DH Labs Q10 Speaker Cables

Q10

Price is for 6 foot stereo pair. Q-10 is constructed with 12 and 14 gauge pairs of heavily silver plated OFC. Teflon dielectrics. Vibration dampening jackets 7/16" in diameter. May be internally bi-wired as 12 and 14 gauge pairs, or configured as a single 10 gauge aggregate cable

User Reviews (33)

Showing 1-10 of 33  
HowardJ   AudioPhile [Mar 18, 2011]

This is a review of the newer Q-10 Signature model. Externally, the look is new, with an attractive woven black jacket with some blue and white highlights. Internally, DH Labs tells me the purity of the copper has been raised from 6 nines to 7 nines, which is very high purity, and is continuous cast and virtually free of crystal barriers. This is very unlikely to be a lower purity than Kimber 8TC as someone said in a review below, so I think his information is really off. I also found the Kimber to have a zippy forwardness in the upper midrange that can be somewhat aggressive, so to say it is "much better" as he did really needs to be brought to light as a preference with his own particular system.

I have tried these cables in several systems, and I've found them to bring a very palpable nature. They have gorgeous highs with excellent high frequency imaging, smooth clear mids, and outstanding taut, clear, and deep bass with excellent impact and detail. If you use a sub now, you will probably be turning it down, or even off when stereo listening. High frequencies are very extended, with great bell-like clarity and 'air', and they never have an 'etched' quality. It's a lively cable - involving and fun to listen through. If you system is lacking some life, definition, and sounds a bit too dull or laid back, you may find the Q-10s will really wake up your listening experience.

Compared to some reference caliber cables I've used, I'd say that while the midrange is a nice smooth delivery, well balanced, and very nice with vocals - it may lack some of the inner detail in the mids that one can find in much significantly more expensive cables.

The one thing I'd say as a caveat is that this cable can be quite revealing on upper frequencies. If your system is bright by nature, your speakers are already on the bright and edgy or aggressive side, or you have a gritty edgy sounding digital source, you may find these cables reveal even more of that brightness, and you may want a cable with more mellowing qualities. If they do come across bright, they do so in a smooth manner, so it's not nearly as bothersome as if they were edgy and rough in the highs.

That said, I've found this cable sounding excellent in systems up to around $16,000 - they are at home there or even higher priced, just as some of the professional reviewers have said. At times, it has come out as my top choice even against cables costing 2-3 times their price. That makes them a very good value for the money.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Rajeev J   AudioPhile [May 18, 2009]

I'm using both interconnects & speaker cable by DH Labs; why? because...
1. when using different brands it is alright as long as the types are similar. such as flat-line, silver plated, pure copper, pure silver wire, and so on... however when using different brands, eventually different types come into play...
2. I have mixed & matched all sorts of cables/interconnects for over 15 years! starting with cheap copper runs to Nordost flat line, audio quest, van den hull, cardas, monster, audio note, chord, cobra and to a more expensive kimber select... guess what? nothing seemed to work right! the sound was always lacking the total picture, the total essence of "just sounds right" factor was missing.
anyway, in all my travels from the UK to USA to Australia, I stumbled across the Air matrix from DH Labs. never used it before, i wonder why? they don't seem to make a lot of noise about their products, no aggressive advertising unlike the others in those so called prestigious audio magazines, i guess that's the reason why i hadn't heard or used them in any of my numerous systems before.
i was so impressed with the air matrix interconnects, that i had to match it with DH labs speaker cable to see whether their would be a perfect mate, so therefore i settled with one of their good cables the Q-10, and what a great choice!
simply outstanding! both the air matrix and Q-10 let the music through as intended, and this is what so many so called high-end cables cannot do! most of those high-end cables i have used were in the price range of just under $500 per pair of interconnects and under $600 for speaker cable, and they never conveyed the level of detail or overall performance compared to what the DH Labs can produce. in addition to this i have extensively auditioned very high-end cables costing three times more than what i paid for the DH labs combination. these interconnects were the nordost top end stuff costing around a grand for a pair of interconnects and spm reference speaker cable which i had the privilage of taking home and using it for over a month. after that time spent with these high-end types the sound i must say was very impressive and so transparent i really wanted to keep these cables. however when i considered the price it was certainly questionable. if you are really going to spend over $2000 to $3000 on a pair of cables and interconnects, you must ask yourself the golden question "is this truly the best money can buy?" you would certainly think so since it is your hard earned money, and you want to make yourself feel better... until you visit a friend who has a relatively modest priced system that uses DH labs in the connections and sounds simply awesome and perhaps close to your mega buck cables! and the price paid was only a fraction of your mega buck stuff!
and now here is the part where you would call your dealer and ask him why? why? why? the hell did i buy that stuff and how much of a margin did he keep...
well, to sort out a long story short if you get my point in what i said above, mega bucks don't make good cable, it is good ideas and innovation together with simple designs that differentiate between good and outstanding!
this is what you will get when partnering the Q-10 with other DH labs cables or similar types/desings of interconnects within the same design principles:
1. a totally transparent reproduction.
2. more open soundstage and more air around the instruments (no congestion like the others) vocals and specially female voice are siimply breath taking. piano, percussion, vibes, drums, horns and bass are reproduced with perfect timbre and tonality.
3. reproduces every musical passage the way it was intended to be.
note: a word of caution: these are very revealing cables and will reveal those horrible recordings that were highlighted in the CD store claiming to be top notch stuff... yea right!
with the DH labs Q-10 and Air matrix interconnects, they can make you listen to your favorites for endless hours and at the same time end your quest for the perfect pair of cables/interconnects that you could possibly afford, and it won't break your bank! which seems to be the trend nowadays with this ridiculous global financial crisis we are experiencing. anyway who cares, as long as you have your favourite music and it sound just right!
associated system:
preamp: conrad johnsoon pv10AL (modified with DH labs rca connections)
power amp: conrad johnson mv60se (with russian svetlana 6550c output tubes)
CD player: Cayin A50T (vacuum tube design with bur brown dacs for HDCD decoding)
speaker system: Magneplanar MGIIIA (manufactured in 1987 and still glorious indeed!)
interconnects: DH Labs Air Matrix
speaker cable: DH Labs Q-10 (bi-wire)
audio rack: Apollo designs (made in UK)
IEC power cords: all Zion power cords used within the system together with a Eichman ac power strip.

*** special note for Magneplanar owners*** I have owned the newer maggies as well when i was back in my home country; owned the MG3.3/R and upgraded to the MG3.5/R, which was the last pair i sold. i have listened extensively to the MG3.6/R their newest one. however, overall in all of magnepan's 3 series models, it is the MG3A that really made a difference in overall performance when it was first introduced in the 80's. since then there have been only minor improvements to the planar ribbons and it's dispersion. infact the MG3A's ribbon element is longer than the newer models... however! there is only one magneplanar speaker that truly stands out as an awesome force of music playback systems the "MG20" now this is what i call an upgrade. this is one hell of a ribbon speaker to own or let alone listen to with the right electronics. apart from that my faithful old mg3A is a true classic in every sense of the word. good luck to all in finding that perfect speaker cable for your system; whiles you will be searching for more than 20 years, why not try the cables from DH labs?...
cheers and have a good one!
RJ

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
al2098   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 22, 2008]
Strength:

Open quality, transparency, lack of "grit" in the treble, good transients, and tight, controlled bass

Weakness:

The Q-10 is a bit stiff to work with, but it's worth the extra effort.

The Q-10 is a great cable at any price, and a remarkable cable for the price. I tried several cables trying to get the sound I wanted from a second system in my home office using NAD electronics. A bi-wire set of Linn K-20 gave great detail and quick response, but the bass dropped off and it was just too bright for my tastes. I had some extra DH-Labs T-14 and it was okay, but seemed a bit distant. The Q-10 delivered an open, transparent sound. Cymbals, triangles had spakle, strings had a proper sheen, and all of this came without the harshness that comes from lesser cables. Bass was tight and tuneful. The Q-10 made the NAD electronics sound much more high end. All in all a very good investment.

Similar Products Used: Linn K-20, DH Labs T-14, some bargain low end Audioquest, and years ago some Monster cable that was not good.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Stevenk   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 07, 2007]
Strength:

Can be found in bulk and used for internal-biwire applications. Durable outer cover. It was a fair price step that did beat some products and suitable for my mid-fi gear at that time. Silver coated copper feature is more used for copper protection than improve details. Oxidized silver will sound like copper. Many features also list above.

Weakness:

I am more strict on this product perform now, that it is sold for $14us ft, a buck away from a much better product. eg. 9awg Kimber 8TC. Light transients a little rounded off, noticable throughout but more noticable through the mids and highs. Resulting in a silky sound and about a significant 30-40% drop in transparency. A little too short on information transmitted, liveliness, finess and a little darker sounding as a result. Most of these attributes are compared against the 8TC. Q10 is not suitable for higher-end components, once you go there, these speaker wires will be your weakest link. But for a buck more, you could get 9 gauge, higher purity teflon coated copper wire that almost completely gets out of the way of music. I am now more enjoying music until I need to step into $100+ ft wire, the area of diminshing returns.

With so many wire companies claiming they are better than the next. Who do you believe? Maybe an unbiased reviewer could write a clear perceptive to help someone else from getting riped. I hope this helps.

Had these cables (2 - 10ft runs internal bi-wire) for many year, very impress and loved them until I upgraded to better Rotel gear and sampled other products. Q10 is still a fair product but you need to know exactly what you are considering / buying.

Q10's articulates well, smooth, silky, crisp, clear, musical highlights/ outlines come through well, bass runs deep with a little hump in the mid bass, sparkly highs, acceptable details on vocals and instruments, soundstages well but a bit smeared on busy or heavily mixed tracks, transients mostly come through but gentle sounds tend to get darkened away. These transients I speak of are generally found produced by better higher-end gear, a bit like the lights or energy was turned down. Also, they are good at slightly hiding bright grainy problems for mid-fi systems. When I tried to single run of Q10 cable (10 awg) to highs/mids, the music seemed clearer, a bit more detailed and a little louder as if the volume was turned up but still delicate mids and highs were a tad rounded off. Suitable for external bi-wire to a sub-woofer or limited range speaker applications since the bass was good just not the deepest seen in the same price range. Its a great cable for $10us ft, at $14us its average/ below average. I plan on using mine for the rear HT speakers until they are sold.

Similar Products Used: Monstrer 12awg, Kimber, Ultralink.
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
machani   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 03, 2005]
Strength:

Very low noise floor and transparent. Silky smooth, excellent bass definition and exceptional clarity.

Weakness:

Can't think of any. They leave my previous cables in the dust in all respects!

I cannot cease to be amazed by these cables. Like the previous reviewer, I too upgraded my speakers to Quad. I bought the Q10 cable in bulk form and self terminated with AudioQuest and Vampire spades using Cardas silver solder. These cables bring an easily noticeable and nice improvement over my previous Carol brand 12awg/4 biwire cable. These cables really opened up the sound in my system. There's a lot more clarity, much better micro detail, better soundstage depth and more three dimensional imagery. They are very neutral sounding and make voices and instruments, particularly piano, sound very real. I am using a single run of cable in biwire configuration (internal biwire) and find the single run adequate in my setup. (Yes, these Quad 22L's definitely do sound better biwired - as recommended by the manufacturer). The Q10 basically removed a veil that existed between me an the music. And, yes, I can't believe how crappy my previous speaker cables (which I had thought were pretty good) sound in comparison. It took about 40 to 50 hours of run in for the cables to really open up. (I was skeptical about the concept cable burn in until I had tried it myself. Despite what the self-proclaimed "experts" at AudioHolics say, cable burn does improve the sound).

Similar Products Used: RadioShack 12AWG zipcord, Carol brand 12/4 biwire cable.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Michael Tran   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 10, 2005]
Strength:

Smooth, Transparent, Stong Bass, Wholesome

Weakness:

None

I have always been a skeptic regarding speaker cables. But recently, I’ve upgraded my system to Quad. I’ve audition Rega, Linn and Arcam and find the Quads massively transparent, wholesome and extremely enjoyable to listen. With the Quad CD player, you can bypass the preamp and straight to the 909 amp producing an extremely high audiophile quality sound unheard of in this price range. I used cheap Phoenix Gold Cables which is the same as your basic monster cable and was already satisfied. When I audition the Quads, the cable used where Kimber 4TC. Between the Kimber and my cheap Phoenix Gold, the differences were very very very minor and therefore I couldn’t justify myself paying $8.00 a ft for the Kimber. However, since I invested in the Quads, I owe it to myself to get the best sound quality out of my system. I did plenty of research and different cables, such as Nordost, Chord, Audioquest, Analysis Plus, Tributaries, Tara Labs and last but not least DH Labs. I read many reviews on the Q10 and they were all highly recommended. I contacted North Country Audio in Redwood, NY and spoke to Vladimir. Here is a person who really knows about hi-fi. He’s extremely knowledgeable, unbiased and will offer you the best advice. I found North Country Audio on Ebay, they were getting rid of all their Kimber cables at an extremely cheap price (8TC at $5.00 a ft). I’ve decided to ordered the Q10 and if I didn’t like, I can send it back (with Kimber, no returns). To my surprise, the Q10’s was astonishing, WOW!. I can actually hear the difference. These cables produce a very smooth sound and life-like. I listen to a lot of operas and jazz vocals such as Diana Krall and Jane Monheit. I am extremely impress with these cables as well as the great advice and service offered by Vladimir at North Country Audio. If you’re looking for cables, try these you won’t be disappointed. If you’re looking for some friendly advice and someone who really knows what he’s talking about, ask for Vladimir.

Similar Products Used: Kimber 4TC, Phonenix Gold, Monster Cable
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
bsc   AudioPhile [Jan 29, 2005]
Strength:

Very neutral sounding with excellent bass reproduction. High performance to cost ratio.

Weakness:

Stiff. Probably not the best looking cables. Of course, I've never seen other cables that I consider attractive either.

This cable has made a tremendous difference to my audio system. I disagree with some past reviewers who have said that these cables are a bit lean. I have found them to be a very neutral sounding cable with no harshness in the highs at all. In fact, it actually tamed some of the brightness that I had with my previous speaker cables. The big bonus with the DH Labs Q-10 was the excellent bass response. I actually had to turn my subwoofer volume level and low pass crossover down a fair bit. Although the bass was plentiful, the bass was more taut than ever before. I do, however, agree with all reviewers who have said that Jeff Delman is a pleasure to deal with. He had spent a considerable amount of time to ensure that these cables were correct for my system. I can't imagine many people returning these cables to him.

Similar Products Used: -IXOS 6004 flat bi-wire -Monster Cable 12 ga
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
timoccc1   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 11, 2005]
Strength:

Detail Clarity Price Imaging

Weakness:

May be a little less warm on the mids than some people might like

I called Jeff Delman, the owner of Value Audio, thinking I had to spend much more for the speaker cables I was looking for, and to my surprise, Jeff helped me discover the Q-10's. He finished them with custom spades (for a nominal upcharge) and got a 10" (10g) pair right out to me and I am completely blown away! Detail is fantastic, imaging is incredible, low end is very solid, and overall it is the best I've yet owned. My previous cables have been MIT, Wasatch, Acoustic Zen, to name just a few. ALL of which cost me more. You've GOT to call Jeff and let him hook you up. This cable is unbelievable and Jeff is a true pleasure to do business with.

Similar Products Used: MIT MH 750 Wasatch Cable Works Acoustic Zen Satori
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Karlcarl   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 29, 2004]
Strength:

Price/performance, extended highs

Weakness:

Colour, stiffness

This cable sounds harmonically right and rich. I do not find it warm (regarding the highs), but neutral. Treble is on the lean side of neutral. If you aim to tame your treble (which is certainly well extended with Q-10), you should perhaps look for some other good cable. Note that many reviews have been written about this cable using two lenghts per speaker for biwiring. I use internal biwiring and long runs (5+m). The sound is probably better and no doubt different when using two pairs. But so is the price...

Similar Products Used: van den Hul cs122, Supra Ply 3.4S
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
fdkho   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 01, 2004]
Strength:

Detailed and unedged sound, Airy highs and solid bass

Weakness:

The cable is a bit stiff

Having listened to the Q-10 for some days, Here comes my comment for it. I must say I am so glad that I had made the right choice. It is the cable that suit my taste and matched with my system. Compared to my previous Cardas Twinlink and MIT Terminator 3, it gives more air on highs and more deep and tight bass. It reveals more details on my CDs that I have never heard before. The overall sound picture is so coherent and transparent. The Q-10 is definitely unbeatable at it's price.

Similar Products Used: MIT Cardas
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 33  

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