The big idea that has kept Ixos cables, such as the XHA716, distinctive for some years is Gamma Geometry.

This is a way of interlacing two conductors with an insulating thread which is claimed to combine the good qualities of parallel and twisted pairs, without the drawbacks of either. It's a perfectly decent way of doing things, though I've never managed to work out just what the drawbacks are of twisted pairs.

Still, Gamma Geometry does give a slightly lower capacitance than normal twisted pair, a feature helped by the use of foamed polythene insulation.

There's a screen too and the whole assembly is sheathed in soft PVC, with a nylon braid over the top, making it a rather bulky affair (about nine millimetres in diameter) but still quite flexible.

The nicely made phono plugs are very securely fitted and give a firm, but not ridiculous grip on standard sockets.

Somehow the tonal balance never seems absolutely natural through this cable. There's a slight prominence to the upper bass which can slightly warm up a bass-light small loudspeaker – no bad thing in itself – but which also subtly impairs the precision of that frequency range.

Low bass is rather impressive, though, with plenty of extension and good control too, making for an overall result that has plenty of impact and bite.

Midrange is good above the 'bump' frequency and treble is well extended, though perhaps just a shade shut in at times.

This may not be quite the cable for everyone – I found it a little frustrating with classical music – but it is great for rock and other highenergy, rhythm-heavy musical styles.

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