Jade Audio is a small American cable maker, that’s been going for about seven years or so. It makes five interconnects and currently one type of speaker cable (with three more and digital connections in the pipeline) but no power cords as yet. In everything apart from the MoonTails reviewed here, the cables are gold/silver, all gold and even gold/platinum conductors.
These can get healthily ‘spendy’, although by the standards of today’s audio business, less than $5,000 for a reference cable isn’t punishingly expensive. Regardless, using ‘just’ gold and silver-plated copper, the MoonTails are the company’s entry point interconnect, at $550 for a one metre pair of RCA connectors ($800 for the XLR versions).
The first thing that strikes you about MoonTails is just how light they are. These look like big, butch cables with meaty connectors and heavy, thick grade conductors, but they weigh next to nothing. That’s because the MoonTails use relatively narrow gauge high-purity OCC monocrystal silver-plated copper and gold-plated copper solid core cables, in different – but small – gauges, used together to form each conductor in a twin-axial design. The ‘send’ and ‘return’ conductor in each cable is separated by half an inch of unbleached cotton as dielectric, and the whole cable is terminated in Furutech plugs and sleeved in a gold-flecked black techflex braid.
Jade Audio is not big on directionality and marks the cables neither for direction nor colour coding for left and right use. The logic behind this is pragmatic; let the customer decide if there’s a specific direction to cables and because this is likely to be used in short-run, careful installation places, the need to identify left from right is about as pointless as painting the letters ‘L’ and ‘R’ on your shoes. I’m not sure I entirely agree, but in most places where the DAC meets the amplifier, there’s not much need for cable marking. When it comes to cable directionality, there are three schools of thought anyway; ‘the manufacturer says this way’, ‘it defines directionality over time’ and ‘you have got to be kidding me’ and the lack of intentional direction appeases two of the three. Regardless, it is all part of the minimalist approach.
Jade Audio’s cables are sensitive and delicate souls, not exactly built for the studio. This is a deliberate move on the part of Jade Audio, because the company feels over-engineering of the cable would undermine the performance it gets from the cable itself. The down side is it’s not recommended for A/B swapovers, and especially not the kind of heavy-handed plugging and unplugging that inveterate box-swappers and audio reviewers frequently undertake. This has a hidden downside; using a cable burn-in device is going to lose as much in disrupting the cable when moving it about, as it gets from the more definitive burn-in process. It’s best to run in this cable in situ, which takes longer. Still, the results are worth the effort.