QED XT40 review

Best speaker cable, Awards 2014. An exceptional performer and a natural upgrade from a beginner’s cable

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Best speaker cable, Awards 2014. An exceptional performer and a natural upgrade from a beginner’s cable


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    Hugely detailed

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    Wonderfully balanced

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    Expressive midrange


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Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

This new QED cable might be a touch pricier than the average cable we test, but if you can stretch to its £10/m price, then we recommend buying it.

MORE: Awards 2014 - Best accessories


The XT40 builds on the British company’s XT range, and consists of sturdy plugs at either end of a strong, yet pliable jacket. Looks don’t necessarily reflect its price, but not to worry – performance more than makes up for that.

Our reference system sounds lavishly detailed with the XT40 cable wired in: its delivery is transparent and beautifully balanced. With The Smiths' Well I Wonder, it picks out the subtle difference between the acoustic guitars.

Cymbals have zing, but never teeter on brightness, and there’s depth and tightness to the underlying bass guitar too. The QED unearths plenty of variation in these notes compared with last year’s Award-winning AudioQuest FLX-SLiP 14/4.

Its full-bodied presentation with our system makes the AudioQuest sound a little lean in comparison, too.

Morrissey’s soothing baritone vocals make their mark, striking a nice balance between expression and solidity.


The QED XT40 is a special cable – detailed, balanced and authoritative, and we think it’s worth every penny. Go treat your system.

MORE: Awards 2014 - all the winners

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, Reading 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.

Read more about how we test