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Clearer Audio Copper-line Alpha Shield review

Clearer Audio's entry-level speaker cable gives off a quality vibe, but lacks the verve of the class leaders Tested at £5

Our Verdict

This is another fine cable from Clearer Audio. With a touch more excitement it would worry the class leaders

For

  • Clean and clear sound
  • precision
  • refinement
  • good build

Against

  • Lacks the verve of the class leaders

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

This is another fine cable from Clearer Audio. With a touch more excitement it would worry the class leaders

Pros

  • + Clean and clear sound
  • + precision
  • + refinement
  • + good build

Cons

  • - Lacks the verve of the class leaders

We don't envy any brand trying to take on Chord and QED in the circa £5/m speaker cable market.

Those two cable brands have dominated this sector over the last decade or so with various versions of their Carnival and Silver Anniversary products. The Copper-line Alpha Shield has it all to do.

Things start well. Considering this is Clearer Audio's entry-level shielded cable the Alpha Shield gives off a quality vibe. It uses high purity copper conductors combined with a polyethylene dielectric.

Strands of cotton are wrapped between the twisted construction to keep things in place and reduce any mechanical noise. Choose to have banana plugs pre-fitted – termination charge £35 – and you'll get some nice, shiny and solid-feeling connections.

A clean and clear sound

How does the Alpha Shield perform? Rather fittingly, considering the company name, this speaker cable delivers a clean and clear sound for the money.

The leading edge of each bass note in the intro of Kanye West's Love Lockdown is precisely defined and the sound stays composed, even when the tune gets complex.

Detail levels are good and refinement is up there with the best at this price. If you have a forward-sounding system this cable is well worth a listen.

However, up against the class best – take a bow Chord and QED – the Copper-line Alpha Shield lacks a little verve. It takes the edge off excitement, making listening a more academic exercise than it should be. That's why it loses that fifth star.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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