Forza Audio Works Cables – An Introduction
Forza Audio Works is an up and coming cable manufacturer whose hardware is second to none. Forza has workmanship and quality control licked. Matthew, the man behind the brand is hard at work making pretty much every cable you would want.
No matter how formidable the catalogue, no manufacturer has everything. Matthew welcomes emails and in no time will get you hooked up with what you need. You can specify your device, cable length, build materials, connector, and on and on. As long as you can dream it, chances are that Matthew can build it. Of course, the more outlandish you get, the more your little monster will set you back. Once in the hand, I don’t think you’ll mind. Not at all.
Matthew’s cables are made to withstand the tug of war your portable gear will be subjected to. They have ample anchoring inside and outside, each one is wrapped in shrink wrap and melted into place. Forza has a penchant for Neutrik, Switchcraft, and Furutech connectors so compatibility is always top notch. His RCA cables can also be made in 1877phono flavours, too. 1877phone parts are not quite as robust, but a little easier to tweak as parts loosen up over time.
Contrary to stoic Neutrik, 1877phono cables also look fab.
Matthew is a gentleman through and through. He carefully approaches his customers from a needs basis, making sure first and foremost that they and he are on the same page. I discovered Forza through a local headfi meet last year and immediately ordered a slew of cables. Matthew made sure that what I wanted was what he provided. And provide he did.
I listen to music in a variety of locations. When out and about, I tend to drop the amp in favour of portability. Matthew makes a variety of super small LOD cables that will help keep things in your pocket. His L-Shaped LOD with Neutrik connector is one of the best I’ve seen. Matthew isn’t interested in mere looks, though: he made sure it was angled correctly and would fit my amps.
He is also very excited about his new webpage (to be honest, so am I). He does all his own photos and modelling. His website is beautiful. Go ahead, peruse, and give him a shout.
iDevice and Beyond
Currently, Forza specialises in iDevice cables, headphone recabling, digital cables, and a host of interconnects. They make cables for everything, including Apples newest devices. (Now, I don’t for a moment believe that they are Apple approved, and I’d be buggered if they were; Forza is a one-man outfit, not a marketing behemoth.)
Below is Forza’s lightning LOD. I’ll be testing it in the next few weeks.
One area I’d love to see Forza enter is IEM cables. FitEar, Jerry Harvey, Westone and the rest of them have some good options already, but truly flexible, light aftermarket cables that are well made and sound good, are still hard to find.
Forza’s unique braiding is as much their marque as is Matthew’s excellent product photography. Whether you purchase Claire or Copper, braiding is prominent. If not braiding, it is tightly fit flex cloth.
In the pretty world, Forza outdo any boutique cable in the same price category. That, and transparent marketing is what stands out most about Forza.
I’m not sure who she is, but Matthew has a thing for her. The cables I ordered are all Claire. Claire is massively braided and complex. She looks like an art-nouveau rendition of the Golden Gate Bridge. Her less expensive sibling, Copper, is more traditional and cute. After having extensively testing Claire, I’m pretty well sold on her.
Firstly, if you are looking to get the most performance from an iDevice, splitting the signal into an RCA is key. You will get better stereo performance from your device and very slightly less distortion. However, the line out on the iDevice while being good, isn’t great, no matter what cable you put up to it.
Tested back to back vs. ALO or Twisted Cables (my current benchmark), Forza’s cables perform in exactly the same league. Twisted Cables have at times outperformed their rivals in stereo separation, but Forza’s works are their equals in every respect. One thing that is certain: Forza’s products will not bottleneck your audio performance. They are transparent and present very little stress on your gear’s output circuitry.
Here is Forza Audio Works’ primary performance competitor, a great-sounding product from Twisted Cables.
If you are at home, ergonomics isn’t a big consideration, but for portable use, it is. One area where Twisted Cables stand head and shoulders above ALO is in the suppleness of their cables. They can twist and grind into any pocket or fit any large or small amp. Forza cables are only mildly less ergonomic. They don’t bend or stretch quite as well (due to the braid design) but they can be made to fit any portable quite easily.
While I have no reservations regarding Forza’s Cables, I do have this warning: any sort of braided cable will have more stress exerted on its connection parts than non-braided cables. Most high-end cables employ some sort of braiding. Braiding can help attain better stereo separation, but it needs to be handled with more care. So far, Forza’s works have been robust, but they won’t survive a war zone of constant twisting and grinding. In particular, small L-shaped micro LODs need to handled with care. My Twisted Cables micro LOD broke after half a year. The Forza is still going strong, but I don’t have faith that it will last forever.
Against other high-end braided/twisted offerings, Forza stand tall. Against cheap, massively lugged cables, however, they will probably piddle out first.
Forza offer a 2-year manufacturer’s guarantee on their products. If something goes wrong on the Forza side, you’re covered. That’s great for peace of mind.
Forza enter the market just as Apple’s connectors are changing shapes. Forza also make a lightning cable, but I’m still testing it. However, their traditional 30 pin cables and interconnects are smashing beauties that hold their own at their price points and represent a manufacturer dedicated to quality in every respect. From the first customer interaction to receipt of the final product, Matthew is a gentleman. His products, finely tuned, wonderfully designed, and laid out on his web site like a pro, speak for themselves.
Strong, well-made cables
Great customer service
Braiding isn’t quite as strong as tubular cable
Here’s what Forza’s stuff looks like in use: