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Tchernov Cables from Russia: Group Review

Mogami Cables

Santy

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We had a chance to listen to a couple of interconnects and a pair of speaker cables from Tchernov, a Russian brand. They claim to have 150 years of experience in cable industry! What is unique about their audio cables portfolio is that they have only two models in each range, so as to avoid confusions in the buyers mind. They have their products lined up under Junior series, Original series, Special series, Classic series and Reference series with pricing of lowest to highest in that order. All their copper cables are of multistrand design and their multi layer shielding have damping and antistatic properties to reduce interferences, as mentioned in one of their literatures.

Beesound Inc, based out in Bengaluru, has taken up the authorized distributorship of Tchernov in India. They were kind enough to lend some of their products for us to write a review about. Thanks to our Supermod for organizing for the same. Thanks to FMs who showed keenness in listening to them. :clapping:

The team comprised of Denom, Hemant, Santy and docd. What we had in our bags were one pair each of Cuprum Junior 75 RCA IC (1m), Cuprum Original 75 RCA IC (0.65m), Cuprum Original Two SC spade terminated speaker cables (2.65m). All new! Great! :licklips:

Firstly we had decided to test these gorgeous looking cables at my home with the following gear in place. Laptop/Foobar -> Beresford Caiman -> Sansui AUD7 - > Energy RC-30 speakers. We also had docds Marantz PM6002 for shunting in the chain in place of the vintage amp. Just listening is not adequate; life is all about comparisons. So we had setup a war of English vs Russian, as we also had Chord Carnival Silver Screen (CSS) and Chord Crimson Plus (CCP) with us, which are considered to be of great VFM.

The Tchernov Original speaker cables were pre-terminated on both ends with superb quality spades, but sadly, I had to truncate one end of it half-heartedly, as my amp does not allow spades or plugs. The core was very thick, almost twice the diameter of CSS. We assumed that it is close to 10AWG, whereas the CSS is of 15 units. Tchernov were parallelly fused wires while CSS is of twisted configuration if I am right. The thin core of CSS was compensated in diameter by its heavy shielding. The Russian RCAs were finely finished, with the classic being more bulkier. They had open metal connections while the CCP had plastic sealed plug (VEE).

We have perfect A/b comparisons possible with Speaker A/ B switching for cables and Source switching for ICs. We had played several tracks, mostly Denoms favourites and a few Hindi numbers.

First we tried to understand the difference between the ICs but after straining our ears for a good 20 min, we could hardly find a difference. The more expensive Original series ICs did seem to breathe more than Junior ones, but the difference was too subtle to comprehend in normal listening.

Now comes the speaker cable comparison. We did a quick switching between the two and also patiently listened to entire tracks before switching. The Tchernovs were better in mid ranges with voices being more alive, just though. The frequencies in 200 to 500 hz range were somewhat more emphasized, some audiophiles would really like it. The highs were perfect as it should be and not straining at all. Quiet passages were clearly heard. The bass response was very appropriate though I felt it intruded the vocal frequencies slightly. The resolution and overall presentation was very good and we already started wondering what would be the price.:clapping:

The chord on the other side was more opened up with more detailing. The highs were smooth and silky though the mids were somewhat thin so it may not be a good match for warm speakers. Fatigue may be possible if paired with bright speakers. We then switched to Marantz which we felt was little under powered and was slightly congested, but the mids / vocals were more involving and enjoyable with the Marantz especially at low volumes. The differences or inferences of the cables and ICs were almost similar as with the other amp. We did some blind testing with Denom and he identified the cables rightly so we concluded that our analysis are not cynical. End of round one.

We wanted to test them out with a CD player so we landed up at docds place the following week. Thanks to doc for organizing the second round. We had his Marantz CD5001 and Hemants CD6000SE next to it. Caiman was also present for comparison. With the same Marantz amp, we have Sonodyne 2605 floorstanders for the test.

This time around we compared using left and right balancing,. ie Russian cables on left and Chord on right speaker. Denom felt its not a great way to compare, but I thoughts its not a bad idea. With the ICs showing no difference again, Hemants first impression was in favour of Tchernov speaker cables. However, others felt that though warm and natural, the sound from Tchernov was not coming on to us, while the throw of CSS was much farther. The Tchernov was again better in crisp vocals while CSS was refined in high frequency department. The entire low frequency was full bodied with Tchernov while Chord was tight and fast. Eventually, docd agreed that both these cables were far better than the entry level QEDs he had.

Towards the end, we could not say who is the clear winner since it ultimately boils down to personal preference of listening. The Tchernov speaker cables performed well in the entire frequency range but congestion was a factor while the chord being more detailed and smooth, was slightly brighter. The Cuprum Original 1m is about twice the price of CCP 1m. The Cuprum Original speaker cable is roughly four times as expensive as the CSS. But I personally feel that the Russian brand may do more justice in a higher end system since an expensive cable/ IC upgrade wont show a difference unless the cables being replaced are the weakest link in that chain. In our setups, other components are all obviously budget choices. Also they were brand new and hardly burnt, so it may improve on usage- though I have no reservations in this.

On a closing note, nobody would go wrong in buying the cables (original series or higher up) from Tchernovnone will go unimpressed with it, IMHO.:)

Disclaimer: We neither represent Tchernov nor we are compensated for writing about their products.

Now for some visual treat:


Cuprum Junior 1m





Cuprum Original 0.65m




Tough built, nice finish


Junior and Original


Speaker cables- quite heavy!


Not made in China


Testing ground


Budget kings


UK vs Russia


Round 2






I request FMs Denom, DocD and Hemant to do the favours of adding more to this review. Though I have used we in many places, I am sure their versions may slightly differ. The Russian cables might be on its way HFV store with a tag of discount, but we are not sure.
 

denom

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Thanks Santy for getting the ball rolling & writing the review for the Tchernovaudio cables that we have been testing for quite a while now.

As Santy has covered the aspects of the gears & methods used for the test, I will strictly stick to writing my views along with sharing more pics that I also took :D

First the pics:





























My observations as follows:
Interconnects :
Listened to both the Junior & Original series of Tchernovaudio ICs along with ones owned by santhosh & docd, which comprised of belkin, chord & QED.
Felt a very marginal difference between all of these, which kind of proved my gut feel that ICs in general do not add/subtract much to the overall sound. Now, I could be wrong as all the gear we have used for the testing is budget stuff & so there is a possibility that if these same ICs were used in mid to high end gear, we might have heard a noticeable/appreciable difference, so my judgement on the ICs atleast is to be KO (kept open) till an opportunity arises to hear them connected to some mid or hi end gear.
Appearance & quality wise the Tchernovaudio ICs are really well finished/insulated & have good connectors which have a tight grip when connected to the female receptacles of the amp/source.

Speaker Cables:
The original speaker cables provided by Tchernovaudio sure are a good set of cables, no question, be it the quality of materials used for insulating, the heavy duty spades attached & then the actual copper quality, fantastic. Sound wise,I found the HFs to be more refined, soft & kind of rolled off so one for sure will not have any issue of fatigue setting in due to this. MFs are a bit mellow & almost balanced. LFs are what the cables really specialize in, one gets a good warm bass, sometimes a bit more than what you need but then again its what a bass head would be really happy with. Overall the sound signature is more refined & warm than that of what we could hear with the other speaker cables these were compared with.

Verdict:
Tchernovaudio cables sure are a good find, quality & all put together.
If they are offered at a lower price by means of a Group Buy, then there sure is a good opportunity for the distributor to make some good sales.

Thanks & Hats off to M/s. Beesound Inc. for providing the cables for 'Testing' & hope they continue to provide more gear in the future for similar 'Testing' :licklips:
Wish the other distributor's/dealers also offer their goods to Hi-Fi Vision FM's as such 'Testing' will lead to mutual benefits for all concerned.

A special :clapping: for our Supermod for arranging such a unique proposition & having trust in us FM's to do the job @ hand :yahoo:

Last but not the least, I would like to thank FM's Docd, Santy & Hemant for being part of the 'Testy' Group :lol: We sure had a good time conducting the extensive 'Tests' & were able to be forthright in sharing our views with one another on the subject of Cables as well. We tried our best to focus on how much difference the said cables on hand made & incidentally also came across quite a lot of aspects on the gears used for cable 'testing' as well :)

Looking for ward to be part of more such 'Tests' :eek:hyeah:
 

docd

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Both Santy and Denom have given thier views. On the whole I agree with them.
My final thoughts after two extensive listening sessions:
1. build quality of Tchernovaudio cables is good, looks well made, tough,though final finishing is slightly better in Chord cables.
2 .The speaker cables end in spades which reduces the versatility, may not suit all amps. You end up paying for something you may not use.Or else offer a choice of banana plugs.
3. Cuprum Original Interconnects give a close run to Chord Crimson Plus. The Chord is slightly more detailed but this may a matter of personnal listening tastes.The Cuprum sound is bit more prominent in mids region.
4. The Cuprum IC is priced substantially higher than Chord.Now Chord is an established name and practically sets the gold standard for ICs.With both cables running so close,the pricing needs some reworking.
5. Even the lower end Tchernovaudio IC (junior) was good with a balanced sound. An aggressive pricing for this one may make it a killer buy. Again if.....
6.The speaker cable, Tchernova Cuprum Original 2 was more difficult to grade. Some may like its muscular and bass heavy sound.Mids were a little 'in your face' type. The bass tho' was slightly muddy and may go out of control at higher volumes. By comparison the Chord Crimson silverstreak was more balanced with a rounded bass and a bit more detailed.
The Chords timing was also bit fast paced.
7. Individual listening tastes and pricing are going to decide if Tchernovaudio is going to be a force in the Indian cable market. Our market is very price and brand sensitive.For an unknown brand, aggressive and bold pricing may hold the key when competing against established players
8.Final words: I have been using the speaker cables on my system daily for about an hour, since the last one week.Now I know that "burning in" is a concept that many will not agree to. However I find that the sound has improved. The mids are mellower, the bass has rounded well and even the timing seems better. In fact I used to feel a bit of ear fatigue when I listened to the same system with my QED original speaker cables. This does not happen with the Tchernov Cuprum speaker cable. I am giving serious thought to upgrading to them:clapping:
 

HiFiVision

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I want to thank the trio for their unbiased and very professional like review. Their individual detailed observations and the blind test made an interesting read. I wish to see many more such reviews from other fellow members.

The prices for the Tchernov Cables are out and they do indeed look extremely attractive. The Tchernov Cuprum Original Two Speaker Cable in a 2.65 metre stereo pair is available for just ?7,400.00!

You can view the current range of Tchernov Cables and their current special pricing at Tchernov Audio
 

srinisundar

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Are you guys retaining the pair of cables which were used for review, generally reviewer keep the cable after reviewing it for reference ? If so send me for testing out in my system.:cool:
 

jls001

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Thanks to Denom and Santy, I got a wonderful opportunity to hear the Tchernov interconnect cables and speaker cable in my system.

For the impatient, the long story short is: these are very good cables.

The unbalanced cables went between the output of my phono stage and preamplifier input as that is the only unbalanced segment in my chain.


First up was the Cuprum Junior 75, 1m unbalanced cables. As can be seen from pictures already posted by previous listeners, this cable is joined at the spine much like flat speaker cables. The quality of RCA connectors is of very high quality and they firmly grip when plugged in. The cable is flexible and is directional, with arrows marking the direction of signal travel. I noticed this rather late in the day. In any case, I didnt hear a difference when the cables were connected in the reverse direction.
It has nice tight bass, especially the mid bass. I didnt hear any bloat in my setup, though the bass quantity tended to be on the higher side for my setup and taste. But dont expect to hear much by way of bass definition.

The mids, however, sounded ever slightly recessed. And the highs suffered from a somewhat truncated extension. It did not produce the clear sparkle of triangles or the sheen of high hats and cymbals. Imaging is decent though depth a bit shallower than I'm used to. Dynamics, too, were good.


Next up, the Cuprum Original 75 0.65m unbalanced IC has quite a bit more bass weight than the Junior, in fact too much for my liking. The mids are good and I didn't find anything to crib about. The sparkle of the highs was better than the Junior. It has much better HF extension, though compared to costlier and better cables, the sheen and sparkle was still missing.
Imaging is a bit clearer than the Junior. Depth is about the same as Junior. Macro dynamics are unfettered. Micro dynamics on my setup is nothing to write home about so I will refrain from writing about micro dynamics.


Lastly, the Cuprum Original Two Speaker replaced my usual speaker cables. I kept my own IC to minimise the variables to only the speaker cables. The sound signature was very similar to the Cuprum Original 75 with bass definition a bit bloated, and bass quantity being on the higher side for my setup and taste. YMMV, though, depending on your front end and speakers.
Mids: voice sounded a wee bit recessed but overall it sounds quite good. Note, the use of the term wee bit. It really is only a wee bit.
Highs: suffers from the same slight HF roll-off as the Classic.
Imaging and depth are similar to the Cuprum Original 75.
It has fairly good resolution of details though massed instruments can sound a bit coalesced.
And dynamics are good too.

I guess its only failing is in the LF where it seems to produce more than necessary bass, leading to a some upper bass boom in my room. And bass definition also suffered. The downside to bounteous bass is that it impinges on the definition of the rest of the frequency spectrum. It would be ideal to balance things out in a system which is bass shy. As mentioned, it could well produce a much more balanced sound in a different system and room.


For my setup, the Cuprum Junior IC worked better than the costlier Cuprum Original as it produced a more balanced bass, though there is some sacrifice in the highs.


Note: Test tracks were mainly well-recorded (and well loved and much played) rock from Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms (LP) and jazzy pop/rock from Steely Dan's Aja (LP, with track hisses and all). For testing the speaker cables, I also listened to some CDs like the Yamamoto Trios What A Wonderful Trio (despite the beautiful piano and drum, does the cello solo in Stardust meander off key a few times? Or am I the only one hearing this?). Female vocals sounded beautiful.

Bottomline: very good VFM set of cables, with the caveat that they can highlight the bass, and give you a rolled off high.
 

srinisundar

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Generally chinese cables are like these... They are bass headed..:) and never bother about others.. May be this will also be manufactured from china and sold with Russian tag or Russians are also like chinese .:p
 

jenson

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i got a chance to demo these today (thanks to Joshua for sending it across and Denom for starting this chain!)

my setup...as most of you know by now...is pretyt basic.. Blu ray player -> va1 int amp -> arista speakers.

first off...built quality of IC is not that great for the price, but that isnt so important. the speaker cable looks substantial very thick set of wires, arranged simialry like MX cable, however, it seems much thicker.

If anything, the tchernov IC's are the weakest link, it literally robs musics of it's warmth in midrange (has blacker/queiter feel to it). highs are cut of their air and muted, bass is muted with no authority. overall, i felt, the halo was missing. imaging was ok, did not have holographic quality...these were very apparent... i switched back to bandridge and all those qualities that i liked were back in bloom...

however, if someone has a very "bright" system and is looking to chip some of those highs...i would suggest this one...
 

Santy

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They are still available on hifimart, they will ship it to you. I don't think its available in Mumbai for audition

Sent from my GT-I9001 using Tapatalk 2
 
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