1877 PHONO ZAVFINO PRIMA II OCC POWER CABLE REVIEW

Richard H. Mak writes: "In my 12 years of writing, I have only written about one audio cable.  Writing about cables is not my thing.   Cable reviews can be controversial undertakings that may involve deciphering between pseudo-science and aggressive marketing claims.    Yet, I believe cables do make a difference in sound, and more often than not, there isn’t a rational explanation."   

I recently stumbled upon the Zavfino 1877 Phono Prima-OCC Power Cord that left quite a positive impression in my own system.   It also carries a price tag that doesn’t break the bank “relatively” speaking, at US$ 560/1.5m, the 11x cheaper than the NBS Black Label Power Cord, which I currently use in my preamp.   

Continuous casting is a process patented by Dr.  Atsumi Ohno, which supposedly increases purity and reduces distortion at a microscopic level.   A search on Google will reveal many many pages on the OCC process with applications across many different industries, not just with high-end audio cables.   It is worth noting that many cable manufacturers have stopped making OCC Cooper due to their high cost, there are other types of high purity copper such as OFC or OHFC, but they have different variations of purity, but should not be confused with the OCC process.

There are not too many companies left that still employ true OCC copper, and 1877 Zavfino is one of them.  

According to the designer, there is a lot more to cable design than just conductor material alone.   There is also construction geometry, insulation, twisting, and shielding, and each of these steps will have an effect on the sound.    1877 Phono Zavfino, unlike many manufacturers, lists every manufacturing step and material used so their customers know exactly what they are getting and why Zavfino cables perform the way they do, compared to other companies in the field. 

The Prima’s II brochure has a lot of technical terms which can be difficult to comprehend.  “Tight Pitch Twisting”, LDPE, PTFE/TEF Di-electric, Kapton+24, Ultra Sonic 7™, & HDPE…….. Each of these terms has technical meanings behind them in relation to the cable’s construction technique, as well as dielectric materials (materials that separate the conductors).   In layman’s terms, the Prima II is a multi-strand 11 AWG cable, much bigger in diameter than the wires found within your walls, even for a 20 Amp wire.   The cable’s center core is a Silver plated OCC copper wire separated by HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) and surrounded by bundles of OCC to make up each of the 3 internal cores wrapped in Teflon.   The connectors are audiophile-grade and have 24k Gold plating.  

The truth lies with the pudding, so I’ll get right to it.   As I went from the NBS Black Label to the Prima II, the first thing I noticed is a much tighter bass impact.    On Henry’s Lai’s movie soundtrack “The Three Kingdoms,” the Kodo drums found throughout the album carry a much weightier holographic image and with a higher level of contrast. The Prima II is no walk in the park; this is a “big sounding” cable, and it definitely has one of the deepest bass impacts of any cable I’ve tried. 

If the holographic image and the soundstage is a TV image, then the Prima II has cranked up the contrast and the brightness by 20%.    The lines which define the separation between instruments became less fussy, sharper, and cleaner.    The entire TV screen is also pushed forward by 2 to 3 feet, making the instruments appear more forward and closer to the listener, adding realism and immediacy to the listener, a plus for Jazz or Rock n Roll, but not so much for classical music.  The reverse is also true, so this is not a matter of good or better, but simply a case of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, matching the sound with the needs of your system.

In terms of tonality, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being soft, mellow, and mushy sounding, and 10 being sharp, clean, and high contrast, I would rank the Furutech PC-OCC Alpha 3 cable a 3, the NBS Black Label a 6, and the Prima II a 7.5. 


On human voices, expect an effect along the lines of a cleaner image, higher contrast, and increased focus.  I played about 5-6 albums, ranging from Tom Jones, Tsai Chin, Of Monsters and Men, Anna Nebtrebko, Gueseppe Di Stefano, to Sarah McLachlan, all with the same effect.   Their voices had sharper focus, cleaner lines, and a more vivid center image.    The Prima II is definitely not warm and fussy, and leans further towards the center of the spectrum, then goes a bit further into the other end.  

From the fuse panel to the outlet which my system is plugged into, there are about 100 ft of Romex 14 gauge solid core copper wires within the walls.   Why does the last 6 ft matter?   That is a question I cannot answer.   Why are some power cables $25,000 versus the Prima II’s $ 560?   That is also a question that I cannot answer.   All I can say is that cables do not cost $25,000 to make, or $ 2,500 for that matter,  but  I do hear a difference in sound, quite significantly too.   I’ll leave the MSRP equation for you to justify.    If you are looking for a cable that carries the sonic descriptions I described, and you’re OK spending $ 560 bucks, then give the Prima II serious considerations; I liked what I heard.

Richard H. Mak Mono and Stereo Analog Editor


PRICE

  • $ 560

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Connectors: Schuko IEC C13
  • Length: 1.5m
  • Conductors material: PC-OCC Copper
  • Conductors section 4.17mm² (11AWG)
  • Connectors: Gold 24k
  • Cores insulation: LDPE Dielectric
  • Cable insulation: PTFE/TEF
  • Shielding: Aluminum braid
  • Filling: Cotton
  • Treatments: Deep Cryo, Ultra Sonic 7
  • Sleeves: EVA Anti-vibration
  • Braided sheath: Anti-static, Anti-abrasion
  • Cable diameter: Ø23mm
  • Color: Black

CONTACT


Zavfino 1877Phono
772 Black Rock Road 
Truro, Nova Scotia
Canada

Tel: +1 (902) 701-9289