Review: VeraStarr 1m Silver Reference Interconnect Interconnect

Category: Cables

I trolled ebay and audiogon for around 3-4 weeks looking where to make my final purchase of my ic's and speaker cables I needed. I wanted to spend enough money where I was satisfied I wouldn't need an upgrade for many many years. Audiogon auctions and ebay auctions atrracted me, so zu cables on ebay, and verastarr or stealth or timbre on audiogon all looked like products that were bargains at auction prices. But for some reason, Mike Powell's VeraStarr IC's and speaker cables were going for decent prices on audiogon and ebay, with absolutely zero reviews written about them, which signaled to me that word of mouth on verastarr is strong. I also stumbled upon mike's page on a volvo web site where he describes his car which seems to have bi-wired speakers running off of tube amps.... in his car. It seemed like mike was a true enthusiast, so I emailed mike about a small discount if I purchased all the cables I needed in one shot, he agreed, and I finally stopped going dizzy trying to read all the reviews and threads I could find on ic's and speaker cables. I was previously using bedrock speaker cable for the 10ft. run from the amp to my speakers, with 3$ a foot monster cable for the run to my bass cabinet and heresy's. I also use diamondback for the IC's. I had been running up to this point the jolida 202a amp that i own at around 12'oclock (around half) and the proceed cdp at 50 (around half) to fill up my 25x20 room that i have at my maximum tolerance volume for the daytime. I am writing this review after only 20 hrs. of burn in on my verastarr products, but feel compelled nontheless to get threads started on mike's wonderful products. I had to turn my amp down to 10-30/11oclock and now run the proceed at 40 for maximum daytime volume, there is that much more bandwith in the system. When i first upgraded to the bedrock 10 ft run, it sounded like i opened up an extra 5-10 hz in the lower frequencies and similar upgrade in the highs. The verastarr with only a 20 hr breakin add another 10 hz in the lows easily and similar extension on the highs, maybe even moreso with the highs since the silver really lends itself to sharp, crystal clear highs. The bass notes have roundness on the bottom, like they could go lower if that was the true note that was needed. The harmonics hint at greater headroom on the lows and highs, if required. Perhaps this is what some people call soundstage, you can hear space around the notes. The interconnects are constructed with two twisted 20 gauge runs of silver coated long grain copper. Each 20 gauge is individually teflon'd, then around both of the twisted 20 gauge runs is an unattached (at the ends) silver plated copper shield. On top of the shield is another layer of teflon, then the nylon jacket on top of that. WBT mini's on both ends for those tight jolida connections on the back. I will email mike and ask him to check my review and post a follow-up if I described the design of his cables wrong. Where mike's products seem to shine is that each run of wire he uses is individually teflon'd, then he uses the same material that he uses for wire as a shield design over the bundled runs, then he teflon's the outside of that -again-, just to be sure. This concept is used in his speaker cables as well. Hopefully others will post their additions to the verastarr thread, i'm sure someone else out there has some things to say as well. Rather than describe some individual track on 'remember shakti' with john mclaughlin and zakir hussein, which maybe .03% of you have heard if i'm lucky, all i can tell you is the notes have harmonics with them, and the harmonics hint of extra headroom on the lows and highs, if needed. Also I had to turn the volume down 10-20%. I had great sound with the bedrock and diamondback's, which i purchased for almost 600$ from a store, but never the hidden headroom feeling, with that much space around the notes. Mike Powell's company is called Darkstar enterprises. Apparently I was the first to figure out that he got the name from a favorite song both he and I share. 'Darkstar crashes, pouring it's light into ashes. Reason tatters, the forces tear loose from the axis. Searchlight casting, for faults in the clouds of delusion. Shall we go, you and I, while we can?'. Great product, thorough on the design, nice guy, great price.

Associated gear
Proceed CDP, Jolida 202a modified by parts connexion and upgraded to harmonix el34's. VeraStarr IC and speaker cables, 10 ft. run, 1ft. run, 3ft. run. Going 4 ohms into Klipsch club reference speakers, La Scala and Heresy's, the la-scala's are double cabinets, one for mid-highs and the bass cabinet separate, bi-wirable if wanted. Metal trim on all the edges, black, scala's rated 150 watts and heresy's rated 125 watts. I use the bass crossover on the mid-high cab since running the 4ohm load with heresy's. Approx. price for everything is 5-6k (purchased used on ebay, except the cables and jolida purchased on audiogon).

Similar products
audioquest bedrock speaker cable, audioquest diamondback ic's.
I was startled by how good the VeraStarr 1m Silver Reference Interconnects sound. I have a YBA1 preamp and amp and found over the years that YBA's Diamond interconnects and speaker cables sounded better with them than anything else I tried (YBA likes YBA). But the IC to my Marantz SA-1 SACD player was another matter. I found a ~ $500 MIT interconnect for that link in the system that improved over the YBA Diamonds. When a pet recently chewed on that cable (and is now banned forever from the music room and lucky to be alive!) I took a chance on the VeraStarrs that were auctioning at a reasonable price here on Audiogon.

What a delightful surprise. Virtually every aspect of the sound improved, from sticks on cymbals to plucked strings on a double bass to the sense of "right there with me" presence of instruments and vocalists. A slightly unnatural quality of the deepest bass notes, that I always thought was a flaw in the sound of my REL subwoofer, completely disappeared, and the bass became both tighter and stronger. I've never made such a large improvement in my system for such a modest price.

One caution: These cables are on the delicate side and have to be handled carefully.
We're glad you love the Silver Reference! We have had the same experience on our equipment. As far as the delicate thing goes, double check your secondary strain relief set screw. It should hold the cable tightly. We replace the original with a longer screw from WBT, and maybe yours slipped through with the original. If it is not tight, we will replace this for you and pay shipping both ways. Otherwise this cable is as strong as any out there, with no special handling requirements...dont let the thin lead fool you!!!
Thanks Again!!!
I should be clear: I guess I did "let the thin lead fool me." I've had no "delicacy" problems at all with the cable, and it sounds even better now than when I wrote the review.
I too have a set of the VeraStarr's, and they are absolutely fantastic. Detailed, yet still warm and inviting. So natural, they bring out the best in my system.
I picked up a set of High Definition video cables from them a while back. I don't think I will be looking to 'upgrade', these are all I need.
I recently received a set of VeraStarr interconnects and have found them to be one of the most open and detailed interconnects that I have ever encountered. The sound stage is also one of the very deepest and widest that I have ever heard. I am very pleased.
I agree with everyone here. The Silver Ref IC's are natural, detailed, open, and smooth from top to bottom. I use the RCA and XLR versions. I feel Mike deserves every accolade I've read and the message I'd send to all my audiophile friends reading this would be to consider Mike's IC's when you're shopping regardless of your price point.
I got my first pair of Verastarr SR IC's as a freebee from Mike. We had some shipping delays and shipping damage on my Verastarr Stardock rack that I purchased from him; it was very considerate of Mike to throw those into the deal. And surprisingly, at least for me, they turned out to be the best ICs for my current system. I had been comparing several high end ICs at the time; I put the SRs in just to see what they sounded like, and I was intrigued by what I heard. How I evaluate ICs is to play various recordings with specific musical instruments highlighted. The VeraStarr ICs got the majority of the instruments right in regards to tonal accuracy and clarity. This is most important aspect of stereo listening for my tastes. They did a good job on soundstaging and openness, not the best, but much more so than the average IC. I bought another pair on Audiogon, and one more from Mike. With all Verastarr in my rig I noticed improved definintion. There had been a little diffusion to the sounds that I had'nt noticed till the Verastarr was all in and things snapped into focus. I am very impressed with these ICs, and am now considering the speaker cables.
Further update. I had a few more ICs to compare over the last few days, one of them being the Cardas Golden Cross. And although the Cardas had a nice midrange, it just couldn't compete with the openess, impact, and upper freq. range sparkle of the Verastarr. The more I compare, the more convinced I am that Verastarr got it all correct in the design and composition of their ICs.
I've had several good experiences dealing with mike powell. I would trust him, and his interconnects, and power cords, certainly seem to be over the top, I'm quite pleased with the ones I have auditioned, and the ones currently in my system! I rate the sound better than the Cardas ones I've owned (Neutral Reference interconnect, Golden Cross Interconnect) AND I have been extremely pleased with the customer service from Verastarr. The amps look, in a word, amazing! I'd like to own one someday.