CablePro Vitality Audio Cables
CablePro’s Ted Paisley is an interesting guy with a long history as an audiophile, music lover, and cable designer. He started on the path back in 1973 when records reigned supreme as the media of choice. He began his sojourn at 17 years old as a salesman for Sam Goody, a large East Coast-based record retail chain. During his tenure there Ted amassed an enviable record collection of thousands of records (yes, black vinyl)!
Ted went on to become a store manager, a manufacturer’s representative, a custom audio installer, and a retailer with a storefront. Paisley began his foray into designing and manufacturing cables in 1995, after founding Wavelength Audio Video, Inc., in 1989. Ted closed the retail store in 2007 and focused solely on cables. TheCablePro.com is the remaining internet arm of this venture, which supplies information on the company’s cable offerings and pricing. It also allows consumers who don’t have a local CablePro dealer, to buy direct from the manufacturer. Happily, the ability of CablePro to keep the cost of producing the cables at a reasonable level makes them accessible to a greater number of music lovers.
It appears that CablePro has other products that have garnered some very positive attention as well. Stereophile’s Art Dudley was very impressed with the CablePro NANA power strip: $350 (Vol. 29, No.3 www) and named it as a Stereophile Recommended Component.
In my correspondence with Paisley I found him to have a no-nonsense, perfectionist-type personality and I learned that his approach to building great sounding audio cables is straight-forward and makes a lot of sense. Paisley listens to all the combinations of components in each of the cable products he offers and his ears become the final arbiters in making parts and design decisions.
Ever since I changed my Large-Room Reference loudspeakers to the Legacy Audio Focus SE’s I’ve been in the fine-tuning mode. I believed I could eke out better sonic performance from the SE’s by trying some different speaker cables. And in my other reference system in my smaller room I thought of trying a new AC power cord between my power regenerator and the PS Audio DirectStream DAC and some new interconnects between the DirectStream and the Dignity Audio 300B amplifiers. Sounds like fun!
Give me Vitality or give me death!
The CablePro Vitality cables are a new line of high performance audio cables that employ the highest purity, cryogenically treated OCC (Ohno Continuous Cast) Copper wire with XLPE (Cross-Linked Polyethylene) dielectric. I am a fan of cryogenic treatment because most of the cryogenically treated wires and conductor materials I have used have sounded smoother and more at-ease than their non-treated counterparts. Also, Paisley mentioned to me that although Polyethylene does not have a lower dielectric constant than Teflon, to his ears, and with his OCC wire it sounds better than Teflon-coated wire. And although CablePro cables are unshielded, Paisley strives for the lowest noise and most natural tonal balance possible. Natural tonal balance is a high-priority at CablePro, and I respect that.
Below is a list and a brief description of the different CablePro Vitality cables that will be covered in this review. You will notice that the gauge of the wire used in the speaker cables is lighter than many competing brands. Paisley says that because of the purity of the OCC wire it conducts better and very heavy gauges are not needed for the speaker cables. This also makes for lighter and more flexible cables.
Vitality ES Speaker Cable: 18 gauge highest purity, cryogenically treated OCC wire with XLPE (Cross-Linked Polyethylene) dielectric, comprised of multiple conductors to achieve 18 gauge. Termination Options: Puresonic high-conductivity, Gold-
plated Beryllium Copper BFA/Banana Plugs, or Puresonic Gold-plated Beryllium Copper Spring Multi-Spade Lugs (for 1/4” or 5/16” binding posts), or a combination of both types of connectors.
Vitality LS Speaker Cable: 15 gauge highest purity, cryogenically treated OCC wire with XLPE (Cross-Linked Polyethylene) dielectric, comprised of multiple conductors to achieve 15 gauge. Termination Options: Puresonic high-conductivity, Gold-plated Beryllium Copper BFA/Banana Plugs, or Puresonic Gold-plated Beryllium Copper Spring Multi-Spade Lugs (for 1/4” or 5/16” binding posts). You can spec a combination of both types of connectors as well.
Vitality RCA Audio Cables: 21 gauge highest purity, cryogenically treated OCC wire with XLPE (Cross-Linked Polyethylene) dielectric, unshielded twisted pair. Termination: Puresonic “Balance” high-conductivity Tellurium Copper RCA plug. No ferrous materials in the build. Even the strain relief screws are plastic to keep mass to an absolute minimum and to avoid magnetic interactions entirely.
Vitality 10A Power Cord: 13 gauge highest purity, cryogenically treated OCC wire with XLPE (Cross-Linked Polyethylene) dielectric, comprised of multiple conductors to achieve 13 gauge. Termination: IeGO gold-plated OCC AC connector set.
Okay, when I began, I had my Legacy Focus SE’s single-wired with a 6’ run of 8-gauge pure copper stranded MAC CuQ Sound Pipes speaker cables with the Legacy jumper straps in place. In their stead, I removed the straps between the Bass and Mid-Top sections and bi-wired the speakers with 6’ runs of the CablePro Vitality speaker cables. The Vitality ES 18-gauge fed the midrange/treble section and the Vitality LS 15-gauge cables fed the bass. I had Ted send me the 18-gauge pair terminated at the amp end with silver-over-copper spade lugs; all other ends were terminated with Puresonic Gold over Beryllium Copper banana plugs. This enabled me to run both sets of speaker cables to the left and right single pairs of binding posts on my Rogue Medusa amplifier, which worked very well. All the Vitality cables spent at least 36 hours on CablePro’s cable cooker before I received them, but Ted said they would still need about 50 to 100 more hours of playing time to condition fully.
I had a similar sonic experience with both the Vitality RCA interconnects and the Vitality speaker cables. The things that struck me on first listen were that the bass became more taut and articulate and the upper midrange to lower treble area had a bit more presence. The upper treble was a bit recessed and there was one small spot in a narrow band of the lower highs that would zing me a bit now and then depending on the recording. And these qualities were in evidence in both of my reference systems when I installed the Vitality cables.
That being said, after I put more hours on both systems the upper midrange prominence became more neutral and the “zing” I noticed in the lower treble vanished. As a result, the overall presentation became very smooth, musical, and natural. And when the lower treble calmed down I began to hear more air and extension into the upper treble. I believe I’ve heard more upper treble detail from some cables, but along with that detail the sound also became harsher on some recordings. The Vitality cables on the other hand seemed to sidestep the harshness and present the music in a softer fashion that remained focused, detailed, and easier on the ears.
In my Large-Room Reference system with the Legacy Focus SE speakers I was literally amazed at how much smoother and more refined the Focus SE’s sounded when bi-amped with the Vitality speaker cables. One of my friends was surprised too because we had played one of his CD’s with a female vocal that exhibited a forward sounding lower treble. It was actually a bit strident and grainy sounding but with the Legacy jumpers removed and the Vitality bi-amp speaker cables in place the presentation became considerably smoother and more palatable. And in general I found myself enjoying the musicality and trueness of tone of acoustic instruments like the piano, violins, cellos and various brass horns. Vocals were infectious too—both male and female singers sounded spot-on. I was particularly pleased to hear Diana Krall’s voice reproduced in the most natural way I’ve ever heard it, and that surprised me.
On Jen Chapin’s You Haven’t Done Nothin’, from her album "ReVisions: Songs Of Stevie Wonder" (SACD347), the bass sax had just the right amount of bark and bite and the notes from the double bass had the proper tone and growl not to mention that the bow slapping the strings and clunking against the wood body of the instrument smacked of authenticity.
Regarding percussion, Delta Rae’s “Bottom of the River” from her Carry the Fire CD (Sire/Warner Bros. 531391-2) has some amazingly powerful and deep bass drumming along with what sounds like many sticks being beat together towards the end of the track. By the end of the track the Vitality cables had me convinced that I was part of some sort of ritual ceremony. It wasn’t a dream yet it could serve as the impetus for future dreams. And if “Bottom of the River” doesn’t leave your percussion taste buds sated try Rae’s “Dance in the Graveyards” from the same album. I’m betting it will put you over the edge.
The biggest revelation unveiled itself when listening to my Small-Room system. First I installed the Vitality interconnects between my PS Audio DirectStream DAC and my modified Dignity Audio 300B mono SET amplifiers. The amps fed my Wavetouch Grand Teton speakers (updated version—review coming). Later I installed the Vitality 10 amp AC cord on the PS Audio DirectStream DAC. So relaxed, inviting, and musically nuanced was the presentation it was like an audiophile’s wet dream. Playing through various CD’s and music files from my laptop I realized the Vitality cables had immersive midrange magic in spades. In fact, on Sean Hayes’ Flowering Spade CD (Ambient Egg 751937 303022) the incredible musicality and coherency of instrumental tonal shadings combined with hitherto unknown levels of aural imagery and then seamlessly appeared at different longitudes and latitudes and danced joyously about my room. Sean’s voice was palpable and vibrated with natural presence punctuated by a very real sounding drum kit with airy breathing cymbals providing both punctuation and shimmer. And the plucked and strummed acoustic guitar strings on “All for Love” sprang to life in a very earthy and captivating manner. This was a very fine aural delight and I had only taken a multi-vitamin and an ibuprofen that day… scout’s honor!
But it was more than just this one Sean Hayes CD that had the kind of magic that teleported one’s soul to a different plane of consciousness. Truth be told it was quite a large percentage of my favorite recordings that delivered this type of ethereal musing. True, every now and then I needed to stop playing music and return to the real world for a bite to eat or to perform some mundane chore. But to have access to this type of musical adventure land tends to elevate one up above their everyday worries and strife. And honestly, what could be better than that!
Aside from the break-in issues I described earlier, there are not a lot of caveats to mention either in terms of the quality or fit and finish of the Vitality cables. One thing that was a bit unusual occurred with the Vitality AC power cord. At first it appeared that the female IEC connector was a touch loose and didn’t seem to be a tight fit into the DirectStream’s power receptacle. I called Ted and asked him about this, he encouraged me to push fairly hard to engage that last fraction of an inch, and then the connection was secure and worked fine. Paisley said this is not uncommon with the IeGO plug set, that the fit is very tight and requires more effort to engage properly. That being said, the sound quality is excellent and I was satisfied that all was working correctly.
Make no mistake, the Vitality series of audio cables from thecablepro.com provides an uncommonly pure level of performance that is exceedingly natural, musical, and easy on the ears. It allows one to transcend Earthly troubles. Just think of the potential savings from those recreational drugs that will be rendered superfluous!
I am truly surprised by how much better my Legacy Focus SE speakers sound with the Vitality bi-wire setup. If it’s not “magic,” then it’s surely the next best thing. In fact, I just contacted Ted Paisley to have him make me a pair of XLR Balanced Vitality interconnects to compliment the Vitality speaker cables in my Large-Room Reference system. I need another hit of that kind of musical transcendence.
For this pedigree of quality and performance the CablePro Vitality cable lineup is quite the bargain. And while I own and have tried many fine audio cables in my reference systems, I’m happy to report that CablePro’s Vitality cables have surely earned their respective places in my sound reproduction chains. Highly recommended indeed!
CablePro Vitality Cable Series
Vitality ES 18 gauge Speaker Cable: Price: $470/6-foot pair, add $30 per additional foot per pair.
Vitality LS 15 gauge Speaker Cable: Price: $660/6-foot pair, add $60 per additional foot per pair.
Vitality RCA Audio Cables: Price: $250/3-foot pair, add $20 per additional foot per pair.
Vitality 10A Power Cord: Price: $600/5-foot AC cord, add $50 per additional foot. Note: This model intended for use with systems and amplifiers up to 250 watts x 2. Vitality AC cords are available in four different power ratings, 5A, 10A, 15A, and 20A. The prices will vary by length and power handling capability.
Wavelength Audio Video, Inc.: The CablePro
12117 Cross Creek Drive
Dallas, TX 75243