King Cobras vs Straightwire Chorus II, unintentional comparison

I go back and forth on just how much difference exists between the various brands and levels of Interconnects,  HDMI cables, etc.  I've probably spent more than I should have through the years on cables.  My system consists of primarily AQ and Straightwire cables.  Yesterday my pair of AQ King Cobras (RCA connections) crapped out developing some type of short for the second time this year.  See below paragraph for more information.  They simply stopped working.  They were connecting my Marantz UD5007 to my Integra surround sound processer.   I went to my box of surplus cables and grabbed an older pair of 1 meter Straightwire Chorus II ICs (level 2) as back up. Still work perfectly.  Well OMG, they sound just as open, clear, sharp and detailed as the King Cobras.  I've got them on now and honestly I cannot tell the difference.  I paid $200.00 for the Cobras about 4 years ago and only about $65.00 for the pair of Chorus IIs.   What the ???   Discussion or have we beat this topic to death here on Audiogon? 

About my pair of King Cobras (RCA), I noticed this problem earlier this year and returned them to AQ under an RMA.  Received them back bench tested and thoroughly checked out.  No problems found.  They worked for a while until last evening.  I'm done with them and will probably just chuck them out in the trash.   Unbelievable. 
I can relate- pdn

a few years back I had my 1st taste of Straight Wire cabling, lower tier ( I do not know the exact models). The SP, IC were in a Rogue Audio, Rega and Sonus Faber system. Simple 2-channel, excellent synergy, very musical.

I,too was shocked. I was in a position to listen to the same cabling at the same dealer/retailer (The Listening Room- MD) in an ARC and SF system.
Again, very musical.
I concur Jafant.  I have a pair of Maestro II speaker cables and they are very nice.  I would love to see SW get back into the game in a bigger way in the U.S.
I am in total agreement. I have been a Straightwire fan for years.  Straightwire offers a nice selection of cables. I have used several models at different price points in the past.

 I am currently using a one meter pair of Crescendo balanced interconnect on my CD player. However Straightwire offers very affordable options also. The Encore II interconnect is a nice star quad design costing $125 that will compete with many in its price range. I recently heard them on a Caimbridge Audio CXU universal player. I have used their Octave II Biwire speaker cable with a Anthem I225. 

Straightwire has recently released the new Expressivo and Expressivo Grande interconnect and speaker cable:

Expressivo Grande II speaker cable is composed of 6 (CCT)  positive "air suspended" conductors at 15AWG of OFHC Copper around a non-conductive, low resonant core. Multiple low dielectric insulations are employed to optimize mechanical and electrical performance. This ULTRA low resistance speaker cable utilizes dual opposing spiral shields for the negative conductor path(s) and familiar Straight Wire anti-static micro-fiber braid.

The cable is custom jacketed with durable mesh (various colors at no up-charge) rather than the Straight Wire traditional clear jacket. This preserves the micro-details throughout the audible spectrum for clear and effortless presentations. Critical enthusiasts should audition this cable together with premium interconnects to find the ideal compliment for their high level system(s).

IBW (internally bi-wireable cable)

Mesh choice over Fiber Braid
16.0mm (.63") diameter

Thanks for the update nutty.   Glad to hear they are innovating.  Maestro II has always been a nice match for either of my Thiels.

I'm a big fan of Straight Wire, as well.  I have Crescendo 3 interconnects (balanced and SE) and speaker cables on my main system and Serenade II speaker cables on my bedroom system.  I just wish they were a little more pliable for tight spaces, but I guess they are designed that way for a reason.
As stated above, the new Expressivo and Expressivo Grande cable does not have the plastic coatings over the mesh. I would imagine it would make it more manageable and enhance performamce. And you can choose different colors.

I also used the Serenade interconnects and speaker cables in the past. I used two separate runs in a true biwire configuration on B&W speakers. Excellent results.


I'm aware of the different casings on the Expressivo (trying those and  other interconnects in the Straight Wire lineup) and, while they are very good, they do not compare to the performance of the Crescendo 3s in my system.  The Crescendo 3s are just on a whole different level.

I was able to maneuver them into place and they won't be removed for anything based on how they great they sound. 

I haven't thought about biwiring with Serenades since they are only used in my bedroom system, but I'm sure that they sound excellent in that application based on my experience using them.
I used Crescendo speaker cables (the ones that looked like an anaconda) for years and thought them to be superb. Actually auditioned the much more expensive Transparent Audio Reference XL vs the Crescendos in my system and sent the TAs back.

Used Maestro cables before the Crescendos and thought them good enough to keep them around for a rainy day. Jim Thiel recommended these back in the day with Thiels.

Crescendo had a more powerful and full bass as well as a more refined upper region to my ears.

I agree that it is hard to understand why Straightwire lost their presence in the audiophile marketplace in recent years. Didn’t it have something to do with a relationship with WireWorld?


i think the main guy who put straightwire on the map years back left and later started or joined wireworld

i have always felt the two brand of cables had a similar same tonality, sensibilities... clear but not etched, a little warmth in the mids, solid bass foundation
I've been running a long length (18' pair) of Straightwire Maestro speaker cables for years. Due to the cost to replace and difficulty to compare them because of length. I am glad to hear that other people still like them. I always thought they were pretty good.
I believe if you look at Tom Thiel's virtual system, he uses a pair of Straightwire Octave II speaker cables. I have a 10 foot pair/biwire. Very good performance/price cable. Great low frequency cable as well.