In outright musical example terms, this ‘tying the system together’ is hard to pin down. It doesn’t affect a particular aspect of the sound, but instead works on the whole. Music played through an X-Series wired system tends to be a lot more clear, a little bit more forward, slightly more detailed and a lot more coherent. Music is tied to this process, but in an almost tangential way: ‘Royals’ by Lorde [Pure Heroine, Universal] is a good example of what happens here. There is a slight emphasis on vocals and the presence region, but otherwise the tonal and timbral qualities of the sound remain effectively unchanged, but there’s a sense of intimacy and focus to the sound, and a coherence that makes the lyric ‘pop’. There is also an element of the music being tied together that doesn’t usually manifest, but works really well here; the rhythmic qualities of the sound. Normally, cables only seem to alter rhythm in all the wrong ways; making the sound seem sluggish in places. A few turn this on its head and make music sound super-fast, with excellent leading edge definition. The Ansuz X-Series toes a middle path, possibly closer to the supernaturally fast then the slothful. However, what Ansuz X-Series does so well is let you hang onto a beat better. Try listening to a piece of music, and muting the sound for a few seconds. Ansuz X-Series lets you keep time!
Ultimately, I think Ansuz X-Series is doing what all good cables are supposed to do; align the system without getting in the way.
I decided to ‘do a Yoko’ and split up the band! It was time to experiment with the Ansuz X-Series to place it in context and then see how it compares to rival designs priced around, above, and below the cables. Swapping out a lone power cord wasn’t a good idea, sonically. It acted like two rights making a wrong, and that whole noise-floor advantage just went away. The closest I got to levelling that particular playing field was inserting a single Crystal Cable cord. Swapping out all the power chain was more equalising, although once again this only seemed to work well with Crystal or Nordost cables, and models from Cardas and Transparent didn’t play well with the rest of the system.
Moving over to the interconnects (having reinserted the Ansuz power cords), this was slightly more robust, allowing changes quite far from the Ansuz ethos without messing up the sound of the system, while the speaker cables were somewhere between the power cords and the interconnects in terms of robustness in the face of cable changes. From this, I suspect that if you are approaching cables piecemeal, the power cords are the first port of call, and the interconnects are probably the best individual link in the whole chain.
Finally (because I can) I swapped out the first length of power cord for one of Ansuz D2 models (at almost 15x more expensive) and the difference was extreme. Whether it was 15x as extreme might depend on the system you use (the one D2 cost more than the whole system) and the depth of your pocket, but it certainly made for a humbling experience in terms of performance upgrades.
The only downside to the X-Series is if people don’t now how to contextualise. X-Series works very well with good equipment that would benefit from a €400 interconnect (for example). That means not using Ansuz X-Series to prop up a clapped-out, dirt-cheap product from long ago, and it also means not using it as a cheapskate way to hook up extremely high-end equipment. Using it with good equipment that is in the same price ball-park, on the other hand, allows Ansuz X-Series to shine in context, and there’s always a chance you’ll want to upgrade some time later.