MW 2017b



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Publisherschoice.jpgAcoustic Revive Absolute FM interconnects ($6,500 per meter), Power Reference AC cables ($2,500 per meter and SPC-Triple C speaker cables ($5,500 per eight foot): Super delicate in its delivery and ultra-transparent in its mid-band, we've concluded in only 300 hours, that this newest design is easily the best sounding this Japanese manufacturer has produced to date. Review in the works. (Clement Perry)

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Publisherschoice.jpgAcoustic Revive RPC-1 ($2,2250.00 reviewed here): 
Here is part of the descriptive summary that appears on Acoustic Revives's website... "This ground-breaking new power supply conditioner reduces the super high-frequency noise in the supply path. This results in a sound which has improved dynamics and energy with an improved signal to noise ratio." When I first introduced the RPC-1 into my system my first impression wasn't particularly positive as I felt, at first, that it darkened and diminished the life of my system. As I then proceed to shuffle thru different source material my impressions started to "evolve." As I got a better handle on its impact my observations were that the entire soundstage expanded in all directions and the individual images that populated the stage all had a clearly perceived increase in the dimensional qualities of their images. Each image not only gained in three-dimensionality but also in focus. 

Another quality started to become apparent; there was an "enrichment" to each image. The images all gained weight, not in any negative way.....what I mean by that is they seemed denser. Let's face it, we all kind of do this "suspension of disbelief" that allows us to "see" the ghostly images of notes, instruments, and people hanging in the air in front of us. Well, the ghosts densified! The sense of these hanging images being three dimensional was more clearly evident! As time with it elapsed I continued to compare all kinds of music with and without the RPC-1 engaged. Like it or not, I couldn't escape the fact that I was just enjoying my system more...much more... with it in. And that's why it became my Most Wanted for 2017! (Ed Van Winkle)



 

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Audience – Adept Response aR12-TSSOX Passive Master Power Conditioner ($11,195.00 includes 6 ft. Au SE-I powerChord), AU24 SX Power Chords (MP/HP, $4,200.00/$4,600.00 respectively), Au24 SX Speaker Cables ($3,000.00 for a 2 meter pair): While each of these different outstanding products can provide high levels of performance individually, their true sonic magic comes from their synergy when used as a total system. The result is a highly refined with a liquid smooth, organic and superbly textured quality. This is coupled with a noticeably neutral tonal balance yet with outstanding resolution and inner detail. The overall sonic presentation delivers music flowing with naturally powerful dynamics that can literally be arresting, and in a very positive way. In fact, through these products, music isn’t forward or laid back; soft or bright. It simply sounds like real music with no hi-fi type gimmicks or sonic artifacts. “Sonic beauty,” are words that quickly come to mind when trying to describe the sound of music with these products in place. (Bill Wells) 


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Audio Enhancer System by J. Trillo ($3,000 per system): Met the affable J. Trillo at the RMAF 2017 and was impressed with the A/B comparisons that were made in their suite by these silver alloyed resonators. Took a set (18) home and was very surprised by how effective they performed when placed in my listening room. Believe it or not, the AES seemed to quiet my listening room further while sweetening the high frequencies. Review in the works. (Clement Perry)


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Publisherschoice.jpgBybee Technologies iQSE ($150): The iQSE's delivered on all levels and exceeded my expectations. The iQSE's didn’t change the tonal balance, but added a seductive richness to the music while removing a level of white noise that rode within the music. Instead of the high frequencies riding on top of the music signal, they now became fully integrated within the music signal. As far as a room treatment, I have had the Shatki Holographs and the Stein Harmonizers/Stones in my system and compared to the Bybee Technology iQSEs there is no comparison.  The Bybee iQSEs are that good. I would venture to say that music systems at all levels (entry, mid, and state-of-the-art) would benefit from the iQSEs. One of the best tweaks I’ve ever tried. (Mike Girardi)

 

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Bybee Technologies IQSE ($150): Once again, Jack Bybee has used his scientific background to create something that works wonders in improving the "sound" and musicality of one's system. Along with strategic placement in selected components, I recently added these to the walls in my room in a configuration recommended by Bybee and "voila" the walls of the room essentially vanished, leaving a soundstage of immense proportions and which is populated by the most natural-sounding instruments I have yet heard in my home. A remarkable achievement indeed. (Ron Cook)



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Publisherschoice.jpgCore Power Technologies EQUI=CORE1800 ($1799.00 reviewed here): My enthusiasm for Core Power Technology’s EQUI=CORE 300 prompted me to recommend it previously as a Most Wanted Component and that enthusiasm now extends to their EQUI=CORE 1800. The 1800 betters the 300 by providing greater balanced power to handle more devices with its built-in 8 receptacle inputs. –I currently have all my main rig plugged into it… and that includes a pair of PS Audio Stellar M700 350 watt mono blocks currently under review. The 1800 handles it all without strain, overload or compression and I’ve experienced no constriction in dynamics. The EQUI=CORE 1800 comes highly recommended. (Greg Voth)


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Frank Acoustics Ultra Bank UB-25000Ws Power Bank($5,800.00: reviewed here): Got an additional unit in October and am shocked at my system's newfound energy and drive. Now I see why so many owners have more than one! Only downside is the price increase to import into the USA. This most unusual device operates very differently from AC conditioners and thus works quite well plugged directly into one. Has quite an impact on the system's overall virility as well as delicacy and overall quietness. Images appear more resolute as they pop out against a jet black and velvety background. To best describe what the Frank Ultra Bank UB-25000Ws Power Bank does: “This shunt reactor is an absorber of reactive power, thus increasing the energy efficiency of the system, says its designer Frank Voom”  (Clement Perry, David Caplan, Ron Cook, Dan Secula)


 

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Hemingway Audio Creation Ultimate S Cables (Speaker cables $14,000/3 meter pair; XLR Interconnects $7,800/1.5 meter pair; AC cord $4,800/1.5 meter): This is the new and improved S version of these cables. The updates push this model’s performance even higher. These exceptional cables from South Korea convey music blissfully. Voices and instruments sounded pure and palpable with fine timbre accuracy. The music, no matter the source or genre, flowed effortlessly and it was alive with tonal colors and harmonics. I had a very intense connection to the music. (Key Kim)


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IsoAcoustics GAIA Isolators (GAIA I $599.99, GAIA II $299.99, GAIA III $199.99):  When I moved into a brand new home, I was challenged with optimizing speaker performance while protecting my tile floor. Spikes on small discs was a scary proposition and the discs presented a questionable interface between the spikes and tile. IsoAcoustics GAIA IIs were the perfect solution to providing floor protection while improving performance of my Tekton Design Electron speakers. Clarity is the watchword here. Both the bass and midrange tightened up considerably creating a more liquid midrange and bass with sharper impact. Instrument and vocal tonality were more natural and harmonics and subtle nuances were more clearly defined. Available in three weight ratings to fit speakers up to 220 pounds.  Each set of four GAIAs comes with three different thread sizes making GAIAs a worthy speaker upgrade both now and for future speaker purchases. (Donald Shaulis)

 

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Kemp Elektroniks P16 Maxiimus Shunt Conditioner ($1500.00 reviewed here): After living with two of these units in my 400 square foot, cathedral ceiling listening room throughout 2017, I have come to the conclusion that I would never want to let go of one of my best tweaks to date. This sounds obvious, but for those of you who love extraordinary musical sound in your room, this is the product for you. Its hallmarks are its ability to create a large, natural, pleasing soundstage with increased accurate micro and macro holographic effects; especially in the mid and upper frequencies. Only one is necessary for small and moderate sized rooms.  The Maxiimus is not in the signal path. You simply place it near an outlet in your room, plug it in and begin listening to music like you have not experienced in your home. A little placement experimentation is a good idea but you will get an incredible sense that you are listening to something very special as soon as you ease into your chair. There is a very scientific technical reason for how the P16 works by eliminating “electro smog” created by the electric appliances in your home environment thus causing your audio equipment to capture this electric grunge and reducing the full potential of your equipment and sound. To overcome this the Kemp P16 enhances the efficiency of the electricity, which then leads to lower power consumption. The bottom line is that the sound quality, your listening experience and enjoyment factor will be significantly improved. This is a tweak that really works! (Dan Secula)

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Maker Audio Reference Interconnects ($655.00/1-meter RCA or $725.00 for Balanced XLR reviewed here): Tom Maker, former head designer at Edge Audio has come out with a great line of affordable reference quality audio cables. The Reference models I tried were superbly balanced and detailed and made me want to listen to more of my familiar songs and albums to discover fine musical details I had not heard previously. Please see my full review for further details regarding the construction and quality materials used in these fine audio cables. (Frank Alles)

  

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Publisherschoice.jpgAnkh Multi-vocal Transformer ($1250 set of 4), Ankh Multi-Dimensional Flow ($630 pair) and Dynamic Lenses ($185.00 ten piece): Marcus Beckman and partner Ronny Albrecht are the proprietors and inventors of these German-made tweaks for which I've grown quite fond of. Much like the Novum Resonator we reviewed a few years ago, these resonators are designed to be placed on your equipment as well as loudspeakers. Placing the Ankh Multi-Vocal Transformer and Multi-Dimensional Flow on the Behold amplifiers (as prescribed via diagram above), I could detect richer and more authentic vocal presence while the music seemed to have improved flow, ease and/or musicality. The art of changing sound through the use of resonators does not surprise me. However, that these type devices can improve overall harmonic structure always leaves me scratching my head. Review in the works (Clement Perry)  

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Synergistic Research Quantum Blue Fuses ($150.00/fuse): The Quantum Blue fuses are the latest design from SR. They are expensive but are clearly superior to their Black Fuse line that they replaced. As has so often been my reward in assessing components lately, they add realism. The recorded event really displaces your speaker wall. And you can hear decay in the room or stage. (Norm Luttbeg)

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Synergistic Research Galileo UEF Speaker and Interconnect Series Cables ($15,000 and $7,500):  Although the SR Atmosphere UEF Level 4 cables are excellent cables within their price point, the technology employed in the Galileo UEF cables significantly improved upon the performance of the Atmosphere UEF Level 4 cables on many levels.  With the Galileo UEF cables in my system, I immediately heard a more natural tonal balance, more holographic presence, a lower noise floor, and soundstage that was more uniformly constructed. The sense of space displayed with the SR Galileo UEF Series cables installed, had the effect of detaching the music from the speakers while instruments and vocals sounded lifelike and not electrically constructed. Musical lines within complex arrangements were more clearly revealed with enhanced clarity with all instruments on each recording having greater spatial definition, revealed with greater accuracy, and were fuller, richer, and more complex in presentation.  The SR Galileo UEF speaker and interconnect cables are the best signal cables I have ever heard in my system. (Mike Girardi)
 

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Synergistic Research Galileo UEF AC Analog and Digital Power Cords ($5,600): The many design innovations contained in the Galileo UEF power cables was clearly demonstrated in the enhanced performance of my system. Like the SR Galileo UEF speaker cables and interconnects, the power cords make components sound exceptionally neutral, rich in texture, full of body, powerful, fast, spacious, and detailed while allowing my system components to reach their full potential. The improvements brought by the addition of the power cords were in some ways more significant than the improvements brought by the signal cables, and the combination of the two in my system took a major step in the achievement of the absolute sound.  Synergistic Research nailed it on the Galileo UEF Series cables. (Mike Girardi) 

 

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Tellurium Q Black II Speaker Cable (£56 pounds/meter):  This is definitely a big win for Tellurium Q’s Geoff Merrigan and company.  To state it plainly; there is not a speaker cable that I have heard that comes close to the Black II’s performance and whose cost roughly translates to less than $150/meter.  The cables are not big or thick but are built very nicely and come with your choice of bananas, spades or both.  Tellurium Q plays it close to the vest when it comes to technical information, but as far as sonics go, I was greatly impressed by their performance.  I spent a lot of time crawling around between my speakers and amps, swapping them in and out and back in because I could not believe how well they performed.  They performed equally as well on planar speakers as they did with dynamics. I found their sound to be smooth over-all, with an open and airy top-end, and with extended bass and a slightly warm midrange. (Mike Wright)

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Wireworld Platinum Starlight CAT 8 Ethernet Cable
 ($600/meter + termination): This new and innovative cable clearly and easily excels beyond what is available with current Category 7 level Ethernet cables.  Specifically, this new cable by Wireworld is designed to address the need for faster transmission speeds as music streaming continues to progress and become the primary method used by increased numbers of audiophiles and music lovers alike.  Having lived with this cable for an extended period of time, I continue to be impressed with its ability to present music in a pure and seemingly unadulterated manner that heightens the sense of musicality and enhances overall listening enjoyment. Areas of noted excellence include detail and inner resolution, an open/clear window along with organic texture along with dynamic impact from top to bottom. Also, and very importantly, compared to several other top echelon Ethernet cables, the Wireworld more than held its own and emerged as a noticeably superior cable.  For all that it does, this cable is unhesitatingly my new reference. (Bill Wells)

 

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Zeta Zero Pure Gas XLR Cables 
(€2,800 Euro per meter pair +vat, or $3,300 USD/pair reviewed here): These fine interconnect cables from Zeta Zero in Poland are without a doubt the best sounding and best performing audio cables I’ve ever experienced in any of my reference systems. Designer Tomak Rogula uses 90 pure copper individually isolated wire strands in the cable’s positive and negative legs for a total of 180 copper strands. And the ground wire is silver-plated copper. The cables are fat but flexible which makes for easy installation. They offer astoundingly low resistance and capacitance. Rogula uses a proprietary combination of noble gasses as the dielectric! (Frank Alles)

 


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