Specialist cable maker Atlas recently introduced its Hyper Achromatic speaker cables. At the product launch last month, I had the opportunity to talk to Managing Director Kevin Kelly, to discover the technology employed in the design and learn about how the Achromatic plug design achieves significant sonic performance gains.
The Hyper speaker cable has been improved in several ways, but most notably with the addition of a new Achromatic Z plug design. The new plug has around 35 percent less mass than other Z plugs, is cold-welded and a self-cleaning design aimed at advancing performance over the Scottish manufacturer’s previous plug designs. In the Hyper Bi-wire cable, the mid to high frequency conductor is solid, while the low-end conductor is stranded and said to help improve signal delivery. There are several variants of the new Hyper design in differing cable thicknesses – the greater cable diameter claiming to achieve improved bass extension. Each cable configuration is also available terminated with high-quality OFC spade connectors.
I happen to have a trusty set of the original Atlas Hyper 2.0 Bi-wire speaker cables to hand. These have served me remarkably well for ten years and have consistently impressed, although the cable terminations do look a fraction loose from the continuous speaker reviewing swap overs and listening room rearrangements. The new cables have a fabric cover on them making them easier to manage and straighten out fresh from the packing box. There is no doubt in my mind the updated Hyper speaker cable range represents a significant stride forward, and it’s impressive to see the advances that Atlas has managed to bring to the range.
I’m listening with a Naim Uniti Star one-box music system as my source and amplifier driving my trusty old KEF R700 floorstanding speakers. I’ve basically swapped between the old and the new versions of the Hyper cables several times to compare differences. I’ve used the enclosed Tidal playlist for direct comparison between the two designs. The cable I have been sent for review has the 2-4 configuration, so I’m bi-wired for this review with the KEFs.
There’s no doubt in my mind when using the new Hyper cable that the first track I listen to has a significantly improved bass extension. The Chromatics’ Sound of Silence has a heavy double bass line at the beginning of the track and I can clearly hear the deeper sound in my KEFs. It is really quite nice to hear a bit of flabby ported bass that I know and love after the precise and wonderful control of PMC’s twenty5 22i standmount speakers I reviewed last month. To confirm my thoughts on the cables, I go for a bit of Billie Eilish with Bury a Friend and All the Good Girls Go to Hell. My initial findings are reinforced as I peel myself off the wall.
With the new cable in place, everything feels a touch louder. I’m certainly noticing this as I swap between tracks and cables, and I’m guessing there is less information getting lost in the new cable and plug design. This all points to improved dynamics and the more I listen, the greater punch I hear on tracks like Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer.
Listen to the detail and movement of the soundstage in Ryan Adams’ Who is Going to Love Me Now… from his current album Wednesdays, or less subtly, Pink Floyd’s Money from Dark Side of the Moon, and channel separation is similarly impressive. I sense an improved and deeper soundstage, for example, Flight from the City by Jóhann Jóhannsson has an ethereal feel and is a very moving listening experience.
Towards the end of the review period, I received the NAD M33 all-in-one music system scheduled for a forthcoming review. It’s a similar product to Naim’s Uniti Star, although it is a fraction more expensive. The results of a little more cable swapping with the M33 in situ delivered similar characteristics with the Atlas Hyper Achromatic speaker cable in place in respect of depth, volume and resolution.
The cables on review here are priced at £550 for a 5-meter 2-4 stereo pair. On a £4,000 streaming amplifier with my KEF R700 speakers, it feels like the right sort of price point and a value plus upgrade. The sonic delivery is clearly improved in the new Atlas Hyper Achromatic Z plug design and these very attractive speaker cables demand an audition at the price.
Dielectric fabric covering
Improved bass extension
New Z plugs
Can’t think of anything
Dielectric PTFE (Teflon™)
Capacitance 73.42 pF/m
Inductance 0.5178 µH/m
Resistance 0.0088 Ohms/m
Outside Diam 7mm
The Hyper Achromatic is available now in pre terminated lengths. Custom lengths are available on request.
Hyper Achromatic Bi-wire speaker Z 2 -4
2.0m – £400.00 inc vat
3.0m – £450.00 inc vat
5.0m – £550.00 inc vat
7.0m – £650.00 inc vat
Hyper Achromatic Bi-wire speaker Z 4 -4
2.0m – £450.00 inc vat
3.0m – £500.00 inc vat
5.0m – £600.00 inc vat
7.0m – £700.00 inc vat