Garth Powell's Musicianship shares honors with AudioQuest's Mythical Creatures, CH Precision, Steinheim's Alumine 5SE loudspeakers, and more in one of many rooms from Sunny's Components

Chalk it up to show karma, but I've now covered two consecutive shows where the accuracy of CH Precision's latest gear has lent itself perfectly to comparison demos. In this case, it was AudioQuest's now-completed Mythical Creatures line of "characteristic impedance" cabling.

Having discussed the theoretical and practical foundation for characteristic impedance cabling at length in a recent AXPONA blog, I'll focus herein on the presentation by AudioQuest's Chief Engineer, Garth Powell. Garth's life as a percussionist began at age 11, 48 years ago. Four years later, he began to apprentice as an engineer.

Garth began by demonstrating the sound of the tar, an early drum that was initially played by women. My iPhone video snippet can't begin to do justice to the non-strident vibrancy of the sound I heard sitting in the first row, just a few feet away.

Then he played a CD of Joe Harley's classical recording, for AudioQuest, of a tar performance from many years ago. With assistance from Isaac Markowitz, Garth let us hear the differences that a single change of interconnect between Mogami Gold cabling, which measures well when only certain parameters are inspected, to AQ's Mythical Creatures Thunderbird; AQ's former top-of-the-line WEL Signature, and finally AQ Dragon made to the system’s sound. I could list all the descriptors of the differences—you’ve heard them a thousand times—but I long ago learned that hearing is believing. Suffice to say that Mythical Creatures Dragon was the most transparent cable of the bunch, revealing new layers of texture, acoustic resonance, and life. What's most interesting is that the lowest level in the Mythical Creatures line, which costs one quarter the price of the WEL Signature and is far easier to manipulate, delivered far more of the soulful midrange of Virginia Rodriguez's voice than the former top-line offering.

Doing the "you can hear everything" honors:

Stenheim Alumin 5SE Loudspeakers ($72,000/pair),
CH Precision M1.1 Power Mono Amps ($104,000/pair),
CH Precision L1 Line Stage ($34,500),
CH Precision D1.5 CD/SACD/MQA CD player/transport ($46,000 as configured),
CH Precision C1 Digital Controller ($38,000 as configured,
CH Precision P1 Phonostage ($31,000),
CH Precision X1 Dual External Power Supply (used for L1/P1) ($20,500),
Brinkmann Balance Turntable w/12.1" tonearm and My Sonic Hyper Eminent EX cartridge ($37,100 total),
AudioQuest Dragon Zero (Mid/High) Speaker Cable 8' ($27,500),
AudioQuest Dragon Bass (bass) Speaker Cable 8' ($21,100),
AudioQuest Dragon XLR Interconnects 1.5M ($14,900/pair × 4,
AudioQuest Dragon High Current Power Cables 2m ($9,900 × 8,
AudioQuest Niagara 7000 Low-Z power noise-dissipation system ($9800), and HRS racks, shelves, and accessories.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

I learned after submitting this report that we heard Glen Velez on tar performing, yes, "Tar," on AudioQuests's Mokave Volume 1.

hb72's picture

Ahh, I wish I'd been there!

Thanks again, JVS, for taking the time, particularly thanks for commenting & providing all the addl information from AQ in linked recent AXPONA blog. Highly appreciated!

Now I'd wish for technology to "trickle down" into a system and accessories that cost quite a bit less, say an order of magnitude .. than what was on show here.


Jason Victor Serinus's picture

For AQ, that would be Thunderbird. I know - you're still talking four figures ;-(