WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cable for MSB review

Audio cable!? If you just mention it, many will still scoff at it and move on. What to write about a review of the DAC power cables!? 

But once a certain benchmark is reached, the subtle and non-subtle things start to manifest themselves in a well-tuned and balanced high-end audio system. And then there's no turning back. 

Not everything belongs to the heavenly realms when it comes to high-end audio cables. The changes can be both good and bad, but if the setup allows, the differences are audible either immediately or over time. Generalizations and lack of a frame of reference aside, the actual attribution depends on the cable's material, construction, etc., and will be different for each cable. Period.

The team at WestminsterLab is no newbie when it comes to making cables. I have already tested their cable loom and was more than pleasantly surprised at the performance. 

The WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cable for MSB is the continuation of WestminsterLab's research and investment, this time in very special cables, but only for owners of MSB Technology Select and Reference DACs.


Attaching the WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cable for MSB to the MSB Technology select power supply is a piece of cake and a no-brainer. It just comes down to connecting the dual (or single) power supplies to the main MSB Select DAC via multipole connectors. 

WestminsterLab worked closely with MSB Technology to get exact specifications for the cables and implement the correct connectors. 

No MSB Select DAC owner wants to put their proud digital front end at risk with after-market power supply cabling, and there is no need to worry with WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cable for MSB. The team at WestminsterLab did their homework to ensure safe and trouble-free operation and I can attest to the smooth, trouble-free operation. 

This needs to be noted clearly and loudly. The tested WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB take a considerable amount of time to break-in. Of course, to a different degree this is the case with all cables, but to avoid any buying remorse, I explicitly put this in the foreground. 

The differences should be noticeable after just a few hours, but the biggest change occurs when you use the cables for an extended period. I strongly recommend running the MSB Technology Select (or Reference) DAC in 24/7 mode with WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB in place to get a few hundred hours of break-in time. 

As minute as the gains may seem when first plugged in, they are not so small after hours and even more after weeks of powering the MSB Technology DAC day in and day out. 

The Music

After the initial surge of performance, the haste sets in, followed by the actual balance of performance. At this stage, I felt comfortable and started to put my objective encounters on paper. 

John Scofield's album Country for Old Men is quite a masterpiece and perhaps the most accessible to non-Scofield fans. The guitar maestro covers a variety of well-known titles in his very own way. Familiar song cover performed in the noblest way.  

Be warned, the album is mastered far louder than usual. The music is a pure pleasure and so is the sound quality. 

There are many titles you can enjoy and use as reference, but "Wayfaring Stranger" offers perhaps the most insights to work with evaluation. 

WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB took a performance a notch further, making the illusion more visionary and palpable. Scofield's guitar pondered the music's energy more coherently, allowing the music to divert to any direction with ease. 

Scofield chooses his musical accompanists carefully and Country for Old Men is no different. My listening notes pointed out more refined commonalities several times. WestminsterLab cables didn't push music into the alluring realms but offered a more potent mechanism for a rendition of the Scofield covers.

I am a big, big fan of Steve Swallow. His feel for bass guitar is simply unsurpassable. He's one of those rare players who adds his magic without ever taking center stage unless it's solo time. And even then, as with the sadly untimely passed Charlie Haden, Swallow's devoted lyricism creates a heartfelt nexus while going unnoticed. 

With WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB, I was befuddled at how Larry Goldings (piano, Hammond organ), Bill Stewart (drums), and Steve Swallow underpinned Scofield with the underlying fixation.

For a change of pace and the other side of the spectrum, I recommend Melody Gardot's rendition of the traditional "Wayfaring Stranger" from the album Live in Europe. Another treat for the senses. This Gardot cover of the same song is also a great test of any system and speakers performance in the low registers and 

WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB cables compounded the deep bass formation in a fuller sense. 

WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB were instrumental in creating a more cognitive sense of space, extending the low end and surprisingly adding a breath of fresh air to the live sonic scape. 

All too often, any type of high-end audio cable can intentionally or unintentionally dismally the sound, causing it to overgraze. The WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSBs did just the opposite!

With Byron Janis Plays Moussorgsky,  the aforementioned attributes were again easily accomplished: Pictures At An Exhibition. I particularly enjoyed "The Old Castle" proving the point.  

I savored how the WestminsterLab MSB cables overlay the cognitive notes of the piano in the absence of loss of balance and flickering, blurring notes.

But that's not all. 

Blood can easily boil when it comes to artistic or sound esthetic choices. Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff and Chopin is what it is, but there is much to fathom and work with musically and sonically.

Not only did WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB not counteract against the flow, tempi, and energy, but the music principles were better applied and did not work with a counter reality effect. 

In the form of denser shading, WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB did not mess up the presentation of the piano, which can too easily be the case when replacing different types of power chords. 

On If The Moon Turns Green by Diana Panton, the WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB enmeshed the essence, playing around the core of silence. This was easily heard in a great rendition of Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars, where the core of silence was deepened in some way so that the vibrant rendition of If The Moon Turns Green energy was inseparable from the music itself.

Across all the tracks and albums, the music just became more of a harmonic thing. 

Cables can do a lot and change the music in so many different ways. And that's without any embellishment of the matter. Audio cables are equalizers of the sort that, because of their geometry, design, materials, shielding, impedance ( miss ) match, etc., adjust the sound in one way or another. 

There is a certain throbbing enormity associated with the Joe Policastro Trio's album Pops! It is a sonically and musically mesmerizing affair in its own right. 

With the WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB inserted between MSB Technology DAC and power supplies, the sheer involvement was taken up a notch, allowing the trio to emerge with far less artificial augmentation and making the presentation a less frantic affair.

The Conclusion

Like it or not, hardcore audiophiles, music lovers, aficionados, and various types of high-enders are always on the lookout. While some are satisfied with only the measurable truth, others take the path of exploratory listening. Perhaps the most gratifying juxtaposition is the hybrid mix of ears as judge and measurements as the basis. 

The WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB resolved the central dilemma quite swiftly and showed their strength. As with all cables, the long exposure time paved the way and helped them reach their peak.

Power supply and cable...  

Ask any audio engineer and they will say the same thing 99.9% of the time, an evocative truth. The power supply is the heart of an amplifier, a preamp, indeed anything "live" and electronically active that uses amplifying stages. 

And there is no power without the cables...

If anyone is cable skeptical, I have often demonstrated the difference it makes to run different power cables from the wall to the distribution ladder. 

Different cables differ in the degree of subtraction or addition at certain frequencies and reduced density. The music is even effectively slowed down. 

Power cables have something inherited in the time domain that may be closely related to how we perceive sound because both time and phase are something we are very sensitive to.

This has something to do not only with the Haas effect and similar phenomena but also with the fact that we are most sensitive to what is fed to our ears first. 

But that's not all. And it's more complicated to simplify everything and limit it to one specific thing. We are still learning about the internal clocking of the brain and how it responds to congestion in our ears. Sound perception is still one of those mysteries that unfolds slowly and sometimes with unexpected discoveries. 

It is interesting how our acumen can constantly change, which seems to be closely related to our ability to recognize patterns. There is something deeper and more complex going on that forms the basis of our core beliefs and values. 

It is well researched scientifically that our value "folder" becomes a virtue, a model when we do or recognize something repeatedly more than twenty times. So in this respect, even placebo is somehow discarded or even cemented for some idiosyncrasies. 

In high-end audio products, the underlying value is constantly recreated, because the constituted value is also constantly questioned and thus changed. 

If the task is to capture the sonic virtues and put them into an unbiased shape that can be widely digested, such listening experiences could become mechanical and consequently, the summaries reflect this in a pale result. 

The key is to keep enthusiasm in check. Doing what you love, but not overdoing it. This is also why I refuse to pore over too many reviews. Everything can too quickly become a watered-down version and a product of an automaton instead of something meaningful with a human touch. 

Repeated efforts kill passion and enthusiasm, but they are necessary to maintain objectivity. Not only philosophy but our entire Western perpetual motion machine is based to the last degree on the logic of repeatability.

Since high-end audio cables are still such an intricate and intriguing matter, I have expanded my attentiveness a bit and pushed it a bit more to unfold. 

I always focus on constant clues that take time to deliver the certitude and defy the subjective side, offering sometimes an unpredictable alternative.

It's also highly useful and refreshing to address something without a clear pretext to avoid automatic reactions. 

As with the WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB, results come through the persistence of evaluation, listening notes finally began to carry a significant summary. 

After a while, this repeated condensation of thoughts becomes more of a zen-like reflexive and reflective indictment, where the observations begin to mirror the exact events in the way that is starting to make sense and that can be transcoded to a wider public with not much being lost in translation. 

And again and again, the WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB have proven to be a magnifying glass in a convoluted arrangement.

However narrow or circumscribed that sphere may seem, 

WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB proved to be a much clearer and more lenticular medium, allowing me to easily focus on the essentials. 

Some of the sonic attributes were subtly different, others pointed a step closer to unbridled realms and after the extended play-in time in absentia ob provisional effect.

The variety of subtle and more profound changes provided different sonic elevations that, above all, did not unbalance the music. The WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB worked beyond the expected, adding a refreshing fluidity and focusing on the denser dispersion of the focal points.  Against all odds and expectations!

As my listening notes indicated on more than a few occasions, the WestminsterLab cables consecrated reality with aplomb, presenting the opposite virtues of sonic reality with adroitness.

The WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB do not encroach on the sonic splendor, but always manage to underpin the MSB Select DAC's point of vista and its unique vantage point.

In any case, the MSB Technology Select DAC is a premium, high-quality, and demanding, somehow complex partner, but the WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB have helped to ensure and expand its potency.

We are often hesitant to question so many things, but by critically challenging, we evoke the perseverance of what can be a fully satisfying result. 

By practicing critical observation, learning, and accepting the newfound values that change along the way, we strive for the objectivity so often criticized and questioned, especially in high-end audio. 

The WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB are not a product that responds to the urge to respond quickly to hyper-sense, but a medium that allows enjoyment, as is highly valued in analog, to provide a lower tension and less fatigue in listening. 

With any high-end audio cable in play, it's not exactly easy to dismantle a premonition. As much as many naysayers try to dismantle the actual benefits, the proof is always in the pudding. And the pudding, like sweet revenge, is best served cold and enjoyed at a slow pace and with the senses in a wicked on guard, off guard juxtaposition. 

WestminsterLab Hybrid Power Cables for MSB belongs in the realm of a more than interesting addition or different flavor. The subtlety of potency will certainly depend on the system and be determined by the ability of the high-end audio setup to reveal the subtle and non-subtle nuances, but for the MSB Technology Select and Reference DAC owners, it is one of those exclusive products out there that is reserved as the "guilty pleasure" for the MSB Technology Premium DAC club owners. 

As in many industries, the last few percentages of system performance are usually the most expensive and not of the utmost importance to everyone. But for those who chase the holy grail of audiophilia so arduous, this question or rationalization is a matter of the last strike in a seemingly never-ending quest. 

And perhaps here lies the greatest, sort of open secret of our beloved industry and hobby. 

The journey is more sacred and fulfilling than the result!?

But in the audio world, the path of this quest is of a singular, even transcendent stillness in time that can last for a while and this duration is highly relative for each individual.  

Matej Isak


  • $10.900 USD

Technical specifications

  •  carbon fibre shielding
  •  custom alloy conductor 
  •  custom coating
  •  most complex WestminsterLab cables up to date
  •  compatible with MSB Technology Select and Reference DAC 


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​Tel: +44 20 3290 0442
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