WTF Audio Cables: A Review

WTF Interconnects and Speaker Cable

Paul Garner, former National Sales Manager for Von Schweikert Speakers, had been making audio cables under the name Verbatim several years ago. You can search forums and read what people's impressions were of his cables at the time. Due to several reasons, Paul quit making cables commercially a few years back. I have known Paul for several years and he has always been very helpful with audio related questions, giving good advice and has done turntable setup for me on tables and cartridges I didn't trust myself to handle, like my current rig. Paul does not suffer audiofoolery very well and is not impressed with audio jewelry but if something works well (he has told me of numerous low cost tweaks) he espouses it. He steered me toward low watt SET and high efficiency full range speakers. I was not convinced low wattage SET and full range speakers with no crossover were going to be my cup of tea until Paul offered me some good advice on some relatively reasonably priced components to try. He was not selling them only offering opinion. These are now in now my main system. He has also made me a devotee of rim drive turntables when I was a died in the wool belt guy. I had however, never experienced Paul's cables.

So, when Paul told me he was making cables again, under the name WTF I burst out laughing. He quickly explained the WTF stood for Wide Thin Foil but added he expected people's response to the cables to be more in line with the other meaning of the acronym. Paul felt he would have some issues with the name Verbatim for obvious reasons if he used that name again. I told him WTF would certainly be easy to remember. Paul's cables are a little different. He uses flat copper in both his interconnects and speaker cables. 

Paul sent me 3 pairs of interconnects and a set of 2 inch speaker cables to try. Ok, you are thinking this is buddy deal. Well yes and no. I told Paul I would listen to them and give my honest opinion and if I liked them I would buy them. I did like them and I bought them. Simple as that. I wasn't really looking to replace cables as I had recently replaced interconnects and speaker cables. Here are my impressions:

I listen to a wide variety of music but tend more toward jazz, female vocals, classic rock and Americana type music. I listen to LPs mostly but do spin a CD if I am reading and just don't want to get up and flip an album. I have not made the leap into digital streaming as I have more albums than I can listen to now, but do use Pandora to discover new music usually in my vehicle. I installed the cables on a Sunday evening after having listened to my system for a bit. The system was fully warmed at the time. I turned everything off and made the cable switch. I knew the cables would take some time to break in but you know how it goes, I just had to listen to the immediate results. First thing I noticed was the system seemed to play a little louder and clearer at my normal LP listening position on my preamp. The sound was fairly crisp but slightly clinical. I only listened for about an hour. As I finished the listening session and was leaving my room for the night I set a CD on repeat and turned the volume down. I now noticed I had to turn the volume knob WAY down to get to a desired "let it run but don't give the wife reason to complain" level.

After letting the system run a couple of days straight I sat back down to listen again after giving the cables about 50 hours of run in time. First thing I noticed was more detail coming through the highs and upper mid range. Bass was coming through nice and taught even though the subwoofer cables were not WTF and were supplied by the subwoofer maker. The sound was less clinical and more organic and airy in the highs. However, the lower midrange was somewhat congested and strident. Piano keys were somewhat plunky and decay was missing. Higher registers on the sax and trumpet were quite good. Drum kit sounded right on most fronts. Cymbals and brushes were very nice.

Fast forward to right around 200 hours of playing time. More of everything. The overall sound had opened up with better soundstage, width and depth. The ease of the flow of music was very palatable. The full midrange was more open, airy and organic without sacrificing detail. This was sounding like live music! Attack and decay had gotten much better and the piano was sounding like a piano should. In visual terms I felt I was looking through a full glass door and not just out a smaller window.

At 300 hours the sound is hauntingly good. Terms like organic, neutral and natural all come to mind. My listening session lengthened quite a bit this time and I threw a variety of albums on the turntable. Everything sounded right; jazz, vocals, rock. It was all there in spades. The cables seemed to be allowing the 300B tubes to shine. Decay was there and the soundstage was so natural it did not sound contrived in the least. All instruments including the piano sounded correct. This was by far my closest approach to the so called absolute sound.

Let me say again, I have never heard a system put out as much detail as this one with these cables at very low volume. This tells me there is less signal constraint in the signal path.

I have heard systems that included very expensive cabling. However, I have never owned mega expensive cables (can't afford them) but I have owned and used good ones that are popular in audio circles in their price range (in no particular order) from Kimber, Cardas, Signal, Wire World, Black Cat, Siltech, Audioquest, Grover Huffman, Clear Day, Transparent, Zu While I have been happier with some than others, I can say with all honesty the WTF cables blow them all away. It is not even close.

I can't imagine a cable doing anything better than letting a clean signal pass with little constraint and no coloration. If someone wants to "Tailor" a certain sound with cables these are not for you. But if you want a truly neutral, non-constrained organic sound aka the unvarnished truth, you owe it to yourself to try WTF cables. I would further say if you are considering cables at multiples of the price of these cables you really should try these. I even predict some of you will sell some mega buck cables and hold on to the WTF cables after audition. I usually add a disclaimer when I state an opinion such as YMMV. My only disclaimer here is contained in the second sentence of this paragraph.

I may not be using all the audiophile adjectives but I can tell you these cables allow my system to shine in a way that approaches live music. To me that's what it is all about. I can't give them a higher compliment. I think they really bring out the SET magic but can't imagine them not being satisfying in any well- conceived system.

I will be trying WTF power cords next.

My system:

Zu Omen Speakers

2 8 inch Sumiko sub-woofers

Tamradio 300B amp with Sophia Mesh Plate 300Bs

Mapletree 2A SE Preamp with NOS 6SN7 tubes

PS Audio Digital Link III

Cambridge CXC Transport

RekoKut Idler Drive Turntable with custom plinth

SAEC 12 inch tonearm

Charisma Reference One phono cartridge

Power Cables various


LPs used in evaluation


Oscar Peterson-We get Requests 45rpm

Miles Davis-Kind of Blue (correct speed)

Chet Baker-Chet is Back

Sonny Rollins-Saxophone Colossus

Pretenders III

Golden Earing-Moontan

Eva Cassidy-Best of

Leon Redbone-On The Track

Allman Brothers-Win Lose or Draw

Holly Cole-Temptation

Madeliene Peyroux-Careless Love

Johnny Cash-American Recordings

Mark Knoffler-Kill to Get Crimson

Norah Jones-Come Away with Me


Probably a few more I can’t recall.


Model 1   1" speaker cable 4 to 8 feet length $1000 and $75 per additional foot.
                Continuous bi-wire jumper up to 2 foot length $200 additional

Model 2     2" speaker cable 4 to 8 foot length $1750 and $125 per additional foot
                  Continuous bi-wire jumper up to 2 foot length $300

Model 3   1M single ended interconnect $750 and $100 per additional 1/2 meter

Model 3B 1M balanced interconnect $1000 and $150 per additional 1/2 meter

Model 4   5' power cord $150 (up to 20 amps) and $25 per additional foot

Model 5   5' power cord (up to 38 amps) 1" foil $500 and $100 per additional foot.

Model 6   1M Phono din to rca $250 w/ hand polished 32 gauge pure silver solid core teflon insulated wire.
                  (silver wire is hand polished for a smooth surface and hand inserted into thin wall teflon tubing)
                  $100 per added 1/2 meter (indicate straight or right angle din plug) 


You text or call Paul at 901-691-1109. My guess is you will be glad you did.

Paul says he will be offering a trial period. Website is under construction.

I have no affiliation other than trust and knowledge of Paul's audio acumen and being a satisfied customer.

Ag insider logo xs@2xhoopster
Ribbon cables aren't new. Mapleshade comes to mind. I used an obscure brand from Australia that I got for free with an amp I bought from an Audiogon member. I like them very much and only retired them when I bought Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme. 
You mention some high end cables that you can't afford, but I have to say that these WTF cables are by no means cheap either.
No, these cables are not cheap. In my opinion however, they represent value. I simply don't know how you would improve on these. My system is performing better with them by a significant degree. Yes, that is subjective. I know my cable experimentation is over and these will be in my system henceforth.

I put my system together over many years of trying different components and cables. I made steps forward, backward and sometimes sideways with this quest. I have been SS, tubes, tube and SS, back to tubes. At about $10K invested in my system outside of cables, it is not cheap either. But, many folks here have multiples of that spent on systems. I think these cables would improve most any system. I am big into getting the most bang for the buck. These cables to me represent a pretty big bang in increased performance.

I know Paul has experimented with many different materials for his cables including wire, connectors, jacketing and even the solder and is very particular in how he procures his copper and how he prepares it for cabling. I know that at one time he actually made short runs of speaker cables made from different solder to see which carry a signal best. His Verbatim cables were highly praised and for good reason evidently. He leaves no stone unturned to find the materials and combine them to sound best. His goal is 100% neutral sound with the least resistance in the signal path. Nothing added or detracted. I think he is there.

Sure, others make ribbon cables. Others make round cables. All round cables do not sound the same, why would all ribbon cables?
I actually wasn't saying that all ribbon cables were the same, just that there have been others.