Tellurium Q Blue II Interconnect and Loudspeaker Cable Review
Jay Garrett has a colourful time with this British cable brand’s budget offering…
Blue II XLR interconnects and Speaker Cables
XLRs Interconnects - 1 meter ($420 RRP)
Z-plug Speaker Cables - 2.5 meter ($215 RRP)
Tellurium Q’s Geoff Merrigan may be a man with a passion for materials science, but he’s a got a good ear too. He started his company back in 2009, at the height of a recession, in what was already a crowded market. Fast forward eleven years, and TQ is now a successful, award-winning brand with The Queen's Award for Enterprise under its belt. He must have been doing something right, then…
Geoff's fascination with relative transient phase distortion – the blurring of the leading and trailing edges of notes, to you and me – has informed his design work, and paid dividends, it would seem. His thinking – which he’s not very sharing about, to put it politely – has lead to Tellurium Q making a wide range of cables and interconnects that’s proving enduringly popular.
Tellurium Q has three so-called “families of sound”. Blue is the entry-point price-wise but aimed at giving a warmer and richer performance than its price rivals. The Black range is the brand's mid-point in pricing and is said to be more revealing. The Silver family is at the top-table with only the Tellurium Q Statement above it; it’s where to go if you're looking for a more revealing and detailed presentation, according to the manufacturer.
The entry-level Blue II range reviewed here is sensibly priced and likely to have wide appeal. Outwardly the new versions are very similar to the old – aside from a ‘II’ legend and a more vibrant hue on the interconnects – but I’m told the new cable has better asymmetric shielding, multiple new dielectrics, internal structural changes with geometry tweaks and conductor changes. I certainly approve of the new blue shade, and the time-proven Neutrik XLR connectors are as robust as ever.
These new TQ cables give an open, expansive and engaging sound at the price, to the point that in my case they flattered both my music and my system. Blue II doesn’t go off in pursuit of forensic perfection, instead, it chooses to enjoy itself and have fun. Having an earlier set of Tellurium Q Blue cables to hand, I was also able to do a direct A-B comparison between old and new. Upon reflection, I’d say that it wasn’t so much an incremental improvement between the two generations of cable, as a fundamental difference. They really should be called Lapis or Cyan, rather than plain old Blue II.
Still, kicking off with an old Blue 1m interconnect sitting between my Oppo UDP 205 disc player and Anthem STR integrated amplifier, things sounded very nice indeed. Tearing Me Up by Bob Moses had a nice low bass line and zingy hi-hats, not to mention crisp finger clicks and shimmering tambourines. But when I substituted the Blue II, the taut bass got more room to breathe and things fell into place to make a more natural sound.
Indeed, via the new cable, bass felt less of an outsider in songs such as American Dream by Ondara. The improved integration of the low frequencies also had a knock-on effect of tightening up the midband and extending the treble too. The bass harmonics in Pearl Jam's Jeremy came through much clearer with the Blue II, and Eddie Vedder's already expressive vocals had a wonderfully tangible timbre. This all added up to a more engaging performance – one that’s as good as I’ve heard at this price for this sort of interconnect.
Adding the new speaker cables was another step in the right direction. As well as loving the now more fulsome bass, I was impressed by Blue II’s rhythmic chops. Roundabout by Yes had been pretty darned good via the old speaker cables, but the new ones brought both atmosphere and more authentic tonality. Harmonics had seriously impressive attack and decay. It was as if Messrs Anderson, Bruford, Howe, Wakeman, and Squire had suddenly moved from a rehearsal room to an airier environment, letting the listener follow individual instruments more easily. Again, timing improved with the new cable, making for an enjoyable and cohesive listening experience.
It’s often hardest to get good results from budget interconnects and speaker cables, so Tellurium Q’s fine show with the new Blue II is to be applauded. Despite being priced to be paired with affordable hi-fi, these new entry-level cables will embarrass neither you nor your system. Indeed they still impress in seriously revealing set-ups, such is the basic correctness of the design. Thumbs firmly aloft then, hear them if you can.