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POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 20
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revelation audio labs

Precept Cryo-Silver Reference AC power cord

as reviewed by Fown-Ming Tien

 

 

 

 

FOWN-MING TIEN'S SYSTEM:

LOUDSPEAKERS
Thiel CS 2.2

ELECTRONICS
Aesthetix Callisto line stage, Scott Endler Passive Stepped Nude Attenuators, Jeff Rowland Model 10 amplifier, and an Onix H34 tube integrated.

SOURCES
Digital: McCormack Audio UDP-1. Analog: Oracle Delphi MkII, SME 3009 tonearm w/ Cardas cabling, Denon 103 cartridge.

CABLES
Paul Speltz Anti-Cables speaker cables, CryoTweaks Trinity speaker cables, CryoTweaks Silver Reference MkII interconnect, Aural Thrills WBT Gold digital S/PDIF coax interconnect, custom Dodson "secret skunkworks" digital S/PDIF coax interconnect, and Eichmann eXpress6 AC power cable, Electraglide Reference Tri-Glide power cord.

ACCESSORIES
Tice Power Block power conditioner with Hubbell 20A hospital grade outlets, Hubbell 20A hospital grade outlets in wall, Bedini Ultra Clarifier, Auric Illuminator Optical Playback Resolution Enhancement, Quantum Symphony Pro, Black Diamond Racing cones Mk3, Polycrystal amp stands (2), and Verastarr Granite Vibro- Slabs.

Brad Vojtech, the President of Revelation Audio Labs, is no stranger to designing and making high-performance cables. Owners of Perpetual Technologies and Audio Alchemy equipment will be familiar with his Prophecy Cryo-SilverTM Reference i2S digital cable, which quickly became accepted as the best i2s digital cable available. When I owned the Audio Alchemy DDS-Pro CD transport and Perpetual Technologies digital front end, I used two Prophey i2s cables to link them. They made significant improvements. The soundstage widened and deepened. Clarity and separation improved dramatically. There was less background noise. Images were more tightly focused. The Neutrik connectors were better than any I had seen. It was obvious that Brad knew a thing or two about high-performance cables, so when I ran into him at T.H.E. Show in January, I was not surprised to see that his product line had expanded.

Revelation Audio Labs was showcasing a full cable lineup, including digital, power, analog, and loudspeaker cables, many of which were being used to transfer signals from the wall outlets to the speakers for Modwright and CI Audio. The familiar RAL purple techflex made the cables conspicuous. One cable that really looked like it meant business was the Precept Cryo-SilverTM Reference power cable. When I asked Brad about it, he kindly provided a 2-meter review sample with 15A IEC connectors.

Like all RAL cables, the Precept power cord is made with deep-cryogenically-treated, oxygen-free, 99.999% (5n) pure solid-core silver conductors, which are then heavily shielded with multiple layers of 5-mil solid copper and mil spec, helical woven, silver-plated, stranded copper braid. The conductor is then surrounded by Big AirTM dielectric—each conductor is hermetically sealed within an oversized 100 percent pure virgin Teflon PTFE hollow sleeve that gives the Precept a low dielectric constant and low capacitance. The conduit is then filled with proprietary Ceramic Micro-SpheresTM that reduce resonance. Two separate runs of cable, twisted together and terminated with Furutech FI-25 rhodium connecters, give the Precept the girth of a 6-gauge conductor. Brad uses only the highest-quality components to build the Precept cord. It is not only extremely well made, but substantial. Its weight can place some strain on the IEC connector, and will topple light components set upon isolation cones if the cord is not supported near the IEC plug. It is not as stiff as the Venhaus Flavor 4 power cord (see that review here), nor is it as pliable as the Audience powerChord (see that review here).

I tried the Precept cord on the Esoteric DV-50, the McCormack UDP-1, and a few digital-to-analog converters, as well as the Aesthetix Callisto Signature line stage and the Onix H34 tube integrated amp. My arsenal of power cords includes the Audience and Venhaus cables, the ElectraGlide Reference Tri-glide, and the Series 2 Eichmann eXpress6. Each offers its own sonic signature, and the RAL cord was no exception. Powering the dry, neutral sounding Esoteric player, the RAL demonstrated super-black backgrounds, a broad soundstage, excellent separation, and clean bass. High-frequency details were rendered with precise, crystal clarity and a crispness of tone that I have heard in many silver cables. The midrange was extremely detailed, but a bit dry and recessed and slightly bright in the upper midrange and lower treble.

Switching to the warmer, more engaging McCormack player, the positive attributes of the Esoteric player remained, but the balance was better, and the Precept displayed a less "silvery" sonic signature. While the bass was extremely tight, clean, and extended, there was a slight dip in response in the mid to upper bass region, making the presentation a few degrees cooler. On Dave Brubecks' "Take Five,” from the Time Out CD, the slight recess in the midrange and the clearly articulated highs brought the cymbals forward, moved the saxophonist back, and flattened the soundstage a bit. Compared to the Venhaus cord, the Precept gave the sax more detail, but set it further back in the soundstage. The bass had less body but more control. The cymbals had stunning clarity, but called too much attention to themselves. On the UDP-1, the ElectraGlide cord struck a nice balance. It was neither as forward as the Venhaus nor as recessed as the Precept. Treble detail also fell between that of the other two cords, but the Precept's bass performance was cleaner and tighter than that of the ElectraGlide.

I also used the Precept to power my Callisto Signature line stage. Although the Callisto is a tube design, it does not have the normal tubey colorations. In fact, it is more neutral, revealing, and detailed than any line stage—solid stage or tube—that I have had in my system. Due to the Callisto's awesome resolution and lack of midrange bloom, I suspected that the Precept might not be the best match for it, and my suspicion was quickly confirmed. Pairing the Precept with the Callisto resulted in an overly analytical sound. Listening sessions soon became fatiguing.

Despite the poor match with the Callisto, the Precept synergized beautifully with the Onix H34 integrated tube amplifier, a warm-sounding component that does not deliver that final degree of air, transparency, and detail. The Precept cord and Onix amplifier were a match made in audio heaven! The strengths and weaknesses of each perfectly complemented the other. The power cord's incredible top end detail benefited the H34, and its lean midrange and midbass were offset by the robust midrange and warm midbass of the amp. The H34's bass was tightened up considerably, and its forward character was counterbalanced by the slightly recessed nature of the Precept.

I also got excellent results matching the Precept and the Onix A-120MkII, a warm-sounding 120-watt solid state integrated amp here for review. The benefits with the A-120 were similar to the ones I heard with the H34. The lean midrange of the power cord complemented the midrange bump of the amp. I again heard tauter bass. The A-120 exhibits a bit of upper midrange glare that the Precept did nothing to mask, as I expected from this revealing power cord.

Providing further proof of the importance of system synergy, I tried the Precept cord on an Eastern Electric MiniMax phono stage that was here for review, and found sonic bliss. The Precept provided improved detail, separation, bass and midrange clarity, and soundstage depth and separation. Everything just sounded right—so much so that I began to wonder why. After doing some thinking, I believe that there are several factors. The MiniMax has a wonderfully robust and full midrange. I use warm-sounding Cardas tonearm wire, and my Denon 103 cartridge lacks extremely detailed highs, so my vinyl front end is heavy on the warmth and far from the final word when it comes to detail, so it made sense that the Precept worked perfectly. Also, all of the interconnects in my system are silver. All are extremely neutral, and do not impart any of the midrange coloration for which copper interconnects are known. Apparently, adding a silver power cord leaned things out a bit too much, but helped complete a perfect sonic picture with the MiniMax.

As with any piece of gear, careful system matching is necessary to get the best results from this high-performance power cord. Its strengths—soundstage width, pitch-black backgrounds, stunningly clear detail, and clean, extended bass—are undeniable. The determining factor will be how it synergizes with your gear. Whether you prefer a warmer or cooler midrange will make or break the Precept in your system, but I highly recommend that you give it a try. All Revelation Audio Labs products are offered with a 30-day money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose. I loved the way the Precept partnered with the two Onix integrated amps and the MiniMax phono stage, and chose to keep the review sample so that I can continue to experiment with the Precept in future reviews. Fown-Ming Tien

Precept Cryo-Silver Reference
Retail: $1099 per 2-meters

Revelation Audio Labs
web address: www.revelationaudiolabs.com

 

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