Audioquest Rocket 11
FOR Flexible build; clean, fluid, precise sound; compatibility AGAINST Nothing of note
Love your hi-fi system but feel the need to give it a bit of a lift? If you haven’t already, you might want to invest in a better quality of speaker cable.
Audioquest’s Rocket 11 – on the budget end of its Rocket range at £12.50/m – could just be the thing to give your system a new lease of life.
Your flexible friend
The first thing we like about the Rocket 11 is how flexible it is. Much like Audioquest’s previous Award-winning FLX-SLIP 14/4, it’s easy to bend the malleable cable around tight corners to reach your kit without worrying about it breaking or getting damaged.
The cables are handily labelled, too. Not only are the left and right cables marked, Audioquest has helpfully noted which end goes into the amplifier and which end plugs into the speaker.
You can use the Rocket 11s as single-wired cables or in a bi-wire configuration if your system demands it, with the option to terminate them in banana plugs or spade connectors. Our review sample has banana plugs and comes in a smart white finish, though you can get black too.
Audioquest here uses semi-solid true-concentric conductors and long-grain copper – all to maximise performance and reduce any interference that may degrade the sound.
Across the spectrum
We hook the cables into our main reference system (a formidable ATC SCM 50 speakers, Gamut D3i/d200i amplifier and Naim NDS/555PS streamer combination) as well as a more modest system comprising KEF Q350 speakers, Rega Brio amp and Marantz CD6006 UK Edition CD player – and the effect in each case is immediate.
There’s a perceptible improvement in the way the systems perform compared with rival speaker cables from Atlas and Chord Company. We play In The Cold, Cold Night by The White Stripes, and both our systems sound stunningly clear, controlled and detailed. Guitar strings
“It’s a joy to listen to. Stevie Nicks’ Edge Of Seventeen is delivered with the raw energy of an air-punching power ballad”
are pulled taut, leading edges are wonderfully crisp and clean, and the precise timing propels the song forward with a driving momentum.
Vocals are packed with nuance and emotion, too. The precision of Meg White’s diction comes through with sparkling clarity.
The Rocket 11 also guides our system into performing with a pleasing, punchy sense of dynamism that’s a joy to listen to. Stevie Nicks’ Edge Of Seventeen is delivered with the full, raw energy of an air-punching power ballad, while the playful clubbing rhythm of SBTRKT’S New Dorp New York charges along merrily.
In comparison, the Award-winning Chord Company Clearway speaker cable (£10/m), makes our systems sound a bit richer, with a weightier emphasis on the basslines – but with the Rocket 11s musical elements are knitted together with more confidence and alacrity. We get a better sense of spaciousness, too.
As we said in our review of the FLX-SLIP 14/4 a few years ago, the best thing this Audioquest cable does is get out of the way and simply let you enjoy the music. It might seem pricey when you add up how much cable you’ll need, but if you’ve put a lot of care into your hi-fi system, it’s well worth investing in good quality speaker cable that will optimise its performance. And the Rocket 11 cable is well worth that investment.
Audioquest has made sure the 11 is flexible as well as widely compatible