A superb balance of performance and physical subtlety
Good sound throughout the spectrum
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Crystal Cable, based in the Netherlands, is the brand famously developed by the ex-concert pianist Gabi van der Kley, whose husband operates another prominent high-end cable brand, Siltech - although the two brands operate entirely autonomously, by the way.
The range of Crystal cables is growing exponentially, but this unusual interconnect design is perhaps the most obvious exemplar of the cable company's craft.
Piccolo's elegant appearance may give some cause for concern. The gold/silver alloy conductor is just 0.3mm in diameter, rising to 1.3mm in overall diameter including insulation, and the cable barely looks thick or strong enough to sustain manhandling.
The solid, stable terminations also appear vulnerable, too. But this is more perception than reality. The strain relief built into the design is more up to the job than you might suppose. With extensive use in many systems over a period of some months, which is enough to cause many cables to fall to bits, the Piccolo has never given us the slightest cause for concern.
Indeed, we were initially predisposed in its favour as it is reminiscent of some seminal experiences with the original DNM Solid Core. It doesn't really sound like DNM, but it does have some of the same positive qualities.
For a start, there's no lack or excess of bass. Where it moves out of DNM territory is in focus and articulation, which you get in spade-loads. The instrumental timbre is lean, but fully formed, with a diamond like precision.
Tactile textures, such as the finger noise on acoustic guitar fretboard or strings, or the genuinely dynamic sound from piano, at both ppp (very soft) and fff (very loud) ends of the scale, are beautifully rendered. Most movingly of all, however, is the purity of a well-recorded human voice through Piccolo.
It's rare to find a cable that packs a real punch, class-leading resolution and some very real musical expressiveness without the physical intrusiveness of alternative solutions. Which is why Piccolo is something special.
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