Review: Skogrand Air Cables
by Josh Ray on January 16 '12
I don't usually review cables. Especially expense cables. In fact, the whole cable game is kind of distasteful to me. One of my favorite A/B tests I've witnessed was a shootout between two interconnects, a $2000 pair and a $79 pair. Neither myself nor anyone else who heard this demo could tell the difference. This demo wasn't held by the company of the $79 interconnects, but by a buddy with a $50k plus system. The conclusion of said demo? It wasn't that the $79 wires were masquerading as $2k wire or the expensive silver foil was snake oil.
Now, for those who aren't, well, hard core cable nuts (even though I hate cable culture, I'm kinda a nerd about electronics), there's two camps in the world of wire: the first school says bigger is better. Bigger size (aka smaller gauge), bigger shielding, bigger everything. Then there's the purists with their distaste for shielding, multi-strand and anything but the raw, raw periodic table of elements.
Skogrand champions the purity approach, simple = beautiful. Solid core (not stranded) pure occ 12awg copper. Pure teflon. Pure balsa wood. Wait, what? Yes, balsa wood in the tips of the cables, providing a structural advantage, or so I'm told. And the whole deal is wrapped in rigid poly tubing and PET braided sleeves, neither of which actually touch anything but your fingers.
Also, craftsmanship is top notch, spade terminations are best-of-class and flexibility is similar to a baby elephant's trunk, so be prepared. Cables arrived in a combat-approved locking case and Knut Skogrand could not be nicer and easier to work with.
Overall, The Skogrand SC AIr cables are a glimpse into the future of purist cable methodology. And while some expensive cables are zip cord in fat wrappers, the SC Air's milled teflon/balsa suspension system is surely a bitch to manufacture which, refreshingly, is reflected in the cost. These are truly high-tech designs made with old-world craftsmanship in the mountains of Norway. Henrik Ibsen would be proud.
So here's the obligatory "if you're in the market for cables above $2k, you owe it to yourself to demo the Skogrand SC Air cables." But seriously, while I won't say the SC Airs will sound better or worse than competing cables (after all, maybe your system is too clean and clear to begin with), I will say you're not a true cable aficionado if you don't put Skogrands into your rotation.
What's next for cable technology? If the best insulation is no insulation, then the only thing better than air is, wait for it, no air. Vacuum sealed cables, Knut? I'm game.