There is always a lot of interest in the various cable solutions and options in all price ranges. Since there is an ongoing interest about different cable design and manufacturing options, I chose the NeXt Level Tech Audio NxLT Flame cables for this installement.
Robert Słowiński sent two pairs of Next Level Tech (NxLT) NxLT Flame XLR and RCA analog cables to test and review, and as you can learn in the course of the review, this is another product with an interesting and somewhat different approach at a relativly affordable price.
NeXt Level Tech Audio – NxLT
More and more audio companies are being established in Poland every year. Anyone who has been to the Warsaw Audio Show knows that not only are the numbers of visitors immense but also the number of domestic brands presenting their products is overwhelming. And there are already many already established high-end audio brands from Poland that have a strong and lasting impact on the market.
Next Level Tech (NxLT) has been in existence since January 2020 and was officially founded by Robert Słowiński in early 2021, when he was persuaded by his friends, “also audio maniacs”, for whom he made a lot of cables to their great satisfaction.
Słowiński specializes in the production of high-end audio cables, but he is a passionate do-it-yourselfer and over the years has forged amplifiers, preamplifiers, and many other audio devices for his use.
After about two years of endless searching and sourcing about 40 kg of all kinds of copper, silver, etc. from recognized brands such as Sanshu Electric Wire, Western Electric, Riken Electric, Furukawa, etc., the development has reached the point where Słowiński felt that he has surpassed in every way his beloved Hijiri Million interconnect cables, which were also his long time reference used with his electronics.
There were many unfortunate twists and turns in sourcing the materials for the cables, such as one particular manufacturer producing from a particular copper melt for only a few months. This continued, but the raw copper was sourced from a different company and the material structure was changed so that the same quality was not delivered.
Słowiński learned this the hard way with the split delivery of the wire on reels. Externally, the two cables were the same, including the cross-section and the color of the copper. But the sonic result was completely different.
Then the search continued and he combed all corners of the world, Macedonia, Italy, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, and many others. Słowiński was able to locate a specific metallurgical mixture that he searched so hard for and secured a considerable stock for interconnects, and speaker cables. He is also in the process to gather stock for the upcoming NxLT power cables.
To make a long story short. Every little detail matters when it comes to cables, and this is something that many of us have considered either with the official variety of cables or DIY experiments with various exotic and special copper wires.
But the copper is only part of what makes NxLT Flame’s analog interconnect cables sound so positively different.
There can be little or no misunderstanding when it comes to the practical use of XLR and RCA connections.
The only thing you usually have to pay attention to is the directionality when marked, and NxLT Flame has a clear marking above the black braid in the middle of the cable.
The NxLT Flame analog connections use high-quality Oyaide Genesis connectors.
As with all cables tested, NxLT Flame took over seventy hours of music playback to stabilize. Regardless of the fact that they were factory-billed at CableCocker, the sound become relaxed and focused after a few days of 24/7 use, and began to acquire all the qualities that were described in the rest of the test.
No white, pink, or other noise and no pure tone signal. As with any other high-end cables or components being tested, there is no substitute for music being played to habituate the component within the high-end audio system.
Both cables came in a nice aluminum flight case, packaged in a shoebox-like box with a painted Nightingale logo.
Both cables also have a dedicated certificate of origin with a serial number.
This is the part where each product receives a direct, practical evaluation. These findings from the listening notes are then transcribed into a meaningful whole.
Many of you find this part of the review very useful, as it deals directly with the sonic merits of the tested product, and based on numerous feedbacks, many of you have derived and successfully found a suitable component for your audio setup here.
In my long journey through the high-end audio world, I have only twice stumbled across cables that had a similar vibe to the NxLT cables. Albeit to a different extent and in a different direction, this happened in the past with old, industrial Siemens and Western Electric copper cables. The NxLT cables have a similar harmonic richness and midrange quality as these two legendary cables.
In my listening notes, I remembered to point out this vibrancy that many refer to as magic, and as you can see below, the NxLT Flow interconnects have a pretty big portion of this sonic potion.
Herbie Hancock’s 1964 album Empyrean Isles is always handy for a spontaneous look and the spur of the moment.
The NxLT Flow Interconnects not only tickle with a phrase of the spur but act with a full stimulant. Certainly a virtue I did not expect in advance.
The entire scheme of “Cantaloupe Island” made my sensors light up. With any high-end audio cable, the sonic result can be at endless odds, but with NxLT Flow “Cantaloupe Island”; captivating Hancock’s piano, Tony Williams’ brush sweeps, Ron Carter’s melodic but never foregrounded bass, and Freddie Hubbard’s flugelhorn and cornet playing all blended seamlessly into one giant bubble.
The effect was similar to the way the multiplicity of the classical orchestra blends. Like a giant forest in which each tree is still clearly visible. It just depends on observation. This effect rarely occurs even with much more expensive cables, yet the NxLT Flow cables deliver this unusual component prominently.
With Thingin by Lee Konitz, Don Friedman, and Attila Zoller NxLT Flow interconnects shone the virtuoso interplay of a trio without scintillating it.
NxLT Flow’s “Thingin” once again showed how the sonic enhancements can bestow sheer vibrancy and lyrical interplay without filtering effect.
“Thingin” can too quickly lack weight in the mids or sound muffled at higher frequencies. In addition, instruments can be projected as scaled models, especially with Zoller’s guitar. Not so with the NxLT Flows.
The NxLT cables offered authentic, vibrant reproduction without shattering the intricate inner world of the music or inducing an alienated, remote and disconnecting modus operandi.
The NxLT Flow navigated through La Vergne Smith’s music with more range and the necessary foundation.
“Stormy Weather” can sound rather narrow, a binary, two-dimensional affair if the cables do not allow it to unfold.
The NxLT Flow cables furnished a holographic, solid, three-dimensional vibrancy and presented a significant essence in each moment.
Music should never be bracketed, and Reginald Foort’s Coppelia Suite is a good example of how tentative the music can sound if cables emphasize the notes and tones rather than reflecting the physics of the real world.
The NxLT Flow cables nourished a close physical approximation and actual characterization of the organ without sonic exaggeration.
The orchestra and organ radiated vividly and never felt suppressed or undernourished. The NxLT Flow analog interconnects performed without tonal limitations and handled the shifts in dynamic amplitudes with the required, critical level of contrasting.
That’s the reason I have been pushing cable testing for so long. There is simply no black and white answer or solution when it comes to selecting the right cable for a highly cherished and carefully assembled high-end audio system, regardless of price.
The point of any review of high-end audio cables is to point out certain advantages and explain why these differences might be useful when used or envisioned in the home system to achieve maximum fidelity.
It is often difficult to know the exact qualities of audio cables, making it an inexplicable task. This can be related to the lack of sonic potency. Not so with the NxLT Flame cables.
The way NxLT cables transmit sound through their unique construction has a special, radiant, and vibrant quality.
The NxLT Flame interconnects cables while preserving the very fundamentals of music add a touch of the natural, warm, and lifelike darker tone closely associated with the timbre, tone, and color of real acoustic instruments.
I am talking about particular technicolor-like tonal quality with an enriched, radiant core that can quickly stabilize the sound and balance of a high-end audio system. And many audio systems need a little balancing act.
The NxLT Flame analog interconnects insertion results in a lively, well-weighted upper mid-bass and midrange, but not at the expense of transparency in the higher frequency spectrum or the lower bass foundation.
I was surprised by the well-controlled and focused bass of the NxLT Flames. Rarely does a cable in this price range escape the one-note bass phenomenon, but both the NxLT Flame XLR and NxLT Flame RCA have a well-tuned, lively and dynamic lower register.
Music should never be an experience viewed from the shore. It should be an actual immersion into the ocean, which can be peaceful, roaring, and always full of movement.
Often audio cables make for an imaginative presentation of music that is not literal. The NxLT Flame defies this paradigm. From the very first notes, it awakens interest in the music and does not make it sound like a casual affair.
The NxLT Flame defies the usual certainties of audio cables, and this can be heard very quickly when installed in the audio system. For many audiophiles and music lovers, this is the key they seek to connect with the music.
Rather than focusing on a single focal point, NxLT Flame cables enable immersion in the endless realms of music in an authoritative and deeply involving way, without the monovalent nature too often inherent in cables in this price range.
And as perpetually proven by NxLT Flame interconnects, not everything has to be subordinate to the endowment effect. At the end of the day, it’s all about the music, the rest is just unwanted noise in various forms. The NxLT Flame cables offer a vantage point on the music that is rare in this price range.
Robert Slowinski’s research efforts, hands-on experimentation with various materials and techniques, and practical sound assessments have resulted in a highly unique and great-sounding high-end audio cable within reach of mere mortals. While Slowniski draws the inspiration and sourcing of some unaltered materials from the past, NxLT Flame is far from even remotely representing a bygone sonic affair or sounding mistimed. On contrary. NxLT Flames are the 21st-century cable solutions with just the right dosage of some material qualities that never changed over the years.
Wiring high-end audio systems is a complex and often confusing endeavor. The various cables in the system must deal with impedance matching, proper equilibrium of resistance, inductance, capacitance, etc., and they must fit into the complex, often incoherent audio veins network with a clear task of balance or enhancing signal transmission.
Not exactly an easy task… Still, NxLT Flame cables have proven to be a valuable asset with quantifiable sonic benefits when inserted at different points of my reference high-end audio system.
NxLT Flame’s cables do so many things right, come with unique potency, and do so at a price that usually drowns out a great deal of virtue that NxLT Flame possesses. That’s why I am pleased to present the NxLT Flame XLR and RCA interconnects cables with the 2022 Mono and Stereo Best Buy Product Award. ⧉
Next Level Tech
Tel:+48 504 931 220