Black-Tak versus cones

This article, written by Malcolm Steward, was first published in Audiophile magazine (UK) in 1993.

Black-TakGiving definitive answers about the merits of different couplings between loudspeakers and stands is impossible. What is inarguably the best arrangement for one particular speaker on one particular stand won’t necessarily be so if you change either component. I based my comparisons of Black-Tak and Perfect Sound cones on JPW’s Ruby 1 speakers and a pair of Slate Audio stands.

Perfect Sound ConesIgnoring the practical aspects of the two devices – small speakers look precariously balanced on the cones and Black-Tak is disgustingly sticky, like old chewing gum on the sole of a shoe – I preferred Black-Tak with this speaker-stand combination.

Differences emerged listening to ‘natural’ recordings that were more a matter of taste than right or wrong, but on more processed recordings, The The’s Duskbeing an excellent example, the Black-Tak gave a far more musically rewarding performance. The cones tended to emphasise leading edges of notes on bass guitar, lending it a taut, but over-percussive sound.

Black-Tak brought out the rest of the note envelope distinctly, retaining the instrument’s speed but better representing its timbre and intonation. This was true throughout the spectrum, and voices and percussion, for example, both sounded less edgy, more full-bodied and convincing with the speaker supported by the goo.

The metal-drivered Ruby 1 sounded delightfully fast but natural on Black-Tak, while on the cones it took on an ascetic, over-etched quality that made its presentation less informative and credible.

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