JPS Labs UltraConductor Speaker Cables
|JPS Labs UltraConductor Speaker Cables|
18 February 2001
Product under review: Ultraconductor Speaker Cable.
Price $174 per 8/foot pair with bananas.
6 Hampton Court
Lancaster, NY 14086 USA
When designer, founder and current president of JPS Labs Company, Mr. Joe Skubinski, sent his interconnect for the testing to Prague, Czech Republic, he also included this UltraConductor cable in this package. The reasonably priced UltraConductor products do not fascinate only me, but many other who have heard them. How can such thin, lacy wires play as well as they do?
Many audio fans fancy the immense ropes twining behind their devices that do no good for your wallet nor, sometimes, anything else. "The thicker, the better," we hear this often. But is a cable's thickness the most important factor for sound quality? Joe Skubinski’s UltraConductor models turn the thicker-is-better proposition upside down. He takes a path paved with a different sort of stone: he has chosen ultra-pure aluminum and copper alloy.
I entered into correspondence with Joe last summer and it soon became clear that he is a modest and friendly person with enormous experience in the audio field. The products he has developed over last couple of years are all of the top quality. How does he do it? Sometimes, while testing and evaluating a product, he will call upon his little son's fresh ears!
Joe Skubinski established the JPS Labs in 1990. I am sure that getting started was not easy because of the many specialized producers he must compete with.
Material and Construction
As mentioned, the wire is composed of an ultra-pure aluminum and copper alloy. The solidly made UltraConductor model has a very flexible core. The topcoat is of clear blue PVC. The exposed positive and negative ends are covered in a red-mesh protective jacket and are secured in place with white heat-shrink tubing. The familiar JPS Labs logo finishes off the cable’s visual presentation. The UltraConductor has no copper shielding as in the more expensive JPS Labs models, but I did not find this to be a handicap. In the UltraConductor product line, there is also a bi-wire version and an interconnect cable.
The cable arrived in Prague curled up in the see-through plastic box like a snake. The cable is 6 feet or 180 cm long -- which, I think, is quite long enough. Joe Skubinski recommends 20 hours for the cable to get acquainted with the connection to its new audio environment. As these things go, that a quite short burn-in time. The Swedish loudspeaker cable Supra Ply 3, 4 / S required double that time.
I was really surprised by the "dwarf’s" performance. Acoustic instruments kept their natural volume and character. This I appreciated the most while listening to jazz singer Rachelle Ferrell with George Duke. The sound was full and dynamic, and on top of that, I was happy to hear the bass as solid and fast. Listening to recordings, I heard without a problem soundstage width, high, depth and a large amount of details. I had to smile when I considered that this model is the least expensive JPS Labs has to offer. The performance remained perfect in the midrange, mild though rich. There was no evidence of other sound spectrum components. The same is true of high frequencies.
After a while I interrupted the test and changed the JPS Labs model for the Czech KrautWire 3SE. It was not a happy experience. The Czech model is a supreme component, I have to admit that, but while connected to my cheaper devices, in comparison to the JPS Labs model, the end sound was more of analytical in character, and some of the wooden instruments lost their natural sound. I noticed that mainly with violin and cello. But a combination of the KrautWire-model 3SE, Copland CD player and Primare amplifier, the Czech cable sounds really great.
Nevertheless, the fact that the JPS Labs’ UltraConductor works well with any combination of devices is all to its credit. The UltraConductor fits in comfortably with the best High-End devices, and I really appreciate that. Only God and Joe Skubinski know the reason for this. I assume a good part of the magic to reside in the cable's unique aluminum and copper alloy heart. In comparing the UltraConductor with the Swedish Supra Ply 3,4 / S cable, I determined that the Swedish participant gained more points for deeper bass, albeit less controlled. The other sound spectrum regions sounded identical.
At the End
The JPS Labs speaker cable was a welcome visitor in my home. It enabled my devices to perform a bit better than ever before. Moneywise, I consider them a great investment. JPS Labs does not have a representative in the Czech Republic. Yet it did not take longer than seven or eight days between the time I e-mailed JPS Labs and the postman's arrival at my door, JPS box in hand.
Rachelle Ferrell, Individuality, with George Duke
Rosemary Cloone, Brasil, with John Pizzarelli
Frank Sinatra, Duets
Susannah McCorkle, Hearts and Minds
Jay Beckenstein, Eye Contact
Nnenna Freelon, Soulcall
Bach/Vivaldi/Marcello, Violin and Oboe Concertos
Patricia Barber, Modern Cool, and few pieces of Jarek Nohavica.
Note: I used Craig-ProGold, a Deoxit Company product, for cable maintenance.
Many thanks to Mr. Joe Skubinski of JPS Labs for giving me a chance to examine such a well done piece!
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