Monet Power Cable from Crystal Cable $6190 Review

June 24, 2022 § Leave a comment

The Monet defied the silver stereotype. The lower-midrange and bass bands are well represented, even slightly favored. Secondly, images are endowed with healthy amounts of body and far from being model-slim. Third, the tonal temperature veers slightly to the warm side. About the only things that did conform to the silver stereotype were the sweet timbres and musicality. Placing the Monet on the often used analytic/musical metric, it would land to the musical side.

Audiophiles are always chasing the twin muses of resolution and musicality. One doesn’t readily encounter strong performance in both from a single product. The Monet Power Cable gives you the whole package and delivers a performance that would easily hold its own in a field of competitors at the $10K/2m range.

Mad Scientist Black Magic Speaker Cables Review

June 22, 2022 § Leave a comment

I am much impressed with these cables and if you ask me, the Mad Scientist has really outdone himself. Both the 2-Core and 4-Core versions provide a sound that seems to have been lost in so many other brands. These days, cables seem to be all about being more and more polished and refined, to the point that the musical message gets glossed over and the raw energy is lost. I am surprised and amazed to find what is in many ways the opposite of this trend with the Black Magic cables.

I have heard plenty of very accurate cables that managed to kill the soul of the music in the process. The Black Magic cables may be highly accurate and superbly neutral, but they do not sound damped or over-controlled in any way. Rather, they fully conduce the full extent of the lyrical and “singing” qualities of every recording and they have blown me away with the immensely solid, visceral, energetic, toe-tapping, dynamic, and joyful presentation that they elicit from both the NuPrime and the CH A1.5.

Chord ClearwayX $19.70/m Review

June 3, 2022 § Leave a comment

With the Chord speaker cable linking the amplifiers to the speakers, we get an organised and musically cohesive performance. Listening to Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar OST, we can’t help but be engaged by the vivid dynamics and punch on offer. There’s an excellent level of insight and a sense of spaciousness that’s impressive.

Tonally, things are nicely even-handed, with the crisp yet controlled higher frequencies being balanced by a taut and authoritative bass. That feeling of cohesion is helped by a surefooted handling of rhythms and a fine sense of drive. 

These strengths are highlighted when we play Massive Attack’s Heligoland where our systems render the sound with punch and power. We love the way instrumental textures are reproduced and the expressive way vocals come across. There’s plenty of clarity here and enough insight to dig deep into the dense production should you wish. Most importantly of all, we’re having fun.

Kimber Kable Naked £12,700 Review

April 28, 2022 § Leave a comment

Physically lightweight, Kimber’s Naked still packs as much experience and ‘technology’ into its fragile frame as you’ll find in any battleship interconnect. Here, oxidation-resistant solid-core conductors meet as ideal a dielectric as might practically be devised, and all without skewing the basic ‘lumped’ LCR parameters. While it’s as neutral and equipment-agnostic an interconnect as you’ll encounter, an in situ demo remains de rigueur.

Nordost Valhalla V2 Ethernet Cable Review

March 30, 2022 § Leave a comment

I remember the days when kilobytes were considered solid gold in computer terms. This goes back to the early eighties when with all the difficulties included I’ve had the luxury of getting a Sinclair ZX81 computer. At the time we’d dreamed of kilobytes. Buying this precursor to the spectacle called the Sinclair ZX Spectrum was as daunting as buying the additional ZX81 16K RAM. It cost about the same. 

A lot has happened since then and in a relatively short time. Not only do we store gigabytes of data, but we send and receive it every minute. 

Kimber Kable Carbon Series 16 and Carbon 18XL Cables Review

March 12, 2022 § Leave a comment

Kimber Kable Carbon Series 16 and Carbon 18XL Cables

Naturally, I couldn’t resist a “way-back machine” moment, so I hooked up my trusty 4VS (now part of Kimber’s Base Series) and listened in on one of my acoustic favorites, the Rutter Requiem. There’s a reason why these cables were and are so popular. Their rich smooth midrange and general tonal honesty are hard to beat. Nonetheless, in comparison to Carbon, the 4VS’s had a mildly subtractive sound, with a narrower soundstage, a bit less top-end air, and lighter and less well-defined bass. Transients were also not as quick. 

That said, what struck me most was the consistency of the Kimber’s voicing. There was nothing embarrassing about the performance of these 20-year old cables, which show a closer kinship to Carbon 8 than you might expect. 

CrystalConnect Reference Diamond Review

December 17, 2021 § Leave a comment

You bet! While it might have sounded a bit stiff, flat and “silvery” at the beginning, all objections dissolved into pure pleasure as the playing time progressed. The Reference Diamond Speak is equipped with a plug-in coupling for attachments with different connectors that can be screwed securely tight. After the play-in, it sounded perfectly balanced, as “big” as it was tidy and displayed no limitations in the dynamic range, even when Accustic Arts‘ potent AmpII-MK4 shot the vehement impulses of Monty Alexander‘s “Moanin‘” at brutal volumes through it. Paul Kuhn‘s “Young At Heart” enchanted with a profound, decidedly contoured foundation as well as a feel-good atmosphere made of harmonious, vibrant timbres. On top of that, its skills in depth gradation and unbiased naturalness were captivating once again. In short: This super-cable overturns common prejudices and makes us think anew.

Nordost Premium QKORE Wire Review

November 30, 2021 § Leave a comment

The major impact of the Premium QKORE wires is purity of the high frequencies. Secondary effects include increased image mass, a boost in dynamics, and dialing in focus. On the subjective side, there’s more drama and impact.

I’m tempted to say the system is clean after installing Premium Wires everywhere, but I won’t fall into that trap again. You can be sure the RFI daemon lurks and will show up again after the next advance goes in, whatever that might be. That there will be a next advance is extremely likely, as RFI combating is on the frontlines.

Clarus Crimson Loudspeaker and Interconnect Cables Review

November 4, 2021 § Leave a comment

Considerable thought and care has gone into the design of these cables. On its website, Clarus, or, to put it more precisely, Jay Victor, the chief engineer of the company, explains in detail the methodology that he has employed to construct them, including the use of three different oxygen-free copper conductors for the bass, midrange, and treble frequencies, all manufactured with Ohno Continuous Casting. While a white paper on the company’s website discusses in detail different approaches to constructing cables, it is (understandably) coy about the geometry it employs, other than to remark, “These are not simple cables, and many years of experiments and research went into their development. The conductor geometry itself is quite unique and complex, and there is nothing similar on the market.”

Nordost Valhalla 2 Reference Cables $85,000 Review

October 14, 2021 § Leave a comment

The loom was more than complete, which means all cables in my reference system could be replaced with Valhalla 2s except the ethernet cable used from my DAC. Plugging in and attaching such a valuable and beautifully-made set of cables gave me a bit of a thrill. And this before one note was played. Long time readers will know my associated reference components, all reviewed in Audiophilia. Valhalla 2 power cables were used on everything, interconnects between my Allnic preamp and MBL amp and as phonos between my Bergmann Magne Turntable and the preamp. Speaker cables with bananas attached the Alta loudspeakers to my amp. Power conditioning and outlet hardware by Audioquest. This is a system that resides in rarefied air—the cables and attached components did not embarrass one another.

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