Jade Audio MoonTails Cables
$550 RCA $800 XLR
One meter pairs
The famous movie saying, “Every time I get out, they pull me back in” is never more true than now. After completing my review of the MG Audio Design cables and liking them so much that I purchased them as my new reference cables, I received an email from our publisher James Darby that he had been contacted by J.D. MacRae of Jade Audio about giving their new cables a go. Being a pushover for cables I agreed to give these MoonTails a listen.
It seems lately there have been quite a few new cable companies popping up and I must admit the ones I have heard are quite good. Oh how I long to hear something I don't like, maybe I should listen to some of the “Big Boy” cables but I think I get more enjoyment out of finding great sounding cables without the “Big Boy” prices. After accepting I was contacted by J.D. MacRae, the head bottle washer at Jade Audio and was set up to receive two pair of the MoonTails
Jade Audio started out in September of 2006. Their line now includes five flavors of interconnects ranging in price from $550 to $4400 per RCA pair and one speaker cable coming in at $4200 for an eight foot pair. All of the Jade Audio cables have some form of gold in their construction thus accounting for some of the higher prices. The Moontails are their least expensive, entry level model.
The MoonTails here were reverse engineered from their more expensive all gold cables to come up with an entry level cable. Funny, usually when you hear the term reverse engineered it is associated with another company that is trying to steal technology but whatever they have done it has resulted in an affordable pair of interconnects that would do
justice to any system.
The MoonTails are constructed using 99.99% pure gold plated OCC copper wire and 99.99% pure silver plated OCC copper wire. So, basic copper with two different kinds of plating. These are used in combination to make up both the positive and negative conductors and are then sleeved and wrapped in Jade Audio’s patented design. Gold plated Furutech connectors are used to provide the best possible connection to your equipment.
When I opened the box to reveal the MoonTails, the first thing that came to mind was cheese puffs. The above picture of the interconnects does not do them justice as you can see specs of gold through the black techflex covering. Cool.
These fat looking interconnects were making me hungry and the next thought I had was that these are going to be some of those super heavy cables that pull on your equipment, but when I picked them up they were surprisingly light weight, thus supporting the warning that Jade gives on their web site: “These interconnects, by design are extremely minimalist in material. Because of this, the design is inherently subject to abuse and over-handling. I strongly urge that these cables are not used to A/B in a method that exposes them to continued plugging and unplugging
I asked JD why the MoonTails were so fat and yet light in weight, his answer was: “I would resist the temptation to eat the Cheese Puffs. The MoonTails are actually a bit thinner than the remainder of our cable line. The MoonTails have ½" separation between the positive and negative conductor. Our other lines use a ¾" separation. Each cable design was tested for the best sounding design (separation) and for some reason the MoonTails sounded best at 1/2", something I can not explain.” I tried to get a little bit more out of JD about the design and the response was: “The MoonTails use a number of strands of wire ranging from 30 gauge to 24 gauge. The wire is either gold plated OCC copper or silver plated OCC copper.”
I see the term OCC copper on a lot of cables and thought you might want to know what it stands for. From the Jade Audio web site: In 1986 the Ohno Continuous Casting (OCC) process was introduced. The world patent "UP-OCC" (Ultra Pure Copper by Ohno Continuous Casting Process) was developed by professor Ohno of Chiba Institute of Technology in Japan. This technology has been applied to the manufacturing of single crystallized copper with the process of heated mold continuous casting. The resulting products are small rods of OCC pure copper, from which the wire can be drawn and which can have Copper grains of over 700 ft. length.
Because of its characteristics of single crystal, unidirectional, free of impurity, flexible fatigue-resistance, corrosive-resistance, low electric resistance, none-crystal boundaries, rapid transmission ability, perfect in structure, and easy to process, all make it an ideal material for making rapid transmission lines.
Two other things I wanted to know about the cables were, why no markings for left or right channel and are the cables directional.
JD: They are not designed in any one particular direction, but the question of whether wire can have directionality is so much open to debate, I feel it is best to be safe, and have people set their cables up in a consistent fashion.
As for identifying right and left cables with red bands, I do this on longer cables, but have felt it is not necessary on one meter cables, because the length is short enough to avoid confusion. At least that is my thought.
I simply followed the direction of the writing on the cables to keep the direction consistent, but there should be some directions that specify how they should be used with the cables.
As far as return policy, All their cables come with a 30 day money back period. If within 30 days people find the cables do not fit their needs, they can return them for a 100% money back refund, including initial shipping.
They also offer a trade up policy. If a customer purchases the MoonTails or Vermeil Gold cable, and wishes to upgrade to either the Vermeil Gold or Hybrid Gold, we credit 100% of the initial purchase price towards the upgraded cable. The upgrade policy does not extend to the Reference Gold cables.
I am use to being careful around interconnects as my reference cables are made of copper foil and can also damage easily.
MOONING THE TAILS
I think I should start out by describing the sound of my base system as I hear it, then after integrating the MoonTails interconnects into it.
With the MG Audio Design cables (see our review) my system has a relaxed, tight, tuneful bass with detailed highs without being harsh or in your face. The mid range is tonally correct with a smidgen of warmth. Where they really show their stuff is in the upper bass lower mid range detail.
I basically used four CDs in my listening and evaluation sessions. I will skip the same ole same ole of listing which song I used and where in the song I heard this or that and just inform you of what I heard in relation to highs, lows, mid range, tonality, balance, staging, and imaging.
The highs are crystal clear with not a hint of being harsh or stringent. While they are extended, I would not call the sound airy; just precise and very articulate in nature. On various cuts from the Nils Lofgren CD, the sound of each string was clear and separate. The detail was refreshing and lively, no headache here. The highs also transitioned well into the upper mid range without calling attention to itself. Words...lyrics...vocals with a fast attack, or as we call it down my way in Texas, “hit it and quit it”. The highs I would call sweet sounding, thus I would say they go great with tubes. The Usher amp I used is more tube sounding than solid state, so with a typical solid state amp it might be too much of a good thing.
Now comes the all important mid range. With a combination of Al Di Meola and Nils Lofgren I got the full range of mid delight. Crystal clear moonlight with the speed of a gazelle. How do you like that?
All fun aside, there was no smear or bass reaching into the mid range to cloud it. Maybe a little too clear for my taste as I prefer a tad more warmth but in no way does it put me off. I do like different brands of beer as in liking tube and solid state but leaning towards tube, you get my drift. Female vocals had a cleanness to the sound that was well refreshing and very easy to listen to for long periods of time.
For the lows, I put in the soundtrack from Gladiator. The lows are tight and extended with not a hint of muddiness or crossover into the mid range. Some speakers have so much bass that it tends to drown out the mid range detail but not the MoonTails Speed was quite good with a clean, clear attack.
I put the MoonTails in my secondary system comprising a Yaqin 50 watt tube integrated and Dali Ikon 8 speakers for a listen. The Dali's are normally a little laid back in the bass department but with the MoonTails there was plenty of bass.
The tonality of the MoonTails is very natural and at the same time neutral. The sound is extremely balanced from high to low. These cables will quickly tell you if your system is off balance.
The overall balance of the sound was even over the entire spectrum of the audio range except when unbalanced was called for in the recording. In other words no one part of the audio spectrum was highlighted, but the MoonTails A rather nice calming effect was placed on the musical experience.
The Moontails present a wide sound stage with the height being on par with my reference cables along with pinpoint imaging. I was able to tell where all the musicians were in relation to one another and where in space they were located.
We revewiers at Stereomojo spend the bucks on reference quality gear not only to increase our own enjoyment of our music, but to better serve you when it comes to comparisons. Many high-end reviewers strictly avoid direct comparisons. Ever notice that?
In comparing the MoonTails to my reference Planus Cu interconnects which sell for $500 per 1 meter pair or about 10% cheaper, I will not tell you this one beats that one in this area or that to keep a score card to see which is better - they are just that close. Our job is to tell you what we see, hear and feel and let you decided which to audition. We try to educate -not dictate or legislate.
The major differences that I hear are:
There is one common thread running through all aspects of the MoonTails and that is crisp, clean, clear sound, with an open window into the musical performance. These are great sounding cables leaning towards the neutral end of the spectrum with great tonality and good speed. Speed is very important and something for which you should listen. REAL musical articulations are extremely fast and lesser cables often get in the way. Realism suffers. You may not be cognisant of decreased speed per se, but you'll just know something doesn't sound quite right. A little muddier, less dynamic and clear. Less real.The MoonTails excel in this area as do the MG's.
The MoonTails are so close to my reference Planus Cu interconnects that if I had reviewed them first, they might well be my reference cables with the only difference being one gives a little more detail in the highs and the other more details in the lower mid range/upper bass. Personally, I could live happily with either as my main cables but would not go to the trouble of changing one for the other. Moving up the line would be the best bet.
All in all I think the MoonTails would be a nice addition to any system as I do my Planus Cu's and as noted earlier in the warnings these cables are for the person who knows when they hear a good thing and just puts them in his system and listens to music.
I would like to repeat, be very careful in handling the MoonTails as one developed an intermittent short during the review. I was very mindful of the way I inserted and removed them when comparing cables. If you do a lot of cable switching, you should probably avoid these. The MG cables do come with a similar warning, but neither I or our publisher who also purchased MG Audio cables after auditioning, have had no issues.