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Impact Acoustics Meteora Speaker Cable Review

by June 12, 2006
  • Product Name: Meteora Speaker Cable
  • Manufacturer: Impact Acoustics
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Review Date: June 12, 2006 19:00
  • MSRP: $ 39.99 per 12ft terminated cable
  • Maximum performance through advanced cable design, construction and materials
  • Multiple connector configurations for virtually all speaker applications; Straight Speaker Pins, 45 Degree Speaker Pins, 5/16in Spade Terminals and Banana Plugs
  • Oxygen-free copper ensures maximum fidelity
  • Ideal for audio and music applications
  • Packaged individually so you can customize to your unique installation


  • Snake oil free, no nonsense cables
  • Excellent all inclusive and interchangeable terminations
  • Great build quality


  • Slightly high inductance compared to other similar cable designs


Impact Acoustics Meterora Introduction

clip_image004_167.jpg Life is always changing. Without the ability of adaptation, we wouldn't likely be here and the world would be ruled by roaches. I loath the thought and thank the higher powers responsible for the universal force of evolution. By now you may be wondering how I can draw on an evolutionary analogy into the realm of home theater. Simply put, if a piece of gear in our home theater system isn't upgradeable to accommodate the latest and greatest formats, it quickly becomes a pawn to be sold on eBay or Audiogon or winds up collecting dust with our cherished Atari 2600 gaming systems. Remember Combat?

With today's rapidly changing and evolving electronics industry, product obsolescence is almost a certainty, especially if you desire to keep up with the Jones - and embrace the latest technologies even if they are in their infancy of development and implementation (aka. HD-DVD, Blu-ray Disc, etc). Should you decide on swapping out a receiver, amplifier or your loudspeaker system, it's nice to know you have a cabling option that accommodates virtually every conceivable commercial termination type. Enter the Meteora from Impact Acoustics.

Impact Acoustics Cable and Audioholics are on the same mission - a "no BS" approach while delivering the best products and/or services.

For a list of the common snake oil we have so far uncovered, I recommend reading the following Audioholics article: Top Ten Signs a Cable Vendor is Selling You Snake Oil

Refreshingly, Impact Acoustics Cables are fully "snake oil fre" and we have so much confidence in their products and methodologies that we actually syndicate some of their editorials on our website.

Impact Acoustics Meteora Packaging and Design

clip_image006_124.jpg While most esoteric cable companies will jump through hoops to deliver the most aesthetically pleasing cable designs, they often overlook the packaging. In my experience, Impact Acoustics always achieves a balance of both. In fact, I have found the packaging of Impact Acoustics to be second to none in the cable industry. It's almost a crime to discard their SonicWave HDMI magnetic cable boxes after you pull out the cable for usage. I felt the same way about the zip lock bag the Meteora speaker cables came in. Surely an astute consumer could put them to good use after installation of the cables is complete (I know, don't call you "Surely".) If you're an avid fishing enthusiast, perhaps you can use it to store your fresh bait or the recent fillets you just prepped on the dock. Sure it's only good for one use (unless you find the smell of decomposing fish appealing), but think of how cool and fashionable you would look among your friends when you show up in your Meteora fishing bag and they are still using their quaint plastic buckets or pails.

Terminations to Please the Terminator

clip_image008_090.jpg This is no girlie man cable solution. You won't find any wimpy spade connectors that won't fit a standard speaker or amplifier binding post. Until I tested the Meteora 5/16-inch spade connect, I wasn't a fan of spade connectors. Most simply fell off even after tightening down the binding post, or simply didn't make a good connection with the binding post. This was NOT the case with the Meteora cable spade termination.

Spades aren't your cup of tea? No problem, check out their excellent banana plug which, although it isn't the locking type we usually prefer, it does make excellent contact and provide a snug fit with every speaker terminal I tried including receivers from Denon and Yamaha; amplifiers from Emotiva and Thule; and loudspeakers from Axiom, Rocket and RBH Sound.

Aside from their excellent spade and banana terminations, the Meteora also sports straight speaker pins, and 45 degree speaker pins. I found little use for these two alternative connectors and would have preferred to see a frayed wire termination to accommodate spring clip terminals for home theater-in-a-box lovers who wish to "improve" upon the fidelity of their system as opposed to using their stock dental floss, I mean 24AWG cables.

Changing out terminations on the Meteora cable system couldn't be easier. All you do is screw on/off the connector(s) of your choice and you're good to go. If you are snaking the cable behind your equipment rack or speakers, I recommend doing so unterminated. Applying the terminations just before you make the connection to your components and speakers is a good measure to avoid accidentally losing a connector should it come loose during the cable installation process. I did however find that once you firmly tightened down the connector by hand, it remained locked in place just fine.

The Cable Design

There is no rocket science to this cable design. It's good old fashioned twin feeder (aka. zip cord) 12 AWG oxygen-free copper cable that, according to Impact Acoustics, is constructed from seven bundles of 22AWG conductors for maximum flexibility. An 11mm PVC jacket and a black polyester sleeve envelope the cables which serves twofold: protecting the cable and enhancing the aesthetics.

Though Impact Acoustics doesn't specify their cable metrics, they are easy to figure out by simple inspection based on the following articles I authored on cable inductance and capacitance.

Calculating Cable Inductance in Speaker Cables

Dielectric Absorption in Cables Debunked

...inductance and capacitance values are interrelated and based on the dielectric and conductor spacing between the (+) and (-) conductors.

I was unable to inspect conductor spacing since the cables were encased with PVC, thus I made detailed measurements to determine the specifications.

Impact Acoustics Meteora Measurements and Conclusion

Using our Wayne Kerr 6420 Impedance Analyzer which graces our Test Equipment Laboratory , I measured all of the critical metrics which directly affect cable performance.

Cable Metric Definitions



Commonly referred to DCR which is the series resistance of a cable at zero frequency.


The resistive portion of the cable's series resistance as a function of frequency due to skin effect.


Total Series Resistance (mohms) measured tip to tip at one end of the cable while the other end is shorted. Note: Rs = Rac + Rdc (minus instrumentation inaccuracies identified below)


Series Inductance (uH) measured tip to tip at one end of the cable while the other end is shorted.


Parallel Capacitance (pF) measured tip to tip at one end of the cable while the other end is open circuited.

Cable Measurement Test Set-Up Notes
All of the above measurements were completed on a fully calibrated and certified, Wayne Kerr 6420 Impedance Analyzer . The 6420 was calibrated for full frequency bandwidths and for greater accuracy the measurements and calibration process was repeated twice for consistency.

All cable lengths measured were 20 feet and divided by their length for a normalized per foot measurement. At low frequencies the results illustrate Rs being lower than Rdc, which is inaccurate, as Rs tends towards Rdc as frequency approaches zero or DC. The LCR measurement derives Rs from signal phase and amplitude, while a DC meter measures exactly what it is looking for, thus this discrepancy is likely due to a meter resolution issue, as the meter in AC mode does not sport the high accuracy it would in DC mode. The cable should ideally be modeled as multiple parallel resistors, and those resistors treated as a lumped element in series with an ideal inductor.

Each resistor is a frequency dependent element, and the inner ones fall out as the frequency increases. It is important to note the difference in measuring techniques, and caution the reader not to attempt to derive any relationships with the two numbers, as the absolute accuracy between the methods has not been established. However, the rising trend of Rs vs frequency is indicative of increased Rac due to skin effect and should also be noted.


Figure 1. Inductance vs Frequency of Meteora Cable

Inductance was a tad higher than I expected - around 0.215uH/ft. We like to see cable inductance below .200uH/ft to minimize high frequency rolloff for long cable runs. This cable exceeds our guidelines by around 7% but that is by no means a showstopper. The slight decrease in cable inductance above 20kHz is a result of minimized internal inductance due to skin effect. This is an inaudible and barely measurable phenomenon and is only discussed herein for academic purposes. However, tighter control of conductor spacing would have made this a complete non-issue and we are hopeful Impact Acoustics considers this for future design iterations to appease the Audioholic type of customer (like myself) that listens to cables with their LCR meters.

For a more detailed discussion on Cable Inductance, please see our article on Calculating Speaker Cable Inductance.


Figure 2. AC Resistance vs Frequency of Meteora Cable

The resistance of the Meteora measures just around 3mohms/ft which represents an equivalent effective gauge of around 12 AWG at DC as specified by Impact Acoustics. This is a very low resistance speaker cable making it ideal for long runs throughout the home with minimized losses. We see a rise in AC resistance with frequency above 20 kHz attributed to skin effect, but practically speaking a non-issue for the application of high fidelity audio especially since even at 50 kHz it maintains an equivalent 14AWG resistance which is still lower than many much costlier esoteric cable designs are at DC!

For a more detailed discussion on Skin Effect, see: Skin Effect Relevance in Speaker Cables


Figure 3. Capacitance vs Frequency of Meteora Cable

Capacitance was very low, weighing in around 15pF/ft. We like to see cables measure under 50pF/ft. This ensures there won't be any stability or frequency peaking issues for long runs on marginally stable amplifiers with high unity gain crossing, or excessive high frequency roll off on amplifiers with high output impedances driving a reactive loudspeaker load. The reason for the slight decrease in capacitance with increasing frequency is likely attributed to measurement error of measuring a distributed device (speaker cable) with a measurement tool (Magnetics Analyzer) designed to measure lumped elements (magnetics, electrical circuits, etc). Rest assured this cable has very low capacitance and can be connected to virtually any amplifier without risk of loss of stability or frequency peaking or roll off regardless of amplifier characteristics.

Cable Installation

As you can see in the photos below, the Impact Acoustics Meteora cables have excellent terminations that were very compatible with all of the gear I currently have hosted or under review in my reference systems.

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Spades on Thule PA350B Integrated Amp (left);Bananas on Denon AVR-5805 receiver (right)



Notice the snug fit and the fully recessed banana connector pin into the binding post


If you are looking for a beautifully constructed cable that will accommodate all of your ever-changing termination needs, measure well, and be snake oil free, the Impact Acoustics Meteora speaker cable should be on your short list of legitimate and affordable speaker cable solutions.

In the market of pre-terminated cables, the Meteora solution is dynamic and flexible and will support your home theater system during its inevitable evolutionary upgrades and changes. Simply select your termination preference, install, connect and you're done. If you're an Audiophile and get an itch to explore the magical sonic differences between spades and bananas we suggest therapy, or at least enrollment in a good 10-step self-help program to overcome your audio affliction. Alternatively you can spend hundreds of hours and invest significant money into setting up a controlled DBT (Double Blind Test) to affirm the lack of sonic differences. At least Impact Acoustics provides the easiest possible termination swapping we've seen to make this fruitless task a lot easier. Highly Recommended!

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStar
Ease of SetupStarStarStarStarStar
Audio PerformanceStarStarStarStarStar
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
About the author:
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Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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