The Chord Company Epic Twin Review: The Twin is an expansive, dynamically tight, and highly resolving musical cable with vast uncompressed imaging that swings towards the brighter side. There are, however, some issues in terms of the Epic Twin’s design which means it could, potentially, yield better sonic results.
Having previously reviewed many of The Chord Company’s offerings, The Pro Audio Web Blog is certainly familiar with their extensive product line. For those who aren’t in the know, The Chord Company, which is often abbreviated to ‘Chord’, is a UK manufacturer of high quality interconnects with over twenty-
Within the ‘Epic’ range, there are two speaker cables; the ‘Epic Twin’, and the ‘Epic Reference’. Today we shall be reviewing the ‘Epic Twin’. The clear differences between the two are that the Epic Reference has consistent and independent polar channel shielding, whereas the ‘Epic Twin’ has partial shielding, which does not fully extend right to the jacket of the banana plugs, and a combined shield for both the positive and negative channels. The other difference between the two is that you can configure the ‘Epic Reference’ to come terminated with Chord’s BFA Camcon connectors to further cut down on resonance in comparison to the thinner standard banana plugs. It is important to note that the internal cable design for both the ‘Epic Twin’ and the ‘Epic Reference’ is fundamentally the same.
In terms of prospective delivery, it is important to note that Chord’s ‘Epic Twin’ speaker cable is both designed and manufactured in England to meet stringent specifications and, as such, the cable will take a couple of weeks to be hand made in their Salisbury lab. What I have found exceptionally comforting to know is that, before any cable is released to you, The Chord Company’s Quality Control team will asses your finished article on a case by case basis. In order for the cable to be handed over to the shipping team, it must meet strict aesthetic, mechanical, and electrical tolerances before undergoing a period of time in their ‘Cable Toaster’. Having passed through their ‘Cable Toaster’, Chord is able to minimise any required burn-
As per the website, the ‘Epic Twin’ is available in custom lengths from one meter all the way up to ten metes, in one meter increments. Purchasing the the cable in less than one meters seems possible, but not advisable due to the fact that the cables shielding jacket will not be as effective. So, if you intend to make your own DIY speaker jumper links from a single one meter cable, it will be no where near as effective as purchasing Chord’s own brand Sarum, or Signature, speaker links. In terms of termination, the ‘Epic Twin’ comes unterminated as standard, with the bare copper wire on show and, regardless, the price of one meter is £50, or around $78 -
Having previously mentioned the ‘Epic Reference’, it would be wise to comment on the difference in price between the two. So, for £50 ($78) you can bag yourself a one meter un-
If we revert back to something more positive now, just as the name would suggest, The Chord Company exhibit ‘Epic’ confidence in the craftsmanship and quality of their product. Consequently the team offer a generous ten year warranty with the ‘Epic’ range, which seems to be on par, if not better, than many of The Chord Company’s competitors.
Upon inspection of the Epic Twin’s finish, it is plain to see that The Chord Company engineer who hand crafted this specific cable took great care to, at least, make an aesthetically perfect product. The Epic Twin’ arrived coiled and free of kinks, whilst the grey PVC outer jacket is completely free of micro blemishes or drips. In terms of how the jacket edges and terminations have been heat shrunk, the ‘Epic Twin’ is continuous and tightly wrapped with all text appearing bold and completely legible. From an aesthetic perspective, the ‘Epic Twin’ is undoubtedly flawless, even the braid below the translucent grey PVC is unremarkable. In terms of the review sample that I currently hold, I opted to have the cable ‘Chord Factory Terminated’ with their own standard banana plugs. Unlike other brands, The Chord Company believe that soldering the banana plug posts directly to the core conductor yields superior results over other twist and/or crimp design attachments. Whilst I cannot compare the three various methods, I believe Chord’s judgement and can confirm that the ‘Factory Termination’ is solid beyond belief whilst still maintaining the crucial flexibility that you need to attach it to the binding posts. There’s no doubt in my mind that this termination will last the length of the products life.
In comparison to some of The Chord Company’s other products, the width of the ‘Twin’ is noticeably bulkier with a 11mm diameter. What you have to remember here is that this is a cable that carries two core conductors, the positive and negative, so, in total, it does theoretically cut down on space and clutter -
Something that has massively bothered me with the ‘Epic Twin’ is that, because the cables major shielding ends 15cm (6”) before the end of the stripped conductor, it seems almost pointless to have a shield at all where, in total, 30cm of core conductor is exposed to radio frequencies with very limited shielding, except for a thin layer of PTFE insulation. I, personally, find this totally counter intuitive and, again, this is another reason why the ‘Epic Twin’ looses half a star. It is clear that this is an area of weakness for this cable that could sacrifice all the benefits of owning such an, otherwise, well designed speaker/amplifier interconnect. I totally get that having this area of stripped shielding means that it’s easier to connect it to your speakers or amplifier, but still it would be 100x better to have that shield all the way up or, even better, to have a Y-
As with all The Chord Company cables, they are directional. It is my belief that the directionality is built into the cable in terms of the way in which all of the components cables are cut. Personally I have experienced little discernible sonic effect with reversing the cables directionality, although it is, perhaps, also all down to the way in which electrons travel or how the shielding becomes charged, so this is something that could potentially become more apparent after hundreds of hours of use.
Because we haven’t yet actually discussed the materials used within the total design of the ‘Epic Twin’, it seems only fitting to now briefly outline these. First of all, the core conductor is a 19x twisted strand of silver plated oxygen free copper wire with a thin tight layer of PTFE plastic insulation before being entombed in PVC. In terms of the shielding, the jacket uses a dual layer first comprising of overlapped foil, then with a high density braid, before being rewrapped. On top of the braided metal, The Chord Company use a translucent grey PVC jacket. If you choose to have your cable terminated, Chord will affix 24k Gold plated banana plugs or copper played spade connectors.
Lossless tracks varying from 44.1kHz to 192kHz and 16bit to 24bit, MacBook Air Mid 2013 i7, iBasso DX90, Chord Electronics ‘Scamp’, Chord Electronics ‘Hugo’, The Chord Company ‘Signature Tuned ARAY’, Lynx ‘Hilo’, Arcam ‘irDAC’, IsoAcoustics ‘ISO-
Let’s put the ‘Epic Twin’ into perspective; it is an excellent cable in the right context. Having jumped up from The Chord Company’s ‘Sarsen’ speaker cable, I found that the ‘Epic Twin’ re-
If we move onto the midrange, I’ve noticed that this is a place where precision doesn’t necessarily follow the trend. It’s a much more relaxed area with a creamy musical presentation and I can’t hear as much dynamic control -
Down at the bass frequencies, this is an area where ‘Epic Twin’ appears to excel itself, even if it is less present due to the cables tilt (somewhat like a British EQ). The bass timing does, however, have a largely realistic edge with a confident solid like focus that is free of any hard aggressiveness. Whilst the bass does, largely, perform consistently across the range, the only exception to this rule is that there is a progressively gradual loss of presence within the sub-
The Chord Company’s ‘Epic Twin’ is a largely well designed cable that is based on a tried and tested production method. Whilst I have my reservations about the length of the shielding, its effectiveness, and the pricing structure, the cable still performed like a diamond in the listening tests. Personally I’ve found the ‘Epic Twin’ to have a very British sound to it with a mild digital focus. It is without doubt that this is an excellent speaker cable for uncovering all the extra details within the recording without forcing you to take notice of them all, and does an excellent job of increasing the stereo width. It is clear, coherent, and maintains a good focus, so, with all the facts considered, The Pro Audio Web Blog awards The Chord Company ‘Epic Twin’ speaker cable with a four star rating.