Tripoint Thor SE Grounding Cable
Perhaps some readers were surprised that I nominated the Tripoint Thor SE grounding cables as one of my “Most Wanted Components,” as it is something merely attached to the Tripoint Troy Signature grounding unit. My reasoning was that the Troy Signature was so improved with these grounding cables that it was of the magnitude of a new better component. I really thought that Tripoint Silver cables, as good as they were, impeded the performance of the Troy Signature.
So nominally, this is a review of the Tripoint Thor SE grounding cables. I have already reviewed both the original Troy grounding unit some years ago and recently the Troy Signature SE (with the Thor SE special ground cable upgrade) here. Both impressed me greatly. At that time, I was using the special Tripoint Silver grounding cable harness because nothing better was available. Unlike the Silvers, the Troy SEs are shielded and have a special vibration control. And wow how they free the Troy Signature!
To do this I merely removed three of the Silver grounding leads and replaced them with the Thor SEs. Nothing else was changed in the system. I must say that the new SEs weigh considerably more than the Silvers and are about one half inch thick which extends up to the spades at each end. If one is seeking to attach two or three components to one binding post on the Troy Signature, it requires some maneuvering. I think it would be impossible to get more than three Thor SEs on one binding post. The three Thor SEs, I own are connected to my Koda K 10 line stage and to both of my B.M.C. M2 monoblock amps. Two of the Thor SEs are one meter length and one is about one and one quarter meters long.
You can see the comparison of the Silvers versus the SEs in the picture showing the back of the Troy Signature’s binding posts. The light tan wires of the Tripoint SEs and the much thinner black wire running over the Signature is a Silver. As you can see the SEs also include a large gold finished vibration controller. Of course, I have no way to assess whether the shielding or the vibration control or both make the improvement. Also after previous experiences, I sought to have no grounding cable have any contact with the floor or carpet.
I have made no other changes in my system as you can see in my Associated Equipment list. Unless there is very long term break-in of my components, nothing should affect the results except the three and soon four Thor SEs.
The first thing that strikes you when you hear the Thor SEs on the Troy Signature, as opposed to the Silvers, is the openness of the sound stage both vertically and horizontally. It strikes you as losing all the crosstalk between left and right channels. Location information is very precise in all directions–left and right, up and down, and front and back. Putting back the Tripoint Silvers was unthought-of even though the Thor SE ground cables are expensive and in heavy demand, especially in Hong Kong. I am soon to receive a fourth Thor SE, but it is not included as I wrote this review. I would love to have several more, but a $5500 a pop discourages this.
Three cuts capture what I experience with the Thor SEs on the Troy Signature. Diana Krall’s S’Wonderful on The Look of Love (Verve Records SACD 314 589 597-2), which is now on my hard drive in DSD and played in double DSD is the first. It was well recorded, but with the Thor SEs, the location of the orchestra is evident somewhat behind her. One can hear the ambiance of the recording venue. Also the full human character of her voice strikes you as having her eight feet in front of you. This is true throughout this album, and the realism adds enormously to the enjoyment I have listening to it.
Dave Brubeck’s Take Five on Time Out (SACD Columbia CS 65122), and again this is from my DSD conversion from the sacd. Time Out has well defined location information on the four performers, but strangely Brubeck and Morello are somewhat muted. Joe Morello’s drum solo is more real than I have ever heard before. His drums have the sound of the drum skin, the clean high hat, and sharp leading edge.
I was most impressed by the vivid location information on the four members that I could hear. Eugene Wright is least defined, but his bass is well defined and important. And Dave Brubeck’s piano is well defined and important. Often on this cut, he is almost off stage to the right.
Duke Ellington’s Three J’s Blues on Blues in Orbit (Mobile Fidelity SACD MOB 757) also in DSD. There is quite a bit of brass in this recording and it is captured wonderfully, with sharp transients and real ripeness. Also the location of the performers is acoustically vivid. Again one hears the decay in the recording studio.
Finally turning to vinyl, I must say again that the image improvement is just dramatic. My original copy of Frank Sinatra and Count Basie, Sinatra at the Sands (Reprise B0040ND750) just vividly reveals the size of the Sands room, where the audience, band, Sinatra, and Basie are as well as the ambience of the room. No other format that I have of this recording ever has revealed this, including my cd of this in double DSD. Listening to this is just wonderfully real.
Two other factors greatly added to the pleasure. One is cheap and comes directly from Miguel Alvarez of Tripoint. It was to use a ZeroStat on the Troy Signature binding posts for grounding the components. With this treatment the openness and precise location remains but is also much cleaner. This effect lasts for about two days. I tried this on my speaker binding posts with quite minor benefits. My twenty year old ZeroStat is now receiving steady use.
The second is my getting enough High Fidelity Cable Ultimate Reference Rhodium power cords to have them throughout my sources, line stage, amplifiers. The location information improved to hear ambience, note decay, heads being turned, etc. Frankly, I never thought this could be achieved in music reproduction.
To hear the Tripoint Signature unit without some Thor SEs is fail to hear it at its full potential. Yes, these are expensive pieces, but I had never thought what they can do could be achieved. I must say that I have had probably eight people visit me to hear my system. With some I removed the connections to the components and disconnected the Troy Signature from the wall outlet, in effect removing the Troy Signature. What we all heard was a crushing loss of realism. Once you have heard it, realism is hard to do without.
Troy Signature SE (Thor power cable upgrade) $21,500.00
Thor SE (Grounding cable) 1 meter $5500.00
Additional .5 meter $2250.00
Tel: 786 897-2975