U.K. based audiophile cable maker Black Rhodium has had numerous positive reviews across the globe, and has been a great resource for those in shopping for high performance cabling at all price points. The cables are designed with solid engineering behind them, a bit of trial and error, and, yes, listening. Black Rhodium now has a dedicated North American importer and distributor (Robert Meeks), proprietor of engulfaudio: HI-FI PUBLIC HOUSE.
Lead designer Graham Nalty graciously agreed to answer a few questions:
1) Can you tell us a bit about your background and how Black Rhodium came to be?
My background is electrical engineering and I studied Mechanical Sciences at Cambridge University. I was interested in railways at the time so I joined British Railways to work in signalling. I then moved on to research into new signalling systems. At the same time, I always enjoyed music and, being and engineer, I built my own audio amplifiers. After 13 years with the railways, I left work to set up a shop to sell hi-fi equipment, specialising in demonstrating loudspeakers in customers’ homes. At the same time my interest in electronics pushed me to design audio amplifiers that had the best sound quality possible. I sold amplifiers in kit form to designs that I wrote that were published in specialist magazines. When that business reached a peak, I moved on to manufacturing amplifiers for sale. Whilst I was pursuing sound quality in amplifiers, I realised that good cables made the system sound better and I added the manufacture of cables to my amplifiers. Within a few years, sales of cables became more successful than amplifiers and by the mid-1990s, I concentrated fully on developing cables. I created the business Black Rhodium in 2002, after previously selling cables in the same brand as my amplifiers. The Black Rhodium brand has since progressed as further understanding of how the Laws of Physics affects sound quality has moved the business to higher and higher levels of sound quality.
2) What about Black Rhodium designs, philosophy, business model, and customer relationships make it unique in the marketplace?
What is very special about Black Rhodium is the strong commitment towards achieving the very best sound quality by thinking through the design process, developing engineering solutions to minimising distortion, then developing prototypes and understanding which design techniques deliver the clearest sound. At Black Rhodium we take great pride in offering our customers products that really make a positive difference to their pleasure in their music. What is unique about Black Rhodium is the commitment to use every possible measure to improve sound, in contrast to those whose cables boast one special attribute, but whose design is not so string in other areas.
3) Can you tell us about how you test finished designs, and about your reference system, along with your musical preferences?
I always like to test finished designs first on a low cost system in comparison to a known product in my current range. I regard it as most important that a new design should give greater listening pleasure with greater separation of instruments and voices. I like a system with extreme clarity of sound and my loudspeakers are a small sealed box made from a concrete polymer material. This construction avoids the resonance that limits the sound in most wood or chipboard cabinets.
4) What do you for enjoyment when not designing audio cables and running your business?
I enjoy going to the cinema and attending live musical concerts, especially large scale works such as Beethoven’s Choral symphony, Mahler symphonies, Choral music. This sort of music makes the heaviest demands on a home hi-fi system. I also have a strong interest in railways.
I installed Black Rhodium speaker and interconnect cables through out two systems, and they are have brought an unparalleled musicality. natural tone & timbre, and resolution to table that is difficult to give up. Specifically, the $275 Symphony RCA and XLR IC’s, and the $400 Foxtrot speaker cables are amazing values. The build quality and the custom connectors are unheard of at this price, and the aforementioned sonics are superb.