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POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 18
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harmonic technologies

Magic Reference Tweeter Speaker Cable

as reviewed by Robert H. Levi

 

 

 

ROBERT H. LEVI'S SYSTEM

LOUDSPEAKERS
Avalon Eidolon and REL Stadium III subwoofer.

ELECTRONICS
E.A.R. 324 phono preamplifier, E.A.R. 890 amplifier, Pass X1 preamplifier, and an Adcom 750 preamplifier for secondary sources.

SOURCES
VPI Scout/JMW 9 tonearm, VPI SDS Controller, ZYX R100H phono cartridge. ModWright Sony 999 SACD/CD Player with Signature Truth, Mod/Bybee Filters and Revelation Cryo Silver Umbilical. Alesis Masterlink 24/96 Recorder/Playback Deck, Theta Pro Gen.5a DAC Modified for 24/96 Playback. Grado Statement Phono Cartridge. Pioneer DVL 919 LD/DVD Player, and a Marantz DV8400 DVD/SACD/CD player. Magnum Dynalab MD-108 Reference Tuner, Marantz 17 tuner, and Scott 300B FM Stereo Tuner, AQ 7500 FM Antenna, Stax 7t Electrostatic headphones, Grado Reference 1 headphones, and a Grado headphone amplifier.

CABLES
Harmonic Technology CyberLight interconnects, Soundstring interconnects and speaker cables, or Kimber Select balanced, Kimber TAK phono AG, Kimber Hero balanced and single ended interconnects, Eichmann Express 6 Series 2 interconnects, and Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II balanced interconnects. Kimber D-60 Digital Interconnects. Kimber Select 3038 Silver speaker cables, Harmonic Technology Magic Reference Silver speaker cables.

ACCESSORIES
Monster Reference 350 Mark II v2 Power Conditioner and World Power Power Wing, Kimber Palladian power cables, Tara RSC and Decade power cables, Tiff power cables, Tice power cables, Tice Clock, and Audio Prism Quiet Line IIs. Cable Cooker 2.5, Winds Stylus Pressure Gage, Bedini Ultra Clarifier, VPI Record Cleaning Machine 16.5, Soundstring Pro Power Cables, and Kimber Pro 10 Gold Power Cables
.

 

This is an adult-only speaker cable review. With my system designed for ultimate stereo reproduction, wired in technically (and sonically) advanced Harmonic Technology CyberLight interconnects and tweaked to kingdom come, I will hold no punches and take no prisoners in my analysis of these new speaker cables from Harmonic Technology. My reference speaker cables are the twice-as-expensive Kimber Select 3038 Black Pearls, also designed to be the ultimate solution for speaker connectivity. Get ready for the battle of the metals from two of the most renowned and respected cable companies in America.

Harmonic Technology designed the Magic Reference Tweeter Speaker Cable as an all-in-one solution for speakers that do not require bi-wiring, a list that includes my Avalon Eidolons. They also make a bi-wire cable called the called the Magic Reference Bi-Wire, which uses the Reference Tweeter on top and the Reference Woofer on the bottom. This cable is exotic, with 40 percent 6-9s copper and 60 percent 7-9s (!) silver in dual 10-gauge strands per leg soldered to a silver spade. The copper and silver are both patented single-crystal wire, and the insulation is advanced polyethylene around individual conductors. At $1800 for an 8-foot length, it's among the lowest-priced of the reference cables sold today. I used a 4-foot length, as my Kimber reference cable is also 4 feet and I wanted maximum consistency. They require 200 to 300 hours of break-in, and mine got an additional 70 hours on the audiodharma Cable Cooker.

I must add one small aside here. Oh how I wish Jim Wang, President and Chief Inventor at Harmonic Technology, could develop a way for the CyberLight interconnect solution to be applied to speaker cables (see the CyberLight reviews by Robert—Part 1 and Part 2—and by Max Dudious). The CyberLight Interconnects continue to astound me with their utter lack of coloration and their intense and accurate musicality. After months of use, the CyberLights have become my reference cables (used with the battery pack), surpassing all comers at any cost or composition. If you have not test driven these interconnect jewels, you just can't know what you are missing! Though Jim is investigating a fiber solution for speaker cables, nothing is imminent.

Back to the cable comparison. It amazed me how these two reference speaker cables sounded so little alike. The Magic Tweeter cable is more spacious, dramatic, and powerful, the Kimber Select more intimate, lean, and snappy. After hours of comparison listening, I found the Magic Tweeter more detailed and realistic in the vital midrange and more accurate in the bass. The highs above 2500Hz were more of a toss-up. The Kimber is more silvery and sharply focused, the Magic Tweeter more spacious, textured, and you-are-there. The Magic Tweeter always sounded more like a performance and less like a recording. I was very surprised at this outcome, particularly considering the cost difference between these cables.

The new reissue of the 1959 Mercury Suppe Overtures on SACD had a vintage flavor and texture with the Magic Tweeter cables. It sounded newer and overly analytical with the Kimber. The sound was very analog with the Magic Tweeter, as it should be. There was also better center fill and depth. I am convinced that the Magic Tweeter cables reproduced this superb new SACD with more honesty.

Listen to the new Brahms Piano Concerto on RCA/BMG SACD, and you will be thrilled by its power. You are transported to the performance with the Magic Tweeter cables, and the effect is not subtle. I heard twice the number of violins through the Magic Tweeter, and a real space for the piano. The piano tone was divine. What a performance, and what sound!

Try the Getz/Gilberto Verve SACD, and be prepared to be stunned. When Astrud Gilberto began to sing, she appeared just behind my right speaker in amazing, gorgeous perfection. I was blown away. It was as if the entire system was OTL. Wow! I recently listened to the fabulous Speaker's Corner LP of this recording and, if memory serves me, it was every bit as good.

The bass swagger and intensity of SuperBass 2 on Telarc SACD was dead on. Though the percussive effect of the strings was a bit faster on the Kimber, the Magic Tweeter was so much more you-are-there. The woody character of the bass boxes and the marvelous rosin sound of the bowing were vastly more accurate and alive with the Magic Tweeter. You live this recording, you don't just play it. With the Magic Tweeter, it was much more exciting to hear. The clinking of plates and the vocal asides were fascinating and vivid. The club environment and ambience reached out into the room and pulled me to the stage. I loved it.

The Telarc Carmina Burana on SACD was magical. The added power and midrange texture truly enhanced my listening. The cut "In Trutina" clinched the deal. Though the Kimber. I heard a bit of added sweetness and shimmer on the soprano's top notes, but the leanness was fatiguing. With the Magic Tweeter, the soprano was there to behold. I played this track over and over, marveling at the musicality and power of the sound. It was never edgy or lean, always suave and sophisticated. The Magic Tweeter cables are a major achievement.

The Carl Saunders Sextet Live in San Francisco, on a BluePort CD, is a very alive-sounding recording. It was always ambient and detailed on the Kimber, but never had the swagger or texture that Jim Merod captured at the venue. I increased the level of the subwoofer a bit to enhance this, but when Jim heard it with the Kimbers, he was unsatisfied. He should hear it now with these Magic Tweeter cables. The sounds of the city are right there, and the bass is alive and powerful. The sound is right, not ripe. There is no overshoot or smear. This is great bass.

Finally, you have to listen to Kind of Blue on Columbia SACD to appreciate Harmonic Technology's achievement. Miles Davis and John Coltrane never had it so good. The air around the instruments, the studio space, and the realistic presence of the horns ares just terrific. I am convinced that these cables represent a sonic breakthrough. I've never heard better midrange reproduction, at any price, in my system.

I also listened to some live recordings done by friends of mine in Atlanta at 24-bit on an Alesis Masterlink. They sounded beautifully uncluttered and pristine, exactly the way two-microphone recordings should sound. The Magic Tweeter cables were just right. They added nothing and subtracted nothing. I loved the evenness of the frequency response, with nary a lump or bump to be heard. I'm sorry you can't hear these recordings for yourself, but they convinced me that these are the cables to own.

After an extensive listening session, the Harmonic Technology Magic Tweeter Cables won the day. They offer excellent, reference-quality bass and top end, but that's only part of the story—their midrange texture and definition are the best I've heard in my system. These are also the best deal for speaker cables in the state-of-the-art category. If you own speakers that do not require bi-wiring, these should be your speaker cable solution. Until (or if) Harmonic Technology figures out how to make optical fiber work in this application, their exotic blend of silver and copper is a winner. The Magic Tweeter Speaker Cables have my highest recommendation, and are my new reference. Robert H. Levi

Magic Tweeter Cables
Retail: $1800 (8 ft. four single-wire speaker cable, spade or locking banana set)

Harmonic Technologies
web address: www.harmonictech.com

 

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