Our cable benchmarks are easily destroyed by working for Hi-Fi+. You begin by having the same sense of wonder at performance and shock when it comes to the prices, but pretty soon that all goes out of the window. Someone delivers a little box with some cables in it and says it costs ‘about three and a half’ and you are stumped. £3.50? £3,500? £3.5m? There is no way of telling in many cases, and you develop a blasé look and an ability to not scream ‘How Much!!!’
OK, so being unable to work out the price of a cable based on its outward appearance is a bit of a First World Problem, but this time it stood me in good stead when dealing with the Ecosse Master Reference DCT cables. They arrived like a good pair of shoes... in a nice felt bag with gold lettering and held together with a drawstring. Inside the bag were two reasonably thick silver-coloured cables with decent and very shiny RCA plugs. So far, so good. Without checking Dr Internet, these could be in the hundreds or the tens of thousands. DCT means cryo treated of course, and the more we dig, the better it gets.
This is a monocrystal cable design, with a rope-lay twisted pair conductor construction, which is then triple-screened. The cable construction is packed with cotton fibre filler to ensure the lay remains consistent and then housed in the silver PVC jacket for uniformity. This is then given the -200°C treatment.
Somewhere in the process, the cables manage to lose that plasticiser smell that blights so many PVC jackets. This doesn’t smell of cheap 1960s rain hats. If anything, it almost smells of leather, but mostly it doesn’t give off any plasticky aromas. This is not as trivial as it sounds, as I seem to be particularly sensitive to these plasticisers and find the smell of many cables obnoxious. Whether it’s the DCT treatment, the little velvet bag or some other property that gives these cables no strong pong, it’s greatly appreciated.