QED Supremus

QED Supremus


This is a look at the QED Supremus speaker cables that came out only in May this year, announced at Munich High End.  QED has over 40 years of cable expertise that has come to a head with the release of these cables, their lowest resistance cables ever.   With less resistance your amplifier is doing less work or delivering more for the same punch, giving you an added degree of control of your speakers.

Out of the Box QED Supremus

The box is sumptuous, one set of cables per box.  There is a magnetic clasp that reveals the tightly wound cables.  There is signed certificate that appears to be signed by hand.  It is all extremely aesthetic.   On taking the noticeably heavy cables out of the box there is slight bit of concern as they are very tightly woven and they curl up like a caterpillar as you try and straighten them.   In the end I chose to leave the cables to relax for a few hours before connecting them up.

 

Burn In

Q Acoustics Concept 500

I am a firm believer in burning cables in, in the same way you would run in a Lamborghini before tearing around the Nurbergring.  So I turn to my Atlas Cable burning CD for a couple of hours.  Ironic, at this end, as the QED Supremus will end up in place, temporarily, of some (similarly Signature) Atlas Mavros cables of the same length.  There after for burn in, I plug into a Naim Radio stream for 24 hours or so.  I’m using a Bluesound Node for streaming, T+A AMP  8 amplification and the beautiful Q Acoustics speakers that I am also looking at this month.

Physical

As I have mentioned , the cables are physically very stiff and they have certainly retained their curves, even after several days.  They are covered with a plastic outer wrap that is shiny and a crackles and cracks a fraction.  Now I have them in-situ after a good week and I have constructed some cable elevators (made from upholstery foam) the cables are nicely straight (ish).

QED Supremus

Supremus Locking Airloc™ Plugs

The cables are terminated by QED using a new system, called Supremus Locking Airloc™ Plugs.  The new system uses a Rhodium plated, locking design to ensure maximum surface contact between the plug and terminals, this is similar to the expanding plugs used by Atlas.   QED are using a propriety Airloc™ technology for an oxygen free, cold weld connection that is bound to the plug for life.   The cables are available with a spade terminal if needed, I have the expanding 4mm banana plugs.

Design

The QED Supremus feature cables that house two bundles of 16 silver plated, cryogenically treated oxygen free copper conductors for ultra-low resistance.   The conducting copper is 99.999% pure and has an equivalent of 6.2mm² Cross Sectional Area.   The conductors are uniquely and individually insulated by a nearly invisible layer of enamel. This material was chosen because it has extremely good insulating properties.  The cables are enveloped in QED’s proprietary Aircore™ Technology that keeps inductance and capacitance at very low low levels. This technology changes the magnetic field within the cable to ensure high frequencies travel through the central part of the conductor.  The result, QED believes, is an unrivaled level of high frequency detail and cable timing.

QED Supremus Specification

There is a rather detailed technical paper that I will not pretend to understand fully, however it is clear that QEDs belief in ultra low resistance and management of residual electromagnetic fields by proximity to other cables is key to the design in this cable.  The spec is as follows:

• Cross-Sectional Area: 6.16mm2

• Wire Gauge: 10AWG

• Jacket Outside Diameter: 17mm

• Jacket Internal Diameter: 8mm

• Loop Resistance: 0.005Ω/m

• Capacitance: 48pF/m

• Inductance: 0.49uH/m

• Dissipation Factor: 0.009

• Conductors: 2 x 16 solid core silver plated 99.999% oxygen free copper conductors

• Insulation: Unique enamel with low loss surrounding foamed polyethylene dielectric insulation

• Plugs and Spades: Rhodium plated locking AirlocTM Plugs and Spades available

• Other: AircoreTM Technology, Cryogenically treated

Performance

The QED Supremus cables perform beautifully in my preferred listening space

QED Supremus

T+A DAC 8

As I  mentioned, I have run the cables in with the excellent T+A AMP 8 into the Q Acoustics Concept 500s.  After this process, the sound is beautiful, even compared to the bi-wired Atlas Hyper cables that I have in my listening room.  The Hyper 2.0 cables are interestingly six 9s copper (99.9999 percent OFC (oxygen free copper)) but only 2mm cross sectional area, compared to the 6.2mm with the QED cable.

Although I am not too familiar with the Q Acoustics Concept 500s, I found the QED cables gave my listening area greater depth and width and the presentation sounded ‘better’.  This is compared to the Hyper 2.0 bi-wired cables.  I guess this is one of those things that has people up and down the country will argue about ad nauseum in the pub but cables can, and do make a difference, if you believe they do, as I do.  These QED cables are extremely nice indeed and have added incrementally to my hi quality set-up here.

I felt it was worth moving the QED Supremus into my best listening set-up to see how they performed against the significantly more expensive Atlas Mavros cables that I have with my Naim based set-up that features the NAC-N 272 and a NAP 250 into my favoured and very familiar KEF R 700 speakers (that will certainly be given a run for their money by the Concept 500 speakers).   At this point I took the opportunity of fashioning some foam cable elevators with a view to tidying up the very stiff cable in the room.

The Atlas Mavros cables, for the same length and termination cost approximately twice as much as the QED Supremus, however this will not mean they are going to perform twice as well as the Supremus.  The QED Supremus cables perform beautifully in my preferred listening space.   In a world of marginal gains cables can add a huge amount to the sound stage and the final presentation and the QED Supremus did not let me down.  Dynamically balanced and clear I certainly had a sense of control and power from my NAP 250 amplifier and no loss of sound stage.   My KEFs sang as always to London Grammar’s ‘Rooting for You’, with the lovely bass rumble at the end.

Overall

The QED Supremus loudspeaker cables are very accomplished indeed and I would certainly suggest if you have a system that would benefit from an investment of this sort you should have a listen to these cables and hear the difference for yourself.

 

And… I love this snakey QED video….

 

QED Supremus speaker cable costs £150 per meter.  Take a look  at the QED site to find a QED Signature range retailer.

6 Comments

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  1. 1
    ARMANDO

    I would be very grateful if you could indicate if the QED SUPREMUS or the ATLAS MAVROS is better, as well as the differences between their sound. That could help me decide between both products.

    Thank you very much and best regards.

    • 2
      Simon Wilce

      As always, at this price level, I think you should get a listen with your local and friendly HiFi dealer. I have the Mavros cables with my Naim system but the QED cables demand a listen I would say. Sorry for the delay in response and slight ambiguity, but at this price level it is only about your money and your ears if you have the system to match.

  2. 3
    Rorie

    To say they perform beautifully and to do so on a blog isn’t much help to anyone, but QED. Why not write up an actual comparison to your Mavros, comparing how each cable performs with regards to melody, rhythm, timbre etc on individual selections of music, otherwise this write up is of no more use than the flame war forums where the superlative better is all that is used while meaning nothing to anyone else.

    • 4
      Simon Wilce

      Hi, thanks for the message and apologies for the delayed response, I’ve been on holiday. So, yes, agreed, saying they are are ‘beautiful’ helps no-one but QED. I think I’ll always say, and it is true, that you really need to listen before you buy and most good HiFi stores can facilitate this. I do say in the piece that there are marginal gains at these price levels between the Mavros and Supremus speakers and I believe that is the case. The price difference between the cables will also be a factor in deciding on a purchase. I do try and listen as hard as I can and I’ll note your suggestions for future reviews. Thank you.

    • 6
      Simon Wilce

      Hi there, I have been on holiday so slight delay in response. I thought I had replied, suggesting a listen is the only way at a good HiFi store. If you also see the reply I just made to Rorie I’ve tried to explain my reasoning on the review. I currently have both sets of cables in use but I have the Atlas Mavros cables in my main system if that answers the question definitively. Thanks for the comment, I do know I need to get more detail in there and comparisons are always better copy. Thanks again.

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