The Cabledyne Choice...
Cables...they keep coming...
The US based Cabledyne company sent their Cabledyne Reference silver power cord for a review. What seemed like an ordinary power cord on the outside, well made but not bulky in appearance, actually turned out to be one of the nicest surprises not only in the affordable range of power cords, but regardless of price.
“Ultra pure solid 6N 99.9999% silver monocrystal conductors. No plating or dielectric coatings, a source of sonic brightness. Cryogenically treated. Hyflon fluoropolymer low dissipation air core cable structures. No lossy solid cores or bulk fillers that color the sound. Non-magnetic Inconel chromium alloy cable sheath. No sonically degrading plastic cable jackets. Premium Audiophile grade connectors. Pure OFC (copper) rod stock, direct plated (no nickel substrate). Solderless bonding. Cryogenically treated. RoHS compliant parts.
Cryo 6-nines purity solid monocrystal wire: Continuous Directional Solidification purification process (similar to OCC) offers incredible detail and clarity. Proprietary conductor design results in tighter winding geometries and improved conductor coupling. The core assembly is sealed in low dissipation Hyflon MFA air tubing yielding a compact structure. The cables are far more compact than conventional designs by eliminating unnecessary dielectric materials (bling factor); All wire and no bulk for the highest sonic purity.
Inconel chromium alloy cable sheath: Conventional power cord construction employs plastic braid coverings or PVC jackets that impart a sonic coloration (dielectric distortion). Our exclusive non-magnetic Inconel chromium alloy cable sheath eliminates lossy dielectric materials (passive sheath, no Earth ground connection). The flexible, compact cord design is ideal for tight equipment racks.
Cabledyne builds the highest quality product without compromise. No excess or gimmicks that simply drive up the price.”
All of the above sounds very convincing, if you ask me. Of course, there are many ways to reach the target but the the Cabledyne approach certainly seems very thoughtful.
The Cabledyne Reference silver power cord was fitted with Furutech plugs. Incidentally, Cabledyne does not hide where they source their monocrystal wire: link.
After so much techno babble, how does all this translate into performance?
Straight out of the box the Cabledyne Reference silver power cord showed startling transparency, dynamics abilities and an extended frequency response overall. Music had a sense of power, finesse and effortlessness.
But first, some of my views on the matter.
I take the term high end audio literally which in my case means I always try to seek and find parallels with the sound of live, unamplified instruments and voices. It`s interesting how, when I hear a live acoustic instrument (or human voice) I completely forget all the high end audio attributes that repeatedly come to my mind while I listen to various audio systems. Things like transparency, resolution, 3D holographic presence, separation, etc, mean nothing on such occasions. Live music just is. What I do notice immediately though is the incredible energy it possesses, especially compared to the reproduced one. One aspect of live music that is practically impossible to attain completely is the natural harmonic structure of instruments and voices - the tonal colors. Live music is not “neutral” or “warm”, it just is. When you hear it, you know it and there is no other way to experience it but under live event conditions. We simply need the live reference in order to be able to draw any meaningful conclusions in regard to the reproduced sound and as we listen more and more to the live music, our priorities will inevitably change. Pin-point focus will be replaced with 3D holographic presence and its importance will be put somewhere at the end of the line. The lows, mids and highs that we constantly take out of context will be replaced with timbre/harmonic structure/tonal colors. The terms “body”, “authority” or “weight” will become very important. We will look for more attributes that remind us of live music like microdynamics. With great microdynamics the music just springs to life and this is in stark contrast to the popular audiophile notion of “nice and smooth” (compressed and lifeless?). And most importantly: is the music reproduced on our almighty systems at least reasonably emotionally fulfilling and musically involving?
Why do I mention all this? One of the reasons is because I see the high end audio industry is mostly incapable of delivering the goods (so to speak) in proper relation and is giving us substitutes which are represented as the “real deal”. “Clean” sound is valued higher than natural timbre. Lack of microdynamics is substituted by the ability of the system to play loud. The lack of lower midrange body is substituted by deep bass capabilities. Under such circumstances a typical musical lover or an avid concert goer will ask himself: what`s the point of it all? Real music and high end audio going separate ways? Think about it and decide for yourself.
Back to the subject of this review, the Cabledyne Reference silver power cord.
This cable excelled in almost every regard but most importantly, the music was packed with energy, every instrument and voice sounded vibrant and alive, not softened and compressed. The timbre was as good as it gets, the instruments had weight/body, nothing was thinned or skeletal sounding. The micro macro dynamic shifts were reproduced effortlessly with no obvious limiting on any programme material. The recording venue ambiance was clearly audible and the 3D holographic presence of instruments and voices was extremely well presented. In terms of the usual audiophile attributes, the upper bass possesed exemplary heft and control. It had all the rhythmic qualities one could ask for. Some powercords are lean in this frequency region, reducing the power and authority of drums or kettle drums for instance. The Cabledyne Reference silver power cord probably sounded the least compressed of all power cords tested so far. The low bass was likewise controlled, powerful and extended, not in the least rolled off or weakened. The mids were highly resolved, resolute, with vocals sounding very natural and open. The lower treble region which is usually either subdued or exaggerated, was relaxed, detailed and lacked any annoying hardening effects. Higher up, the treble was open, extended, airy...you name it. The cymbals had a beautiful shimmering quality and the note decay was prolonged, more so than ever before. I dare to say that the Cabledyne Reference silver power cord possessed an incredibly balanced set of attributes which set it above the majority of power cord offerings in the same and also MUCH HIGHER price regions.
I need to report about this: Sierra Highways, from the Pat Coil Steps album gave a much more dynamic and rhythmic drum accompaniment feel than usual; it was impossible to overhear it. I could feel the powerful drum punches on the floor, the couch and my body to a greater extent than ever. The piano sounded incredibly present and alive but still with proper weight and harmonically balanced. The percussions were highly detailed and very natural sounding.
Now here is one great musical tip: Mercan Dede also known as DJ Arkin Allen, is a Turkish composer, ney and bendir player, DJ and producer. He divides his time between Turkey, Europe and North America. He is a world music artist, playing a fusion of traditional acoustic Turkish and other oriental musics with electronic sounds. He has worked in collaboration with Turkish and international musicians such as Susheela Raman, Dhafer Youssef, Sheema Mukherjee (Transglobal Underground), Tanya Evanson and Hugh Marsh.
His album “800” is a spectacular recording of drums and other percussion instruments (among other things). The track “Gunes Dogudan Dogar” (The Sun Rises In The East) is a mixture of middle and far east rhythms and harmonies that on a suitable system with proper cabling ensures a jaw-dropping experience. I have done an A-B-A check with three highly regarded and much more expensive power cables that I have had on hand but to my surprise the Cabledyne Reference silver power cord came out as a winner. It was the most powerful/exciting/inviting sounding of the bunch. The track “Pamuk Prenses Ve 7 Cuceler, Ali Baba Ve Kirk Haramiler'e Karsi” ( Cotton Princess And Seven Midgets Vs. Ali Baba And The Forty Eskimos) is another must-hear tune that must be experienced. The Guardian wrote about the album: “In the 13th century, the Islamic Sufi poet and mystic Mevlana Jelaleddin Rumi became famous for whirling in the streets with religious joy - a practice that led to the founding of the Whirling Dervishes by his followers. Eight hundred years on from Rumi's birth comes this celebration album from the best-known Turkish exponent of electronica and "spiritual clubbing". Now based in Montreal, Dede has assembled a global cast for his project, with leading Turkish musicians playing anything from trumpet and trombones to the zither-like kanun and the kemence (fiddle), matched against a Swiss bass player and the Indian tabla exponent Shankar Das. Dede wrote the music, which is partly influenced by songs from Istanbul and the Sufi tradition, and adds the ney flute, percussion and, of course, the electronic sounds.” This album represents a soothing and enchanting musical experience.
Rhonda Smith - RS2 is a second album by Prince's primary bass guitarist from 1996-2004. Prince contributed lead and rhythm guitar to the song Time, but did not contribute to the song's writing or production. Rhonda Smith played the piccolo and electric bass, plus keyboards and she also sang on some of the tracks. This is a great Soul/Funk album with a touch of Jazz. Her command of the bass guitar is spectacular and her voice is enchanting. Tracks like “127” are just what I call “good time music” which provokes positive feelings about life and our place under the sun. It`s inspiring music and if music inspires us for our every day lives - it`s what music is all about. The audio components shouldn`t detract from this feeling and neither did the Cabledyne Reference silver power cord; quite on the contrary, its powerful sonic capabilities ensured the musical message was delivered without any conceivable losses. Although the whole album is very strong, let me conclude with “Ray of Light”, another spirited, uplifting song with beautiful harmonic and rhythmic interplay of various instruments and Rhonda`s voice.
Moving on to another album worthy of musical and sonic considerations but from completely different genre, the Edgar Varese - The Complete Works (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra feat. conductor Riccardo Chailly) album is a monumental sonic work that puts every audio system under heavy stress. Edgard Victor Achille Charles Varèse (December 22, 1883 – November 6, 1965) was a French-born composer who spent the greater part of his career in the United States. Varèse's music emphasizes timbre and rhythm and he coined the term "organized sound" in reference to his own musical aesthetic. Although his complete surviving works only last about three hours, he has been recognised as an influence by several major composers of the late 20th century.
Composers who have claimed, or can be demonstrated to have been influenced by Varèse, include Milton Babbitt, Harrison Birtwistle, Pierre Boulez, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Roberto Gerhard, Olivier Messiaen, Luigi Nono, John Palmer, Krzysztof Penderecki, Wolfgang Rihm, Alfred Schnittke, William Grant Still, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis, Frank Zappa and John Zorn.
This is serious music with unexpected dynamic shifts and complex instrumental lines that are anything but easy to reproduce even on expensive systems.
The Cabledyne Reference power cord provided a secure foundation for all the sonic fireworks contained in this magnificent orchestral work. With lesser power cords I have already experienced occasional collapsing of the stage, a slightly compressed dynamic span and bleaching of tonal colors during the most intensive, dynamic passages but not so with the Cabledyne Reference silver power cord which maintained a complete control at all times throughout the whole album. It really excelled in separation of instrumental lines, reproducing with ease all the dynamic graduations and eruptive crescendos while never showing signs of stress or stridency. It showed a very broad frequency spectrum, ability to reveal low level detail, maintained proper harmonic structure and sounded highly transparent at all times. The depth, height and width extended well beyond speakers` edges and room back wall. I could go on and on praising its qualities ad infinitum but let me just say I was downright mightily impressed by its performance and this in all respects.
At this moment I really feel the Cabledyne Reference silver power cord cable represents an astonishing find. The level of performance it displayed puts many expensive cables to shame and thus quite simply deserves a Mono&Stereo BEST BUY status.