Unity Audio Solid Link Cables
Solid Link Interconnect $99 cad
Solid Link Shotgun Bi-Wire Speaker Cables $270 cad
The Solid Link Interconnect & Solid Link Shotgun Bi-Wire Speaker Cables
I first became aware of Unity Audio Cables of Canada in 2005 when they were being carried in the United States by Bill Baker of Response Audio. At the time I purchased a two foot pair of their Solid Link Interconnect which retailed for $70. They were not bad but then again they did not outperform the cables I had in my system at the time and I was not happy with the loose fit of the connectors they were using at that time, so off to “for sale” they went, think I fetched about $45 for them. I also might mention that the buyer was quite happy with them.
Fast forward to present time, I received the current incarnations of the solid Link Interconnect and Solid Link Shotgun Bi-Wire Speaker Cables in 3 ft. and 8 ft. lengths respectively and a delicious white mesh over red covering that makes them look cotton candy pink.
The RCA connectors are much better than the ones from 2005 with a good snug fit and the speaker cables come with nice gold plated banana plugs. The workmanship is very good and the cables are flexible so routing them through your system will be easy as pie.
There is next to nothing on their website from the marketing side to beat their own chest just basic descriptions of their cables and a down to earth price to boot. Enough of this chatter already and off to the review.
Jennifer Warnes - “Famous Blue Raincoat 20th Anniversary Edition”
Andre Previn - “After Hours”
Solid Link Interconnects
The Solid Link Interconnect is described on Unity's website as:
This cable uses a twisted pair of 18awg. High purity solid core conductors with a foil shield to reject noise. Terminated with Unity's own RCA connector or Neutrik XLR's with high content lead-free Silver solder.
Hand crafted in Canada using quality materials:
− high purity solid copper conductors in a twisted pair configuration
− shielded with mylar foil to reject noise
− Neutrik XLR or Unity gold plated RCA connectors with a pure copper center conductor and Teflon insulation
− soldered using high content silver solder.
− Outer jacket protects the cable from abrasion, and makes it look great!
My reference interconnect running from my dac to preamp is the 6sonsaudio Windigo Interconnect ($995) and as I find this is the best place to hear differences in interconnects in my system this is where I substituted in the Solid Link.
My initial impressions of the Solid Link were:
1. Nice quiet background.
2. Good balance with a little roll off at the extremes.
3. Big midrange.
4. Tight bass.
5. Good tonality.
6. Good pace.
7. Ease of presentation.
I started my listening session with Andre Previn's “After Hours” CD with Joe Pass and Ray Brown on Telarc (CD-83302), this is just good old fashioned fun jazz.
I began by listening to “There'll Never Be Another You”. I could clearly tell the lack of extension at the extremes as a lot of the upper detail I am used to was missing and the bass foundation which makes the upright bass sound.... well like an upright bass was not there. But to their credit the Solid Links got the midrange correct and there was enough of the extremes to make a very musical sound.
The pace and tonality were right on with fairly good separation of instruments. The initial attack on notes was very good.
The piano on “I Only Have Eyes For You” has good tonality but the weight of the instrument is missing. Overall good balance over the Solid's frequency range.
On “Limehouse Blues” the underlying bass line is great and the nice guitar work by Pass is killer and then there's the piano buzzing here and there, you just put this cut (#4) on repeat and toe tap the night away.
After my dreamy eyed session with Andre Previn it was time for some female vocals and onto stage is Jennifer Warnes and her 20th anniversary edition of “Famous Blue Raincoat”. What can I say; this is a classic in it's own right on LP and CD, but Bernie Grundman's remix substantially improves the already excellent audio qualities.
The drums on “First We Take Manhattan” have a real snap and sparkle to them and the electric guitar just cries out at you. What stood out on “Famous Blue Raincoat” was the naturalness of the saxophone at the beginning. Jennifer's voice is controlled and natural sounding. Instruments have their own space and blend in quite well together. The bass is powerful sounding with a sound stage that has good depth, height , and width.
For fun, just play “Ain't No Cure For Love”; great upbeat song. This song has it all to show off the good qualities of the Solid Link.
SWEETNESS TIMES TWO
SOLID LINK SHOTGUN BI-WIRE SPEAKER CABLES
Unity's Solid Link speaker cable is hand crafted in Canada using quality materials such as solid high purity oxygen free high conductivity copper conductors, in a litz configuration.
Aggregate gauge is 13 awg for the positive leg, and 15 awg for the negative leg.
Each conductor is PVC insulated and then covered with with a PVC jacket, topped off with an esthetically pleasing mesh sleeve that also prevents abrasion.
Connectors supplied are Unity gold BFA banana plugs which fit all modern posts, including those from Europe.
Removing the Solid Link Interconnects from my system and returning the Windigos to their throne, I replaced the Elf Super Helix Gold speaker cables($371) and jumpers($80) with the Solid Link shotgun bi-wire cables.
I started with “First We Take Manhattan”, still good drum snap and I can tell the speaker cables are more extended than the interconnects. Midrange not as clear as the Elf cables and sound a little congested and some slight sibilance on Jennifer's voice.
On “Bird On A Wire” bass a lot better, the cable is doing it's job, midrange much cleaner. The problem encountered earlier has to be the recording so I put the Elf's back in and sure enough it's the recording,
kudos to the Solids. The highs are much tamer here.
On “Famous Blue Raincoat” sax and voice are lifelike, not as much air around instruments but still musical and balanced top to bottom. All three areas, height, depth, width, of sound stage are very good.
On other songs the vocals are great with good upper midrange detail, nice treble detail and good tone, pace, and balance.
On Previn's “After Hours” overall impressions were nice, tight bass and balance. The midrange has good tonality, much clearer with no congestion. This is in direct conflict with the Warnes Cd which goes to show that the Solid Bi-wire are putting out what goes in. Another thing that might be going on here is the cables are re-burning in. I know some cables with gold in them take a period to re-burn in after they have been disconnected, so maybe the Unity's are in this vein.
These speaker cables make great toe tappers.
WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU MIX TWO “SOLIDS” TOGETHER?
Well, you get all the great attributes of both cables. They seem to make up for the other's weaknesses. It may not jive with chemistry class and it may be a rather dated jazz expression, but in this case mixing two solids produces a real gas!
All in all this is a system, if you have a somewhat bright sounding system, the Solid Link Interconnects will tame it some and if you are looking for a well-rounded set of speaker cables
the Solid Link Bi-wire's just might be the ticket for you.
I enjoyed my time with the Unity cables and if you starting out in the world of high end audio you could do a lot worse for a lot more money.
After all, for cad$99 for interconnects and cad$270 for speaker cables, you won't break the bank.
Omer Humayun firstname.lastname@example.org
Unity Audio www.unityaudio.ca
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