For the last several years a company named Quantum Science Audio (QSA) has caused waves across the audio community with several product lines of fuses, duplex outlets, and ‘jitter plugs’; they were known for quite a devoted following and also their high prices. In the beginning of 2023, a new brand named QSA-Lanedri was started to tackle the cable market using QSA technology. This is a review of my purchased QSA-Lanedri cables.
TLDR: I tried these cables and, holy cow, I’m keeping them!
Let’s first tackle the 800 lbs gorilla in the room upfront when, almost a year ago now, I first heard about QSA-Lanedri cables: “What is this expensive non-sense? Do they really have some secret technology?” Doubt was understandably my initial impression of these cables despite the rave from some audiophiles who I trust and respect. The audio cable market is crowded with many esoteric companies, and QSA-Lanedri sounded to be on the outlandish end. As more trusted folks adopted QSA-Lanedri into their systems, my bias still did not change. QSA’s vague descriptions of “acting at the quantum level”, “superior flow of electrons”, and “musical metal technology” really made it worse for me – like many fellow audiophiles I consider myself educated in an area of science, and I tend to believe things that make sense and seem plausible. I especially like to be wowed by measurable demonstrations and logical electrical design, explaining why I am a fan of Shunyata cables. And then there’s QSA-Lanedri’s high prices… it is even harder to overcome disbelief when a manufacturer tries to sell fairy dust and unicorn essence for $4,000 to $22,0000 (per cable).
Fast forward a year, and I bought QSA-Lanedri’s Spectra Prince Infinity and the Gamma Infinity AC cords. So what happened? How did Keith break?
- I let go of the desire to justify QSA’s claims. No, I am not convinced they can actually measure quantum structure of metals, nor have the means to room-temperature superconductivity. But none of that matters. As an audiophile, I don’t really need to know how my gears work – it does not matter how my DAC measures, or my equipment’s frequency response curves, or how my Valvo tube measures against the Telefunken. All that matters is that it sounds damn good to me. I am okay with believing voodoo (my words) if it truly blows me away; we make the same argument all the time in comparing digital front ends or NOS tubes. While I am sure some folks (ahem ASR) might flay me for this purely subjective approach, I’d also challenge those on the Objective camp to show me the psychoacoustic equations that will guarantee Keith’s musical enjoyment.
- Anas Lanedri offers a money-back trial that de-risks trying them in my own system. If I can try it and don’t like it, no harm. And that facilitates our holy grail quest to pursue the best in sound, right?
- Enough folks raved about them. My doubt weakened against the idea that there could be a growing international fanbase falling for some delusional placebo effect, especially when some of these people started with the same skepticism as I had. FOMO hit me that there might be something real here that I just need to try it out for myself.
Anas Lanedri is the co-founder of QSA-Lanedri, and he is the customer-oriented interface who kindly answered my myriad of questions and recommended specific cables for my needs. The poor guy gets bombarded with, let’s just say ‘passionate’ and ‘strong willed’, questions from audiophiles all day especially due to their marketing, and he handles them with a kind patience and I appreciate that. He is also quick to respond either by email or his website chat. I was concerned about a potential placebo effect during the recommended 300-hour burn in, so Anas also kindly burned in my cables for a full week prior to shipping. The cables took less than 1 week to arrive from Belgium to Seattle, and each had a build quality commiserate with their price.
Over the subsequent weeks, the Spectra replaced the Shunyata Sigma V2 to supply the Denali V2/6000 power condition. The Gamma was tried both in place of my Shunyata Venom V10NR supplying my digital music server, and also for my Shunyata Alpha V2 supplying my dual mono tubed amplifier; the latter was found to achieve the overall best results. I took the QSA-Lanedri cables out of my system several times in my best attempts to do an A/B comparison, but this is somewhat difficult when I have to unpower my entire Denali conditioner. Accounting for the slight differences in my listening mood at various times of day/night, the below observations were consistent in my A/B/A/B/A/B testing.
With the QSA-Lanedri cables in place, what first hit me was an immediate increase in microdetails. While I already considered my system to be quite resolving, now I could hear über plankton: there was a low-level tape hiss from the mixing, a singer’s off-mic quiet inhalation, and a marimba that I never noticed before. On another song, I swear that there is the very quiet squeal of a door opening which I never knew was hidden in the recording. Background instruments and vocals are more defined, clear, and slightly more prominent; an example of this is at 2:49 on Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine, I never had noticed Axel’s oooooooh background singing during this famous guitar rift; I discovered new background string plucks from Norah Jones’ Come Away with Me. Macrodynamic swings were more impactful, and it felt as if the system had been freed from a restriction which I never knew it had.
The biggest change, however, was the culmination of everything that result in the music just sounding more real and conveyed greater expressiveness. I am now this much closer to the performers and did not realize previously I was only looking in through a window. There is just no other way to describe this. I cannot remember the original Broadway Cast of Les Miserables ever sounding this good, and I can hear the echo of the stage size and see the figures under the spot lights. Artists are more impressive in their talent, but without any hifi-esque fatigue. It would be silly to quantify the magnitude of the changes above; after all, even if it is 10%, in our common pursuit, that last 10% can be a very difficult gain. That 10% is when Eva Cassidy’s What A Wonderful World brings a goosebump-raising smile when I’m listening at night. When you hear it, you’ll know it’s good.
A few days after I drafted this review, I pulled these cables out of my system as a sanity check. Yup, it’s real. I never thought I’d say this, but my old loom sounds broken in comparison.
In full disclosure, I went into this QSA-Lanedri trial with a hopeful skepticism – I wanted an improvement, but given the price of these cables, I would also have been delighted if they just did not work and I am absolved of its cost. My left brain still does not like Steven and Anas’ marketing of using some weird secret treatment in which I’m asked to have faith but cannot fathom. And admittedly I also had some stubborn pride in my initial doubt that maybe these cables aren’t as great as others had attested.
But happily, I’ll eat my words: God damn, these cables are awesome! If you have the means, I’d suggest you try them as well.
ps. Anas also sent me the Gamma ethernet cable, which is the next subject of testing. Frankly I’m somewhat scared to listen to them, but will be jumping into that rabbit hole with a smile.