want to stress that point, but at this price level some extra care and attention to detail is nice to see.
Not good out of the box
Our review set of cables were actually provided to us by Nintronics as a brand new set, huge thanks to them for allowing me to have the review the cables and for the length of time I have had them. Tellurium Q kindly sent me the matching speaker cable jumpers to make the set complete, this is the correct way to review them as it will sound the best.
Brand new out of the box they didnt sound very good, however they sounded better than I was expecting. I was expecting a long wait and a lot of hours played before they sounded anything like their best. That was the case, they need a lot of hours, definately give them the time before coming to any conclusions. On this note I would suggest if you are having a demo of these cables at a dealer such as Nintronics make sure they are run in. The mid range and treble out of the box was good but it was the bass, it just didnt sound right.
A Reference Quality Speaker Cable
It didn’t take long to work out that the Black Diamond are a Reference Quality Speaker Cable, even before they were fully run in I was impressed by the sheer scale of the sound I was getting from my reference review system. I was initially listening to the Black Diamond interspersed with the Tellurium Q Black and the outstanding Black II speaker cables. I had been and still am so impressed by the Black II speaker cables adding the Black Diamond to the system showed straight away why and how these a higher echelon in the Tellurium Q black family of cables. There was more of everything, more scale, more bass, more detail and much more music. I remember saying out loud to my self “wow this is more like it.” It was a very focused full range sound with incredible mid range that got better and better with the more hours that were put on the cables.
The sound was far from perfect at this stage, I already mentioned the bass just didn’t seem right, the sound wasn’t in complete balance and the presentation was a touch dark. Over the hours of listening to the cables things improved and the sound presentation started to grow on me. The strengths such as the mid range quality and natural sound, the focus to elements in the sound stage was some of the best I had heard from my reference review system. I couldn’t help but be impressed but I wasn’t in love, I am ultra critical and look for perfection and something just wasn’t quite right despite the sound of the system being excellent. I was convinced the Black Diamond cables were giving me all that was good and all that was not right about my system causing me to feel slightly disappointed. This proved correct after I rebuilt our custom Music Server to include more new JCAT products the sound got much better after this but still wasn’t perfect.
Unlocking the Magic
Things had improved drastically but there was clearly still more to do, I decided to add 2 new cables to the system an Audioquest Thunder power cable to replace a freeby black one and crucially a Tellurium Q Silver Diamond SPDIF (BNC) cable to link from our new Music Server (via an Mutec MC3+ USB) to our Chord Qutest Dac. This brought an immediate improvement but also the situation of another Tellurium Q cable needing running in. The sound was now more expressive and dynamic, more free of the speakers and more alive in the room but still something just wasn’t clicking for me.
I was lucky to have a big box of Furutech NCF Boosters to hand with their full review and testing to do. Adding these to the system was an incredible step in the right direction. They helped to improve the overall clarity of the system, I used several on the Black Diamond speaker cables and others in key area of the system. It was at this point I decided to start the review and film the three first review and demo videos as the sound was excellent, difficult to fault with all the strengths of the system and in particular the Black Diamond cables on display and easy to record. The reference review system was sounding fantastic in nearly every area, but it was bugging me that things weren’t better, I just had that feeling something still wasn’t right.
I hate to be right all the time
I had been thinking long and hard about why the system wasn’t performing at a higher level, I just had the feeling it would go a few stages better with this quality of kit and cabling, maybe call it an audiophile intuition. I had already made the decision to put more hours on the Tellurium Q Silver Diamond digital cable. I set it to play the Tellurium Q burn in track off their own setup CD, I made a playlist for continuous play all day and night. It was about 96 hours later when I realised that I had made a mistake. I had accidentally installed one of the Furutech NCF Booster Signals onto a cable thats used in the home cinema side of the system not the HiFi. I quickly re-orientated the plate on the Booster Signal by flipping it upside down and lowering it to be in contact with the Tellurium Q Ultra Black Balanced analogue cable that was linking the Luxman C700U and M700U pre and power combination. I wasnt expecting much improvement from this but decided to have a listening session for pure enjoyment purposes and to see if any change had come to the sound after making the NCF Booster placement change, I was not prepared for what came next, pure Audio Magic.
Nothing Short of Incredible
At last I had done it, I was getting a sound from the reference review system that actually had a tear or 2 in my eyes and a huge smile on my face. It was not only a smile of satisfaction that I had got there with the Tellurium Q Black Diamond speaker cables performance, but one of joy from getting a sound quality from the reference system that I didnt realise possible.
The bass was now tight, powerful and articulate, the scale it provided to the sound wasn’t at the expense of any other area of the sound presentation. The sound stage clarity was now there, no more overlapping of elements and smearing of details due to the sonic scale. The mid range was even more focused, more pure, more clear and even more expressive and engaging. A mid range and vocal to die for. The overall balance and timing of the sound was now spot on allowing the sound scale to go huge with poise and a relaxed nature. The biggest surprise was the high frequency quality and sparkle that was now present, the dark sound was gone, completely gone and instead was a crisp and lively controlled sonic bliss. Nothing short of incredible sound quality, with instruments coming over as real sounding as I have ever heard them on any system at any price point, you will get a good taste of this in the video above.
My final thoughts are of complete admiration for the Tellurium Q Black Diamond Speaker Cables, they are incredible speaker cables, absolutely incredible. I am still stunned by how I was able to hear the deficiencies of my system, but once fixed the sound was elevated to a new height. This did not come easy, I was right about them in this regard but wrong about them for 99% of the time I spent with them. The last 1% of the time changed everything. I changed from being impressed to being in love and now I do not want to take them out of the system. When things click to this level then its kick back and listen time, then listen more and more with a big smile and some happy tears for good measure.
Suggestion for Running the cables in
There are a lot of different manufacturer CD’s with burn in tracks on them, most are pretty difficult to listen to over a long period of time, even if only in the background. The Tellurium Q System disc can be bought direct from Tellurium Q or downloaded from them. Track 2 is the perfect burn in track as its not bad to listen to, its no 9th symphony but when you are talking 96 hours of playtime it makes a difference what the track sounds like. Its an hour long so is easy to set up to play for the required time. My advice is play it for as many hours as you can manage when your Tellurium Q Cables are new. 96 hours as a starting point if you can manage it.
A Special Performer Award is Pursuit Perfect Systems highest accolade and is in recognition of exceptional product performance regardless of price