The original Isolda used to be a vast and unwieldy speaker cable. Thankfully, Townshend cables have become more practical, so this wire won’t raise many eyebrows. It’s still unconventional inside, though, using flat strip conductors rather than the almost universal stranded wire. In Townshend’s current speaker cables, a similar material is used to minimise inductance, but here another consideration is paramount.
As Townshend explains, the thin strip has minimal contact with the insulating tube in which is is inserted, resulting in a dielectric which is mostly air. The tube (PVC) is still part of the equation and the cable does have relatively high capacitance as a result of the construction, but we see the point. There’s an overall jacket of nylon braid but no screen, which we couldn’t convince ourselves was a problem in practice.
There’s no denying that this cable has a presentation all of its own. The bass is strong and clear, midrange is largely neutral (maybe just a touch boosted in the bottom half), but treble has a rather special quality which seems to be something more subtle than simple rolloff, though the word ‘mellow’ does come to mind in some music.
However, when real incisiveness is required it’s there, suggesting that there’s little or no actual attenuation of treble (nor could we measure any in typical applications). Rather, there’s a smooth and luxurious quality to it which we like. We also liked the excellent detail and imaging, both at the forefront of affordable cable performance.