Audio Cable Reviews
Re-Tales #34: Succession: VPI & Black Cat
In November 2022, Stereophile reported the sudden passing of Chris Sommovigo, founder of Stereolab and manufacturer of the company’s Black Cat brand of audio cables, in August 2022. There was no succession plan. “It was clear that this was all so sudden that there were no succession plans in place and virtually no kind of roadmap to shift the management and production from Chris’s hands-on approach to someone else.” Two industry colleagues stepped in: Doug White, of hi-fi dealership The Voice That Is, and Christopher Hildebrand of Fern and Roby. Both were Black Cat dealers and Chris Sommovigo’s friends. Mayu Sommovigo, who is originally from Japan, is a classically trained musician and teacher. She’d had little to do with Stereolab. She knew little about making cables. She wasn’t an obvious successor, but Chris’s legacy was important to her. She decided to keep the business going.
sterEophile | by Julie Mullins | June 2023
Positive Feedback Review
Graceline L3 Cables.
Expecting the unexpected is the norm when dealing with Chris, so when his new reference cables arrived packaged in his classy-sassy Graceline box no larger than the size of a lady’s shoe box, I immediately knew these where the real deal. You see, unlike many of the bling-y über cables I referenced in my opening paragraph, Graceline/Black Cat cables are no such things. First, they look perfectly normal and true to size. Second, they are light to the touch, malleable and you don’t have to bolt down your twenty pound DAC or five pound phono box just because you received the latest trans-Siberian oil pipeline sized interconnect for review. Fair enough. Third, even as the build quality eschews Hungarian bespoke shoe maker in favor of Italian off the rack suit factory, the aforementioned nick-knacks are quite genuine. Fourth, read one through three again.
Positive Feedback | by Danny Kaey | February 2021
Enjoy The Music Review
Black Cat Graceline Level 2 Interconnect & Speaker Cable Review.
Worth every freaking penny because your system will appreciate it!
In March of 2019, I reviewed Black Cat’s 3200 interconnect, speaker, and digital cable in Enjoy The Music. I was very impressed by these relatively affordable cables. The Graceline (by Black Cat Cable) Level-2 interconnects and speaker cables reviewed here are a considerable step up from those cables in sound quality. All of the music that passed through the Black Cat Graceline L2 cables gave me the impression that these cables were able to increase the level of resolution in my system, bordering on, but never crossing the line to having too much. It sounded as if it was able to take full advantage of the recordings, I played during the review period with a very multi-layered, drawn to scale soundstage and all the other traits we’ve come to expect from exceptional high-end equipment.
Enjoy The Music | by Tom Lyle | February 2021
Fair Hedon Review
The Black Cat Cable Graceline L1 Interconnects & Speaker Cables: Evolution to Transformation.
Really the most striking thing about the Graceline L1 is they were able to organize the music in what seemed like the correct presentation. A few albums that seemed a bit muddled or disorganized were reshaped so to speak into a clear portrait, almost like having looked at painting for a long time then suddenly understanding it’s meaning. Yes, the Graceline wire is that good.
Fair Hedon | Dec 2020
Mono & Stereo Review
Black Cat Cable Lupo III Silverwolf interconnects
Chris Sommovigo the proprietor of Black Cat Cable is surely among the most interesting people in our beloved industry. There is something very intriguing about the way he conducts his venture. I guess some of this is intimately connected with his prolonged stay in Japan. We share some similarities when it comes to the audio world. In traditional Japanese culture, for many of the small yet one of a kind craftsman the path of making the product was as sacred as the end result. Sometimes even more important and such dedication sort of ensures the upper place execution.
Mono & stereo | by matel isak | May 2019
Positive Feedback Review
Audio Ramblings and the Matrix Cables from Black Cat Cable
Okay, so let’s cut to the chase, the Black Cat Matrix line of cables (specifically the 3202 interconnects, 3232 speaker cables, and the DIGIT USB) are exemplary. Stunningly good for the price. How does Chris get this sound, this performance, this level of musicality for such—the world of high-end audio—a seriously affordable price? The scary thing is that these are the not the least expensive cables Chris offers—he does have cables costing way less—so how good are those at a few hundred? Plus, as good as these are, I would be hard pressed to want to go further up the Black Cat ladder (he does offer cables that are several thousand dollars)! I mean, those would have to be insanely good!
Positive Feedback | by Dave Clark | April 2019
High Fi Pig Review
Black Cat Coppertone Speaker Cable And RCAs
The Black Cat Coppertone carried the signal beautifully, the musical instruments kept apart and separated, vocals sitting central and in their own black space, carrying feeling and emotion out of my speakers to my ears. Sound-stage remained open and wide, depth front to back again allowing the instruments to sit in a proper stage like formation. I’m very impressed and these represent a welcome addition into the system, they seem to have an easy synergy with my equipment. SImple cymbal strikes have a crisp timbre and have good hard edge, yet with an extended delicate decay, not slipping into a shushy, slushy sounds, though hard sounding speakers may not suit this level of details, a very accurate portayal is what we get. Bass it tight and tuneful, not fluffy or indistinct. It keeps the timing and rhythm like a metronome, and brings a real boogie to the party.
Hi Fi Pig | by David Robson | March 2019
Enjoy The Music Review
Black Cat 3200 Series Interconnect, Speaker & Digital Cable.
My system became a sonic time machine. During the Black Cat cable’s review period I listened to many different types of music, sourced both digitally and from my analog front-end. The takeaway was that Chris Sommovigo’s description of his cables having an “effortless” quality when it comes to sound reproduction is spot on. I hope I’m not accused of using this term instead of coining my own to describe what I heard. The term “effortless” has been used before, especially when describing a signal that remains undistorted during loud passages. But the Black Cat cable went further. This might be a bit of an over-simplification, but this trait resulted in not allowing any of the frequencies that they reproduced to draw attention to themselves, which can distract the listener from the other frequencies. This was especially true of the midrange frequencies, a characteristic which may not impress some as much as hearing a super-extended bass or treble, but this is where the majority of the music lives. And therefore, it became easier to focus on those frequencies, as well as the rest of the music.