Audioquest Type 4 Speaker Cable: Unchanged Over Years, Uncompromising in Sound

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Audioquest Type 4 Speaker Cables

Having bought a new amp set me on a new quest--an “audio” quest, haha!--for new speaker cables that sounded best with my new integrated, which as you may have already seen is a Sugden A21SE Signature--and it is no secret that I ended up choosing the cable I am reviewing here, the Audioquest Type 4.

This is not just a review of a speaker cable, because you could say it is biased since I did choose it. But I wanted to talk about the process of how I came to choose it, and why.

If you have been an audiophile and around as long as I have been, the name Audioquest is a familiar brand, almost household in the audio world, and until now it was not a brand that I have ever owned or thought I would. Through the years I have had or have listened to speaker cables from the likes of Purist Audio, MIT, Kimber, Straight Wire, WireWorld, Transparent Audio, Tara Labs, Auditorium, Cardas, Naim and Monster, to name but several—all in different price ranges, but admittedly most far more costly than the Type 4 here.

Of those cables that I have owned, each was chosen because of how it matched with the rest of my equipment. So a new amp meant another journey.

My venerable audio retailer, who I think you all know by now is Charlie Schnyder of Stereo Haven in Edwardsville, IL, invited me over to give a listen to Audioquest cables. He said he thought I might like the way the Audioquest cables sounded with the Sugden and my speakers.

Said I, “But they are Audioquest! I have heard they were okay, but were they that good?”

Said he, “Come and listen.”

So, I went and listened.

I did some research afore I went to learn a little more about the Type 4: Audioquest has changed a lot of their speaker cables over the years, but I found it interesting that per their website the Type 4 roots go all the way back to the late 80’s, and the fundamental geometry and conductor complement of Type 4 hasn’t changed since 1995. And it may be their most successful line, so maybe they got it right with this cable. So off I went to give the AQ cables a good listen to.

At first we listened to Audioquest’s “Rocket” cables--bigger and more expensive than the 4s with other things about it that make it sound the way it does. The Rockets sounded very good, with a nice balance top to bottom, and an openness that allowed the qualities of the Sugden and the Devore 3XL’s to come through. I know and love the sound that Auditorium speakers cables produce, but currently they are priced beyond my means. Not a terrible thing, as maybe I will find something that sounds “as good?”

We hooked up the Type 4, and…wow! All I can really say is...wow! As good as the Rockets sounded, and as good as I know the auditorium would be, these Type 4 seemed to work magic with the Sugden.

All the components of the sound, while open, were playing together as a cohesive unit. There was no graininess in the highs, and the mids were rich and full with a natural bloom to them that allowed voices to be “real.” All too often speaker cables these days seem to suck the life out of the mids, because of over-extended high and the desire to create one-note bass.

I listened to a lot, but in listening to “Hey Big Spender” from Sweet Charity, it clearly showed that the bottom end produced by the Type 4’s was deep, tight and very well controlled; no slushiness or muddiness there, while the vocals on “There’s Gotta’ Be Something Better Than This” from the same album came through with such a fullness and “rightness” that each singer’s specific characteristics or nuance could be heard. Be it a slightly Hispanic accent or a nasally “Nu Yawker-ness” lyric, I could hear it all.

To sort of sum it up simply: String instruments sounded stringy, metal instruments had a metal feel to them, acoustic instruments had that bloom, and electric instruments that electric feel. What more is needed?

Well, pace and rhythm is always needed, right? And here the Type 4 bettered the Rocket cables, allowing a snappiness to the whole picture to be heard that just wasn’t the same with the Rockets, and in many ways sounded very much like the more expensive Auditorium cables by allowing all the pieces to play together as a whole.

So there I was, listening to an affordable speaker cable by a company I never gave serious thought to until now, and I was loving it! So I ordered a pair from my audio retailer. (Be very careful of ordering on line! Audioquest cables are very well known, and often counterfeited, so yet another reason to buy from a respectable audio retailer.) Once I got them, hooking them up was as easy as possible; the cables are directional but clearly labeled amp and speaker on each end, making them all but fool proof. Once allowing for a short break-in period, the cables were making music that I was loving at home, and I’m still loving.

Would it be all that and a bag of chips for everyone in every set up? I don’t know, but for me, the way my Sugden Integrated Amp and Devore’s took a shining to this bit of copper is proof positive that you just gotta listen to them. Don’t go by written words and don’t go by past prejudices; go by your ears.

Most importantly, don’t let anyone tell you speaker cables (and interconnects for the matter) don’t matter, that they all sound the same. They most assuredly do not. And as I learned here, don’t let a price tag dictate to you how good a cable will sound. Here is one that won’t set you back a ton of money that may, in your set up, lift your system to new heights.

If you have a Sugden Integrated and you don’t have the Type 4 in-line, I encourage you to most definitely give them a try.

Grade: 
5.0 / 5.0