Black Rhodium Reviews

Review of the Black Rhodium Flamenco Speaker Cable



Hand made in Derby, the multi award winning Black Rhodium Company has designed, like all of their products from scientific first principles, the Flamenco speaker cable.
Having successfully designed the Charleston
loudspeaker cable, Black Rhodium was
interested to see if the sound quality of


Charleston could be further improved using
experience and knowledge gained in developing interconnects and power cables
that followed Charleston.


Like the Charleston, Flamenco is constructed with cryogenically treated silver plated copper stranded conductors, with three times the cross section of Charleston, and instead of using attached ferrite cores.


Flamenco has more than double the amount of RFI screening (compared to Charleston)plus vibration damping along the entire length of the cable sheathing. Weighing in at 8.8kg for 3m length bespoke rhodium plated 4mm
locking terminals are standard.


Flamenco does not replace Charleston, (which remains as the top of the Revelation Collection of high end speaker cables), rather it represents a new higher priced option. Prices are available on request for hand made terminated lengths between 2 and 6 metres, stereo single wire pair.


Graham Nalty the owner of Black Rhodium and designer of all products, provided a 3 metre set of Flamenco for me to review. Build quality is superb, exuding an unmistakeable air of high-end quality commensurate with the price. Black Rhodium are meticulous with their research and development, great care being taken to ensure that only the best materials (1) available are used.


Graham and I had a brief listen to my system with my own reference speaker cable, a 2.5 metre set Black Rhodium Proto 3400, then a 3 metre set of Charleston that Graham had also brought for comparison and finally the Flamenco. It should be noted that the Flamenco is supplied as four separate runs, with clear indications “Amplifier End” on each. After “dressing a pair of cables” as advised by Graham with a gentle twist between amp and speakers, we were ready to listen. First impressions were extremely favourable, however we agreed that I left any serious listening for a few days with the Flamenco connected to allow the cables some burn in time.


At this point I should describe my reference system. HiFi Rose RS520 streaming amplifier, PS Audio Stellar P3 regenerator, Usher Mini Dancer 2 speakers, Townshend Seismic Podiums, Audioquest Vodka and Curious Cable ethernet cabling, Black Rhodium and Nanotech power cables.


I began this review of the Flamenco cables a few days later listening to music available from Tidal via my full fibre broadband connection (with ADOT MC02 galvanic isolation between my Sky hub and RS520).


My playlist included:


1. Anette Askvik, Liberty from her album of the same name, Tidal 16/44.1
2. Neil Diamond, Morningside from his Hot August Night album 40th Anniversary edition (Remastered in 2022), Tidal Master 24/192 MQA (Authenticated)
3. Fourplay, Galaxia from their album Heartfelt, Tidal, 16/44.1 MQA (Studio)
4. Saint Saens, Symphony No 3 in C Minor, Op.78, Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra, Zubin Mehta/Anita Priest, Tidal 16/44.1

5. Annie Lennox, The Gift, from her album Diva, Tidal Master 16/44.1 MQA (Studio)
6. Lou Reed, Walk On The Wild Side, from his album Transformer, Tidal Master 24/96 MQA (Studio)


I have lived with my current reference system for over a year. All comments below refer to the differences between my Proto 3400 and the Flamenco cables.


The first thing I noticed was the way musicians and vocalists were presented in the soundstage. The height had grown by about a metre from the top of my Ushers and the width had also grown extending beyond the speakers. This allowed the musicians to “get their elbows out”, metaphorically speaking, each one clearly presented as if they were on stage in front of me. Imaging was crisp yet never harsh. Bass was deep and tuneful, stopping and starting just as the musician intended, clearly “visible” within the broad and higher soundstage. The Flamenco design clearly achieves one of its goals to reduce the noise floor as vocalist’s emotions were clearly evident, the level of detail retrieval and overall transparency was nothing short of remarkable.


To try and explain what I was hearing, Anette Askvik’s vocals on Liberty are deeply emotional. Her voice was so natural, and the musicians being able to match this emotion. Flamenco was adept in bringing a track I thought I knew well to a new level of emotional involvement. The various sounds in the mix were more evident, a result of the reduced noise floor.
Morningside from Hot August Night is a track I grew up with, a reference piece I used when buying my first hifi system. To say I know it well is an understatement! Flamenco was able to retrieve nuances in Diamond’s voice, clues on the size of the stage and venue I have never heard before. His orchestra became a much larger entity in the soundstage, front and back, the strings section could be heard more clearly than I’m used to, violins, cellos etc more defined. Low bass was warm and full as it should be on a live recording.


Galaxia was used as it is a busy piece I used to test how musicians “appear to have space” in the soundstage. It was immediately clear that Flamenco allowed the musicians to indeed play in their own space, hence the “elbows out” comment earlier. The opening few bars saw drummer Harvey Mason higher in the soundstage, with keyboard player Bob James dead centre, guitarist Larry Carlton and bass player Nathan East either side. The drive and sheer energy was a joy to experience. The track underpinned by East’s and Mason’s rhythm section.


This particular recording of Saint Saens Organ Symphony is a piece I’ve known for many years. I chose the final movement as it was the piece that I used when I reviewed the Charleston some years ago. Flamenco allowed the musicians to “breathe”, opening up each section of the orchestra. Crescendos, of which there are many, were crisp and thrilling, the brass section shining like a beacon, the piano not lost in the incredible presentation. The finale begged for more volume, which it received, the organ dominating the proceedings leaving me emotionally drained!


Annie Lennox can sound hard and shrill. Diva, an early digital recording however is warm and detailed with good production values. The Gift is a beautiful piece. The producer has faded her voice at about 1min 12 sec. Lennox’s voice can be heard as it fades on my reference system for about 5-6 seconds. Flamenco allowed the fade to last nearly 9 seconds, again testament to the RF and vibration reduction properties reducing the noise floor. The separation between Lennox and the musicians was clearly evident, yet heard as a coherent whole.


Walk On The Wild Side has many attributes, not least a list of well known musicians including, Mick Ronson, David Bowie and Herbie Flowers. Flamenco differentiated the bass playing by Herbie Flowers and Klaus Voorman playing together effortlessly. There are two “stanza’s” by the backing singers, fading in from the right. They both start from deep into the mix but the second lasts longer. With Flamenco the singers arrived in what seemed right in front of my listening position!


Flamenco is a very special loudspeaker cable, one that took my system to new unchartered heights. An experience that I have tried to put into words. Words in my notes during listening to the various tracks were, transparency, warmth, thrilling, depth, width, height, tactile, linear, purity, relaxed, emotion.


In summary, Black Rhodium have indeed achieved their aim to make a speaker cable better than Charleston. As mentioned earlier, Graham Nalty and I had listened to Charleston a few days before this review started (tracks1&4 amongst others) and it was clear then that there was a discernible difference. An extended review period over a few days has only confirmed our initial experience (2).
Flamenco enabled my system to bring out its best with all types of music genre played. The level of performance on offer was nothing short of thrilling, emotional and immersive, exactly as I suspect the musicians intended.


I will be sad to return Flamenco to Black Rhodium. With over 50 years experience of listening to audio systems Flamenco has had the greatest influence on my musical pleasure.

(1) Graham Nalty MA (Cantab) has written a book – “ALL AUDIO CABLES OBEY THE LAWS OF PHYSICS” The Science of Audio Cable Design.

(2)During the review period, my wife and friend Paul also listened to the reference system with Flamenco. Paul uses Charleston speaker cable and was able to compare the sound of the two and my wife knows my reference system well. Both confirmed my findings on the tracks that they listened to.

Black Rhodium Charleston S Power Cable Review

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Hand made in Derby, the multi award winning Black Rhodium Company has designed, like all of their products from scientific first principles, the Charleston S power cable. Charleston S power cable is an audio mains power cable designed specifically for people who use and enjoy high end music systems.


Cable length has been optimised at 1.7m for best sound quality. Mechanical vibration suppression materials are used together with RFI noise reduction technology including a tightly braided metal screen. Charleston S has a high current rating and uses high quality audio grade connectors at each end.


Graham Nalty the owner of Black Rhodium and designer of all products, provided a 1.7 metre Charleston S power cable for me to review. Like all Black Rhodium cables, the cable is extremely well constructed, exuding an unmistakeable air of high-end quality commensurate with the price. Black Rhodium are meticulous with their research and development, great care being taken to ensure that only the best materials (1) available are used.


The 1.7m review cable terminated as described above is £4,000.00.


Before I start to describe my experience with Charleston S, I should describe the components of my system used for the review. HiFi Rose RS520 streaming amplifier, PS Audio Stellar P3 regenerator, Usher Mini Dancer 2 speakers, Townshend Seismic Podiums, Audioquest Vodka and Curious Cable ethernet cabling, Black Rhodium Proto 3400 speaker cables, Nanotech Strada 309 (2) and True Colours power cable (3).


I listened to familiar music available from Tidal via my full fibre broadband connection (with ADOT MC02 galvanic isolation between my Sky hub and RS520).


During my time with Charleston S it was immediately clear that the soundstage presented before me had widened, deepened and heightened substantially. Low level detail was enhanced, transients were more “explosive” yet controlled, the presentation always abundantly detailed. Charleston S opened up the sense of “being there” even more than I am used to. Bass became more articulate, not necessarily deeper but became more tuneful, I was more aware of the dexterity and agility of the bass players.


There was more to listen to, due to greater transparency overall allowing the multi layers of production to be heard and enjoyed in the overall presentation of a piece.


All of these attributes are achieved without favour to any other, the presentation being a coherent and more relaxed of a whole, hugely involving and satisfying.


Using familiar pieces of music, I noted what I was hearing and provide these notes below.


My playlist included:


1. KEM, Not Before You, from his album Love Always Wins, Tidal 24/44.1MQA (Authenticated)
2. Neil Diamond, Morningside from his Hot August Night album 40th Anniversary edition (Remastered in 2022), Tidal Master 24/192 MQA (Authenticated)
3. Fourplay, Galaxia from their album Heartfelt, Tidal, 16/44.1 MQA (Studio)
4. Saint Saens, Symphony No 3 in C Minor, Op.78, Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra, Zubin Mehta/Anita Priest, Tidal 16/44.1
5. Annie Lennox, The Gift, from her album Diva, Tidal Master 16/44.1 MQA (Studio)


KEM’s vocals on Not Before You are beautifully recorded. With Charlston S his vocals were rock solid just left of centre, the acoustic guitar to the right of the soundstage, strings to the back and when the bass comes in just above the floor. KEM is a soul singer with a sweet voice that is very seductive. Charleston S allowed the emotion in his voice to shine through.


Morningside is a track I think I know more than any other. The remastered version used here in hi-res MQA format is a masterpiece in live recording. Diamond’s voice in the first 20 or 25 seconds can sound chesty and nasal. Charleston S was able to reduce this effect quite markedly. The sense of space in the open air venue and the size of the stage were immediately enhanced allowing me to better locate musicians and be aware that Diamond moves around on the stage.


Galaxia is a busy smooth jazz piece I used to test how musicians “appear to have space” in the soundstage. With this track Charleston S was able to bring out more of what the musicians were playing, allowing the musicians to indeed play in their own space, getting their “elbows out” as it were. The opening few bars saw drummer Harvey Mason higher in the soundstage, with keyboard player Bob James dead centre, guitarist Larry Carlton and bass player Nathan East either side. Charleston S enhanced the drive and excitement the musicians bring to this piece, I had to listen again as I was so taken by the experience.


This particular recording of Saint Saens Organ Symphony is a piece that can be thrilling and give one goose bumps. Listening to the final movement Charleston S allowed the musicians to breathe even more, providing more insight into the performance. Crescendos, of which there are quite a few, were more precise, the second largest section in an orchestra, the brass section were now appearing to tower above the percussion. The build up to the finale was full of anticipation of a big finish, Zubin Mehta controlling the performance brilliantly. Charlston S delivered, the organ coming to the fore again leaving me emotionally drained.


Most notable on The Gift was the fade of Lennox’s voice (around 1minute 12 seconds into the piece). Lennox’s voice can be heard as it fades on my reference system for about 5-6 seconds, with Charleston S around 8 seconds from start to finish. Lennox’s voice appeared softer yet no less confident. The separation between Lennox and the musicians was more evident, still heard as a coherent whole.


Charleston S is a very special power cable, one that took my system to higher levels of transparency and enjoyment. An experience that I have tried to put into words. Words that sprang to mind during listening to the various tracks were, transparency, precision, detail, depth, width, height, rhythm, purity, relaxed, emotion, warmth, tactile.


Charleston S enabled my system to bring out more of its capabilities, unrealised before. This is true with all types of music referred to above during the time the cable was connected.


I will be sad to return Charleston S to Black Rhodium. With over 50 years experience of listening to audio systems Charleston S has certainly had one of the greatest influences on my musical pleasure.


(1) Graham Nalty MA (Cantab) has written a book – “ALL AUDIO CABLES OBEY THE LAWS OF PHYSICS” The Science of Audio Cable Design.
(2) The Charleston S replaced the Nanotec Strada 309 power cable between the regenerator and the RS520
(3) The True Colours power cable remained between the dedicated power socket and the regenerator during this review

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