Our Verdict 
If you’re spending hard-earned cash on hi-fi components, you’ll want cabling that doesn't inhibit their performance. Chord’s Clearway might be ideal
For 
Open to detail, timing, spaciousness and dynamics
Talented enough to aid systems of many configurations and prices
Against 
Nothing
Reviewed on

It can be a difficult sharing a name with someone else, not to mention confusing for others. Imagine the travails of trying to be taken seriously while going about your daily life as Alan Partridge or David Brent, for example.

The biggest problem facing the Chord Clearway Analogue RCA, in fact, is stepping out of the long shadow cast by the Award-winning speaker cable with which it shares its name.

It’s not that we think it will have too much trouble in doing so, rather that it deserves its own share of the limelight.

Build and compatibility

The Clearway actually takes the basis of its design from another Chord product – the Award-winning C-Line stereo interconnect. The same Tuned ARAY conductor geometry technology is present here.

Originally developed for digital cables, it is preferred for its increased transparency and has previously only been included in products aimed at the more high-end hi-fi customer.

MORE: Chord C-Line review

Each of the Clearway's material elements has been upgraded over the C-Line.

The conductors, for example, are a heavier gauge oxygen-free copper. Insulation has been upgraded to FEP (fluorinated ethylene propylene), the shielding is a dual-layer counter-wound heavy gauge foil design, and the cable is fitted with Chord’s silver-plated VEE 3 RCA plugs.

That might mean little to those who aren’t savvy in hi-fi engineering, but rest assured any confusion over its technology is completely at odds with the Clearway’s influence on your system’s musical performance.

At £90, nearly three times the price of the C-Line, it would perhaps be sensible to assume the improvements would only be discernable after a relative upgrade to the rest of your components. But thankfully that isn’t the case.

MORE: Best music streamers 2017

More after the break

Performance

We begin our test using a Marantz CD6006 (£280), the current version of the same affordable model we used when introduced to the C-Line two years ago.

We play a 2009 remaster of Kraftwerk’s The Man-Machineand the improved transparency and precision of the sound coming from our system with the Clearway plugged in is significant.

The synthesizer pattern that opens the first track, The Robots, stabs through the speakers, timing immaculately and opening the curtain wider to reveal space we may never have known was there otherwise.

MORE: Best audio cables 2017

The performance is richer in detail as well, revealing earthy textures to synth motifs and vocoder-treated vocal lines - even the difference better dry signals and those dosed with a modicum of reverb is more pronounced.

If Chord found it difficult to come up with an original title for its new stereo interconnect, it is easy to see why the company chose to reuse Clearway.

The C-Line’s true forte is the way it allows us to hear the real musicality in a piece, allowing the system to knit it all together. This new interconnect goes further: performance is truer when using the Clearway – it’s a little like everything has been cleaned.

The extra analytical insight you're after when you spend really significant money on a system is there, but also even more in terms of dynamics and organisation.

Take The Model, for example, the track on this album that probably sounds least like it was devised and performed by a group of automatons.

The way the Marantz emits Ralf Hütter’s vocal when it's pouring through the Clearway is still pristine, but tinged with the blithe nonchalance that elevates the performance from cold appreciation of said model to more understated aching.

If there is a choice to be made between transparency and expression further down the hi-fi food chain, Chord has shown that for £90 you are more than welcome to both.

MORE: Best CD players 2017

Verdict

Having spent time using the Clearway, it is really quite unsatisfying to listen to the same songs with anything else of a similar price.

The price tag might weigh heavy on many listeners’ wallets – and the cheaper C-Line remains a class leader we can still get behind.

But for those who can justify the outlay, and who have a system to justify it too, the Clearway is brilliantly capable of letting you hear where your money has gone.

See all our Chord Company reviews

Where to buy View all »

Chord Clearway Analogue RCA
£89
Largest Hi-Fi Cable, Home Cinema Cable and AV Connectivity Specialist in the UK. Widest range of the most prestigious brands. Order online for next day delivery with a 60 day money back guarantee.
£90
Receive free UK delivery on eligible orders from one of the largest, most trusted independent Hi-Fi and AV specialists in the UK. Established in 1972, our focus has been providing excellent products, service and value to our customers for over 40 years.
£89
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Breakdown 
Performance
Compatibility
Build