Cardas Audio can draw upon a number of major ‘hits’ in its time, but arguably none quite as successful as its Golden Cross and Golden Reference lines. These have been, for many people, the high-end cable lines. Even with the launch of Clear, and Clear Beyond (that should, at least in price terms, eclipse Golden Cross and Golden Reference), these long-standing cables stood at the apex of price vs. performance for many. But, enough was enough, and Cardas has finally replaced them with the new Clear Reflection line.
‘Replaced’ is possibly too strong a term. It’s more like gene-splicing. Cardas took what is patently good from Clear, and did the same to the Golden Cross and Reference, to come up with Clear Reflection. The name implies this, according to Cardas: Clear (as in “part of the Clear line”) and Reflection (as in “a ‘reflection’ of the past”). That all being said, the core of Golden Reference – its Matched Propogation Conductor system – was already in place in Clear cables. However, the move to Clear grade also means the cold-welded pressure-crimped loudspeaker connections, high-quality phono plugs and exceptional quality XLR plugs and sockets, these last taken directly from Clear proper.
Cardas is almost unique among cable makers in that it draws its own copper for its cables, so Cardas Copper is not simply a line, it comes from its own small foundry. These two 25.5 AWG conductors (in the interconnects) and dozen 11.5 AWG crossfield conductors in the speaker cable are then held in a PFA dielecric (air filled in the case of the speaker cables). Both are shielded and used in a Litz construction, the conductors laid in a Golden Ratio of the sort Euclid would nod in agreement with.
In the new Clear universe, Clear Reflection sits between Clear Light and Clear, making it second top in the interconnect line and below Clear Beyond and Clear in loudspeaker cables. The loudspeaker cables can be bi-wired or even tri-wired internally on application, the only Clear cable apart from Beyond that allows such a thing. Reflection is easily identifiable from other products in the Clear line, from Sky right up to Clear and Beyond; where all the others are finished in anything from Royal Blue to Pale Blue, Clear Reflection is finished in black Alcryn, and where Clear uses a black bead to help separate the conductors in the speaker cable, Reflection uses copper-anodised aluminium beads, which look fantastic; more like rose gold than copper in the right light.
Cardas has now produced its forged billet spade lugs in ¼” and 9mm sizes. If you are using anything with a Cardas connector (for example, Avalon, Ayre, conrad-johnson, or Jeff Rowland) go with the ¼” plug. For everything else, especially anything made in Europe, go with the 9mm spades instead.